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Renegade by Laramie Briscoe

Renegade Ebook CoverRenegade by Laramie Briscoe
Series: Moonshine Task Force #1
Genre: contemporary romance
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When you fall in love with the most unexpected person, at the most unexpected time…… 

Ryan “Renegade” Kepler

I’m the type of man who knows what I want. I make up my mind and stay in my lane, never veering off the course I set for myself. 

Going into the military? Did it. Youngest member of the Moonshine Task Force? 

That’s me. Get my best friend’s older sister in bed? It was my pleasure. 

Age means nothing to me. I’ve seen and done things men twice my age never will. What I want more than anything is someone to share my life with and that person is my best friend’s older sister, Whitney. 

Whitney Trumbolt 

Ryan is ten years my junior, but damn, being a cougar never felt as good as it did the night we spent together. Now I’m struggling with wanting things to either go back to the way they were or spend every night in his arms.

Make my wedding planning company the best in the south? Did it. Ignore the way my body trembles when I see Ryan? Epic fail. Freak out when I see a positive pregnancy test staring back at me? Complete with mascara running down my face and clutching my pearls. 

Looks like things won’t go back to the way they were. There’s a man in my life that doesn’t take no for an answer. He’s the one who makes my blood run hot, cheeks turn red, and heart beat wildly within my chest. His name is Renegade.

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Something In The Way by Jessica Hawkins

something-in-the-way-ebook-coverSomething In The Way by Jessica Hawkins
Series: standalone
Genre: contemporary romance
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It was a hot summer day when I met him on the construction site next to my parents’ house. Under the sweat and dirt, Manning Sutter was as handsome as the sun was bright. He was older, darker, experienced. I wore a smiley-face t-shirt and had never even been kissed. Yet we saw something in each other that would link us in ways that couldn’t be broken…no matter how hard we tried.

I loved Manning before I knew the meaning of the word. I was too young, he said. I would wait. Through all the carefully-chosen words hiding what we knew to be true, through his struggle to keep me innocent, and through infinitely-starry nights—I would wait. But I’d learn that life isn’t always fair. That no matter how much you achieve, none of it matters if you suffer the heartbreak that comes with falling for someone you can never have. Because even though I saw Manning first, that didn’t matter. My older sister saw him next.

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Scars & Tats by Kristi Pelton

scars-and-tats-ebook-coverScars & Tats by Kristi Pelton
Series: standalone
Genre: contemporary romance
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Scars are tattoos with better stories…

A scarred, lonely woman
A curious little boy
One uninvited, tattooed guest
A nasty blizzard
One cabin
Two guns
A set of handcuffs 

What could possibly go wrong?

Mela McKinley fled with her infant son and disappeared four years ago trying to heal the awful scars inside and out. Taking refuge in the mountains of Colorado, not one person had come near their secluded doorstep… though she was prepared for a fight.

In the middle of a historic blizzard, little Beck points out the window to a figure approaching in the snow. After hiding Beck…and fully armed, Mela confronts Jackson Winslow and has zero reservations about shooting him, if necessary.

Ultimately, saving him from the forces of nature, she takes the uninvited stranger prisoner in her home holding the upper hand. While cautiously tending to him, she realizes how much she has missed a man—though this scarred and tattooed man is not who he seems. Once he has invaded her thoughts in a delicious way, her guard is down and suddenly, the tables are turned and now…it’s his turn. 

What she doesn’t know is who he really is and what he brings to her doorstep.

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If only it were still Christmas, I thought, in awe of the amount of snow that had fallen through the morning hours this spring. Beck in his newly four-year-old way pressed his forehead against the floor-to-ceiling window, watching in wonder as his breath formed a pillow of condensation that quickly disappeared. Over and over again.

The teakettle whistled, and I fingered through his hair as I walked past.

“Momma. Snow.”

I laughed. “Yes, buddy. Lots of snow.”

The whistle of the kettle faded when I pulled it from the heat, pouring Beck a hot chocolate and me my tea. The two ice cubes in his mug began to melt instantly.

“Momma, Layne.”

Stirring honey into my tea, I put one more ice cube in his cup and carried the miniature marshmallows over to him.

“No, buddy. We won’t see Layne today,” I explained, sitting on the sofa in front of the fire, which needed wood.

“Layne is right there,” he said, tapping the window.

A sudden chill shuddered up my spine as the hair on the back of my neck stood. In slow motion, my eyes moved to where Beck pointed. The figure stood a hundred yards away, thigh deep in snow. My heart began to pound. The pack on his back showed over his shoulders. I watched through the glass as the steps he tried to take led him in the direction of the cabin.

Sitting my mug on the end table, a jolt of panic shot through me but was quickly calmed by a wave of courage—of confidence.

“Beck. Come here. Now.” My words were terse, and he immediately padded over to me.

“What’s wrong, Mommy?”

“Sweetheart, I don’t know who this is, and my job is what?”

“To protect me?” he asked.

“Yes.” I nodded. “To protect you. Always.”

He smiled.

“Go. Go now to your cubbyhole. You know where your food is. You know where the water bottles are. You don’t come out until Mommy comes to get you.”

“Or Layne!” he shouted.

“Yes. Or Layne. But you and Layne have a code word and no one else knows that word. So don’t come out unless you hear that word. Got it?” Tears started to sting my eyes, but I fought with every ounce of my being not let them win.

“Yes. Go now?”

“Yep!  Go now, buddy. I love you.”

“I love you more!” he yelled as he ran to his hiding spot.

The moment he was gone from my view, I turned my sights on our visitor. Thank God the snow was causing him to struggle.  I unhinged the loaded shotgun from the back of the front door, then retrieved the forty-caliber from behind the coffee mugs.  Both guns were pumped and cocked with the chambers full in a matter of seconds. Without a coat, I stepped out onto the porch.

 “Turn around right now and go back the way you came. Follow your tracks!” I yelled.

He stopped, held his hands out to the side and swayed a bit in the wind. “I need help.” His voice was muffled from the scarf covering his mouth.

“You won’t find that here. Move along,” I shouted, then tucked the pistol into my pants. Raising the shotgun to my shoulder, I nestled it tight, resting my cheek against the cold steel while I sighted him down the barrel.  The pistol would be a better choice—but the shotgun may have more effect. Rock’s mom had taught me well.

“Please,” he said weakly, swaying again.

I watched as the snow cascaded. There was no wind.

“Mister. I’m warning you now. Don’t come closer.”

After another strenuous step in the near three-foot-deep snow, he stumbled backward—falling.  He lay there for a minute. Hurriedly, I seized the opportunity to grab the binoculars—Beck’s toy, plastic ones, but they worked nonetheless.

Bursts of steam puffed from his mouth straight into the air. One hand rose weakly, then collapsed back down, disappearing into the powdery snow. Through the scratched-up binoculars, I watched as he mustered up enough energy to heave himself upright. Still sitting, he pulled the scarf away from his mouth exposing red, swollen lips. Quickly, I lowered the binoculars, taking him in more thoroughly. His shoes and legs were hidden in the snow.  Chunks of snow clung to the North Face jacket he wore. His eyes were heavy…thick lids blinked deliberately and sluggishly.

Snow fell so heavily…a thin blanket covered him in the minute I stood frozen. Making a hasty decision, I dashed into the house once again and grabbed the handcuffs Rock’s mom had given me. From the time I darted inside to when I got back out, he hadn’t moved. Just inside the door, I clicked my snowshoes in place and threw my coat on.  The pistol tucked tightly into my waistband, handcuffs in my coat pocket, and ski poles in hand…I began my trek toward him.

When I purchased the snowshoes, I had no real intention of wearing them too terribly much but they’d been on my feet more than I thought they would. Our unwanted visitor was still on his back with little to no movement. His breaths were visible in the puffs of steam in the air.

“Please don’t shoot me,” he begged albeit weakly.

“Why are you here?”

“I got caught in the storm.”

Frozen snot trailed over his upper lip.

“Why were you out here? I mean to begin with. What brought you here? There’re no trails this way.” My demanding questions spewed out quickly.

The puffs of air turned to short raspy pants.

“Lost. I…just…wanted—to get lost.”

I didn’t believe him. Anger consumed me as my hand trembled when I reached to touch him. Be strong always. The second my fingertips brushed his fiery skin; I sucked in a quick breath. He was burning up. Fever. Damn it!

Instantly, I turned around hoofing it back to the cabin and yanked Becks sled out of the corner of the front porch. Within a minute, I was back at his side. A low groan slid up his throat as I lifted him by the shoulders and scooted his upper body onto the sled. After I’d boosted his legs over, I began the trek back to the cabin remembering Beck was still in hiding. My quads and glutes burned from the haul.

 Once I pulled him to the porch clearing the steps, I took a minute to breathe. Thank God, I’d trained enough to be able to heave his ass up there. He seemed to have lost consciousness at some point because as I cuffed him, he didn’t flinch. It wasn’t until I’d lugged him inside next to the fire that I exposed his hands—finding bluish tinted fingers. Instinctively, I blew on them as if they were Beck’s little fingers and I’d done that a hundred times when he’d gotten cold.  How could this man’s fingers be so cold yet he was burning up with fever?

I tossed his gloves near the fire so they could dry out and warm up. The sooner I could get him out of here, the better. His fingers were swollen.

I hustled toward the hideout. “Beck!” I shouted with a whisper. “WOD.  It’s ok. Come here. Mommy needs your help.”

When I pulled off the man’s stocking cap, I was captivated for a moment by his face. Though his cheeks appeared sunken in and dark rings circled his eyes, he was a beautifully, rugged man. His thick brows matched the overgrown beard. The tip of his nose was shiny and bright.

“Mommy. Who is that?”

Directing my attention toward Beck, I gave him a serious look.

“This man is sick. I need you to get me two of your cereal bowls of warm water. Not hot, ok?”

He nodded eagerly, and I watched him grab his stool and heave it into the kitchen.  I felt awful keeping the man handcuffed, but I couldn’t take a chance with someone I didn’t know. I heard the water running in the kitchen and, in this moment, I was proud of the way I’d raised Beck. He needed to be independent if necessary—even if at barely four years old.

Hustling to the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, I grabbed the lip butter and the ibuprofen. I darted to the kitchen and snagged a bottle of water from the fridge.

“How’s it going?”

“Good,” Beck said, walking slowly trying not to spill any water from his miniature cereal bowls—his tiny hands could barely manage.

We met near the visitor. I took the bowls from Beck.

“Nice job, buddy. Thank you.”

When Beck knelt next to him, my heart skipped a beat. Gripping Beck’s shoulders, I shook him just enough to keep his attention and for him to realize I meant business.

“We don’t know him, Beck. You must keep your distance from him. Deal?”

He nodded, backing up. “Pickle,” he whispered.

I shook my head. “You are so silly. It’s dill not deal.”

My beautiful son smiled, then found a seat on the sofa.

Kneeling next to the stranger, I balanced the bowls of water on his thighs, and then rested his fingers in the water. I tipped his head, angling his neck so his face pointed toward the ceiling.  I attempted to pour some of the water through his parted lips. He instantly sputtered and choked—liquid coming back out, but thankfully his eyes opened.

“Mister,” I said.

His glossy eyes tried to focus.

“I need you to swallow this.” I kept his head upright, dropped three ibuprofen into his mouth and then tipped the bottle to his lips. When I saw his Adam’s apple jut out and back in, I knew he’d swallowed them. That was a start.

“Mommy. What’s his name?” Beck asked from the sofa.

His jeans were wet. Jeans? How ill prepared was this idiot for the storm? After I moved the bowls of water, I unfastened his jeans and began tugging them off. The elastic band of his underwear read Armani. Perfect…wealthy and dumb.

I fought looking at his crotch but the damn trunks hugged him tightly, and honestly, there was no ignoring the relaxed bulge. Once I had his jeans off, I laid them out in front of the fire, adding more wood, and then covered his lower half with a quilt. Out of sight, out of mind. And I certainly didn’t need Beck asking questions.

His lips were in pretty bad condition so I slathered a thick layer of the lip butter over them. His lower lip was full…plump. Jesus… narcolepsy really wasn’t my thing. But, hey, he was only unconscious not dead

“Mommy. What’s his name?” 

“I’m sorry, Beck. I don’t know. Hold on a sec.”

I reached for his jeans, and, sure enough, the back pocket held a wallet. When I opened it, a Colorado driver’s license lay behind a thin piece of plastic.

“His name is Jackson,” I announced. “Jackson Winslow,” I whispered beneath my breath and stole a long glance at our bearded stranger.

For the first time, I noticed his hair was longer on one side. This man…this stranger was stunningly handsome.  Ruggedly beautiful. I shook my head trying to erase any desire. It had been so long since I had felt the touch of a man. Yet, this man could have been sent here to find us…to hurt us…to take Beck. He was off limits.

Night was falling and the moon cast a beautiful reflection off the three-foot blanket of snow.  Beck and I played checkers at the kitchen table.  The flickering light of the fireplace flung shadows over the walls. Our stranger seemed to be resting peacefully.

Even though I felt bad for him being cuffed, my sole purpose for living sat across from me, and I had to do whatever was necessary to protect him.

“Buddy. Want to sleep in the hideout?”

Beck’s eyes about bulged out of his head.

“Can I?”

I stood up. “Yep. Let’s get you in there and situated.”

Beck hopped out of his chair, dashing up to his room. There wasn’t anything that could make me smile bigger than witnessing his enthusiasm for life. The boy was a spitting image of his father. Most days that was good.

There was no way of knowing or even speculating what the night could hold…so I told Beck he could come out if he needed.

Once he was hunkered down under his covers, inside his tent, with his night light on…I closed the door. I hustled to my bathroom, brushed my teeth, washed my face, threw on my comfy sweats to sleep in, then grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge before I stared blankly at the heap of man on my living room floor.

When my eyes finally adjusted to the glow from the fireplace, I noticed Jackson twitching. As I crept closer, I saw he wasn’t twitching; his body shook with tremors. Instinctively, the back of my fingers felt his forehead. Wow. He was burning up. Again.

Immediately, I ran to the kitchen, wetting a rag with cold water. Back in the living room, his eyes shot wide as the cold material made contact with his skin.

A small groan echoed up his throat, but as fast as his eyes opened, they closed.  Without thinking, I yanked all the covers off of his body. I hated the ignorance of the—smother the fever philosophy. His body needed to cool down…quickly. Leaving him uncovered and with the cloth on his forehead, I got another bottle of water and snatched both the ibuprofen and the thermometer from the cupboard.

When I slid the digital thermometer between his lips, I realized some of the redness was gone. The lip butter was helping.  Once again, his eyes opened. For the briefest of moments, our eyes met before his closed again.

At 104, the thermometer stopped blinking. 

“Wow,” I whispered out loud, turning the cloth on his forehead to the cooler side.

“Wow,” he moaned or ow, I’m not sure which, but it caused me to sit back a bit, distancing myself. “Aaah.”

My stranger seemed delirious. The fever. It had to be the fever.

“Jackson. I need you to swallow these.” I lifted his head and slid my folded legs beneath him. I dropped four capsules in his mouth, then as gently as possible, I slapped his cheek…his beard was rough to my fingers, but regardless, his eyes opened.

I tipped the cold bottle of water to his lips. “Swallow,” I demanded, and he did. And once again, our eyes connected. Even though I stared down at him, and he was upside down to me, the force of whatever passed between us triggered me to drop his head and jerk away.

What the living hell? Did I know him? My left hand trembled as I set the water bottle next to him. Not that he could drink it. Both his hands were bound by metal. The clock read 10:15. The fever should be down within an hour. I’d check on him them. Other than that, I wanted nothing to do with him.

Sitting on the sofa, my eyes flickered back and forth between the fire and him. I heard Layne’s words in my ear. Information is good. Always find out what you can. I uncovered and picked up Jackson’s wallet from where I left it earlier.

Colorado drivers license. His picture was perfect. Who’s drivers license pic looked that good?  Thirty-one years old. Six foot two. One hundred ninety pounds. Blue eyes. Organ donor. Ian was an organ donor and I had no idea if his organs were donated. If he was living inside someone else…

This man had no pictures of girls, family, kids, no pictures at all.

One Visa card.

One American Express card.

And some sort of ID.  His picture—he looked younger but still strikingly handsome. United States Attorney.  This man was an attorney. My mind raced in a thousand directions. I dropped his wallet at my feet. What brought this attorney in our direction? I couldn’t help but wonder if he came intentionally to my cabin or if this was some kind of fluke. But, if this man was looking for a fight…a war…he came to the right doorstep. I was ready.

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Fallen Woman by Stephie Walls

amazoncoverFallen Woman by Stephie Walls
Series: standalone
Genre: contemporary romance
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Gianna LeBron grew up in poverty. Destined to change her circumstances and her zip code, she rises up from the inner-city streets with an Ivy League education and affluent husband. A few short years later, she’s alone with three children, destitute and desperate.

Finding herself in the same hell she’d fought so hard to escape, and determined to find a solution, she compromises who she is. Selling her soul for the almighty dollar, she does what she has to do in order to provide for her children.

Caught between a secret love and her toddler’s unending need for medical care, Gianna’s forced to decide how far she’ll go to heal her daughter and save the man she loves.

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Boost: The Saved by Cole McCade

the-saved-ebook-coverThe Saved by Cole McCade
Series: A Crow City Prequel Novella
Genre: dark erotica
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For it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. – Leviticus 17:11 

Before he was a mysterious, silent killer stalking the streets of Crow City, the strange man known as Priest (THE FOUND, Crow City #2) was a lost and broken soul – and part of Willow Armitage’s world in ways she could never have imagined. Shattered by the Afghanistan War, left with no companions other than fellow survivor Gabriel Hart (THE LOST, Crow City #1), ex-Marine Priest turns to his lost faith for answers when his life has lost all meaning…but in searching for his God, he finds a new religion. A religion of blood. Of pain. 

Of vengeance.

And from that religion rises a mission to replace everything he had lost, to set right just a few of the small wrongs in the world…and to ease the constant bleeding of his broken heart, filled with sins without number.

Revisit Crow City and meet Priest as he was before the fateful night that brought him into Willow’s life…and reconnect with beloved names and faces as we discover what—and who—set him on his dark and merciless path. 

Trigger Warning 18+: This story depicts scenes of graphic violence, as well as dealing extensively with the subject of PTSD in veterans. Contents may be triggering to some readers.

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BOOST & REVIEW: The Found – Cole McCade

The Found Ebook CoverThe Found by Cole McCade
Series: Crow City #2 (can standalone)

Genre: dark erotica, suspense
Themes: kidnapped, BDSM
Archetype: anti-hero
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Witness to a murder. Kidnapped by a monster. Life hanging on a whim. Willow Armitage’s world was already falling apart; between getting fired and caring for her chronically ill father, she’s had little room for anything but survival. But that survival hangs in the balance the night she stumbles into a back alley – and watches a stranger die at the hands of the most beautiful man she’s ever seen.

Lethal. Powerful. Unstable. Terrifying. The contract killer known only as Priest is a dangerous unknown, and when Willow wakes tied to a chair in his hideout, the only thing she sees in his fox-gold eyes is death. Yet for Priest, Willow is a dilemma: an innocent, a saint among the sinners he cuts down in the streets of Crow City. His code of honor forbids shedding innocent blood. Releasing her will send her straight to the police. The only answer is a warped game, and his promise: that he will find the darkness inside her, expose it, and prove that deep down, everyone is just as monstrous as he…and just as worthy of death.

 Yet he unearths not a monster, but a smoldering and secret desire – one that has always terrified Willow, and may be her undoing. His touch sets her alight. His strength burns through her like flame. And his control melts her each time he binds her virgin body, possesses her, teaches her the strength in weakness and the passion in submission. But that passion may be her damnation, and in the end Willow must choose: Priest’s love, or her own life.

 When his every kiss is pure sin…can she resist damnation long enough for Priest to find his way to redemption?

This story contains content centered around non-consent, bodily autonomy, sexual assault, bodily functions, and violence. Please focus on self-care above all, and don’t be afraid to put the book down if you need to in order to protect yourself. You come first, always.

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Excerpt

His fingers grazed the curve of her waist. With a gasp, she snapped her eyes open. He met her gaze, fox-gold turned hot as melting amber, fierce and animal and stripping her more bare than that exposed, naked flesh. She felt like a butterfly pinned to a board, held by his gaze, her limbs going slack and her struggles stopping against her will. She hardly felt it, when he hooked a fingertip under the bunched edge of her tank top—then ripped with such effortless strength, the threads of the side seam snapping apart one after the other, until there was nothing left of her tank top but rags of cloth. No, she hardly felt that…but she felt it when he teased those rags from underneath the ropes, as every scrap of cloth stroked and washed against her skin until she was nothing but a trembling tangle of sensitivity and frozen breaths building tighter and tighter in her chest.

And she felt it when that taunting, teasing fingertip hooked in her panties, slipping into the opening just above her thigh, and she realized just what he intended to do.

Don’t touch me.”

Suddenly she could move again—and she writhed against the ropes, fighting to squirm away. But she had barely an inch of slack, nowhere to go but against the ropes, hanging in midair and so fucking helpless she would scream with sheer rage if she didn’t want to cry with sheer hopelessness. Was he enjoying this? Enjoying watching her struggle? Enjoying how her skin tightened and pulled and her nipples swelled and her breaths came shallow with every touch, her fucking disobedient body whispering dirty thing, dirty thing, give me more of that dirty thing while her mind and heart screamed no, no, not like that, never like that?

Was he enjoying having her at his mercy, unable to escape his every touch?

His fingers dug into the fabric of her panties. Clenched it against his fist. Pulled. Cloth creased, bit, burrowed into her dirty, dirty thing, her wet dirty thing, her pulsing dirty thing, and she was a fucking dirty thing when she arched off the seat and cried out and whimpered and mewled, as he dragged the cloth against her and all she felt was sweet-rough friction and that slickness, sickness, wet and running like a licking tongue.

“D-don’t,” she cried again, and yet he only pulled harder, the panties so much worse than the rope when every fold and crease molded to her flesh like liquid fire and left nothing untouched. “Don’t!

He paused, held that steady pressure, keeping her on the end of a taut-stretched wire. “Are you a virgin, firefly?” he growled.

She spat in his face.

Panting, body heaving, she drew back and spat in his face, and watched with a sort of foggy, dazed satisfaction as it landed in a wet streak on his cheek, dripping down his bronzed skin like a tear. He remained unmoved, watching her steadily, waiting, holding her dangling from the one hand as if he hardly felt her weight and those damnable fingers pulling her panties against her flesh.

“My body is not your business,” she hissed.

“Right now, your body is my property.” He slid a fingertip down into the crease between her hip and thigh, the place where the seam of her panties normally cut in whenever she sat, moved, shifted; there was something too personal about that touch, so close and yet so far, a threat that made her shrink back even as that feeling inside her nearly exploded, that hollow feeling that seemed like a rapacious beast, a dragon with an open maw and empty gullet that was hungry, so hungry to be full. “I want an answer.”

He bunched her panties into his hand again, curling the fabric in stretched wrinkles against his palm—and this time when he pulled he gave no quarter, a single sharp rip and a sound of cloth tearing like tape pulling off the spool, high and shrill. There was a moment’s painful bite, a muted cry welling in her throat, and then the pressure eased as the tatters of her panties fell, forgotten, to the floor.

Still he watched her. And she, naked with nowhere to hide, curled into herself; she felt her nudity like a presence, like a thing touching her and twisting over her flesh to force her to feel every moment of her exposure, every moment of her vulnerability and helplessness. Priest said nothing. He didn’t need to. He never needed to. When he wanted an answer, he got one, and would wait her out as he had before, implacable and unmoving and relentless. She had always imagined men like him to be all force, all bluster, all violence and snarling and threats.

She was quickly learning that silence—silence and careful, metered application of just enough strength to drive his point home—was just as effective as force.

And just as frightening.

Dangling from his grip like a puppy, she hung her head. Anything not to meet those piercing eyes; anything not to feel the shame of giving in to the quiet demand in his gaze; anything to make this end, so he would stop tormenting her and leave her alone.

“…yes,” she mumbled. Still he didn’t speak, or put her down. Defeat sparked into frustration, and she glared at him from under the fall of her hair. “Yes, all right? Are you happy? Is that what you fucking wanted to know?”

“Yes,” he said simply, and lowered her to the floor.

Review

Heat: ★★★★★
Rating: ★★★★★

He lay on his side, sprawled with the indolent languor of a wild thing utterly aware of its own power.

This is something special. Never before have a read any romance – dark or otherwise – which is simultaneously an introspective character study, delving so deep into the mind and unique voice of Willow Armitage that I could completely understand her choices and actions throughout the novel. Understanding does not necessarily mean approving of; rather, throughout this tale I felt like the firefly in the cage, able only to mesmerisingly watch these events unfold and unravel towards their climax, at times feeling disgusted and horrified, at others being seduced and needing.

Dealing with dark subject matter, issues regarding consent, morality and shame, it is easy to be told what to think by an author; McCade instead shows rather than tells, allowing the reading experience to be a totally unique journey for each person, as reading should be. We can form our own conclusions and opinions on Willow and Priest, their relationship and their pasts – something that provides any novel with value.

“You seem, to me, rather than one long road…instead like many short paths that wander a few steps in one direction, before changing again. There is no story; only the beginnings of many, tales unfinished and untold.”

This is a story that is passionate, and will invoke a passionate response from readers – whether hate, disgust or intrigue. It has been a long time since I’ve felt the urge to sit up all night absorbed within someone else’s brain – and rather than a book to consume, for me this was one to savour. I did not want it to end, but I needed to continue reading.

It’s books like these that make me reconsider my entire rating system. If this is a five star read, there are maybe only one or two others I’ve found thus far in my lifetime that can match it.

And honestly? These characters, this intrigue and obsession…it’s something that will stay with me forever.

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RELEASE BOOST: Edge of Glory – Magan Vernon

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Goodreads

Title: Edge of Glory
Series: Friendship, Texas #1
Author: Magan Vernon
Genre: Sports Romance/Romantic Comedy
Release Date: July 12, 2016

“Welcome to Conti’s. I’m Lia and I’ll nguhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

I froze. Directly facing me was Olympic swimmer, Jay Morningstar…and I just made an idiot of myself.

The rest of the table looked up to see my standing there with my mouth practically gaping. His coach, who I recognized from TV interviews, and even two other swimmers from the Olympic team. They didn’t say anything, they didn’t even blink.

“Uh…I mean…”

I couldn’t even put together my words and Jay Morningstar was just staring at me with that Wheaties box smile and those icy blue eyes.

What was I supposed to say? Sorry I just made a weird noise, it’s just that I have a poster of you on my wall where you are wearing nothing more than your gold medals, a smile, and a pair of man panties?

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Excerpt

Snow in Texas didn’t happen.

The weather report said that we were supposed to get significant snowfall, but I told Jay that the weatherman was usually wrong so there was nothing to worry about.

This was one of the first times that Jay was going to hang out at my house and nothing was going to ruin that for me.

Or so I thought.

I’d cleaned everything from top to bottom a million times over and made sure my parents would both be at the restaurant along with Sonny.

Jay was just coming over to watch a movie, but I couldn’t wear my usual “lounging” gear of sweatpants. It took me forever to figure out what to change into after school and put on extra deodorant.
Staring at myself one last time in the mirror, I thought I could pull off looking half way decent. I smoothed out my sweater and touched up my lip gloss.

Okay, so maybe I wasn’t a Christy Quinn with a great fashion sense, but hey, a sweater and jeans weren’t that bad.

The doorbell rang and I bolted down the stairs only to feel something warm and squishy underneath my sock-clad feet.

I winced, not wanting to look at what I stepped in, but as soon as Nonna’s goat walked into the foyer, I knew it was exactly what I thought it was.

“Nonna! What is Capra doing in the house?”

Nonna shuffled into the foyer and looked down at my feet then at Capra, swatting him on the butt and swearing in Italian. Capra snorted and turned around, dropping another big pile of little pellet poops on the ground before she sauntered toward the living room.

I put my hand on my head and looked between the new pile of poop, the one on my foot, and the door where Jay was standing behind the stained glass door.

I didn’t even have any time to panic. I whipped off my socks and turned, cracking the door open slightly, trying to put on my biggest smile. “Um, hey, Capra had a little bit of an accident, so I’m just going to clean it up before you come in. Okay?”

Jay raised an eyebrow. “Um. Okay?”

I shut the door again and then raced my socks to the laundry room, throwing them in the wash then moved as fast as I could to clean up the new piles.

I let out a deep breath before I opened the door again to see a smiling Jay. He always found a way to look better than me, no matter what he was wearing. His hair was still wet as if he just got out of the shower, or maybe the pool, and he smelled of soap and cool mint. I tried not to let my eyes wander at the way his thin black t-shirt clung to him with moisture still on his chest, but there is only so much a girl can resist.

Or maybe he was freezing and I was the jerk that didn’t let him in because I was cleaning up goat poop.

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