Cover Reveal Blitz: Hard to Break by Bella Jewel


HARD TO BREAK
An Alpha’s Heart Novel
By Bella Jewel
On Sale: October 13, 2015
eBook: $3.99

About the Book:
The second book in the sexy Alpha's Heart series by USA Today bestseller Bella Jewel.

Quinn has spent her whole life working in her dad's garage, leaving her more comfortable with a carburetor than a curling iron. Her world is turned upside down when her beloved garage is bought by none other than world famous, sexy as sin, custom car builder, Tazen Watts. He's the one man she can't stand...even though he makes her hotter than a high performance engine in top gear.

Tazen has no use for Quinn, at least not professionally, and he's making sure she knows it. But there's a spark between them that she's finding hard to ignore. She's determined to prove her talent is as impressive as her sassy mouth. When she finds out Tazen is hiding a secret that could bring down his career and everyone involved in it, she wonders: is falling for him is going to be worth the risk?

About the Author:
Bella Jewel is a USA Today bestselling author. She lives in North Queensland where she's working on her next novel.

Pre-order:
HARD TO FIGHT (Aug 11)- $3.99
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1OOLpzr

HARD TO BREAK (Oct 13)- $3.99
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1MURkBP

Waiting on Wednesday #40: Make Me by Tessa Bailey

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, it spotlilghts upcoming releases that we are dying to read.

This week my WoW is ... Make Me by Tessa Bailey!

Construction worker Russell Hart has been head-over-work boots for Abby Sullivan since the moment he laid eyes on her. But he knows a classy, uptown virgin like her could never be truly happy with a rough, blue-collar guy like him. If only she'd stop treating him like her personal hero—a role he craves more than oxygen—maybe he could accept it.

With the future of her family's hedge fund on her shoulders, Abby barely has time to sleep, let alone find love. And her best friend Russell acting like a sexy, overprotective hulk any time their Super Group goes out in public definitely isn't helping her single status. But after a near-tragedy lands Russell in her bed for the night, Abby's suddenly fantasizing about what he looks like shirtless. Chest hair and tattoos—who knew?

As Russell struggles to keep Abby at a safe distance, she begins to see through his tough-talking exterior—and acknowledge her own feelings. Now she's ready to turn the friend-zone into foreplay…and make him lose control.
Expected publication: August 11th 2015 by Avon Impulse 
Okay, after I read the first book in this series, Chase Me, I thought to myself, "oh my god, this is the best book I'm going to read all year. And it's only March." I love the way Tessa writes and if you haven't been dying to read Russell and Abby's story, then there must be something wrong with you.

Pre-order Links:
Amazon

About the Author:
Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.

Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband of seven years and three-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

Author Links:

Review & Giveaway: Exposed by Brighton Walsh



Title: Exposed
Author: Brighton Walsh
Imprint: St. Martin’s Griffin
On Sale: July 21, 2015
Formats: Trade Paperback Original & eBook
Price: TPO $14.99 / eBook $9.99

Blurb:
Love can be lost but never forgotten. Beautiful, sophisticated, and engaged to the son of a Senator, Evie Masterson has the perfect life. Except for one thing: it's all based on a lie. Five years ago, she created a new identity for herself and cut all ties to her criminal past. But she can't run forever, because something she witnessed years ago comes back to haunt her. And the only person there to help is the man she thought she left behind forever—the one man she's never been able to forget.

Devastatingly gorgeous and just as ruthless, Riley Everett is the criminal for hire who once stole Evie's heart. Years have gone by, but he's never been able to forget her either. Now her life is in jeopardy, and even after all this time, he'd still do anything to protect her, even if that means breaking into her mansion and stealing her away.

As they hide from the world, their long-lost passion reignites. But despite their undeniable chemistry, Evie can't give up the perfect life she's been working toward...and Riley has no part in it.

About the Author:
Brighton Walsh is a storyteller at heart. Love is her first love, and writing about it is a dream come true. When she's not overwhelmed by the incessant chatter in her mind, you can generally find her with her nose buried in a steamy book or partaking in some retail therapy in the Midwest where she lives with her own real life hero and her two energetic kids who (fortunately) know nothing about the naughty things she puts down on paper.

Social Media:
Brighton Walsh

SMP Romance

Buy Links:
Amazon (Canada): http://amzn.to/1HbQjnm

My Review:

First off, I freaking love Brighton Walsh. Everything I've read of hers (Caged in Winter, Captive and now Exposed) I've been unable to put down. 

After reading the first book in this series, Captive, we got a tease of Riley unffff, and when I found out that Exposed was going to be his book I was so excited. This book starts pretty soon after Captive ended, and we find out about Evie. She's living under a new identity, hiding from the man who is trying to kill her. Riley thought she was dead, so when he finds out that not only is she alive, but his brother Ghost had helped her escape, the betrayal cuts deep.

They're holed up in a friend's apartment trying to come up with a game plan and they both realize that the attraction they shared before is still there and as strong as ever. So what do they do? Get it on. A lot. Totally understandable considering the circumstances, and it allows them to take a walk down memory lane. 

I thought Brighton dealt with what happened in Evie's past really well, and while it's uncomfortable to hear about, I felt that it was an integral part of the story. The story didn't revolve around what happened, and it didn't make Evie a weak character. 

Exposed mixed the romance, action and suspense really well. I loved the characters. I loved the storyline. I freaking loved Riley. Evie was awesome. It was pretty much everything that I love in a book. Brighton Walsh is definitely an author to put on your TBRs, and if you haven't read any of her books I would tell you to definitely start with this series!

*I was provided an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway:
1 Copy of Exposed
US&CAN Only

Waiting on Wednesday #39: Falling Under by Lauren Dane

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, it spotlilghts upcoming releases that we are dying to read.

This week my WoW is ... Falling Under by Lauren Dane!



New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lauren Dane delivers Book #2 in her Ink & Chrome erotic romance series.


Duke Bradshaw, co-owner of the custom motorcycle shop Twisted Steel, is great with his hands and sure not afraid to get dirty... especially in his fantasies about his redheaded neighbor, Carmella Rossi.

Carmella has been secretly lusting after her hot, tattooed neighbor for the last three years. His rumbly voice combined with the throaty purr of his custom bike never fail to send thrills down her spine. When Duke asks her to join him at the shop, she can't say no.

Soon their days together spill over into nights that bring her pleasure beyond anything she imagined. But Carmella grew up with bikers, and knows how bad a bad-boy can be. Can she put herself at risk for someone who has heartbreaker written all over him?

Expected publication: August 4th 2015 by Forever
Yes! I absolutely loved the first book in this series, Opening Up. I mean you get the bike riding bad boy without the messy MC club. What more can you ask for?

Pre-order Links:
Amazon

About the Author:
The story goes like this: While on pregnancy bed rest, Lauren Dane had plenty of down time so her husband took her comments about “giving that writing thing a serious go” to heart and brought home a secondhand laptop. She wrote her first book on it before it gave up the ghost. Even better, she sold that book and never looked back.

Today Lauren is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over sixty novels and novellas across several genres.


Author Links:

Release Day Blitz: Exposed by Brighton Walsh


Title: Exposed
Author: Brighton Walsh
Imprint: St. Martin’s Griffin
On Sale: July 21, 2015
Formats: Trade Paperback Original & eBook
Price: TPO $14.99 / eBook $9.99

ABOUT THE BOOK
Love can be lost but never forgotten. Beautiful, sophisticated, and engaged to the son of a Senator, Evie Masterson has the perfect life. Except for one thing: it's all based on a lie. Five years ago, she created a new identity for herself and cut all ties to her criminal past. But she can't run forever, because something she witnessed years ago comes back to haunt her. And the only person there to help is the man she thought she left behind forever—the one man she's never been able to forget.

Devastatingly gorgeous and just as ruthless, Riley Everett is the criminal for hire who once stole Evie's heart. Years have gone by, but he's never been able to forget her either. Now her life is in jeopardy, and even after all this time, he'd still do anything to protect her, even if that means breaking into her mansion and stealing her away.

As they hide from the world, their long-lost passion reignites. But despite their undeniable chemistry, Evie can't give up the perfect life she's been working toward...and Riley has no part in it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brighton Walsh is a storyteller at heart. Love is her first love, and writing about it is a dream come true. When she's not overwhelmed by the incessant chatter in her mind, you can generally find her with her nose buried in a steamy book or partaking in some retail therapy in the Midwest where she lives with her own real life hero and her two energetic kids who (fortunately) know nothing about the naughty things she puts down on paper.

SOCIAL MEDIA
Brighton Walsh

SMP Romance

BUY LINKS
Amazon (Canada): http://amzn.to/1HbQjnm 

Cover Reveal: Legend (Real #6) by Katy Evans

LEGEND
(Real series #6)

Can love really conquer all? – Book 6 in Katy Evan’s breakout New York Times bestselling series that began with REAL.

Maverick “the Avenger” Cage wants to rise to the top and become a legend in the ring. Though he keeps his identity well guarded, he's known on the fighting circuit as the new kid with a chip on his shoulder and a tattoo on his back that marks him as trouble. He's got a personal score to settle with the Underground's one and only Remington "Riptide" Tate.

As Mav trains, he meets a young girl—the only other new person in the town--and sparks fly. When things get heated between them, he finds out she's none other than Reese Dumas, the cousin of Remington Tate’s wife. A girl who's supposed to root against him and a girl he's supposed to stay away from. 

But Maverick fights for the woman in his heart, and the monsters in his blood. The world’s eyes are on them and the victor will go down in history as the ultimate fighting champion; the ultimate LEGEND. 

Legend (Real #6) Pre-order Links (Releases 2/9)
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1Guafyb
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1GuakSp



Waiting on Wednesday #38: Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, it spotlilghts upcoming releases that we are dying to read.

This week my WoW is ... Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl!


Passion this hot can't be faked…
All revved up for bright lights and steamy nights, writer Veronica Chandler chased her dreams to New York City. When she hit a dead end, reality sent her back home to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Saving her pride and her new gig—writing a relationship advice column!—requires some faking. No one can know the truth about her big-city flop or her nonexistent sex life. But the town's irresistibly rugged librarian is determined to figure her out… and give her hands-on lessons in every wicked thing she wants to know.

Gabe MacKenzie's heart might be in Wyoming, but secretly his future's tied up in his family's Manhattan legacy. Getting down and dirty with Veronica is supposed to give him a few memorable nights—not complicate his plans. But the thing about heat this scorching is there's just no going back… and it might be too hot for either of them to take.

Expected publication: July 28th 2015 by HQN Books

I love this series! So naturally I've been dying to get my hands on this book! Victoria Dahl is definitely one of my favorite hidden gem authors!

Pre-order Links:
Amazon

About the Author:
Victoria Dahl lives with her family in a small town high in the Utah mountains. During the summer, she hikes and drinks margaritas (usually not at the same time.) During

the winter she likes to curl up with a book and a cup of hot cocoa and think about all those poor, freezing skiers working so hard out in the snow.

She’s been reading romance since the age of twelve and started her first manuscript at the tender age of twenty. Occasionally, on dark and stormy nights, she bravely posts excerpts of that original story on her blog for the entertainment of her readers.

Her first published novel won the Golden Heart award. Since then, she's published over twenty books and novellas, including three USA Todaybestsellers, and several of her books have been nominated for the prestigious RITA® Award for excellence in the romance genre.

Author Links:

Release Day: Sinfully Mine by Kendall Ryan



She was forbidden.

I didn’t care.

As my best friend’s little sister, Macey Hale was off-limits, but the girl was tempting as sin and forbidden as fuck. I wish I could say that stopped me. I wish I could tell you I behaved like a gentleman.

I didn’t.

When she waltzes back into my life with that same spark I fell for, looking every bit the beautiful woman I knew she’d grow into, I have to force myself to remember I’m different from the man she once knew. I’m colder. Harder. And for good reason.

With my heart on lockdown and my hands aching to touch her, I set out to prove that I can keep myself in check this time.

No strings. No attachments.

And definitely no falling for her again.

If you love steamy romance, you won't want to miss this older brother's best friend romance. 

This is book two in the Lessons with the Dom series, following The Gentleman Mentor. Both are complete standalone novels featuring sexy Dominant men you're sure to fall in love with. 

Enjoy!



Kendall Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance novels, including Hard to Love, Unravel Me, Resisting Her and When I Break.

She's a sassy, yet polite Midwestern girl with a deep love of books, and a slight addiction to lipgloss. She lives in Minneapolis with her adorable husband and two baby sons, and enjoys hiking, being active, and reading.

Visit her at: www.kendallryanbooks.com for the latest book news, and fun extras





Release Day Blitz: Excerpt & Giveaway: Revived by Samantha Towle


Happy Release Day to Samantha Towle and her new book REVIVED! This is Leandro's story! Read a sneak peek below and make sure to enter the giveaway! Good luck!

India Harris didn’t have the best start in life. Abandoned as a baby, she and her twin brother, Kit, spent their lives in foster care, only having each other to rely on. Then, at a young age, a relationship with the wrong man left India pregnant. Wanting to give her son the life she never had, she put herself through school and graduated with honors.

Now, at the age of thirty, she’s a highly respected therapist.

At the top of his game as a Formula One driver, Leandro Silva had everything—until an accident on the track left him staring death in the face. After enduring twelve months of physical therapy, Leandro is now physically able to race, but his mind is keeping him from the track. Frustrated and angry, Leandro’s days and nights are filled with limitless alcohol and faceless women.

Entering the last year of his contract, he knows he has to race again, or he’ll lose everything he spent his life working for. Forced into therapy to get his life back, Leandro finds himself in the office of Dr. India Harris.

Falling for his uptight therapist is not part of Leandro’s plan.

Having unethical feelings for her patient, the angry Brazilian race car driver, is not part of India’s plan.

But what if the wrong person is the only person who is right?

My eyes move to the magazines on the table. A sports mag is peeking out from under the fashion mags. Leaning forward, I pull it out, instantly wishing I hadn’t. On the cover of the magazine is a picture of me with the caption, What the Bad Side of Formula 1 Looks Like. Nice. So, now, I’m the bad side of Formula 1. Good to know. I already know what the media say about me. How I’ve turned from a great racer into a drunk and a whore. They’re not wrong on the whore part. Well, whore is a bit harsh. I don’t charge for my services. And I wouldn’t say I’m a drunk. I just like to drink—a lot. I shouldn’t read the article. I know this, but the sadistic part of me has me turning those pages. Finding the article, eyes scanning the text, I pick out the usual shit. Why is Silva no longer racing? Physically, he’s healthy. Is it mental problems? Fear over racing because of his accident? Is that why he drinks—drowning his misery in alcohol? Such a shame to see a once great driver fall from grace so dramatically. Frustration and rage grip my chest like a vise. Fuck this. I don’t need this shit. Even though I can’t race, it’s not like I actually need to. I don’t need to race. I just need to drink and fuck. That’s all I need now. All I will ever need. Liar. I’m a liar and a chickenshit. And that’s why I’m sitting in the waiting room to see a therapist. Maybe I am beyond help. Tossing the magazine back onto the table, I get to my feet, ready to leave this place, just as the door opens, revealing the epitome of what I could really do with screwing right now. My eyes trail up the tanned, toned legs to the fitted pencil skirt that I would happily hitch up to see the magnificent pussy that I bet lies beneath. A pale-pink blouse is tucked into that skirt, covering what looks like a fantastically sized pair of tits. Silky blonde hair sits on her shoulders. Hair that I would enjoy getting my hands all tangled in while I fuck those bright red lips of hers, enjoying seeing that lipstick smeared all over my cock. My dick pulses in my jeans, more than ready to proposition her with the offer. “Mr. Silva.” She steps forward. “I’m Dr. Harris. But please call me India.” She’s Dr. Harris? This hitch-your-skirt-up-and-let-me-fuck-you-right-now woman is my new therapist. Well, that’s just fucking great. It’s not like I can bang my therapist. I put my cock on hold and give her my best smile, the one that always has panties dropping to the floor, as I say, “And you can call me Leandro.” 

New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and international bestselling author Samantha Towle began her first novel in 2008 while on maternity leave. She completed the manuscript five months later and hasn't stopped writing since.

She has written contemporary romances, THE MIGHTY STORM, WETHERING THE STORM, TAMING THE STORM and TROUBLE.

She has also written paranormal romances, THE BRINGER and the ALEXANDRA JONES SERIES, all penned to tunes of The Killers, Kings of Leon, Adele, The Doors, Oasis, Fleetwood Mac, and more of her favourite musicians.

A native of Hull and a graduate of Salford University, she lives with her husband, Craig, in East Yorkshire with their son and daughter.


♥ Books in the Series ♥

Book 1 - Revved
**Revved is on SALE for a limited time for $.99**
Kindle Edition Amazon UK | US
Paper Back Amazon UK | US
iTunes UK | US

Book 2 - Revived
Kindle Edition Amazon UK | US
iTunes UK | US

Release Blitz & Excerpt: Ruin & Rule by Pepper Winters


Meet Killian in Pepper Winter’s new MC Romance!

NOW AVAILABLE


Blurb

"We met in a nightmare. The in-between world where time had no power over reason. We fell in love. We fell hard. But then we woke up. And it was over . . ."

RUIN & RULE

She is a woman divided. Her past, present, and future are as twisted as the lies she's lived for the past eight years. Desperate to get the truth, she must turn to the one man who may also be her greatest enemy . . . 

He is the president of Pure Corruption MC. A heartless biker and retribution-deliverer. He accepts no rules, obeys no one, and lives only to reap revenge on those who wronged him. And now he has stolen her, body and soul.

Can a woman plagued by mystery fall in love with the man who refuses to face the truth? And can a man drenched in darkness forgo his quest for vengeance-and finally find redemption?

"Ruin & Rule is a full-length book at 436 pages and ends on a cliffhanger. Cleo and Kill's story continues in SIN & SUFFER."


Prologue

We met in a nightmare.

The in-between world where time had no power over rhyme, reason, or connection. We met. We stared. We knew.

There was no distortion from the outside world. No right or wrong. No confusion or battles from hearts and minds.

Just us. In our silent dreamworld.

That nightmare became our home. Planting ghosts, raising fantasies. Entwined together in our happily skewed reality.

We fell in love. We fell hard.

In those fleeting seconds of our nightmare, we lived an eternity.

But then we woke up.

And it was over.



Chapter One

I always believed life would grant rewards to those most worthy. I was fucking naïve. Life doesn’t reward—it ruins. It ruins those most deserving and takes everything. It takes everything all while watching any remaining goodness rot to hate.

—Kill

[ORN_SB]

Darkness.

That was my world now. Literally and physically.

The back of my skull hurt from being knocked unconscious. My wrists and shoulders ached from lying on my back with my hands tied behind me.

Nothing was broken—at least it didn’t feel that way—but everything was bruised. The fuzziness receded wisp by wisp, parting the clouds of sleep, trying to shed light on what’d happened. But there was no light. My eyes blinked at the endless darkness from the mask tied around my head. Anxiety twisted my stomach at having such a fundamental gift taken away.

I didn’t move, but mentally catalogued my body from the tips of my toes to the last strand of hair on my head. My jaw and tongue ached from the foul rag stuffed in my mouth and my nose permitted a shallow stream of oxygen to enter—just enough to keep me alive.

Fear tried to claw its way through my mind, but I shoved it away. I deliberately suppressed panic in order to assess my predicament rather than lose myself to terror.

Fear never helps, only hinders.

My senses came back, creeping tentatively, as if afraid whoever had stolen me would notice their return.

Sound: the squeak of brakes, the creak of a vehicle settling from motion to stopping.

Touch: the skin on my right forearm stung, throbbing with a mixture of soreness and sharpness. A burn perhaps?

Smell: dank rotting vegetables and the astringent, pungent scent of fear—but it wasn’t mine. It was theirs.

It wasn’t just me being kidnapped.

My heart flurried, drinking in their terror. It made my breath quicken and legs itch to run. Forcing myself to ignore the outside world, I focused inward. Clutching my inner strength where calmness was a need rather than a luxury.

I refused to lose myself in a fog of tears. Desperation was a curse and I wouldn’t succumb, because I had every intention of being prepared for what might happen next.

I hated the sniffles and stifled sobs of others around me. Their bleak sadness tugged at my heartstrings, making me fight with my own preservation, replacing it with concern for theirs.

Get through this, then worry about them.

I didn’t think this was a simple opportunistic snatch. Whoever had stolen me planned it. The hunch grew stronger as I searched inside for any liquor remnants or the smell of cigarettes.

Had I been at a party? Nightclub?

Nothing.

I hadn’t been stupid or reckless. I think…

No hint or clue as to where I’d been or what I’d been doing when they’d come for me.

I wriggled, trying to move away from the stench. My bound wrists protested, stinging as the rope around them gnawed into my flesh like twine-beasts. My ribs bellowed, along with my head. There was no give in my restraints. I stopped trying to move, preserving my energy.

I tried to swallow.

No saliva.

I tried to speak.

No voice.

I tried to remember what happened.

I tried to remember…

Panic.

Nothing.

I can’t remember.

“Get up, bitch,” a man said. Something jabbed me in the ribs. “Won’t tell you again. Get.”

I froze as my mind hurtled me from present to past.

I’ll miss you so much,” she wailed, hugging me tighter.

“I’m not dying, you know.” I tried to untangle myself, looking over my shoulder at the final call flashing for my flight. I hated being late for anything. Let alone my one chance at escaping and finding out the truth once and for all.

“Call me the moment you get there.”

“Promise.” I drew a cross over my heart—

The memory shattered as my horizontal body suddenly went vertical in one swoop.

Who was that girl? Why did I have no memory of it ever happening?

“I said get up, bitch.” The man breathed hard in my ear, sending a waft of reeking breath over me. The blindfold stole my sight, but it left my nose woefully unprotected.

Unfortunately.

My captor shoved me forward. The ground was steady beneath my feet. The sickness plaiting with my confusion faded, leaving me cold.

My legs stumbled in the direction he wanted me to go. I hated shuffling in the darkness, not knowing where I came from or where I was being herded. There were no sounds of comfort or smothered snickers. This wasn’t a masquerade.

This was real.

This is real.

My heart thudded harder, fear slipping through my defenses. But full-blown terror remained elusive. Slippery like a silver fish, darting on the outskirts of my mind. It was there but fleeting, keeping me clear-headed and strong.

I was grateful for that. Grateful that I maintained what dignity I had left—remaining strong even in the face of the unknown terrors lurking on the other side of my blindfold.

Moans and whimpers of other women grew in decibels as men ordered them to follow the same path I walked. Either death row or salvation, I had no choice but to inch my way forward, leaving my forgotten past behind.

I willed snippets to come back. I begged the puzzlement of my past to slot into place, so I could make sense of this horrible world I’d awoken in.

But my mind was locked to me. A fortress withholding everything I wished to know.

The pushing stopped. So did I.

Big mistake.

“Move.” A cuff to the back of my head sent me wheeling forward. I didn’t stop again. My bare feet traversed…wood?

Bare feet?

Where are my shoes?

The missing knowledge twisted my stomach.

Where did I come from?

How did I end up here?

What’s my name?

It wasn’t the terror of the unknown future that stole my false calmness. It was the fear of losing my very self. They’d stolen everything. My triumphs, my trespasses, my accomplishments and failures.

How could I deal with this new world if I didn’t know what skills I had to stay alive? How could I hope to defeat my enemy when my mind revolted and locked me out?

Who am I?

To have who I was deleted…It was unthinkable.

“Faster, bitch.” Something cold wedged against my spine, pushing me onward. With my hands behind my back, I shuffled faster, negotiating the ground as best I could for dips or trips.

“Step down.” The man grabbed my bound wrists, giving me something to lean against as my toes navigated the small steps before me.

“Again.”

I obeyed.

“Last one.”

I managed the small staircase without falling flat on my face.

My face.

What do I look like?

A loud scraping noise sounded before me. I shied back, bumping against a feminine form. The woman behind me cried out—the first verbal sound of another.

“Move.” The pressure on my lower back came again, and I obeyed. Inching forward until the stuffy air of old vegetables and must was replaced by…copper and metallic…blood?

Why…why is that so familiar?

I gasped as my mind free-fell into another memory.

“I don’t think I can do this.” I darted away, throwing up in the rubbish bin in the classroom. The unique stench of blood curdled my stomach.

“Don’t overthink it. It’s not what you’re doing to the animal to make it bleed. It’s what you’re doing to make it live.” My professor shook his head, waiting for me to swill out my mouth and return white-faced and queasy to the operation in progress.

My heart splintered like a broken piece of glass, reflecting the compassion and responsibility I felt for such an innocent creature. This little puppy that’d been dumped in a plastic bag to die after being shot with BB gun pellets. He’d survive only if I mastered the skills to stem his internal bleeding and embrace the vocation I was called to do.

Inhaling the scent of blood, I let it invade my nostrils, scald my throat, and impregnate my soul. I drank its coppery essence. I drenched myself in the smell of the creature’s life force until it no longer affected me.

Picking up a scalpel, I said, “I’m ready—”

“Holy fuck!” The man guiding me forward suddenly whacked the base of my spine. The hard pain shoved me forward and I tripped.

“Wire—get me fucking reinforcements. He’s started a motherfucking war!”

Wind and body motion swarmed me as men charged from behind. The darkness I lived in suddenly came alive with sound.

Bullets flew, impaling themselves into the metal sides of the vehicle I’d just stepped from. Pings and ricochets echoed in my ear. Curses bellowed; moans of pain threaded like a breeze.

Someone grabbed my arm, swinging me to the side. “Get down!” The inertia of his throw knocked me off balance. With my wrists bound together, I had nothing to grab with, no way to protect myself from falling.

I fell.

My stomach swooped as tumbled off a small platform and smashed against the ground.

Dirt, damp grass, and moldy leaves replaced the stench of blood, cutting through the cloying sharpness of spilled metallic. My mouth opened, gasping in pain. Blades of grass tickled my lips as my cheek stuck to wet mud.

My shoulder screamed with agony, but I ignored the new injury. My mind clung to the unlocked memory. The fleeting recollection of my profession.

I’m a vet.

The sense of homecoming and security that one little snippet brought was priceless. My soul snarled for more, suddenly ravenous for missing information.

I skipped straight from fumbling uncertainty into starvation for more.

Tell me! Show me. Who am I?

I searched inside for more clues. But it was like trying to grab on to an elusive dream, fading faster and faster the harder I chased.

I couldn’t remember anything about medicine or how to heal. All I knew was I’d been trained to embrace the scent of blood. I wasn’t afraid of it. I didn’t faint or suffer sickness at the sight of it pouring from an open wound.

That tiniest knowledge was enough to settle my prickling nerves and focus on the outside world again.

Battle cries. Men screaming. Men growling. The dense thuds of fists on flesh and the horrible deflection of gunshots.

I couldn’t understand. Had I fallen through time and entered an alternate dimension?

Another body landed on top of mine.

I cried out, winded from a sharp poke of an elbow to my ribs.

The figure rolled away, crying softly. Feminine.

Why aren’t I crying?

I once again searched for fear. It wasn’t natural not to be afraid. I’d woken up alone, stolen, and thrown into the middle of a war, yet I wasn’t hyperventilating or panicked.

My calmness was like a drug, oozing over me, muting the sharp starkness of my situation. It was bearable if I embraced courage and the knowledge that I was strong.

My hands balled, grateful for the thought. I didn’t know who I was, but it didn’t matter, because the person who I was in this moment mattered the most.

I had to remain segmented, so I could get through whatever was about to happen. All I had was gut instinct, quiet strength, and rationality. Everything else had been taken.

“Stop fighting, you fucking idiots!”

The loud growl rumbled like an earthquake, hushing the battle in one fell swoop. Whoever had spoken had power.

Immense power. Colossal power.

A shiver darted over my skin.

“What the fuck happened? Have you lost your goddamn lovin’ mind?” a man yelled.

A sound of a short scuffle, then the fresh whiff of tilled dirt graced my nose.

“It’s done. Throw down your weapons and bend a fucking knee.” The same earthquake rumbled. The weight of his command pushed me harder against the damp ground.

“I’m not bending nothing, you asshole. You aren’t my Prez!”

“I am. Have been for the past four years.”

“You’re not. You’re his bitch. Don’t think his power is yours.”

Another fight—muffled fists and kicks. It ended swiftly with a painful groan.

The earthquake voice came again. “Open your eyes and follow the red fucking river. Your chosen—the one you hand-picked to slaughter me and take over the Club—he’s dead. Did you ever stop to think Wallstreet made me Prez for a fucking reason?”

Another moan.

“I’m the chosen one. I’m the one who knows the family secrets, absorbed the legacy, and earned his way into power. You don’t know shit. Nobody does. So bend a fucking knee and respect.”

Another tremor ran down my back.

Silence for a time, apart from the squelch of boots and heavy breathing. Then a barely muttered curse. “You’ll die. One way or another, we won’t put up with a Dagger as a Prez. We’re the Corrupts, goddammit. Having a traitor rule us is a fucking joke.”

“I’m the traitor? The man who obeys your leader? Who guides in his stead? I’m the traitor when you try and rally my brothers in a war?” A heavy thud of a fist connected with flesh. “No…I’m not. You are.”

My mind raced, sucking up noises and forming wild conclusions of what happened before me. Was this World War Three? Was this the apocalypse of the life I couldn’t remember? No matter how I pieced it together, I couldn’t make sense of anything.

The air was thick with anticipation. I didn’t know how many men stood before me. I didn’t know how many corpses littered the ground, or how such violence could be permitted in the world I used to know. But I did know the cease-fire was fragile and any moment it would explode.

A single threat slithered through the grass like a snake. “I’ll kill you, motherfucker. Mark my words. The true Corrupts are just waiting to take you out.”

The gentle foot-thuds of someone large vibrated through the ground. “The Corrupts haven’t existed for four fucking years. The moment I took the seat, it’s been Pure Corruption all the way. And you’re not fucking pure enough for this Club. You’re done.”

I flinched as the sulfuric boom of a gun ripped through the stagnant air.

A crash as a body fell lifeless to the grass. A soft puff of a soul escaping.

Murder.

Murder was committed right before me.

The inherent need to nurture and heal—the part of me that was as steadfast as the beat of my heart—wept with regret.

Death was something I’d fought against on a daily basis, but now I was weaponless.

I hated that a life had been stolen right before me. That I hadn’t been able to stop it.

I’m a witness.

And yet, I’d witnessed nothing.

I’d been privy to a battle but seen nothing. Knew no one. I would never be able to tell who shot whom, or who was right and who was wrong.

My hands shook, even though I managed to stay eerily calm. Am I in shock? And if I was, how did I cure myself?

The woman beside me curled into a ball, her knees digging into my side. My first reaction was to repel away from the touch. I didn’t know who was friend or foe. But a second reaction came quickly; the urge to share my calmness—to let her know that no matter what happened, she wasn’t alone. We faced the same future—no matter how grim.

Voices cascaded over us, whispers mainly, quickly spoken orders. Every sound was heightened. Being robbed of sight made my body seek other ways in which to find clues.

“Get rid of the bodies before daybreak.”

“We’ll go back and make sure we’re still covered.”

“Send out the word. It’s over. The Prez won—no anarchy today.”

Each voice was distinct but my ears twitched only for one: the earthquake rumble that set my skin quivering like quicksand.

He hadn’t spoken since he’d condemned someone to death and pulled the trigger. Every second of not hearing him made my heart trip faster. I wasn’t afraid. I should be. I should be immobile with fear. But he invoked something in me—something primal. Just like I knew I was female and a vet, I knew his voice meant something. Every inch of me tensed, waiting for him to speak. It was wrong to crave the voice of a killer, but it was the only thing I wanted.

Needed.

I need to know who he is.

Wet mud sucked loudly against boots as they came closer.

The woman whimpered, but I angled my chin toward the sound, wishing my eyes were uncovered.

I wanted to see. I wanted to witness the carnage before me. Because it was carnage. The stench of death confirmed it. It was morbid to want to see such destruction, but without my sight all of this seemed like a terrible nightmare. Nothing was grounded—completely nonsensical and far too strange.

I needed proof that this was real.

I needed concrete evidence that I wasn’t mad. That my body was intact, even if my mind was not.

I sucked in a breath as warm fingers touched my cheek, angling my face upward and out of the mud. Strong hands caressed the back of my skull, fumbling with my blindfold.

The anticipation of finally getting my wish to see made me stay still and cooperative in his hold.

I didn’t say a word or move. I just waited. And breathed. And listened.

The man’s breath was heavy and low, interspersed with a quick catch of pain. His fingers were swift and sure, but unable to hide the small fumble of agony.

He’s hurt.

The pressure of the blindfold suddenly released, trading opaque darkness for a new kind of gloom.

Night sky. Moonshine. Stars above.

Anchors of a world I knew, but no recognition of the dark-shrouded industrial estate where blood gleamed silver-black and corpses dotted the field.

I’m alive.

I can see.

The joy at having my eyes freed came and went as blazing as a comet.

Then my life ended as our gazes connected.

Green to green.

I have green eyes.

Down and down I spiraled, deeper and deeper into his clutches.

My life—past, present, and future—lost all purpose the second I stared into his soul.

The fear I’d been missing slammed into my heart.

I quivered. I quaked.

Something howled deep inside with age-old knowledge.

Every part of me arched toward him, then shied away in terror.

Him.

A nightmare come to life.

A nightmare I wanted to live.

If life was a tapestry, already threaded and steadfast, then he was the scissors that cut me free. He tore me out, stole me away, changed the whole prophecy of who I was meant to be.

Jaw-length dark hair, tangled and sweaty, framed a square jaw, straight nose, and full lips. His five-o’clock stubble held remnants of war, streaked with dirt and blood. But it was his eyes that shot a quivering arrow into my heart, spreading his emerald anger.

He froze, his body curving toward mine. Blistering hope flickered across his features. His mouth fell open and love so achingly deep glowed in his gaze. “What—” A leg gave out, making him kneel beside me. His hands shook as he cupped my face, his fingers digging painfully into my cheekbones. “It’s not—”

My heart raced. Yes.

“You know me,” I breathed.

The moment my voice webbed around us, storm clouds rolled over the sunshine in his face, blackening the hope and replacing it with pure hatred.

He changed from watching me like I was his angel to glowering as if I were a despicable devil.

I shivered at the change—at the iciness and hardness. He breathed hard, his chest rising and falling. His lips parted, a rumbling command falling from his mouth to my ears. “Stand up. You’re mine now.”

When I didn’t move, his hand landed on my side. His touch was blocked by clothing but I felt it everywhere. He stroked my soul, tickled my heart, and caressed every cell with fingers that despised me.

I couldn’t suck in a proper breath.

With a vicious push, he rolled me over, and with a sharp blade sliced my bindings. With effortless power, so thrilling and terrifying, he hauled me to my feet.

I didn’t sway. I didn’t cry. Only pulled the disgusting gag from my mouth and stared in silence.

I stared up, up, up into his bright green eyes, understanding something I shouldn’t understand.

This was him.

My nightmare.


About the Author:


Pepper Winters wears many roles. Some of them include writer, reader, sometimes wife. She loves dark, taboo stories that twist with your head. The more tortured the hero, the better, and she constantly thinks up ways to break and fix her characters. Oh, and sex... her books have sex. 

She loves to travel and has an amazing, fabulous hubby who puts up with her love affair with her book boyfriends. 

Her Dark Erotica books include:
Tears of Tess (Monsters in the Dark #1)
Quintessentially Q (Monsters in the Dark #2)

Her Grey Romance books include:
Destroyed