Showing posts with label Dark Romance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dark Romance. Show all posts

May 20, 2016

Teasers, Excerpt & Giveaway! Chimera by Stephie Walls

I couldn’t be anything other than a romantic at heart — it’s my nature, it’s who I am. But this isn’t a typical story of traditional love. It isn’t a fairy tale. No happily ever after neatly tied up with a shiny bow. It’s a memoir of the reality left behind in the wake of grief — the desolation, the resurrection, and final culmination life offers to the fallen. 

This is a journey through love…the love of self, love of a friend, and sometimes love is ugly, messy —destructive.

My name is Bastian Thames…and this is my story.

For Magoo…

chimera [ki-meer-uh] (n) – a thing that is hoped or wished for but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve

Chapter One

When Sylvie died, it left a hole in my being that seemed prodigious. I adorn my face with the plastic appearance people anticipate from me, but internally, I weep. Continuing through the monotonous motion of my daily life, I increasingly find myself lost in what my friends—well, those who remain—refer to as a fictional world: novels, authors, artists, musicians, and the illusion of relationships on social media. The more time I spend on Facebook, the more entrenched I become in the fiction that exists on the screen. I believe these “friends” are truly concerned for me; they’re what relationships are in reality. Sadly, these seem to be the only things keeping me hanging on, but the thread threatens to break daily, frayed from top to bottom. The tightly woven fabric that was once my life has deteriorated beyond recognition.

That’s the crux of my juxtaposition. My life had value, it had meaning. It was everything I had ever imagined it could be. But without Sylvie, black clouds roll through my mind, hindering my ability to think, eliminating productivity, and stifling my creativity. My art is as dead as I am. But online…online I can be anything I want to be, whatever version of myself I decide to show to the world. I don’t have to be the pathetic artist who lost his muse. I don’t have to be the sweet, sensitive man Sylvie loved. I don’t know whom I want to reinvent myself as, but the idea of being whatever still exists in my soul doesn’t appeal to me. My craft has become recreating my persona, anything to escape the pain, the desolation, and the solitude. Surely there’s art in recreating an identity. 

Most days, I find it difficult to even get out of bed. The colder it gets outside, the shorter the days are, the deeper I sink—sometimes only escaping the protection of my covers to take a piss or get something to eat or drink. Although frequently, I let those things go in favor of marinating in my misery. My laptop calls to me from my nightstand when the loneliness becomes too much to bear, the darkness too black to see through.

That recognizable blue-and-white screen brings me comfort, the newsfeed seemingly a link to real conversation, touching base with the people I’ve known for years—but it always introduces the possibility of newcomers. The “friend recommendation” is the online equivalent to a friend introducing you to someone new; at least it is in my mind. I always check out the recommendations. They’re often other painters or singers that might have known Sylvie—or people I barely recognize from high school or college. But every once in a while, some totally random person surfaces with no tie to my past. 

Those are the connections I find most interesting, most appealing. 

They also seem to be the safest, having no knowledge of the person I once was, or how all that remains of me is a fragmented shell. I have made several “friends” this way, people I would say I’m close to—even though we’ve never met and likely never will. Herein lies my fictional world, the one my real friends don’t understand and believe to be emotionally damaging to me. I’m not processing my grief…blah, blah, blah. If I hear that shit one more time, I may scream.

As soon as I log in, the familiar recommendations bombard me as if the universe is playing some cruel joke. There she is, my Sylvie…only her name is Sera Martin. She’s a perfect duplicate with the same striking green eyes, long chestnut-colored hair, high cheekbones, and luscious, pouty lips. 

I realize I haven’t inhaled or exhaled. 

I gasp and hold my breath until my lungs burn. I haven’t seen her in years. The day she died, I came home and stripped our house of any reminder—every picture, every video, every stitch of clothing, anything she loved. It all had to leave. I couldn’t bear the weight of what the world took from me. I imagined if I discarded everything, she wouldn’t haunt me, and maybe, somehow, I would manage to learn to live again if reminders of her didn’t surround me.

Yet, her loss possesses me daily.

This girl. This Sera. Could this be Mother Nature returning my Sylvie to me in a strange twist of fate? The notion there’s a doppelganger roaming the world has always been a thought I believe in. It’s possible after years of suffering, dying inside, barely hanging on, that my savior has come. Without hesitation, I click “add friend.” 

Sera responds to my request with a private message.

Sera: Wow! Are you really Bastian Thames?

Me: Yes. Have we met before?

Sera: Once, but I doubt you’d remember. It was at a gallery down on the West End where your work was being featured a couple years ago. Is this the real Bastian? Not some lurker claiming to be the famous artist?

Me: Far cry from famous, but yes, one and the same. Are you certain we met that night? I remember the opening and can assure you I would have remembered you. 

Sera: Yes, you were with your wife. She’s quite lovely. I’m not sure which was more beautiful, her or the nudes you had in the collection. That showing was the talk of the art community for months around here.

Me: That was the last opening I did. Seems like a lifetime ago.

Sera: Are you not painting anymore? I hate to admit that I lost track of your work when I went off to college but for years, I was a huge fan.

Me: Life happened. I haven’t painted in some time.

Sera: I can’t imagine you quit painting. Surely you just quit putting them out for the public.

Me: No. I haven’t so much as held a brush in five years. 

Sera: That’s a shame. Hey look, Bastian, I have to run out but I accepted your request. I hope maybe we can talk some later. Maybe you’ll let me pick your brain about a project I’m working on?

Me: Certainly. I hope to hear from you soon.

Sera: Bye

Me: Later

My mind races with possibilities. I immediately go to her profile to see what information I can garner on her before our next conversation—assuming one comes. Jesus, she’s twenty-five, went to the Rhode Island School of Design, graduated with her Masters in Fine Arts, and holy hell, she’s a sculptor. If these pictures are of her work, then she has phenomenal talent. Scouring her profile provides only surface-level information. There’s almost nothing personal. The pictures all seem to be with other artists or at galleries or in a studio. Moving to her wall, I find tons of posts by other local artists, memes about artwork, jokes…the proverbial Facebook bullshit. 

I almost quit scrolling when I see a post that grabs my attention. There’s a picture of two beautiful women, scantily clad, one bent over, the other yielding a paddle, and the words, “Someone’s been a bad girl.” Jesus Christ. There are one hundred forty-seven comments and two hundred fifty-three likes on the thread posted by a Maria Martin. 

I click on Maria’s name first, assuming it will be a sister or cousin, not expecting it to be her mother. Holy shit, whose mother posts this kind of profanity on their daughter’s Facebook wall? Making my way back to the thread, I find myself enthralled by the dialogue. 

It’s cheeky and playful but talk about insight. This one picture, one conversation, tells me scads about who she is personally, not about her work, but seemingly what she enjoys—intimately. Reading her responses to the comments ignites a fire in an area of my anatomy I thought had died with Sylvie. As my cock starts to twitch, that old, familiar heat seeps through my crotch. 

I stop myself, realizing I’m staring at dialogue—about a woman who could be my dead wife’s twin—between people I don’t know. It’s morbid, really. Backing out of the comments and Sera’s profile, then I set the computer aside. I don’t close the laptop for fear of missing a message from her. Lying back, I stare at the all-too-familiar ceiling. I know every blemish on the drywall with aching familiarity. There have been hours of loneliness and isolation. The depth of pain is so fathomless, I often wonder how I made it to the next day without feeling the cold steel in my hand, without pulling the trigger.

I've lived all over the country but have made Greenville, South Carolina my home for the last 20 of my 37 years. I have a serious addiction to anything Coach and would live on Starbucks if I could get away with it. If you follow me on Facebook you'll also find that I'm slightly enamored with Charlie Hunnam. I'm an avid reader (literary whore to be more precise) averaging around 300 novels a year. I have a penchant for great love stories, sensual poetry and am a romantic at heart. 
I currently work full-time in the Greenville area and fill my "extra" time with writing contemporary romance novels with a hint of erotica. I couldn't do it without the support of my family and friends who push me to keep going when I don't have the confidence or patience.

May 13, 2016

Teasers, Excerpt & Giveaway! Thin Lies, Donati Bloodlines #1 by Bethany-Kris

Calisto Donati

She was just a woman. That’s what Calisto wanted to tell himself; that’s what he wanted to believe. Emma was nothing more than a woman. There were other women for him to want. To obsess over.
It couldn’t be Emma Sorrento.
Not for Calisto.
She was taken.
She was claimed.
She was not his.
In a few days, Calisto would hand her off, and that would be that. He wondered why it wouldn’t be that easy to let her go. 
What good had saving her done?
He had simply taken her from one monster to give her to another.

Emma Sorrento

Emma slid on her mask. All someone would need to do was look close enough to see what was really beneath the sheer falseness of her smile.
At the other end of the table, Emma found her lies staring her right in the face.
He smirked.
And winked.
Calisto Donati was her worst mistake, her greatest shame, and the one thing she still wanted more than anything. Emma could still feel him all over her, long after his touch and kiss was gone. In thirty days, her entire world had changed—he had changed her.
Emma had a feeling that if she played another game with Calisto, she would surely lose.
She had already lost once.
Wasn’t it enough?

WARNING: The first two books in the Donati Bloodlines Trilogy end on a cliffhanger, and are not considered safe romance.

“It does hurt me,” Calisto said before he could stop himself. 

He wanted to take the words back immediately. 

Emma stilled in the passenger seat. “Then why play?” 

To remember. 

To punish himself. 

To apologize. 

“For a lot of different reasons,” Calisto settled on saying. “But tonight, I played so that you wouldn’t have to. You didn’t seem comfortable. I didn’t think you wanted to have everyone looking at you after what happened. It was a small sacrifice.” 

“But you hurt now,” she said, seeming confused. “Don’t you?” 

“But you didn’t have to.” 

For Calisto, that was all that mattered. 

Turning his head, Calisto stared out the opened driver’s window. He wondered if anyone had noticed that both he and Emma had left the dinner party without a goodbye. He supposed it didn’t make a difference. 

Calisto didn’t mind Emma’s presence disturbing his peace, either. 

“Calisto?” Emma asked softly. 


Her hand rested on his thigh, and Calisto jerked in the seat at the innocent touch. The problem was, her touch couldn’t be innocent at all. Not with the way he currently felt, the things he had done, or the lines he had already crossed with a mighty “fuck you.” He hadn’t been expecting it, and he didn’t even hear Emma move in her seat. 

Calisto barely had the chance to spin around and face Emma again before her mouth pressed against his. It was soft at first, smooth like her plump lips, and then her fingers dug into his leg like she was demanding something from him. 

He didn’t know what it was. 

Instinctively, Calisto wanted to push her away. He wanted to kiss her back, too. The crazy side of his brain won, the side that listened to his selfish wants and not his needs. 

Or maybe he needed it, too. 

Calisto didn’t know. 

But he did grab onto Emma’s dress. He fisted the fabric around his taut knuckles, and pulled her a little closer. His tongue swept the seam of her lips, wanting more, needing to be deeper, seeking her heat and taste. 

A little wouldn’t hurt, right? 

Just a little more. 

Emma sighed a sweet sound, giving into his unspoken demand by parting her lips. Calisto took the offering for what it was, kissed her harder, and let his tongue war with hers until she was gasping for air. Pulling away enough to catch a breath, Emma tipped her head up and hummed. 

Calisto couldn’t help himself but lean forward and kiss her chin. 

He was fucking stupid. 

Why did she make him so stupid? 

“I should go in and say goodbye,” he heard Emma say. 

Calisto was too distracted by the flimsy fabric of her dress in his hands. A little pull with just enough strength and he knew that the dress would rip. She was close, and he could grab her around the waist before pulling her into the backseat. 

The windows were tinted. 

No one would see. 

A little more wouldn’t hurt. 

Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to three young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.

To keep up-to-date with new releases from Bethany-Kris, sign up to her New Release Newsletter here:

April 13, 2016

Teasers, Excerpt & Giveaway! Didn't I Warn You? ( Bad for You #1 ) by Amber Bardan

April 18th, 2016 (Digital), May 24th (Print)
Carina Press
April 18th, 2016 (Digital), May 1st 2016 (Print)
Harlequin Australia

Not everything dangerous is bad. 

From the moment Angelina laid eyes on him, she fell into a fantasy. Mysterious, foreign, gorgeous, Haithem offered her what she needed most—a chance to feel again.

But Haithem is much more than he appears to be. He lives in a world of danger where everything comes at a price.

For Angelina, that price is her future. 

He's made sure the life she's left behind is in tatters. Made her family believe she's dead. Still, he talks about protecting her, about keeping her safe, but she can't distinguish his truth from his lies. She can't separate her pleasure from his betrayal.

Haithem warned her. He told her he'd make her heart race, her body come alive and her most primal needs rush to the surface. His for the taking.

He didn't say she'd come to love the devil who's destroying her, even as he keeps her prisoner.

“I swear—you never existed. I never met you at all.”

His gaze flicked to my touch, and stuck there as though the touching of him was not something that was usually done. His expression shivered and whatever I thought I saw vanished. He rose to his feet. “I’m afraid a promise made under duress is no promise at all.”

“What do you mean, duress?” I leaped off the bed.

He strode for the door. Apparently, he thought our conversation was over. Pity—I wasn’t done. I followed him onto the deck.

Salty air swept hair across my face.

“It’s not as if you’ve threatened me, so I’m not under duress.”

He paused, pushed the notepad into his pocket and turned. “You think someone has to hold a gun to your head for you to be helpless?” His movements changed, went sharp yet somehow also slinky. He walked—not to me but around me. “I have all the power, all the say. And you—” he pointed his finger directly at me “—you, Angel, are a scared girl who wants to go home.”

His words whipped me like lashings from the wind. Painful, cutting lashes that made me want to cry. He stalked me, closing his circle just as surely as a shark. My veins spurted adrenaline, instinct compelling me to run.

But I didn’t run. That would break the dubious politeness he’d affected, and this small glimpse at what lay underneath was enough to shake the skin around me.

There was nowhere to run. He’d catch me, and—god help me—I might even enjoy it.

I might enjoy something so real and so raw as being caught, even if it hurt. No polite control. Nothing proper or respectable. Just real.

He walked and walked, round and around. My neck strained to keep up with him. I couldn’t drop my gaze, couldn’t let him out of my peripheral vision.

“You owe me nothing. I expect nothing from you. I trust no promises from you.” His voice softened, whispered around me from what felt like all directions. He stopped directly behind me, his hands coming down on my shoulders so I couldn’t turn. “But this doesn’t have to be a nightmare. It doesn’t have to be a trap or a prison.” He pulled me back against him, and suddenly his arms were around me and the beast was gone, replaced instead by a comforting protector.

My pulse jumped. How quickly he could change.

“This isn’t fair. For that, I owe you, and I always honor my debts.”

I’d slipped into hyperawareness—of the arm around my waist, the body at my back, the voice in my ear. I could almost see myself in his arms, standing like a waxwork, so still and glassy-eyed. Mesmerized.

“I saw your face when you told me you’re smothered so tightly you can’t breathe,” he whispered. “You could be free…” He brushed his cheek against my temple. “No one around. You could be yourself.”

He rocked me, so softly I almost missed the shift of my weight from one side to the other. I no longer knew if I was holding myself up.

“I can give you sunsets on the ocean. I can show you space so endless you’ll lose yourself.”

My hair caught on his bristles.

“Have you ever run down a deserted beach, Angel?” His hand moved on my belly. “Have you ever swum naked in salt water?” His voice penetrated my head, my blood, sinking down somewhere even deeper.

“Imagine three weeks where anything you ask will be indulged. All your demands met. Ask me for something—ask me for anything.”

My eyes closed.

“Do you need someone to hear you?” His word curled into my ear so gently, I felt the heat of his body in his breath. “I’ll listen to you talk for days.”

He touched my chest, pressed his palm flat against me.

I twitched.

“You can tell me what it is you keep buried in here. What you’re holding on to so tightly that you can’t let go. You can give it all to me, Angel. Just hand it all over to me…”

Air flooded my lungs, and I lunged out of his grasp. My heart beat so fast, I could imagine coronary damage taking place. I turned and faced him, backing out of reach.

Had I let him read me so thoroughly? Had I laid out my weakness so well that he could drive himself into my head and fuck me there?

Because that’s what he was doing—he was fucking my mind. I knew it. He knew it.

It was working

After spending years imagining fictional adventures, Amber Bardan finally found a way to turn daydreaming into a productive habit. She now spends her time in a coffee-fueled adrenaline haze, writing romance with a thriller edge. 

She lives with her husband and children in semi-rural Australia, where if she peers outside at the right moment she might just see a kangaroo bounce by.

Amber is an award winning writer, Amazon Bestselling Author, and member of Romance Writers of Australia, Melbourne Romance Writers Guild, and Writers Victoria.

Can't Wait for Book Two...Pre-Order Now

March 16, 2016

Excerpt & Giveaway! Rebirth, Eternal Dungeon #1 by Dusk Peterson

"'This prisoner deserves special treatment.' The hooded man looked over at the young man again."

Elsdon Taylor, a prisoner accused of committing a terrible murder. Layle Smith, a torturer with a terrible past. Their meeting in the Eternal Dungeon appears certain to bring out the worst in both men.

Yet neither man is quite what he appears. As the prisoner and his torturer begin to be drawn toward each other, the ripple effects of their meeting will have a powerful impact on other inhabitants of the Eternal Dungeon: Layle's faithful guard, struggling to contain his doubts. A younger guard determined to take any shortcuts necessary to ensure that his life follows the path he has already chosen. An old love from Layle's past, still sorrowing. And most of all, a prisoner who has not yet arrived at the Eternal Dungeon, but whose fate will depend on how Layle handles Elsdon Taylor . . . and on how Elsdon handles Layle Smith.

A winner of the 2011 Rainbow Awards (within the "The Eternal Dungeon" omnibus), this tale of love and adventure can be read on its own or as the first volume in The Eternal Dungeon, a speculative fiction series set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips.

The Eternal Dungeon series is part of Turn-of-the-Century Toughs, a cycle of alternate history series (Waterman, Life Prison, Commando, Michael's House, The Eternal Dungeon, and Dark Light) about adults and youths on the margins of society, and the people who love them. Set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times. As a result, the New World retains certain classical and medieval customs.

Buy a copy HERE Goodreads

"Do you have any questions?" the Seeker asked. "About the routine of the dungeon? The times you will be fed? The questions you will be asked? The instruments of torture I use?"

The faintness went beyond Elsdon's voice this time and entered his body. He could feel the sweat upon his skin; he wondered whether he had turned white. He blurted out, "What if I'm innocent?"

The Seeker's gaze did not waver. "If you are innocent, then I trust that our time together will be short. I would far rather find a prisoner innocent than guilty; too many prisoners are sent to us, and the quicker that we can release them from here, the better. If your release is to the lighted world rather than to the executioner, it is likely to come more quickly. But we are commissioned by the Queen to ascertain the truth of accusations of death-sentence crimes, and we are committed to fulfill that commission. Please don't waste my time with false pleas of innocence, Mr. Taylor. It will only make our time together more difficult."

Honored in the Rainbow Awards, Dusk Peterson writes historical adventure tales that are speculative fiction: alternate history, historical fantasy, and retrofuture science fiction, including lgbtq novels and other types of diverse fiction. Friendship, family affection, faithful service, and romance often occur in the stories. A resident of Maryland, Mx. Peterson lives with an apprentice and several thousand books. Visit for e-books and free fiction.

March 15, 2016

Excerpt & Giveaway! Killer by Heather C. Leigh

UnthinKable. UnimagInable. UndeniabLe. UnforgivabLe. SalvageablE. Redeemable. 

Ten years ago, their lives shattered to pieces...

And he's the KILLER that has to live with it.

Two people. One incident. Interwoven between two damaged souls in ways they don't understand. 

But now, they must fight the same war--a past that wrecked them both--destroyed the two people they used to be. With a hurricane of love, hate, anger, fury, and fear, can two broken lives find a way to let it all go for a chance at happiness?

Britt and Gabriel are waiting for me in his office so we can start our meeting. After my interaction with Wolfe, I’m seething and frustrated. All I want to do is jump into the cage and beat the fuck out of something, release this shit building up inside. Confusing new emotions like jealousy are dueling with my usual focused, raw fury. 

The dark, hollow place in my chest isn’t equipped for this. I fight, I fuck, I exist. Nothing more, nothing less. 

Furious, I walk over to Gabriel’s office and shove open the door. It bangs against the wall with a loud crack, causing Gabriel to frown and Britt to cry out. Just like that, she drops to the floor, curling into a ball and covering her head with her hands. 

Gabriel leaps to his feet, hurrying around his desk to crouch next to a huddling, quivering Britt. Stunned, I stand at the door frozen, unsure what is going on or what I should do. 

“Meu filha! Britt! What is happening?” Gabriel’s voice hitches as he tries to pull Britt out from under his desk. His head whips around to face me. “Killer! ¡Venha aqui e ayudar!” (Get over here and help..) 

I cross the space in two quick steps, approaching Gabriel’s desk from the opposite side. Britt’s tiny frame is tucked into a tight ball, her knees pulled to her chest, head ducked, and arms curled protectively over her head. 

Protecting her from what? 

“Britt,” I say in as composed of a voice as I can manage, which at this moment, isn’t saying much. Not a lot freaks me out, but right now, watching Britt fall to pieces, has me struggling to keep calm. “Please, come out.” 

Britt is quietly sobbing, her body shuddering in fear. Watching her in such obvious distress sends a stabbing pain through my chest. Not sure this is the best thing for her, but not knowing what else to do, I crawl under the desk. Being as large as I am, I can only get my head and shoulders in next to her. 

Gabriel slides into nervous, staccato Portuguese. “I will leave you to take care of her. Let me know when she’s feeling better and I will return.” He stands and leaves the room, gently closing the door behind him. 

He left me with her? 

What the fuck am I supposed to do? At a loss, I do the only thing that comes to mind. It worked to relax her before, so why not? I gather her tiny, trembling body up in my arms, and hold her. Britt immediately unwinds her arms, clutching me tight, burying her face into my shirt, her tears dampening the fabric.

On the floor in my trainer’s office, lying half under a desk, a tiny shard of my black soul becomes human again.

Heather C. Leigh is the author of the Amazon best selling Famous series. She likes to write about the 'dark' side of fame. The part that the public doesn't get to see, how difficult it is to live in a fishbowl and how that affects relationships.

Heather was born and raised in New England and currently lives outside Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 kids, and French Bulldog, Shelby.

She loves the Red Sox, the Patriots, and anything chocolate (but not white chocolate, everyone knows it's not real chocolate so it doesn't count) and has left explicit instructions in her will to have her ashes snuck into Fenway Park and sneakily sprinkled all over while her family enjoys beer, hot dogs, and a wicked good time.

January 27, 2016

Excerpt & Giveaway! Scarless & Sacred, The Chicago War #3 by Bethany-Kris

Secrets and wars leave the deepest scars.

Evelina Conti has always worn a mask. She is an Outfit principessa, respected and adored. She wasn’t allowed to be anything else. Her father went from a grieving husband to the Outfit boss, and now that Riley heads the family, Eve is more suffocated than ever. No matter how much she hates it, the Conti princess still has a role to play. A little attention from Theo DeLuca seems innocent enough, but nothing is when it comes to him. And certainly not when everyone believes that Theo is out to kill her.

Theo DeLuca has a target on his back. His biggest problem is figuring out who put it there when everyone is aiming at him. He doesn’t need a woman causing him issues, but the Conti princess keeps showing up at the worst times, and he’s the one left saving her. Between the men surrounding him that Theo can’t trust, and the past he can’t outrun, Evelina might be the one thing he doesn’t have to question. But when Riley decides to use Eve as his next move, even Theo might not be able to save her.

The war in Chicago is not even close to being over. This game is deadly. Each hand played cuts another mark into someone else. The Outfit boss is struggling while the men around him are rallying. As the body count continues to rise, the families keep losing.

Sacrifices are a part of war. No one will walk away from this without scars.

PLEASE NOTE: Scarless & Sacred is not intended to be read as a standalone in this series. It is the third book in the series and should be read after the first two books. Trigger Warning: Scarless features graphic violence and scenes of past abuse.

“I haven’t noticed you at church since your brother’s funeral.” 

Theo tensed in the driver’s seat and his hands gripped the steering wheel tight enough for his knuckles to turn ash white. “I’m not ready, I suppose.” 

“I get that.” 

Chuckles answered her back. 

“No, Eve, I don’t think you do. I’ve got a few things left to get finished, and when I go back, I’d like to get all of my confession out in one good, long sitting instead of three or four. Besides, confession is meant for those who don’t wish to repeat their sins. Mine are ones that won’t go away until others leave, too.” 

Evelina’s brow furrowed as she took in his words. He spoke about it so candidly, like he’d been thinking about it for a while. 

“Are you talking about my father?” 

Theo’s gaze cut to her as he took a corner sharply. “And if I was?” 

Evelina shrugged. “Look elsewhere for someone who cares, Theo.” 

“You care. Trust me, you do. Even the people we hate always manage to pull some sympathy from us, even if it’s just a little bit. Regardless of whatever you feel is wrong with your father, he’s still your blood, he still helped to put you on this earth, and you still love him, Eve. Simple as that.” 

“He didn’t care much about my mother these last few months.” 

Theo blew out a slow breath. “You’re not Riley. He’s not you.” 

“Is that how you feel about your brother or uncle?” 


“Your brother and uncle. You were close to Ben but not really Dino. Is that how you feel about them, like your sympathy is greater for one, but still there in some way for the other?” 

Theo’s hands tightened on the wheel. “You ask a lot of questions.” 

“I’m a curious girl.” 



“You’re a woman, not a girl. You stopped being a girl years ago, Eve.” 

Evelina shivered in the passenger seat. The shadows of the passing street lights darkened Theo’s features. She couldn’t have hid the reaction even if she tried. Just the way his voice dipped into a lower cadence, and he passed her another silent look that said he could see she was very much a woman and not a girl was enough to make Evelina ache. 

And wet. 

“You did that on purpose,” Evelina accused. 

Her voice was weak. 

Or turned on. 

Theo raised a brow high. “I beg your pardon?” 

“That … that … right there,” Evelina struggled to say as she waved at him. 

Theo laughed under his breath. “Babe, I have no idea what you’re mumbling about, but all right. Whatever makes you happy, I guess.” 

“Stop it. You did do that on purpose, Theo. Just to distract me.” 

When his tongue snaked out to wet his lips as his hands slid across the steering wheel smoothly to take another turn, Evelina’s throat went dry. He handled his car easily, like he was holding onto feathers when in fact, the Stingray had one hell of an engine under the hood. She couldn’t stop the thoughts slamming into her one after the other as she watched him drive. 

Is that how he touches a woman? What do those hands feel like when they grab hard enough to hurt? Is that how he would touch me? 


Evelina made a noise under her breath and turned her attention to anywhere but Theo DeLuca for a moment. 



Evelina had all she could do to ignore the heat between her legs and the air in her voice. She completely refused to even look at Theo again until she could manage to do so without contemplating how she could get his hands on her while he drove at the same time. 

Stop that right now. 

“I kind of did that on purpose,” Theo admitted.

Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to three young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something ... when she can find the time.

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