#NewRelease -The Revenger by Debra Anastasia @Debra_Anastasia

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The Revenger

The real hero of this story is dead. You should have met him. He was a beautiful man. The love of my life. I didn’t deserve him.

Now what’s left are the jagged edges of the person I am without him, and what I have to do to get by. This isn’t even a story about love. Not really. It’s a twisted tale of revenge and hate—a happily never after.

The only man in my life now is the one I have to kill.

I’m Savvy Raine.

I used to be a wife.

I used to be a mother.

Now I am the Revenger.

 

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Excerpt

There was very little chatter after the alarming phone call. Savvy looked at the clock. It was only five, but the extra help Tallow had enlisted acted like she was about to disintegrate. When they were finally done, they hung Savvy’s costume from a door, fully expecting her to drop trou in front of all the strangers.

She looked at the silver outfit meant to demean her and classify her as his, just like all his other favorites.

“Yeah, I’m not actually going to be wearing that.” She looked from one shocked person to the other.

Tallow recovered first. “But this is what he told you to wear!”

Savvy laughed hollowly. “Yeah, he can suck his own d*ck for all I care.”

The atmosphere changed. The others now realized Savvy didn’t think it was a huge honor to be a f*ckhole.

“That’s not acceptable. I’ll put you in it myself if I have to, but you’re leaving here in that outfit.” Tallow bravely gathered up the skirt and came into Savvy’s personal space. He obviously thought she was just a regular girl.

In an instant she’d lifted Tallow into the air by his neck. “I’m not wearing it.” She stared him down until he began to turn blue. Then she set him back on his feet.

Tallow was a quick learner and smoothed his fancy shirt. “Okay then, let me see what else we have.”

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Buy Links
ibooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1084122072

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1PJmQU3
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01BPV4NSM
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B01BPV4NSM
Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B01BPV4NSM
Amazon FR :http://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/B01BPV4NSM

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-revenger-debra-anastasia/1123424753?ean=2940152803419

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-revenger

Tolino: http://www.ebook.de/de/product/25708811/debra_anastasia_the_revenger.html?searchId=1687382027

Print: https://www.createspace.com/6058878

Author Links

DebraAnastasia.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Debra-Anastasia/429939037076457?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Debra_Anastasia

Instagram: https://instagram.com/debra_anastasia/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Debra-Anastasia/e/B0051BO7I4

 

 

 

Susi Reviews Mastered (The Enforcers #1) by Maya Banks #New Release @maya_banks

Susi Reviews Mastered, (The Enforcers #1)

by Maya Banksmastered covered maya banks

 

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Breathless Trilogy comes the first novel in the Enforcers series—a bold new direction in erotic romance that explores the games men and women play, and the price they’re willing to pay for pleasure.

What he wants, he takes with no remorse or guilt.

She stood out in his club like a gem, unspoiled and untouched. A lamb among wolves, she clearly didn’t belong. Drawn to her innocence he watched as she was surrounded by men who saw what he did—but no one but him could touch her. He summoned her to his private quarters. He sensed her fear. He also recognized the desire in her eyes. And he knew she wouldn’t leave before he possessed her. She had no need to know his secrets. Not until he had her under his complete and utter control.

What he wants, she isn’t sure she can give him.

The moment he told her want he wanted, she couldn’t resist. Instinct told her to run, but her heart said stay and walk the fine line between pleasure and pain. Though she wasn’t sure she could ever completely surrender, the primal part of her wanted to try, even knowing this man could break her in ways she never imagined. Because once he possessed her, he owned her and it would be too late to turn back. She can only pray that he doesn’t destroy her in the end.

 


 

My Review

I’d like to begin this review by telling you that this is my first Maya Banks book.  Intriguing, erotic, sexy are words I can use to describe it.  This is the story of Evangeline and Drake, two characters who are total opposites. Evangeline is a young innocent woman who moved to New York from a small town to help her parents financially.  Big city life is pretty new to her.  Drake is a powerful businessman.  He is the total alpha male. He is handsome, dominant, and relentless.  He is a club owner who lives a very private life.  Women are disposable to him, except for Evangeline.

Evangeline visited Drake’s club one night, and that one night changed her life.

Drake takes over her life and keeps her, controlling her every move in life.  His relationship with her, unusual for his lifestyle but one that I hope will become clearer in the next books.  I admit, it took me some time to really get into this book.  I didn’t care for Evangeline’s character.  I felt she was weak having allowed this man she just met take full control of her life.  However, I’m betting Evangeline’s character will flourish in the next book and surprise readers.

I liked the secondary characters.  Drake’s men, those that kept watch over Evangeline were intriguing and made me laugh on several occasions.  They have their own stories I wouldn’t mind reading about.

This book had plenty of sex scenes and some that made me squint and feel a bit uncomfortable.  It is a BDSM book so expect the kink.  All in all, I did enjoy this book.

The ending, a cliffhanger.  The last 20% of the book will keep you hooked for sure.

I look forward to reading the next book because I need to know what happens to this couple.  Maya, you have a new fan.

I gave this book 4 stars.

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Be sure to add Mastered to your TBR list.  

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Buy Links

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About the Author

Maya Banks is the #1 New York Times, #1 USA Today and international

bestselling author of over 50 novels.

A wife and mother of three, she lives in Texas.

http://mayabanks.com/

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Release Day Launch – Excerpt & Giveaway – Sweet Bliss by Helena Rac @HelenaRacAuthor @InkslingerPR

It’s release day for Sweet Bliss by Helena Rac! I’m so excited to share this fantastic new release! Helena is sharing an excerpt and giveaway, so be sure to check it all out!!

 

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About Sweet Bliss:

Sweet Bliss_cover

From debut author Helena Rac, a sassy, sexy comic tale of second-chance romance and the many uses of icing.

 

Tessa loves cupcakes. They’re tasty and comforting, and they’ve made her bakery a success. Men, on the other hand, are unreliable jerks who are bound to break her heart. Even if they’re hot enough to melt her frosting.

 

Tessa is smitten with Luke after a less than graceful encounter on the streets of Chicago, and fate keeps reuniting them. She’s certain he’d be delicious in bed, but there’s just one problem: Tessa’s sworn off long-distance romances, and Luke lives in London. Besides, he’s proven himself to be bad news. Although Tessa’s sexy stranger swears to set aside his player ways after she carries out sweet revenge, she’s far too smart to believe in happily-ever-afters. Luke will need to use every weapon in his arsenal – including a spatula or two – to convince Tessa they’re meant to be together.

Buy Links:

eBook

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Nook | Kobo | Apple | Google Play

Paperback

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Barnes & Noble |Chapters/Indigo

Exclusive Excerpt:

“So, you’re looking forward to the week, then?” I ask expectantly, while the palm of my hand gently rubs the zipper-tight area of his pants. God, he’s so hard. I remind myself to not focus too much on what exactly I’m doing. Except thanks to the way his cock twitches ever so slightly every time I rub, I have trouble putting together a coherent thought. My thoughts are like a broken record, stuck on repeat. Giant cock … giant cock … giant cock…

“Very much so,” he replies, the “so” stretching into a hissing sound. His eyes connect with mine, and I see the intensity that’s behind them. It’s like he’s thinking of not only what I’m doing to him right now, but also what he did to me in the movie theater. And, perhaps, what he’d like to do to me again? Yes please. What? No no no. Focus.

His gaze is intimidating, nonetheless. It’s as if he’s undressing me with his stare. I suddenly feel exposed, flushed. I squeeze my thighs in response as warm tension builds deep in my belly. I’m reminded of the way his fingers made me feel, and I long for them to make me feel that way right now.

Stirred by the thoughts that are heightening my arousal, I up the intensity and massage the firmness in his pants. He grows harder as he pulsates beneath my palm. I’m rewarded with a low growl, one that is audible only to me, given the buzz of the voices around us. God, that sound is so sexy. I need more of it; I want more of it. I want it loud.

I can’t even remember what I asked or where our conversation was, I’m so caught up in our game. I’ve forgotten what the point of Step Three was to begin with. But a sudden laugh from the table brings me back from the land of giant cock. I take a quick look around and am glad to see that everyone is immersed in their chatter and not focused on us. Thank god. That was too close, and I’ve got a plan to stick to.

“To things to look forward to, then!” I pull my hand away and take a sip of wine to hide the fact that my cheeks are blushing from the little preview that just played out so flawlessly. Luke stares at me with a stunned, almost pained expression on his face, like he’s confused and not quite ready for our game to end. Oh, the game has just begun, Mr. Callaghan.

 

 

 

Helena Rac Bio:

Helena Rac_photoLife is sweeter with cupcakes. And romance novels. That’s why Helena Rac writes contemporary romances about sassy, everyday heroines and swoon-worthy heroes – stories that warm your heart, put a smile on your face, and make you fall in love.

When she’s not writing, Helena loves spending time with her two lovely girls and her incredibly supportive husband. She plays accountant by day; enjoys cooking, traveling, and exploring the outdoors; and reads way past her bedtime. Visit Helena at HelenaRac.com.

 

 

 

 

Links:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads

 

 

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Release Blitz – Perfectly Imperfect by Harper Sloan @harpersloan @RSofRomance

Happy Tuesday!  Be sure to check this new release out!

Release Blitz – Perfectly Imperfect by Harper Sloan

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Meet Willow and Kane in the newest stand alone by Harper Sloan!

NOW AVAILABLE on the following retailers:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1QqBIuM

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1HPNwUw

Nook: http://bit.ly/1kZQ87U

iBooks: http://apple.co/1WW6mAw

 

perfectly imperfect harper sloan cover

 

Blurb

Mirror, mirror … who’s the fairest of them all?

I still cringe when I hear that line. A fairy tale that had girls pretending they were the fairest, the most beautiful, and the most entitled. A fairy tale most couldn’t grow out of turned my haunted childhood memories into a living nightmare. Girls who grew up believing that pile of garbage became the meanest of all ‘mean girls.’

And those mean girls were right – it was a line meant for all the beautiful people in the world – and I knew the answer would never be me.

The women with long legs, flat stomachs, and perfect chests.

The type of women Kane Masters gravitated toward.

Well, that’s definitely not Willow Tate.

No. That will never be me.

Because I’m completely imperfect.

And … I hate myself.

I have no idea what Kane could possibly see in someone like me when he could have them.

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About the Author

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Harper lives in small town Georgia just a short drive from her hometown of Peachtree City. She (and her 3 daughters) enjoy ruling the house they dubbed ‘Estrogen Ocean’, much to her husband’s chagrin. Harper has a borderline unhealthy obsession with books; you can almost ALWAYS find her with her eReader attached. She enjoys bad reality TV and cheesy romantic flicks. Her favorite kind of hero–the super alpha kind!

 

Harper started using writing as a way to unwind when the house went to sleep at night; and with a house full of crazy it was the perfect way to just relax. It didn’t take long before a head full of very demanding alphas would stop at nothing to have their story told.

Keep Up to Date with Harper via Social Media 

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

 

 

Release Day Blitz – Marley A Carnage Novel by Lesley Jones @LesleyKJones

 

 

Release Day – Marley (A Carnage Novel) by Lesley Jones

I’m excited to share this post and read this novel!  One click it today!

Marley cover reveal

 

 

Marley: A Carnage Novel Book Summary

From the author of Carnage 1&2, comes this follow up novel. Marley tells the story of Carnage from Marley Layton’s POV. It will give you the missing years. Marley is a companion novel to Carnage 1&2 and both of those books should be read first.

Want to know what really happened in that hotel room in Paris?

Want to know if the rumours of Marley, Sean and their sexploits were true?

We got to watch Georgia fall apart but what was Sean going through in those four years they were separated?

Marley will give you the answers but he might just break your heart along the way.

“‘So, they want me to write a book? They want to know about my band, my life, my loves and my losses. But they have no idea what they’re asking for. If I give them what they want, they’ll get so much more than the sex and drugs and the rock and roll they’re expecting. They’ll get the secrets that I’ve kept for so long, they’ll get an insight into the person I really am, or at least was. They think they know my story, they know nothing.

If I do this, if I write honestly and give them the ugly truth, people will get hurt. People that I love, people that have already suffered in the worst possible ways.

Do I do this, or do I walk away? Taking my secrets to the grave.”

Marley is an adult contemporary romance. It contains content suitable only for grownups with an open mind. There are scenes of group sex which include m/f/m a little bit of f/m/m and even some f/f/f/m/m/f/f/f. There is drinking and drug taking involved. A lot of swearing, some Essex slang and some very high emotion. Please don’t complain after reading this book that you weren’t warned.

And yes, of course you’ll need tissues

Buy Links

http://www.amazon.com/Marley-Carnage-Novel-Lesley-Jones-ebook/dp/B017AUJFXU/http://www.amazon.co.uk/Marley-Carnage-Novel-Lesley-Jones-ebook/dp/B017AUJFXU/http://www.amazon.com.au/Marley-Carnage-Novel-Lesley-Jones-ebook/dp/B017AUJFXU/http://www.amazon.ca/Marley-Carnage-Novel-Lesley-Jones-ebook/dp/B017AUJFXU/

Marley 1

 

Marley 2

 

Marley 3

 

Marley 4

Carnage: The story of us Book Summary
I love him, from the instant I set eyes on him when I was just 11 years old I have loved him and nothing will ever change that, he owns me, he owns my heart and he owns my body and no matter how many lies are told, no matter how many people conspire to keep us apart, despite the fame and the distance, we will find a way.
“Georgia Rae, when we made love you used to cry”… He waits for me to sing my bit. I try to swallow down a sob but I just end up singing through it…
“I said I love you like the stars above, I’ll love you till I die”
Carnage, an edgy coming of age love story that breaks all the rules and transcends the decades. Georgia and Sean’s story will stay with you long after you read the final word.
An emotional, smoking hot, gut wrenching read.

http://bit.ly/carnageus

http://bit.ly/carnageuk

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/carnage-lesley-jones/1118732812

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/carnage/id918257635

 

 

Carnage 2: The story of me Book Summary

When your world, your life and all of your hopes and dreams for the future are ripped out from under you, how do you go on?
Death without dying is not only the most painful kind of death, it’s also the most painful kind of life and I don’t know if I’m strong enough to live it.
I spend my lonely days and nights trying to make sense of what my life has become. Do I have the strength to move forward into the light, or should I just let the darkness take me?
I’m Georgia Rae Layton McCarthy and this is the story of me, just me.
I’m no longer a part of an us, it’s just me.
Alone.
By myself.

http://bit.ly/carnage2us1

http://bit.ly/carnage2uk1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/carnage-2-lesley-jones/1120044472

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/carnage-2-lesley-jones/1120341080

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/carnage-2/id918261612


 

Lesley Jones Biography

Lesley was born and grew up in Essex, just outside of London, England but moved with her family to Australia in 2006 and now lives close to the city of Melbourne. As well as writing, Lesley is an avid reader and also enjoys watching a game of football- the round ball version- while sipping on a glass of wine, during her down time. Despite now living in Aus, she is still an Essex girl at heart and remains partial to her waxing, tinting, sculpting and shellac routines. Lesley is a huge fan of social media and can often be found chatting to her readers in her various groups. She is a sucker for a reality TV show, with TOWIE being her obvious favourite.

Social Media

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lesley-Jones/e/B00G87XO52

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/lesley-jones/id648059219?mt=11

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/lesley-jones

#ReleaseDay #Giveaway #Review- Uncovering Desire (Uncovering Love #2) by @KaceySheaBooks

New Release!  Uncovering Desire by Kacey Shea

 

uncovering desire live pic

It’s LIVE! Uncovering Desire by Kacey Shea is now available on Kindle, iBooks, Nook, & Kobo. Pick up your copy today for Kate & Jon’s story!

Synopsis:

Jonathan Beltran is adjusting to life as a civilian after an eight year military career. With a booming private investigation business and good friends to count on, life is headed in a positive direction. Coupled with his fierce will and strength, Jon will learn if his training has prepared him for this next journey.

Life is never boring for the ever-positive, smart-mouthed, fearless Kate Bryant. When unexpected events leave her temporarily homeless, she accepts an offer of a free place to stay with Jonathan. The challenges of working with rock stars, living with Jon, and finally confronting ghosts of her past may prove to be too much.

Uncovering Desire, book two in the Uncovering Love series, is a full length, contemporary romance, and can be read as a standalone.

Link for Giveaway of Signed Paperback: http://gvwy.io/m74ubiy

Buy Links

Amazon Link: http://goo.gl/yZP0YM 

iBooks Link: https://goo.gl/jvoRDE

Barnes & Noble/Nook Link: http://goo.gl/oBXAQU

Kobo Link: https://goo.gl/eOzFmu

Add Uncovering Desire to Goodreads https://goo.gl/GL1J33

Join the Facebook Release Day Celebration: https://goo.gl/daryMI

Amazon UK Link http://goo.gl/sm7A3K

Amazon CA Link http://goo.gl/fhjyIW

Amazon AUS Link http://goo.gl/ibqu2L


My Review

 

As the wife of a US Marine, I love to read stories where one or more of the characters is or was in the military.  Of course, when I met Jonathan Beltran AKA Army, I was thrilled.

This is the first book I have read by Kacey Shea but it will definitely not be my last.  I truly enjoyed her realistic characters, plot and story.  Uncovering Desire is the second book in this series but one that I think can be read as a standalone.  I was able to follow the story along just fine.

Uncovering Desire is a love story.  The characters are fun, feisty, real and sexy.   Jon and Kate, the main characters have this love/hate friendship relationship going on.  They have known each other for many years and it is clear that although they argue and bicker, there is much more going on between them.

Jon served in the US Army and now works as a PI with his friend Evie.  Jon is sexy hot and I’ve added him to my list of book boyfriends.  His friendship with Evie is honest, relatable and enjoyable to read about.

Kate is their mutual friend.  She’s a sexy and vivacious woman.  Jon can’t keep his eyes off of her.  An asbestos incident in her building leads to a temporary housing change for Kate.  This dilemma finds her with a temporary roommate, Jon.  This arrangement turns out to be intense and “desirable. “

Both of the main characters in this story have their own back stories or traumas they are still coping with.  They both need to heal.  Learning about their past brings them closer together.  Passionate moments as well as some deep emotional moments make this story one that kept me hooked.

While some of the story was predictable, I enjoyed it immensely and recommend it.

This gem has love, passion, friendship, healing and a conclusion that left longing for the next book in the series.

As I mentioned, I started reading this series with book 2 but will go back and read book 1 for sure.

I enjoyed this realistic cast of characters and their passionate story.

I gave this book 5 stars!

5 stars

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.  

Be sure to add this series to your TBR!


About the Author

Kacey Shea is a mom of three, wife, and part-time bookkeeper who resides in sunny Arizona. She enjoys reading and writing romance novels as much as her son loves unicorns, which is a lot.

When she’s not writing you will find her playing taxi cab to her children while belting out her favorite tunes, meeting friends or family for food and to share some laughs, or sweating it out in the gym. Kacey finds that picking up heavy weights repeatedly is good for her mental health as much as it is for the physical.

She has an unhealthy obsession with firefighters. It could be the pants. It could be the fire. It’s just hot. On occasion she has been known to include them, without their knowledge, in her selfies outside the grocery store.

Kacey one day aspires to be a woman hand model in a sexy photo shoot. You know, the woman’s hand raking across the muscular back or six pack stomach of the male fitness model. Yep, that hand.

Until that day comes she will continue writing sexy, flirty romance novels in hopes to bring others joy!

Kacey enjoys interacting with her fans so please feel free to stalk her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Author Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kaceysheabooks

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kaceysheabooks

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/kaceysheabooks

Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/kaceyshea

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13919697.Kacey_Shea

 


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Release Day & Excerpt – RIP by Rachel Van Dyken @RachVD @InkSlingerPR

Rachel Van Dyken brings you Rip a complete stand alone novel that fans of the Eagle Elite series will devour! With twists and turns you won’t see coming, this dark romantic suspense will keep you on your toes and leave you screaming for more.



 

Pretty things aren’t meant to be broken.

But I broke her, and now we both have to pay the price.

I’m her nightmare.

I’m her savior.

And now that I have her signature on an ironclad contract, I
own her body and soul.

She doesn’t remember me.

She will.

It’s inevitable.

Because as much as I know I need to stay away, for fear of
unlocking the memories I helped her father bury–I can’t.

She was the apple in the Garden, dangled in front of me, her
core so tempting and sweet. A voice whispered. Just. One. Bite.

I bit.

I tasted.

I fell.

Welcome to the world of the Russian mafia, where death, is your only future.

 

EXCERPT



“So.” She plopped into the seat next to me and crossed her long legs. I fought hard to pull my eyes away. “Catch me up, what exactly are we doing in Chicago.”
I opened a folder and slid it across the table. “We are doing nothing. I, however, am making a speech at…a church.”
I didn’t miss her snort, or the way she tried to hide her amusement.
“Something funny?”
“Yeah.” She nodded. “In church.”
“Where did this attitude come from?”
“You kissed me.” Her eyes narrowed as she leaned back into her seat, not missing a beat as she let her gaze wander across my body like a caress. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel good, to be desired, wanted, and it was a welcome distraction from the pit in my stomach. I really, really didn’t want to go to Chicago.
“You kissed me back,” I retorted.
“Doesn’t matter, you still kissed me. The line between beast and his little toy has been crossed, therefore I kind of own you like you own me, just in a more…irritating way. I have your balls in a vise.”
“Let’s leave my balls out of the speech if you don’t mind,” I said ignoring her little ploy to get under my skin again.
“Hey.” Her grin spread smugly across her pretty face. “It may just inspire the crap out of them, you never know.”
This was a conversation that Andi would have loved, in fact, the more Maya talked the more I saw Andi in her, which just made it that much worse. Here Maya thought I was going to Chicago to slap hands with rich doctors and make speeches, when really, I was going because I made a promise, to a dying girl.
Just one more girl, I’d failed to save.
“Let’s leave all references to body parts out of my speech, hmm?”
“I’ll try.”
“I am the boss.”
“So you are.”
“I’ve created a monster. Had I known feeding you would gain this response I would have tied you up in the basement with a protein bar and some Gatorade.”
“It’s not your fault. It’s Netflix. Orange is the New Black combined with the nightmares…” She yawned and it was then that I noticed how tired she looked.
I shifted uncomfortably in my seat wanting to press things further, what kind of nightmares had she been having?
“I haven’t been sleeping much. Then again I blame you for keeping me from technology for so long.”
“Which brings us back full circle. I should have never given you such privileges.” My voice came out in a bark.
“It’s a right, not a privilege,” she snapped.
“So this…” What the hell was it? A eulogy? Not really, that was Sergio, but he’d asked me to say a few words. Shit. I struggled with how to ask, I didn’t know the first thing about being at a funeral, I put people in the casket, I didn’t visit them after they took their last breath. My eyes stung with exhaustion. “I need you to help me write it.”
“Wait…” She visibly paled. “What did you say?”
“Write.” I nodded encouragingly, my anger surging, breaking through all of my carefully constructed walls. Anger had no place in my business, in my life, and anger toward her, did nothing but put her in danger. “You know, words on a paper, you put them down, I say them.”
“Don’t be an ass.”
“Maya…” I tsked. “I am what I am.”
“Put that in your speech.”
“Maya.” I grit my teeth together to keep myself from snapping at her. “I need a speech, something…encouraging, inspirational, happy.”
Maya pulled out her laptop and opened it up. “Inspirational…I can do inspirational. When was the last time I was inspired…?” Her cheeks bloomed red.
“What was that?” I breathed, my eyes lowering to the expanse of cleavage, it was a welcome distraction from my morose and jumbled thoughts. “Didn’t catch what you just said.”
“I, uh, didn’t say anything.” She nervously tucked a piece of hair behind her ear, her cheeks pinkening even further.
“Your mouth didn’t…your face did.”
“Let’s not talk about my mouth…”
“Why?” I leaned in. “Does it inspire you too much?”
“Ass!” she hissed.
“I think you’re on to something…” I chuckled, bracing my hands on the armrests. Six inches, and our mouths would touch. I wasn’t just toying with breaking the contract, I was ripping it up, burning it. Just as our mouths were about to touch, I paused, lingering where our breaths mingled, hers warm on my lips, mine ragged and needy. I was right about one thing; she would be a welcome distraction, one that wouldn’t allow me to feel sad, or bothered by the fact that I was flying to a friend’s funeral.
And that history, if I wasn’t careful could repeat itself.
She moved, dislodging her water bottle. It landed with a soft thump on the floor.
I reared back and stared at it.
What the hell was I doing?
And as luck would have it, the water droplets had cascaded against my left hand, my tattoo—the mark of the sickle, the mark that would tell anyone who knew anything about the darker side of life.
What I did.
Who I worked for.
What I was capable of.
What I would do—to protect not just my own identity but those closest to me.
My phone rang.
I reached down to silence it—ready to silence it, when I noted the number. Cringing, I answered it with a smooth hello.
“You know I have eyes everywhere.”
“Good afternoon to you, too.”
Maya pretended not to eavesdrop.
The last thing she needed to know was that I was talking to her father—correction, receiving another threat.
This one not so baseless as the rest.
“Tell me something I don’t know,” I said, waiting for his response.
“She’s been touched.”
I rolled my eyes. “You sure about that?”
The line crackled.
“She flushes when you’re near.”
“Most women do.”
“Cocky son of a bitch.” He chuckled. “Remember the terms of our agreement, Nikolai, I scratch your back, you scratch mine. She means nothing to me. You are the one who has everything to lose. You’ve developed a god complex, but I know all your secrets. It would take nothing for me to destroy you. You signed in blood. And it will be your blood that is spilled if you go back on your promise.”
My nostrils flared, heat surged through my body as I watched Maya happily pull out a magazine and cross her legs. Damn it, he was right. What the hell was I doing?
My lack of self control would end up getting her killed.
I knew that just as much as he did.
I was stuck.
And he knew it. Part of me wondered if he was aware that I’d developed a conscience—then again, I’d stopped working directly with him long ago, but it didn’t mean I wasn’t still owned.
“We’ll be in touch.” The phone went dead.
Damn Russian mafia.
And damn me for being one of the best. I didn’t get the nickname The Doctor because I had a good bedside manner.
And I wondered, as I tried not to stare too hard at Maya while she read through her magazine, would she still be alive if I hadn’t have taken the job that changed everything?
Had I damn her, then?
Had I truly saved her?
I let out a low growl of frustration; clenching my phone in my hand, ready to break it in half. I wanted so desperately to protect her from Andi’s fate, but would it be better that she died?
My body tensed.
Would I be extending her mercy, by snuffing out her life?
Maya frowned down at the magazine, her eyebrows furrowed as the plane rose to altitude.
I didn’t shake, didn’t so much as tremble. I was a doctor, after all, and whenever I made a decision of life and death, I was calm. Humanity didn’t slip through. I didn’t have a come –to-Jesus moment, where I wondered if what I was doing would sentence me to the darkest depths of hell.
It was…clarity.
The only way I could explain it.
“Something else to drink?” I asked Maya while she popped her knuckles again. Shit, twice in a few minutes? Was there something about the plane? Or my conversation?
“Wine.” She said quickly. “If you have it.”
I nodded, already walking to the bar. I glanced to my left to make sure she wasn’t watching me, then reached into the cupboard and pulled out a syringe of sodium pentothal. It wouldn’t harm her. If anything, it would relax her more, make it so that I would be able to hold a conversation with her…without her remembering a damn thing, though the dosage needed to be precise. The last thing I needed was for her to end up unconscious.
“What time is it?” I asked while I poured the wine, keeping the small syringe in my right hand.
“Oh.” Maya yawned then glanced at her watch. “It’s nearing four in the afternoon, why?”
“Just thinking about our dinner plans,” I lied. Two and a half hours since she’d last eaten. I mentally went over her stats, weight one-forty, height five seven. She’d need a half dose at the most.
Clearing my throat, I turned, sliding the syringe into the top of my sleeve and bringing over the two glasses of wine; hers was more full.
“Wow, generous in all areas aren’t you, Nikolai?” Maya eyed the wine glass and took a long sip.
“Drink it all,” I instructed with a half smile. “Doctor’s orders.”
“All of it?” She laughed lifting the glass into the air. “This is at least two glasses.”
“At least half,” I said in a more gentle tone. “You seem stressed, and I know…I’m not the easiest to travel with.”
Maya blinked then took another sip of wine. “No, you think?”
“It’s a…” I coughed into my hand letting the syringe slip out to the tips of my fingers. “It’s not you. It’s me.”
“Okay,” she said slowly, setting her wine down on the arm rest.
“Nope.” I offered a encouraging smile. “A few more sips, trust me, you’ll feel so much better.”
Maya rolled her eyes but drank deeply.
The alcohol would work beautifully with the sodium pentothal. Truth serums, didn’t necessarily work by themselves, they were used in conjunction with other tools and drugs, allowing the human mind to be open to suggestion.
But no human mind or body was the same, meaning, the outcome was always different.
If Maya had any sort of…secret she was keeping close, something she wanted to tell me, but couldn’t or refused to, it would most likely come out at some point in the next half hour.
If she were harboring memories, dark ones, ones that scared her, and I offered her a caring ear, she’d jump at it.
And I’d know.
If she was getting triggered and how.
It sounded sick.
But it was of the utmost importance that she be kept in the dark, especially since her father clearly was still keeping eyes on her.
I told myself that as she drank more wine.




Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency
and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking
coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from
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