Book Sale: Ache by S.M. Soto

For a very limited time, ACHE by S.M. Soto is only 99 cents. It is a standalone, second chance romance novel. Grab your copy now!


PURCHASE NOW FOR 99 CENTS

Amazon US | Apple | Kobo

Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

————–

Join S.M. Soto’s Reader Group

Join S.M. Soto’s Mailing List

ACHE by S.M. Soto

On Sale Now | Standalone Novel

 

Book Blurb:

A second chance romance.

What happens when you fall for the boy next door?

Bea Norwood had the market on normal.

Drama free life? Check.

A single-mother who doubled as her confidant and partner in crime? Check.

A neighbor and best friend she trusted more than anyone? Check.

But that was until the day her mother remarried. The day that changed everything.

When her best friend’s cousin, Liam Falcon, is sent to live with his aunt and uncle to clean up his act, Bea finds herself falling for the boy next door. With their hearts so infinitely entwined, Bea turns to Liam as her only escape from her new step-brother’s daily torment at home. Bea thought their love could conquer anything. But she was wrong. Love was for fools, and she was the biggest fool of them all. When Liam left Lakeport, he took her heart with him, shattering the organ to pieces.

Six years later, Liam takes a trip back to Lakeport to visit his family, and to see HER.

His first love.

The girl who holds his heart.

The same girl who shattered it six years ago without looking back.

Liam is hell-bent on seeing Bea again after six years, but what he finds tears his heart in half. Bea Norwood is a shell of the girl he fell in love with. Underneath the baggy clothes, and pale skin, he knows she’s still in there somewhere, he just needs to find her.

Liam will stop at nothing to win his girl back, but sometimes, ignorance is bliss, and Liam isn’t prepared for Bea’s truth.

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AUTHOR INFORMATION:

S.M. Soto was born and raised in Northern California where she currently resides with her son. Her love for reading began when she was a young girl, and has only continued to grow into adulthood. S.M. lives for reading books in the romance genre and writing novels with relatable characters. She refers to herself as a bit of a romance junkie. S.M. loves to connect with readers and eat copious of donuts that will surely lead to her demise (carbs are life).

 

FOLLOW S.M. SOTO:

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Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Instagram | Bookbub | Goodreads

 

Cover Reveal: Hold on to Hope by A.L. Jackson

Hold on to Hope

A best friends-to-lovers, stand-alone romance from A.L. Jackson

Coming October 28th

Cover: LJ Designs
Photo: Michelle Lancaster
DETAILS: 
TITLE: HOLD ON TO HOPE
RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 28TH, 2019

Synopsis

 

A best friends-to-lovers, stand-alone romance from New York Times Bestselling Author, A.L. Jackson . . .
Evan Bryant wasn’t your typical hero.
But he was mine.
Broken by the worlds’ standards, he was still the strongest boy I would ever know.
My best friend. The boy I’d given everything to. My heart, my body, and the promise of forever.
The day I’d needed him most, he walked away.
He left me shattered and questioning the love I’d thought we’d shared.
Three years later, I wasn’t prepared for him to return to Gingham Lakes.
It wouldn’t have mattered if he still wasn’t the most beautiful man I’d ever seen.
My fingers still would have ached to caress his skin.
My body still would have begged to get lost in his touch.
And my heart . . . it would have always sung his name.
But time changes things. With it, secrets that could ruin everything.
Can we find a way to love again, or have the fears of our past stolen the hope of our forever…

Can’t wait for the release? Be sure to vote for HOLD ON TO HOPE as one of your most anticipated reads on Goodreads!

Vote Here

GIVEAWAY

Hold on to Hope Pink Box

Signed paperbacks and tons of A.L. Jackson merchandise packed in a pretty, pink box!

A.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.

Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, BLEEDING STARS, FIGHT FOR ME, and CONFESSIONS OF THE HEART novels. Watch out for her upcoming stand-alone, HOLD ON TO HOPE, releasing Fall 2019.

If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.

Be sure not to miss new releases and sales from A.L. Jackson – Sign up to receive her newsletter http://smarturl.it/NewsFromALJackson or text “aljackson” to 33222 to receive short but sweet updates on all the important news.

 

Connect with A.L.

Newsletter: http://smarturl.it/NewsFromALJackson

Facebook: http://smarturl.it/ALJacksonPage
Reader Group: http://smarturl.it/AmysAngelsRock
Amazon: http://smarturl.it/ALJacksonAmzn
Bookbub: http://smarturl.it/ALJacksonBookbub
Twitter: @aljacksonauthor
Instagram: @aljacksonauthor
Snapchat: @aljacksonauthor

 

Cover Reveal: The Forever Trilogy by Dylan Allen

FOREVER TRILOGY CR BANNER

Forever felt impossible. Heartbreak was inevitable. Always would cost us everything.

The Forever Trilogy, an all new emotional and epic second-chance love story from Dylan Allen, is coming October 6th, and we have the gorgeous covers!

FOREVER TRILOGY FB CR

He was searching for the truth.

I was living a lie.

Our paths should never have crossed.

Yet, when we kissed it felt like destiny.

Falling in love was messy

We broke rules we should have followed.

We made promises we couldn’t keep.

Forever felt impossible.

Heartbreak was inevitable.

Always would cost us everything.

Between Now and Forever, Book 1

FOREVER

Releasing October 6th

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2LcXyE4⁣⁣

Between Now and Heartbreak, Book 2

HEARTBREAK

Releasing November 3rd

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2LbC4HB⁣⁣

Between Now and Always, Book 3

ALWAYS

Releasing: November 17th

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2L8IirI⁣⁣

About Dylan Allen

Dylan Allen is a Texas girl with a serious case of wanderlust.

A self-proclaimed happily ever junkie, she loves creating stories where her characters chase their own happy endings.

When she isn’t writing or reading, eating or cooking, she and her family are planning their next adventure.

Dylan Allen

Connect with Dylan

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2kAg2VP

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2IzZloC

GoodReads: https://bit.ly/2KNeNe7

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/2lRndJu

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2lPubP3

Book+Main: http://bit.ly/2knrUdC

Stay up to date with Dylan by joining her mailing list: http://bit.ly/2OcDm8M

 

New Release: Holding On To Forever by Siobhan Davis and S.B. Alexander

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Secretly dating Coach Parker’s daughter was never part of the plan. Neither was becoming her dealer…

Holding on to Forever, an all-new edgy, new adult romance from USA Today bestselling author Siobhan Davis and S.B. Alexander is available now!

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ADAM

Returning to my drug-dealing past wasn’t on the agenda when I accepted the full ride to play ball at Cypress U. But Mom lost her job. And my sister’s medical bills are mounting. So, I’ve no choice but to change the playbook.

When Emily walks into my life, like a fallen goddess with the ultimate power to destroy me, I know I’m screwed. I should steer clear, but I’m the one supplying her poison of choice. Falling for her is a complication I don’t need, but the more she’s around, the harder it gets to walk away. She needs me, and I crave her more than the sport I love.

Now, it’s all on the line. Including the NFL career that’s tantalizingly close.

The stakes are high, but family means everything, so I’ll take my chances.

EMILY

It’s only a problem if it’s out of control. And I have it in hand.

Except a certain a-hole discovers I’m using again, and he threatens to rat me out to my folks. Mom’s president of Cypress U, and Dad’s the illustrious football coach. Appearances mean everything to them, and I’m a continuous disappointment.

They told me I’d be out on my ass if I fell off the wagon, so keeping it a secret is my number one priority.

Until the super-hot all-star QB takes more than a passing interest in me. Adam gets me, in a way no guy ever has, filling my head with ideas of forever—and now, I want more.

Dating my dealer is a recipe for disaster, especially when it’s forbidden, but I can’t help myself.

Because I’ve fallen too deep.

And the hole is too large to crawl out of.

HOF - AN.jpg

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ZY6gLR

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/HoldingForever

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2N8BdKx

Watch the Trailer: https://smarturl.it/HoldingOntoForeverTR

HoldingontoForever_Teaser5.png

About Siobhan

USA Today bestselling author Siobhan Davis writes emotionally intense young adult and new adult romantic fiction with swoon-worthy romance, complex characters, and tons of unexpected plot twists and turns that will have you flipping the pages beyond bedtime! She is the author of the

international bestselling Kennedy Boys, Saven, and True Calling series’.

Siobhan’s family will tell you she’s a little bit obsessive when it comes to reading and writing, and they aren’t wrong. She can rarely be found without her trusty Kindle, a paperback book, or her laptop somewhere close at hand.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Siobhan forged a successful corporate career in human resource management.

She resides in the Garden County of Ireland with her husband and two sons.

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Connect with Siobhan

Subscribe to romance newsletter: http://smarturl.it/KennedyBoysList

Amazon Author Page: http://smarturl.it/SiobhanDavisAmazon

Author website: http://smarturl.it/SiobhanDavisWebsite

Goodreads profile: http://smarturl.it/SiobhanGoodreads

Facebook page: http://smarturl.it/SiobhanDavisFacebook

Twitter profile: http://smarturl.it/SiobhanDavisTwitter

Author Blog: http://smarturl.it/SiobhanDavisBlog

BookBub Author Page: http://smarturl.it/SiobhanDavisBookbub

About S.B.

I’m Susan Alexander, and you’ll find my books under S.B. Alexander. I’m an independent author with close to 20 titles to date. I write young adult and new adult romances that span the sub-categories of coming of age, sports, paranormal, suspense, and military fiction. My stories are emotional, angsty, and character driven.

In between writing, I spend time with my soul mate of 21 years who got a bad deal in life. Four years ago he was diagnosed with ALS. It’s a horrible disease, but we both have been making the best of life, laughing, smiling, and doing what we can together.

But writing is a great outlet for me to take my mind to another place. Plus, I have a great network of family, friends, fans, and so much more. I truly have an angel on my shoulder. My mantra is make the best of life because it’s too darn short.

I love to hear from readers and fans. Drop me a line by filling out the contact form on my website or you can email me at susan@sbalexander.com or stalk me on social media.

Connect with S.B.

Facebook: http://bit.ly/33zTiGU

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2KL1LP8

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2Z4jGFF

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2Z8vN4B

BookBub: http://bit.ly/2H602CY

http://sbalexander.com

 

Cover Reveal: Love Hurts Duet by M. Robinson

 

 

 

 

HATED YOU THEN 

Release Day – September 17th

From Wall Street Journal & USA Bestselling Author M.

Robinson. A coming of age, enemies to lovers, contemporary romance filled with

angst and all the feels.

 

I couldn’t remember a time before her… Harley Jameson.

 

Before she owned me.

Hated Me.

Needed me.

 

Before I hated her…

 

Things were simple.

We had an understanding.

 

Bully. Fight. Hate. It’s what we did.

 

Mind. Body. Soul. It’s how we loved.

 

I thought nothing would ever change that, until everything did.

 

She was mine.

Always had been.

Always would be.

Nothing altered that.

 

Not how much I hated her.

Not how much she hated me.

 

Especially, not how much I hated…

 

That I LOVED her.

 

 

 

 

 

PREORDER NOW

 

AMAZON | APPLE BOOKS | KOBO | NOOK

 

GOOGLE PLAY: Coming Soon 

 

 

 

 

 

LOVE YOU NOW

Release Day – Nov 12

 

BLURB TO COME

 

 

Add to your TBR

 

PREORDER

APPLE BOOKS | KOBO


AMAZON, NOOK, GOOGLE PLAY: Coming Soon 

 

 

New Release: The Last Post by Renee Carlino

 

 

 

 

In this evocative and poignant novel from the USA TODAY bestselling author Renee Carlino of Blind Kiss and Wish You Were Here, a young widow in the midst of grieving her late husband through Facebook posts learns to heal and fall in love again.

 

 

“See you on the other side.” 

 

Laya Marston’s husband, Cameron, a daredevil enthusiast, always said this before heading off on his next adventure. He was the complete opposite of her, ready and willing to dive off a cliff-face,

or parachute across a canyon—and Laya loved him for it. But she was different: pragmatic, regimented, devoted to her career and to supporting Cameron from the sidelines of his death-defying feats.

 

 

 

Opposites attract, right?

 

 

 

But when Cameron dies suddenly and tragically, all the stages of grief go out the window. Laya becomes lost in denial, living in the delusion that Cameron will come back to her. She begins posting on his Facebook page, reminiscing about their life together, and imagining new adventures for the two of them.

 

 

 

Micah Evans, a young and handsome architect at Laya’s father’s firm, is also stuck––paralyzed by the banal details of his career, his friendships, and his love life. He doesn’t know what he’s looking for, only that there is someone out there who can bring energy and spirit to the humdrum of his life.

 

 

 

When Micah discovers Laya’s tragic and bizarre Facebook posts, he’s determined to show Laya her life is still worth living. Leaving her anonymous gifts and notes, trying to recreate the sense of adventure she once shared with her late husband, Micah finds a new passion watching Laya come out of the darkness. And Laya finds a new joy in the experiences Micah has created for her.

 

 

 

But for Laya, letting another man in still feels like a betrayal to her late husband. Even though Micah may be everything she could wish for, she wonders if she deserves to find happiness again.

 

 

 

Written with Renée Carlino’s signature “tender and satisfying” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Maybe in Another Life) prose, this warm and compassionate novel shows us how powerful the courage to love and live again truly is.

 

 

AVAILABLE NOW

AMAZON | B&N | APPLE BOOKS | KOBO | Simon&Schuster

 

 

 

Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of contemporary women’s novels and new adult fiction. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY, Huffington Post, Latina magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Southern California

with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.

Learn more at www.reneecarlino.com 

 

 

 

Hosted By:

 

New Release: Broken Knight by L.J. Shen

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▪️BROKEN KNIGHT IS LIVE EARLY▪️


“There aren’t enough stars or enough words to express my love for this book.” Jacquie CM, Goodreads Reviewer

Broken Knight, the next standalone in the All Saints High series by L.J. Shen is #liveearly!! Are you ready to experience this angsty new adult romance?

Download your copy Today or read #free in #kindleunlimited!

Amazon US: bit.ly/BKUSShen
Amazon Universal: mybook.to/BrokenKnightLJ
Audible: bit.ly/AudibleBK
————————————
“Not all love stories are written in the same way.
Ours had torn chapters, missing paragraphs, and a bittersweet ending.”

Luna Rexroth is everyone’s favorite wallflower.
Sweet.
Caring.
Charitable.
Quiet.
Fake.

See, under the meek, tomboy exterior everyone loves yet pities is a girl who knows exactly what – and who – she wants.
Namely, the boy from the treehouse, who taught her how to curse in sign language.
Who taught her how to laugh.
To live.
To love.

Knight Cole is everyone’s favorite football hero.
Gorgeous.
Athletic.
Jagged.
Popular.
Liar.

See, the daredevil hellraiser could knock you up with his gaze alone, but only has eyes for the girl across the street.
But Luna is not who she used to be. She doesn’t need his protection anymore.
When life throws a curveball at All Saints’ golden boy, he is forced to realize that not all heroes are knights.
Sometimes, the greatest love stories could flourish amidst the worst tragedies.

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#brokenknight #ljshen #allsaintshigh #liveearly #availablenow

Cover Reveal: Broken Knight by L.J. Shen

▪️▪️COVER REVEAL▪️▪️

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🧡The Day Has Arrived!!!!!!!!🧡

Broken Knight, the highly anticipated new standalone in the All Saints High series from USA Today bestselling author L.J. Shen is coming August 25th, and we have the red-hot cover!

Photography by Andrew M. Gleeson
Model: Orri Helgason

Synopsis:
“Not all love stories are written in the same way.
Ours had torn chapters, missing paragraphs, and a bittersweet ending.”

Luna Rexroth is everyone’s favorite wallflower.
Sweet.
Caring.
Charitable.
Quiet.
Fake.

See, under the meek, tomboy exterior everyone loves yet pities is a girl who knows exactly what – and who – she wants.
Namely, the boy from the treehouse, who taught her how to curse in sign language.
Who taught her how to laugh.
To live.
To love.

Knight Cole is everyone’s favorite football hero.
Gorgeous.
Athletic.
Jagged.
Popular.
Liar.

See, the daredevil hellraiser could knock you up with his gaze alone, but only has eyes for the girl across the street.
But Luna is not who she used to be. She doesn’t need his protection anymore.
When life throws a curveball at All Saints’ golden boy, he is forced to realize that not all heroes are knights.
Sometimes, the greatest love stories could flourish amidst the worst tragedies.
———————————

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➡️ Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2YbCrun

➡️ Sign up here to be notified FIRST when Broken Knight is live: http://bit.ly/2umcYPg
#CoverReveal #BrokenKnight #LJShen

 

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Blog Tour: Doyenne by Anne Malcom

We are thrilled to be bringing you the release of DOYENNE by Anne Malcom. This dark romance will destroy your heart in the best way possible – be sure to grab your copy today!

About DOYENNE

I don’t know what it’s like to feel.
To hurt.

The ability was stolen from me in my youth.
I consider that theft a gift.

Feelings got in the way when you were building an empire.
Amassing power.

I had the empire.
I had the power.

One moment in an alley changed everything.

Everything that took over a decade to amass was snatched away in a second.

He killed for me.

But he didn’t save me.

Add DOYENNE to your Goodreads TBR!

Get your copy of DOYENNE today!
Amazon | Apple | B&N | Kobo

 

Excerpt

“Do you know what I have a lot of?” I said after the silence that was long enough to make him uncomfortable.
He shook his head, sweat beaded in droplets trailing down his overly tanned forehead.
“Money,” I answered for him, tapping my pen against the desk. “It’s rather crass to say, I admit, but it’s not exactly a secret is it?” I moved my eyes around the corner office boasting million-dollar views of Manhattan.
Another head shake.
More sweat.
“Money can buy a lot of things. Cars, jewelry, men…women.” I quirked my brow as roses blossomed at the sides of his cheeks. “Contrary to popular belief, happiness is also on that list, if you know where to shop.” I stopped tapping my pen. “Do you know what money can’t buy, perhaps the only thing other than health and talent?” my voice was flat.
Another head shake. Was he mute? Or was he a very lifelike robot having a computer glitch? Or simply a bully, that had a lot to say in the playground, but nothing to squeak in the principal’s office?
“Time,” I said simply. “Time is a luxury to no one. Everyone has it. Loses it, steals it and wastes it. Which is precisely what you’re doing now. Standing in my office, clutching your masculinity like it’s your prom date’s panties and dripping your perspiration over my favorite rug. I don’t like wasting something I can’t make, earn or control. So how about you listen to what you know I’m going to say without actually making me say it.” I paused and let my words sink in. He can’t have been dense enough not to know why he was here, everyone that worked for me was highly intelligent, and this was his third HR complaint, which was why it was being brought to me.
“You’re a smart man, considering your parents paid for an education that would’ve been more useful as a house deposit,” I continued. “You know why you’re here. And you know the only reason you won’t be leaving here with your potted plant and framed fraternity pictures of your glory days in a box, is that you just so happen to be good at your job. When you’re actually doing it and not living up to every stereotype one could think of from an upper middle class, entitled, and misogynistic white male.” I paused again, wishing I could fire him. No way did I tolerate sexual harassment in the workplace, or any other place, on either side of the gender divide.
“Do I need to say anything else?” I asked. “Or are you going to waste my time some more and make me forget you’re good at your job?”
There was a pause, one that had me quirking my brow in warning.
He left the room quickly. I think he might have sprinted if he wasn’t clutching the last shreds of his dignity.
I didn’t hold an ounce of guilt for that.
He was only simpering and weak in front of powerful women who held his paycheck in their hands. Others, he thought were beneath him. I would have fired him for that alone, but it was very hard to fire someone these days. I could have, I had lawyers on retainer for these very scenarios, but I was tired. Too tired to deal with that. So he got three more strikes than I usually gave. A glimmer of a fourth and he was out. And I’d make sure that he never worked in this city again.
My gaze, of its own volition, flickered past the door to the corner of the room where he stood.
I swallowed roughly as the energy flickered, turned so charged even the letter opener to the left of my trembling hand couldn’t cut it.
He no longer was the statuesque mute he’d been moments ago, and he traveled the distance of my office in long, unhurried steps.
I did nothing but sit and watch until he rounded my desk, yanked my chair around roughly and leaned his muscled arms on either side, boxing me in as he bent down.
“You missed one,” he murmured.
I blinked at him, drowning in his gaze. “One what?” I managed to choke the two words, the powerful CEO from moments before was now a puddle on the floor.
His mouth was so close to mine it brushed it when he spoke. “Passion. You can’t buy that shit.” He moved so his rough stubble scratched my skin and his mouth landed on my neck.
I clutched the arms of my chair as his teeth grazed my collarbone.
“You can buy a lot, Boots,” he continued, voice thick. “Fancy clothes.” His rough hands caught on the delicate silk of my blouse. “Sparkly shit.” They moved up the column of my neck to brush against the diamond studs in my ears before moving back to the arms of my chair. “But you can’t buy an orgasm that makes you fly from this earth the moment I sink my cock inside you.” Wolf eyes met mine. “You can’t buy me,” he growled. Then his mouth claimed mine with ferocity that had me spiraling in my own head, clutching for coherent thought and moaning in protest as his lips left mine. “You can’t buy me, but you fuckin’ own me already.”

About ANNE MALCOM

Anne Malcom has been an avid reader since before she can remember, her mother responsible for her book addiction. It started with magical journeys into the world of Hogwarts and Middle Earth, then as she grew up her reading tastes grew with her. Her obsession with books and romance novels in particular gave Anne the opportunity to find another passion, writing. Finding writing about alpha males and happily ever afters more fun than reading about them, Anne is not about to stop any time soon.

Raised in small town New Zealand, Anne had a truly special childhood, growing up in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. She has backpacked across Europe, ridden camels in the Sahara, eaten her way through Italy, and had all sorts of crazy adventures. For now, she’s back at home in New Zealand and quite happy. But who knows when the travel bug will bite her again.

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

New Release: Another Sky by Jayne Frost

 

ANOTHER SKY by Jayne Frost

Release Date: June 25th

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Photographer: Lindee Robinson

Models: Alexis Susalla & Nick White

AVAILABLE NOW!!
FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

 

 

Add to Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42427323-another-sky

 

WATCH THIS EXQUISITE TRAILER FOR ANOTHER SKY NOW!

https://youtu.be/DVJXUvtJx0o

 

 

Blurb

LIGHTNING ON MY SKIN

THUNDER IN MY SOUL

HEAVY ON MY HEART

YOU WERE MY PERFECT STORM

 

My world stopped turning six years ago.

My best friend. My best girl.

A burning field in the pouring rain.

I survived, but I left the biggest part of me with them.

And now I sift through the rubble of my broken life.

 

I didn’t want a second chance.

Redemption. Closure.

Not for me.

 

Until Gelsey.

A dancer. A dreamer. Everything I’m not.

She’s the light to my dark.

The sun from another sky.

 

But sunny days never last.

The storm is coming.

And this time when darkness falls, I might surrender.

 

 

Excerpt

MILES

Gravel crunched under the tires as my truck coasted to a stop on the shoulder of the two-lane highway. Cutting the engine, I sank against the leather upholstery and looked out at the open field. And for a moment, the thin veil separating then and now slipped away, and it was six years ago. On my back beneath the smoke-filled sky, I’d waited for death to claim me. To put an end to the pain.

I was sure it would.

But then I heard the voices. First Rhenn’s—so faint it was nothing more than a whisper.

And then Tori’s.

But not Paige.

Never Paige.

Shifting my gaze to the passenger seat, I almost expected to find her there. But the space was empty. Except for the sealed bottle of Maker’s Mark. Rich, amber liquid whispering promises of peace. Of oblivion.

Lies. All lies.

Because no matter what I drank or smoked or swallowed, peace eluded me. Tranquility had died in this field all those years ago. Crushed under the weight of twisted metal and drowned in the pouring rain.

Grimacing, I dug my fingers into the muscle on my thigh, right over the area where the bone had come through the skin. My leg had suffered the worst of the trauma. Broken femur. Dislocated knee cap. A spiral fracture to my tibia. Maybe if I weren’t a drummer, it wouldn’t have mattered. But the injuries had silenced my beat. Sadly, there was no grave to mark its passing. No monument to the lost rhythm. Just this empty field.

I guess that’s why I always ended up here. In the place where the music died. Right alongside my best friend and my best girl.

Blowing out a breath, I stashed the bottle in the inner pocket of my leather jacket. Two stints in the psychiatric ward at Millwood, and I knew better than to dance this close to the fire. But I didn’t care. I wasn’t planning on drinking it.

Throwing open the heavy door, I braced a hand on the steering wheel and slid off the seat, making sure to land on my good leg. I didn’t bother with my cane. There was no need for pretense.

Not here.

As I waded into the dried brush, “Blackbird” blared from my phone’s speaker. Tori. I’d lost track of how many times she’d called.

And yeah, I got it. She was concerned.

Less than twenty-four hours ago, we’d been on stage at Zilker Park, capping off the biggest rock festival Austin had ever seen. A Damaged reunion. One last hurrah for the fans. And closure for Tori and me.

Finally.

Except…nothing felt closed.

And as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t talk to Tori about it. Not now.

She’d finally moved on from her grief. Fallen in love again. And in some strange way, that had brought us back together.

After the accident, we’d drifted apart. And that was a good thing. Something we’d needed to do. Because when we had been together, sharing the same space, it was like the sum of our losses was too big. All-consuming.

Knowing that Tori was out there in the world with a heart as heavy as mine had made my own burden a little easier to bear.

But now I felt the weight of it more acutely than I had in years. A fact I was determined to hide. So, I’d been avoiding her calls.

Reaching the far end of the field, I eased onto the soft ground beneath the burned-out shell of the elm tree where I’d found Rhenn and lost him minutes later.

“Hey, buddy. Guess you know about that gig last night.” My voice fell to a whisper, and I looked down. “Of course you do.” Squeezing my eyes shut, I blew out a staggered breath and pulled the whiskey from my pocket. “It was weird, you know, not having y’all there to celebrate. So I thought I’d bring the celebration to you.”

Twisting off the cap with shaky fingers, I fought the urge to bring the bottle to my lips.

One drink. What could it hurt?

As I pondered throwing away years of sobriety, a gust of wind blew across the field, kicking up topsoil and dust.

Chuckling, I rubbed the sand out of my eyes. “Message received. You don’t have to get all testy about it.”

I wasn’t an alcoholic. Or a drug addict. But booze was still a slippery slope. A year after the crash, I’d landed in rehab from an “accidental” overdose that wasn’t an accident at all. It only took the counselor a week to get to the root of my real problem. Soul-crushing depression—the clinical kind.

They’d fixed me up with medication that kept the dark clouds at bay. Mostly. But I never told anyone about my diagnosis. Somehow it was easier to let people believe I was a drunk.

With a sigh, I turned the bottle upside down. “Miss you, bro.” After the last drop of liquor-soaked into the hallowed ground, I hauled to my feet. “See you on the other side.”

Taking a last look around, I stopped breathing when I spotted a little patch of wildflowers some twenty yards away. Most of the blossoms had wilted on the stems. But a few buds remained.

Red, like Paige’s hair.

After all this time, I’d found her.

My feet moved swiftly with little protest from my bad leg. Brushing a hand over the velvety soft petals, tears spilled onto my cheeks, surprising me. Because I’d never cried for Paige. She didn’t visit me in my dreams. And I couldn’t see her face when I closed my eyes.

That was my penance. The price I’d paid for rejecting her that final night.

But she was here with me now. Her scent on the breeze, and her warmth on my skin. And she gave me the one thing I’d been searching for, even if I didn’t deserve it.

Forgiveness.

 

 

About the Author

I grew up in California with a dream of moving to Seattle to become a rock star.

But when the grunge thing didn’t work out (I never even made it to the Washington border) I set my sights on Austin, Texas.

After quickly becoming immersed in the Sixth Street Music scene…and discovering I couldn’t actually sing, I decided to do the next best thing—write kick-ass romances about hot rockstars and the women that steal their hearts.

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