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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Spotlight Author of the Week: Davida Lynn


Davida Lynn began writing two years ago after a creative life on and off stage. In her late twenties, Davida is now exploring her creativity through storytelling. She loves strong female characters that can hold their own against sexy alpha males. She loves nothing more than getting caught up in her own characters as their stories unfold. She believes there is power and beauty in romance, and we can all benefit from a happily ever after.

After six years working in a library, Davida finally took the plunge and made writing her full-time career. When she's not writing, her time is spent on the fixer upper log cabin she and her man recently bought. She lives with him and their very spoiled cat in southern Indiana.

To date, Davida has written two novels and eight Novellas. The majority of her work has centered around the Rising Sons Motorcycle Club. An outlaw motorcycle gang based in Bakersfield, California, the Rising Sons have some of the most badass bikers in all of California as members. Davida's first novella series paints a detailed picture of the club from the perspective of some of the women who can't help but love these strong alpha males.

Those three novellas, called The Virtues, lead up to the events of Davida’s second novel, The Rising Sons Motorcycle Club. When an old member comes back to haunt them, an unlikely hero emerges. No woman had ever tried to join the Rising Sons until Raven came along. She is strong and a biker through and through. The Rising Sons must fight for everything they have to save their president and their club.

Giving the bikers a break, Davida tackled the hot subject of firefighters. With a gritty realism, Davida told the stories of three different firefighters in the Detroit Heat series. In a career plagued with emotional pain and physical danger, love can still prevail. All three firefighters play opposite females just as strong as they are.

After Detroit Heat, Davida picked up the Rising Sons, once again. Focusing on the motorcycle club’s new chapter in Davis, California, we are introduced to new members of the club, and we learn more about the old members. Book one in the Davis Chapter, Patience, was just recently released.

In late July and early August, books two and three will come out. Temperance and Reverence continue Davida’s tradition of dangerous, sexy bikers and the women who can't help but love them.

September will see something new from Davida. Outlaw Country is a full-length novel that follows pop-princess Gracie Heart and country bad boy Colton Wade through the music industry. With everything against them, the two young superstars put their careers on the line for each other.



Patience: Biker Romance (The Davis Chapter Book 1) 
Amazon US: http://amzn.com/B0116FQESE

What would you do if you woke up next to a ripped, hot stranger? What if you couldn't remember your name? What if you didn't trust him, but he was your only link to the real world? 

Patience struggles to find out who she really is with the help of Thunder, a sexy biker on the wrong side of the law. One motorcycle club claims her, another MC wants to out her, and all she wants is the truth. 

What would you do if you could start all over, again?



Hope: Biker Romance (The Virtues Series Book 1) 

Hope Cantwell grew up believing things could be better. Growing up with an abusive father, she tried to teach her little brother differently. After ten years she’s back, and it’s worse than she could have thought. He owes the wrong people money, and their only hope is her high school sweetheart who grew up to be a rough and tumble biker.

Trask Rivers is the Sergeant-At-Arms for the Rising Sons MC. He and Hope haven’t seen each other since she went off to school and he got a job as muscle for the club. With her brother strung out on drugs and in a deep debt to the mob, Hope only has one chance: Trask. Rough with a dark sense of humor, Trask hasn't lost his passion for Hope. Circumstance drove them apart, but it also drove them right back together, and the fire is still burning inside both of them.

If she can convince him and the Rising Sons to help her and her addict brother, she might just keep what’s left of her family together.

Faith: Biker Romance (The Virtues Series Book 2) 

When there's nothing left, there's always faith...

Faith finally meets a man who is nothing like her overbearing friends and family. He’s dangerous, ripped, and doesn’t treat her like a princess. He’s trouble, and that’s just what she’s looking for. After a run in with her father, Faith and Eddie abandon wintery Colorado for sunny California. They don’t have money, but they have a Harley and a gun.

Along the way, Faith is forced to grow up and embrace the dangerous life that will get them to their destination. When she learns a terrible secret, she must hide it from Eddie, even as he takes the fall for a bank robbery.

Can their love withstand the storm? Can it survive? Can they survive? Have faith...

Charity: BWWM Romance (The Virtues Series Book 3)

You've got to go through Hell before you get to Heaven

Charity has complete control at her job stripping for cash, but outside the club, her life is a mess. She's broke and her ex-boyfriend is stalking her. She'd go to the police, except he's on the force. She needs a little muscle to get things done, and lucky for her, a group of bikers come her way.

Tanner is a muscular, tattooed club biker willing to do just about anything for a pretty girl. He and Charity come up with a business plan that is win-win, but what started out as business quickly turns into something far more personal. Can she keep her feelings under control, or will the sexy white guy change her mind about who she can and should date?

With her crazy ex hunting her down, Charity has only one man that can keep her safe, a man she's beginning to feel is more than just a business partner...


Kade's Rescue (Detroit Heat Book 1) 

Life in the fire service isn’t for the weak.

Nothing about Kade is weak, but every man has his breaking point. After two tragic events while battling fires, he begins to feel doubt creeping into his life. Is Kade really cut out to be part of Detroit’s Engine 37? Is he really cut out to battle blazes?

Layne has devoted her life to helping those in need. She's looking for a man with the same moral compass. Finding someone that shares her passion has done hell for her love life, but when a handsome firefighter comes to volunteer at her community kitchen, Layne can’t let another chance slip through her fingers.

Kade and Layne are on cloud nine until his past catches up with him. With the weight of the world on his back, can Kade come out on top? Can Layne do what she does best for the man she loves? Will they survive the flames together?

Rico's Recovery (Detroit Heat Book 2) 

It's not how hard we fall, it's how we take the hit.

After an injury that nearly kills him, Rico has a long recovery ahead of him if he ever wants to fight fire again. His confidence bordering on cockiness is replaced with fear and depression, and he all but gives up on his dreams of returning to his career as a firefighter.

Lizzie doesn't take no for an answer. She is a tough physical therapist who knows with the right motivation, Rico can overcome all of his injuries. After the long rehabilitation process, she is confident he’ll return to work without any lasting effects.

The two have a hard road. Their feelings grow as they train together week in and week out. Soon, their professional relationship is getting in the way of their personal one. Both Lizzie and Rico face some of the hardest decisions of their lives. Career or love? Present or future? Success or failure?


Jonah's Return (Detroit Heat Book 3) 

No man can stand against the flames forever.

Jonah can't take it anymore. He's sick of the macho firefighter mentality. It caused him to lose the love of his life, and he can't work without that reminder hanging over his head. He would rather transfer anywhere if it meant a second chance with Abbey.

Abbey is tough. She knows what it's like to be a woman in a man's profession, so when Jonah comes to her begging for another shot, she's not about to give in right away. He's going to have to prove himself before she risks her heart a second time.

Jonah has to fight his instincts, his brothers, and his career to make up for his mistakes in the past. Can he prove to Abbey that running into burning buildings isn't the only way to be a hero?





Brutal: Biker Romance 

Faith is the key. Without it, we have nothing...

Alicia didn't belong here. She wasn't looking for love or thrills. She wasn't looking for a biker. She just wanted to survive.
Maverick was part of a different world. Smart and devastatingly sexy, he was a bad boy biker who walked unscathed through the valley of sex, crime, and death. He was her best chance at living to see another day.

They never expected to fall in love...


Visions of Tomorrow 

There are no happy endings in war...or are there?

The year is 1914. Tensions run high in the modern city of Sarajevo.

Sonja Karnovich is young, beautiful, royalty, and dying for anything outside of her rigid, dull life. While attending the Grand Prince’s party, excitement is just what she finds in the handsome Allan Chase.

He's a wildly popular American adventurer and if the rumors are true, an incredible lover. Rumors aren't enough for the young princess, and the two slip away from the party for a private rendezvous. With Sonja in his arms, Allan has a dark flash into the near future.


Their love is the start of an impossible race to prevent the bloodiest war in history. Can they solve the mystery of his visions in time to stop an assassination? Who is the group after Sonja and Allan? Will they survive to prevent a tragedy?

Interview

What inspired you to write an MC novel with a female lead? Do you have bikers in your background??

Most of the MC books I had read had the female as a main character, but not really a lead character.  She was present while the action happened, but she didn’t necessarily participate.  So I wanted to change things up a bit and create a character that was central to the action.

In The Rising Sons, Raven wants to be a member, not just an ol’ lady.  I thought it would be fun to see her struggle and persevere in that world.  Everyone gives her so much shit, but she proves herself over and over, again


Have you always been a writer? Was there a time that you didn't want to write?
I’ve always been creative.  I was in plays and musicals as a kid, before I knew what it was to be embarrassed.  I think the creative itch has always been there.  I painted for a while, I wrote poetry and lyrics.  In high school and college I wrote some short stories from time to time, but never did anything with it.  A few years ago, something sparked inside of me.  I found this absolutely amazing way to connect with people that I hadn’t ever known.  It was so powerful, and I’m pretty sure I’m hooked for life.

What do you hope the reader takes away from your books? 

I hope my readers come away feeling warm.  I want them to feel that blanket of emotions wrap around them.  Beyond that, I can’t say much.  Everyone reads with a different eye, and they’ll interpret based on all their past experiences.  That’s what makes interacting with fans so amazing.  They may pick up on things or read things in a totally different way than I ever would, and that is so wonderful to hear about.

Seriously how difficult is it to write a sex scene? Of course inquiring minds wanna know if it comes from personal experience {just funnin with you on the second part}

Writing a sex scene is easy.  Writing a good sex scene?  Not so easy.  Anyone can write the physicality of sex, but to work in all the emotional undertones and subtleties of characters is really hard.  That said, sometimes you are just in the mood.  You feel the characters, you close your eyes, and you are there with them…

Personal inspiration?  Yes.  Yes, absolutely, yes.

Do you have writing rituals? Do you write in the same place, have a process outline or just wing it?

I try to stick to the same routine.  I feel very thrown off if I have a meeting or appointment during the middle of the day.  Coffee first thing, check the email, try to wake up, then it’s time to write.  I try to go until about six in the evening whenever possible.

I swear by outlining, because I am a bit of an airhead.  If an idea or plot point isn’t written down, it can easily float away from me like a breeze has grabbed ahold of it.  That said, my current novella is pure winging-it.  We’ll see how that experiment goes…


Do you have a favorite author, someone you automatically one click??

I will always one-click Cora Brent and Deborah Bladon.  Every. Single. Time.  I love Stephen King if I’m in the mood for something outside of romance.  I try to avoid the used book store, because I’ll come away with anything that has a pretty cover, too.  I know, I know; you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but damn are some of them gorgeous!

What was your first big a-ha moment, something that happened that says I've arrived? {padded handcuffs instead of the regular stainless??}

My “I’ve arrived” moment was when Donna P. urged, nay violently shoved me into signing up for an author event in 2017.  I never in my life could have imagined doing something like that.  Who would want to see me?  Apparently someone does, so I’ll be there  ;)

When your not writing what do you like to do? Hobbies {skirt flipped up bent over the couch hot sex with hubby maybe??}

Is sex a hobby?  I think I can write it off as research, now  ;)  Besides writing, hubby and I just bought a log cabin; a real fixer-upper, so he’s teaching me to use all kinds of power tools.  It’s a work-in-progress, but it’s going to be beautiful.  Unfortunately, all our money is funneled into the house right now, but I really hope to travel soon.  Colorado or Vermont is a must for me in the near future.

What does your WIP look like and can we have a teaser? 

I have two WIP.  One is a novel about two country music stars.  Imagine a bad boy country singer like Brantley Gilbert falling hard for a country-turned-pop princess like Taylor Swift.  She’s as pure as the driven snow, and he’s…impure in every way.  Outlaw Country will be out in the fall.

My next release is a continuation of my Rising Sons universe.  A new chapter has been established in Davis, and every new endeavor has growing pains.  When a woman wakes up with no memory next to a ripped, tattooed, naked man, she struggles to find someone who knows her real identity.  There’s twists and turns galore in Patience, due out in July.

Tell us one random fact about you that noone ese knows??

I make up songs about everything.  My latest one goes something like, “Are there anymore big spiders in the basement?”  Hubby gives me strange looks, but then the songs get stuck in his head and he sings along.  His favorite?  One called “Wrinkly Tits Dot Com.”

Review of Fighting to Breathe (Shooting Stars #1) by Aurora Rose Reynolds


Lea Lamb and Austin Wolf were young when they fell in love. They never imagined the future could hold anything other than together-forever. 

When Lea’s father dies in a tragic fishing accident, she's crushed under the weight of her grief and catches a glimpse of another type of future, one she knows she's not strong enough to face. 

Austin is angry. For the past fifteen years, he's believed the woman he loved with every ounce of his soul left him without so much as a backwards glance.

When Lea unexpectedly returns to their hometown, all the years of heartache inside Austin bubbles to the surface and presents itself as blinding rage. 

Faced with the truth about the past, a newly discovered secret, these former lovers will learn that if they want to have any chance at the future they’d given up on all those years ago, they will have to rescue one another from drowning in pain so debilitating it will leave them both fighting to breathe.





Overall Rating:  4.5 Rockin’ ★★★★☆

Air is life and without it all life will perish and that is a similar analogy to the two wandering souls in Aurora Rose Reynolds' novel, Fighting to Breathe. In this story we find our main characters, Austin and Lea drifting through life. Her father was a fisherman, who was lost at sea and his body was never recovered.  After the devastating loss of her father, Lea left Alaska and her high school love, Austin.  She moved to Montana to start a new life.  When Lea’s mother calls years later wanting her to return home because she is dying of cancer, Lea agrees, hoping against hope that she will not run into Austin.  In a small town that just wasn't going to happen.  Austin never got over her betrayal and hated her for leaving him. Love is a fine line and he was walking a tight rope with her.  He believed that they were meant to be together, but she had left him and never looked back.  Lea had married someone else and started a life without him.  This is their journey of forgiveness, redemption and a once in a lifetime, forever kind of love.

This was a powerful read that evoked numerous emotions, including happiness, sadness, grief and longing for our couple to find each other again.  The powerful connection they shared was brought to life by this marvelously talented author. Once again Ms. Reynolds proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that her writing will not only capture your imagination but also dig into your heart.  I fell in love with the characters and their heart wrenching story of love lost and found.  This made a great addition to my library and I look forward to reading more from gifted writer.


 Buy Links:  Amazon US/Barnes and Noble

Cover Reveal: Second Chance by Allyson Sinclair










Second Chance

by Allyson Sinclair

Contemporary Romance















Anabella Stewart had the perfect marriage, children and a husband who loved her unconditionally or so she thought. She'd built her life around them for ten years until she was blindsided with the truth of who her husband really was, and everything she held dear and believed in evaporated in an instant.



Anabella's heart filled with darkness and the only glimmer of light is the love she holds for her two young daughters. She’s content in her 'no-one can hurt me life', it’s controlled, she isolates herself, studies, goes to work and just keeps breathing.



A freak accident helps Anabella find her way out of the darkness when she meets Nikolas Turner. After the death of his parents he has a decision to make; return home to England or take over the reins of the family company.



As fate, would have it Anabella crashes into Nikolas' life. She’s everything he thought he didn’t want from a relationship; a single mother who’d depend on him for comfort and support he didn’t know he could give. Being with her means not only loving her but also becoming a father figure to her children.



When life offers you a second chance, even when you don’t think you need one, you hold on tight with everything you have.











Allyson Sinclair is a mother of two beautiful girls. She is a down to earth Aussie girl with a passion for reading and now writing. After being introduced to reading by her best friend, she soon fell in love with the literary world. The Twilight Saga and Fifty Shades of Grey are some of her huge favourites, amongst hundreds more. While reading these books, soon enough scenes and plots began to form, but because she felt as though she couldn't achieve her dream of becoming an author, she decided to share her ideas with author friends for them to write. But they fully encouraged her to begin her writing journey and so her story began and has become her life over the last two year. Now the ideas keep flowing with many more stories to share in the future.



FACEBOOK

















Friday, July 17, 2015

Book Tour: Ruin & Rule by @PepperWinters

ruin & rule book tour.jpg ruin & rule it's live.jpg
Meet Killian in Pepper Winter’s new MC Romance!
NOW AVAILABLE

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

RUIN & RULE

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

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

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

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



ruin & rule bt teaser.jpg

Prologue
We met in a nightmare.
The in-between world where time had no power over rhyme, reason, or connection. We met. We stared. We knew.
There was no distortion from the outside world. No right or wrong. No confusion or battles from hearts and minds.
Just us. In our silent dreamworld.
That nightmare became our home. Planting ghosts, raising fantasies. Entwined together in our happily skewed reality.
We fell in love. We fell hard.
In those fleeting seconds of our nightmare, we lived an eternity.
But then we woke up.
And it was over.
Chapter One
I always believed life would grant rewards to those most worthy. I was fucking na├»ve. Life doesn’t reward—it ruins. It ruins those most deserving and takes everything. It takes everything all while watching any remaining goodness rot to hate.
—Kill
[ORN_SB]
Darkness.
That was my world now. Literally and physically.
The back of my skull hurt from being knocked unconscious. My wrists and shoulders ached from lying on my back with my hands tied behind me.
Nothing was broken—at least it didn’t feel that way—but everything was bruised. The fuzziness receded wisp by wisp, parting the clouds of sleep, trying to shed light on what’d happened. But there was no light. My eyes blinked at the endless darkness from the mask tied around my head. Anxiety twisted my stomach at having such a fundamental gift taken away.
I didn’t move, but mentally catalogued my body from the tips of my toes to the last strand of hair on my head. My jaw and tongue ached from the foul rag stuffed in my mouth and my nose permitted a shallow stream of oxygen to enter—just enough to keep me alive.
Fear tried to claw its way through my mind, but I shoved it away. I deliberately suppressed panic in order to assess my predicament rather than lose myself to terror.
Fear never helps, only hinders.
My senses came back, creeping tentatively, as if afraid whoever had stolen me would notice their return.
Sound: the squeak of brakes, the creak of a vehicle settling from motion to stopping.
Touch: the skin on my right forearm stung, throbbing with a mixture of soreness and sharpness. A burn perhaps?
Smell: dank rotting vegetables and the astringent, pungent scent of fear—but it wasn’t mine. It was theirs.
It wasn’t just me being kidnapped.
My heart flurried, drinking in their terror. It made my breath quicken and legs itch to run. Forcing myself to ignore the outside world, I focused inward. Clutching my inner strength where calmness was a need rather than a luxury.
I refused to lose myself in a fog of tears. Desperation was a curse and I wouldn’t succumb, because I had every intention of being prepared for what might happen next.
I hated the sniffles and stifled sobs of others around me. Their bleak sadness tugged at my heartstrings, making me fight with my own preservation, replacing it with concern for theirs.
Get through this, then worry about them.
I didn’t think this was a simple opportunistic snatch. Whoever had stolen me planned it. The hunch grew stronger as I searched inside for any liquor remnants or the smell of cigarettes.
Had I been at a party? Nightclub?
Nothing.
I hadn’t been stupid or reckless. I think…
No hint or clue as to where I’d been or what I’d been doing when they’d come for me.
I wriggled, trying to move away from the stench. My bound wrists protested, stinging as the rope around them gnawed into my flesh like twine-beasts. My ribs bellowed, along with my head. There was no give in my restraints. I stopped trying to move, preserving my energy.
I tried to swallow.
No saliva.
I tried to speak.
No voice.
I tried to remember what happened.
I tried to remember…
Panic.
Nothing.
I can’t remember.
“Get up, bitch,” a man said. Something jabbed me in the ribs. “Won’t tell you again. Get.”
I froze as my mind hurtled me from present to past.
I’ll miss you so much,” she wailed, hugging me tighter.
“I’m not dying, you know.” I tried to untangle myself, looking over my shoulder at the final call flashing for my flight. I hated being late for anything. Let alone my one chance at escaping and finding out the truth once and for all.
“Call me the moment you get there.”
“Promise.” I drew a cross over my heart—
The memory shattered as my horizontal body suddenly went vertical in one swoop.
Who was that girl? Why did I have no memory of it ever happening?
“I said get up, bitch.” The man breathed hard in my ear, sending a waft of reeking breath over me. The blindfold stole my sight, but it left my nose woefully unprotected.
Unfortunately.
My captor shoved me forward. The ground was steady beneath my feet. The sickness plaiting with my confusion faded, leaving me cold.
My legs stumbled in the direction he wanted me to go. I hated shuffling in the darkness, not knowing where I came from or where I was being herded. There were no sounds of comfort or smothered snickers. This wasn’t a masquerade.
This was real.
This is real.
My heart thudded harder, fear slipping through my defenses. But full-blown terror remained elusive. Slippery like a silver fish, darting on the outskirts of my mind. It was there but fleeting, keeping me clear-headed and strong.
I was grateful for that. Grateful that I maintained what dignity I had left—remaining strong even in the face of the unknown terrors lurking on the other side of my blindfold.
Moans and whimpers of other women grew in decibels as men ordered them to follow the same path I walked. Either death row or salvation, I had no choice but to inch my way forward, leaving my forgotten past behind.
I willed snippets to come back. I begged the puzzlement of my past to slot into place, so I could make sense of this horrible world I’d awoken in.
But my mind was locked to me. A fortress withholding everything I wished to know.
The pushing stopped. So did I.
Big mistake.
“Move.” A cuff to the back of my head sent me wheeling forward. I didn’t stop again. My bare feet traversed…wood?
Bare feet?
Where are my shoes?
The missing knowledge twisted my stomach.
Where did I come from?
How did I end up here?
What’s my name?
It wasn’t the terror of the unknown future that stole my false calmness. It was the fear of losing my very self. They’d stolen everything. My triumphs, my trespasses, my accomplishments and failures.
How could I deal with this new world if I didn’t know what skills I had to stay alive? How could I hope to defeat my enemy when my mind revolted and locked me out?
Who am I?
To have who I was deleted…It was unthinkable.
“Faster, bitch.” Something cold wedged against my spine, pushing me onward. With my hands behind my back, I shuffled faster, negotiating the ground as best I could for dips or trips.
“Step down.” The man grabbed my bound wrists, giving me something to lean against as my toes navigated the small steps before me.
“Again.”
I obeyed.
“Last one.”
I managed the small staircase without falling flat on my face.
My face.
What do I look like?
A loud scraping noise sounded before me. I shied back, bumping against a feminine form. The woman behind me cried out—the first verbal sound of another.
“Move.” The pressure on my lower back came again, and I obeyed. Inching forward until the stuffy air of old vegetables and must was replaced by…copper and metallic…blood?
Why…why is that so familiar?
I gasped as my mind free-fell into another memory.
“I don’t think I can do this.” I darted away, throwing up in the rubbish bin in the classroom. The unique stench of blood curdled my stomach.
“Don’t overthink it. It’s not what you’re doing to the animal to make it bleed. It’s what you’re doing to make it live.” My professor shook his head, waiting for me to swill out my mouth and return white-faced and queasy to the operation in progress.
My heart splintered like a broken piece of glass, reflecting the compassion and responsibility I felt for such an innocent creature. This little puppy that’d been dumped in a plastic bag to die after being shot with BB gun pellets. He’d survive only if I mastered the skills to stem his internal bleeding and embrace the vocation I was called to do.
Inhaling the scent of blood, I let it invade my nostrils, scald my throat, and impregnate my soul. I drank its coppery essence. I drenched myself in the smell of the creature’s life force until it no longer affected me.
Picking up a scalpel, I said, “I’m ready—”
“Holy fuck!” The man guiding me forward suddenly whacked the base of my spine. The hard pain shoved me forward and I tripped.
“Wire—get me fucking reinforcements. He’s started a motherfucking war!”
Wind and body motion swarmed me as men charged from behind. The darkness I lived in suddenly came alive with sound.
Bullets flew, impaling themselves into the metal sides of the vehicle I’d just stepped from. Pings and ricochets echoed in my ear. Curses bellowed; moans of pain threaded like a breeze.
Someone grabbed my arm, swinging me to the side. “Get down!” The inertia of his throw knocked me off balance. With my wrists bound together, I had nothing to grab with, no way to protect myself from falling.
I fell.
My stomach swooped as tumbled off a small platform and smashed against the ground.
Dirt, damp grass, and moldy leaves replaced the stench of blood, cutting through the cloying sharpness of spilled metallic. My mouth opened, gasping in pain. Blades of grass tickled my lips as my cheek stuck to wet mud.
My shoulder screamed with agony, but I ignored the new injury. My mind clung to the unlocked memory. The fleeting recollection of my profession.
I’m a vet.
The sense of homecoming and security that one little snippet brought was priceless. My soul snarled for more, suddenly ravenous for missing information.
I skipped straight from fumbling uncertainty into starvation for more.
Tell me! Show me. Who am I?
I searched inside for more clues. But it was like trying to grab on to an elusive dream, fading faster and faster the harder I chased.
I couldn’t remember anything about medicine or how to heal. All I knew was I’d been trained to embrace the scent of blood. I wasn’t afraid of it. I didn’t faint or suffer sickness at the sight of it pouring from an open wound.
That tiniest knowledge was enough to settle my prickling nerves and focus on the outside world again.
Battle cries. Men screaming. Men growling. The dense thuds of fists on flesh and the horrible deflection of gunshots.
I couldn’t understand. Had I fallen through time and entered an alternate dimension?
Another body landed on top of mine.
I cried out, winded from a sharp poke of an elbow to my ribs.
The figure rolled away, crying softly. Feminine.
Why aren’t I crying?
I once again searched for fear. It wasn’t natural not to be afraid. I’d woken up alone, stolen, and thrown into the middle of a war, yet I wasn’t hyperventilating or panicked.
My calmness was like a drug, oozing over me, muting the sharp starkness of my situation. It was bearable if I embraced courage and the knowledge that I was strong.
My hands balled, grateful for the thought. I didn’t know who I was, but it didn’t matter, because the person who I was in this moment mattered the most.
I had to remain segmented, so I could get through whatever was about to happen. All I had was gut instinct, quiet strength, and rationality. Everything else had been taken.
“Stop fighting, you fucking idiots!”
The loud growl rumbled like an earthquake, hushing the battle in one fell swoop. Whoever had spoken had power.
Immense power. Colossal power.
A shiver darted over my skin.
“What the fuck happened? Have you lost your goddamn lovin’ mind?” a man yelled.
A sound of a short scuffle, then the fresh whiff of tilled dirt graced my nose.
“It’s done. Throw down your weapons and bend a fucking knee.” The same earthquake rumbled. The weight of his command pushed me harder against the damp ground.
“I’m not bending nothing, you asshole. You aren’t my Prez!”
“I am. Have been for the past four years.”
“You’re not. You’re his bitch. Don’t think his power is yours.”
Another fight—muffled fists and kicks. It ended swiftly with a painful groan.
The earthquake voice came again. “Open your eyes and follow the red fucking river. Your chosen—the one you hand-picked to slaughter me and take over the Club—he’s dead. Did you ever stop to think Wallstreet made me Prez for a fucking reason?”
Another moan.
“I’m the chosen one. I’m the one who knows the family secrets, absorbed the legacy, and earned his way into power. You don’t know shit. Nobody does. So bend a fucking knee and respect.”
Another tremor ran down my back.
Silence for a time, apart from the squelch of boots and heavy breathing. Then a barely muttered curse. “You’ll die. One way or another, we won’t put up with a Dagger as a Prez. We’re the Corrupts, goddammit. Having a traitor rule us is a fucking joke.”
“I’m the traitor? The man who obeys your leader? Who guides in his stead? I’m the traitor when you try and rally my brothers in a war?” A heavy thud of a fist connected with flesh. “No…I’m not. You are.”
My mind raced, sucking up noises and forming wild conclusions of what happened before me. Was this World War Three? Was this the apocalypse of the life I couldn’t remember? No matter how I pieced it together, I couldn’t make sense of anything.
The air was thick with anticipation. I didn’t know how many men stood before me. I didn’t know how many corpses littered the ground, or how such violence could be permitted in the world I used to know. But I did know the cease-fire was fragile and any moment it would explode.
A single threat slithered through the grass like a snake. “I’ll kill you, motherfucker. Mark my words. The true Corrupts are just waiting to take you out.”
The gentle foot-thuds of someone large vibrated through the ground. “The Corrupts haven’t existed for four fucking years. The moment I took the seat, it’s been Pure Corruption all the way. And you’re not fucking pure enough for this Club. You’re done.”
I flinched as the sulfuric boom of a gun ripped through the stagnant air.
A crash as a body fell lifeless to the grass. A soft puff of a soul escaping.
Murder.
Murder was committed right before me.
The inherent need to nurture and heal—the part of me that was as steadfast as the beat of my heart—wept with regret.
Death was something I’d fought against on a daily basis, but now I was weaponless.
I hated that a life had been stolen right before me. That I hadn’t been able to stop it.
I’m a witness.
And yet, I’d witnessed nothing.
I’d been privy to a battle but seen nothing. Knew no one. I would never be able to tell who shot whom, or who was right and who was wrong.
My hands shook, even though I managed to stay eerily calm. Am I in shock? And if I was, how did I cure myself?
The woman beside me curled into a ball, her knees digging into my side. My first reaction was to repel away from the touch. I didn’t know who was friend or foe. But a second reaction came quickly; the urge to share my calmness—to let her know that no matter what happened, she wasn’t alone. We faced the same future—no matter how grim.
Voices cascaded over us, whispers mainly, quickly spoken orders. Every sound was heightened. Being robbed of sight made my body seek other ways in which to find clues.
“Get rid of the bodies before daybreak.”
“We’ll go back and make sure we’re still covered.”
“Send out the word. It’s over. The Prez won—no anarchy today.”
Each voice was distinct but my ears twitched only for one: the earthquake rumble that set my skin quivering like quicksand.
He hadn’t spoken since he’d condemned someone to death and pulled the trigger. Every second of not hearing him made my heart trip faster. I wasn’t afraid. I should be. I should be immobile with fear. But he invoked something in me—something primal. Just like I knew I was female and a vet, I knew his voice meant something. Every inch of me tensed, waiting for him to speak. It was wrong to crave the voice of a killer, but it was the only thing I wanted.
Needed.
I need to know who he is.
Wet mud sucked loudly against boots as they came closer.
The woman whimpered, but I angled my chin toward the sound, wishing my eyes were uncovered.
I wanted to see. I wanted to witness the carnage before me. Because it was carnage. The stench of death confirmed it. It was morbid to want to see such destruction, but without my sight all of this seemed like a terrible nightmare. Nothing was grounded—completely nonsensical and far too strange.
I needed proof that this was real.
I needed concrete evidence that I wasn’t mad. That my body was intact, even if my mind was not.
I sucked in a breath as warm fingers touched my cheek, angling my face upward and out of the mud. Strong hands caressed the back of my skull, fumbling with my blindfold.
The anticipation of finally getting my wish to see made me stay still and cooperative in his hold.
I didn’t say a word or move. I just waited. And breathed. And listened.
The man’s breath was heavy and low, interspersed with a quick catch of pain. His fingers were swift and sure, but unable to hide the small fumble of agony.
He’s hurt.
The pressure of the blindfold suddenly released, trading opaque darkness for a new kind of gloom.
Night sky. Moonshine. Stars above.
Anchors of a world I knew, but no recognition of the dark-shrouded industrial estate where blood gleamed silver-black and corpses dotted the field.
I’m alive.
I can see.
The joy at having my eyes freed came and went as blazing as a comet.
Then my life ended as our gazes connected.
Green to green.
I have green eyes.
Down and down I spiraled, deeper and deeper into his clutches.
My life—past, present, and future—lost all purpose the second I stared into his soul.
The fear I’d been missing slammed into my heart.
I quivered. I quaked.
Something howled deep inside with age-old knowledge.
Every part of me arched toward him, then shied away in terror.
Him.
A nightmare come to life.
A nightmare I wanted to live.
If life was a tapestry, already threaded and steadfast, then he was the scissors that cut me free. He tore me out, stole me away, changed the whole prophecy of who I was meant to be.
Jaw-length dark hair, tangled and sweaty, framed a square jaw, straight nose, and full lips. His five-o’clock stubble held remnants of war, streaked with dirt and blood. But it was his eyes that shot a quivering arrow into my heart, spreading his emerald anger.
He froze, his body curving toward mine. Blistering hope flickered across his features. His mouth fell open and love so achingly deep glowed in his gaze. “What—” A leg gave out, making him kneel beside me. His hands shook as he cupped my face, his fingers digging painfully into my cheekbones. “It’s not—”
My heart raced. Yes.
“You know me,” I breathed.
The moment my voice webbed around us, storm clouds rolled over the sunshine in his face, blackening the hope and replacing it with pure hatred.
He changed from watching me like I was his angel to glowering as if I were a despicable devil.
I shivered at the change—at the iciness and hardness. He breathed hard, his chest rising and falling. His lips parted, a rumbling command falling from his mouth to my ears. “Stand up. You’re mine now.”
When I didn’t move, his hand landed on my side. His touch was blocked by clothing but I felt it everywhere. He stroked my soul, tickled my heart, and caressed every cell with fingers that despised me.
I couldn’t suck in a proper breath.
With a vicious push, he rolled me over, and with a sharp blade sliced my bindings. With effortless power, so thrilling and terrifying, he hauled me to my feet.
I didn’t sway. I didn’t cry. Only pulled the disgusting gag from my mouth and stared in silence.
I stared up, up, up into his bright green eyes, understanding something I shouldn’t understand.
This was him.
My nightmare.
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About the Author:
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Pepper Winters wears many roles. Some of them include writer, reader, sometimes wife. She loves dark, taboo stories that twist with your head. The more tortured the hero, the better, and she constantly thinks up ways to break and fix her characters. Oh, and sex... her books have sex.
She loves to travel and has an amazing, fabulous hubby who puts up with her love affair with her book boyfriends.

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

Her Grey Romance books include:
Destroyed

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