The Darkest Star – Release Day & Review!

You guys all know I’m pretty obsessed with Jennifer L. Armentrout.  I love everything she’s ever written and this book is a companion to her Lux world which is where many of us started our love affair with her writing.  She was the first author I read when, exhausted with a baby / toddler who never slept, I finally relented and downloaded the kindle app to my tablet.  Obsidian was being offered for free, so I gave it a shot and the rest is history.  It was extra fun for me that the publishing house was located in Ft. Collins, CO, a city I know quite well as I attended college there and lived in the area most of my life.

Returning to the world of the Luxen and Origins and aliens among us was actually kind of a relief.  That sounds odd, but really I felt like I had been holding my breath and waiting for a continuation of the adventures there.  We finally get more about Luc in TDS – the great and powerful Origin we met along the way in Kat and Daemon’s stories.  There’s a splash of our old favorites as well, a pinch of Archer, a dash of Daemon, but really this is Evie’s story and so we have to step away from them to fall into her reality.  But Luc is there, so it’s mostly okay.

43636866_1591875677580655_7247340227725885440_o

Secrets and lies are common threads that can’t be avoided in the Luxen world.  Evie finds herself completely submerged in both very quickly after simply going to a club with a friend.  I don’t love spoilers, so I can’t say much except nothing is really as it seems (ain’t that always the way?) and what you think you know you probably don’t.  This cast is fantastic, and I’m excited for the next one.  I’ll ALWAYS be excited for the next one.  Always.  Jennifer gives me all the feels every time I read her stuff and I find her entirely re-readable which just adds to the appeal,

You want to read this one.  If you haven’t read the Lux series, no worries – you can jump right into this and won’t be lost at all.  I will highly recommend that if you read this first you then go back and pick up Lux.  Naturally.  Start with Obsidian.  You won’t regret it!

–A

Get your copy:
Hardcover: https://amzn.to/2QGBzX0
Kindle: https://amzn.to/2Kd63MH
AUDIBLE: https://amzn.to/2Q64ROU
B&N: http://bit.ly/TheDarkestStar_Nook
iBooks: http://bit.ly/TheDarkestStar_iBooks
KOBO: http://bit.ly/TheDarkestStar_Kobo
SIGNED HARDCOVER COPY: http://www.goodchoicereading.com/…/the-darkest-star-by-jenn…

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Bookish

More Jade – Release Day w/ Review!

 

Title: More Jade

Series: Love You More Rock Star Romance #1
Author: Laura Pavlov

Genre: New Adult Rock Star Romance

Release Date: February 25, 2020

 

Blurb
And then I met Cruz Winslow…
He’s everything I’m not, and then some — a
budding musician, he’s cocky and arrogant. He’s at ease in every situation
and treats me like I’m the only person who exists.
Together we’re in sync with everything we do and I’m falling
hard and fast for him.
He’s also a complicated boy and although I can’t begin
to understand the life he’s lived, I want to be there for him in every way
possible.
And that’s how it happened.
Slowly but surely, he’s captured my heart —
One I wasn’t prepared to give away…
Jade Moore is not my type…
She’s a good girl and has her entire life mapped out. I’ve
never met anyone like her.    
The girl is disciplined and determined.
I’m not.
She follows the rules.
I don’t.
She’s sunshine and girl next door.
I’m sex and booze.
We don’t mix.
But from the minute I lay my eyes on her, I’m done for.
She’s everything I never knew  
I wanted…
And now all I want is…more Jade. 

 

Purchase Links
99c for TODAY only!
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Excerpt
“Are you seriously reading my text? You know that’s an
invasion of privacy,” she said. 
She was angry, which told me she was as frustrated as I
was. 
“What if I am? Maybe I’m looking out for you. You
shouldn’t meet random dudes alone. Who knows what he’s capable of?”
“You’re insane. He’s a super nice guy. He didn’t even
do anything. Your bully of a bouncer made it into a big thing and now he feels
terrible.”
“My bully of a bouncer? He saved your ass. And he was
doing me a favor, so you’re welcome,” I said, dropping my book on the
table. 
“I knew you were behind it. Have you always been a
hypocrite, or is this new for you?”
I laughed. She was fucking hilarious. “I think always is
safe.”
“You had a naked girl in your room yesterday. Why
do you care who I talk to?”
“I don’t know.” It was the truth.
“Wow. What a great answer. Let me know when you figure
it out. Can we get to work? I have a friend to meet for coffee at noon.”
She gave me a fake smile and responded to the douchebag.

Author Bio

Laura Pavlov writes sweet and sexy contemporary romance that
will make you both laugh and cry. She is happily married to her college
sweetheart, mom to two awesome almost-grown kids, and dog-whisperer to a couple
crazy yorkies. Laura resides in Las Vegas where she is living her own happily
ever after.
Author Links

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Bookish

Playboy’s Heart – Release Day w/ Review!

Anything connected to the Winston Isles gives me life. This duet was a little different for me, but I still enjoyed it a lot!

Imani and Xander both have some personality issues that make it hard for them to figure things out as far as their happiness goes. But who isn’t a little bit flawed? That just made it a little more real for me.

I’m always aware that even when a duet ends, the story doesn’t – especially with ties to the WI – so I wasn’t surprised at the ending though I think some will be left with questions.

Love!

–A

Title: Playboy’s Heart
Series: Playboy Prince Duet #2

Author: Nana Malone

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 25, 2020

 

Blurb
The Playboy Prince has lost his princess
The hell I have.
It took me this long to find her, so I’m not letting
her go without a fight
.
Everyone will know just how far I’m willing to go for love.
Just how far I’m willing to go for…her.
As it turns out, love is a stronger
motivator than vengeance.

 

 

Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

 

 

Excerpt
I nipped
her shoulder. “Too right. And as soon as we’re back from breakfast, I plan
on putting you in a comatose state again. But first I need to feed my…” My
voice trailed off as I looked for the right word.
She slowly
sat up. “Not sure what to call me, huh?”
“Guess not.
We’ve been playing house and you’re posing as my fiancée, but that’s different
now.”
She nodded
slowly as she studied me. “I guess it is.”
I wanted to
say the word. Mine. But that was too much and would certainly scare her
off. So instead, with a nervous laugh, I said, “Don’t look at me. I haven’t a
clue how to do this. But I know staying away from you isn’t really an option
I’d like to explore any longer.” God, way to pussy out.
She chewed
her lip. “It’s not like I have some kind of manual either. I don’t really— I
mean I haven’t really had a lot of relationships. And I don’t really do the
whole trusting-people thing, so this is hard.”
Panic
flared in my chest. I was fucking this up.
She didn’t
want this. I scrambled for a way to make sure she stayed in my life. Fuck. We’d
start with the bed. We were good there. I could bring her around with great
sex, right? “Why don’t we just take it easy and see where the meandering road
leads? Maybe we’ll make a good team.” Fuck. Why did I sound like a complete
wanker?
She looked
down at her hands before slanting me a glance. “Xander, you’re paying me to be
here. It doesn’t feel… right.”
Bollocks. I knew the money would come back
to haunt me. “I already wired the rest of the money into your account this
morning when I woke up.” My heart hammered as I searched for the right words.
Not too clingy, but interested. Yeah, more like desperate, mate. “I want
you to stay because you want to.”
She frowned
up at me. “Why did you do that? I could be the kind of person to walk out.”
No. Please
no. Swagger, mate. Believe it. I shook my head. “Because I’d like the
real girlfriend instead of the fake one, if you don’t mind. I mean, I’d like
you to stay until I hear about the position on the board of the Trust, but even
when you move back to your place, I’d like to see you. A lot.
Exclusively.” Way to mark your territory, you knob.
My stomach
knotted as I watched her. What if she said no? Well, I’d give her so many
orgasms she’d be too weak to say no. That sounded like a solid plan.

 

 

Also Available
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

 

 

Author Bio
USA Today Bestselling Author, NANA MALONE’s love of all
things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she
borrowed from her cousin on a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana at a precocious
thirteen. She’s been in love with kick butt heroines ever since.
With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner
Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own
characters. Waiting for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, Nana, meantime
works out her drama, passion and sass with fictional characters every bit as
sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is.

The books in her series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle
and Barnes & Noble best seller lists as well as the iTunes Breakout Books
list and most notably the USA Today Bestseller list.

Until that ninja job comes through, you’ll find Nana working
hard on additional books for her series as well as other fun, sassy romances
for characters that won’t leave her alone. And if she’s not working or hiding
in the closet reading, she’s acting out scenes for her husband, daughter and
puppy in sunny San Diego.

Want to hit me up? Just email me:

nana@nanamaloneromance.com
Author Links

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Bookish, FAVORITES

Disavow – Release Day w/ Review!

This author has a style that never fails to wrap me up, totally and completely from the very beginning!

I had faith that she could make me love this story, but still had reservations that she could make me like Pascal. I was wrong. I shouldn’t have doubted even for a moment.

Know going in that everyone has or had ulterior motives in this story. Nothing is simple. The past of these characters looms big and dark and the only way out is through. Of the trio, this is hands down my favorite! They can be read as standalone, but I highly recommend starting at the beginning for full understanding.

Recommend!

–A

 

From New York Times bestselling author Karina Halle comes a seductive novel of riches, romance, and redemption.

Disavow, book three in the Dumont series, is live!

disavow cover.jpg

In the Dumont fashion empire, no heir has a reputation as decadent, arrogant, and ruthless as that of Pascal Dumont. Every transgression, an indecent pleasure. Every woman, a conquest. And none is more challenging than his new personal assistant, Gabrielle Caron. She’s defiant, alluring, and a mystery Pascal can’t wait to solve.

A former family servant and daughter of the head maid, Gabrielle’s returned as suddenly as she left eight years ago. No longer an awkward teen, the ethereal young beauty has amassed a wealth of resolve. She’ll need it. In hire to the devilishly charming scion, she’s come back for one reason only. And she dare not whisper why.

But as the nights grow more intimate at the Dumont maison, Gabrielle realizes that the last man she believed in is the one man she can trust with her secrets. For Pascal, falling in love means more than his own redemption. It could mean saving Gabrielle’s very life as they confront a dark and scandalous past…together.

Disavow - AN.jpg

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2T3rd8m

Amazon Worldwide: mybook.to/DisavowKH

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/DisavowKH

RB Teaser.jpg

Meet Karina:

Karina Halle is a former travel writer, music journalist & screenwriter, and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling author of over 55 bestselling novels, ranging from horror and suspense to contemporary romance. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband, and her adopted pitbull Bruce, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Halle is represented by the Root Literary Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster, Hachette & Montlake. Her work has been translated and published in 20 languages.

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.

Connect with Karina:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkarinahalle/
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2vo9pq4
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorhalle/
Join her Reader Group: https://goo.gl/wpCBSS
Stay up to date with Karina by signing up for her newsletter here: https://goo.gl/Ve4eCh
http://authorkarinahalle.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Bookish, FAVORITES

Heartbroken – Release Day w/ Review!

Oh the angst! This book proves that heartache can survive just about anything and second chances are never impossible.

I was pained over this tragic love story between Aaron and Alane. It’s one where you know everything happened for a reason and the timing is supposed to be what it is, but you can’t help asking what if a thousand times (not unlike the characters) and wishing it could be different.

This fated pair have to go through a huge number of trials before finding one another again and there are some big secrets, big lies, and a whole lot of regret to go around.

I’m so happy to have found the Gritt family and can’t wait to read more about them!

–A

Title: Heartbroken
Series: Gritt Family #1
Author: Gabrielle G.
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: February 25, 2020

Blurb
I’ve avoided my hometown for twenty-seven years for one reason.
Aaron Gritt.
Now that I’m back in Springs Falls, I’ll do my best not to run into him.
But if I do, let’s hope he isn’t as hot as he was at eighteen. 
But the universe is funny that way. 
My life is proof of it—secrets and all.
So I’m not surprised when he stands before me in my class as the parent of one of my students. Forgiving him to have walked away had always been hard, but not
harder than to finally tell him the truth.
***
Can you forget your first love?
I never did.
Even if I didn’t recognize her right away, the girl with a star-shaped birthmark was
always somewhere on my mind. 
But she isn’t the competitive and driven seventeen-year-old captain of the girls’
hockey team I loved anymore.
I don’t know what happened, but she has lost her fire and never made it into the pros
like she dreamt of.
And then I know. And it’s my turn to decide if I can forgive her. 
A second-chance, small town romance novel you won’t be able to put down.

 

Purchase Links
$2.99 for TODAY only!
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Author Bio
Gabrielle G
will do anything for a hot cup of tea, still celebrates her half birthdays and
feels everyone has an inner temptuous voice.
Born in France and having lived in Switzerland, Gabrielle currently resides in
Montreal with her husband, three devilish children and an extremely moody cat.

After spending years contemplating a career in writing, she finally jumped off
the deep end and took the plunge into the literary world. Writing consumed her
and she independently published her work.

Gabrielle’s style is fiercely raw and driven by pure emotion. Her love stories
leave you out of breath, yearning for more, while at the same time wiping away
tears.

Author Links

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Bookish

If We Were Young – Blog Tour

Anna Bloom does tortured characters incredibly well. There’s nothing over the top and they feel real to the core.

Ronnie and Matthew are quite a pair. Perfectly matched but both allowing themselves and others to get in the way of their happiness for YEARS.

This second-chance romance is full of heart – broken, and mended – and interesting look at what makes families and friends tick and just how far fate will sometimes go to get a couple together again. Whether or not they’re together to stay remains to be seen – can’t wait for When We Are Old!

–A

Title: If We Were Young

Series: If We Were #1

Author: Anna Bloom
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 24, 2020
Blurb

Ronnie Childs has questions.

What if she’d said “yes” to Matthew Carling that day?

Why does he now hate her with a chilling iciness that numbs her bones and makes
her heart ache?

Is it possible to still be the same as you once were when everything has
changed so much?

How can they work together to save their companies when they can’t even hold a
civil conversation?So many questions and so little time to discover the answers.

Once Ronnie and Matthew were best friends, but time has
moved on and those memories are now locked in the shadow of the past. Things
would be so different if they were young, but sometimes the answers to life’s
challenges aren’t always as straightforward as they seem.
Fifteen years have passed by in a blink.

Will fifteen days be enough to make things right?

Purchase Links
99c for a VERY limited time!
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Excerpt
“We’ve never kissed.”
Oh God. My stomach plummeted with the minor chords. “No.”
“And physically we don’t know if we are even compatible.”
His gaze swept over me. “I mean, you’re a wee lass.”
“Wee lass! Don’t you…”
“But.” His gaze intensified. Heaven crashed to earth and
obliterated us.
“But?” Shaky and wanton, I warmed on the inside like a
chocolate fondue.
“Since I’ve known you, it’s been the most natural thing to
hold your hand. From the earliest days even when I knew I shouldn’t, I still
did it. It felt like nothing and everything all at once.”
I breathed in slow. Lest I might pass out.
“So I think if holding your hand feels like everything, then
what happens if I do this?”
I forced myself to maintain eye contact as, with his free
hand, he used a finger to trail up my throat and along the edge of my coat
collar. I held in my breath as he then ran it along my cheekbone, around my
ear, slipping into my hair.
“You almost kissed me once.” I stuttered the words, each
syllable gushed with the pound of my heart.
“I know.” I could taste his breath, feel the warmth of his
mouth hovering just above mine. Sweet Sake and Matthew combined. I wanted to
inhale him.
Coming Soon
Standalone within the series
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Author Bio
A book hoarder and coffee addict by heart Anna Bloom loves
to write extraordinary stories about real love. Based south of London with her
husband, three children and a dog with a beard, Anna likes to connect with
readers, fan girl over her favourite authors and binge watch Supernatural and
Superhero movies while drinking lots of wine.
Author Links

Leave a comment

Filed under Bookish

Angry God – Blog Tour!

Angry God - BT banner

“Once again, L.J. Shen has blown me away with a hauntingly beautiful, angst-driven, emotionally charged romance that will stay with me long after the last page. A must read for 2020.”

Siobhan Davis, USA Today bestselling author

Angry God, an all-new beautiful and dark new adult romance from USA Today bestselling author L.J. Shen, is available now!

Angry God eBook Cover

Vaughn Spencer.

They call him an angry god.

To me, he is nothing but a heartless prince.

His parents rule this town, its police, every citizen and boutique on Main Street.

All I own is a nice, juicy grudge against him for that time he almost killed me.

Between hooking up with a different girl every weekend, breaking hearts, noses and rules, Vaughn also finds the time to bully little ole’ me.

I fight back, tooth and nail, never expecting him to chase me across the ocean after we graduate high school.

But here he is, living with me in a dark, looming castle on the outskirts of London.

A fellow intern. A prodigal sculptor. A bloody genius.

They say this place is haunted, and it is.

Carlisle Castle hides two of our most awful secrets.

Vaughn thinks he can kill the ghosts of his past, but what he doesn’t know? It’s my heart he’s slaying.

Angry God is a stand-alone, DARK High School Romance. It deals with sensitive subjects some may find triggering.

AVAIL NOW BANNER

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/38BelLA

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

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/38HbfWt

Amazon Audible: https://amzn.to/37x5edq

Add ANGRY GOD to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/35oUOMC

Excerpt

“How good are you at keeping secrets, Lenora Astalis?” His voice wrapped around my neck like a noose.

I wanted to cough. I needed to cough. He terrified me. I hated him with the heat and passion of a thousand blazing suns. He made me feel like a scaredy cat and a snitch.

“Oh, yes. If you’re coward enough to pretend you’re asleep, you’re good enough to keep a secret. That’s the thing about you, Astalis. I can smash you into dust and watch your grains dance at my feet. My little circus monkey.”

I might’ve hated Vaughn, but I hated myself more for not standing up to him. For not opening my eyes and spitting in his face. Clawing his unnaturally blue eyes out. Taunting him back for all the times he’d taunted all of us at Carlisle Prep.

“By the way, your eyelids are moving,” he said drily, chuckling.

He straightened up, his finger making a brief stop at the base of my spine. He snapped his fingers, making a breaking sound, and I nearly jumped out of my skin, letting out a gasp. I squeezed my eyes tighter, still pretending to sleep.

He laughed.

The bastard laughed.

Was he sparing me for the time being? Was he going to check in on me from now on? Retaliate if I opened my mouth? He was so unpredictable. I wasn’t sure what my life would look like in the morning.

LJ Shen prof picAbout LJ Shen

L.J. Shen is a USA Today, Washington Post and Amazon #1 best-selling author of contemporary, New Adult and YA romance. Her books have been sold to nineteen different countries.

She lives in California with her husband, son, cat and eccentric fashion choices, and enjoys good wine, bad reality TV shows and catching sun rays with her lazy cat.

Connect with L.J. Shen

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2OhSvp1

Twitter: http://bit.ly/36ELHZc

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

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

Stay up to date with L.J. Shen by signing up for her mailing list:

http://bit.ly/36MnmAQ

Website: http://www.authorljshen.com/

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Bookish, FAVORITES

Waiting for My Queen – Chapter Reveal!

🔥🔥 CHAPTER REVEAL 🔥🔥
Are you dying to get your hands on Waiting for my Queen by Georgia Cates?! You are in for a treat. We have a chapter reveal to hold you over until release day, March 3rd!

BLURB

Emilia—

All I’ve ever wanted was to marry for love.

But girls like me don’t have that luxury.

We are used as pawns in a game we can’t control.

The game? It’s called Mafia.

I was foolish enough to try to change the rules… and I lost.

 

Luca—

She was promised to me years ago.

And he dared to take her from me.

Dared to touch what was mine.

I put an end to that.

I hope he’s enjoying the view from his dirt room.

 

Emilia—

My beloved’s killer placed a ruby ring on my finger and called me his queen.

But that red gem symbolizes something different for me.

It represents the blood shed by those I love most.

Hell was empty the day we wed.

Because the devil was standing before me and said “I do.”

 

Luca—

I saw her as a possession.

A shiny toy I didn’t want other boys to play with.

But she’s so much more.

Beautiful and brave and strong and broken all at once.

She tastes like everything I’ve ever wanted.

 

Emilia—

Hidden and patient.

I wait for the perfect time to seek my revenge.

But slowly, I feel him possessing me.

His heart is full of darkness… and I still want every inch of him.

Hard as I try, I can’t escape loving this beautiful monster.

 

Luca—

I’m waiting patiently because I already know that she’s mine.

Mine in a way that no one will ever understand.

Even if she hasn’t yet realized it.

For love, I’d do anything.

For her, I’d do everything.

 

Add Waiting for My Queen to your Goodreads TBR: http://bit.ly/2QOCCWM

PRE-ORDER LINKS

Amazon: https://amzn.to/37aEGzA

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2NWxfEG

Nook: http://bit.ly/2r8hYHG

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2qe0xpn

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2qrhah9

 

CHAPTER REVEAL

Chapter 5

Luca Rossini

 

New York, 1978

My father’s consigliere, Arrigo, also known as his right-hand man, comes into our conference room where we’re sitting around the table. He’s one of the few people without the last name Rossini who are allowed into this room.

“The Bellini women have arrived. They’re waiting for you in the living room.”

My father goes to the wet bar and chuckles as he pours six glasses of whiskey. “They came. You know what this means, don’t you?”

“It means they have no allies willing to go to battle for them. They’re out of options,” my brother Stephan says.

“Exactly. And that means we’ve won the war. The Bellini assets are ours.”

And Emilia Bellini is finally mine.

Everyone takes a glass of whiskey, even my youngest brother Enzo who is only sixteen.

“You should be the one to lead us in this toast, Luca. This is your victory.”

I didn’t do this alone. It began with my grandfather’s foresight so many years ago. “From long ago until now, here’s to all of the decisions that led us to this place.”

“But mostly your clever decisions, son. Your bravery,” my father says.

We click our glasses together and toss back the whiskey. Enzo coughs and sputters much like I did the first time I had a shot of whiskey.

“Such a mamma’s boy.” Dante loves ragging on Enzo.

I place my hand on top of my baby brother’s head and muss up his hair. “What’s the matter? Can’t handle your liquor?”

“I can handle it. It just went down the wrong way.”

“Sure, it did, little bro.”

I was younger than Enzo when I had my first shot of whiskey. I still remember the way it burned on the way down. I also remember pretending that I could handle it although I wasn’t certain that someone hadn’t swapped the liquor out with lighter fluid.

My father slams his glass on the table. “Come on, boys. Time to collect our spoils of war.”

This moment has been a long time coming. As I walk to where the women are waiting, it suddenly doesn’t feel real to me. I’m so accustomed to delays that I find myself wondering what the next one will be. But I remind myself that we’re in charge now, and there’ll be no more excuses. Emilia is going home with me tonight.

The six Bellini women are seated when we enter the living room, and my eyes bounce back and forth between the daughters seated on each side of their mother. Both are beauties and very similar, but one is much lovelier than the other. I can’t decide which one is Emilia because it’s been too many years since I’ve seen her.

“Welcome to our home,” my mother says as she comes into the room.

Sofia smiles, but the hostility in her expression isn’t disguised. I don’t fault her for that, though. We’ve earned her hatred a hundred times over.

“Your home is as lovely as I remember it.” Her tone is ice cold.

“How long has it been since you were last here?”

“Many, many years.”

“That’s a shame. Looking back on it now, you and I should have spent more time together and raised the children to know each other. Perhaps things would have gone differently if we had.”

“Perhaps.”

I focus my attention on the girl sitting to Sofia’s left. The more beautiful one. The older-looking one. The more frightened-looking one with tears pooling in her lower lids.

Dark brown hair cascading over her shoulders and down her arms, the ends nuzzling against her bare skin like a frightened child clinging to its mother. Almond-shaped deep-caramel eyes surrounded by lush dark lashes. A few scattered freckles across the bridge of her perfectly shaped nose. Plump, glossy coral lips.

In my wildest dreams, my betrothed didn’t grow up to be this beautiful. And it annoys the hell out of me because I don’t want to be attracted to her.

I want to make her suffer.

Sofia Bellini grips the hand of the girl in question. “Please, Marco. Swear to me on your honor that my daughter will be safe with you.”

My father chuckles. “Emilia is going to give us babies, heirs to the Rossini empire. There is no safer place for her than with our family. You know that.”

Sofia and the girl beside her, my Emilia, embrace one another and sob. Her grandmother and sisters cluster around her, doing the same. It’s pathetic. I would have expected less of a display from Bellinis. Certainly not this spectacle.

My betrothed has weaknesses. Those will need to be eliminated before she influences our sons with that nonsense.

“That’s more than enough of that,” I tell them.

She lifts her chin, and her eyes meet mine for the first time. Inside those deep-caramel orbs, I see something I like very much: rage. There during one heartbeat and gone the next, it was only a fleeting flash. But I saw it and I don’t mistake it for what it is.

This girl is going to be so much fun to break.

“Come, Emilia. I’m ready to take you home.”

“She won’t be living here?” the grandmother asks.

“I have my own home. She’ll live there with me.”

“You didn’t mention anything about her living outside of the Rossini compound.”

“I don’t think we’re obligated to tell you anything more than we wish to tell you, Sofia. In case you’ve forgotten, we have full control,” my father says.

Soft murmurs pass back and forth between Emilia and her mother, and I’m unable to decipher what they’re saying. And it pisses me off.

Reaching for her upper arm, I tug. “That’ll be all of that.”

When she’s on her feet, I realize just how small she is. A dainty little princess to break. That’ll be fun.

“Where’s your suitcase?”

“The foyer.”

“We’ll pick it up on the way out.”

There’s an overlapping of goodbyes and I-love-yous as Emilia and I leave, but her mother’s voice bleeds through the noise. “When will I see her again?”

It’s never been my intention to keep Emilia from her family. I see no value in separating them, but that’s something I’ll keep to myself for now.

Continuing to walk forward, I don’t look back. “You’ll see her when I decide I want you to see her.”

I’m pleased when I manage to get her into the back seat of my car without a bunch of carrying on.

“Where to?” Sal asks.

“Home.”

“Yes, sir.”

During the drive to my house, I don’t say a word to Emilia. I want her fear to escalate to the highest level possible. And I believe I’m successful as I listen to the sound of her rapid, unsteady breath filtering through the silence.

She takes a final deep breath and blows it out slowly through pursed lips when Sal parks the car inside the garage. I’d love to know what’s going through that mind of hers right now.

“Welcome home, Emilia.”

No response from her.

No surprise from me.

I fetch her suitcase from the trunk, and she follows me through the house as I lead her upstairs to the bedroom. Our bedroom. “You’ll get the full tour tomorrow. Right now, you and I have some loose ends to tie up.”

“What kind of loose ends?”

“You’ll see.”

I place her suitcase on the bench at the foot of the bed and point at the door to our left. “That’s the bathroom. There’s a pregnancy test waiting for you on the vanity. When you’ve finished, show me the results.”

“I don’t know how to take a pregnancy test.”

“You can read, can’t you?”

“Of course, I can.”

“Follow the directions on the box.”

“Why are you making me do this?”

“I have to be certain that you aren’t pregnant with Moretti’s bastard.”

“I’m not pregnant.”

“Then take the test and prove it.”

“Fine.”

There it is again. That flash of anger in her eyes.

That’s it. Come out, angry princess. I want to play with you.

She marches into the bathroom and shuts the door with a firm thud. A brave little princess she is to do that under my roof.

Several minutes tick by and she emerges from the bathroom. “The directions say it takes two hours for the results to appear.”

“I’m aware.”

Two hours. What shall we do while we wait?

She crosses her arms, looking around my bedroom. Avoiding my eyes.

“Come and sit next to me. I won’t bite… unless you’re into that kind of thing.”

“I’m fine where I am.”

“I’m not asking.” I pat the bed. “Sit beside me.”

She does as I tell her, but the scowl on her face lets me know that she isn’t pleased about it. “Happy?”

“No.”

“You’ve gotten everything you wanted. What do you have to be unhappy about?”

“Our union should have been a joyous occasion. A beautiful wedding where our friends and families came together to celebrate our marriage.”

“A marriage between us was never going to be a joyous occasion.”

“It could have been, but you chose to make things difficult and unpleasant. That means I was forced to do things I would have preferred to avoid.”

“I know the specifics of how you murdered Nic. You took pleasure in what you did to him.”

“Yes. I rather enjoyed it.”

“Only someone evil could admit that.”

I expected her to bring up Moretti sooner or later, but hearing his name on her lips pisses me off more than I anticipated.

“Would you like to know what his last words were?”

She looks at me a moment before answering. “No.”

“You really don’t want to know what your beloved boy said to me while he was lying there in a pool of his own blood dying?”

“I doubt anything you tell me would be the truth. And I know what Nic’s last words were to me. Those are the ones that I’ll always hold dear inside my heart.”

There’s my confirmation. Marrying Moretti wasn’t about not marrying me. She truly loved him.

“Suit yourself. If you can live without knowing what he said about you, then I can live without telling you.”

“I can live with it. The question is how do you live with yourself after brutally taking the life of an innocent man?”

“Moretti wasn’t innocent. He tried to take what belonged to me.”

“Contrary to what you may believe, I have never belonged to you.”

“We were promised to each other by our grandfathers. Betrothed. I was told my entire life that you were to be my wife.”

“It’s 1978. A betrothal between us when we were children should never have happened.”

“But it did happen. And you will always belong to me whether you like it or not.”

One of her brows lifts. “Unless that pregnancy test proves that I’m carrying Nic’s baby? You won’t have me then, will you?”

I had hoped that Emilia’s Catholic faith, or maybe Nicolò’s fear of Alessandro, had persuaded them to not have sex. I see now that any hope I had was in vain.

The thought of Moretti putting his filthy, inferior hands on my betrothed enrages me. But what’s even worse is that she let him. She wanted him to touch her and he did. Now, she could be pregnant.

I can’t handle it.

I’m so pissed off that I don’t trust myself to be in the same room with her right now.

I get up with the intentions of leaving, but I stop when I hear Emilia’s low chuckle. Moving to stand in front of her, I lean down until we’re so close that I have to blink a few times to focus on her eyes.

She doesn’t blink.

She doesn’t cower.

She stares right back at me.

“I’m going to do you a kindness, which is very out of character for me, and I’m going to leave this room. While I’m gone, I’d suggest that you get on those little Catholic knees of yours and pray very hard that the pregnancy test you just took is negative. Or we’re going to have a huge problem on our hands.”

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Georgia resides in rural Mississippi with her wonderful husband, Jeff, and their two beautiful daughters. She spent fourteen years as a labor and delivery nurse before she decided to pursue her dream of becoming an author and hasn’t looked back yet.

When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing. When she’s being domestic, she’s listening to her music and visualizing scenes for her current work in progress. Every story coming from her always has a song to inspire

 

AUTHOR LINKS

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

Facebook Author Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/GeorgiasGems

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GeorgiaCates

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

Tumblr: http://authorgeorgiacates.tumblr.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5228869.Georgia_Cates

Website: http://georgiacates.com/

Amazon: http://bit.ly/GeorgiaCatesAmazonPage

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/georgia-cates

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/georgiacates1/

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Bookish