Archive for category Chapter Reveal

#ChapterReveal “Crux Untamed (Hades Hangmen #6)” by Tillie Cole


A broken woman.
A damaged man.
A free spirit intent on saving them both.

Elysia ‘Sia’ Willis lives a solitary life. The only person in it is her big brother, Ky, vice-president of the infamous Hades Hangmen. She loves him, but she has absolutely no love for the outlaw MC he belongs to.
Raised in secret by her mother, Sia grew up separated from her brother and distant father. No one knew she even existed.

After the tragic murder of her mother, Sia spiraled into a rebellion against the rules of the Hangmen. A rebellion with dire consequences that now, years later, she still can’t escape.

As she lives once again in secret, happy on her own at her secluded ranch, a devil from her past comes calling. A devil who wants to possess her once again and take her from the simple life she never wants to lose.
And he will stop at nothing to collect what he believes is his: her.

Valan ‘Hush’ Durand and Aubin ‘Cowboy’ Breaux have finally found a home in the mother chapter of the Hangmen. The notoriously private Cajun twosome have, for now, put aside what chased them from their beloved Louisiana. But as threats toward the club build, Hush and Cowboy are given a task—protect Elysia Willis at all costs. Cowboy welcomes the job of watching over the blond-haired, blue-eyed beauty.
Hush fights against it.

Scarred by events from his past and a secret that plagues his everyday life, Hush refuses to let anyone else get close. Only Cowboy knows the real him. Until a certain sister of the club’s VP begins to slowly knock down his defenses, shattering the heavily built walls that guard his damaged soul . . . with his best friend leading the charge.

As lost and open hearts begin to meld, taking each other from indescribable pain to the never-before felt relief of peace, the newly-mended threesome must first endure one more rocky path.
Only then will they finally shake free of the shackles of their pasts.
Only then will they shed the bonds that have for too long held their happiness captive.
And there is only one way to survive that path . . . together.

Dark Contemporary MFM Romance. Contains scenes of violence and explicit sexual situations. Over 18’s only.

High Ranch, Austin, Texas
Present Day

“Steady . . . steady . . .”
Sandy’s ears flicked back and forth as she heard me soothe her from my place in the center of the ring. I kept my newest mare’s training rein loose as she trotted on the sand. Her coat was lathered with sweat; so was my forehead. The sun was burning a hole in my jean-clad ass.
“Okay, enough for today,” I announced, both to Sandy and myself.
I had just fed her with hay and water and locked her stall door when I heard the all too familiar sound of motorcycles roaring in the distance.
Frowning, I headed out of the barn. I walked to the front of my house and spotted two Harleys as they approached my door.
Styx and Ky, I realized, giving them a surprised wave.
They didn’t wave back.
I perched on the top step of my porch as they pulled to a stop and flicked out their kickstands. Ky smoothed back his long hair and strode toward me. I got to my feet. “What y’all doing here?”
I hugged Ky. He held on a little too long. It was weird. I pulled back, curious, only for him to look out to the distance, checking around my ranch. I was about to ask him what was up when Styx came toward me and gave me a brief one-armed hug.
“Hey, Styx. How’re Mae and Bump?” A flicker of a smile graced Styx’s lips.
“Good,” he signed, but my attention snapped back to Ky when my brother said, “Get inside, sis. We need to talk.”
He grabbed my elbow and guided me forcefully up the porch steps. “Hey!” I said. He pulled harder, not releasing my arm. “Hey! Dickhead!” I wrenched my arm back. I turned on my heel to meet my brother’s moody-ass face. “What the hell are you doing?”
“For once in your fucking life, will you just do as I say, Sia?” Ky said, exasperated. His face was red . . . in fact, so were his eyes.
I crossed my arms across my chest. “What’s wrong? Why are your eyes all bloodshot? Why do you look like shit?” I shook my head. “And more to the point, why are you handling me like a damn child?”
Ky sighed. His eyes closed, and he opened his mouth to speak. But then he didn’t . . .
Styx cleared his throat. “Been a stressful time lately.”
“Why?” I asked, immediately panicked. “Is Lilah okay? Grace?” I quickly checked my brother over for wounds, or . . . hell, I didn’t know what else. What the hell trouble bikers could get into. “Are you okay?”
My heart started pounding, some weird sense of dread seeping through my body like a poison. Ky opened his eyes and nodded. “Everyone’s fine.” But I could see through his pretense. I was just about to call bullshit when Ky blurted, “Garcia’s back.”
I was sure the warm wind was blowing, because I saw strands of my blond hair floating in front of my eyes, but I didn’t feel it. Ky’s mouth was working, saying something I was meant to hear, yet to my ears, he made no sound. I was lost to the memory of heavy footsteps on creaking floorboards as they approached my room. Memories of screams and barked orders scourged my mind . . . and his touch, his fingers running down my back, his lips nipping at my ear as he caressed my burned flesh. As—
“Sia!” Ky was holding my arms, shaking me from my stupor. I blinked, but a suffocating lump clogged my throat. I blinked fast to rid the flood of tears from my eyes. “Sia,” he repeated, softer this time. I stared at my brother, wordlessly. “Get inside.”
I let him lead me into my home and to the couch. A glass of whiskey appeared in my hand a second later, courtesy of Styx. I knocked it back in one, relishing the burning feeling that filled my chest. I shakily placed the glass on the coffee table and turned to look at Ky.
“You better?”
“Yeah,” I said. “He’s . . . he’s found me?” My voice was choked. I couldn’t have hidden my fear even if I’d wanted to.
“Not yet,” Ky assured me. He got to his feet and began to pace. “Some club shit went down a while ago, and Garcia was involved. Fucker saw me and Styx.” Ky met Styx’s eyes. Styx nodded. Ky removed an envelope from the pocket of his cut. He placed it before me. I stared at the obviously expensive stationery on the table. My hands shook as I slowly reached forward and opened it. A Polaroid picture peeped out. When I finally pulled the picture out and turned it to face me, every ounce of blood in my veins seemed to drain to my feet.
A single black rose.
A black rose, on a bed I recognized so well.
There was no note. No explanation. But I didn’t need one. This image spoke more than a thousand words ever could.
“Mi rosa negra,” the echo of his voice whispered in my mind. His heavy Mexican accent sliding around the words like a delicate silk scarf wrapped around a thorn-studded vine.
All of the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. “Where . . .?” I cleared my throat. “Where was this sent to?”
“The club.” Ky slumped to sit beside me. “Don’t like the cryptic shit”—he pointed to the Polaroid—“but I know that it’s his brand or something, yeah? The one he forced on you? On the girls he traffics?” I instinctively ran my hand over the plaid shirt covering my shoulder, where the small black rose tattoo had once desecrated my skin. I could still feel the scar under my fingertips, out of sight but never gone. And if I ever dared show my bare skin to the sun, a white outline would form as the area around it tanned. Erased, yet forever seared into my very flesh.
Worse still, the longer I stared at that picture, the more someone else flickered to my mind, a face I reflexively recalled several times a day. Brief images of what might have happened to her. But only ever enough to taunt me; I didn’t know how to mentally unlock the rest. Where she was—
“Sia!” Ky called. I blinked into focus. My brother kneeled in front of me. “You’re coming home with me.”
I shook my head. “No.” My arms wrapped over my chest, a shield to fend off the thought of leaving. “I don’t want to.” I swept my eyes around my home. The only place I now ever felt safe in. “You know I can’t leave.” Ky went to speak, but I cut in before he could. “I know I went to y’all’s weddings. I wouldn’t have missed them for the world. But I can’t leave here for too long. I . . . I . . .” I searched for more of an explanation, to put into words the vapid stream of anxiety forming in my stomach like a black pit, stealing all of my courage, my reason, my sanity, my very being.
It was ironic: when I was a teen, I made a vow to leave Austin and stop all contact with the Hangmen.
Then, one escape . . .
That was all it took to make me wish I had never set foot outta Texas. Never cut all ties with the Hangmen.
And one man . . .
One man, named Garcia, to make me long for the lazy Texas days and the sound of horses’ hooves padding on the grass outside of my old bedroom window.
“I don’t give a shit if you wanna come or not, Sia. You’re coming, and that’s that.”
The lack of empathy in Ky’s outright order broke through the mental fog that shielded my inner thoughts. A fire ignited the kindling that lived within me. My chin tilted high and my eyes narrowed to stare at my brother. “Don’t you dare speak to me like that, Kyler Willis. Don’t mistake me for a club whore who’ll jump at your command.” Ky’s face reddened. But I wouldn’t be spoken to like this. Right now, my brother resembled the one man who’d treated me like an errant child. A man I blamed for all the shit in my life. “I love Lilah, I truly do. But I am not some meek and submissive woman who’ll accept your orders. I’m your sister, not your fucking lapdog.”
Ky slowly rose to his feet. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply.
“Does he know where I live?” I asked my brother. He didn’t answer. “I said, does Garcia know where I am?”
Ky’s eyes snapped open. “It’s only a matter of time.”
I got to my feet, ignoring the shaking of my legs. I boldly met Ky’s eyes. “Then I ain’t leaving my ranch. I’m hidden. I’ve been hidden for years. False identity. False deeds on this place. For Christ’s sake, I live in the fucking boondocks. No one around for miles. He ain’t making me leave my home. I won’t give him that satisfaction.”
“Think again.” Ky stood taller. “Get upstairs and pack a bag, and tell that young bitch we hired to help you that she’ll be taking care of things around here ’til you’re back. Tell her there’s a family emergency or some shit.”
My heart pumped faster. “I. Ain’t. Going. Clara can’t deal with everything herself. We have two mares in foal, two saddle broncs that need training. I’m needed here.”
We argued back and forth, back and forth, voices and tempers rising, until a loud whistle cut through our squabbling. I snapped my eyes to Styx, who was standing before the fireplace. His face was like thunder, and he looked like a fucking Titan, he was so huge. He raised his hands. “Sia, grab your shit. You’re coming with us.” I swallowed, defeat settling over me like an unwelcome rain shower on a sunny day. “Ky, calm the fuck down.” Ky turned and bust out of the front door of my ranch. I watched my brother go. I had an eerie feeling that this—the argument, his shitty mood—wasn’t all down to Garcia.
Styx cleared his throat. “You two are way too fucking similar. Both a pain in my ass.” He paused, then signed, “More going on at the club than you know. So how about you chill the fuck out with all the dramatics. I get enough on the daily with my fucknut brothers without adding you into the mix.” His lips tightened, and I knew I wasn’t gonna get my way. “You’re coming with us. I ain’t giving you an option. You’re Hangmen family. And that fucker is sniffing around. Pack your bag so we can get the fuck gone.”
Feeling like a sulking teen, I stormed past Styx toward my bedroom, shouldering him as I passed. He didn’t even move. “Sometimes I fucking hate the family I’ve been born into. Chauvinistic pricks. Y’all have fucking god complexes.”
Styx didn’t even flinch at my words. “As long as that complex belongs to the Dark Lord holding a noose and an Uzi, I’m fucking all right with owning that shit. It’s the way it is. Ain’t gonna change because you’re pitching a fit,” he signed. “You don’t have to like my orders, but you will obey them.” Then he added, “You’ve got ten minutes,” before he left to go after my brother.
Too angry to even give two shits about what was wrong with Ky—it was probably some “club business” I wouldn’t be allowed to know anyway—I stuffed clothes and toiletries into a bag and called Clara to ask her to watch the ranch while I was gone and get help from the vet if she needed it. He owed me a favor or a million for taking in sick horses when his practice was full.
Ten minutes later, my house was locked up and I was in my truck, following my brothers to the Hangmen compound. With each mile I drove away from the safe haven of my ranch, I felt less and less myself. I heard Garcia’s voice in my head, telling me he was coming for me. Threatening that he’d own me once and for all.
But like Kyler, I was good at covering what was bothering me.
So I’d pull up my big-girl panties and stay at the club for a while. As we passed through downtown Austin, lights from South Congress Avenue illuminating the cab of my truck, I let two images of Hades guide me: his smug face, and a noose, reminding why I ran away all those years ago.
This club was quicksand. A quicksand in which I was hell-bent on not getting stuck.

Tillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.

After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.

Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.

Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.

When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.

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“Payback (Vigilante Justice #1)” by Kristin Harte #Sale

Payback (Vigilante Justice #1) is on sale for 99¢ this week only!



Google Play


In Justice, Colorado, the Kennards run everything, including the only big business in the area. Their sawmill employs most of the town, and the Kennard brothers live up to a long family history of keeping their neighbors and coworkers safe—until a motorcycle club comes to town and starts causing trouble. Big trouble. The kind that ends in funerals.

He carries the burden of protecting an entire town
Being the oldest Kennard brother, I’ve got a centuries-old promise to uphold—run the family business to give the townspeople jobs and the sort of security they can only find in Justice. When a motorcycle club blows that plan apart, I’ll do anything to make them aware that they picked the wrong town to target. As a former Green Beret, I know just how to sabotage an enemy. The only weakness in my armor is my obsession with a five-foot-nothing blonde who unknowingly holds my heart in her hands. My attraction to her could cost me my life, but I’d sacrifice it all to save hers.

She owes a debt that could cost her life
I’ve spent three years hiding out in Justice and paying off a debt to the Soul Suckers, one they’ve decided to collect whether I’m ready to pay or not. When danger lands on my doorstep, one man jumps in to help. Alder Kennard—former Special Forces soldier and current object of all my fantasies. But the Soul Suckers won’t let a debt go unpaid, and with the price on my head rising every day, it’s only a matter of time until they come back for me. Alder would put his life on the line to save mine, which is something I simply can’t afford.

Everyone has a debt to pay, and the only currency I have left is my body. So when the time comes, I’ll trade my life for his.


Kristin Harte started off as a chemistry major in college but somehow ended up writing romances featuring ex-military heroes and the women who knock them to their knees…literally and figuratively. She likes drinking in the shade, snuggling under a warm blanket on a cold evening, and researching how to blow things up. Her children know nothing of what she writes, and her husband just hopes he’s not at their Chicago-ish home the day the government shows up to confront Kristin about her Google search history.
When not writing good men doing bad things, Kristin can be found writing paranormal romance as Ellis Leigh or co-writing naughty novellas as London Hale.


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#ChapterReveal “Whispers in the Dark” by LeTeisha Newton

I was captured…That’s just the beginning of my tale. I’ve survived Purgatory, abuse, and near death. In that abandoned farmhouse I nearly lost everything, but Jacob saved me. We were trapped in this hell together, giving each other the strength to hold on. I fell into darkness with my captor’s son.Until I left him behind.She was perfect, my Alana. Brilliant and full of pain. She understood my darkness and fueled the fire. When she left, I waited patiently to find her, and in her honor, I killed men who took away from innocents. Then I found her…She’s deadly now, a killer too, and perfectly mine. It was beautiful to behold, but she belongs in a cage. My cage. She’ll love me again, or I’ll expose her dirty secrets for the world to see while going down in flames with her. In darkness, it’s most definitely till death do us part.
Warning: This book is full of triggers. It’s wicked dark, with created evil falling in love. People die. They are hurt horribly. The bad guys get away, and there is no apology for it. Hardcore trigger within these pages.


What’s past, is prologue.
-William Shakespeare

I raided the cupboards for something quick and easy to make and grabbed a package of blueberry Pop-Tarts to throw in the toaster. As I waited for them to finish, I figured I’d broach the topic of the father-daughter dance with Dad. Every year, Northside Prep held its annual dance to raise money for the after-school programs. The dance was the talk of the town as the girls ran out to buy their dresses and make appointments for hair and makeup. Me? I got to wait for the dad who never came. This year, I wanted to be the same as the rest of the girls; I wanted him to choose me.
“Hey, Dad, the dance is this weekend. Can you get away from work for a few hours and go with me?”
He looked up from his laptop, eyebrows drawn and a faraway glaze to his eyes. Aaron and I had dubbed this Dad’s “deep thought” expression. Usually, it ended up with one of us in trouble or disappointed, unfortunately.
“What day is it, Lani Girl?” Dad was the only one to call me Lani Girl. I loathed nicknames, especially the horrendous “Al” Aaron kept insisting on calling me. For Dad, I was always his Lani Girl, no matter how much he loved my name Alana Rose.
“Saturday night. The dance starts at eight o’clock,” I replied, hopeful. Always hopeful.
“I’m sure I can get away, sweetheart. Let’s go.”
“Oh, Daddy. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Running around the counter, I gave my dad the biggest hug I could.
“How about I take you to dinner before the dance too. Just the two of us?”
I squeezed him harder. “I’d love that. I’ve missed you so much.”
“I’ve missed you too. I’m sorry I’ve missed so much lately. Saturday night is all yours. Dinner, the dance, anything you want.”
As he planted a kiss on the top of my head, I thanked him once more before grabbing my Pop-Tarts and heading upstairs to get ready.
I turned my iPod on and danced to Fergie’s “London Bridge” as I made my way to my closet to pick out an outfit. I chewed on the last bite of my Pop-Tart as I sorted through my pants until I landed on a pair of dark-blue American Eagle jeans. I completed the outfit with my tan Ralph Lauren boots I’d received a few weeks earlier for my birthday and a burgundy tank top. Styling my hair in a messy bun, I grabbed my book bag and took one last look around my room to make sure I didn’t forget anything. I had a habit of leaving behind my homework almost every time I left my room.
With one more stop in the kitchen, I threw my arms around my dad and kissed his scruffy cheek as I thanked him again for agreeing to go to the dance. Moving on to my mother, I gave her a kiss on the apple of her cheek. Saying goodbye, I popped my earbuds in my ears and let James Blunt serenade me with “You’re Beautiful” as I headed into the direction of Northside Prep. I had to pick up the pace so I wouldn’t miss the first bell. Lost in my own world, I jumped when a heavy hand came down on my shoulder. I turned around to see who it was, thinking it could be Ryan. Instead, a tall man stood in front of me. My five-foot figure was small next to his; he had to be over six feet tall. With wire-framed glasses and dress pants, the man looked harmless enough despite his basketball-player height. He reminded me a lot of our eccentric neighbor, Mr. Edwards. His dark hair blotted out the sun, and his nose, crooked as if had been broken before, caught my attention between steel eyes. He could be hot, but something about him was wrong. Buzzing nerves crept down my arms. Get away from him, Alana. Run.
“Do you have the time?” His gruff voice shocked me to the core. The roughness to it was almost biting.
I offered him the time and backed away. Adrenaline raced through my blood and kicked my heart into a gallop as a cold chill raced down my spine. Continuing my walk to school, I refused to turn and look back, even though I knew his eyes were boring into me. Within a few steps, his hand landed heavily once more on my shoulder, but before I could scream, his other hand came around and covered my face. As the world blurred, I noticed the rag in his hand. The slightly sweet smell filled my nostrils and I swayed, only to be caught before I fell. I was weightless, floating in the air, and then I crashed to the ground and darkness claimed me.


“Wakey, wakey, little girl.”
Hot breath hit my face with the whispered words. Disoriented and sick to my stomach, I couldn’t wake up fast enough or bring the world into focus. The loss of my bearings made my stomach pitch.
Where am I?
“Wake up. Wake the fuck up. Open your goddamn eyes!”
I shook my head, attempting to clear the fog, as a smack blazed across my face. A cold trickle of fear rushed up my spine. I recognized the voice. The man in glasses who’d stopped me on my way to school. Afraid to open my eyes, I turned my head away from his voice, but surprise filtered through me with a sharp pain spreading over my cheek as his meaty fist connected again. One tear escaped as I bit my lip and opened my eyes before another hit could come my way. He held my arms viciously, digging his fingers into my biceps, and my breasts were smashed into his chest. I could barely touch the floor on my tip-toes.
“Ah, there she is. Hello, sweet girl.”
His voice was beyond creepy. Refusing to respond or look him in the eye, tears choked me, and my cheek burned from his strike.
“Aren’t you a stubborn little one? But oh, so precious. Look at you, sweet cheeks. You’re sure going to be fun to break in. Those stunning looks of yours must’ve driven the boys crazy, but don’t worry, you’ll never have to worry about them again. You’re mine. All mine.”
Terror shook me to my core, and I whimpered. My heart throbbed, pounding so loudly I knew he must have heard it. Mouth dry, and tongue thick in my mouth, I stared at him. This man was a monster, and Lord knew what he planned to do with me. Against my best judgment, I couldn’t stop the words from pouring out of my mouth.
“I want to go home. Please, please, please let me go home. I won’t tell. I promise I won’t tell. Let me go. Please.” My voice cracked over the last word. I wanted my mom back. My dad. Even my brother. Anyone. I didn’t want to be here.
“Isn’t it the cutest thing? You think you have power here. Well, you don’t. You’re nothing but a slave.”
There was recently an abduction case on the news. The newscaster shared tips from law enforcement on how to deal with being taken. Didn’t the police say to make yourself real to your captor? To get them to feel something? Humanize yourself.
“My name is Alana Masters. I’m only seventeen. I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m a normal teenage girl. Please don’t hurt me. Please. Please.”
A change came over him; those must have been the wrong words. Where he looked like a normal man before, his eyes darkened with evil and his face filled with rage.
“Of course you’ve done something wrong, little girl. You’re like the rest of those bitches. Flaunting your ass in front of me. Teasing me but never giving me the time of day. You’re a manipulative little whore. You begged for this. You begged me to take you and make you mine, you fucking bitch. Don’t worry, whore, you’ll learn your place before I’m done with you. I’m going to fuck you up and make you scream. Make you regret turning up your little prim and proper nose at me, cunt.”
His eyes glazed over, lost in his own world. He no longer looked at me. His gaze went through me, and I wondered who he was thinking of. Who did he remember? Frightened more than ever, I wanted to go home. But somehow, I knew the nightmare had only begun. Grabbing my face, the monster brought my face to his. Looking me right in the eyes, he spoke, and every word cut me to the bone.
“You are mine. Your body. Your pussy. All mine. I am going to train you, mold you, and break you. And if you ever, ever dream of escaping me, remember this: You are Alana Masters. Your parents are Alan and Barbara Masters. You live at 3412 West Monroe Street, and you have a younger brother. If you step one foot out of line, little girl, I will kill them all. Their blood will be on your hands.”
When he pushed me away, I landed on the harsh, cold cement. I was in a large cage, maybe about six-by-six, with a mattress full of stains— the smell of urine wafting from it—lying on the floor in one corner and a bucket in another. A loud clang made me spin. He locked me in here. Sweat trickled down my back, and my clammy hands wouldn’t allow me to be fooled into believing this wasn’t real. I had been taken. I’m going to die here. How’d this happen to me? What had I done wrong? I wanted out now. Back with my family, my dad, my mom. But the grit on the ground and the soiled mattress were all I could see through the watery film in my eyes.
“From now on, you will call me Master.” He turned and headed up the darkened staircase, leaving me behind as the tears flowed freely down my face.
“Don’t worry, you’ll eventually have cried so much you won’t be able to cry anymore,” a voice said from the darkness.
“Who’s there?”
“My name is Celia. And I’m you, months from now. Welcome to Purgatory.”

Writing professionally since 2008, LeTeisha Newton’s love of romance novels began long before it should have. After spending years sneaking reads from her grandmother’s stash, she finally decided to pen her own tales. As many will do during their youth, she bounced from fantasy, urban literature, mainstream, interracial, paranormal, heterosexual, and LGBT works until she finally rested in contemporary romance.
LeTeisha is all about deep angst and angry heroes who take a bit more loving to smooth their rough edges. Love comes in many sizes, shapes, and colors, as well as with—or without—absolute beauty and fairy tale sweetness. She writes the darker tales because life is hard … but love is harder.


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“Babyjacked” by Sosie Frost #Chapter Reveal

Five years ago, I let the girl of my dreams get away.

To be honest, I set fire to her barn, fought with her brothers, then exiled myself to a logging company in the Canadian wilderness.

But a reclusive b@stard can’t hide forever. When my sister got sick, I took in my two young nieces. Now I’m paying rent to Sesame Street, drinking Jack and fruit juice, and reading my chainsaw manual as a bedtime story. I’ve gone from lumberjack to babyjacked, and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.

Fortunately, I found a nanny. Five years have passed, and Cassi’s not just my best friends’ little sister anymore. She’s all grown up, dark and beautiful with a smart mouth and a broken heart.

Doesn’t take long before she’s falling for me again, but I can’t shout timber yet.

Cassi can’t forgive the past. And I can’t tell her why I ran.

When a man doesn’t deserve a second chance, he’s just gotta steal her heart.


The first time I saw Remington Marshall, he stole my heart.

The last time I saw Remington Marshall, he’d just burned my family’s barn to the ground.

Arson usually complicated relationships.

Especially afterward, when Rem left our sleepy town of Butterpond in the dead of night without so much as a goodbye. He’d stayed gone for five long years.

Five years with no phone call. No visits. No explanations.

Even worse—no apology.

So, when my brother, Tidus, told me Rem was back in town, I had to make a decision.

Ignore Remington Marshall and forget he’d ever existed…

Or demand an answer for why he’d broken my heart.

I chose the latter, encouraged by the perspective I’d gained over the last couple years. As long as we stayed away from any flammable objects that might’ve torched what remained of my potential happiness, a conversation would bring me some much-needed closure. Besides, all that time had allowed me to douse the last few embers burning in my barn, heart, and loins.

But that still didn’t make confrontation a good idea, despite my brother’s insistence.

He came home to take care of his nieces, Tidus said.

Take him up a box of kids’ toys from storage, he said.

Pick me up a burger from Lou’s on the way home, he said.

Yeah, right.

Rem wasn’t a man who wanted to be found, even in the tiny town of Butterpond—a small cluster of dreams, prayers, and fatty liver disease. Butterpond was where the trees wanted in, the people wanted out, and my family’s farm accidentally lynch-pinned the whole place together.

To the town, my family was a fixture. The Payne’s farm. The Payne’s charity. The Payne’s pain in the ass boys who rolled over the town’s one streetlight like a plague of locusts. The Payne’s adopted daughter in a family of five boys—bless her heart.

But Rem? He no longer belonged in the town. Men like him kept to themselves, tucked away inside a cabin in the mountains, hidden from society by gravel roads, the occasional tick, and busted suspensions.

As much as I’d once loved Rem, risking Lyme disease and a punctured tire seemed a bad idea.

I did it anyway.

A box of old toys and children’s clothes was jammed in next to my suitcase.

This would be quick. In and out. Hand him the box stuffed with goodies from when my family had foster kids running all over the farm. Wish him well. Make the requisite small talk. And then pretend like my heart wasn’t held together with a roll of scotch tape and a smattering of pride.

I wasn’t about to let Remington Marshall shatter my barely rejuvenated dignity. Besides, the last I’d heard, he was the one crippled with guilt. Rumor had it—and by rumor, I meant the occasional conversation with his sister, Emma—he’d run away to the deepest forests of Canada to join a logging company.

If a heart broke in the forest, did it make a sound? The answer was yes, but it wasn’t a thud. More like the noise a sleepy woman yelped in the middle of the night when she stubbed her toe on the way to the bathroom. Less of a timber! More like son of a—

The box fit snugly against my hip, drawing the hem of my skirt up only an inch. I was fine with that. Showing a little leg would do me good. I’d grown up since the fire. Earned my curves. Managed to fill out my bra without two handfuls of wadded up toilet paper. Things were looking up.

I wound my way over a weed-choked cobblestone path and picked my steps up the rickety porch. The cabin was lost in the woods, and the forest wasn’t happy with the new occupant. The little space was so overgrown with brush and leaves that the trees would be grateful to be cleaned out of the gutters.

My knock clattered against the cabin door—almost loud enough to drown out the very irritated cry of a baby.


The wail might’ve belonged to a child. Could have also been a mountain lion with a toothache. Sometimes it was tough to tell, even with a degree in early education. Money well spent.

The door flung open. I expected Remington. Instead, a bright-eyed, blonde-haired, puffy-cheeked three-year-old peered up at me, scowled, and belted at the top of her precious little lungs to alert all within a square mile of my arrival.


I winced. “Hi. I’m Cassi. Is your Uncle—”


This alerted the baby—the real siren of the household who’d missed her calling as the dive alarm for a German U-Boat.

The chorus of screams rang in my ears. I shushed the three-year-old with a wave of my hand.

“I’m not a stranger—I’m a…” Was friend the right word? “I know your Uncle Rem…well, not know know. We grew up together. I mean, he grew up with my brother—I grew up later. But we were…I’d see him a lot—”


I cringed and went to Plan B. The box dropped to the porch. I debated on running, but the tape had loosened enough for me to rip the flaps. An old baby doll rested on a folded pile of clothes. I offered it as a sacrifice to appease the child.

“It’s for you!” My frantic words shushed her. “It’s PJ Sparkles. All the little girls loved PJ Sparkles!”

The child quieted. She bit her lip, scratched her leg with a foot clad in mismatched socks, and reached for the doll. She jumped as a husky voice caught her in the act.

“What do we have here?”

His voice was a blend of sticky marshmallow and crumbling graham cracker, and I melted like a chocolate bar squished near the fire.

I knew better than to get burned by Remington Marshall, but even the wisest girl sometimes took a big bite before blowing on it.

And, believe me, Rem would go to his grave wishing I had blown him.

Rem leaned against the door frame. His broad shoulders were clad in a warm, red flannel shirt. He scratched a wild, thick beard, and might have teased a smile. I couldn’t tell. Five years of isolation had obscured his face in dark hair.

A one-year-old baby wailed in his arms.

“Never expected to see you here, Cassia Payne.” He grunted as the three-year-old bashed the doll’s plastic head into a part of him that regretted meeting PJ Sparkles. He stepped aside and let her go play, but his stare pinned me in place. “Lost in the woods, little girl?”

What had happened to my Remington Marshall?

Gone was the teenage bad boy, strong enough to win his fights but lean enough to make a quick escape once Sherriff Samson flashed his lights. Now, Rem had become a terrifying beast of rugged strength. A lumberjack. A man like him could have punched down a tree. The Canadian forests never stood a chance.

Muscles packed on muscles. And the beard…oh, the beard. I didn’t know if he belonged in an ice fishing cabin or on a Harley, but this wasn’t the boy who’d left me behind.

This was a man.

And he was in trouble.

Rem struggled to bounce the little bundle of pink in his arms. The baby fussed, red-faced and probably wishing her Uncle hadn’t given her diaper a wedgie while rocking her. The three-year-old dropped the doll and instead raced over, around, and on top of his feet, tugging on his jeans with an urgent need to tinkle. She tripped over one of the four stuffed garbage bags piled in the entryway. One had already blown open, spilling dresses, shoes, socks, and toys into the cabin.

The three-year-old was wearing two shirts. The baby needed a pair of pants. Rem’s own belongings had tumbled into the hall—duffel bags and mountain boots.

Tidus wasn’t lying. Rem must have come home only hours before to take care of the kids.

The older girl somersaulted around his feet, somehow summoning and then spilling a glass of water. The TV blared cartoons from the den. The baby cried just to be louder than the show. Behind him, every chair had been toppled in the dining room. The cushions stripped off the couch. Something slimy dripped from the sink.

Chaos had descended upon a three-square-foot area of his life…

And a part of me really enjoyed the struggle.

“Everyone said you ran away to become a lumberjack,” I said. “But apparently you joined a circus.”

Rem was a great liar. I’d learned that long ago. He attempted to soothe the baby and accidentally smooshed her face into the wall of muscle that was his shoulder. His wink wasn’t fooling anyone.

“Brought the circus home too.” He reached down and lifted the little girl to her feet before she somersaulted into the wall. “Got my acrobat tumbling her way into preschool, and the prepubescent bearded lady doing shows before and after naptime.”

Cute. “And what’s your talent?”

“World’s sexiest uncle.”

“Ain’t no one buying tickets for that.”

“Ringleader then.”

The three-year-old demanded cookies. The baby, blood. I shook my head. “Guess again.”


He wished. I crossed my arms. “Better get a shovel. I think you’re mucking out stalls and diapers.”

Rem grinned, but that was a charmer’s smile, part of his bag of tricks. He’d always been the type to sweet-talk his way out of handcuffs just to use them in bed. But maybe he had changed. Maybe the wilderness had straightened him out? Perhaps…the hard work taught him responsibility? Was it possible the time apart had made him as miserable as it had me?

Or maybe that smile meant I should’ve left the box on the porch and ran.

“Do I have to charge admission, or are you coming inside?” he asked.

Dangerous question. “Depends. Got an elephant under this big top?”

“Nah. He’s on break. I’m standing in.”

“And what are you?”

“The jackass.”

Fair enough. I offered him the box. “This is some stuff from the farm—back when we had all the foster kids. Tidus said you could probably use it. Clothes and toys.”

Rem easily balanced the baby on his shoulder and the box in his arms. He left the door open. Inviting the little ones to escape or beckoning me inside?

I spoke from the entryway, a promise to myself. “Only for a minute.”

“Want something to drink?” he asked.

“That would take longer than a minute.”

“Good. I don’t have much to offer.”

The three-year-old circled the sofa with the doll, tripped over the logs that were once stacked neatly by a stone fireplace, and plummeted onto the hardwood. She whimpered, rolled, and revealed a scraped knee. The crying began anew.

Rem brushed his hands through his shaggy, collar length dark hair and sighed.

“Are you bleeding? Again? Really?” He fumbled through a couple drawers. “All right. Here. No band-aids, but…”

Oh, this was a disaster.

Rem ripped a piece of electrical tape between his teeth, juggled the baby from one arm to the other, and slapped the silver strip over the girl’s knee.

“Good job,” I said. “Now she’s patched up, and she won’t conduct electricity.”

“She’ll be fine.” He patted the girl’s head. “Mellie, say hi to Cassi. Cas, this is Melanie. And this…” He flipped the baby outwards, finally letting her look around the room. She instantly stopped crying. The chubby cheeks and sniffling nose gave way to an adorable smile with three little white teeth poking out. “This is Tabitha—Tabby. They’re Emma’s kids.”

They looked like his sister—blonde and perky with the right amount of sass that got her in as much trouble as Rem.

I hated to ask the question, but a man like Rem wouldn’t volunteer to babysit without a genuine crisis. “What happened to Emma?”

Rem turned somber—a dark, serious glance broken with a forced shrug. “She’s…sick. Needed some help.”

“Is she okay?”

“Yeah. Just needs time. I came home to wrangle the kids.”

“I’m surprised to see you.” No harm in the truth.

“It’s been a while.”


I looked away. Somehow, under the heavy flannel, bushy beard, and shaggy hair was the Remington Marshall that still made my chest flutter. My options were to escape or find a defibrillator. My heart was broken, but it could still stop if he whispered the right words.

I shuffled towards the door, but Mellie plucked at the electrical tape banding her knee. The garbage bags of clothes, the injured child, and the quarter inch of dust over the cabin didn’t bode well.

“Are you sure you know…” How to phrase it without insulting him or completely terrifying the kids. “I had no idea you liked children.”

“They’re all right.”

“And…they’re still alive. So you must be doing…okay?”

Rem snorted. “They’re kids, Cas. I can handle ‘em.”

Right. “And…how long have you had them?”

Rem checked his watch. “It’s been five hours, and I haven’t lost my mind yet.”

Yet. “And you’re happy to babysit?”


“For how long?”

“As long as she needs.” Rem sounded confident. Or foolish. Probably foolish. “Don’t worry. It’s temporary. A week or two at the most. Shouldn’t be too hard. Keep an eye on them until Emma’s good, and then I’ll head back to the logging company.”

I laughed. Sweet Jesus, he was serious. I covered my mouth. “You…you’re keeping them here?”

“I was going to let them out at night like a cat, but I figured they’d rather get the lay of the land first.” He plopped the baby on the ground within range of both the wall outlet, fire place, and his penknife on the coffee table. “How hard can it be?”

And that was all I needed to hear.

I did not need to get involved.

Did not need to warm at his smile.

Did not need to wonder why my skin tingled in his presence.

Rem was a good-looking boy when we were kids, but at twenty-seven, he was absolutely gorgeous. A hard jaw from hard work. Toughened voice from a tough life. A strong back strengthened through manual labor. He might’ve tussled with a baby hell-bent on toddling into the fireplace, but he hadn’t left the wilds in the forest.

Rem looked as out of place in his own home as the kids did in the middle of the woods.

I had to help him.

Maybe I made this bad decision because it had been so long since I last saw him. Maybe I let my heart lead because the beard disguised him in a dark, tempting mystery. Or maybe I took pity on him because five years ago I had been hopelessly in love with our small town’s baddest bad boy.

Rem wasn’t a trouble-maker anymore, but he was still in trouble. Especially now that Butterpond had changed so much. We had cell phone reception. Community events. A giant Facebook group where all the busybodies kept in touch. Butterpond wouldn’t let him hunker down in the forest and hide forever.

And it must’ve terrified him.

“How’s the farm?” Even his words were jagged, briars in his throat. Either he was out of practice with small talk or he knew he shouldn’t have asked.

“It’s a warzone,” I said. “but no fires at least.”

“Tidus okay?”

“Is he ever?” I smirked. “Tidus hates this town as much as me.”

“What about everyone else?”

Well, they wouldn’t be happy to hear that Rem came back home. “Julian is…Julian. Trying to rebuild the farm like he has any idea how to manage it. Marius is overseas still—he can’t tell us where, and he likes it that way. Varius hasn’t been the same since the tornado. Quint…God only knows. Runs around like a puppy, but turns rabid the instant any of my brothers look his way.”

Rem rummaged through his fridge and offered me a beer. I shook my head. He popped the cap off but didn’t drink.

“About your dad…” he said.

“I know.”

“Just…I’m sorry.”

So was everyone, but I still nodded and accepted the thoughts, prayers, and Bundt cakes.

“We knew it was coming,” I said. “His heart was bad.”

“Doesn’t mean it hurts any less.”

I’d done a fantastic job of smooshing that pain deep, deep down and suppressing the memories of the past few months when I’d taken care of him. My brothers understood, but it felt different for me—the one adopted girl in the family of biological sons.

They’d left me alone on the farm with Dad, and the family slowly tore itself apart. Fight after fight, even during Dad’s last days. Each of my brothers swore they’d never speak to the others again.

At least, until that phone call had to be made.

“The good news…well…news, I guess,” I said. “Everyone is home now. In Dad’s infinite wisdom, he left the farm to everyone. Every decision on the land must be made in unison, in person. No subdividing the farm. No selling our pieces to anyone else. It’s World War Three with pitchforks and chicken coops.”

“Feathers flying?”

“Bombs dropping like eggs.”

Tabby attempted to toddle with Rem’s wallet into the bathroom. Mellie giggled from inside. Rem excused himself, swore as the toilet flushed, and returned with a soaking wet wallet. He pitched it into the sink and shooed both kids away.

They stayed glued to him, wrapping their arms around his legs like they hadn’t been hugged in years. Rem knelt down and welcomed them into his thick arms.

It wasn’t a sight I’d expected to see from a man like him.

“So what…” His words mumbled over Tabby’s fingers as she clobbered him in the mouth. “What are you…doing?”

“Anything I can to get out of here.”

Mellie slid from his side and skipped back to her baby doll. He set Tabby on the counter. I rushed forward before he realized that the one-year-old was a bit hyper and likely to take a tumble. She eagerly offered me more of his possessions. I accepted the jingling keys and his cellphone, but I stopped her before she lunged for a sheathed bowie knife tucked inside a stack of paperwork.

Rem leaned against the sink, sipping his beer. “You’re leaving, huh? Where are you planning to go?”


“Been there, Sassy.” The nickname rolled off his tongue, like he’d never stopped using it. “Running doesn’t get you as far as you think.”

“Well, I need to get somewhere. I love my brothers too much to start hating them.”

“You know they need you, especially with your parents gone.”

The guilt was already suffocating me. “Jules says I remind them of Mom.”

“Yeah. I can see the family resemblance.”

As was the gentle joke which passed around the town. I brushed my dark fingers through the bouncing curls I’d swept away with the aid of a bubblegum pink scarf. Didn’t matter if my momma was blonde haired and green eyed or if she shared my mahogany skin and fawn eyes, people in Butterpond knew I was her daughter because she’d taught me how to be a lady.

And how to whoop my brothers into shape if they gave me a hard time.

But mostly how to be a good lady.

Also, a forgiving woman. She never thumped the Bible, only used it to swat our backsides when we acted out. What would she say about this? The man I swore never to forgive…and the kids tumbling around his house.

Mellie climbed the woodpile. Tabby unsuccessfully attempted to roll off the counter, falling into my arms.

And he thought it was going to be easy.

He wouldn’t last the night.

“Do you have everything you need for them?” I asked.

Rem nodded. “I got some of their clothes. They brought toys. I set them up in the spare bedroom.”

“Well, that’s good. But…do you know Tabby’s diaper is on backwards?”

He approached the child, picked her up under the arms, and gave her a quick once over.

“Is that why it keeps leaking?” He whistled in realization. “Thought she was an overachiever.”

Fantastic. “Okay, Rem…there’s like, six things I can see from where I’m standing that will seriously maim the very young children.”

He plopped Tabby on the counter and attempted to twist the diaper to the right position. When that didn’t work, he undid the tabs with so much force ripped the Velcro, removed the diaper, and left her tush on the cold counter. The diaper flipped, but he couldn’t fasten it.

He grabbed his handy electrical tape once more. “There. Now she’s got a racing stripe.”

If only he could feed, bathe, and entertain the kids with tape too. At least it wasn’t a staple gun.

I finally asked the question. “Do you need help, Rem?”

His lazy smile would’ve been cute if Mellie wasn’t heading for the axe he’d set near the backdoor. “You worried about me, Sassy?”

“Worried you’re going to end up on the news…” I pointed to the axe wielding Mellie—one blue ox short of a classic American tall tale. “And now I’ll be an accomplice.”

“Mellie, you chop my house down, you’re building the next one.” He took the axe from her hands and searched for a place to put it. The cabin was a mess, so he shrugged and stuck it on top of the fridge, clattering a couple pots and pans out of the way. “They’re kids. Sure, I need some time to fix the place up…” Rem batted at a spider web over the kitchen window. I cringed as the spider clamored to hide in the dusty curtains. “But they needed me. Emma asked, so here I am. Someone’s gotta help the girls. Just like what your family used to do for all those kids—including me.”

“You’re certain you can handle it?”

“Got no problems here.”

I should have left. The suitcase waited in my car. I had a full-tank of gas. I’d been threatening to head to Ironfield for two weeks now.

Rem had the box of supplies. The kids hadn’t set fire to the cabin yet.

They’d be fine.

But my feet didn’t move. “Do you have food for them?”

Rem took a swig from his beer. A liquid dinner might have suited him, but I doubted Mellie and Tabby wanted to lounge on the couch, knocking back a cold six-pack of Juicy Juice.

“I’ll find something,” he said. “I think it’s cute that you’re worried.”

“I’m not worried.” If I was worried, I’d have to stay. “I’m…making conversation.”

“Could have done that a long time ago,” he said. “Called me up.”

And let him know how twice in the past five years I’d actually tracked down a contact number for him in the middle of the Canadian wilds? No thanks.

“I didn’t hear from you either,” I said. “Not even a hey, sorry about the barn.”

“I am sorry about the barn. Sorry about a lot of things. Sorry I haven’t seen you since then.”

I stomped down a betraying warmth. No need to open that Pandora’s Box. “You were the one who left.”

“You didn’t want me around.”

“I never said that.”

“Cause you were too polite. You’d let Julian’s fist do the talking.”

“He’s quite persuasive.”

“And if he knew you were up here, asking about my dinner plans?”

I smirked. “Asking about the kids’ dinner plans.”

Rem glanced over his shoulder. “Mellie, want some dinner?”

The little girl marched into the kitchen, dragging Rem’s boots on her feet. She stumbled as she walked, but she raised her little chin as if she wore a tiara instead of steel-toed mud buckets.

“I don’t like peas,” she said.

“Me either. See?” He winked. “We’re fine.”

This would be fun. I knelt to her level. “Mellie, what else don’t you like to eat?”

Her words bumbled in and out of intelligibility. “Chicken. Broccoli. Green. Yogurt. Cars. Dragons. Shoes!”

The answer became a rambling story about a kitten, dragon, and a spaghetti noodle, but she illustrated my point.

“Any ideas, Chef?” I asked.

Rem had attempted to memorize her preferences and got lost somewhere around worms and green. “I…have some beef jerky.”

“You’re going to feed beef jerky to some toddlers?”

“Got some trail mix too. A can of soup beans.”

“…How long are you keeping the kids?”

“As long as Emma needs.”

I raised my eyebrows. “How long do you think you can keep them alive?”

“At least through the night.”

Good enough for me. Now it was my turn to leave him. I’d already survived five years without speaking, without resolving anything, without…

Saying those words.

I’d last another five. Maybe by then, he’d be out of jail for child endangerment.

“Start small,” I said. “Do you have milk?”


“Do you want my advice?”

Rem braced himself on the counter, muscles flexing, eyes brightening with a roguish playfulness that made any game unwinnable.

“It’s been so long since I’ve seen you, Cas…I’ll take anything you’re willing to give.”

“Go into town—”


I sighed. “Why not?”

“I’ve gotten real good at avoiding Butterpond.”

“Who’s the real baby here? Get off this mountain. Take the girls into town. Buy some kid-friendly food.”

“Like…chew and whiskey?”

I scolded him. “Battery acid and horseradish.”

He grimaced, finally realizing the girls couldn’t survive on dried meats and wild onions.

“Okay,” he said. “This might be hard to believe, Cas…but I might need some help managing this circus. I mean…” His smile turned wicked. “I can pitch a hell of a tent, but beyond that…”

I didn’t need the visual. It’d taken years for me to stop fantasizing about it. “It won’t be that hard. Just…feed them. Make sure they don’t set themselves or the forest on fire. Put them to bed. Repeat.”

“Go with me,” he said.


“To the store.”

Nope. Nada. Not happening. “It’s right where you left it, Rem.”

“How will I know what to buy? Chicken nuggets or liver and onions? Red jello or red wine?”

“You’ll figure it out.”

He edged a little closer, grabbing Tabby before she tossed his phone against the wall. “Not asking for much, Sassy. Give me a couple pointers.”

“I’m on my way out of town.” And this time, I meant it.

That smile didn’t just slay me—it pinned me against the ropes, powerslammed me to the mat, then grabbed a metal folding chair from the crowd.

“How about one last favor for me?” he asked.

Not a chance. That well had emptied trying to put out the barn fire.

He read my reluctance. “Okay. A favor to the kids?”

Damn it. Tabby gave me a wave of her chubby fingers. Mellie continued to list things she liked, didn’t like, and some sounds the baby particularity enjoyed while shouted at the top of her lungs.

I surrendered. “Tell me you have a car seat.”

“No, the kids rode up here on top of a wild boar. Have a little faith, Cassi.”

“That’s the problem,” I said. “I don’t have much faith left in you.”

“Me either.” Rem’s voice had mellowed with honesty and time. “Just means I can’t disappoint you anymore, huh?”

“You’ve never backed down from a challenge.”

“That settles it.” His amusement thudded my heart like an axe missing a tree and striking a nearby boulder instead. “I got nothing else to lose, Cas.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because I already lost you.”

Sosie Frost is no stranger to quirky, embarrassing, and wild situations, and she’s channeling all that new adult angst into fun romances.

From marching at the high school homecoming game without her trumpet (a punishment for forgetting the instrument on the band bus), to regretfully tucking her prom dress into the back of her tights before pictures, and even accidentally starting a chemical fire in the college chem lab, Sosie has the market cornered on crazy stories.

But hey, writing is a better outlet than therapy right? 😉

If you want funny, charming, and steamy romances, you’ve found the right author!

Sosie lives in Pittsburgh with her hubby, her two cats, and thrives on a near constant stream of gummy bears.

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“Payback (Vigilante Justice #1)” by Kristin Harte #ChapterReveal

In Justice, Colorado, the Kennards run everything, including the only big business in the area. Their sawmill employs most of the town, and the Kennard brothers live up to a long family history of keeping their neighbors and coworkers safe—until a motorcycle club comes to town and starts causing trouble. Big trouble. The kind that ends in funerals.

He carries the burden of protecting an entire town
Being the oldest Kennard brother, I’ve got a centuries-old promise to uphold—run the family business to give the townspeople jobs and the sort of security they can only find in Justice. When a motorcycle club blows that plan apart, I’ll do anything to make them aware that they picked the wrong town to target. As a former Green Beret, I know just how to sabotage an enemy. The only weakness in my armor is my obsession with a five-foot-nothing blonde who unknowingly holds my heart in her hands. My attraction to her could cost me my life, but I’d sacrifice it all to save hers.

She owes a debt that could cost her life
I’ve spent three years hiding out in Justice and paying off a debt to the Soul Suckers, one they’ve decided to collect whether I’m ready to pay or not. When danger lands on my doorstep, one man jumps in to help. Alder Kennard—former Special Forces soldier and current object of all my fantasies. But the Soul Suckers won’t let a debt go unpaid, and with the price on my head rising every day, it’s only a matter of time until they come back for me. Alder would put his life on the line to save mine, which is something I simply can’t afford.

Everyone has a debt to pay, and the only currency I have left is my body. So when the time comes, I’ll trade my life for his.
“We’ve got a problem, boss.”
If I hadn’t already been in a foul mood, those words would have gotten me there. “What is it now?”
“Motorcycle gang up on Widow’s Ridge.” Camden Reese—born and bred in Justice, friend of my youngest brothers, and former Marine sergeant—launched into a speech about his team running into some bikers up by the Hansen property. We’d recently signed a contract with Miss Hansen to harvest eighty acres of dead Ponderosa pine on that hill, so anything getting in our way was definitely a problem. A big one.
As Camden laid out the events of the altercation, I checked over the satellite images of the area on my desk, making notes and marking locations. A star on the house to the west where the elderly Miss Hansen still lived, another to the east on the patch of earth where a trailer sat, all alone. The only two residences up that long, rough stretch of road leading to a drop-off on the far west side.
That rocky piece of land sat just outside the city limits, so things like road maintenance were all but forgotten unless the two residents brought them to my attention. No biker would intentionally ride up such a rutted, gravel road without a reason—too hard on their bike and their face if they were trailing someone else.
“He tried to call out Finn, but I squashed that shit,” Camden said, securing every bit of my attention for the moment. Finn—my second youngest brother, one of a set of twins, and the only Kennard ever to spend time in prison. He was also a recovering addict, and I had vowed to my dad that I’d keep him in recovery and not let him backslide. That had been ten years ago, and I still worried about keeping that vow every fucking day.
“What the fuck was Finn doing on a job?” My brother didn’t work for me except for the occasional project, and I knew for a fact he hadn’t been assigned to the Hansen job.
“He’d driven with me to check in on Miss Hansen. We never made it out there, though, because we ran into the bikers on the way up. One guy said some shit about Finn’s drug days, how they missed him over at the strip club in Rock Falls.”
Jesus. “You get a name?”
“Patch on his vest said Spark.”
“Spark.” I sat back, balancing my chair on two legs. “As in plug?”
Camden blinked, a cocky smile breaking across his face. “Yeah, like plug. I didn’t see the other guy’s name.”
“So Spark knows Finn from what…ten, twelve years ago? He look familiar to you?”
Cam shook his head. “Never seen him in town.”
That caught my attention. Justice was a small town planted squarely between two slightly larger towns, all in the middle of fucking nowhere. People didn’t happen into Justice—they came here for a reason.
And if that reason was named Finn Kennard, Spark and his friend needed to be dealt with and quick. “How’d my brother handle the run-in?”
“Finn ignored the bullshit from Spark. I wasn’t as restrained.”
Not surprising. Cam always did have a bit of a temper. “If the sheriff gets called again on you—”
Camden waved me off. “I knocked his legs out from under him and put him on the ground. Didn’t even leave a mark, I don’t think. But I made my point.”
“And what point was that?” Not that I needed to ask.
“That Kennard Mills would be harvesting the lumber on that side of the hill, and their club had better not have any business up there. They drove off after Spark picked himself up out of the dirt, the other guy saying something about bigger fish.” Camden frowned. “I recognized the other guy.”
“Local?” I couldn’t think of anyone in Justice who rode with an MC, but I might have missed someone. Three hundred plus people were a lot to keep track of.
“No. He came into the truck stop one night when Leah and I were there for dinner.” He blew out a breath and shifted his weight. An almost unconscious gesture, but one that stood out. Normally almost confident to a fault, Cam suddenly seemed nervous, which meant I wouldn’t like what he had to say.
“Yeah?” I prodded, wondering how a night out with his wife would piss me off.
“Leah noticed something was up when she went to the restroom and came to get me. The asshole had Shye cornered in a back hallway and wasn’t letting her pass.”  
The snap of the pencil I’d been holding breaking in two might as well have been a gunshot. “And you let him walk away?”
“I had Leah and Shye looking on. I had to.”
Picturing perfect little Shye—at least ten years my junior and so damn sweet, every one of her smiles would give you a toothache—watching as I kicked the shit of some asshole was about as unappealing as a thought could get. I probably would’ve wanted to do the same as Camden and let the guy walk with a warning if I’d been there. I wouldn’t have, but I’d have wanted to. Because I wanted her, and the idea of Shye being scared of me made my gut sink like a rock.
I needed to stop thinking about Shye Anderson. An impossibility as of late, which directly correlated to why my mood had been so foul all day.
I sighed, rubbing my forehead and sitting deeper into my chair, bringing all four legs back to the floor. “All right. So they rode off after you knocked Spark to the ground. Any indication they’d keep hassling you or come back for Finn?”
He shrugged. “Not really, though you never know with these types of guys.”
Lawless, clan-like, arrogant. Yeah. You never knew a damn thing with them. “Did you recognize the club logo?”
“Definitely the Soul Suckers.”
Of course. I’d heard they’d added a clubhouse not too far over the county line to the west. I probably wouldn’t have thought twice if I’d seen their bikes on the highway through town or heading toward the new restaurant on Main Street. I would now, though.
“Might be time to set the club straight on what they can and can’t do as they ride through Justice. I’ll talk to Deacon, see if he knows anyone. Head back to the ridge, and get the Hansen site plot worked out so we can start cruising and marking trees. This might be our last big harvest before the rains come, and I want to take advantage of the summer weather while we have it.”
“We’ll get it done.”
“Good. And if you see Bishop on the mill floor, have him call me.”
Camden nodded, then left without another word, leaving me to stew over this new mess.
Fucking messes all over the place lately, it seemed.  
I looked over my satellite images again, tracing roads and logging paths I’d known my whole life. Acres of Widow’s Ridge pine forest stared back at me, a mottled brown and green landscape. Half the trees stood dead or dying, a sign of the mountain beetle infestation that had nearly bankrupted my late father and destroyed Kennard Mills. But the bug that had nearly killed us had instead left us flush with jobs and cash. The droughts hadn’t stopped this mill, the industry collapse hadn’t either, and the fucking plague of beetles killing the forests around us had actually been a boon instead of a death knell. Everyone in Justice had enjoyed the bonuses beating our sales plans every month brought, and no fucking bikers would make us end that streak. I had a town to employ.
But Justice, Colorado was more than a town to me—it was my responsibility. The place my ancestors had set down roots. Where they tended to each and every resident over the years, giving families time to grow good, strong roots. Kennard men had run Justice like a homestead for nearly two centuries with the mill as the central business fueling everything else, and I’d live up to the legacy set before me as the oldest living Kennard. That meant making sure people had jobs, food, shelter, and that they felt safe.
Another thing bikers wouldn’t be taking away from us, even though it seemed as if they were trying just that.
An annoying, robotic song interrupted my thoughts. The words “Bishop Kennard”—name of my closest brother who also happened to be my VP of sales and marketing—flashed on the screen of my phone as it played that stupid song again. I swiped to answer and brought the device to my ear.
“Camden said you wanted me,” he said, not bothering with a greeting.
“We’ve got trouble on Widow’s Ridge.”
“I heard. Finn all right?” Because, as the second oldest Kennard brother, our family would be the first thing on Bishop’s mind. As it should be.
“Camden thinks so. Let’s run by the bar tonight and be sure, though. And I’ll need you to check in on Miss Hansen—make sure she’s okay out there.”
“Sounds good. I’ll call as soon as we hang up. Anything else?”
“Sell some fucking lumber, Bishop.”
“On it, boss. I’ll be ready to go at six.”
I tossed the phone back onto my desk, the maps snagging my attention again. One spot in particular, actually, and not the one belonging to Miss Hansen. I ran a finger over the east side of the hill, circling the little trailer on a barren, flat piece of rock. Just outside the city limits, it technically sat beyond my protective net, but Shye Anderson lived in that trailer. New girl in town at only three years since she moved to the area, waitress at the truck stop over in Rock Falls, and the only woman I’d ever met who could drive me mad with frustration and desire all at once.
I’d been ultra-aware of Shye since I first met her. Slightly obsessed, really. The girl captivated me; stole all my attention with her sweet little smile and never let me go. It didn’t hurt that she looked like a damn angel—long, blond hair and big, dark eyes, a tiny little body that I wanted to get my hands on more than anything else. Sweet as honey, that one, but she lived up to her name. She blushed and stuttered around me, avoided my eyes when I tried to catch her gaze. If I pushed too much, she ran, so I held back. Made myself available but waited for her to come to me.
Which is how I ended up eating at the truck stop five nights a week—all on Shye’s shifts. I’d had to up my workouts to keep from getting soft on all the grease and baked goods, but seeing that smile every night was worth it. The coffee—man, that was a harder pill to swallow. How a restaurant could have such bad coffee—especially one based out of a truck stop—was beyond me. I drank cup after cup of the foul brew so she’d come to my table more often to pour me refills. Without the coffee, I didn’t get much time with Shye, so I suffered.
And when I worked? I sent my guys in there. Shye had no family in Justice, so I made sure everyone understood they were to treat her as they would a Kennard. Making my men see her as mine kept them watchful around her. Hell, I paid Bishop to eat his lunches there so he could keep an eye on her, and everyone on my team headed that way at least once a day if I had to go out of town. They mocked me relentlessly for chasing her around like a damned puppy, but I didn’t give a shit. I needed to know she was happy and safe. That she had everything she needed…even if she wasn’t ready to willingly take things from me yet. We’d get there. Three years I’d waited for her to come around, and she would. Eventually. I just had to figure out the right plan.
As I pondered honey-blond hair, sugary smiles, and how many times I could use the excuse of working on the ridge to stop and see her at her place, my phone rang again—Camden, this time.  
I swiped to answer and hit the button for speakerphone. “If you tell me we have another problem, I’m going to toss a grenade in your truck.”
“So I shouldn’t tell you we’ve got a fire on the mountain?”
Motherfucker. The trouble with harvesting the blue-stained wood left behind by the mountain beetle infestation was the trees needed to cure standing for a number of years. But dead trees meant dry trees, and with the droughts of the past few years and the mild winters we’d had, that meant trouble. Big, dry, tinder-type trouble. A single lightning bolt could ignite an inferno, while a forest fire could destroy the whole damn town.
And apparently, we had one to deal with.
“Where?” I grabbed my keys and pressed the mill-floor alarm to get the team’s attention.
“Eastern slope. Just past the Hansen property.”
My steps stumbled, then sped. “That’s by Shye’s place.”
An engine roared in the background. “I’m already on my way there. Two minutes out.”
She could be hurt in two minutes. Dead. Jesus fuck, I was too far away. “Drive faster.”
I hung up and stormed down onto the mill floor. My team stood ready, looking at me expectantly, ready to fight the fires we knew could ruin everything we’d all built here.
“Fire just east of the Hansen site. Let’s get two water trucks up the eastern side of the ridge and send one up to the west side to be safe.” I met the eyes of Gage Shepherd, former Navy SEAL like Bishop and current heavy machinery engineer of Kennard Mills. “It’s close to Shye’s place.”
Without another word, Gage began issuing orders to the team. He understood the severity of the situation from every angle—the loss of our product, the potential for destruction in the town, and the possibility that the woman I had my eye on could be in danger. He’d get shit done for me.
As Gage loaded the water trucks with oxygen tanks and medical equipment—something that made my gut churn—his dog Rex trotted after him, looking as if he was headed for a joyride instead of into a fire. Wouldn’t be the first time he’d been on site at a fire, though. Gage never went anywhere without Rex.
While Gage made sure the team knew where to go and what to do, I raced to my truck. My heart pounded as I started the engine and peeled out of my spot, heading for the ridge where smoke was beginning to turn the sky black above the tree line. Fuck, if Shye was up there, if she was hurt—
I didn’t get to finish my thought because my phone rang right as I turned onto the highway heading toward the mountain. Camden again.
“Tell me good news.”
“She’s not here,” Camden said, sounding slightly out of breath. “It’s her trailer on fire, though.”
“The water trucks are on the way.”
“Don’t think they’ll do any good for her, to be honest, but we need them for the tree line. It’s so dry up here, a single spark could set the whole mountain on fire.”
Confirming my earlier thoughts. Fuck. I yanked the wheel sideways, making a sharp turn onto the road that would take me up to Shye’s place, looking over all the dead, brown pine on the hillside as I flew over the rutted, gravelly road. “Gage had the team rolling out right behind me. I’m four minutes out, though.”
“Want me to call the fire department in Rock Falls?”
Wouldn’t do any good at that point, which was why Kennard Mills had as many water hauling trucks as we did. “No use, though you’d better call the sheriff.”
“That useless piece of shit? What for?”
Useless wasn’t the term I’d use—corrupt sounded better for the county sheriff we were forced to deal with. I didn’t have time to correct Camden, though. “He’ll throw a tantrum if he’s not informed. Knowing him, he won’t come out to investigate anyway. Just make the call.”
“Yeah, got it…hang on.” Voices yelled in the background, and the sound of Camden moving fast created static on the line.
“We’ve got a problem.”
That phrase spoken about my girl’s place made me want to growl my frustration to the universe. “What fucking problem?”
“There are motorcycle tracks in the dirt around her property. Lots of them.”
Rage unlike anything I’d felt exploded in my chest. “Call the sheriff and put the word out—anyone sees a fucking Soul Sucker in Justice, I want to know about it.”
I hung up and threw my phone across the bench seat before taking the switchback turn way faster than I should have. Not that the worry burning in my gut had anything to do with me—Shye owned that ache.
Shye may not have known it, but she was mine. I’d do whatever it took to protect her.
And if this fucking motorcycle club had threatened my girl?
I’d gut them and leave their bodies for the predators.

Kristin Harte started off as a chemistry major in college but somehow ended up writing romances featuring ex-military heroes and the women who knock them to their knees…literally and figuratively. She likes drinking in the shade, snuggling under a warm blanket on a cold evening, and researching how to blow things up. Her children know nothing of what she writes, and her husband just hopes he’s not at their Chicago-ish home the day the government shows up to confront Kristin about her Google search history.
When not writing good men doing bad things, Kristin can be found writing paranormal romance as Ellis Leigh or co-writing naughty novellas as London Hale.

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“The Rebound” by Winter Renshaw #ChapterReveal




The last time I saw Nevada Kane, I was seventeen and he was loading his things into the back of his truck, about to embark on a fourteen-hour drive to the only college that offered him a full ride to play basketball.

I told him I’d wait for him. He promised to do the same.

But life happened. I broke my promise long before he ever broke his. And not because I wanted to.

We never saw each other again …

Until ten years later when Nevada unexpectedly returned to our hometown after an abrupt retirement from his professional basketball career.

Suddenly he was everywhere, always staring through me with that brooding gaze, never returning my smiles or “hellos.”

Over the years, I’d heard that he’d changed. And that despite his multi-million dollar contracts and rampant success, life hadn’t been so kind to him.

He was a widower.

And a single father.

And rumor had it, he’d spent his last ten years trying to forget me, refusing to so much as breathe my name … hating me.

But just like a rebound, he’s back.

And I have to believe everything happens for a reason.





Yardley Devereaux {Ten Years Ago}

He sent my letter back.
I re-read my words, imagining the way they must have made him feel.
I’m writing because you haven’t been taking my calls or answering my texts. I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors, so I thought you should hear it straight from me…
I’ve broken my promise.
But you should know that I never wanted to hurt you, none of this was planned, and I still love you more than anything I’ve ever loved in this world.
This is something I had to do. And I think if you’ll let me, I can explain in a way that makes sense and doesn’t completely obliterate the beauty of what we had.
Please don’t hate me, Nevada.
Please let me explain.
Please answer your phone.
I love you. So much.
Your dove,
The paper is torn at the top, as if he was about to rip it to shreds but changed his mind, and on the back of my letter, in bold, black marker, is a message of his own.

Chapter One

Yardley Devereaux, age 16

I don’t belong here.
I realize being the new kid makes people give you a second look, but I don’t think it should give them permission to stare at you like you have a second head growing out of your nose. Or a monstrous zit on your chin. Or a period stain on your pants.
At this point it’s all the same.
Not to mention, I don’t think anyone can prepare you for what it feels like to eat lunch alone, like some social reject.
The smell of burnt tater tots makes my stomach churn, and the milk on my tray expires today. I’m pretty sure the “chicken patty on a bun” they gave me is nothing more than pink slime baked to a rock-hard consistency. I’m unwilling to risk chipping a tooth, so I refuse to try it.
Checking my watch for the millionth time, I calculate approximately 3 1/2 hours left until I can go home and tell my parents what an amazing first day I had. That’s what they want to hear anyway. Dad moved us here from California with the promise that we were going to be richer than sin, whatever that means. But if Missouri is such a gold mine then why doesn’t the rest of the world move here? So far, Lambs Grove looks like the kind of place you’d see in some independent film about a mother trying to solve her son’s murder with the help of a crooked police department, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, JK Simmons, and Frances McDormand.
Okay, I’m probably being dramatic.
But this place is pretty lame. I miss the ocean. I miss the constant sunshine and the steady stream of seventy-five degree days. I miss the swaying palm trees.
I miss my friends.
Forcing your kid to move away from the town they’ve grown up in their entire life—in the middle of their sophomore—year is cruel. I don’t care how rich dad says we’re going to get, I’d have rather stayed in Del Mar, driven a rusting Honda, and paid my own way through a technical college if it had meant we didn’t have to move.
And can we talk about my name for a second? Yardley. Everyone here has normal names. Alyssa. Monica. Taylor. Heather. Courtney. If I have to spell my name for someone one more time I’m going to scream. My mom wanted my name to be special and different because apparently she thinks I’m special and different, but naming your daughter Yardley doesn’t make her special. It just makes it so she’ll never find her name on a souvenir license plate.
I’d go by my middle name if it weren’t equally as bad, but choosing between Yardley and Dove is akin to picking your own poison.
Yardley Dove Devereaux.
My parents are cruel.
I rest my case.
I pop a cold tater tot into my mouth and force myself to chew. I’ll be damned if I’m that girl sitting in third block with a stomach growling so loud it drowns out the teacher. I don’t need more people staring.
Pulling my notebook from my messenger bag, I pretend to focus on homework despite the fact that it’s the first day of spring semester and none of my teachers have assigned anything yet, but it’s better than sitting here staring at the block walls of the cafeteria like some loser.
Pressing my pen into the paper, I begin to write:
Monday, January 7, 2008
This day sucks.
The school sucks.
This town sucks.
These people suck.
After a minute, I toss my pen aside and exhale.
“What about me? Do I suck?” A pastel peach lunch tray plops down beside me followed by a raven-haired boy with eyes like honey and a heartbreaker’s smile. My heart flutters in my chest. He’s gorgeous. And I have no idea why he’s sitting next to me. “Nevada.”
“No. California. I’m from Del Mar,” I say, clearing my throat and sitting up straight.
The boy laughs through his perfectly straight nose.
I can’t take my eyes off his dimpled smirk. He can’t take his eyes off me.
“My name,” he says. “It’s Nevada. Like the state. And you are?”
“New,” I say.
He laughs at me again, eyes rolling. “Obviously. What’s your name?”
My cheeks warm. Apparently, I can’t human today. “Yardley.”
“Yardley from California.” He says my name like he’s trying to memorize it as he studies me. I squirm, wanting to know what he’s thinking and why he’s gazing at me like I’m some kind of magnificent creature and not some circus sideshow new girl freak. “What brings you here?”
He pops one of my tator tots between his full lips, grinning while he chews.
Nevada doesn’t look like the boys where I’m from. He doesn’t sound like them either. He isn’t sun kissed with windswept surfer hair. His features are darker, more mysterious. One look at this tall drink of water and I know he’s wise beyond his years. Mischievous and charismatic but also personable.
He’s … everything.
And he’s everything I never expected to come across in a town like this.
A group of girls at the table behind us gape and gawk, whispering and nudging each other. It occurs to me then that this might be a set-up, that this beautiful boy might be talking to this awkward new girl as a dare.
“Ignore them,” he says when he follows my gaze toward the plastic cheerleader squad sitting a few feet away. “They’re just jealous.”
I lift a brow. “Of what?”
He smirks, laughing at me like I’m supposed to ‘get it.’
“What?” I ask. If this is a joke, I want to be in on it. I refuse to add butt-of-the-joke to the list of reasons why this day can go to hell.
“They’re jealous because they think I’m about to ask you out,” he says, licking his lips. Nevada hasn’t taken his eyes off me since the moment he sat down.
“Should I go inform them that they have absolutely no reason to shoot daggers our way?”
His expression fades. “Why would you say that?”
“Because …” I laugh. “You’re not about to ask me out.”
“I’m not?”
I peel my gaze off of him and glance down at my untouched lunch. “Why are you doing this?”
“Why am I doing what? Talking to you? Trying to get the courage to ask you on a date?”
I glance up, studying his golden gaze and trying to determine if he’s being completely serious right now.
“You’ve never seen me before in your life and then you just … plop down next to me and ask me on a date?” I shake my head before rising. If I have to dump my tray and hide in the bathroom until the bell rings, then so be it.
“Where are you going?”
My lips part. “I … I don’t know. I …”
Nevada reaches for me, wrapping his hand around my wrist in a silent plea for me to stay. “Do you have a boyfriend back in California? Is that what this is about?”
“What? No.” This guy is relentless.
“Then go on a date with me,” he says, rising. “Friday.”
His expression fades. “Why?”
The bell rings. Thank God.
“I was new once. So I get it,” he says, fighting another dimpled smirk. God, I could never get tired of looking at a face like his. “And, uh … I think you’re, like, really fucking hot.”
Biting my lower lip and trying my damnedest to keep a straight face, I decide I won’t be won over that easily. It takes a lot more than a sexy smile, some kind words, and a curious glint in his sunset eyes. If he truly wants me … if this isn’t a joke and he honestly thinks I’m “really fucking hot,” he’s going to have to prove it.
“Bye, Nevada,” I say, gathering my things and disappearing into a crowd of students veering toward two giant trash cans.
I don’t wait for him to respond and I don’t turn around, but I feel him watching me—if that’s even possible. There’s this electric energy pulsing through me from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. I’m not sure if it’s excitement or anticipation or the promise of hope … but I can’t deny that it’s real and it’s there.
Making my way to the second floor of Lambs Grove High, I find my English Lit classroom and settle into a seat in the back.
For the tiniest sliver of a second, I imagine the two of us together. We’re laughing and happy and so in love that it physically hurts—the kind of thing I’ve never had with anyone else.
The tardy bell rings and a few more students shuffle in. My teacher takes roll call before beginning his lecture, but I don’t hear any of it.
I can’t stop thinking about that beautiful boy.





Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and can rarely be seen without her trusty Mead notebook and ultra portable laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, and the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi.

And if you’d like to be the first to know when a new book is coming out, please sign up for her private mailing list here —>



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“Undefeated” by Stuart Reardon and Jane Harvey-Berrick #ChapterReveal






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A powerful contemporary romance set in the fast-moving world of international rugby.

When your world crashes down
When they all say you’re out
When your body is broken
I will rise.
I will return.
And I will be undefeated.

Nick Renshaw is the golden boy of British rugby. When a serious injury threatens his career, he starts to spiral downwards, a broken man.
Feeling abandoned and betrayed by those closest to him, he fights to restart his life. Maybe there’s someone out there who can help him. Maybe he can find his way back toward the light. Maybe … not.
Dr. Anna Scott might be the one person who can help Nick, but she has her own secrets. And when Nick’s past comes back to haunt them both, the enigmatic doctor is more vulnerable than she seems.
Broken and betrayed, the struggle to survive seems intolerable. Who will give in, and who will rise, undefeated?


Coming January 23rd, 2018




It’s a beautiful game.

It’s a hard game.

And even on a good day your body is battered and bruised. It’s a brutal game with blood, mud, and dirt.

See this scar on my cheek? Rugby.

See this scar running through my eyebrow? Rugby.

I have a lot of scars.

I have 13 scars on each arm from keyhole surgery, knee surgery, scars on my forehead and the back of my head, scars on my knuckles, broken fingers. I’ve had both eyelids stitched, surgery on both shoulders, suffered a broken nose twice and spiral fractures in my hands, I’ve broken my fingers so many times, I don’t even count those. I’ve had cartilage cleaned out of my left knee, two medial ligament grade two tears on each knee, three lots of surgery for Achilles tendon injuries, and once I put my bottom teeth through my top lip. Getting stitches in your mouth isn’t much fun. They tug when you eat or speak.

There’s nothing nice about rugby. Maybe that’s why I bloody love it.

Chicks dig scars? Yeah, I’ve heard that, too.

In my experience, they’re not so keen on being around while you’re healing. Being the loser who’s benched, not so sexy. Being the guy whose career went down the toilet … I’m looking a lot less appealing now.

Trusting a woman when you’re at your lowest—dumbest, stupidest thing ever.

Beat me, break me, butcher my heart.

I’m coming for you. And this time…

I’m going to win.


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Stuart Reardon


Stuart is a retired England International Rugby League player whose career spanned 16 years as a professional playing for several top League clubs. He has had several major injuries that nearly ended his career just as in Undefeated, the amazing collaboration with Jane.
Currently, he is a Personal trainer living in Cheshire, and has an online fitness program: Fear Nothing Fitness.



Jane Harvey-Berrick


I enjoy watching surfers at my local beach and weaving stories of romance in the modern world, with all its trials and tribulations.
It’s been the best fun working with Stu on this story. And yes, he did think about joining the Marines once.



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