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It was never supposed to happen. 'We' never should have happened.
He and I... Our constantly crossing paths changed the unthinkable to the inevitable.
It was magical, exhilarating, and life defining... despicable, and it ruined everything.
It destroyed me.
It destroyed us.
He and I is what happened before.
And everything else is what happened after…
I look up and see Will step into the kitchen from the pantry. He looks a mess. He looks how I feel. I try to speak, but no words come out of my mouth.
“I-I made breakfast. I tried to make it healthy. You’ve been talking a lot about that lately, and I’ve listened,” he says, his blue eyes encapsulated by puffy eyelids. His hair is completely disheveled, as if he’s run his hands through it a thousand times. His five o’clock shadow is pronounced and his dimples absent because his lips are pressed so firmly together.
This is the first time I’ve looked at him since I found out. The first time I’ve ever looked at the man I married and felt anything but love, hope, and strength. It’s funny how a few hours have changed everything for us.
Seeing him makes my emotions crash against each other. Each second I stand here, I become more enraged. How could he do something so stupid, so selfish, and so… unforgivable? And he stands here like nothing has happened, as if we’re going to eat breakfast together and everything will be okay?! Nothing will be okay. I realize this as I stand in my kitchen in front of him, the same place he and his whore ate with me and sat with our family.
“I can’t believe you did this to us.” The words are automatic, as if triggered by his presence. They hurt to speak but hurt even more to hold in.
His voice breaks as he tries to approach me, but I step back and push my arms out to let him know to stay back.
“Please, just let me explain,” he begs. His voice sounds pained, and my heart aches for him—for me
“I can’t. I can’t. I don’t want to hear it, and there’s nothing that you can explain. Anything you say will only make things worse!” I’m frantic. It’s a lie; I want to know everything, but I don’t think I can survive hearing it.
“Gwen, you’re my best friend,” he says with tears in his eyes.
I have to turn away. I grab a chair to keep my balance. To see him like this hurts, but I can’t hurt for him. He didn’t hurt for me. I don’t even know if he hurts for me now. I’m sure he hurts for himself.
“I never meant to hurt you. I know how that sounds, but if I could take it back―”
“You did hurt me! Worse than anything I’ve ever experienced, and you cannot take it back.” My voice is loud and unrecognizable.
His gaze isn’t on me but set on the floor instead.
“In our home, William. How could you? With Lisa of all people!” I’m close to screaming at the top of my lungs.
“There’s no excuse for what I did,” he whispers.
His words make me want to throw something. To see him broken… I haven’t seen him like this since I was sick. A chill shoots down my spine.
“Were you seeing her when I was sick?” I ask cautiously. I don’t know if I can take hearing the answer. His eyes widen, and he approaches me; I retreat again.
“No. I stopped before I found out you lost our child,” he promises.
The pain of that memory shoots through me. I know he thinks what he said should give me some consolation, but it doesn’t. It tears open a wound I’ve tried to forget, a wound that has become purulent. “You stopped out of pity. You stopped out of a sense of duty, guilt, and a mournful promise but not out of love. Do you love her?”
He shakes his head. “It’s always been you, Gwen—”
My eyes narrow on his. “Except when you were screwing her.”
He looks defeated, as though he’s given up and realized there’s absolutely nothing he can say to fix this. I feel as though my soul is beginning to crumble. I can’t talk to him about this. I can’t think about this.
“I need you to leave.”
“Gwen, please. I’ll give you time. I owe you that, but we can get past this.” His voice deepens with each word to the more familiar, authoritative tone I’m used to from him instead of the sad, broken one.
“How dare you!” I scream. “You have a daughter, William! A daughter! How can we get past that? Tell me?!”
He covers his face. “I didn’t know.” He attempts to touch me again, and I swat him away.
“You didn’t know? You think that makes it better?” My whole body shakes as I shed angry tears.
Tears are falling down his face now too. He gets on his knees and grabs my waist. “What can I do? Tell me—what can I do? I’ll do anything. Please!”
I try to get out of his grasp, but he holds me tighter.
“We can get through this. I promise you we can,” he cries against my stomach.
I realize getting him to let me go will be futile unless I hit him on the head with one of the table utensils, so I gently grasp his face and make him look up at me. “We don’t have to do anything, and you don’t get to decide that. You decided to ruin us—everything we had, our family, our history, you decided that. I get to decide whether I can even consider the possibility of looking at you without seeing you as the person who hurt me more than anyone in my entire life.
“You have no idea how this feels, how badly I hurt. You can’t, because if you got it, if you understood, you would leave me alone. You’d know how much it hurts me to see you, to hear your voice as I look around our home and think about how you desecrated and disrespected the place where we built our family. And the very worst part of it all is that I was completely oblivious. I thought we were fine, that we were okay. I’ve been happy!”
“I’ve been happy too! I haven’t been involved with Lisa in years!” he shouts, and hearing him say her name makes my stomach churn.
I cover my face, trying to catch my breath.
“Is everything okay?” my son’s wife, Lauren, says from behind me.
“William was just leaving.”
His face falls, his expression crushed. “We have to talk about this.”
“I need you to go now! Right now, William.” My screeching makes even me flinch.
He glances behind me at Lauren, then he nods. “If that’s what you want.”
He wipes the tears from his face. I’ve only seen William cry once in his life besides today, and that was when his mother passed away. Now I have to squelch the instinct to go to him and hug him and tell him everything will be okay. A task made easier as my urge to lash out at him consumes me.
I'm obsessed with blowing kisses. I guess that makes me a romantic. I love books and cute boys and reading about cute boys in books.I'm infatuated with the glamour girls of the past: Audrey,Dorothy,Marilyn,Elizabeth.
I'm a self confessed girly girl,book nerd,food enthusiast, and comic book fan. Odd combination huh, you have no idea...
Title: Love Inc. Box Set
Series: Love Inc. #1-3
Author: Ella James
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: September 15, 2016
A limited time romantic suspense box set from USA Today bestseller Ella James!
Get all three internationally bestselling Love Inc. novels in a bundle for the first time ever. This is a limited-edition box set available only for a few weeks, in celebration of the upcoming re-release of Something Blue, the final book!
Elizabeth DeVille doesn't belong at a party like this—one where the gowns cost more than her Camry and cigars run higher than her grad school utility bills. Dragged out of seclusion by her best friend Suri, Elizabeth is merely playing dress-up, rubbing elbows with a crowd that banished her troubled family years ago.
Hunter West is tired. Tired of parties, tired of pretending, and tired of trying to right a wrong that haunts him every day. Bourbon heir and professional poker player by day, by night Hunter is gambling with his life in a high-stakes game of crime and blackmail.
When Elizabeth stumbles into Hunter's den of vices, she's a light in the darkness, a flame in the void. And, just like everything he touches, Hunter mars her in a record time. To rectify the damage done, Elizabeth needs money she doesn't have, and she's come up with a foolproof way to get it.
Follow Elizabeth—code-named Scarlett—to the lush Nevada brothel where she'll auction her virginity and risk the only thing that's not for sale: her heart. The highest bidder is a familiar face, with wicked hands and the devil's mouth. And a secret so dark that it could cost her life.
For twenty-three years, Cross Carlson was a playboy. You know the type. Tall, dark, and wealthy. Blue-eyed. Charming. He seemed to have it all so easy. But Cross was harboring a terrible secret - one that helped ruin the life of an innocent girl and almost ended his own.
Finally out of the hospital, Cross is flailing, scarred in both body and mind and stifled by the weight of the secret he still keeps. The only way to absolution lies in a Mexican convent, and going there could cost him everything.
If there's anyone who knows what it's like to screw up big time, it's Meredith Kinsey. Just a few years ago, Merri was an ordinary girl with a job at her college newspaper and white picket fence kind of dreams. Now she's holed up in a Mexican convent, hiding from a drug lord who thinks he owns her.
What happens when the only way out of hell is with the son of the man who put you there? They say love conquers all, but does it really?
Marchant Radcliffe, owner of the exclusive Love Inc. brothel, is no stranger to darkness. He lost his parents in a plane crash and since college has harbored a secret almost too terrible to bear. He keeps his head above water by pouring his energy into his business--and he's thrived, despite the dark blot on his soul.
Then, after ten years of good fortune, Marchant's skeletons start to peek out of the closet, tossing him down a trail of ruin that begins with arson and could end with murder. Because he's kept his struggles private, he has no one to pull him back from the brink.
After a breakup with her longtime fiancé, Suri Dalton has nowhere to go except her BFF's new penthouse in Las Vegas. The last thing Suri is looking for is a man, but after drowning her woes in wine on the flight over, she stumbles into a torrid make out session with a beautiful stranger--who just so happens to be Marchant Radcliffe, playboy and literal pimp.
What happens when what you see isn't what you get? What do you do when destiny is too alluring to resist and too dangerous to survive?
*This series contains erotic scenes, mature language, and mature themes.
99c for one day only!!!
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Ella James is the USA Today bestselling author of fourteen teen and adult romance novels. She's a Southerner who came to Colorado and can't say goodbye to the mountains, despite missing sweet tea, the Gulf Coast, and good barbecue.
Ella is raising two children who will probably grow up believing many untruths about everything from dragons to the necessity of wearing shoes.
Author: Mayra Statham
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 31, 2016
Box office sensation, Marcus Wright is ready to take on the role of director. Romance author and single mom, Grace Rivera, is shocked when the sexiest man alive knocks on her door with the intent to bring her book to life.
He is willing to do anything to get what he wants, even use his charms on the beautiful, curvy woman standing in his way. Only it doesn't take long for the shy woman to unknowingly embed herself under his skin.
In a world where one plays make believe and the other writes it, will they determine everything between them is a LIE? Or will they be able to LIE in one another's arms when the truth comes out?
Mayra Statham is a contemporary romance author. All her books to date can be read as standalones and do not have cliffhangers.
On her free time she loves reading and hanging out with her family and friends.
THE ROCKSTAR SERIES SALE
by Anne Mercier --
Falling Down, book 1, is FREE and Blush, book 2, is on sale for 99 pennies for a limited time!!
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FALLING DOWN, ROCKSTAR
Jesse Kingston, the lead singer of Falling Down, is a tall, dark, and gorgeous temptation I don't want to resist.
I'm going to ignore all the warning signs and do what I normally wouldn't--I'm going to give in to my desire. I'm going to indulge my fantasies and give this sexy rocker what he wants and won't soon forget--ME.
Is one time going to be enough? Will our time together end up changing this bad boy? Or will it end up changing me?
BLUSH, ROCKSTAR #2 - $0.99 or FREE on Kindle Unlimited
You know how people say they woke up in Vegas married and you're like, how the hell could that possibly happen?
Who does that?
Well, us apparently… and the press is having a field day.
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He’s a killer. A mobster.
The last man on earth I’d ever want to be with. I won’t lose my head just because he’s hot, Irish, and has a wicked accent to boot.
He’s one of the only leads in my best friend’s disappearance, and I don’t trust him.
So I’ve got a few rules in mind when it comes to dealing with Lachlan Crow.
1.Keep a clear head and don’t get distracted.
2.Do what’s necessary and never forget why you’re there.
3.Never, and I mean never, fall for him.
Fourth and final rule?
Throw out the book altogether. Because the rules don’t apply when it comes to the Irish mafia.
It was only supposed to be temporary, but now Lachlan thinks he owns me. He says he’s not letting me go.
And I believe him.
I don’t know who she is. I don’t know why she’s here.
But if it’s my attention she wants, she has it.
The Russians want her dead, and now it’s up to me to look out for her. This girl is trouble. A distraction I can’t afford.
So why have I already decided she’s mine?
I’ve claimed her and there’s no going back now.
This is a full-length standalone novel full of hot Irish bad boys with accents. Steamy and dark mafia themes throughout. HEA included.
ALSO AVAILABLE FOR 0.99 AND ON KU
He’s dark and mysterious. Quiet and lethal.
An Irish mobster.
Pure sin wrapped up in a beautiful package.
But there’s also something off about him.
He doesn’t feel anything. He shows no emotions.
Sometimes I question his humanity.
He hasn’t spoken to me in two years. Not a single word.
But we share a secret, he and I.
And if it ever comes out, I have no doubt in my mind…
He won’t have a problem killing me too.
I’ve slain for her. I’ll do it again.
When it comes to Sasha, there isn’t a line I won’t cross.
I watch her. She doesn’t know it.
She thinks I hate her. Sometimes, I think I might too.
But I’m always there, lurking in the shadows.
Craving her. Trying to keep the beast within at bay.
I’ll keep her safe. I’ll slaughter anyone who tries to hurt her.
The only thing I can’t do… is protect her from myself.
****This is a full-length standalone novel full of hot Irish guys with accents. Dark mafia themes throughout. HEA included.****
BOOK 3 ALSO 0.99 AND AVAILABLE ON KU
That’s all it takes to have everything ripped away from you.
No one knows this better than Adam Beckerson and River Ahlers.
Each is fighting a losing battle with the death of Bobby and the fallout it causes. Adam loses a brother; River her best friend.
And while Adam finds himself fading into the bottom of a bottle, River finds the only thing she can do is run away from everything-- including Adam.Sometimes when you lose everything, you lose yourself. The important part is finding your way back again.
Faded Perfection $0.99
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Flawed Perfection FREE
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About Faded Perfection:
"Cassandra Giovanni captured my heart."
"Faded Perfection is an excruciating masterpiece"
"I think I spent most of the book not breathing. The emotions were too strong, my chest was tight and I just couldn't breath"
About Flawed Perfection:
"Flawed Perfection is a five ++ star read"
"OMG I'm emotionally drained, the heartache!"
"I was emotionally drained and loved every minute of it."
Someone had to do this, and it sure as hell wasn't going to be Adam. I breathed in and closed my eyes, only opening them as I exhaled and put one foot in front of the other. The key was hot from the heat of my body as it shook its way into the door knob. The metal clunked, and the wooden door swung open, leaving me staring at the empty room once filled with happiness. My eyes rushed over it as my mind flashed with memories, and my feet somehow continued in--all the way to Bobby's bedroom door. My chest constricted and stars popped in my vision as I swung it open. I found myself blinking rapidly as my eyes wandered the room, stopping on the dresser where frames contained pictures of Adam and me, Bobby and me, the three of us, and then Tara and Bobby. My feet yet again propelled me forward, but I stopped as I breathed in, choking on the air.
My body warmed as my chin trembled and I breathed in again.
There it was again.
Bobby. The room smelled like him.
My eyelashes fluttered against my cheeks as the scent encircled me. Bath and Body Works' Twilight Woods. The cologne we picked together when we were twelve. For fifteen years he'd worn it, even after Tara told him she hated it.
My eyes opened and moved to the hockey jersey hanging half out of a drawer--exactly where he left it that morning. My knees shook, and I found myself sitting on the bed staring at it. I reached forward, and the worn fabric embraced me as I brought it up to my chest. I pursed my lips together as the tears gathered and I pulled the jersey over my head, engulfing myself in his scent--it was embedded into this clothes despite constant washing. In my memories, his laughter carried through the room. It wasn't the first time I wore one of his jerseys. I closed my eyes and curled into a ball on his bed.
"So you remember it too?" Bobby's voice reached my ears, and the darkness behind my lids drifted away, parting until it was him and me in the tree house. I sat up on the bed, looking at him as he smirked at me from the edge of it. "See the thing is, I imagined it like this--you know? You practically naked;" his teeth ran over his bottom lip as his eyes ran up my legs, barely covered by my sleeping shorts. "in my jersey."
He moved forward and his hand cupped my chin as his thumb caught a tear. "You weren't crying in my fantasies, though. You cry so much now, Riv. I don't want you to cry."
I closed my eyes as my vision blurred from the weight of them, burdened by the false warmth of his touch.
"I've lost myself just as much as I've lost you," I whispered, trying to memorize the feeling of his soft hands against my skin. So caring and loving when everything seemed so cold now. "All my dreams are shattered without you."
Bobby's hands reached for my face, turning it, so I was looking at him. He was beginning to waiver in and out, and panic burned its way up my throat.
He was going to leave.
But this was so real.
"Please don't leave," I said, and the tears and clenching of my throat made the words as physically painful as they were emotional.
"I thought all my dreams shattered when I found out Adam was with you--and it was over for me--that I didn't have any more chances. My dreams realigned, though, Riv--they changed, refit into even better dreams. I expect you to do the same," he said, and he was fading faster; his body just a wisp and his touch a mere warmth with nothing substantial behind it.
"You'll figure out what to do, it might be hard, but in the end, it will work out. You and him are what's left of me. Remember that. Together you make me whole," he said, and his lips reached for my cheek, sending heat through my body as he disappeared.
"Bobby!" I yelled, and suddenly I was sitting straight up in the bed sobbing, the warmth of his lips against my cheek a stinging pain. I leaned back, pulling my knees to my chest and cried until the darkness consumed me.
This time, Bobby's warmth didn't return.
West's lips parted, but he seemed at a loss for words. "You can't not have friends-- you're so--"
"Nice, but driven and being driven tends to drive people away. In college I drove away all my friends by the end...except..." My voice faded, and I swallowed, glancing out at the dimly lit yard.
West reached across the table and put his hand over mine. "The tattoo?"
I bit my lip nodding.
He squeezed my hand and leaned back, his thumb drawing soft circles over my skin. "What about family? In my experience, they're kind of hard to drive away."
I scoffed, shaking my head as I looked down at our hands. "I see my dad once a week-- he comes up on Saturdays, and we spend the day watching TV, having dinner and talking."
"That sounds nice--so why do you seem so angry about it?" West's voice was soft, his words said slowly, as if he was afraid to insult me.
I fought the urge to stand up and sit in his lap--to be in the warmth his smile sent me-- to be wrapped in his natural happiness.
"My dad comes secretly. My mom and I... I'm not on good terms with her. I guess we were never on good terms but last year on Thanksgiving she crossed a line and I haven't been able to get passed it," I said, and my eyes moved up his hand to his arm spiraling with color --waves, koi fish, lotus and cherry blossoms. Mom would die if she saw him. If I was skanky, he was an absolute man-slut.
Jesse did say he's a womanizer. And you're a man-eater.
"Doesn't agree with your choices?" West asked as he lifted his wine up to his thin, very kissable lips.
My chest rose as I nodded.
"Well, let's say you'd probably go into shock if you met my family-- blue collar, nose in the air, house on the vineyard people. Very un-tattooed."
"And how do they take to--" I signaled to his arm and collarbone, my pulse hitching as he winked at me.
"You haven't even seen them all," he replied, and his eyes locked on mine, devious in their twinkle as if he knew I wanted to know where the others were. As if to say it's only a matter of time.
I swallowed hard, looking down at my pasta.
"Let's just say they got used to it...and my mom tries to think of it as art--my dad tries to think of it as proving I have a high pain tolerance and a talent with my hands."
My eyes shot up at that, and he leaned back laughing. My face burned, and my mind raced to places it should definitely not be.
"Do you now?" I managed to stutter.
Flirt. You're such a damn flirt.
I wasn't sure if I was chastising him or myself in my head--or worse, neither.
He reached across the table and flipped my arm, running his fingertips up to the tattoo he gave me and traced its outline. The tingling started from somewhere other than my arm, and I bit hard on my cheek as he sat back, wiggling his eyebrows.
"Yeah," I said as I leaned forward and grabbed my glass of wine. "You're talented alright."
Cassandra doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing. In fact, the first time she was published was when she was seven years old and won a contest to be published in an American Girl Doll novel. Since then Cassandra has written more novels than she can count and put just as many in the circular bin. Her personal goal with her writing is to show the reader the character’s stories through their dialogue and actions instead of just telling the reader what is happening. Besides being a writer, Cassandra is a professional photographer known for her automotive, nature and architectural shots. She is happily married to the man of her dreams and they live in the rolling hills of New England with their dogs, Bubski and Kanga.
Cassandra Giovanni is published by Show n’ot Tell Publishing based out of Connecticut, USA
Connect with Cassandra on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter. Learn more about her and her novels at her website, www.cgiovanniauthor.com and read the first ten chapters of each of her published novels through her Book Catalog.
Walking in the Shadows
BBBf-Sizzlereads-bestbookboyfriends & L.AB.B