Friday, July 28, 2017

Release Day Blitz - Keeping Her Close by Dani Wyatt


 





















Black Rousseau has honored the code and kept his distance from the one thing in this world that means something to him. But things are about to change.   Black’s just received the blessing he’s been waiting for since the moment he set eyes on his boss’ daughter.


Growing up in the biker bar her father owned, Roxie Lear dreams of getting out of Hell, Michigan. The only other thing she’s always wanted is Black Rousseau. But he treats her like she doesn’t exist.  Until the day her father goes to prison, that is. And Black lets her know what’s been boiling behind his cool indifference all these years.


Will Black’s preparations to claim Roxie once and for all be too much for her?  Will the darkness inside of him frighten away the only thing in this world he’s ever needed?



Author note:   This alpha is a little dark and a bit brutal but he cherishes what is his.  As always, this story is safe/no cheating with the perfect happy ending.  Strap on your wrist cuffs and your safe word, this hot quickie of a smutty read will have you questioning your morals and wiggling in your seat.














C H A P T E R  O N E

Black

   “Black.”
   The newest waitress enunciates it like we’re fucking and she’s about to come. “Awesome. Name.”
   She maintains eye contact, licking her bottom lip and crossing her arms under her tits, conspicuously pushing them up until they are all but spilling out of the uniform black tank top. The name of the bar, The Long Draw, is printed in silver glitter across the front.
   Even in the middle of the day, this place is almost at capacity. But my ears are trained so even with the noise coming from the band rocking a Steely Dan cover and the hundred or so patrons yelling over each other in order to be heard, I still hear Ransom, the bartender, snort a chuckle behind me. I clench my teeth. In here, I’m all business. “You got your paperwork?” I feel my jaw pop.
   I’ve never touched a single one of the girls who works here. This newb will quickly get the lowdown from the staff, that’s for sure. If she continues, I will shut that shit down so fast it will make her bleach blond head spin.
   I’m not going to say I don’t touch the men who work here. It’s a rare occurrence, but I do not hesitate to shut their bullshit down as well, usually with a foot in their ass. A place like this, every night you gotta come in like a warrior. Ready for anything and prepared for everything.
   The staff and the patrons here smell weakness like a shark on blood.
   The irony is, with this iconic biker culture and all, you’d expect the man who founded it to be a biker. He’s not and I’m not.
   I’ve never even been on a bike. Never wanted to. Not that everyone who comes in here rides up on their custom Harley, but when you own a bar in Hell, Michigan, you are going to attract your share of bikers from all over this country. All over the world, in fact.
   My newest hire leans back in disappointment, checking her manicure, barely hiding her irritation that her flirtation met with my frigid demeanor. But I don’t care. She’ll learn that. I’m a son of a bitch, and it doesn’t bother me in the least.
   I flip through her new-hire packet, making sure all the critical components are in order. I may not look it, but I’ve got a sharp eye for details. Running a business is all about the details and who ever thought a fuck like me would be good at anything? Let alone running a successful as hell bar that’s given me and the owner bank accounts to envy.
   I don’t miss her eyes running me up and down as she stares, though it draws nothing from me but increased irritation.
   “Looks good.” I hand the stack of papers her way, running a hand from my forehead to the back of my head, pushing the hair that’s constantly falling down back into place. “Take that and give it to Stella in the back. She’ll set up your section for tonight, give you house rules again, and you’ll train with Rita.”
   She gives me a snarky eye roll as she comes back, “I don’t need to train—” But I cut her off without ceremony.
  “There’s the fucking door.” I jerk my head to the left, where the bouncers are checking IDs and collecting the ten-dollar cover just to walk in. “Got it?”
   To my surprise, she proves she has something between her ears, because without another word, she’s spun on her stiletto toward the back hallway.
   Another snort from Ransom and I turn to see him squirt 7UP into four rocks glasses lined up on the worn wooden bar.
   “If I had one tenth of the tail you have wagging in your face, I’d die the happiest man on the fucking planet.” He shakes his head as he tops off each of the four glasses with Seagram’s and a maraschino cherry, then lifts two in each hand onto Trina’s waiting tray. “Table six, beautiful.”
  She rolls her eyes, but a wry grin plays on her lips as Ransom tops off his compliment with a wink.
   “Shut the fuck up.” I stand from the barstool, arching my back.  
   I toss back the last bit of my smoothie with a satisfied grunt, then slide the glass to Ransom, smacking my lips together.
   He knows I don’t poach; he and everyone else in this place. In fact, my lack of interest in anything resembling the opposite sex has become more than just whispers and speculation to the staff, but I don’t give a fuck. Think what they want, gossip all they want...sticking my dick in any pussy that offers was never my thing to begin with. And in the last six years, it’s not only just not my thing, it’s impossible.
   “How do you drink that shit?” He shakes his head with a disdainful squint as he picks up my empty glass with his fingertips, as though it is tainted with Ebola.    
   “I don’t taste it. I just drink it. Mind over matter.”     
   “Hemp seed and pea protein?” He looks like he’s going to vomit as he turns to put the glass in the sink. The sides are coated with the grainy remains of my daily regimen. “If I could refuse to make that for you, you know I would. There’s gotta be some rule about making some hippie health drink behind the counter of the biggest biker bar in three states.”
   I choke out a laugh. “This isn’t a biker bar. It’s a tourist attraction.”
   “That it is,” he agrees, tending to the next in an endless line of waitresses that will come and go from the service station on his twelve-hour shift.
   Just at that moment, my senses prick, and I feel my back straighten. They say grizzly bears have the olfactory capacity to pick up scents from up to eighteen miles away. I think when it comes to Roxie, I’ve got that shit beat.
   She’s not even around the corner yet, but I know she’s coming. It’s not even the scent. No, after all these years, it’s as though I see her with some sixth or seventh sense, something bestowed upon me by hell itself.
   Because seeing her, smelling her, knowing she’s close and never being able to touch her has been my own personal living hell. But I’d take this torture every day until the end of my days just to know she’s close. Safe.
   Having her in my life in any way has given me purpose.
   But today, things are different. I want to hold her more than usual. Because she’s hurting and I can’t fix it. Fuck, I’m hurting, but that doesn’t affect me. I’ve learned to put away my emotions for her sake. Most people who know me think I’m a black hearted son of a bitch. And I can be. I am about a lot of shit, but truth is, when it comes to her, I’d give my right nut just to hold her in my lap.
   Brush her fucking hair.
   Listen to her tell me every thought and dream in that amazing mind.  
   My dick is hard as lead just knowing she’s about to step into my day, same as she has every day for the last six years. Only today, she needs me to step up into her world. More than ever. More than was allowed before.
   And I intend to do just that, even if it kills me.


AP  new -about the author.jpg

Dani Wyatt loves her alpha men; make them military, cowboys, MMA -- any uber alpha with a wicked possessive streak and an insatiable libido. Receive a free exclusive unpublished title when you join Dani's private readers group for updates, free chapters and discounts.

She's a 40 something regular lady who just happens to love badass alpha males who pull your hair and love their women with a lethal passion.

When she's not writing (which is not often) she is probably laughing about some irony (like A-1 Steak Sauce is vegan), riding her horse, wondering why The Walking Dead can't have a new episode every night, or looking cross-eyed at some piece of technology sent to ruin her day.
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Romance Between The Pages presents this week's incredible bestselling author, JESSICA HAWKINS


Ever wondered about the personalities behind your favorite books? Victoria Danann's new podcast with Riley J. Ford has an incredible lineup of authors booked through the spring. No question is out of bounds. Check it out!

THIS WEEK'S BEST SELLING AUTHOR...
JESSICA HAWKINS!

Jessica Hawkins is an Amazon bestselling author known for her “emotionally gripping” and “off-the-charts hot” romance. Dubbed “queen of angst” by both peers and readers for her smart and provocative work, she’s garnered a cult-like following of fans who love to be torn apart…and put back together.

She writes romance both at home in California and around the world, a coffee shop traveler who bounces from café to café with just a laptop, headphones, and coffee cup. She loves to keep in close touch with her readers, mostly via Facebook, Instagram, and her mailing list.


My review of A Losing Battle by Annie Stone

This is the second book in the series and A Fighting Chance needs to be read first.

Mackenzie Hall is stuck in the middle of a very bad situation. As her relationship with Carter Tilman continues to deteriorate her feelings for his son, Hunter are on the rise. But Hunter as left her and his brother Carey to join the Marine Corp leaving her unsure of what her feelings really are.

Hunter Tilman has left home to join the Marine Corps and his relationship with his dad is over with his choice of careers. He is completely in love with Mackenzie and knows he can't be around her while she is still with his father. Yet he continues to support her, especially when he discovers her traumatic past.

When Hunter and Mackenzie give in to their feelings everything explodes around them and they both lose everything. Will Hunter give Mackenzie a chance to tell him the truth or will he continue to love her at a distance and ruining any chance for a happy ever after?

I both loved and hated this book at the same time!!

This book took me through a series of emotions and there are so many characters that I just want to smack to wake them up and make them realize that communication is the key to success!!

I love Mackenzie and the strength she has from everything that she went through as a child until now. I can't believe how much she is doing and still not truly giving up on Hunter even though she hasn't talked to him in years. I absolutely love her relationship with Carey and I am so glad that she has him to help her through everything.

I loved Hunter at the beginning of the book but he frustrated the living hell out of me by being a complete ass. I know something big is coming by the way this book ended and it frustrates me to no end as he doesn't have to be where he is if he listened to someone or for that matter anyone.

I was so happy when it looked like things were finally going to happen but then Hunter left so quick I was mad. He never gave Mackenzie even ten minutes before jumping to the worst conclusion. So mad!!

So I was also super mad at Shane and even Carey for not saying anything to Hunter while they had a chance. I know Shane didn't want to get involved yet especially with Hazel you'd think that saying something to Hunter really would have been the best thing for everyone involved.

So while I was super mad at a lot of the events in this book I loved the book at the same time for making me feel so much emotion and frustration as I was completely sucked into the book and I hate that I have to wait for the next book!!

5 Stars

Blog Tour - A Losing Battle by Annie Stone





































Hunter has left home to join the Marine Corps, leaving Mackenzie behind, confused and unsure about her feelings. She loves Carter, she really, really does, but could there be a spark between her and Hunter, as well?

Mackenzie does the only thing she can in the circumstances: she buries her conflicting emotions in her work. But when she sees Hunter again, she knows the time for a decision has come.

Little does she know, time is running out for the both of them.







Hunter

When we get out off the bus at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, we’re told to step onto the yellow footprints, our first formation for close-order drill. They used the bus ride to give us a first impression of our new life as Marines. To sum it up: nothing here is even remotely gentle or pleasant.
We’re allowed to call home and inform our next of kin that we’ve arrived safely. But, obviously, I don’t. I can’t risk Mac picking up. Hearing her voice would kill me. What if she sounded sad? I’d be on my way home in an instant—but that would make me a deserter. And what if she sounded happy? My heart would turn to dust.
After people have made their calls, we’re given uniforms and a “high and tight”—that hot Marine-style haircut. I already wear my hair short, but after they’re done, I’m practically bald.
That first day, we have to fill in forms, then we get some vaccines and undergo medical examinations. And then? They give us our first weapon.
For three days, we’re up and running without any sleep whatsoever. After that, we have to take the IST—the initial strength test—to see whether we’re fit to be Marines.
First, we’re required to do sit-ups—at least forty-five in two minutes. I’m glad I’m in good shape, thanks to football—and Shane. While it’s happening, I don’t really have time to see how the others do, but I do notice some of them giving up. So far, I haven’t really talked to anyone. But after three days without sleep, expecting anyone to get anything done is pretty much a miracle.
Next, we do pull-ups. We have to do three, which seems laughable. I can do way more, but no need to show them. After that, we have to complete a one-and-a-half mile run in less than thirteen and a half minutes. Not a problem. Even when groggy and sleep deprived. But this is how they separate the wheat from the chaff. I would be embarrassed to be failing already, but some of these guys really do not measure up to what’s expected of a Marine.
I’ve never been so exhausted in my life. You know when you’re dead tired, but then you keep going and get beyond that point? No? I don’t either. I’d fall asleep standing up if they’d let me. But there isn’t a quiet minute to be had. The only good thing about all this? There’s no time to think.
I reach my limits on “Black Friday.” We meet our drill instructor, who yells at us and intimidates us, pushing our psychological limits. Shane told me about this—including the fact that they make the initial stage of boot camp as confusing and disorienting as possible to let us know that civilian life is over for us, and life as a Marine is something completely different.
But it’s tough. In my family, there’s never been a lot of yelling. Dad probably yelled at me for the first time in five years just last week. And suddenly there’s this guy yelling directly into your ear, not giving you an ounce of the respect you’re used to, the respect your father always said you deserved. Your initial impulse is not to stand there and take it. Growing up in liberal California has made it difficult to take that kind of abuse. But I do anyway. I know they want total obedience so that we can function in extreme situations, and this is what I want.
But that was only the Receiving Phase.
As soon as we enter Phase One, I’ll want to go back to the first part of our training—or to any other part of my life, for that matter. Phase One will take four weeks, and they’ll break us down psychologically, trying to expel every last ounce of civilian behavior from our bones. Because we are no longer civilians. We are Marine recruits. Everything we’ve done in our lives thus far is wrong and bad for us if we want to be proper soldiers.
Strict discipline, endless training, and the same routines over and over again—these are the building blocks of our first few weeks. Training is easy for me. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but I knew it was going to be bad. I’ve been preparing myself for this, which makes it easier. I can take it. But what I really hate is all the stuff they do to rob us of our individuality. Your entire life people have been telling you to choose your own path and stop being like a sheep following the herd, and suddenly it’s the exact opposite they want from you.
We’re not supposed to be individuals. We’re supposed to be a team. And it makes sense. We need to be able to rely on each other. In combat, we can’t be successful if we’re not a cohesive unit, but it’s still tough. We’re only allowed to talk about ourselves in the third person, saying things like “This recruit understands” and stuff. Everything inside me rebels against it, but I know that’s part of it all.
At night, I lie awake trying not to think about Mac. She is my strength and my greatest weakness at the same time. I want to make her proud, show her what kind of a man I am. But thinking of her also opens up wounds inside me. It’s hard to love and not be loved back.
On the other hand, intense physical and mental exhaustion makes it impossible to give too much thought to anything. It may sound strange, but I embrace the rigidity. I don’t want to think about all the things that are going wrong in my life, and instead focus on surviving this. And it’s like the drill sergeants know it. They make sure that if they ever give us a free moment, all we want to do is sleep.
We learn about the history of the Marines, the rank structure, first aid. We study formations and uniforms. We learn how to handle our weapon, clean it, and always have it with us. We start our close-combat training. Without weapons, with repurposed weapons, and with our rifle, which is going to accompany us throughout boot camp.
We don’t talk much. Usually we’re half dead when they stop yelling in our ears. But the first friendships develop somehow. Killian Hastings is my bed neighbor. Cool guy. A natural-born soldier, a natural-born Marine. He passes every exam like he was made to do this. If he wasn’t cool, I would hate him. But he’s a team player, always thinking about others first. He is not a leader and never will be, but he is the glue you need to build a team.
Joey Montana is the second comrade I would call a friend. He’s a joker, always up for some banter. And let me tell you, I need it—especially in the third week when we start our swimming and water survival training. The pressure is getting worse. Because this is the first time they can kick us out of boot camp. Fail twice, and you can forget about being a Marine.
It’s enough to drives you to despair. But we don’t have time for that, either. We are not supposed to think, and our superiors take that idea seriously. And they’re really good at it.
Our training gets harder by the day. The stronger we get, the more they expect from us. The more our bodies get used to the strain, the tougher it gets. We’re made to repeat everything, in order to engrain it into our brains and make it muscle memory—so that we’re able to do every exercise in our sleep. It’s tiring. But nobody ever said boot camp was going to be easy.
It does help against heartbreak, though. The harder I work, the less I think of Mac, simply because my brain’s capacity is insufficient to deal with anything beyond survival.
And then there’s the part of Phase One I dread the most. The gas chamber. I don’t want to go in. But we have to. If we leave it, they send us back in. If we don’t obey, they kick us out of boot camp.
I’m standing there with my gas mask doing calisthenics when they tell us to take off our masks. I take it off and feel panic trying to conquer my insides. I can’t do this is the only thought in my head. I can’t do this, but I have no choice. I can’t give up because I wouldn’t know what else to do. I can’t go back home, back to that situation. That might make me a coward, but the thought of it just rips my heart out. Every time Dad kisses her, I want to grab her from his arms and punch him in the face because he’s kissing my girl. But I don’t think the caveman method would sit too well with him.
No, I need to stick to this. It’s all I have.
There comes the command to put our masks back on.
It’s over. My panic recedes.
The threat of Mac has saved me, even if I wish I could entertain more positive thoughts of her.
Before we go to bed, we get one hour of square-away time. It’s not every night, only when our DI says so. We have to make sure our gear is up to scratch, and while we’re not allowed to shower or sleep, we’re allowed to shave, which feels good. We’re also allowed to read and write letters. I keep getting letters from Carey, but I don’t read them, and I don’t write back. I just can’t. It makes me too sad. I feel horrible about leaving him. The only thing that makes me feel a little better is the idea that I’ve left him with Mac.
“Hey, man,” Joey says, sitting down beside me. “There’s this girl I like. She wrote to me, and I want to write back, but all I can think of is the fact that I want to stick my dick inside her.”
I smile.
“Something makes me think that wouldn’t be such a good idea,” he says. “Can you help me out?”
“It depends where you are in your relationship. Have you ever had your dick inside her?” I ask.
He smiles. “Everywhere.”
Across the room, Killian laughs. “I don’t believe you. If you’d actually been inside her ass, you’d know what to write to her.”
“A sonnet to her juicy ass?” Joey asks, laughing.
“Thinking of her juicy ass, I can survive the harshest gas,” Killian says with mock severity.
“Oh man, that was horrible,” I laugh, wiping tears from my eyes.
“When I see her juicy ass, I want her to blow my brass,” somebody else quips.
“Dude, I lose my fucking wits, sucking on her awesome tits,” yells another bard from the other side of the dorm. I laugh because it just feels good to be young and stupid for a change.
“Let me be blunt, I’d fuck her cunt.”
“She sucks my dick, it’s hard as a brick.”
“Good thing none of you have to make a living as a poet,” Joey says. “I actually like her, okay?”
“Hey, man, there’s no need to wallow. She might like you too—does she swallow?”
“Well, if she doesn’t suck it up, you can serve it to her in a cup.”
We laugh and laugh until we hear: “What exactly is there to laugh about, recruits? Free time’s over. A hundred and twenty seconds to get showered. Go!”
A hundred and twenty seconds isn’t that long, but you learn really quickly to only wash the important parts. Normally, this would include my dick—just in case it gets sucked—but there’s nobody here I would want on the job. And besides, I kind of swore an oath I would only ever let Mac do it.
Fuck. I really didn’t think that promise through.
Overall, it gets easier. A person can get used to anything. The tough training becomes second nature, and it gets easier to adjust to the whole drill. Phase Two is mainly weapons training. We’re sent to Edson Range, at Pendleton, for three weeks, where we practice marksmanship. We have to pass several exams, but they prepare us well. And let’s face it. We’ve been through worse. Still, when we get our first badges for marksmanship, it feels good to have achieved something tangible, to get to tick some boxes.
I don’t know whether it’s because we’re going through the same experience, or maybe you just get used to each other more easily in times of crisis, but Killian and Joey become like brothers to me. I don’t want to put Carey down, but I would entrust my life to them before him.
It also quickly becomes clear why the buddy system is such a hit. It is much easier to make it through difficult situations when you have moral support. We cheer and egg each other on—whenever we’re not too tired to open our mouths. Without my two buddies, this would be much harder.
Killian is from Texas and looks like an all-American boy. Normally. There’s hardly anything left of his blond hair, but his blue eyes still shine, even at the ends of the toughest days. He’s tall, not as tall as me, but then again, few are. He has a sunny disposition, and nothing can faze him. He’s always cool, never reacts to people teasing him. Not that a lot of them would try. I guess with his looks, you’re predestined to be respected.
Joey, on the other hand, is small. Sometimes I wonder aloud how he passed the minimum height and weight requirements—but only to tease him. He’s not actually that small, and he has endless strength and endurance. Where Killian and I have trouble with our height, Joey always gets through. Not that I’m jealous or anything.
At the end of our marksmanship training, the platoons compete with each other, and we win, breaking out into enthusiastic cheers. This really lifts morale on our team, and it also earns us a bonus. We’re allowed to make phone calls. A privilege I don’t use…
Still, the next week feels like we’re on break. They take our measurements for our gala uniforms, and any medical conditions are treated. It’s only four weeks left. Then we’re done. The goal during our final phase is to put everything we’ve learned together and polish our initial skill set. This includes an exam and a performance test that I pass with flying colors.
I’m stronger than I was a few weeks ago, not just physically, but mentally, too. I no longer have any doubt: I know what my life is going to look like, and I have accepted it. Physically, I’m somewhat wider, having built up more muscle. And it’s made me feel more at home inside my body. Often, when you’re tall, you subconsciously hunch down in order not to stand out. And even though I’ve always been relatively confident, I’ve always had to bend down to communicate with other people. Which messed with my posture. And, in psychological terms, it does the same to you as walking through life with a bent back.
But now? Now I have a completely different outlook.
Boot camp has given me a new confidence, the type of confidence you can only gain knowing that you’ll be able to defend yourself in any situation you’ll ever face—be it with words, weapons, or your own bare hands.
At the end of boot camp, we’re divided into groups to do a final exam lasting two days. It’s a combat simulation testing us in different stress situations, including sleep and food deprivation, and danger to your body and your life.
It is difficult, but it’s surprising how you can turn into a completely different person in such a short period of time. Twelve weeks ago, I would never have believed I could do this. Now, it seems like I was born to do it, like I’ve never done anything else in my life. And it feels good. It shows what I’ve achieved, what I can achieve if I make up my mind. A lot of it is physical, but it is the mental strength I’ve gained that really surprises me.
After twelve weeks, we’re done. Finally, I want to say. But that’s not how I feel.
Now it feels like I’m leaving my family all over again. It’s not a good feeling.
Joey wants to join the infantry, while Killian and I are going to do twenty-nine days of Marine Combat Training before joining the Marine Combatant Divers. At least it’s good to know I don’t have to leave everybody behind again.
After graduation, we’ll get ten days off. Killian has invited me to Texas, and I’ve decided to accept because I still can’t imagine going home. And I have nowhere else to go.

Everybody is desperate for our graduation ceremony. Not just because it means we’ve made it, but because they’re proud. They want to show their loved ones what they’ve achieved. Personally, I don’t care about that part of it, but I haven’t told the others that when I’m done here, I won’t have anybody waiting to congratulate for me.
At the ceremony, we stand in formation to listen to the final talk, the finish to this chapter of our training. As Marines. All around me, my comrades are hugging their mothers, sisters, and girlfriends. All around me, there is love.
But I’m all alone.
“Hey, soldier!” I hear the voice behind me but don’t turn.
For a moment, I stay completely still, certain I’m hallucinating. Finally, I turn around.
And there’s Mac, standing in front of me in a summer dress. She is so beautiful my breath stops for a moment.
“Marine,” I say softly.
She smiles. “Hey, Marine.”
She comes closer, somewhat unsure about how to act, before throwing herself around my neck. I hug her back, pick her up, and squeeze her really tight.
“I’m so proud of you,” she whispers in my ear.
Fuck, hearing that from her really turns me on!
When, after half an eternity, I put her back down, I look into her teary eyes. “How did you know?”
She shrugs. “I’m stalking you.”
I smile. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything more beautiful in my life. “Oh, really?”
“I knew you wouldn’t tell me, but I wanted you to know how incredibly proud of you I am. I knew you’d make it.”
Right now, I feel ten feet tall instead of six. No, wait! I’m not even mortal. I’m a god!
My girl is proud of me. Is there anything in the world better than that?
“Carey’s here, too,” she says.
I look around and see him standing a little off to the side. He looks insecure, like he doesn’t know whether he’s welcome here. I hate myself for making my brother question whether I care about him. I run over to him and pull him into my arms.
“I’ve missed you, bro,” I say quietly, patting him on the back
“You never wrote back,” he says, his fingers clawing into my uniform like he never wants to let me go again.
“I’m sorry. I couldn’t. I always wanted to, but I couldn’t. It would have broken my focus.”
Carey nods. “I thought…”
“I’m sorry, man. I always want you in my life. You’re my brother. The only family I’ve got.”
“You’ve got Mac, too,” he says quietly, and I look over at her. She’s standing a few steps away, her cheeks shiny, looking at us but giving us privacy.
I nod. “I’ve got Mac, too, but not like I want her.” Oops. That just came out. I wasn’t planning to tell Carey.
But he says, “I know.”
I give him a surprised look. “You do?”
“I’m not blind. Your goodbye kiss was pretty obvious,” he says. “And I’m not deaf, either. Dad and Mac fight about you all the time.”
“That bad?”
He shrugs just as Mac steps closer. “Is everything okay, boys?”
I nod, putting my arm around her shoulders to pull her close again. I plant a kiss on her head.
“Hey, Tilman!” Joey calls, coming toward us.
“Hands off,” I joke before I introduce him. He kisses Mac’s hand and smiles at Carey.
“My parents want to go grab a bite to eat. They wanted to invite my friends. You coming?”
I look at Mac and Carey.
“They can come,” Joey says quickly.
Mac shakes her head. “Thanks, that’s really sweet, but I need to go.” She avoids my eye, and I know she’s thinking about Dad.
I make an effort to hide my disappointment as I tell Joey, “Carey and I’ll be there in a second.”
“I’m sorry,” Mac whispers.
“It’s okay,” I say, even though nothing is okay. In that moment, I realize—no, remember—that she’s never going to leave Dad for me.
This needs to stop. Otherwise I will not survive it.
“How long do you get off?” she asks.
“Ten days.”
“Are you coming home?”
“Home. Nice word, but I no longer have one,” I say, shocked at the bitterness in my own voice.
She nods, tears running down her cheeks. “I—”
“Let it go, Mac. Let it go.”
She quickly presses herself against me and runs away without turning around again. I look after her.
“Hunt…”
“She’s never going to leave him, is she?”
Carey shrugs. “No idea, man. But I wouldn’t wait for it.”




















I'm a contemporary romance writer, who likes her men tattooed, her women independent and her coffee strong.

My stories are all about love, but some are of the romantic kind, some of the sad kind and others of the very steamy kind. So if you can stand drama, foul language and sex, you came to the right place.

Love, Annie



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