Scars and Ruin. Her brand new book. Hot. Emotional. Raw.
The man known as Dutch is fine with being hated and feared. He keeps his mask on and his secrets close. There’s only one person who reaches past all that to who he used to be before the job hit too close to home. Sacrifices must be made, and Dutch steps up do just that. He’ll gladly pay the price to make sure Varun Patel is safe.
Loyalty to family expects it. His heart demands it.
And Patel rejects it.
Half of Varun Patel’s life resides in broken shadows he’d rather not remember. The other half is taken up by a man whose words push him away while his actions hold Patel close. Patel can’t forget the one night he spent in Dane Hutchins’ arms. The night promises were made. The night promises were broken.
If it were up to Dutch, Patel won’t ever know the bargains struck in his name. He won’t ever know the memory of them keeps Dutch fighting in his bleakest moments. But Dutch should’ve known that in the lonely hours, Patel would come for him. And when that time arrives, there’s no saying no. There’s only the inevitable.
Love amid the ruins.
Warning: Contains references to sexual abuse/rape.
His heart skipped a beat. More than one, if Varun Patel allowed himself to be honest. All the noise in his head went quiet at the brush of rough fingertips over his naked chest.
Over his heart.
Gray eyes locked on his face, watching him intently, the other man unblinking.
Patel wanted to make him blink. Wanted to hurt him, shatter him. Much like Dane Hutchins had shattered him. He should stay away, and truth be told, he’d done good so far. Except here he stood, courting the destruction. Eagerly anticipating that sweet ruin. Too much time had gone by between when he’d had Dutch crying out his name and now. So much shit remained between them, all those obstacles put there by Dutch himself.
He didn’t want Patel. Dutch had spoken the words himself, loud and clear and concise.
They wouldn’t work, he’d said all those years ago with their combined sweat still on his skin. With Patel’s cum glistening on the back of his thighs. Just a fuck, with Dutch’s palm prints on Patel’s ass, and strands of Dutch’s hair still in his grip.
Those words he’d groaned when Patel slid inside him? The words they’d said to each other? Meant nothing. Spoken in the heat of the moment, Dutch claimed.
But not too long ago, Patel had stood outside Dutch’s office door, listening to him get fucked by Kyo, the silent man with death in his eyes and blood in his past. Fingers leaving inprints on the wall, Patel had listened as Dutch shouted for him.
With another man’s dick inside him.
“Ruin me,” he whispered the words again.
Dutch’s eyes darkened and a muscle ticked in his jaw, but he didn’t take the bait. Didn’t accept the offer. Maybe he saw it for what it was… Desperation.
Patel wanted to feel. He only felt when Dutch was near.
Hunger, raw and breath-stealing. Heartache. Anger, visceral and all-consuming. And sadness, too. Of all the things he felt when he came close to Dutch, the sadness scared him most of all.
“Your wife is worried about you,” Dutch told him again. Somehow he always sounded so composed, untouchable. Smooth.
Patel made himself smile. “She sent you.” Of course she did. Dutch wouldn’t be there otherwise.
“She came to me, yes.”
It didn’t escape Patel’s notice that Dutch didn’t take his hands away. Those fingertips remained, barely there, but still so present.
“She offer me up to you again?” He lifted an eyebrow. Between Dutch and Stoyan, it was a fucking wonder he hadn’t already careened off the goddamn deep end. She continued to play matchmaker, knowing full well Dutch would never go there again. Shit, Patel couldn’t survive going there again.
“Stoyan wants you to be okay.”
Patel chuckled darkly. “You think you being here helps with that?”
“I want you to be okay.” A shadow crossed Dutch’s face. “I know today’s gonna be tough for you—”
“I was doing fine,” Patel told him. “I was doing more than okay, until you showed up.”
“The hooker and the coke?” Dutch asked. “It’s not even noon. That’s your version of okay?”
“Away from you,” Patel snapped. “That’s my version of okay.” But that wasn’t even in the same universe as the truth, was it?
Any expression on Dutch’s face disappeared, and once again those gray eyes held nothing. “So I’ll leave.” He tugged his hands, but Patel held on to him.
“Too late for that now.” He shuffled closer, tipped his head down a bit so that his nose touched Dutch’s and their lips brushed.
“We’re gonna finish what your hands on me started,” he whispered. “Our mutual destruction.”
“Don’t do this.” Dutch’s words were tight, but the fingers on Patel’s chest curled. Nails scraping at his skin, a thin trail of sharp pleasure.
“Why?” Patel asked. “Tell me why.”
“You’ll regret it tomorrow. You’re not in your right mind and—”
“No!” He whipped his head up and grasped Dutch’s jaw, holding him steady. Dutch shivered and the pulse on the underside of his jaw picked up speed. Patel could do that. He could make Dutch shiver and he could make him sweat, but he could never make him stay. “Why did you make those promises to me inside that hotel room? Why did you let me need you? Why did you walk away when I know you wanted to stay?”
He felt Dutch flinch.
“I didn’t want to stay.”
“No?” Patel dropped his hand and stepped back, allowing Dutch’s hands to fall away from him. He missed that touch. Missed it, but he pretended otherwise as he circled Dutch, stood at his back. “You meant to ride me then leave with my cum dripping down the back of your legs?” he asked softly. Lips at Dutch’s nape, Patel touched him, sifting fingers through hishair at Dutch’s nape.
He shouldn’t touch. Anger consumed him. Pain, too. But lust drove him. Ruled him.
Dutch made a sound, and Patel fisted his hair, yanking his head back so that Dutch was plastered against him, his back to Patel’s so very hard front, his head on Patel’s shoulder.
“You meant to be here, years later, crying out my name as Kyo tries in vain to wipe away the imprint of me on you?”
“Varun.” Dutch’s voice was different now, full of warning and need and the hunger he probably wished he didn’t feel.
Patel could make him do that, make him feel and make him pretend. He could never make Dane Hutchins stay.
“You didn’t want to stay,” he murmured against Dutch’s ear. “What did you want to do? Tell me.”
“Let me go.”
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Every so often, I want some classic music. Not classical, though I love it, but classic music. The kind when it comes on you know the words without even thinking about them. Some part of your brain kicks in and your mouth starts moving and you remember every lyric, every chord, every nuance, and where you were when or who you were with at some point in the past when you were listening to it.
This is one of those classic songs.
This is one of those classic bands.
This is one of those that when they being passing on, something will be forever lost and we’ll those of us left behind will be grateful we have the memories.
What brought this on? This need for this particular song? An article I read about a park in Winslow, Arizona called Standin’ On The Corner Park. They’ve erected a statue of the late Glenn Frey, long hair and mustache circa when the song first came out. On the corner. I think that’s awesome. This is something I’d like to see some day.
It’s that time of week again. It’s time to write. Time to challenge yourself (myself) to get 10,000 words in on the WIP. Or 10,000 words total between a couple of WIPs. However you choose to write, 10,000 words is the goal.
You have 4 days. Thursday – Sunday. Sign up with the Linky below. Leave your starting and ending word count in the comments. Use hashtag #10KWeekendsForWriters on social media. And last but not least, Get. To. Writing.
Social media. it’s a pain in the ass. It’s in our collective faces 24/7. It never shuts off or shuts up. It never takes a nap or a time out. It never earns it’s keep. It’s just… It’s become our source of warped truth, of vindication, of revenge, of mud-slinging, of endless commercials.
Every company uses social media. Twitter followers. Facebook likes. LinkedIn connections. Google Plus…(I haven’t figured out what this one is for yet). Instagram and Snapchat and Periscope so every second of every day can be recorded and posted for the world to see.
Life isn’t richer because of social media. Instead, it’s much more shallow. It’s a soap opera. It’s high school some days and jr. high on others. It’s I’m better than you and I’m going to prove it. It’s cliques and bullies and petty bullshit. It’s hate and my opinion is better/strong/more right than yours. And lately, it’s become a place to draw even more lines in the sand between the haves and have nots, the racists and the ones trying to forward a movement, the open-minded and the shriveled up and died minded.
There are instances of good. But it’s the bad that seems to win out on social media most of the time and rise to the top.
It’s given some a sense of power and prestige and a voice that is used more often to exclude than to include, to hurt, to malign.
I don’t want any part of it. I’m tired of the stress of it and stressful it is. And the worst of all? Facebook. Sure Twitter gets bad, but Facebook is a fucking pit in the worse neighborhoods of Hell. I’m over it. I post what I want, which isn’t much. I check my profile, the groups I’m in, and my Page roughly twice a day. That’s the extent of my involvement anymore. The newsfeed is hate and baiting, whether it’s race baiting or click bating. It’s people trying to tell others how to live, what opinion to have, what is and isn’t acceptable in the romance writing world,what is and isn’t acceptable to do for their family, and what posts they can or can’t comment on based on whether they’re black or white. Seriously? This is what we are? This is what we’ve become?
Sadly, yes. It is.
And this is why I’ve removed myself from it but for very limited involvement. The negativity, the stress, the hate, the drama, the racism. There’s enough of it in the outside the computer world. Except, I don’t see it in the interactions of actual human beings when I’m out in public, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Not like I see it online.
This kind of vitriol is not bringing anyone together. It’s tearing us apart. It’s making us weaker, not stronger. It’s bringing out the worst in us, not the better.
Life is too short. We’ve seen it. We know it. It plays out every second of every day on social media, on 24/7 news channels, on event alerts on our phones and tablets. But as a society, we’d rather fight than work to find a way to live together and revel and learn through our differences.
How fucking sad and pathetic we’ve become.
This is why we can’t have nice things. And dammit… I want nice things.
This is such an incredible book. It’s steamy and erotic. It’s emotional and heartbreaking. It’s simply incredible and you definitely want to read it!
Buy Links can be found below the excerpt!
He’s silent––but his touch speaks louder than words.
At first sight, Savannah is drawn to the harsh appeal of a man who refuses to talk to her. Keenan’s hard stare is arrogant and unapologetic. The quirk of his sensuous lips is cocky and in control.
But there’s more. There’s something deeper he’s trying to hide behind those steely grey eyes––a slight hint of vulnerability which captures her intrigue.
She’d been warned, told that his silence hides a myriad of lies capable of affecting her career and relationships with loved ones. Only she can’t help herself. Testing Keenan’s defenses is an addiction she can’t deny.
Falling in lust is easy. Learning his secrets comes with a price. The cost? Her broken heart.
The man was still at the end of the porch, a beer bottle now visible in his hand as he leaned over, resting his elbows on the banister. He didn’t acknowledge her presence. She supposed a man with arrogance ebbing off him in waves didn’t have to. His dismissal gave her the opportunity to appreciate his ass stretched in well-worn jeans and the perfection of how his black jacket rested at his hips to give her an unhindered view.
“Hi,” she offered for a second time.
He didn’t move, didn’t even spare her a glance as she approached the bannister. He continued staring straight ahead as he lifted the beer bottle to his lips and took a long pull.
“It’s a lovely night for a family dinner.” Was he a distant relative? God, she hoped not, otherwise Dominic’s inbred tendencies were rubbing off on her.
He replied with a jut of his chin. A jut of his god damn chin.
What an asshole. And wasn’t she just the stupidest set of ovaries to walk the earth, because it only made her itch to push his blatant need for solitude, to poke at him with questions until he acknowledged her with the respect she deserved. The respect any human deserved.
“So…you like beer…” she drawled, glib as hell.
The corner of his mouth twitched as he continued to focus on the street. But still, no answer.
She could smell him, could practically taste his delicious aftershave on her tongue with each inhalation. He was a taunt to all her senses…well, except her ears because the pretentious ass wouldn’t say a word.
He took another swig from his bottle and straightened to face her. She could see his eyes now, the steely silver, almost blue, that made her shiver with their ferocity. He was tall, too. At least an inch above her even with her heels.
She pulled the pre-mixed bottle from her jacket pocket and twisted the lid to keep her hands busy. She could see two outcomes eventuating. Either he would smile, knocking her off her feet with the brilliance of his appeal. Or he was going to pull a gun from the inside of his jacket and blow her brains out.
Playa or gangsta. He could totally pull off both.
“I’m usually a wine drinker myself.” She raised the bottle of bubbly red liquid in her hand, slowly tilting it to her mouth. She took a sip, licked the alcohol from her lips in a deliberately seductive provocation, then lowered the bottle again.
Still, he gave her nothing. Noth-ing. He was the most accomplished jerk she’d ever come across, and yet she still couldn’t ditch the intrigue and walk away. Without a word, he had her tied around his little finger, begging for attention.
“I like your jeans.” She ogled his crotch, wanting to return the discomfort of how humiliating this one-sided conversation was becoming. “They’re snug.”
His lips quirked, giving her a glimpse of straight white teeth. Asshole. Asshole. Ass-hole! He was gorgeous, the faintest hint of humor turning his dangerous eyes playful. She lifted the bottle to her mouth again, this time ignoring any pretense of seduction as she gulped at the liquid.
“Are you always this charm—”
The front door creaked open and she turned to find Dominic eying them both skeptically. “What’s going on?”
She smiled, the biggest, fakest smile she had in her arsenal. “I’m having an in-depth conversation with this lovely gentleman.”
“Really?” Dominic frowned, his brows pulling deeper with every passing second.
“Yep.” There was gushing amounts of sarcasm in her tone. “First we spoke about our drinking habits, then fashion. I was about to bring up the topic of politics and world peace when you rudely interrupted.”
She glanced at the man in the corner, an arrogant smirk now curving those sensuous lips. He wasn’t the only one capable of being a jerk.
“Well, that’s strange…” Dominic came closer. “Because Keenan doesn’t talk.”
It was her turn to frown. “What do you mean?” Her skin prickled with goosebumps as the weight of both their attention focused on her.
“I mean, Keenan doesn’t talk.” Dominic shot his friend a questioning look, but she was too focused on her cousin and shocked from his words to bother with the silent stranger’s response. “At all.”
Keenan cleared his throat. It was deep and gravel-rich, demanding her attention. When she turned to him, he raised a brow, throwing the rudeness she’d been wordlessly accusing him of right back in her face.
The muted accusation sent a shiver of unwelcome stupidity down her spine. She became uncomfortable in her own skin. Ashamed. But who the hell did he think he was? Just because he couldn’t, or didn’t want to, speak didn’t mean he lacked the skills to communicate his inability.
“Oh.” She smiled sweetly. “That clears things up.” She turned her attention to Dominic. “I thought he was just an asshole.”
Her cousin snorted. “Don’t worry, he is.” He bridged the distance between them and flung an arm around her shoulders, pulling her into his side. “Savvy, this is Keenan. He’s practically family. And Kee, this is Savvy, she actually is family, so stop being a prick and treat her nice.”
Her throat tightened and the moisture coating her mouth evaporated. Keenan stood there, taking another long pull of his beer, suave as hell, before placing it down on the bannister and holding out a hand.
She could already sense the exhilaration his touch would ignite. Her arm was tingling, all the way down to her palm and through her fingers. She stepped forward, sliding her hand into his, and tried to appear unfazed by the jolt that followed the brush of their skin. His mouth was mesmerizing. Both lips equally lush and soft. She wondered what he would look like when he smiled. A full, beaming smile. Would his eyes light up? Would the dark mysteriousness wash away?
“So you don’t talk?” She pulled her hand back even though a little part of her wanted to keep the connection.
He shook his head. Once. Stilted.
He definitely didn’t overcompensate for his lack of speech. Everything he did was calm and controlled—a jerk of his chin, a curve of his lips, a tilt of his head. The asshole knew he was intriguing. It was probably his calling card.
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