Review: Kennedy in Denver


Title: Kennedy in Denver

Author: R. Colora

Genre: Romance

Heat-o-Meter: R

Rating: C+


Kennedy Brennan was just about to start her life after graduating from the Barton Music Conservatory, She and her 3 best friends decide to have one last night out before the graduation ceremony the next morning. Accepting drinks from a secret admirer brings her life to a screeching halt. After waking up from a coma and facing her attacker during a trial she changes her identity and starts a new life in Denver. Finding an old run down building across the street from her favorite bakery she plans to start a Music Conservatory of her own. The only thing standing in her way is Billionaire Real Estate Developer and One of America’s Most Eligible Bachelors Easton Kerrigan.

Kennedy and Easton’s Story is the beginning of a 6 book Series involving The Kerrigan Siblings and Friends.


This book is filled with really likable characters. I loved Easton and Kennedy’s families! Also, this book is like a drama and angst filled soap opera! I loved it! It certainly keeps you turning the page to find out what happens next!


The pacing of the book felt off to me. There were times things would happen so quickly and weren’t really described well. I found myself flipping back to see if I skipped something. Also, throughout the book Kennedy (and eventually some other characters) discuss having conversations and encounters with dead friends/loved ones. This might be really annoying/unrealistic to some readers since these conversations with the dead guide a lot of Kennedy’s actions. I, however, wasn’t really bothered by it but I wanted to mention it since some people will roll their eyes and find it very unrealistic.

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Freebie Friday

Happy Friday Disciples!! Its been dreary and raining here so its been perfect for reading! Here are your freebie links! Enjoy!

Romantic Suspense

Watch Me by Cynthia Eden

Rough by Skye Warren

Hot Pursuit by Lynn Raye Harris

Leverage by Jessica Wilde

No One to Trust by Katie Reus

Consequences by Aleatha Romig

A Fighter’s Desire by L.P. Dover

Sinners by Katheryn Kiden

Contemporary Romance

Loving Lauren (West Series Book 1) by Jill Sanders 

Lovestruck in London by Rachel Schurig

Unmasked by Melody Grace

Forever Mine by Elizabeth Reyes

Attraction: Elements of Chemistry by Penny Reid (and see my review here)

Paranormal Romance

Forever by Eve Newton

Unseen by Stephanie Erickson

Edgewood by Karen McQuestion

The Witch Hunter by Nicole Taylor

What categories do you want to see freebies next week? Let me know on FB, Twitter, or in the comments below!

Review: Romancing the Alpha Box Set

Title: Romancing the Alpha Box Set
Author: Zoe York, Ruby Lionsdrake, Zara Keane, Anna Hackett, 
Ember Casey, Anna Lowe, Sadie Haller, 
Lyn Brittan, Lydia Rowan, and Leigh James
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 7, 2015
HOT NEW adventure romance super bundle. Spice up your summer with 10 never-before-published action-adventure romance stories by bestselling authors. Kick butt and fall in love with sexy Navy SEALs, treasure hunters, mercenaries, and more. Let the adrenaline flow!
Zoe York — FALL BACK 
When Navy SEAL Cade Duncan partners up with Mel Vincent for an endurance race, he doesn’t expect to tumble into a romantic fling in paradise—or to be so pissed with the beautiful woman when he finds out she’s been keeping secrets. 
When firefighter and mercenary Marat Azarov rescues a beautiful slave woman from a life of certain torment, he gets more than he bargained for.
When underwater photographer Katy Ryan embarks on a secret mission to salvage priceless jewels from the wreck of the RMS Lusitania, she’s pissed as hell to be be pitted against Dex Fitzgerald, her super sexy treasure hunter ex. 
When astro-archeologist Lexa Carter discovers a map to an old Earth treasure, she’s thrilled about a treasure hunt to a dangerous, desert planet—but not about being saddled with head of security, Damon Malik. She thinks he’s arrogant. He thinks she’s a trouble magnet. But when the hunt turns deadly, they’ll have to trust each other just to survive. 
Charlotte knows she’s in trouble the moment Jackson North shows up at her door in the middle of the night. She always suspected her ex had secrets, but she never thought those secrets would lead her on a wild treasure hunt through Croatia’s islands—or throw her back into the arms of the dangerous man who once broke her heart. 
Anna Lowe — UNCHARTED 
The last thing archaeologist Julie Steffens needs is a gang of armed mercenaries after her for a crime she didn’t commit. And the last rescuer she wants is Seth Cooper, the sizzling vacation fling who disappeared from her bedside two months before. But right now, she needs a way out — and Seth’s sailboat is it. 
Sadie Haller — TAINTED PEARL 
The last person Biddy expects to greet her at the start of her secret four-week eco-activism island adventure is a red-blooded alpha male, and the irresistible camera operator proves to be a big, bad complication she’s unable to resist. 
Lyn Brittan — THE DUKE OF AMBRA 
When treasure hunter Kent Avery ends up partnered with Swedish military officer Elena Haaland in search of a stolen Russian artifact, he’s not expecting love. Guns? Sure. Fist fights? No problem. But love? Well that’s the one danger he’s just not prepared for. 
A bad breakup sent Nola Bailey to Vietnam. Instead of cold cocktails and sandy beaches, she finds the irresistible Duarte Cruz and trouble. Cruz thinks she’s up to no good, but if she convinces him she’s not—and dodges the flying bullets—her ultimate escape could end with love. 
Leigh James — COVER ME 
Matthew Riley is determined to leave his dangerous mercenary lifestyle behind. But when he takes what’s supposed to be a relaxing vacation to the Yucutan Peninsula with his wife Meredith and their friends, he discovers that he can’t afford to leave his job behind, in more ways than one…
There is a bit of everything in this box set!!! Contemporary, Sci-Fi, fantasy, you name it, you can find it here! I felt that all the stories included were engaging and well written! They are a little more like novellas and I found I really liked that! I was able to finish each story quickly and I was sucked into most of them! Was every story in this box set for me? No. But, I found myself still thinking about the stories after I finished reading, and thats a good thing. So, for 99 cents, its totally worth grabbing this!!
Rating: B+
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Zoe York is a busy working mom of two young boys, wife to a very understanding soldier, and creator of modern, sexy, small town contemporary romances. Her debut novel, What Once Was Perfect, started the popular Wardham series, and her first military romance, Fall Out, was released as part of the international bestselling SEALs of Summer super bundle. 
She lives in London, Ontario and is currently chugging Americanos, wiping sticky fingers, and dreaming of heroes in and out of uniform.

Lyn grew up wanting to live like her heroes, James Bond and Indiana Jones. She wasn’t totally successful and never had to shoot her way out of a hotel bedroom. She’s still coming to terms with it. Awards and woot-woots include: Amazon Sci-Fi Romance Best Seller, ARe Best Selling Author, 2013 and 2014 SFR Galaxy Award Winner.
Zara Keane grew up in Dublin, Ireland, but spent her summers in a small town very similar to the fictional Ballybeg.
She currently lives in Switzerland with her family. When she’s not writing or wrestling small people, she drinks far too much coffee, and tries – with occasional success – to resist the siren call of Swiss chocolate.
To listen to her talking about the Ballybeg series and her plans for future books, check out the Audio Files page.

Anna Hackett passionate about action romance. I love stories that combine the thrill of falling in love with the excitement of action, danger and adventure. I write about people overcoming unbeatable odds and achieving seemingly impossible goals. I like to believe it’s possible for all of us to do the same.
My parents are to blame for my insatiable need to mix action and romance. When I was young, I raided my mother’s romances and my father’s action adventure thrillers. I love being exhilarated and left just a little breathless. I love car chases, explosions and spaceships…and of course when the boy wins the girl. Oh, and I’m a sucker for that moment when the team is walking in slow motion, shoulder-to-shoulder heading off into battle. After reading, watching or writing an awesome action romance story, I’m left energized and feeling like anything is possible. I aim to give the same to my readers.
I love hearing from fellow action romance lovers!
EMBER CASEY is a USA Today bestselling author living in Atlanta, Georgia in a den of iniquity (or so she likes to tell people). When she’s not writing steamy romances, you can find her whipping up baked goods (usually of the chocolate variety), traveling (her bucket list is infinite), or generally causing trouble (because somebody has to do it). Her first contemporary romance, His Wicked Games, was published in June 2013.

Anna Lowe is a middle school teacher who loves dogs, sports, and travel – and letting those inspire her fiction. Once upon a time, she was a long-distance triathlete and soccer player. Nowadays, she finds her balance with yoga, writing, and family time with her husband and young children.
Anna started reading romance in spite of herself (because tomboys don’t read romance – right? Wrong!) and has enjoyed reading and writing in the genre ever since. Two of her favorite romance authors are Kristan Higgins (for sweet love stories) and Rosalind James (for the combination of a New Zealand setting and sports). She’s a fan of capable heroines like Rylee Adamson (by Shannon Mayer, who mixes action, fantasy and romance). On any given weekend, you might find her hiking in the mountains or hunched over her laptop, working on her latest story. Either way, the day will end with a chunk of dark chocolate and a good read.
Sadie Haller is a Canadian writer living a somewhat nomadic life with her husband and fur-babies. She enjoys travelling and experiencing different climates and cultures, but there are times when she questions her ‘whither thou goest, my love’ attitude, particularly when it involves navigating some spectacularly convoluted European bureaucracy.

Lydia Rowan is a writer of (mostly) romantic words. Lover of all things horror. She makes the two work. Contemporary Romance with a Dash of Spice.

Leigh James writes steamy contemporary romance, with a healthy dose of action and adventure. In addition to writing, endlessly re-watching Pitch Perfect and scouring the house for leftover Halloween candy to eat, Leigh is a wife and the mother of three little boys.
She is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of New Hampshire’s Journalism program and earned her J.D. from Suffolk University School of Law in Boston.
She lives with her husband and children in New Hampshire.

Before Ruby was old enough to talk, her parents took her to the drive-in theater to see Star Wars, and she has early memories of watching Buck Rogers and Star Trek reruns with her mom. It was probably a foregone conclusion that she would become a lifelong science fiction fan. 
She started the Mandrake Company series in part as an homage to some of her favorite sci-fi television shows and in part because she was having a hard time finding the kind of science fiction novels she likes to read: space-based adventures with humor and heart (maybe some naughty bits too). If you’re looking for the same, please check out the Mandrake Company books.

Release Blitz: Without Regret and Adored and a GIVEAWAY

That’s right! Nicole has released 2 books today both just .99 cents! Grab your copy today!
Adored, A Club Destiny Novella

New York Times bestselling author Nicole Edwards revisits Tag and McKenna, a power couple who have gone from infatuation to adoration in Adored (Club Destiny #7.5)

Tag has waited two years for this. Sure, he knows he’ll need to be persuasive in order to get McKenna on board, but nevertheless, he’s up for the challenge. Even when the tables turn and he’s the one in the spotlight, Tag knows that the payoff is absolutely worth it.

Without Regret, A Devil’s Playground Las Vegas Novella
The first book in the HOT new Devil’s Playground series! 

Isaiah Fontenot had never played the role of white knight. At least not until his boss, Maximillian Adorite, gave him the order to. That was when he found himself coming face to face with the stunning Cassidy Owens, the woman in need of saving. 

Cassidy only thought she was hiding from the men who were looking for her brother. Not knowing where to go, Cassidy opted to hide in plain sight, taking up temporary residence in a Vegas hotel near her condo. Turned out, she wasn’t as good at hiding as she had planned. 

When Isaiah finds Cassidy, it doesn’t take long for passion to ignite. But at the end of the day, when the threat to Cassidy has been neutralized, will the two of them be able to walk away? Without regret? 

Novella, No cliffhanger 

Devil’s Playground is a spin-off series from Southern Boy Mafia. Each novella is complete and does NOT contain a cliffhanger.

Adored: Amazon    Kobo   ARe  Google Play   Smashwords   Goodreads  
Coming Soon: Barnes & Noble iBooks  
Without Regret: Amazon   Barnes & Noble iBooks Kobo   ARe  
                                                 Google Play   Smashwords   Goodreads    

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nicole Edwards lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, their three kids, and four rambunctious dogs. When she’s not writing about sexy alpha males, Nicole can often be found with her Kindle in hand or making an attempt to keep the dogs happy. You can find her hanging out on Facebook and interacting with her readers – even when she’s supposed to be writing.

Nicole also writes contemporary/new adult romance as Timberlyn Scott.

Nicole would love to hear from you!
1 winner will receive a signed paperback of Adored & Without Regret!
3 winners will receive a $5 Amazon gift card!
Release Day Blitz by:

New Release: Player by Joanna Blake


Release Blitz


Author: Joanna Blake

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release: July 1, 2015

Cover Credits:

Player ecover-1

JOCK, SPORT, MEATHEAD, PLAYER. I hate them all. Especially this one. He’s rude, he’s crude and he thinks he is God’s gift to women.

James Fitzpatrick might have started out on the wrong side of the tracks, but his skills on the football field have brought him fame and glory. Now he’s forgotten where he came from.Hell, he’s even forgotten me, the snot nosed brat from next door. So much so that he hits on me when he comes in to eat at the barbecue place I work at to pay my way through school. But the jokes on him when I turn him down in front of all his meathead buddies. No one has ever turned down James. There’s a reason he’s got a rep as being talented on and off the forty yard line. And now he’s determined to make me pay with a pound of flesh.

Thing is, I’ve got some moves he hasn’t seen yet. It’s going to be a long, hot season.

PLAYER is a stand alone book with a guaranteed HEA and no cheating!

Goodreads links:

“What can I get you?”
I smiled charmingly at the waitress. I’d been watching her since we sat down. She’d taken her sweet ass time getting over here.
Those long legs of hers had basically fucking strolled across the room. Almost like she was being dragged over. She hadn’t even glanced our way as she tended to all her other tables.
I noticed she hadn’t bothered to introduce herself either. None of that chirpy waitress talk that I was used to. Zero feminine wiles.
But damn, if she didn’t look good.
Grouchy, but good.
Really, really good.
I smiled at her, hoping to cut to the chase.
“Hi sweetheart. What’s your name?”
She stared at me, a look of incredulity on her face.
Then slowly, in the most condescending way possible, she lifted her finger and poked her chest.
Right on her fucking name tag.
I almost laughed. She was being such a bitch, It was like she didn’t want our money. But she was going to get it anyway.
A really, really big tip.
My tip, if I had anything to say about it.
I leaned back, letting my eyes slide down her body while everyone else ordered. By the time she turned to me, I’d leisurely inspected every inch of her. Twice.
She knew it too, judging from the red blush staining her cheeks.
The glare I was getting would have deterred a lesser man. But I liked challenges.
Hell, I fucking lived for them.
And this one had a sweet ass reward at the end.
I handed her my menu, making sure our fingers touched. She froze as tingles shot up my arm. And that was just from our fingers touching.
I couldn’t wait to see what happened when we bumped nasties.

Portrait of romantic couple touching each other

Player teaser 5 SMALL

Player Teaser 6 SMALL


Joanna Blake loves good old fashioned romance, men who open doors and work with their hands. Hot Blooded Heroes is a series of sizzling stories about True Blue American men and the women who love them. She’s thrilled to be collaborating with Pincushion Press on her new series! Come along for the ride!

BOOKS by Joanna:


A Bad Boy For Summer:

Ride With Me: ​

Slay Me (ROCK GODS):

Dare Me (ROCK GODS):

Cover Me (ROCK GODS):

Wanted By The Devil (DEVIL’S RIDERS):

Still Waters (DEVIL’S RIDERS):

Safe In His Arms (DEVIL’S RIDERS):

The Rock Star Next Door (Joanna Blake Singles):

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Cover Reveal: Healing

Healing (Finding Home Book one) by Rachel Caid



After a devastating loss, Anna Johnston has finally gotten the pieces of her life to fit back together and has created a comfortable pattern for her and her son, Roman. Trying to protect both of their hearts, Anna has given up on dating accepting that she will never completely heal from losing Roman’s father.

Noah Evans just got out of a relationship based on lies and isn’t looking for anything permanent. New to town, he and his friend and business partner are focused on finishing their new remodel and making money. One boys’ night out introduces him to Anna and all of that changes. Noah wants something real; a place to call home.

He might be pushy, but Noah is determined determined get what he wants. Just as Anna and Noah start to come together, someone from the past comes back to cause trouble.

Can Noah convince Anna to take a chance on him and break free from the pain of her memories? Will Anna look past what she cannot change to see a future that includes Noah?

**Due to graphic sex scenes 18+ please


Rachel Caid paperback

Cover Designer: All By Design


Bedroom Teaser

Rain teaser

Pottery Class Teaser

About the Author


Rachel Caid lives in Missouri with her husband and two sons. She is a self-proclaimed coffee addict with no plans on recovery and an avid reader of all types of romance. Her day job is very black and white, so she enjoys being able to lose herself in the colorful world on novels; whether it’s reading or writing them.

Stalk her on Facebook or email her

Review Tour: Fighting to Start



Add to Goodreads


Reed “Riker” Collins is my story… The beginning, middle, and end.

Our love was intense, emotional, and raw, the kind that sticks with you forever. I thought we had it all, the thing that would make us last… Until we didn’t.

Reed promised me forever, and I believed him with everything in me. But it’s never that easy. Without a second thought, Reed left me to follow his own dream of becoming a professional fighter. Five years of going through life without him has left me only drifting through life, never truly living, leaving me more damaged than ever before. But then, Reed walks back into my life when I needed him the most. Will I be able to forget all the pain he caused? Will he be able to heal the emotional wounds his love had left me with?

Can I fight to start? Or will I end up forfeiting it all just to make it go away?

Teaser 1


Chapter 1


“Reed. Really, baby? Twice didn’t help you at all, did it?” I poke him in the ribs, trying to get off the bed. He grabs me by the waist and pulls me into him, running kisses up my shoulder to my neck. Goose bumps cover my skin at the feel of his lips on me.

“What fun is it to stop now? You are just too damn sexy for your own good and I can’t get enough. And I know if I keep going”—Reed glides his hand to my shoulder, moves my hair off my neck, and kisses me lightly behind my ear, sending chills through my body—“I will get you to forget about going to see that dumbass movie with your mom and come watch my fight.” Without warning, I’m flipped onto my back, Reed hovering over me.

I stare into his breathtaking hazel eyes, about to wrap my arms around him, when his phone chimes with a text message, interrupting us. Reed growls against my temple, “Cock blocker,” and kisses me one last time before getting up to look at his phone.

I can’t help but admire him as I push up onto my elbows. Reed looks like such a bad boy—defined muscles, colorful tattoos over his chest, arms, back, and down to his thighs, shaved head. He has it all in one nice six-foot-two-inch delicious package. And it’s all mine.

I could stare at him all day, but I didn’t have the time. I had the rest of my life to appreciate his physique, so I roll off the bed and pick up his boxers off the floor, throwing them at his chest with a smirk. He quickly grabs my arms, pulling me into him with a smile of his own. I knew what that grin meant. Lifting myself to my tiptoes, I give him a chaste kiss and whisper against his lips, “I love you.”

“Me too, babe.”

I walk away with a smile on my lips after he slaps my ass. I shake my naked hips a little, teasing him some more, and then hear his deep laugh as I walk the rest of the way to our closet. I grab the first thing that catches my eye.

A few minutes later, I come out dressed in my favorite pair of True Religion jeans, a plain fitted black shirt, and my black Chucks. Reed is sitting on the edge of the bed, hunched over as he puts on his work boots. He must hear me approach, because his eyes lock with mine, awakening the butterflies in my stomach. Around Reed, I always have the fluttering in my belly, no matter how long we’ve been together. And I have no doubt in my mind how he feels about me. Whenever he looks at me, his eyes tell me everything I’d ever need to know. I have always seen the love Reed has for me, for us—even at the beginning when he’d tried his hardest to fight his feelings for me, I always knew it was there.

Now, two years later, Reed never hides it—not from me or from anyone else. My hair could be greasy, unwashed for days, I could be drenched with sweat from our runs, or have yesterday’s makeup smudged beneath my eyes, and he’d still look at me like I’m the only one in the room.

It’s the same way I look at him.

We fell recklessly and wildly in love with each other. It wasn’t normal or the falling-off-a-cliff type. It wasn’t running through a field of daisies, either. No, it was like jumping headfirst out of an airplane without a parachute, running through a burning building—the kind of love that feeds on one another, that takes hold of every inch of your soul, takes away every breath and leaves you feeling as if you’re just now experiencing life. The kind of love that only gives you two options: if it works out, you’ll have lived with more love than most. You’ll be lucky enough to see everything for the better because that person is your better. But if it doesn’t work out, you are so utterly broken that you’re left beyond repair. Reed Collins is my once in a lifetime, the one people wait for, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m in deep—some say too deep. And just maybe they are right. Because now, I feel a changing in the air between us and I’m beyond scared shitless of what the next step with us is. Fights and underlying tension that never used to be there has put our once blissful relationship on unsteady and uncharted ground, and I don’t know how to handle it or what to do to make it better. But I will do everything in my power to keep it from falling away. I graduate in a couple of months with my nursing degree, and Reed is at the make-it or break-it point in his fighting career, causing us to walk this tightrope into the next chapter of our lives. I can only hope that as a couple, we are steady enough for everything the real world will be hurling at us soon.

The restlessness billows around him like a plume of smoke after an explosion, and I can see it by simply looking at him. It’s as if Reed has the weight of the world on his shoulders. My feet carry me to him and I straddle his legs, wrap him in my arms, and rest my head on his shoulder, feeling the tension literally loosen.

Reed, my boyfriend, and “Riker,” the fighter are two totally different people and I knew that the moment I saw him walk into the cage for the first time. The Reed I know is only shown to me—he’s sweet, caring, loving, and will protect me with everything he has. But “Riker” is all alpha, all the time. He sees one solution to any problem—fighting. The nickname “Riker” came from one of his many underground fights he used to do for money. Some old guy said he hadn’t seen someone fight like that since he left Rikers Island. The Riker part stuck and fits that side of him to a T. I learned a long time ago that you couldn’t love one without loving the other, and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Reed has been busting his ass, training three times a day, six days a week, for the last four years to make a name for himself in Ohio and the surrounding states, but that’s not enough for him—Reed wants total domination. After all the time we have been together and all the fights I have seen him prepare for, I know today’s fight is different because he is different. He’s always hyped before a fight—it’s natural for him—but lately, he’s been on edge and I can’t figure out why. Riker seems to be showing up more and my loving boyfriend only comes out when I drag it out of him. It’s causing me to worry that something is happening, something he’s hiding. And whatever that something is, it’s big.

“Reed, what’s up with you lately? What aren’t you telling me?” I plead quietly as my lips graze his ear.

He holds a lot in. He’s been the strong, silent type for the two years we have been together, and it’s like pulling teeth to get any kind of information from him. I learned early on to just accept what he offers because each piece he gives knocks down a layer and shows me who he truly is.

Reed only shakes his head, silently dismissing my question. Not wanting to push him any further into silence, I attempt to get up, but he holds on to me tighter. Knowing his touch is my downfall, he’s using it to stop me.

“I know you promised your mom you will go to the movies, babe, but you rarely miss one of my fights, and with these…” He trails off and turns his head toward our nightstand where a framed picture of us sits.

“What is it, Reed?” I press for more, needing him to open up to me.

“I just want you there. That’s all. Plus, you know you’re my good-luck charm, Hads. I get all caveman with you there and can’t help but prove my manhood to my woman.” Reed jokes—it’s his way of telling me the conversation is dead.

His lips meet the middle of my forehead and rest there. I know if I keep pressing him, it will start yet another argument and he doesn’t need that before his fight tonight. So I give up yet again, pushing my need to know deep down in order to comfort him.

“Baby, I really wish I could, but you know my mom and I always go to the opening day of the movies to the books we read. She had this planned before the movie was even made and I can’t disappoint her. Not to mention, Riker Collins will undoubtedly kick this guy’s butt whether I’m there or not. And I won’t say it again. I’m not your good-luck charm. That red hat I gave you is. That’s your juju, not me. Courtney and I will meet you and Lance at the bar after, so you can tell me all about how you conquered this fight. We’ll have our celebratory drinks, get drunk off our asses, and you’ll forget all about how I wasn’t there. I’ll make you a promise though, and you know I never break one of those”—I wink teasingly at him—“this will be the last time I ever miss a fight of yours. I’ll be by your side so much that you will get sick of me and beg me not to be with you.” I wrap my pinky around his and lift our intertwined fingers to my mouth, laying a soft kiss on his.

With great force, I pull his arms and lead him to his feet. “Come on, we’ve got to get downstairs before my mom uses her damn key again.”

As soon as my foot hits the bottom step, my mother comes barging through the front door. My mom and boundaries don’t mix—not even close. I don’t think she will ever understand that I live with my boyfriend and, sometimes, privacy is needed. It’s a good thing that my parents spread out their time between Columbus and Atlanta, because I have a feeling she would be here all the time if not.

“Mom, we gave you a key for emergencies only. That doesn’t mean you can use it instead of knocking every time you come here.”

Reed, being so used to my mom barging in, just shrugs it off. He leans in and whispers in my ear, “Look at the positive side, babe, at least you got her to stop coming over without notice.” He then goes to my mom and gives her a hug and a quick kiss on the check “Hey, Mrs. Thomas, how are you doing? I hope you ladies have fun tonight. I know how you two love those young sparkling vampires,” he says sarcastically.

My mother, Julie Thomas, is naturally gorgeous. She’s fifty-six years old but doesn’t look a day over forty without any help from cosmetic doctors. At five-four, she has a body that looks like she spends hours in the gym, even though she’s never stepped foot in one. She just has a naturally shaped and toned body—to everyone’s envy, but mostly mine. Her brown hair is shiny and always perfectly in place, and it complements her soft blue eyes well. As if that wasn’t enough to be jealous of, she also wears a natural glow all year around, never needing to waste time on getting a tan. It’s a real travesty that I’m adopted and didn’t get those amazing Thomas genes. My dad, William—a highly successful and powerful man—and my mom have been married for over the thirty-five years, which has given her plenty of time to channel her perfect trophy-wife look. I swear, she even sleeps in her makeup, Chanel, and flawlessly styled hair. She grew up with nothing, and always tells of how she was never able to play dress up. Apparently, she’s only making up for the lost time, although I think she’s spent more time making up for it than she actually spent without it. Her appearance is slightly deceiving, because she is the most humble person I know.

My parents’ story is one for the books, they were high school sweethearts, and both came from the same rough neighborhood in Columbus. My father wanted more out of life and decided to join the Army straight after high school, marrying my mom right before he shipped off to basic. He got my mom pregnant with my brother Mark within the first couple months of their marriage. Six years after that, my brother Matt was born, and that’s when my father left the Army. He started a business in security with his best friend, Joe, using the small inheritance he had received from my grandfather. Within ten years, they had built it into a multi-million dollar company. Now, they have their hand in everything and have been on the Forbes list of highest earners for the last ten years. Even with all that, my father still brings my mom breakfast in bed every Saturday and cherishes her like his own queen. I hated it growing up, but now, I just look forward to having what they do one day with Reed.

They adopted me when I was a baby—Mark was sixteen and Matt was ten. With the huge age difference, I’m not really close to them, but neither has ever made me feel anything less than loved. Mark has always been more of a background brother, only showing up if I needed something, while Matt is the fun one—poor guy…I was the annoying sister that followed him around like a lost puppy half his teenage life. I learned early on that if I needed help with my homework, Mark was the one to go to, but if I needed to get away with anything, Matt was my guy. Those boys never made me feel anything other than a Thomas.

“Reed, I told you to call me Julie about a thousand times. And thank you, I know I will have fun. It is my darling Hadley who won’t, though. I know she will be thinking about you the whole time—and that thing you call work…fighting or whatever it is. She won’t even care about who is on the screen or that she is with me.”

My mom can’t fathom how Reed would want to try to make a living in the cage, but she’s never tried to understand it, either. My parents want his head in something that has a sure-future, but a sure-future career isn’t Reed. His life was unfocused and going nowhere before he found his love for boxing at twelve years old. He wrestled all through high school and had a ton of scholarship options, but he turned them all down to take up mixed martial arts instead. With his back ground in wrestling and boxing, he was a natural at it. Reed has since developed into an impressive fighter through the help of his best friend, Logan, and his coach/trainer, Kenny. He makes ends meet now by doing underground fighting and taking side security jobs through my family’s business. But mostly, he just trains, trying to make it in a sport that would rather see you fail than make it. But if they accept you into the sport that ninety-seven percent of people fail at, and you become that meager three percent, it’s paramount. But my parents don’t feel that it’s enough. They think it’s dangerous and nothing more than a hobby.

“Mom, let’s not go over how you hate what Reed does again. I’m going to go walk him out,” I say and then follow Reed out to his motorcycle before she has time to reply.

Reed reaches his bike and leans on it, reaching for my hand to guide me into him. His eyes capture mine as he speaks. “Hadley, you know you’re mine, and everything I’m fucking doing is for us so I’ll be the one to support us in the long run. Please don’t forget that.” How can I when it feels like he’s talking to my soul?

“No matter what, you will make it, baby. Even if you don’t believe it, I’ll have the faith in you, for the both of us. I’ll be by your side every step of the way. I could live in a nasty box under a bridge as long as I had you with me.” Putting my hands up to his stubbly cheeks, I remind him, “It’s just like that song on that oldie country station. We are two sparrows in a hurricane, baby, only need some love and a whole lot of faith.”

He shakes his head at me, giving me a heart-stopping smile that shows off his slightly crooked teeth. “I always knew you were a huge ass dork, but that shit you just said takes the cake, babe.”

“Yep, I know. That’s why you love me.”

“Damn right, woman, and it doesn’t hurt that you have great tits.” Reed turns his hat backward as he bends down, kissing my lips, and like always, it deepens, allowing our passion for each other to take over. After what seems like hours, I push off him. “Go, Reed. Call me when you are done. Court and I will meet you guys at Flats. Make sure you have my vodka soda waiting for me.”

He smiles, and lands one last peck on my lips before I take a step back. “Sure thing, babe, and this time, I may actually remember the limes. Maybe, if you’re a good girl, when we get back, I’ll take advantage of you a couple more times and after that and you can make the bruises I’ll get better,” he says smugly as his leg swings over his bike.

“Remember, actions speak loader than words, so you better just show me.”

Reed laughs. He snaps his helmet and sunglasses on, and then the roar of his bike sounds around me like thunder. I blow him a kiss and stand there, waiting till he speeds off until I can’t see his taillight anymore.

And just like that, I feel like the biggest part of my heart is missing.

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