Friday, October 31, 2014

ALEX by Sawyer Bennett. Join the Tasty Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway. Tour is October 6th thru 31st.




21794306

Alex
Cold Fury Hockey # 1
By: Sawyer Bennett
Releasing October 14th, 2014
Loveswept 


Rafflecopter Giveaway (Alex Crossman/Carolina Cold Fury Hockey Jersey)


BLURB:

USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett scores big-time with the first novel in a sexy new series hot enough to melt the ice.


Hockey star Alexander Crossman has a reputation as a cold-hearted player on and off the rink. Pushed into the sport by an alcoholic father, Alex isn’t afraid to give fans the proverbial middle finger, relishing his role as the MVP they love to hate. Management, however, isn’t so amused. Now Alex has a choice: fix his public image through community service or ride the bench. But Alex refuses to be molded into the Carolina Cold Fury poster boy . . . not even by a tempting redhead with killer curves.

As a social worker, Sutton Price is accustomed to difficult people—like Alex, who’s been assigned to help her create a drug-abuse awareness program for at-risk youth as part of the team’s 


 effort to clean up his image. What she doesn’t expect is the arrogant smirk from his perfect lips to stir her most heated fantasies. But Sutton isn’t one to cross professional boundaries—and besides, Alex doesn’t do relationships . . . or does he? The more she sees behind Alex’s bad-boy fa├žade, the more Sutton craves the man she uncovers.


My Review:

I love sports themed romance stories. Can you say...HOT! And how about this cover? I've been staring at it ever since the cover reveal months before.
Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this story so much. Written in first person, it alternates between Alex and Sutton's POV throughout the book. Even though I am not a fan of first person story-telling, Sawyer Bennett succeeds with her writing and story-telling by creating characters that are strong and worth knowing.
At first, I wasn't liking bad boy Alex, but there was something about him that I wanted to get to know and I kept turning those pages. There has to be something to this man. He is the best on the team, but he has few friends and doesn't even like to play anymore. The sparks fly between social worker Sutton and Alex when he  is forced to join a drug awareness campaign by the management of his team to clean up his image. The story gets  strong and emotional as both of them know too well what addiction does to family. While Sutton had learned how to deal with the problem, Alex hasn't and has given in to anger. Can Sutton help Alex heal, or will he throw away the best thing he has ever had?





Meet The Author:

USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett is a snarky Southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and three big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.







Author Links: 

 Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads


Link To Follow Tour

Goodreads Link
Goodreads Series Link



Buy Links:

Amazon 

B & N 

iTunes 

Kobo 




















ARC Provided by Loveswept through NetGalley.



Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book Club Thursday for October 30th, 2014. We each review A Favorite Paranormal Read









     Thanks for joining us here at Book Club Thursday as we wrap up our paranormal theme this month and each reviews a paranormal favorite. I have been a paranormal romance fan since I discovered in the early 90's that authors Linda Lael Miller and Lori Herter made vampire men sexy and not the monsters we all thought they were supposed to be and I became hooked. Unfortunately, these romances were few and far between. Then the Silhouette Shadows published by Harlequin confirmed that we readers wanted to read about other heroes from the "otherside" as well. Now we lucky readers can find a paranormal read to feed our fix with no trouble.
     This week, the only problem I had was to pick a favorite. It just isn't possible and there are so many to choose from and way too many favorite authors. I've been trying to pin one down this past week. It was harder than I thought. So eenie, meenie and I picked the SHADES trilogy by Linda Fallon a personal favorite of mine.
     I love ghost stories and this trilogy has a little something for everyone. It takes place her in the USA during Victorian times with an absentminded professor meets ghostbuster vibe. Poor Eve has been left at the alter a couple of times by her fiance Lucien Thorpe. Not because he doesn't love her, he just gets so involved with creating inventions to catch and study ghosts, that he is always late for the wedding...usually by days.
     I enjoyed these books because they had a good blend of comedy and also some quality scares. So I will share the covers and blurbs with you and you can decide for yourself. I can't wait to see what my fellow bloggers picked. I hope you will let us know some of your favorites as well. We welcome your comments.
     Join us again next week, November 6th when our topic will be: You Wrote About What?

Romancing the Readers-Ann
Born to Read Books-Cyndi





THE GHOST OF A CHANCE
Summoning the man who left her at the altar two years ago is definitely a last resort for Eve Abernathy. But paranormal expert Lucien Thorpe is the only person who can rid her house of the uneasy ghosts--noisy, lovemaking ghosts, no less--who haunt it, and her...

Eve may be ahead of her time as a woman who documents otherworldly activity, but she longs for the kind, sturdy husband and children to raise. Eve knows absentminded genius Lucien is more comfortable with the dead than the living, and better acquainted with his Specter-o-Meter than the longings of a woman's heart. But with his arrival, Eve can't deny that her feelings for him haunt her as restlessly as the shades who have invaded her home--especially when Lucien is doing his utmost to woo her all over again...






     
A WHISPER IN THE DARKNESS
Eve Abernathy knows that her fiance, paranormal expert Lucien Thorpe, is terribly absentminded, but she can't quite believe that he's left her at the altar...again. Eve is ready to call the whole thing off when a note delivered to the church chills her to the bone. "I didn't forget," it says...in several frighteningly different hands--none of them Lucien's. 

Soon Eve is on her way to the abandoned hotel where Lucien has been researching supernatural activity, accompanied by members of the Plummerville Ghost Society, in town for the wedding. She's not prepared to see the man she loves drained and exhausted by the spirits he'd channeled--and when things begin to go bump in the night with a vengeance, she's terrified. That the earthbound shades haunting the echoing rooms will not let Lucien rest. That she and Lucien will never escape the snowbound hotel. That their wedding--their marriage--is simply an empty dream.






    IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR

Eve Abernathy and Lucien Thorpe may have--finally--walked down the aisle, but Eve isn't convinced that they're on the path to "happily ever after." Not when she aches to give Lucien a child, which seems to be a dream destined to remain out of her reach... 

Yet she can't ignore her maternal longings when the plantation home she and Lucien have been asked to investigate is haunted by the ghost of a young boy who mournfully asks if Eve is his mother. And especially not when a former paramour of Lucien's arrives to present him with the son he never knew he had. As the spirits in the house grow more restless, Eve and Lucien face the unexpected task of raising a boy who exhibits his father's otherwordly talent for speaking to the dead. But before Eve can learn to love her darling husband's son, she must resist the spectral plea of another motherless child...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Revisit Twilight, Texas. Join the Tasty Virtual Book Tour for Christmas at Twilight by Lori Wilde.



20705716


Christmas at Twilight
Twilight, Texas # 5
By: Lori Wilde
Releasing October 28th, 2014
Avon Romance

Rafflecopter Giveaway ($25.00 e Gift Card to Choice Book Seller)


Blurb

It's Christmas in Twilight, Texas. The Cookie Club is baking, the town is decorated, and Delta Force Operator "Hutch" Hutchinson has finally, reluctantly, returned home . . .

. . . only to get pepper sprayed by the delicious- looking stranger who's taken over his house. She says her name is Jane, and she immediately sets down ground rules. Top priority: no touching. For Hutch that isn't easy—he was wounded in action, but one part is still working very well.



Then Hutch learns the truth. Jane harbors a frightening secret—she's really Meredith Sommers, on the run from a dangerous ex-husband and desperately in need of the safety Hutch can provide. In that moment, he vows he'd do anything in his power to protect her. And as Christmas approaches, they discover that their love can conquer the past and overcome any obstacle—but what price will they pay?


My Review:

     What  another good addition to Lori Wilde's Twilight, Texas series. This story has Meredith going under the assumed name of Jane because she's on the run from her abusive ex-husband with her young son, Ben. She ends up rooming with a flighty young woman named Ashley and her young daughter in quiet Twilight. Things change one weekend when Ashley leaves town with a new man for the weekend, leaving Kimmee behind and ignoring a worried Jane's warning her that she  hardly knows the man. Soon afterwards, she ends up spraying a strange man in the face with pepper spray who turns out to be Ashley's older brother Hutch, an injured soldier and the true owner of the house.
     Things are tense in the house, Hutch barely knows his own niece and is recovering from injuries he received in the military and has a hard time communicating and must use his" miracle slate" to talk. They are both wary of the other, Meredith keeps a bag packed in case she has to run from her ex, and his Ashley does not return.
     Eventually, they work to build some trust, especially for the kids sake, and slowly come to heal and care for each other. Hutch is a good man, and Meredith  is a strong woman that finds someone that she can depend on him when things are tough.
     This story has it all. A touch of suspense, great chemistry, and charming kids  adding up to make this a wonderful blend of family and romance in Twilight, Texas. Lori Wilde knows just the right way to charm her readers and fans with stories of emotion and heart.

                                                  

Meet Lori Wilde:

Lori Wilde is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 70 works of romantic fiction. She is a two-time RITA award nominee, a four time Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice nominee and has won numerous other awards. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Christian University and holds a certificate in nursing forensics. An animal lover, Lori is owned by several pets, and lives in Texas with her husband, Bill.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Trick Or Sweet by Candis Terry. Tasty Promo Tour & SWEET Giveaway! October 20th thru October 31st.



Sweet, Texas Series
Anything But Sweet, Sweetest Mistake & Something Sweeter: Sweet, Texas # 1  thru 3
By: Candis Terry
Avon

                                                                           

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Tour Wide "TRICK OR SWEET" Giveaway of FOUR Halloween Gift Bags including Print Copy of SOMETHING SWEETER, a Pair of Halloween Socks and CANDY! (US ONLY))

                                              
BLURBS:

Anything But Sweet                                                                                 

HE’S STUBBORN AND THOROUGHLY MALE . . .

If Charlotte Brooks thinks she and her TV makeover show can turn Reno Wilder’s hometown upside down, he’ll be happy to prove her wrong. The x-Marine has seen too much turmoil and he likes Sweet, Texas, just the way it is. Traditional. Familiar. A little dull. Everything Charli isn’t. But instead of backing off from his scowls like everyone else, Charli digs in her skyscraper heels.

SHE’S TENACIOUS AND WICKEDLY TEMPTING . . .

                                                                                                                                  
Reno Wilder is a one-man unwelcoming committee, but Charli isn’t budging. It’s clear the gorgeous cowboy needs an overhaul just as much as Sweet. Someone needs to break him out of that gruff shell and show him how fun and rewarding a little change can be.THEY’RE ABOUT TO FIND THAT LOVE IS ANYTHING BUT PREDICTABLE.


                                                                                            

                                                                              


Sweetest Mistake



WHEN FRIENDS BECOME LOVERS . . .

Firefighter and former Marine Jackson Wilder has tough guy down to an art, but he’s learned the hard way that promises were made to be broken. Abigail Morgan was once his best friend, his first kiss, his first love, his first everything. He’d just forgotten to mention all that to her and she blew out of his life. Five years later, she’s back and he’s battling a load of mistrust for her disappearing act. But for some reason he just can’t keep his lips—or his hands—to himself.

IT CAN LEAD TO DISASTER OR . . .

When her stint as a trophy wife abruptly ends, Abby returns home to Sweet, Texas, and comes face-to-face with Jackson—her biggest and sexiest mistake. Time and distance did nothing to squash her love for the act-first-think-later stubborn hunk of a man, and when he suggests they renew their old just-friends vow, Abby realizes she wants more. She’d cut and run once. Could she do it again? Or could she tempt him enough to break his promise?




 Something Sweeter      


The men in Texas are hard to resist . . .
Seattle event planner Allison Lane is an expert at delivering the perfect wedding—even if she might not exactly believe in the whole “’til death do us part” thing. When her father decides to tie the knot with a woman he barely knows, Allison heads to Sweet, Texas, to make sure his new honey is the real deal. What she didn’t expect to find at the local honky-tonk was a sexy Southern man as bent on charming her pants off as he is on blowing her “true love doesn’t exist” theory all to hell.

And they always promise . . .
Veterinarian, former Marine, and Sweet’s favorite playboy Jesse Wilder takes one look at Allison and knows she’s a handful of trouble he can’t deny. But even after a sizzling kiss and obvious mutual attraction, it seems Allison has no such problem. When Jesse uncovers her sweet side, can he crush his playboy image, melt her cynical heart, and change her mind about taking a trip down the aisle?








Buy Links:

ANYTHING BUT SWEET:   B & N| AmazoniTunes
SWEETEST MISTAKE: Amazon | B&N  | iTunes
SOMETHING SWEETER:  Amazon | B & NiTunes




Author Info:

Candis Terry was born and raised near the sunny beaches of Southern California and now makes her home on an Idaho farm. She’s experienced life in such diverse ways as working in a Hollywood recording studio to chasing down wayward steers. Only one thing has remained the same: her passion for writing stories about relationships, the push and pull in the search for love, and the security one finds in their own happily ever after.














Friday, October 24, 2014

Tasty Virtual Book Tour October 6th-31st, 2014: Keep Me Safe by Maya Banks. Enter Giveaway to win a Print Copy!



20910177

Keep Me Safe
Slow Burn #1
By: Maya Banks
Releasing October 7th, 2014
Avon


BLURB:

A sizzling story of a woman who risks her life and her heart to find a wealthy man’s missing sister—the first novel in a sexy new romantic suspense series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks

When Caleb Devereaux's younger sister is kidnapped, this scion of a powerful and wealthy family turns to an unlikely source for help: a beautiful and sensitive woman with a gift for finding answers others cannot.

While Ramie can connect to victims and locate them by feeling their pain, her ability comes with a price. Every time she uses it, it costs her a piece of herself. Helping the infuriatingly attractive and impatient Caleb successfully find his sister nearly destroys her. Even though his sexual intensity draws her like a magnet, she needs to get as far away from him as she can.

Deeply remorseful for the pain he’s caused, Caleb is determined to make things right. But just when he thinks Ramie's vanished forever, she reappears. She’s in trouble and she needs his help. Now, Caleb will risk everything to protect her—including his heart. . . .

Review Time:

This story was intense and it really pushes some emotional buttons. Caleb hunted a broken psychic named Ramie down to help find his kidnapped sister, Tori without caring what the effect it will have on Ramie until it's too late. He quickly finds his sister while the guilt eats away at what he did by forcing the psychic to help.  Remorsefully, he returns to find Ramie to help her, but she is gone.
I thought this story was a real page turner and an emotional roller coaster. I also like stories with a psychic twist. I felt for Ramie because she has a gift she never asked for and was also a victim of the foster care system. Using her gift tears at her. You are appalled by Caleb's actions at the beginning of the story, but I bet a lot of readers would have to admit that they might do the same thing as Caleb if someone they loved was missing. He also wanted to make amends to Ramie, but he had no way of knowing that she would leave. Finally, he meets up with her almost a year later and she needs his help. He brings her home to his family home (his family has a security business) to protect her. She has always been alone and has a hard time dealing with him and his family.  The security team continues to search for the crazed killer that hurt his sister. He was never caught and is continuing  with his sick crimes. And being together so much during the search , the electric sparks of attraction are growing between the Caleb and Ramie that just might be turning into much more.
I thought this was a real page turner and I can't wait for the next story. If you are a romantic suspense fan who likes a solid psychic twist, this story is for you.



Author Info:

Maya Banks is a #1 USA Today and New York Times bestselling author whose chart toppers have included erotic romance, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, Scottish historical romances. She is the author of the Breathless Trilogy, the KGI novels, the Sweet series, and the Colters Legacy novels.

She lives in the South with her husband and three children and other assorted babies, such as her two Bengal kitties and a Calico who’s been with her as long as her youngest child. She’s an avid reader of romance and loves to dish books with her fans and anyone else who’ll listen! She very much enjoys interacting with her readers on Facebook and Twitter as well as in her Yahoo! Group.






Excerpt:

             Caleb Devereaux turned out of the sharp switchback and onto the driveway leading up to the tiny mountain cabin, swearing when he hit pothole after pothole. Fury and impatience simmered in his blood but the anticipation of having finally found Ramie St. Claire after an exhaustive search kept his mood from being completely black.
             Ramie was his sister, Tori’s, only hope.
            The moment Tori was kidnapped, Caleb had begun his search for Ramie St. Claire. She certainly wasn’t the first person on most people’s go-to list when looking for a loved one. Ramie was psychic and had been helpful in locating victims in the past. While many would be skeptical, Caleb absolutely believed in Ramie’s abilities.
            His own sister had psychic abilities.


            He and his brothers, Beau and Quinn, had always been extremely overprotective of their baby sister. With good reason. Caleb was the head of a veritable empire. Security was always top priority. They’d always feared kidnapping for ransom, but in their worst nightmares they’d never imagined that Tori would simply disappear and be at the mercy of a madman.There’d been no ransom demand. Simply a video of Tori bound hand and foot and the maniacal laughter of her captor as he told Caleb to kiss his sister goodbye.
            He just prayed he wasn’t too late. God, don’t let it be too late for Tori.
            It infuriated him that Ramie St. Claire had simply dropped off the map three months ago. No trace of her, no forwarding address. No evidence that she even existed. How could she simply disappear when she was such an invaluable aid in finding kidnap victims and missing persons? How selfish of her to simply refuse, by her actions, to help anyone?
            He’d worked himself into a rage by the time he finally pulled up to the small cabin that looked as though it wouldn’t weather the upcoming winter at all. He wasn’t even certain there would be electricity. Only a person determined not to be found would live in a place like this.
He got out and strode to the ramshackle front door, his fist up and pounding. The door shook and rattled under the force of his knock. Only silence greeted him and it sent his blood pressure soaring.
            “Miss St. Claire!” he roared. “Answer the goddamn door!”
            He beat on the door again, shouting again for her to answer. He likely looked and sounded like the madman holding his sister, but at this point he didn’t care. He was beyond desperation. It had taken every resource available to him to finally track Ramie down. No way in hell he was leaving until he’d gotten the information he’d come for.
            Then the door swung open and he was greeted by the sight of a petite woman with wary, gray eyes. He was momentarily taken aback, going silent as he stared at Ramie St. Claire for the first time in person.
            The photos he’d seen of her didn’t do her justice. There was a delicate air to her as though she were recovering from an illness, but it in no way detracted from her beauty. She looked…fragile. He felt a brief moment of guilt for what he was about to ask her to do, but he brushed it away. There was no price too high to pay for his sister’s life.
            “I can’t help you.”
            Her softly spoken words slid like velvet over his ears, a direct contrast from the anger her refusal caused. He hadn’t even made his request yet and she was already giving him the brush-off.
            “You don’t even know what it is I want,” he said in an icy tone that would wither most people.
            “It’s rather obvious,” she said wearily, fatigue drooping her eyelids. “Why else would you come all this way? I don’t even want to know how you found me. It’s obvious I did a piss poor job of covering my tracks if you managed to find me here.”
            Caleb frowned. Had she been ill? Was that why she’d dropped out of sight so she could recover? It didn’t matter why now that he’d found her. He didn’t care what her reasons were.
            “With your abilities why would you purposely make yourself difficult to find?” he demanded. “My sister’s life is at stake here, Miss St. Claire. I’m not merely asking you to help me. I’m not leaving until you do.”
            She shook her head adamantly, fear chasing the lethargy from her eyes. “I can’t.”
            There was quiet desperation to her words that told him there was more to her refusal than what appeared on the surface. Something was wrong and yet he couldn’t summon any regret for forcing her compliance. Not when Tori’s life hung in the balance.
            He reached inside his jacket and pulled out Tori’s scarf. The one item they’d found at the sight where she must have been taken. In the parking lot of a grocery store beside the open door of her car. He should have never let her go alone. He’d failed her. Failed to protect her. Failed to ensure proper security.
            Ramie immediately backed away, a desperate cry on her lips. He shoved forward, forcing the scarf into her hands and holding her and the scarf so there was no escape. She emitted a broken sob and she looked up at him, stricken, her face going unnaturally pale. Her pupils flared and then clouded, pain and devastation clearly outlined on her features.
            “No,” she whispered. “Not again. Oh God, not again. I won’t survive it.”
            Her knees buckled and she would have gone down, but he caught her, ensuring the scarf never lost contact with her hands. He watched in horror as Ramie’s body sagged, slipping from his grasp despite his best effort to support her weight. She was simply lifeless, as limp as a rag doll. He quickly followed her down to the floor, determined that she not lose her grip on Tori’s scarf. But it didn’t seem to matter now. Ramie was somewhere else.
            Her eyes glazed over and her body began to twitch spasmodically. She curled into a fetal position, the fragility of such a self-protective measure gutting him. She moaned softly and then began to weep.
            “Please don’t hurt me again. Please, I’m begging you. I can’t take any more. If you’re going to kill me, just do it. Quit torturing me.”
            Chill bumps spread rapidly up Caleb’s nape as Ramie’s voice, which sounded nearly identical to Tori’s, filled his ears. Dear God, was he witnessing what was happening to his sister through Ramie?
            The scene Ramie was painting was horrifying. Not only for the fact that his sister was even now enduring the absolute worse. But from all appearances, Ramie was suffering with her.
            He’d certainly done his research on Ramie St. Claire’s abilities but there was little information beyond her astonishing success record. No mention of how she managed to help victims or what it did to her. God help them all. What had he done?
            Her body jerked and it took only a moment for Caleb to realize what was happening. It was too unmistakable. Bile rose in his throat and he had to suck in steadying breaths to keep from heaving the contents of his stomach on the floor. Tears burned his eyelids as he helplessly watched his sister being raped through the window of Ramie’s awareness.
            Ramie’s weeping tore at his heart and he gathered her into his arms, not knowing what else to do but rock her gently. “Tori?” He whispered his sister’s name experimentally, not knowing if a link had been established through Ramie. “Can you hear me? It’s Caleb. Tell me where you are, honey. I’ll come for you. Hold on please. Don’t give up, no matter how bad it is.”
            Ramie’s head jerked sideways and the imprint of a hand immediately appeared on her cheek. Caleb was horrified, unsure of what to do now that he’d crossed a line he couldn’t come back from. He tried to push back his guilt, telling himself that anything that helped him recover his sister was worth it. But was torturing an innocent woman worth it?
            He hadn’t given her a choice. She’d told him no and yet he’d forced this on her not knowing the heavy toll it would take. He had no idea how her powers worked and now that he did he was sick to his soul. No wonder she’d been so resistant. No wonder she’d told him she couldn’t do it anymore.
            “Ramie. Ramie!” he said in a more forceful voice. “Come back to me, Ramie. Come back so you can tell me how to find her.”
            Ramie’s eyes were opened but so distant that he knew she wasn’t here. The imprint of the hand on her face was bright and vivid, red against deathly white skin. There was a look of such defeat and despair in her eyes that once again he found himself battling tears.
            Suddenly she hunched inward, her entire body jolting as though absorbing a blow. She wrapped her arms around her stomach and he realized that she’d been kicked. Or rather Tori had been kicked. It was a horrific, helpless feeling to know that two women were being victimized, one because of him.
            Then she simply rolled away, her cheek lying against the cold floor, her eyes fixed and vacant. She was completely still and terror gripped him. Was Tori dead? Oh dear God! Had he just witnessed his sister’s murder?
            “Ramie! Wake up! God, please wake up. Tell me how to find her. Tell me that she’s still alive!”
            He picked Ramie’s slight weight up, swearing because she was so thin and fragile, weighing nothing in his arms. He carried her to the worn sofa and carefully laid her down, not wanting to hurt her any more than she’d already been hurt.
            He sat on the edge, gathering her icy hands in his, rubbing, trying to infuse warmth. He had no idea what to do. Should he take her to a hospital?
            Then after several long moments, she blinked and seemed to come out of her trance. Pain immediately swamped her features and she began to silently weep again, each tear cutting him to ribbons.
            “Is she still alive?” he asked anxiously. “Do you know how to find her?”
            “Yes,” Ramie said dully.
            Hope surged in his heart and he found himself nearly crushing her hands in his.
            “Tell me where,” he urged.
            Slowly and painfully she whispered the location down to the minutest detail. Chills once again slithered up his spine at the precision in which she described not only the location but the kidnapper. She even provided a license plate number.
            He picked up his phone and immediately called his brother, relaying the information that Ramie had provided. When he was done, he stared helplessly down at Ramie, grateful and yet deeply regretful for what he’d just subjected her to.
            “What do I need to do to help you?” he asked softly.
            Resignation dulled her eyes even further. “There’s nothing you can do,” she said in a flat voice. “Just go.”
            “The hell I’ll just leave you here!”
            He was already calculating in his head that he could simply bring her with him. He could get her the care she so obviously needed at the same time Tori was receiving what she needed.
            “Your sister needs you. Just go. I’ll be fine.”
            The lie was so obvious, but it seemed to be all she could muster. He was torn between rushing to be with Tori and staying to ensure Ramie would be all right. But how could she be? Two women would live with this for the rest of their lives. His precious sister and the woman he’d forced to help him never knowing the price she’d pay.
            “Please,” she begged, her voice breaking. “Just go and leave me be. I gave you what you wanted. I helped you, now go. It’s the least you can do.”
            Caleb stood, wiping a hand over his hair and down the back of his neck in agitation. “I’ll go, but I’m coming back, Ramie. I’m going to make this up to you.”
            “You can never take this back,” she whispered. “There’s no making up for what’s been done. Just go and take care of your sister. She needs you.”
            She closed her eyes, tears seeping from her eyelids. How could he just leave her like she asked? And yet how could he not go and ensure that his sister was safely recovered? He’d never felt so torn in his life.
            “If you have any humanity whatsoever, you’ll leave and never tell anyone where you found me,” Ramie said hoarsely. “Please, I’m begging you. Just go. He plans to kill her tomorrow. At dawn. You don’t have much time.”
            Her words proved to be the impetus, driving him to action. But goddamn it, he would make this up to her. Somehow, someway.
            Regret swamped him. Worse was the fact that even knowing now what he hadn’t known before, he couldn’t say he would have done anything differently. Not when it meant the difference between Tori’s life and death. But at least now he better understood Ramie’s resistance. No longer did he look at her and think she was selfish and cruel. Now he realized her disappearance had been self-preservation. He didn’t know she’d survived this in the past. He just prayed he wasn’t the tipping point in pushing her so far over the edge she’d never recover.
            Caleb closed his eyes and then gently touched her cheek. “I’m so sorry. You’ll never know how much. My family and I owe you more than I can ever repay. I’ll go for now and pray to God I’m not too late. But I’m coming back, Ramie. Count on it. I’ll make this up to you if it’s the very last thing I do.”



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