Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Book Spolight:Silent Fountain by Victoria Fox

Author: Victoria Fix
Publisher: Mira (Harlequin)
Date of publication: October 31, 2017

Hollywood, 1978 
Tragedy sends troubled film star Vivien Lockhart into the arms of Giovanni Moretti—and it seems her fortunes have finally changed. Until she meets his sister and learns that her new husband’s past holds dark secrets…
Tuscany, Present day 
Lucy Whittaker needs to disappear. But her new home, the crumbling Castillo Barbarossa, is far from the secluded paradise it seemed. Strange sounds come from the attic. The owner of the house will never meet her in person.
The fountain in the courtyard is silent—but has never run dry.
Across the decades, Vivien and Lucy find themselves trapped in the idyllic Italian villa. 
And if they are ever to truly escape its walls, they must first unearth its secrets…

Purchase Links

About Victoria Fox

Victoria Fox is a bestselling author in the UK. She used to work in publishing and is now the author of six novels. The Silent Fountain is her breakout novel in North America. She divides her time between Bristol and London.
Connect with Victoria

Victoria Fox’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, October 30th: OMG Reads – excerpt
Monday, October 30th: Bookish Cassie on Instagram
Tuesday, October 31st: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, October 31st: Art Books Coffee on Instagram
Tuesday, October 31st: A Thousand Books to Read on Instagram
Wednesday, November 1st: Annika B Bauer on Instagram
Thursday, November 2nd: Palmer’s Page Turners – excerpt
Thursday, November 2nd: The Lit Bitch
Monday, November 6th: A Holland Reads
Monday, November 6th: Girls in Books blog and Instagram
Tuesday, November 7th: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen blog and Instagram
Wednesday, November 8th: Suzy Approved – excerpt
Thursday, November 9th: Books & Bindings
Thursday, November 9th: From the Library of Mrs. Gardner blog and Instagram
Friday, November 10th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Monday, November 13th: Ms Nose in a Book
Monday, November 13th: Just One More Chapter
Tuesday, November 14th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, November 15th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, November 16th: Broken Teepee blog and Instagram
Thursday, November 16th: Bibliotica
Friday, November 17th: Jathan & Heather
Sunday, November 19th:From A to Pink
Monday, November 20th: LiteraryJo Reviews blog and Instagram
Tuesday, November 21st: Novel Gossip blog and Instagram
Wednesday, November 22nd: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Friday, November 24th: Kahakai Kitchen blog and Instagram

Monday, October 30, 2017

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of Alone by Cyn Balog

Author: Cyn Balog
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Date of publication: November 7 2017

When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda's almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it's fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they're not going back to the city...or Seda's friends and school.
As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They're about to be cut off from the outside world, and she's not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her.
Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion—and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality...

My thoughts:

 Alone is a great story to get you in the mood for the Halloween season. The mansion and blizzard made for a creepy claustrophobic atmosphere.  The characters were equally as creepy, especially the AtoZ twins.  The story kept me guessing, especially since I wasn't sure if Seda was a reliable narrator. It reminded me a bit of the 80s movie, April Fool's Day with a twist.  Have to say that I loved the twist at the end.  I definitely recommend this one.  It's good creepy fun.

Buy links:

Excerpt from Alone:
      Sometimes I dream I am drowning.
Sometimes I dream of bloated faces, bobbing on the surface of misty waters.
And then I wake up, often screaming, heart racing, hands clenching fistfuls of my sheets.
I’m in my bed at the top of Bug House. The murky daylight casts dull prisms from my snow globes onto the attic floor. My mom started collecting those pretty winter scenes for me when I was a baby. I gaze at them, lined neatly on the shelf in front of my window. My first order of business every day is hoping they’ll give me a trace of the joy they did when I was a kid.
But either they don’t work that way anymore, or I don’t.
Who am I kidding? It’s definitely me.
I’m insane. Batshit. Nuttier than a fruitcake. Of course, that’s not an official diagnosis. The official word from Dr. Batton, whose swank Copley Square office I visited only once when I was ten, was that I was bright and intelligent and a wonderful young person. He said it’s normal for kids to have imaginary playmates.
But it gets a little sketchy when that young person grows up, and her imaginary friend decides to move in and make himself comfortable.
Not that anyone knows about that. No, these days, I’m good about keeping up appearances.
My second order of business each day is hoping that he won’t leak into my head. That maybe I can go back to being a normal sixteen--year--old girl.
But he always comes.
He’s a part of me, after all. And he’s been coming more and more, invading my thoughts. Of course I’m here, stupid.
Sawyer. His voice in my mind is so loud that it drowns out the moaning and creaking of the walls around me.
“Seda, honey?” my mother calls cheerily. She shifts her weight on the bottom step, making the house creak more. “Up and at ’em, buckaroo!”
I force my brother’s taunts away and call down the spiral staircase, “I am up.” My short temper is because of him, but it ends up directed at her.
She doesn’t notice though. My mother has only one mood now: ecstatically happy. She says it’s the air up here, which always has her taking big, deep, monster breaths as if she’s trying to inhale the entire world into her lungs. But maybe it’s because this is her element; after all, she made a profession out of her love for all things horror. Or maybe she really is better off without my dad, as she always claims she is.
I hear her whistling “My Darlin’ Clementine” as her slippered feet happily scuffle off toward the kitchen. I put on the first clothing I find in my drawer—-sweatpants and my mom’s old Boston College sweatshirt—-then scrape my hair into a ponytail on the top of my head as I look around the room. Mannequin body parts and other macabre props are stored up here. It’s been my bedroom for only a month. I slept in the nursery with the A and Z twins when we first got here because they were afraid of ghosts and our creepy old house. But maybe they—-like Mom—-are getting used to this place?
The thought makes me shudder. I like my attic room because of the privacy. Plus, it’s the only room that isn’t ice cold, since all the heat rises up to me. But I don’t like much else about this old prison of a mansion.
One of the props, Silly Sally, is sitting in the rocker by the door as I leave. She’d be perfect for the ladies’ department at Macy’s if it weren’t for the gaping chest wound in her frilly pink blouse. “I hate you,” I tell her, batting at the other mannequin body parts descending from the rafters like some odd canopy. She smiles as if the feeling is mutual. I give her a kick on the way out.
Despite the morbid stories about this place, I don’t ever worry about ghosts. After all, I have Sawyer, and he is worse.
As I climb down the stairs, listening to the kids chattering in the nursery, I notice the money, accompanied by a slip of paper, on the banister’s square newel post. The car keys sit atop the pile. Before I can ask, Mom calls, “I need you to go to the store for us. OK, Seda, my little kumquat?”
I blink, startled, and it’s not because of the stupid nickname. I don’t have a license, just a learner’s permit. My mom had me driving all over the place when we first came here, but that was back then. Back when this was a simple two--week jaunt to get an old house she’d inherited ready for sale. There wasn’t another car in sight, so she figured, why not? She’s all about giving us kids experiences, about making sure we aren’t slaves to our iPhones, like so many of my friends back home. My mother’s always marching to her own drummer, general consensus be damned, usually to my horror. But back then, I had that thrilling, invincible, first--days--of--summer--vacation feeling that made anything seemed possible. Too bad that was short lived.
We’ve been nestled at Bug House like hermits for months. Well, that’s not totally true. Mom has made weekly trips down the mountain, alone, to get the mail and a gallon of milk and make phone calls to civilization. We were supposed to go back to Boston before school started, but that time came and went, and there’s no way we’re getting off this mountain before the first snow.
I peer out the window. The first dainty flakes are falling from the sky.
Snow. Oh God. Snow.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:

Cyn Balog is the author of a number of young adult novels. She lives outside Allentown, Pennsylvania with her husband and daughters. Visit her online at

Sunday, October 29, 2017

October Mini Musings

The Party; All I can say is that I really didn't care for this story. Honestly, the only reason I finished listening to it was I had listened to everything else on my MP3 player at work.  It was slow, thrilling and the ending was ridiculous. The characters were pretty forgettable.

Friend Request: This is another on that I didn't really care for.  The only reason I finished this one was I wanted to find out who was behind the friend request.  I was a little surprised, but not enough gush about the book.  Louise was really annoying.  I wouldn't really recommend this one.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Dignity by Jay Crownover

Author: Jay Crownover
Date of pubication: October 2017

Looks can be deceiving.

I knew that most people took one look at the ink and the impossibly big and strong body it covered and decided I was a brawler…a bruiser…a beast. However, I was hardwired to be a thinker, not a fighter—my mind being my greatest weapon and my biggest weakness.

I should have chosen to use my brain and talents to be one of the good guys, a hero, a man with dignity and worth.

I turned my back on dignity and sold my soul to the highest bidder, deciding to dance with the devil, instead.

I couldn’t figure out how to help myself, so there was zero chance I knew how to save someone else.

That someone else was Noe Lee. She was the unkempt, unruly thief who was just as smart as I was and twice as street savvy. She was annoyingly adorable beneath the dirt and grime and she was in trouble. In way over her head, I told myself it wasn’t my job to keep her from drowning. In the Point, it was sink or swim and I wasn’t the designated lifeguard on duty.

I had shut the door in her face, but now she’s gone…vanished…disappeared without a trace. It took less than a second for me to realize that I wanted her back.

Dignity is the second book in the Breaking Point series which is a spin- off of the Welcome to the Point series.  This is Stark and Noe's story.  Both characters have made appearances in the previous books.  This book, however does hold up well as a stand alone. 

One thing I love about this series is that the author doesn't hold back on how bleak that Point can be for it's residents. How good and bad aren't always black and white.  Both Stark and Noe have painful back stories that are hard to hear.  They are the perfect match for each other.  Stark is big sexy and such a nerd; it's too cute sometimes.  He's definitely on my book boyfriend list.  I also loved Noe.  She is someone I would want in my corner in The Point.  I'm not going to talk plot.  Just go read it.  Booker and Karsen are finally up next.  I am so looking forward to that one!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Books We Didn't Finish - October Edition

Girl in Snow: I was hoping for a good thriller, but I got a really boring attempt at character development instead.  I got about halfway through before I gave up.  I didn't understand what the three points of view had anything to do with the death of Lucinda Hayes.  It was a rambling mess and I didn't care to finish to find who killed her.

Salt Line: I gave this a fair shot.  However, I couldn't get past the fact that some people would willingly risk a horrific death just for the adventure of seeing the outside world.  There was also a big lack of world building.  I just wasn't interested in finding out what happened to change the world into the nightmare it was in the story.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Spotlight: The Crooked Path by Irma Joubert

Author: Irma Joubert
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date of publication: November 7, 2017

Lettie has always felt different from and overshadowed by the women around her– this friend is richer, that friend is more beautiful, those friends are closer. Still, she doesn’t let this hold her back. She works hard to apply her mind, trying to compensate for her perceived lack of beauty with diligent academic work and a successful career as a doctor. She learns to treasure her friendships, but she still wonders if any man will ever return her interest.

Marco’s experiences in the second world war have robbed him of love and health. When winters in his native Italy prove dangerous to his health even after the war has ended, he moves to South Africa to be with his brother, husband to one of Lettie’s best friends. Marco is Lettie’s first patient, and their relationship grows as she aids him on the road back to restored health.

In the company of beloved characters from The Child of the River, Marco and Lettie find a happiness that neither of them thought possible. With that joy comes pain and loss, but Lettie learns that life—while perhaps a crooked path—is always a journey worth taking.

Purchase Links

About Irma Joubert

International bestselling author Irma Joubert was a history teacher for 35 years before she began writing. Her stories are known for their deep insight into personal relationships and rich historical detail. She’s the author of eight novels and a regular fixture on bestseller lists in The Netherlands and in her native South Africa. She is the winner of the 2010 ATKV Prize for Romance Novels.

Connect with Irma on Facebook.

Irma Joubert’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, October 23rd: Read-Love-Blog – spotlight
Wednesday, October 25th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, October 26th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, October 27th: Dwell in Possibility
Monday, October 30th: Fiction Aficionado
Tuesday, October 31st: View from the Birdhouse
Wednesday, November 1st: OMG Reads – spotlight
Thursday, November 2nd: Reviews from the Heart
Friday, November 3rd: Savvy Verse & Wit
Monday, November 6th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Tuesday, November 7th: The Overweight Bookshelf
Tuesday, November 7th: Write Read Life
Wednesday, November 8th: Jathan & Heather
Thursday, November 9th: Read Eat Repeat
Friday, November 10th: Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Book Spot
Monday, November 13th: Katy’s Library blog and Instagram
Tuesday, November 14th: Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, November 15th: Books & Bindings
Thursday, November 16th: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Friday, November 17th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Monday, November 20th: Suzy Approved
Tuesday, November 21st: Splashes of Joy
Wednesday, November 22nd: The Sketchy Reader

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of Ten Year Dance by Ara Grigorian

Author: Ara Grigorian
Publisher: Wedlock Publishing
Date of publication: October 2017

Best friends since sixth grade. A ten-year high school reunion. A truth they’ve danced around for a decade.

Unlucky-in-love Sophie Perez knows her divorce won’t be easy—but she doesn’t expect it to be dangerous. So when things get ugly, she agrees to move in with Pete Nicos, her commitment-phobic best friend since childhood. Pete has always been there for Sophie, just like she’s been there for him. At first, taking her in seems like the best option, but soon her tantalizing proximity blurs the lines of friendship. With their high school reunion on the horizon will they find closure, forgiveness, and new beginnings?

Ten Year Dance is a contemporary love story, rich with engaging and relatable characters trying to find themselves and each other. Ara Grigorian’s latest will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

Grab Your Copy Today!

My thoughts:

Ten Year Dance, Sophie and Pete have been best friends since the sixth grade.  They are both finally unattached and the attrction is coming to the surface.  Will the upcoming ten year high school  reunion bring them together finally or tear them a[part for good?  This is one of my favorite troupes in books.  Friends to lovers is always fun to read and makes for great romance

For the most part, I enjoyed the story.  It's a pretty clean romance.  I did like some of the glimpses into Sophie and Pete's history.  It helped set the stage for their adult relationship.  My biggest issue with the story was the length.  I felt like it took too long to get to the HEA. There were to many places where a declaration could have been made only to be interrupted.  That got a little exasperating at times.  There was probably parts of the book that could have been cut out to shorten the length.  Still, it's worth picking up.  I look forward to more from this author in the future.

Enjoy this excerpt!

THE SHERIFF DELIVERED the divorce papers. It's done.
My heart slams against my ribs. Did she finally leave that toxic relationship for good? I swerve to the curb to read Sophie's text again. Maybe I read it wrong. Maybe my wishful mind added words that aren't there.
The sheriff delivered the divorce papers. It's done.
Halle-freakin-lujah! I'm elated for her, but also worried. That imbalanced jerk is capable of anything.
I'm proud of you! I reply.
I'm not proud of myself… I hope you're on your way, she writes. Don't be late.
I pull away from the curb and accelerate toward the country club. She shouldn't be left alone now that Seth knows she's serious.
A few minutes later I park next to her black-on-black Mini. I glance up. Sophie is running laps around the court now. Still the All-American athlete she was in school. Which leads to one conclusion—she's going to hurt me. Again. I can practically feel the pain.
Watching her now, I can't help but beam. She's free.
I slide out of the car and grab the tennis racquet from my trunk. I don't know why I let her talk me into these things. After sixteen years you'd think I'd be able to say no to her once.
I stroll onto the court just as Sophie rounds the corner and heads toward me. "Hey, Soph."
She slows down as she reaches me. Her golden-cinnamon eyes latch onto mine. The breeze lifts her red hair. "You're late, Pete. Again."
"I am an advocate for delaying pain and humiliation."
She grins and her dimples appear, reminding me why I never say no to her. She's awesome. I chose well back in sixth grade. My best friend then, my best friend now.
"Dork." She punches my arm.
I hold her arm gently. "Soph, are you okay?"
She shrugs. "I think so.”
We stare at each other for a few moments. "You did the right thing."
She studies me. "I've never quit before. Ever." The last word catches in her throat.
I fold her into my chest. "You did not quit. You tried. For much longer than you should have."
Her taught body softens.
"Now what?" I ask.
"Learn how to breathe again. Care for myself. Begin to choose me first."
I kiss the top of her head. "Welcome to the singles club," I whisper.
She pulls back. "You broke up with Natalie?"
"No, but you know what I mean."
She steps away, shaking her head. "It's this cavalier attitude of yours about relationships that'll leave you alone and unloved." She walks toward her tennis bag.
I decide not to remind her where her idealistic notions of love have left her. "You love me," I say. "Who else do I need?"
"Yes, I love both you and my pit bull," she says as she draws her blood-red racquet out of the bag and executes practice swings. "But in my dog's case"—she eyes me—"I had him fixed."
My leg muscles spasm and my hand instinctively reaches down to protect my vitals. "You're sick… And dangerous."
She glances at me with her divine smile. "And you're still the same snot-nosed twelve-year-old I met in sixth grade. C'mon, let's play."

About the Author:

Armenian by heritage, born in Iran, lived in Barcelona, and escaped New York until he found his home in Los Angeles, Ara’s first eleven years were both busy and confusing. The fruit salad of languages would slow down his genetically encoded need to tell stories. Until then, an alter ego would be required…

He received an engineering degree from California State University Northridge and earned his MBA from the University of Southern California. Today, he is a technology executive in the entertainment industry. True to the Hollywood life, Ara wrote for a children’s television pilot that could have made him rich (but didn’t) and nearly sold a video game to a major publisher (who closed shop days later).

But something was amiss until his wife read him the riot act. “Will you stop talking about wanting to be a writer and just do it?” So with her support (and mandate), and their two boys serving as his muse, he wrote stories.

Fascinated by the human species, Ara writes about choices, relationships, and second chances. Always a sucker for a hopeful ending, he writes contemporary romance stories. He is an alumnus of both the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and Southern California Writers’ Conference (where he also serves as a workshop leader). Ara is an active member of the Romance Writers of America and its Los Angeles chapter.

Ara is represented by Stacey Donaghy.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of Ride Wild by Laura Kaye

Author: Laura Kaye
Publisher: Avon
Date of publication: October 31, 2017

Brotherhood. Club. Family.

They live and ride by their own rules.

These are the Raven Riders...

Wild with grief over the death of his wife, Sam “Slider” Evans merely lives for his two sons. Nothing holds his interest anymore—not even riding his bike or his membership in the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club. But that all changes when he hires a new babysitter.

Recently freed from a bad situation by the Ravens, Cora Campbell is determined to bury the past. When Slider offers her a nanny position, she accepts, needing the security and time to figure out what she wants from life. Cora adores his sweet boys, but never expected the red-hot attraction to their brooding, sexy father. If only he would notice her... 

Slider does see the beautiful, fun-loving woman he invited into his home. She makes him feel too much, and he both hates it and yearns for it. But when Cora witnesses something she shouldn’t have, the new lives they’ve only just discovered are threatened. Now Slider must claim—and protect—what’s his before it’s too late.

Ride Wild is the third book in the Raven Riders series.  This is Slider and Cora's story.  I'm a big fan of this series and I have been intrigued by this coupe for a long time. I know when I think "motorcycle club", the words "sweet" and "endearing" don't come to mind.  However, that is what this story is..sweet and endearing.  I just loved watching these two fall in love with each other.  In fact, it's always satisfying to take the journey with two lost souls who need each other

Cora has never felt like she belonged anywhere.  Slider has been numb and just going through the motions since his wife;s death.  I was really rooting for them.  I also loved watching Slider get back to a closer relationship with his two boys.  I also have been trying to figure out how to talk my husband into letting us get a Bosco of our own.  I definitely recommend this on as well as the series.  I can't wait to see what comes next. Maybe Phoenix will get his chance at love soon.

Enjoy this excerpt.  The book comes out next week!

When Cora returned five minutes later, he stood at the kitchen counter chugging a glass of water.
“So, I’ll get changed,” she said, thumbing over her shoulder. He gave her a nod and tried not to let his gaze try to connect the rain droplets that darkened her sweatshirt and slicked the exposed skin of her legs. “But I wanted to mention that we need to go grocery shopping.”
We. The word was a total sucker punch.
And it made him need to get her the hell out of his house. At least for a few hours. Because the only we Slider did now was the kind he’d created with his own blood. “I’ll get on it.”
She didn’t leave to get dressed like he expected her to. Instead, she lingered, then finally said, “I know you’re on again tonight and need to sleep. Maybe…I could get Bunny to take me and we’ll drop everything off here later.”
“That’s okay,” he said, shaking his head.
“Or, if it’s easier, I could even hang here today and you could take me when you wake up. God knows I don’t have anywhere special I need to be, so it wouldn’t be a problem…”
He pictured her staying in his house in a sudden flash of images—her making lunch, her cuddled into the corner of the couch watching TV, her stepping out of the bathroom, hair wet from a shower, and the sweet-smelling scent of her lotion trailing after her…Twin reaction coursed through him. A yearning for the companionship of another adult sharing his space and his life. And a kneejerk fight-or-flight hell no that both left him unsettled and pissed him off.
All of which meant she had to go. Now.
“Jesus, I said I’ll take care of it. I don’t need you.” Something akin to panic had the words coming out more harshly than he’d intended, and his brain was already scrambling to clean up the mess his mouth had made. “To do it, I mean. I don’t need you for shopping. Okay? I got it.”
“Right. Of course,” she said, backing out of the room, green eyes flashing with an emotion he couldn’t name.
And he was a giant asshole. He scrubbed his face on a long sigh and waited for her to come back so he could drive her home. And apologize.
He waited. And waited.
What the hell?
“Uh, Cora, you ready? He called out, making sure his tone lacked the frustration he felt with himself. Two-plus years of withdrawing from the world around him had left him all kinds of rusty at interacting like a normal human being.
When there was no response, he waited a few more minutes. Guilt a weight on his shoulders, Slider finally went back down the hall toward the family room where she slept on the couch because she’d long ago refused his offer to use his bed on nights when he wasn’t home. The downstairs bathroom was empty. And so was the family room. A creeping apprehension squeezed his chest when he noticed that her bag was gone and the blankets she used were back in their neat little stack, too.
No. No, no. Shit.
His gaze lifted to the door to the back porch, and that was when he knew.
She’d left.
He’d been an asshole, and she’d left. And now she was on the street.

Animal rescue is a big part of the storyline of RIDE WILD, and that’s something that's close to Laura’s heart, so Laura’s giving to the cause by donating a portion of all preorders and sales through 11/5 to Noah's Arks Rescue, a fantastic organization that serves as a source of inspiration for the book. When you grab your copy of RIDE WILD, you're helping a great cause AND you'll get a bonus story when you submit your order info, too!

Submit Your Preorder Info to Get A Bonus Story:

Learn More about Noah's Arks:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Always Red by Isabelle Ronin - Excerpt and Giveaway

Author: Isabella Ronin
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Date of publication:  November 7, 2017

The highly anticipated and epic conclusion to the Chasing Red duology

Veronica "Red" Strafford's painful past has made trusting Caleb Lockhart difficult. But Red might have pushed Caleb away one too many times...
"Red," Caleb whispered. "Do you know how I felt when you left me?"

I looked into his eyes. The emotion I saw in them, the intensity, and the tenderness filled up my throat.

"I felt ruined. Because, Red, every time you break me apart, you put me back together. And I always come out better than before."

"So," he cupped my face, stroking my cheek with his thumb. "Ruin me."

Enjoy this excerpt:

We were back at the beach. It was past midnight, and the place was deserted, as if it had been waiting for us all day.
As if it had been waiting for this moment.
We lay on the sand, on the same blanket he’d brought when he took us here the very first time. It seemed like a long time ago. Before, he would have reached for my hand, threading his fingers through mine.
Not this time.
I turned onto my side so I could look at Caleb. His eyes were closed. The breeze blew a lock of his bronze hair against his forehead, and I wanted to brush it back so badly.
“I miss you, Caleb.”
He didn’t respond. His eyes remained closed, but I knew he heard me because I saw his breath catch in his chest.
I had hurt him badly, and he was probably still angry at me. He must hate me, but I would rather have that than a cold shoulder.
I needed to explain. I needed to tell him what I really felt.
I took a deep breath, gathering courage. “All my life I had to work hard to get the things I wanted. To reach the places I needed to be. I had to be strong—stronger than most people. Because I had to be. I shut out everyone. And why not?”
I rolled onto my back and looked up to the dark velvet sky, at the bright half-moon and the stars glittering like diamonds. It was so beautiful, so peaceful with the sound of the lapping waves. But a storm was brewing inside me.
“People are selfish,” I continued. “They always want something from you, and when they get it, they leave. So I never let anyone in. But then…I met you. You made me feel. You made me want things that I never allowed myself to want before. And it scared me. It scared me so much. So I didn’t trust you. I didn’t allow myself to. Every time I felt myself getting close to you, I pulled away.”
“Why?” he asked, his voice low and quiet. “Because…because it hurts to hope for the impossible. How can someone like you want to know someone like me? All I have is a suitcase of sad stories and a broken heart. My walls are high and impossible to break down, and I won’t let anyone in. But I felt your warmth…seeping through the cracks. How did you know where to find me?” My voice broke. “No one else ever worked to find me, Caleb. No one else stayed long enough to even try”—I felt a tear slide down my cheek— “until you.”
 I sat up, pulling my legs close to my chest and burying my face in my arms. I felt him sit up and move closer to me.
“I didn’t trust what you felt for me,” I admitted. “I was scared. I kept waiting for you to disappoint me. Everyone else did. And I think that…that…somehow there’s something wrong with me. Something missing. That I’m not enough to make you stay, that somehow, someday you’re going to get bored with me and leave.” I sobbed. “All my life, my dad told me it was my fault. That I was the reason for all the bad things…” I swallowed. I didn’t want to talk about him. I didn’t even know why I’d mentioned him.
“I wish he was in front of me so I could hurt him,” Caleb said. “More than he hurt you.”
I heard the anger in his voice. He paused for a moment, and I could hear him breathing slowly, trying to calm himself. When he spoke again, his voice had softened.
“Red,” he whispered. “Do you know how I felt when you left me?”
I lifted my head and looked into his eyes. The emotion I saw in them—the intensity and the tenderness—filled my throat.
“I felt ruined. You ruined me. There is anger, but every time I see you, my anger fades away. And there is pain, but what is love without pain? Because, Red, every time you break me apart, you put me back together. And I always come out better than before. So.” He cupped my face, stroking my cheek with his thumb. “Ruin me.”

Chasing Red Duology:
Chasing Red (Book 1)
Always Red (Book 2)

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About the author:

Isabelle Ronin is a Filipino Canadian writer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her Wattpad story, Chasing Red, has garnered over 130 million reads and was one of the most-read stories of 2016. As a result of the story’s immense popularity online, several major publishers around the world have acquired the rights to Chasing Red.

When she’s not writing, Isabelle can be found hanging out in bookstores, cafes, and whenever possible, the beach.