I hope you and your children (if you've got em) have a wonderful and safe Halloween!
April Book Releases
11 minutes ago
She pulled in her drive, dropped her phone, and gripped the wheel with trembling hands as heat from the vents rushed over her. She stared at her darkened front steps in the shadows cast about from the neighbors’ tall trees. What if he was here? His texts weren’t threatening, and technically neither were the flowers, but Rex wasn’t healthy. In the two years she’d owned her home, she’d never been terrified to get out of her car and go inside like she was now.
This is what he wants. He wants you to be afraid while he plays his games. Steeling herself, she grabbed her phone and got out with her key fob clutched in her unsteady hand. The cool rush of wind tossed her hair in her face, and she swiped wavy locks behind her ear as she strained to hear over the rustling leaves. She walked quickly, her eyes darting everywhere.
She just had to get to the door and step inside. The panic button was in the entryway if she needed it. The police would come help her, along with whoever was fielding calls at Ethan’s company tonight. “I’m almost there. I’m almost there,” she whispered, flinching, blinking, startled as the sensor lights flashed on to brighten the walkway. The security lights. It was just the security lights. She forgot she reactivated the feature the night of the gala. She took another step forward and saw the blood by the pretty pot of red mums. “Oh my god. Oh my god.” A black cat lay on her step, decapitated and bloated in a pool of dark, congealed crimson. “Oh my…”
Her breath rushed in and out as she stumbled back. The cellphone in her clammy hand rang, and she screamed. Blindly, she pressed “talk.” “Hell—hello?”
“Do you like it?” someone whispered.
She whirled, scanning, searching for Rex. He was here, somewhere. He had to be.
“Why won’t you call me?” The whisper turned into a pathetic whine. “Why won’t you call me, Wren?”
“Stop,” she shuddered out as she hurried to her car, looking over her shoulder from time to time, sure he was waiting to pounce. “Stop doing this. I’m calling the police.”
The whining stopped abruptly and turned into mad, riotous laughter. “They won’t believe you! They won’t believe you!”
“Leave me alone!” She hung up, gasping for air. Tears poured down her cheeks, and her hand shook as she opened her door, took her seat, and locked herself in. She had to get out of here. She had to get away. It took her two tries to shove the key in the ignition as she glanced at the bloodstained step once more and backed out with a squeal of tires. She sped off, heading toward Ethan’s until she remembered he was gone and a quarter of his house had been gutted for the new edition. All of them were gone—Ethan, Hunter, and Austin. She pressed ‘one’ on her speed dial, listening to the repetitive ringing. Ethan’s smooth voice told her to leave a message, but she hung up instead. She turned down another street, taking her farther from her home, and punched in Ethan Cooke Security’s twenty-four hour assistance line.
“Ethan Cooke Security. This is Mia.”
“Mia, it’s Wren.”
“Wren, are you okay?”
“Yes.” Her voice broke, and she shook her head as she clutched the wheel with one hand. “No. No, I’m not. There’s a dead cat on my porch.”
That didn’t exactly describe the horror she’d just backed away from. “Someone killed a cat and left it on my front step.”
“Oh my god. Where are you?”
“In my car.” She sniffed. “Driving around. I don’t want to go back to my house alone.”
“Of course not. Let me patch you through to Tucker Campbell. He’s on call.”
Tucker? “No, wait—” But it was too late. Soothing music played in her ear.
“Wren?” Tucker’s deep voice hummed with concern.
Her lip wobbled, and tears began to fall again. “Yeah, I’m here.”
“What’s going on? Mia said something about a dead cat?”
“Someone chopped some sweet cat’s head off and put the body on my front step.”
He muttered a swear. “Are you there now?”
“No, I’m in my car, driving around. It freaked me out. I don’t want to be at the house by myself.”
“I don’t want you there either. Come to my place until we get this figured out.”
If choking fingers of terror didn’t have her by the throat, she would’ve refused, but Tucker was offering his help. She needed help. “I don’t—I don’t know where you live.”
“Ocean View Apartments, off Highway One.”
“What if he follows me? He might be following me right now.” She glanced in the rearview mirror and cringed as headlights trailed behind her.
“Who the hell is Rex?”
“The crazy bastard who left the dead cat on my porch.”
“Son of a bitch, Cooke. Don’t stop. Don’t’ pull over. Drive on a flat tire if you have to. Just get here. I’ll be waiting outside.”
“Okay,” she sniffed, too afraid to be prideful. “I’m about ten minutes away.”
Jessica Sweet thought going away to college would finally make her free of her parents’ constant judgments and insistence she play chastity club role model for their church events, but if anything, the freedom has made her realize she can’t go home and be a hypocrite anymore. Tired of dodging their questions, she stays at school over the summer and lands in an unexpected crash pad: Riley Mann’s house.
Sarcastic, cocky, and full of opinions, Riley is also sexy personified with tattoos and biceps earned from working as a roofer all day. Not the right guy for her even if Jessica was looking for a relationship, which she is definitely not. But Jessica knows that Riley hides the burden of having to raise his younger brothers behind that grin and as she helps him get his house in order for a custody hearing, they begin to fall hard for each other, and she is forced to question what she’s hiding herself.
Jessica has never had a problem getting naked with a guy, but when it comes to showing Riley how she truly feels inside, her fear of rejection may just ruin the best thing—the best guy—to ever happen to her…