Broody Marines, a motorcycle club, crooked cops and a strong heroine make this one page turning trilogy you won't be able put down!
Ryder Callaghan didn't know a damn thing about the moody woman who moved in next door. But his military instincts told him she was in trouble.
The deep kind that gets you six feet under.
Elle was running from someone; and come hell or high-water Ryder was going to figure out exactly who and why.
She was stubborn and beautiful, and he would use every Callaghan Security employee to find answers to questions she flat out refused to answer:
Why she slept with a gun under her pillow.
Why she dressed like she was on her way to a funeral in winter.
Why she had more scars than men he'd fought with in Iraq.
Ryder knew women. They came freely and easily for him. Yet the one woman he wants —for more than one night— doesn't want anything to do with him.
How do you save a woman who won't let you in
"Harlow Stone is a bit of an emotional terrorist with her writing. She lures you in, lays the foundation of where you just know things will go and then BANG! Never saw it coming!" Amazon Review
“You ruined my date,” he says fighting a smile.
I’m now fighting my own too. “Handsome, you and I both know that hooker would have sucked your dick in the parking lot with, or without the dinner. So if your date was ruined, it was by your lack of attempt to console the girl after I did nothing other than state the fact we haven’t shared a bed together.”
He cocks his head to the side contemplating his next words. “So, since my bed is now cold for the night are you offering to keep it warm?” he asks, a smirk ever present on his face.
“You had a warm and willing body at the restaurant Ryder, you should have kept it. However, the scent of her cheap perfume coming off your clothing is enough to make even me want to shower, so I would suggest if you warm a bed with that woman, let it be hers so you don't need to replace your sheets and air out your household after she leaves. I have disinfectant in my cupboard that smells more pleasing than that.”
He’s quick to come back at me. “I wasn’t with her for the perfume, but I’ll keep that in mind.” His black eyes bore into mine, he’s trying to see if this conversation will make me jealous, but it’s not. If anything I feel more empowered that Ginger didn’t get invited back to his house for the night.
“You don’t bring them back to your house though, do you Ryder? You like your space, you like your privacy, and as much as you enjoy a night of mindless fucking, you’re not willing to be the bad guy that kicks them out of your bed at night. You’d rather be the one to leave, less trouble that way.” I know I’m right, and I half expect him to deny it. To my surprise he doesn’t.
“You’re right. But the only reason you’re right is because you see in me a part of yourself, which tells me you do the exact same thing. Don’t you Elle?” He asks it like a question but he already knows the answer. I suppose we’re on a roll with this conversation so fuck it, I’ll indulge.
“I’ve never been booted from a bed and I’ve never been left. I do the leaving, Ryder, and I also do the choosing. However, I never shit where I eat. That helps me avoid situations like what happened at the restaurant tonight. I don't do the catty bitch routine, and as you noticed I don't fight over men. So, I suggest in the future you take my advice and find your pussy in the next town over, otherwise poor Ginger might get the wrong idea when you run into your neighbors.”
Ryder has been my light in a hurricane, but even I know the sun can’t shine all the time.
He’s made me feel safe, but that doesn’t mean he can save me.
Because someone’s still out there.
Hell bent on hurting me.
This journey of mine only leaves me two choices:
Do I continue on my path towards retribution for my family?
Or do I focus on the first man to crack my steel encased soul?
He hurt me, lied to me and broke my heart.
But I was wrong, wasn’t I?
I’m at a crossroad.
Crooked cops, a shady mayor and his conniving daughter,
I don’t know where to turn.
Ryder or retribution?
Love or loss?
This life of mine isn’t a fairy-tale.
I know I can’t have both.
*This is book two in The Ugly Roses Trilogy. Book one 'Frayed Rope' must be read first*
Recommended 18+ due to mature content.
"You are completely thrown, slammed, and brutalized by Harlow. Seriously, get these books!" Ramblings from beneath the sheets blog
He climbs the steps and comes to sit on the lounge, not up beside me this time. He sits at the foot of it. I appreciate the small moment of silence to memorize his profile again. “You want to start, or do you want me to?” he asks.
Typical Ryder, well, typical on a good day. Thinking about me, and what I’d like first.
“I think we have two options Ryder. I need your help, you know I do. I don’t ask for help often, so please don’t take that lightly. The other option is for you to distance yourself from my personal life, and me from yours. Meaning our relationship would be that of neighbors who occasionally fuck each other.”
His head whips around fast to face mine. “Not fucking happening, Elle.” I sadly shake my head. “There’s no other option for you Ryder. I’m going to be selfish about this and tell you that I need your help, more than I need your dick. You said it yourself we’re both learning this relationship stuff, so let’s put it on the back burner while we figure my case out. We’ve already proven we can’t do both without tearing each other’s heads off. Keeping myself alive is more important than sharing a bed with someone right now, Ryder. If that doesn’t work for you then we toss it all aside and just share each other’s beds while I figure it out on my own.”
His frustrated black eyes stare back at me while he shakes his head, his posture tight. “Why do you get to be the one to make the decisions here Elle? Why do you get to give me ultimatums?”
I soften a little, and settle my greens on his blacks. “Because my life has an expiration date Ryder, and it’s not like yours that includes wrinkles, grey hair and grandchildren.” His eyes close and he tilts his head down. This man has looked defeated in front of me so many times, I’m starting to wonder if I’m doing him more harm than good. Surely a regular woman with a normal life couldn’t put this much stress on a man.
I remind myself he too has left me stressed, and that whatever way we move forward will be for the better. At least right now. “I don’t like it Elle, I don’t. But it doesn’t sound like you’re giving me any other option.” I reach out and put my hand on top of his. “This is the way it needs to be right now, Ryder.” He grabs my hand and brings it up to his mouth, placing a kiss on my palm. “I still think you’re wrong, and you never said I had to agree with you, because I don’t. I hope to prove you wrong, Elle. I fucked up the other day and I’ll probably do that a lot.”
He takes a deep breath and runs his hands through his hair before continuing. “I’ll help. You know I will beautiful. But don’t think it’s going to be easy for me.”
An explosive finale to this edge of your seat romance!
Inmate number 67413
I'm kneeling on the floor at the hands of a monster.
How did I get here?
Of course I know the answer, but if those bastards Fate and Karma
truly hold the cards then I wish I knew where the hell I went wrong.
Trapped in a cage, the harsh bite of concrete under my knees is
a cruel reminder of my past, a past that follows me wherever I go
despite my best efforts to remain in the shadows.
One thing for certain is that no matter what happens,
no matter where this takes me or if I get out alive—
Ryder will always fight for me.
I'm not on my own anymore.
I have a strong man who loves me and Callaghan Security behind me.
Surrendering is not an option, and retribution may not be my answer.
This is a reckoning.
I will find the answers and survive long enough to reclaim what I lost.
My intent is pure and if I'm worthy enough
fate will grant me the one thing I may not deserve.
Recommended +18 Due to mature content.
"Absolutely nail biting, jaw dropping book!" Goodreads review
I watch Norm in the back lot. Sniffing around, doing her business and snapping at some sort of insect that keeps buzzing around her head. Ryder is to my right, doing something on his iPad and drinking his coffee. He’s been quiet this morning but I brush it off and chalk it up to a busy night.
Denny doesn’t seem to sit still for too long. He’s ten feet away, tinkering with some truck part at the picnic table with Ivan. Jimmy, being the last one to show his face comes out the back door while I’m on java number two.
I’m mid sip of the hot brew when Jimmy plops down into the chair beside me. “How’s your ass this morning, Jay?” The hot liquid sprays out of my mouth all over the white plastic table and Ivan howls with laughter, sweet deep laughter while Denny chuckles lightly. Ryder just shakes his head beside me. “Sorry man, forget where we are sometimes,” Ryder says, not at all fazed by the comment as he continues to tap away on his screen. “No apologies needed,” he says toward Ryder and turns his head to me. “You needed an ass whooping after yesterday, Jay. I love you, but that was even too ballsy for you.”
Wiping the coffee from my mouth I glare at my friend. “First, you know not to try talking to me before I’ve had two cups of coffee. And second, what the hell? We’ve all made some shitty choices in life. I’m lucky enough mine didn’t backfire and neither has the rest of what you guys got up to last night. End of discussion.”
Jimmy is obviously in the loop about what Ryder and his team got up to because he doesn’t ask questions. There’s a buzz at the gate and Ivan goes to check it out, allowing Andrei to enter. He’s still dressed smartly, but today he lacks a coat and is only wearing a dress shirt, unbuttoned at the top with sleeves rolled up. I’m surprised to see he has ink there but he always did seem pretty badass so it just adds to his flair for me. His dress slacks and crazy expensive shoes complete the Patrov wardrobe today.
“Morning gentleman, and lady. How’s everyone this morning?” Denny gives a grunt and a nod, Ivan smiles big, replying, “perfect day, suns shining!” Jimmy and I nod, and Ryder shakes Patrov’s hand.
Standing on the other side of the table blocking my view of Norma I look up to him. He has a smile on his face and his Russian accent graces my ears. “Go on any adventures lately, my fearless one?” I smirk and shake my head, “nothing too exciting. Have any bonfires lately my favorite Russian one?”
Trying to hold back the smirk but failing miserably he replies, “No, just a barbecue. Unfortunately, the meat was foul.” I throw my head back and laugh, a full-bodied kill myself laugh. “Oh my god!” I say through the tears at the corner of my eyes. Everyone else is in the same state as I am. Doubled over with laughter, howling at the hilarity of a man who is normally so serious.
“Fuck that was good,” cries Jimmy as he wipes the moisture from his face with his t-shirt.
“Coffee, Patrov?” Mine is nearly empty and still sprayed across the table.
“No thank you, I’m only staying a moment,” he says. Grabbing my empty cup, I get up from the table on a wince, ready for more java and in need of a bathroom break after the first two. “Are you alright?” Andrei asks, concern written all over his face. He probably thinks I got hurt last night. I did not, and unfortunately Jimmy feels the need to share. “She’s fine; Ryder just decided to give her ass his handprint for taking off last night.”
I don’t bother turning around to see the expression on Andrei’s face. I keep walking, coffee cup in hand, to the kitchen.