(The Sinful Guardians MC, #1)
Publication date: August 30th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
One minute I’m content just enjoying life with my club, running one of the businesses we own, and the next a woman sneaks her way under my skin for the first time in my life.
I never saw her coming.
Wild hair, almost black, and dark brown eyes star in my fantasies, but Paisley keeps herself out of reach. She’s shielded behind a solid brick wall that I want to knock down more than I’ve ever wanted anything. As I get to know her, my hero complex grows as fast as the chemistry burning between us. Maybe it’s just the former soldier and the sergeant at arms in me talking, but I want to protect her from both my past and whoever sent her running to Montana.
And I will protect her, because this woman is mine.
Three months ago, I found out how much cruelty can flow through someone’s veins. My whole world collapsed, and suffocating fear for the most precious thing life has ever given me sent me running.
Now, Montana is my new home. For how long? Only time will tell.
But when fate puts a sturdy, intense biker in my path, everything changes. The connection between Seth and me is palpable, and it grows stronger every day that I get to know him. It lures us together despite my efforts to stay away. And clearly, I fail at staying away. Because soon, what scares me the most is no longer the dreadful ghost of my recent past.
Now, I’m terrified I’ll have to run away again and lose the man I’m falling in love with.
I know that staring down at the nasty mush of food splashed across my kitchen sink is going to awaken the urge to vomit the rest of the lunch I ate three hours ago—most likely before I even manage to get my breathing under control. My churning stomach is the only proof I need. But for a long couple of minutes, the loathsome prospect of a repeat doesn’t set off enough motivation for me to move. But maybe motivation isn’t the problem. Maybe I’m simply not sure it’s wise to take the leap yet. If my legs shake with as much fervor as my hands when I try to walk away from the repugnant smell, the chances of cracking my skull on the hard, light gray tiles of my kitchen floor are sky-high. It doesn’t help that my brain has started to race despite myself, trying to come up with an explanation for the discovery that forced me to puke into the sink, the sickness arising too suddenly to allow me to race to the bathroom. It’s searching for any explanation that would give me even the slightest flicker of hope that the past fourteen months of my life haven’t been a pure lie.
A complete sham.
But as I finally push off the countertop and stagger back to the kitchen island despite the risk of collapsing on the way, my gut, my heart and my head are all on the same page. When my gaze falls back to the few papers that literally made me sick, every part of me knows that the last fourteen months have come to an end. There can’t be many explanations for the papers I found hidden under a loose board of the living room hardwood floor ten minutes ago.
These papers have changed my life. It sounds dramatic, but it’s not. It’s a fact.
My eyes stay anchored to the passport displaying the picture of the man I’ve loved for the past fourteen months, despite the need to fight back a new wave of nausea as more food threatens to make its way up my throat. Through my frenzied heartbeat, my trembling body, and my roiling stomach, I keep reading the name adjoined to the very familiar face with sharp features and soft blue eyes, topped with a mop of light brown hair. The first name is the same I’ve always called him. Brendan. But the last name isn’t his. At least, it’s not the one I thought belonged to the man that I thought was the love of my life until about fifteen minutes ago. And now, the face I’m staring at is the one of the man I love, but strangely, it also isn’t.
If not for the three other pieces of paper I found with the passport, I could have let my mind wander through far-fetched explanations like how the man I’ve shared so much with was some kind of secret agent who had to keep me in the dark for safety reasons. I might have let my love for him convince me of that. But the other papers are spread out here, right before my eyes, and two of them drape a layer of cold chills all over my skin, worsening the shaking that’s taken over my body. The two train tickets scheduled for the same day Brendan booked me a spa day don’t leave much doubt as to what’s going on.
Just for you. You deserve a long day of being pampered.
Those were his words when he gifted me the thoughtful spa day a few days ago, kissing me like I was a treasure. His treasure. But I’ve never been a treasure to him, and he’s never been some undercover hero fighting the most dangerous criminals in the world. I’m a fool, and he’s a fraud. A fraud that is intending to leave Oregon in less than a week.
Why is this happening? Why is he doing this? To me? To us? The possible answers to those questions send an even stronger wave of sickness rolling through me than the papers in front of me, so I’m not even going to think about it. At least not now. Does knowing why matter anyway? To me, in this moment, it doesn’t. All that matters to me is that the man I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with is planning to rip away from me the most precious thing life has ever given me. The last piece of paper on the counter is proof of that. I didn’t even know it had arrived yet. The past three weeks have been nothing but adjustment and trying to sleep when I can, so it’s no surprise that administrative stuff hasn’t entered my mind once. But it has been on Brendan’s, obviously. Now I’m back to staring at one of the last names appearing on the document; Travis. Brendan Travis. I’m then reading my own name again, not knowing if it’s a consolation or not. I don’t know much anymore, except that the man who is now a stranger to me is planning to do something heartless and unfathomable. But so help me God, the only way I’m going to let that happen is if I’m dead. And when the door of my apartment opens and footsteps get closer before I have time to put away the incriminating documents, I’m sweating with the thought that something irreversible is really going to happen.
C.M. Marin is an author of romantic suspense and contemporary romance.
She’s a small-town girl all the way. Quiet and nature are all she really needs… as long as there are books and a box full of assorted teas within easy reach!
She hasn’t found her own happily ever after yet, but she sure loves to write about falling in love and finding forever. With a touch of suspense, just the right amount of sexiness, and plenty of love, she writes books for every lover of romance around the world!
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