Today we are celebrating the release of KNOX by Brenda Rothert by participating in the blog tour. This is a contemporary romance, and it is the fourth, standalone title in the Chicago Blaze hockey romance series. Purchase your copy now!
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Knox by Brenda Rothert
Available Now | Chicago Blaze, #4
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Getting ditched at the altar is nothing compared to being humiliated there in front of three hundred shocked guests. Apparently I’m no good at spotting the signs your man’s a cheating liar. So I set off solo on my honeymoon to Hawaii, where I realize I’ve got this life thing down just fine on my own.
Friendships and laughter? Yes.
But relationships? Hell no. Never again.
I’m a man of few words. My reputation as a moody prick is deserved, but only the handful of people who really know me see the man beneath the professional mask.
I’m a protector. A warrior. That part is true. But the world doesn’t get to see the rest of me. And women don’t seem to mind my gruff exterior—my bed’s always warm.
I’m content with life—loving it, even—or so I thought. But when I meet a beautiful pastry chef with a broken heart and a smile that softens me down to my soul, I realize I wasn’t really content at all before her.
I only wish I had the words to let her know.
Mrs. Eric Darnell. I’ve practiced saying it and writing it, but it still doesn’t feel real. There’s a part of me that’s still scared, but this is the right thing. After nine years together, where else can our relationship go?
At the sound of a sniffle, I turn to my maid of honor, my best friend Mandy, who’s already crying. I never knew her to be a softie. The ceremony hasn’t really even started yet. She takes a tissue out from around her bouquet and wipes the corners of her eyes.
“Before we begin the ceremony, let us pray,” the pastor says.
“Hang on,” Eric blurts out.
Did he just say hang on as our wedding ceremony was about to start? My heart skips several beats as I look around to see what’s going on. Is there a medical emergency? Why else would Eric go off script?
The pastor and I both stare at him as he closes his eyes and grimaces.
“I’m sorry,” he says, sighing as he opens his eyes and lets go of my hands.
As my hands drop to my sides, an icy shiver zips down my spine. He let go. I only asked him for one thing when we talked on the phone this morning, honoring the tradition of not seeing each other on our wedding day. Hold onto my hands the entire time.
The church is still, everyone seeming to hold their breath as they wait for Eric to speak. My heart races and my hands start to shake as I realize something’s not right here. There’s no medical emergency.
“Reese.” Eric’s tone is both apologetic and pleading. “I need to tell you something. I want to go into this marriage with a clean conscience.”
I swallow back the bile that rises in my throat. This can’t be happening. In all my worst-case scenarios about what could go wrong on my wedding day, I never imagined this.
I worried I’d be having a heavy period today. That I’d trip on my way down the aisle and face plant in front of everyone. Or that the last week of stress eating would catch up with me and my dress wouldn’t zip up.
But this? Never this.
Eric lets out a shaky breath and says, “Please forgive me. I did something so stupid.”
Mandy’s crying intensifies. I feel like I could pass out at any second.
“Uh…” the pastor looks between me and Eric. “Do you two want to step out for a moment?”
“What did you do?” I ask Eric, my voice nearly a whisper.
The sound and scent of the ocean has vanished. I can only feel my racing heart and a creeping sense of complete dread.
“So now it was stupid?” Mandy demands loudly. “Eight months together and you’re saying it was a mistake?”
The guests collectively gasp.
As it sets in, I’m too stunned to even breathe. Eric. Fucked. Mandy. A lot.
My bouquet falls to the ground, making a whooshing sound as it hits. My breathing is more of a pant now, an angry, breathy pant with a growl now surfacing.
PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THE SERIES
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Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.