Dirty, Reckless Love by Lexi Ryan
Release Date: August 14, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
I’m in love with a man who tried to kill me. At least that’s what they tell me . . .
Six weeks ago, paramedics found me unconscious in my own home. Beaten. Bruised. Hardly breathing. When I woke up, I couldn’t remember the last three years or anything about my life in Jackson Harbor. They tell me my fiancé, Colton McKinley, is on the run for what he did to me. They tell me I’m safer if I stay away.
I don’t care if my memories ever come back. I want nothing to do with those missing years . . . until a sexy stranger with angry eyes shows up on my doorstep and demands I stop ignoring him.
Levi Jackson is my fiancé’s best friend, but seeing him sparks something inside me. As the truth unravels in my mind, I know they’re wrong about Colton. My own secrets are far more dangerous than the man I was engaged to.
I return to Jackson Harbor to search for answers and find myself running from a faceless boogeyman and seeking refuge in Levi’s arms. And in his bed.
I can’t deny my feelings for Levi. But as the pile of lies between us grows, I realize that sometimes the truth can’t set us free. It may be the very thing that could destroy us.
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The man searches my face. “That’s why you won’t come home. You’re afraid of Colton.”
“I don’t want anything to do with that life.”
He exhales heavily and rolls his shoulders back, as if he’s trying to shake off a ghost. “That’s not fair to the rest of us. To everyone who loves you, everyone who was sick with worry when they put you into that coma. Not. Fucking. Fair.”
I shrug. “Maybe losing a child and almost dying has made me a little selfish.”
His gaze drifts down to my stomach, and I cover it with my hand without thinking. “I’m sorry about the baby.”
I nod, tears springing to my eyes. “Me too.” So sorry.
“I understand if you want to live here now, but don’t cut us out. We all lost something that night.”
He narrows his eyes. “You think I didn’t care? That this was all some game to me, and losing you was nothing?”
I wrap my arms around my chest, as if the pressure might weaken this force pulling me toward him by the solar plexus, this inexplicable need to be closer and let him wrap me in his arms. “Losing me? When was I ever yours to lose?”
He jerks his gaze away from me, slides off his stool, and downs the rest of his beer. “Thanks. I guess that clears up where we stand after everything.”
I open my mouth to apologize but swallow the words and meet his steady gaze.
Then he backs away and grabs his bags off the bar. He pulls an envelope from his pocket and hands it to me. “I was going to leave this for you with the barista next door, but I guess I can save myself the trouble.”
“What is it?” I ask, staring at the crisp black calligraphy that reads Ellie Courdrey.
“An invitation to Ava and Jake’s wedding. Despite what you seem to think of me, I’m not fucking my future sister-in-law.”
He nods. “They thought about canceling after everything, but . . .” He stares at me for a long beat. “They decided to put love first.”
That feels like a jab. At me? At them? I don’t know. “I don’t want to go back there.”
“Maybe it’s not always about what you want.” He shrugs as if it’s no different to him either way, but I can tell by the tension in his shoulders that it matters a lot.
He steps forward—too close—and I let him, closing my eyes at his scent. Then a flash.
He’s over me. The weight of him presses into my hips, his calloused hands holding my face, his fingers in my hair. “You’re sure?”
I nod. Slide my hands down his back and lift my hips. “Yes. Please.”
He searches my eyes. “No regrets.”
I hold on to the memory of this man, wanting to examine it, to figure out what it means, but I’m too distracted by his closeness in this moment. He’s big. Strong. Warm.
He lowers his mouth to my ear. “I never stopped loving you. Even when you told me to. Even when you chose him.” And then he walks away.
Lexi Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of emotional romance that sizzles. Lexi is the 2018 winner of the Romance Writers of America® RITA® award for Best Long Contemporary Romance. She considers herself the luckiest girl around to make a living through storytelling. She loves spending time with her crazy kids, weightlifting, ice cream, swoony heroes, and vodka martinis.
Lexi lives in Indiana with her husband, two children, and a spoiled dog. You can find her at her website: http://www.lexiryan.com
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