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The more the merrier
Aimee’s wedding is supposed to turn out perfect. Her dress, her fiancé and the location—the idyllic holiday ranch in Brazil—are perfect.
But all Aimee’s plans come crashing down when the private jet that’s taking her from the U.S. to the ranch—where her fiancé awaits her—defects mid-flight and the pilot is forced to perform an emergency landing in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.
With no way to reach civilisation, being rescued is Aimee and Tristan’s—the pilot—only hope. A slim one that slowly withers away, desperation taking its place. Because death wanders in the jungle under many forms: starvation, diseases. Beasts.
As Aimee and Tristan fight to find ways to survive, they grow closer. Together they discover that facing old, inner agonies carved by painful pasts takes just as much courage, if not even more, than facing the rainforest.
Despite her devotion to her fiancé, Aimee can’t hide her feelings for Tristan—the man for whom she’s slowly becoming everything. You can hide many things in the rainforest. But not lies. Or love.
Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is forbidden.
I wake up covered in cold sweat and something soft that might be a blanket. I can’t tell for sure, because when I open my eyes, it’s dark. When I try to move, a sharp pain in my temple makes me gasp.
“Tristan.” The word comes out almost like a cry. In the faint moonlight coming in through the windows, I see him leaning on the seat in front of me, hovering over me. I imagine his dark brown eyes searching me worriedly.
“Are you hurt?”
“Just my temple, but I’m not bleeding,” I say, running my fingers over the tender spot. I assess him next. It’s difficult given the dim moonlight. His white uniform shirt is smeared with dirt, but he appears unharmed. I turn my head toward the window. I can’t gauge anything outside in the darkness.
“Where are we?” I ask.
“We landed,” Tristan says simply, and when I turn to look at him he adds, “… in the rainforest.”
I nod, trying not to let the tight knot of fear in my chest overtake me. If I let it spiral out, I may not be able to control it.
“Shouldn’t we … like… leave the plane or something? Until they rescue us? Is it safe for us to be inside?”
Tristan runs a hand through his short, black hair. “Trust me, this is the only safe place. I checked outside for any fuel leaks, but we’re good.”
“You got out?” I whisper.
“I want—” I say, opening my seatbelt and trying to stand. But dizziness forces me back into my chair.
“No,” Tristan says, and he slumps in the seat opposite mine on the other side of the slim aisle. “Listen to me. You need to calm down.”
“How deep in the forest are we, Tristan?”
He leans back, answering after a long pause. “Deep enough.”
“How will they find us?” I curl my knees to my chest under the blanket, the dizziness growing. I wonder when Tristan put the blanket over me.
“They will,” Tristan says.
“But there is something we can do to make it easier for them, isn’t there?”
“Right now, there isn’t.”
“Can contact someone at base?” I ask weakly.
“No. We lost all communication a while ago.” His shoulders slump, and even in the moonlight, I notice his features tighten. His high cheekbones, which usually give him a noble appearance, now make him look gaunt. Yet instead of panic, I’m engulfed in weakness. My limbs feel heavy. Fog settles over my mind.
“What happened to the engine?” I whisper.
“Can you repair it?”
“There is really no way to send anyone a message?”
“No.” As if in a dream, I feel Tristan put a pillow under my head and recline my seat.
Welcome! My name is Layla Hagen and I am a Contemporary Romance author.
I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later.
I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world.
And I drink coffee. Lots of it, in case the photo didn’t make it obvious enough ;)
The problem with heartache is that there’s no one-size-fits-all relief package. You can go to classes; you can try to embrace change. But when you wake up at two in the morning, a smile on your face because you’ve dreamt about the could have—the should have—nothing will console you.
Because seconds later, you remember.
And remembering can rip you apart
Kate will do anything for her family. It’s why she took the job with Lee. It’s why she’s attempting to forget her pain. But it’s hard to forget, when you’re desperate to hold on. Even if Lee Collins is the perfect package.
Lee will do anything for the ones he cares about. It’s why he hired Kate.
It’s why he keeps his secrets; and it’s why he cannot, will not fall in love. Not with Kate—not with anyone.
The one thing he can’t forgive.
The one thing she can’t forget
THE PROBLEM WITH HEARTACHE
The Problem With Heartache.
The one thing he can’t forgive.
The one thing she can’t forget
“You. In.” She pointed to the room behind me, and I glanced over my shoulder.
“In there?” I smirked again, but her cheeks didn’t get any redder, to my astonishment. “Is now really the time?”
She pushed against my naked chest, her steely eyes fixed on my face the whole time, then slammed the door behind us with her foot.
“If you wanted some private time together, you just had to say so.” I joked, leaning back against the chair that was positioned in front of the mirror in my dressing room.
“You think this is funny?” Kate asked, her head tilted to the side.
“Actually … yeah.” I nodded and smiled again, not unkindly.
Kate looked down, and for one God-awful moment I thought she was going to cry.
Then, she did something better than crying. Holy mother of crap sticks, was this better than crying.
She raised her hands to the top of her black button-up shirt—and she undid the top button. Creamy, white skin is exposed, defined collarbones, teasing my eyes down to—
She undid another button. Holy fuck, what was Kate doing? Her cleavage heaved in front of me, and I got a hint, just a hint of her black lacy bra.
“It cannot be a coincidence that one man is shirtless in front of me six times in two weeks.”
I grinned. She’d counted.
That totally means she’s into it.
Then she did something that completely surprised me. Hell, it shocked the living daylight out of me. In one fluid movement, she grabbed the sides of her shirt and pulled, popping open her entire top and then shrugging it over her shoulders so she stood there in the world’s hottest black, lacy bra, skin-tight black denim jeans and these shoes—how the hell did I not notice them before?—that were red, high, and sexy as sin.
I swallowed. “So … this is a revenge …” Swallow, “… strip?”
“This is me, trying to do something to get you to pay attention and listen when I ask you to do something.” Kate’s voice was honey as it melted into me.
I raised my hand to the back of my neck and rubbed at the muscles there that had suddenly become tight with tension. “Oh, I’m paying attention, all right.” I widened my eyes. There was absolutely no doubt about that right now.
“Get back stage, Lee. Seriously. This is your last warning.”
I swallowed again, and felt the clamminess of perspiration beading my brow. Was it hot in here? It sure felt hot.
She stepped close to me, till her chest was almost touching my chest. Shit, she smelt like soap and hairspray and … apples. Delicious.
“I …” My gaze flicked to her lips, and I wondered if it would really be that bad if I kissed her. After all, that wouldn’t be promising her marriage, and maybe she’d be up for a casual thing. And her lips—they were so red, and plump, and—oh God, she just licked them with that sweet-as-hell little tongue, and—
The palm of her hand made contact with my face before I even registered her arm moving. Five elegant fingers stung my cheek and I jerked backward, clutching my face in pain. “What the hell?”
Kate walked over to where her shirt lay on the floor and picked it up, casually shrugging it on. She had the biggest shit-eating grin on her face, and I couldn’t help but give a little smile myself. I’d not seen her look so animated since she first boarded the bus.
“I told you it was your final warning,” she said, doing up her buttons, then turned to the door, wrenching it open and making a sweeping gesture with her arm, allowing me passage through. “Now, Mr Collins, if you please.”
“Thanks,” I mumbled, walking past her and out into the corridor. I passed Xander’s door, and a thought flashed through my mind. What if she stripped for all the guys to get them on stage? I couldn’t have her just—
“Lee?” The voice halted me in my tracks. I spun to face her.
She threw my black shirt at me. “Put some clothes on.”
Lauren K. McKellar is an author and editor. Her debut novel, Finding Home, was released through Escape Publishing on October 1, 2013, and her second release, NA Contemporary Romance The Problem With Crazy, is self-published, and is available now. She loves books that evoke emotion, and hope hers make you feel.
Lauren lives by the beach in Australia with her husband and their two dogs. Most of the time, all three of them are well behaved.
One truth will unravel them all.
Faye Middleton thought the worst had come to pass the night she and her friends barely escaped from Ethryeal City and the clutches of the evil Priestess Clara. Officially shunned from the Coven, Faye is forced to lay low in order to come up with a plan to bring Clara down.
At Jaxen’s childhood manor, they were supposed to be safe from any outside issues, and they were… until his long-lost mother shows up. Determined to win back what she lost so long ago, Evangeline reveals a secret that could shatter their beliefs, or be their saving grace.
Now, with two Covens searching for Faye, they must find a way to start over. With the help of the Rebellion, they begin the arduous task of forming their own army. However, the choices they are faced with leave them questioning everything they’ve ever known.
Published by 48fourteen in 2012, Born in Flames went on to win Turning the Pages Book of the Year award in February of 2013. In January of 2014, the last book in the trilogy, From the Embers, was released, thusly completing the trilogy. She now works on the Night Watchmen Series, while guzzling Red Bulls and pretending to be a ninja on Heelys.