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Illicit King-Special Edition Paperback

Illicit King-Special Edition Paperback

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Synopsis

Kiss of Redemption

He spent ten years in prison, framed for killing his best friend—my brother.

Beckett Brooks wasn't just cute—he was beautiful.

He’s never denied what happened that night.

So why did he push me down to save me?

After I woke up in a hospital bed, my grandparents hid me from the world.

Everyone on the island thought I died.

Now Beckett’s been paroled.

He’s made it clear he only wants me.

Time has made him sexy as sin.

I should stay far away—I can’t.

Yet there’s a reason Beckett never told the truth.

And the past is still trying to destroy us.

Sins of Justice

I’ll stop at nothing until I learn his biggest secret, one I know will destroy his life…

Yet I’m unprepared for Ryland Brooks.

The heat in his eyes…his commands…his sizzling touch… It’s too much to ignore.

But I have to.

He’s part of my investigation and my vendetta isn’t only because of my job.

It’s personal.

So I won't let my feelings deter me.

But Ryland’s a magnet drawing me toward him, causing deep cravings that won’t disappear, only growing hotter the more I resist them.

Once I cross the line, there’s no going back even though he’s hiding something from me.

The more I dig, the more it’s clear everything I thought I knew about myself might be wrong.

And Ryland isn’t making anything easy for me.

Acts of Manipulation

The head of the gang declared, kidnapped, and ripped me away from the love of my life and family.

Sid’s a monster, but not to me.

He tells me he loves me and will die for me.

And he claims it’s my choice—love him or choose not to.

No matter what he says, I can’t stop yearning to feel Javier’s arms and lips on me.

Nor can I forget the future he promised me, no matter how much Sid pressures me.

And the consequences of not picking Sid will kill my family and Javier.

All I want is for him to come rescue me before I have to do the unforgivable.

But I’m running out of time.

Web of Betrayal

Most women can’t handle my filthy, bossy mouth under the sheets.

So when I agree to take in the woman who was rescued with my sister, I fight my demons.

Every moment I spend with Lena, the cravings for her grow.

I need to stop them.

She was declared and forced to marry a monster. The last thing she needs is another man telling her what to do.

And when my ex-girlfriend shows up and has to live with us to give Lena intensive therapy, she claims she wants me back.

All I want is Lena.

Yet Kate’s sneaky. And Lena insists Kate knows things she shouldn’t. Things that have to do with the Twisted Hearts.

I can’t wrap my mind around it.

But betrayal is sneaky.

Masks of Devotion

Kade Coral was my brother's best friend and always in my life—until he wasn’t.

We flirted for years and finally confessed our love.

Six hours after I woke up in his arms, he moved.

Three years have passed and not one word from him.

And no one recreates the zings I had with Kade.

That includes party boy Fisher Corbyn who wants to get serious with me.

Then Kade arrives, swearing he never stopped loving me but full of secrets and lies he claims are for my protection. And he declares Fisher’s unsafe.

My brain says Fisher’s harmless.

Kade’s the one who’s dangerous for my heart.

Or is he?

Roots of Vengeance

Falling in love with my target isn’t part of the assignment.

Yet nothing about Connor is average.

Not his looks, or kisses, or spine tingling touches.

But I shatter his heart and mine when he discovers my secret.

My actions are unforgivable.

I’ve crossed the line of no return. The only way to keep going is to dive further into my secret life.

So I order my boss to assign me to the most dangerous men.

Until every Twisted Heart ceases to exist, I won’t stop.

Time drags me deep into the underworld.

I can't pull myself out.

Then Connor reappears.

No matter what has happened, our fire is hotter than ever.

He begs me to choose him and get out while I can.

How can I when I’ve already sunk too far?

Kiss of Redemption-Chapter One

Mia 

MEMORIES LACED WITH HAPPINESS AND PAIN CONFUSE ME FOR OVER a decade. Beckett was only a boy, just having turned seventeen when he went to prison. My brother Clay and I lived with our grandparents. Our mother was only sixteen when she first got
pregnant, then twenty with me. 

We never met our father, and my mother never told her parents or us his name. He came in and out of her life with both pregnancies. It seems he
was another one of her addictions. 

When I was ten, my mother died of a drug overdose, and my grandparents became our
sole guardians. 

In some ways nothing changed. We already were living with them, and my mother wasn't ever much of the maternal type. She partied so much that
days would pass without her coming home, sometimes turning into weeks. 

But it was still painful. As absent of a mother she was, she
still was Clay and my only parent. I thought I had cried all my tears after she died. And then Beckett murdered Clay. At least that is what my grandparents told me before they sent me away to a boarding school run by nuns
in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 

When I turned eighteen, my grandparents sent me to a private college attached to the boarding school. I only moved buildings. Anytime I asked to come home, the answer was always the same, "It's not safe." 

They wouldn't tell me why it wasn't safe. Clay's killer was in
prison. How was it not safe? But as many times as I asked the question, I never received an answer. 

My grandfather died of a heart attack when I was in the middle of earning my bachelor's degree. I was on an accelerated course. My life consisted of classes and limited acquaintances. I threw myself into studying from the time I arrived at the boarding school through my masters, putting up a wall, and making sure
that I didn't get too close to anyone. 

No one knew my story, and I wasn't about to tell them. I could only imagine the conversation piece with the gossipy girls in my classes. 

Drug addicted mom who overdosed, no name father, and a brother murdered by his best friend would have been the talk of the school. So I kept to myself and didn't get close to anyone. 

My grandparents couldn't travel much, and when my grandmother called to tell me about his death, I wanted to come home. She wouldn't let me, and I didn't have any funds to disobey her. 

Last year, she died as well. I inherited all of their assets—the
small house in the seaside town of Anna Maria Island, a smaller stock account, and bank accounts. I wasn't rich, but it gave me enough to move back to Florida after finishing my Master's degree. 

 They never told me why I needed to stay away. 

 And I am tired of hiding. 

Ten years have passed. I still have nightmares and hear sounds of bullets and my brother's voice. A man always yells, "Get down, Mia." I always think it's Beckett's, but
they told me he killed Clay. When my grandparents told me Beckett shot Clay, I told them it wasn't possible. I remember Beckett and Clay being tight
throughout all their childhood. They played sports together and went on double
dates and did all the other things boys their age do. 

I had a crush on Beckett. But besides being his best friend's
quiet little sister, he didn't know I existed. And why would he have? Teenage acne covered my face and the metal braces on my teeth weren't anything to scream, 'Pay attention to me.' Sure, he was kind to me and would even join in and tease
me with Clay at times, but his mind was on all the girls that chased after him. 

And Beckett had his pick of the town. His sandy-colored hair was thick, and he would run his hand through it often. When he laughed, displaying his perfectly straight white teeth, his deep brown eyes lit up. Unlike most
boys his age, he wasn't just cute— he was beautiful. 

The captain of the football and basketball team didn't hurt his
popularity status either. Girls constantly threw themselves at him. Clay and Beckett took advantage of the nearby beaches, and I'd hear them rating which girls they thought were hottest in their little bikinis after each trip. 

 

Clay and Beckett were like brothers. There was no way he could kill him, I thought
when my grandparents told me. But Beckett's never denied it. Over ten years have passed, and not once has he ever claimed his innocence. So the confusion
that plagues me is constant. 

It's May, and I just graduated. I'm planning on moving back to
Florida, but I move my timeline up when two days after school is out, I'm opening my mail and receive the notice of the parole hearing. 

I stay up all night, packing the few belongings I have into my
small SUV and drive through the night and next days until I reached the house I grew up in and inherited. 

Throughout the drive on I-75, I can only think of one thing. I have to know why he did it. 

I arrive three days before the hearing. The island town of Anna Maria has grown considerably since I left. Houses have been torn down, and new,
exquisite ones replace them. But the little cottage home I grew up in until I was almost fourteen is still standing, and when I walk through the doors, memories flood me. 

I see my grandparents and Clay. But mostly, I see Beckett. He's giving me a nuggie, while Clay tickles me. 

He's eating dinner with all of us. 

He's playing video games on the brown leather couch. Emotion overcomes me, and I
blink back tears. Why did he do
it?
How could he have done it?
The questions that plague me over and over, ripping my heart to shreds, as raw as the day I first learned Beckett pulled the trigger, never change. 

I wake up the day of the hearing and take a shower. No one ever
showed me how-to put-on makeup, so I wear very little. I dry my hair, plug my
curling iron in, and decide to fight the humidity. 

Looking at the few items of clothing I own, I debate but decide I should look nice going to court. The nicest thing I own is a sundress I
bought the previous day at one of the stores on the island. I only went in to
buy a hat to shield my face from the sun when I'm outside but decided to buy it because my clothes are warmer from living in the Upper Peninsula. 

I put the dress on and look at the time. There's one hour until
the hearing. My stomach is in flutters, knowing that I'm going to face Beckett today. 

Deciding that traffic is unpredictable, I leave for the courthouse, getting there thirty minutes early. I sit in my car, breathing in and
out, trying to calm my nerves. 

It's pointless. With ten minutes to go, I get out of the car and walk into the courthouse, go through the metal detector, and have the guard point me to the
correct courtroom. 

The room is empty, except for the panel of four professionals
who sit at the front. One woman, whose nameplate says, Judge Filmore, looks at
me. "Can you state your name for me so I can verify you're in the correct hearing? These are closed proceedings." 

 I nod. "Mia Crimson." 

She looks at her file then back at me. "You are Clay Crimson's sister?" 

"Yes, your Honor." 

She smiles, sympathetically at me. "And you are the only living
relative?" 

 I nod again. 

"Please, have a seat then." She points to the seats. 

Do I sit at the front or the back? 

I decide to sit in the back. 

Several minutes pass, and I tap my foot and twist my fingers together in nervous
anticipation. 

 The doors finally open, and a guard stands between a man in an orange jumpsuit and me, guiding him to the front of the room. His hands and
ankles are chained together. 

My heart beats faster in my chest. I swallow hard, looking at the back of him. 

He's different, filled out, full of muscle, no longer a boy. His
hair is darker than ten years ago, and he has a thin goatee. I can't see his face, and when the judge asks him questions, his voice is the same one that
yells in my dreams, "Get down, Mia." 

It's deeper than ten years ago, but it's his voice. 

"Is there anything you would like to say today to your victim's family?" The judge points to me. 

Beckett turns around. My insides quiver hard, and I blink back tears. The boyish grin
he used to carry is gone. His chiseled face is now one of a man's. Eyes that used to be full of laughter are full of sadness, and...is it hardness? 

Surprise fills his face, almost as if he doesn't know me. He
starts to apologize, then stops, turns to the judge and asks her who I am. 

He doesn't remember me? Is this some kind of sick joke? When she tells him that I'm Clay's sister, his head spins to me.
"Mia? You're alive?" His eyes scan mine, and his blood drains from his face. 

It
seems as if he genuinely thought I was dead. Confusion once again fills me. Why does he think I died? 

 

When he tells me his remorse, it seems genuine, but he doesn't
deny killing Clay. His eyes bore into mine as if he's trying to tell me something, but I don't know what. 

He killed your brother. Don't let him fool you. 

But he couldn’t have. 

Then why doesn’t he deny it? 

The judge tells him to turn back, and then she says, "Is there anything you would
like to say, Ms. Crimson?" 

Tell her to lock him up. 

But he yelled for you to get down the night of the shooting. I came to tell her to keep him in jail. That ten years isn't enough for my brother's life. I am here to plead with her to keep him locked up forever. But I can't. Instead, my social anxiety overpowers me and to my
surprise, I barely get out, "No." The muscles in his back tense, and the judge tells him that she is releasing him. In forty-eight hours, he will be free. I'm sorry, Clay. I've failed you. 

Tears stream down my face. He will be free in two days, and my
brother will still be in the ground. The last ten years of my life will always be a decade of grief and loneliness due to what Beckett did. 

But he gets to go free. 

As the guard escorts him out of the courtroom, he locks eyes with me, his jaw clenched. 

On the outside, Beckett Brooks is still as beautiful as I
remember except now…

 

Download now to find out what happens in Kiss of Redemption.

★★★★★ ”Complete perfection. Romeo and Juliet without the sad ending. Maggie Cole writes the kind of stories and sexy book boyfriends that leave you completely blown away. Every. Single. Time.” - USA Today Bestselling Author, Faith Summers

Two enemy mafia families in a dangerous struggle for power.

He thought it would be easy to deceive her.

Once she learns the truth, the only answer is war.

But what can two hearts do when they’re already entwined?

He wants to destroy my father’s throne.

I should avoid him, but I can’t keep my hands off him.

Brody O'Connor is tall, rugged, and hell-bent on obliterating my family.

He seduced me on purpose, and now I’m paying the price.

He’s my sworn enemy--part of a rival clan.

But no matter how much I try to shake him, or our heated encounters, I can’t.

Every step I take, he’s there, lurking in the shadows, studying me, waiting for any chance to undermine my efforts to become my father’s successor.

Brody says I’m naive--in the dark about Da’s true dealings. He’s screwing with my head.

Da is cruel, but he’s not capable of something so heinous.

Or is he?

If Brody’s right, then where does that leave me?

Where does it leave us?

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