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Kiss of Redemption (Paperback)

Kiss of Redemption (Paperback)

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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.

Kiss of Redemption-Prologue

Beckett Brooks

Redemption occurs by clearing your debt. Absolution for a sin that isn’t yours can turn you into the exact opposite of what you once were. At least, that’s my personal journey through hell.

“Beckett Brooks, do you feel that you’ve rehabilitated over the last ten years and are no longer a threat to society?” the lady wearing a navy-pinstripe suit and blue glasses, whose nameplate says Judge Filmore, asks me.

Society. What do I know about society anymore? How much has changed on the outside?

“Yes, ma’am. I wish to live an honest life of peace and contribute to my community.”

“Is there anything you would like to say today to your victim’s family?” She points behind me.

I didn’t do it, and I wish you could know the truth about what happened.

I spin behind me. My mouth goes dry and pulse increases. The last decade inside hasn’t given me anyone to look at, and most of my memories are faded and gone regarding any of the teenage girls I ever felt anything for. She looks familiar, but I’ve surely never seen her before, and it’s as if God himself opens up the gates of heaven and says, “Here’s your reward for going down for a crime you didn’t commit.”

Long black curls frame her porcelain, flawless skin. And eyes like the ocean—at least what I remember of it—drill into the depths of my soul. But not the darkness of the sea. The bright blueish-green color you’d find in the Caribbean or off the shores of some parts of Florida. I’d seen those eyes in the past on only one person, but she is dead. This woman has a mouth so lush, I can’t help but stare at it until her lip begins to shake, ripping me out of my trance.

Get your head out of your dick and remember where you are so you can get out of this hellhole, Beckett.

She is blinking back tears.

My heart breaks, watching her experience her pain.

Who is she? Why have I not seen her before? Where are Clay’s grandparents?

“Ma’am.” I nod at her and take another deep breath. She hates me. Understandably so. She thinks I killed her loved one. “I’m truly sorry for the involvement I had in your…” I turn to the parole panel. “I apologize, but I’ve not seen this woman before. What is the relation?”

Judge Filmore says, “Sister.”

My head snaps back to her, and the blood draining from my face gives me the chills. “Mia? You’re alive?”

She wipes at tears streaming down her cheeks, and I blink back my own.

How is this possible? They told me she died.

I would give anything to comfort her and tell her what happened so she no longer hates me. But I can’t.

What do you know anyway? You thought they murdered her, too.

“Please make your statement or turn back around. And address the victim’s family as ma’am or miss,” the judge instructs me.

I swallow hard, scanning her eyes. “Ma’am, if I could have a do-over, I would. I cannot tell you the remorse I have in my heart regarding your brother’s death. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about that night and not one will.”

I will her not to hate me, to somehow magically know that I did not kill her brother. I expect to see a disgust for me in her eyes, but all I see is her pain, and it shatters me to the core.

How old is she? She was only thirteen and would have been fourteen in the fall...

The judge clears her throat. “Mr. Brooks, please face me.”

I turn around, the chains on my legs clashing against each other, reminding me why I am standing in this room.

Focus, Beckett.

“Is there anything you would like to say, Ms. Crimson?”

I keep my head straight even though I want to look at her again.

“No,” she says so quietly I almost don’t hear her, but her voice drips honey and everything sweet.

The judge addresses me. “Mr. Beckett Brooks, the State of Florida is granting you early release for good behavior. It is my sincere hope you do not make us regret this decision. In the next forty-eight hours, the paperwork will be filed, and you will be a free man, with time served for your crime. More information will be given to you regarding the steps to stay in good standing with your parole requirements. Do you have anything further to say?”

She’s letting me out?

“Thank you, your honor. You will not regret this.”

“I hope not.” She bangs the gavel, and an officer takes my arm to escort me back to prison.

On my way out, I glance over at Mia. Tears pour down her porcelain cheeks.

How is she alive? Does she know I didn’t do it? Why is this the first time she’s been here? Who knows she’s here?

The guard tells me, “Look where you’re going, Brooks.”

Through the doors we step, and the slamming of the metal echoes behind us. The muggy Florida weather fills my lungs, reminding me of the stale air I’ve breathed within the prison walls for the last ten years.

I’m led to a police van where the half-hour journey back to hell begins.

Only forty-eight hours, and then you’re a free man. You can put all of this behind you.

It’s a lie. Warnings have plagued me for the past decade, reminding me of what’s next. They will surely know I’m out.

I need to get to them before they get to me. And now they will be after Mia.

My vengeance is waiting for me on the outside.

“Sign here,” the guard says.

I sign my name on the line, and he slides a plastic bag to me. An orange swimsuit, blue flip-flops, and a Florida Gators baseball cap are the only contents in it.

“Go change over there. There is a laundry basket for your shoes and jumpsuit.” He motions to a changing area.

“Are you serious?”

“Do I look like I’m joking? We aren’t at the mall. You leave with what you come in with. Be happy you got paroled.”

I take a deep breath and go to the corner of the room that has a shower rod bolted in the wall and a flimsy curtain for privacy.

The swimsuit is encrusted with salt from ten years ago. There are splatters of blood on all three items as well. I take off the only outfit I’ve worn for over a decade and stare at my old clothes before tugging the firm fabric of the shorts over my legs. The shorts are tight, at least a size too small, no doubt from the muscle I’ve gained from spending any moment allowed working out.

Sand still cakes the soles of the flip-flops. I put the hat on my head and the sandals in the plastic bag. I tap them against each other to get as much sand off as possible.

I toss the jumpsuit and prison shoes into the laundry bin, throw the plastic bag in the trash, and slide the curtain back then stand in front of the guard’s desk.

He looks at me. “You’re free to go.”

“That’s it?”

He folds his arms over his chest. “Try not to come back.”

I open the door. The glaring sunshine blinds me, and I put my hands over my eyes for a second. The air isn’t quite as thick as a few days ago when I left court, and I take a few deep breaths.

Now what?

“Beckett! Oh my God, Beckett.” My little sister Gabriella comes flying at me, tears in her eyes. Her blonde ponytail is swinging in the air.

She embraces me in a hug, the first one I’ve had in over a decade. The visitation in prison didn’t allow contact. If you touched your visitors, they lost privileges to come back.

Don’t cry, Beckett. You can’t afford to go soft now that you’re on the outside.

I hug her back. “Thanks for coming to get me.”

“Like I would miss this. Mom wanted to come, but she had to finish her shift first. She couldn’t get off.”

My older brother, Ryland, smacks me on the back, and I turn around. He embraces me as well. “Trying to show off your six-pack?”

Find out what happens next in Kiss of Redemption

Read Kiss of Redemption if you love:

  • Family Saga
  • Brother's Best Friend
  • Redemption

★★★★★ "This is a hard book to put down. I totally think everyone should read this. Thank you Maggie Cole for such a great and suspenseful read."-Reviewer

★★★★★ "Well-written, perfectly paced, with characters you can't help but connect with. An enjoyable read beginning to end."-Reviewer


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