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DARKER THE RELEASE
Revenge Saga Book Two
Releasing Oct 6th, 2015
USA Today bestselling author Claire Kent continues her emotionally charged story of longing, betrayal, and insatiable desire as two lovers find themselves in a deadly standoff of seduction.
Kelly Watson got involved with mogul Caleb Marshall for all the wrong reasons: namely, to prove that he murdered her father twenty years ago. But Caleb is hotter than hell, the sex is mind-blowing, and Kelly’s afraid that she’s falling for him despite her chilling suspicions. Now, the more time she spends in his arms, the more she risks betraying her identity and losing her heart. The only way out is to discover the truth before Caleb figures out who she really is.
Caleb’s feelings for Kelly are taking him into uncharted territory, replacing his weakness for call girls and one-night stands with a hunger for something real. Still, the ruthless businessman in him can’t resist looking into Kelly’s background. When his investigation suggests that he’s not the only one with something to hide, Caleb is forced to decide if he can trust someone who’s been telling him lies. For the first time, Caleb understands how intimacy can be so tempting—and, in the wrong hands, so dangerous.
Darker the Release is intended for mature audiences.
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The cocktail party was an engagement celebration for an acquaintance of Caleb’s. Evidently the man was big in the local business scene, so the guest list included quite a few important and influential people. It was being held in a nineteenth-century mansion that had been converted to an upscale event venue, and Kelly had a hard time even beginning to estimate the price tag for this evening’s festivities.
Only in the last couple of weeks had Kelly started going out in public with Caleb as his girlfriend, so she was a little self-conscious as they circled the ornate ballroom. Her adoptive parents had been wealthy by most people’s standards, but they hadn’t been anywhere close to this league.
Her dress wasn’t cheap, but it was off the rack—which wasn’t true of most of the evening gowns she saw. And her only piece of expensive jewelry was the pendant at her neck. She could feel the weight of it as she moved—as if it were Caleb pressing against her skin.
She stayed mostly quiet, drinking the excellent champagne and letting Caleb take the lead as they circled. He worked the room like it was a battlefield, a thing to be conquered. She tried to keep the perspective she needed by reminding herself how fake it all was—how fake Caleb was as he schmoozed all of these important people—but he really was impressive, and it was hard not to recognize that. He charmed the women and created bonds with the men and generally made sure everyone he encountered had a favorable impression of him.
“What are you thinking?” he asked her in a low voice as they moved on from someone who was evidently a former UN ambassador.
Letting him guide her to a quiet corner of the room, Kelly smiled up at him. “I was trying to keep up with everyone’s names.”
“That might be true, but it’s not all you were thinking about.” He eased closer to her, his eyes holding hers with that magnetic gaze that was so hard to resist. “What are you thinking about me?”
“What makes you think I’m thinking about you?” She kept her smile flirtatious, but it was deeply troubling that he could read her so easily, that he’d been able to see the direction of her thoughts from the expression on her face. She was playing a dangerous game here, and it was so hard to be on all the time. She was so tired of always being careful, always leading conversations the way she wanted them to go so she could get the information she needed, always guarding every expression of her face and nuance of her voice. She was getting so tired of all of it.
She took another swallow of champagne, starting to feel the relaxing buzz from the alcohol. She was on her third glass, and she better stop with this one. Being relaxed was good—was necessary—but being too relaxed would be a mistake.
“You keep watching me.” His smile was intimate beneath the characteristic cool smugness. He reached to run a hand down her hair, which was still loose and tousled from before. “I think it’s because you can still feel me inside you.”
She could still feel him inside her, and she was very aware that she probably looked like she’d just been tumbled in the back room. Her pussy gave a little clench at his sexy tone, but she shook her head. “Maybe you should dial back the confidence a little.”
His smile broadened. “If you say so. But you were thinking about me, weren’t you?”
“Yeah. I was just watching you conquer the room and wondering how you got so good at it.” It was safest to stick to the truth whenever possible. It was always the most convincing, and it was always easier to remember than the lies.
But more and more it was making even these little interactions between them feel like the real thing.
Caleb gave a nonchalant lift of one shoulder, although she thought he was pleased with her comment. “People are easy.”
Her eyes widened. “Really? You think so?”
“Well, most people. On this level.” He gestured out at the mingling, well-dressed crowd. “It’s all surface. It’s just a skill you can learn.”
“I’ve never found making small talk easy.”
He took her empty glass from her hand and put it with his own glass on the tray of a circling server. “That’s because you haven’t had as much practice as I have. It’s all politics—parties like this—and that’s a skill. People are easy.”
“I hope the implication isn’t that I’m easy too.”
He made a sound in his throat and slid an arm around her, pulling her closer to him. It wasn’t an inappropriate touch for public, but it felt private, tender—like it was something that other people shouldn’t witness. “Nothing about you is easy, blossom.” His eyes met hers without wavering. “I have no skill to fall back on with you.”
Her breath hitched, and her hands clenched in his jacket, holding on to him in the only way she could. Her heart was beating wildly, but she managed to conjure up a sexy, teasing tone as she replied, “No skill at all?”
His eyes went hot. “Well, maybe—”
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Claire Kent has been writing romance novels since she was twelve years old. She has a PhD in British literature and, when she’s not writing, teaches English at the university level. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Noelle Adams.