Author: Harper Sloan
Series: Corps Security #5
Release Date: September 29, 2014
Genre: Erotic Romance
More Info: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon US
Purchase: Barnes & Noble
Purchase: Amazon UK
Darkness is the only thing I see. Ever since the day my life changed. The day that everything and everyone I held close to me ceased to exist. The day I lost it all and the demons of my past consumed my every waking moment.
I tried to keep others at arm’s length. Tried not to let my darkness taint them. Ruin them. Harm them. And whether I want to admit it or not, as much as I wish I could keep them locked out, they refuse to leave. Refuse to let me suffer alone.
If I hadn’t been so focused on keeping those demons from flying free, I wouldn’t have missed how one perfect angel was able to sneak her way under my skin—refusing to let go. Making me want things I don’t deserve.
She consumes me. Her beauty knows no end. The love she promises tempts me every time she’s near. But that pure heart that makes her MY Emmy is the one thing I’m convinced I’ll destroy if I ever let her close.
I’m a broken man. A broken man with too much darkness in his soul to ever let her light shine upon me. But even that doesn’t stop me from craving her with every single breath in my body.
Little does he know, I’m the only one in control of my life. A life he has made clear for years that he has no interest in sharing with me.
For fuck’s sake. Oh the feels! I knew coming into this it would be the hardest to get through. And that’s saying something because Beck nearly broke me! Not just because of the subject matter or character focus, but also because we were saying goodbye to a family we’ve come to passionately know and love. And when you feel characters in your soul it’s heart wrenching to say farewell. Harper has been teasing us with Maddox and Emmy tidbits for four and a half books now, the little tease. So to finally get the release I so desperately needed had me simultaneously grinning from ear to ear and sobbing like a baby. Well done lady. Well done. I’ll leave you with this. All the waiting and build-up? So fucking worth it.
I’m burning to take her how I’ve been craving. To control her body. To claim her soul. To make her mine.
We started this journey with Axel and with each subsequent book we’ve seen not only the characters and Corp’s family grow, but also their author. Like a fine wine, Harper simply gets better and better as each book comes into existence. I honestly thought no character could top the feelings I felt for Dee and Beck, but even saying that, Emmy and Maddox were always in the back of my mind. They were simply biding their time in the background, itching to come out and play. Yearning to be at the forefront, I’ve been anticipating this book for months! That doesn’t happen to me often as I never have a shortage of reading material. But something about this series pulls you in. I know with certainty it isn’t any one thing; it’s a million of them. Character development, storylines that pull at your every heart string, alpha men you can’t get enough of, gripping suspense and danger, soul shattering moments, women you long to call friends, humor that has you literally laughing out loud, and above all, love that overcomes and never dies. To get all these things in one book, much less an entire series, is a rarity my friends. Harper delivers effortlessly tenfold. She creates characters and storylines that leave you reeling and smiling from ear to ear. She also disintegrates panties. That’s right. The woman is a panty ninja.
“You’re the angel that my demons beg to make fall. The pureness and light that my darkness wants to extinguish.”
Where to even begin with the enigma that is Maddox Locke. Where to begin… Through glimpses into the man through the series, you may think you have an idea of what you are getting into, but trust me, you don’t. The depth that Harper pulled from this strong yet broken man brought me to my knees. Soul searing, bone crushing pain and rage were just a few of the plethora of emotions that coursed through me while learning what made him the bruised and hardened man we’ve come to love. Maddox has no shortage of demons and they all begin and end within himself. To get to the heart of him, Emmy had a fight ahead of her, but as we’ve witnessed, this woman has staying power. I honestly think that was my favorite part of this book. To see her fight for her man, against everyone else, but mostly against himself. She wouldn’t take his crap and gave just as good as she got. It was empowering and made me swoon all the more. Because when she finally gets through, even if it’s temporary at times, the sweet relief makes it ALL worth it. There isn’t anything she won’t do for her strong man and reading it will melt the blackest of hearts. Maddox is a strong, proud man, but he carries a lot of unwarranted guilt. When his walls start to come down though? Beauty. Pure beauty. Beauty so blinding it outshines any glitter Sway has in his arsenal. And we all know how much glitter that man has! To his core, once you get through the many layers, is the purest soul I’ve had the pleasure of reading. A soul so pure that your life feels brighter even being on the receiving end of only a glimpse of it. Honestly, hands down, my favorite character in the entire series.
I’m not sure what unsettles me more-the thought that she might regret giving her love or that she might be afraid of the truth of me. Or worse…that she’ll take that love away and never give it back.
One thing I wasn’t expecting but shouldn’t be surprised was the intensity of Emmy’s back-story or her connection to a certain Corp’s character. I won’t go into any details, as you all deserve to discover it as I did, but know that you won’t see it coming. The way that Harper brings everything full circle and connects dots that we didn’t even have an inkling needed to be connected was a thing of splendor. Emmy has always been the silent backbone of Corp’s Security, quietly sitting in the background, taking everything in. But nothing gets past that woman. Her outlook on life is a thing of wonder, and after you learn where she came from and what she had to overcome, you will be even in more awe of her. All sass and spunk, she quite literally rocked my socks off.
Hope. Trust in the unknown. And love. It’s been right in front of me for so long, but I’ve been too blind to see it.
It shouldn’t come as a shocker to anyone that their chemistry was off the charts H.O.T. Harper supplies dirty talk in all the right places and left me squirming in the most delicious of ways. I’m honestly surprised that my Kindle didn’t catch fire. Their journey has been a long time coming, but it was worth every tantalizing moment. I’m all about the buildup and sweet release, and there was no shortage of that here. This is a story and family that as only the best can do, won’t soon leave me. For now we say “see you later”, but there’s always more surprises right around the corner…
I want those blessings. I want that blessed life. I want to live.
Six weeks. It’s been over a goddamn month since Emmy ran from me.
It took me three days to find her—thanks to the tracking device I had placed on her car—down in some small Podunk town in south Florida. Even if she had been trying to hide, she’d done a shit job of it. One search for her parents would have brought me right to her.
It took me longer to actually get eyes on her than it had to find her. She was holed up in some cheap-ass hotel for three weeks. She called in her meals and never left the room. And unfortunately, I had to leave and rush home when things out of my control needed attention and I again had to pull Asher’s head out of his ass. Now I’m back and I’m not leaving until I get my hands on her.
She doesn’t want to be found. I know that, but damn if I’m going to let her run off and get away for good. I’ve pushed and pushed her away. Every bone in my body has screamed at me to take what she’s been offering for years. I’ve seen her, I know what she wants, but I won’t let my demons hurt her. Not my Emmy.
Since day one, she’s been the greatest temptation, but I refused to take everything innocent that is Emmy and let my blackness take her. Because that’s what will happen. It will wrap around her soul and slowly choke the life out of her. Just like every other person I’ve allowed in.
I’ll taint her. I’ll ruin her. And in the end, it will destroy her.
One smile from her made me fall. So I pushed her away. I told her that she would never be what I need—that I would never want her. God, if she only knew. I crave her and everything she keeps trying to hand me. I crave her and everything she could give me. My very being calls out to her, and I work daily to refuse it.
So I pushed.
Until she ran.
But that ends right now.
Looking up at the gaudy neon lights thrown on the top of this hellhole, I know that was my first mistake.
A motherfucking strip club.
This is not a place where my angel belongs. Just the thought of her inside this club makes my skin crawl. I can feel my anger becoming a force of its own as the blackness in my soul threatens to burst through. It’s burning inside my veins and demanding blood. My nostrils flare, making my breaths come in loud pants. My fist clenches—demanding something to pound into, something to destroy. My skin feels tight. Every vein in my body is pulsing with each wild beat of my heart.
I’m going to explode.
The bouncer doesn’t even give me a second thought. He gives me a brief glance as I pay the twenty bucks to gain my access into the hellish place. I immediately rip my sunglasses off, taking in every inch of the room. Black walls with dim lighting, stereotypical red carpeting and leather booths lining the room. They have the name right with the smell of this place—sex and sin with a mixture of smoke and sweat. There are three stages set up around the room, the center one being the largest and two smaller ones to the left and right, with a bar against the back wall and one on the top floor.
The whole top-floor bar area is set up on a glass floor, giving these douchebags around the room the perfect view between the barely dressed servers’ legs. Taking my eyes off the top floor, where the bartenders are clearly working the glass floor to their advantage, I scan the room again, squinting my eyes to see through the dim lighting and heavy smoke.
That’s when I spot her.
“What. The. Fuck,” I snarl under my breath.
The anger I felt earlier burning through my body starts to boil. It’s almost as if my body becomes a force of its own. The monsters inside me wanting free.
There she stands, not even five feet away, looking exhausted, wearing next to nothing. Her skirt—if that’s what you want to call it—is more like a napkin someone cut in half. From the way she stands—slightly to the side—I can just make out the perfect roundness of her ass peeking out the bottom of the hem. Her pert tits are pushed together and held in a tight bikini top, the fabric so thin that I can see the outline of her nipples clear as day.
My eyes take in every inch of her exposed skin and I want to roar with rage.
No one should see her like this. No one but me. And even though I don’t have the right to feel this way about her, there isn’t a damn thing that can stop me now.
She hasn’t seen me yet, so I stalk over to where she’s standing. She turns right when I’m about to reach out for her and her eyes go wide, shock and alarm clear in her beautiful, honey-brown eyes.
“What the fuck are you doing, Em?” I bite out.
She shrinks back at my tone before she catches herself and goes stiff. I can tell instantly that I’m not going to like anything she has to say.
“You heard me, Emmy. What in the hell are you doing in this place?”
She tilts her head slightly, taking me in. Her eyes leave mine and roam the room before she gives a stiff nod. When she turns her focus back to me, I go stock-still at her words.
“I’m exactly where I should be, Maddox. I’m home.” Her tone is submissive, and that fury inside me goes from a boiling fire to ice cold.
With that, she turns and stalks off towards the bar. And I see that not only is her ass hanging out, but so are her hot-pink boy shorts.
“Dude. She’s a fine piece of ass, right?” The man she was just talking to speaks in awe.
“Shut your fucking mouth,” I growl, feeling that rage return like a switch has been flipped.
“Ah, you’re new here. Just sit back, my friend, and get ready for the show.” He laughs, takes a deep pull from his beer, and turns his attention back to the main stage, where the current entertainment is doing her best to swallow the fucking pole with her pussy. She’s working so hard for it that she might as well be fucking the damn thing.
I’m no stranger to strip clubs. Back when the guys were all single, we would hit some local ones around California. No better way to let off some steam from the shit that is constantly swirling around in my head than to sit in a room full of naked woman. Where the music pounds into your body, the drinks are always flowing, and the pussy is in abundance.
One thing’s for sure: This isn’t a place for Emmy. Hell no.
Without taking my eyes from Emmy, I drop my body into the nearest booth. She’s in a heated argument with the bartender and an older man who looks about as run-down as this fucking town. She throws her hands in the air, her head moving wildly, and if I had to guess, her stunning eyes are burning bright. She points over to me a few times, and all the older man does is shake his head, obviously not giving her what she wants. I just scowl at them from the booth, waiting for her to walk her ass back over here so I can explain to her that it’s time to go.
“Hey there, handsome,” a raspy voice says to my right. “Looking for some fun tonight? I bet a big man like you would be up for something wild.”
“No.” I don’t even look at her. My eyes never leave Emmy—who is now looking at me. A mix of ire and hurt is written all over her face. Even with the shit lighting in this place, I can see it…and I hate it.
Fucking hurt? Is she serious right now? Pissed I can understand. She didn’t want to be found and I found her.
“I won’t bite, baby. That is unless you want me to.” Her hands snake around my neck and down my chest.
Turning my attention away from Emmy, I look at the bleach-blonde hair, weathered skin, and fake tan of this bitch in front of me. I’ll give her credit—she tries to hide it with more than enough makeup for about ten women, but this piece of work in front of me has to be pushing fifty.
“I said no, woman. What part of that didn’t you understand? And for the last time, do not touch me.” I reach up and pull her hand off my stomach before she can go any further.
Moving my eyes back to where I last saw Emmy has me coming up empty. What the hell? I scan the room but she is still nowhere to be found.
“Ah, sweet cheeks. I know what you want. Good luck with that one. Rose doesn’t play around, and honey, why would you want her when you can have me? After all, I taught her everything she knows.” She leans down and, before I can guess her intent, licks my neck, clearly taking my distraction at her words to her advantage.
I turn swiftly and move into her space, making sure she doesn’t mix this shit up in her head to think that I would somehow ever want her ass.
“Do. Not. Touch. Me. You got that, sweet cheeks?”
She looks me in the eyes for a few beats before throwing her head back and laughing. The sound of it hits my ears like nails on a chalkboard.
When she walks off, I start my scan of the room again. No Emmy in sight. I run my hand over my buzzed scalp before settling in for the wait.
Thirty minutes later and I still haven’t found her. The crowd is getting restless. The chicks taking turns on the stage now haven’t been impressive and they undoubtedly want more. The pole humper has moved on to one of the smaller stages. The last act on the main stage was slightly better, but all she did was basically finger-fuck herself on the stage before fumbling to get to her feet on her ridiculous heels.
I wait, determined not to leave until I have her with me. Another thirty minutes and two more rotations on the stages have my frustration levels going up even higher. How the hell did she just disappear? I know she didn’t leave. The tracking device on her car, which is sitting right next to my truck in the parking lot, hasn’t alerted me of any movement. I’ll be damned if she takes off on me again.
After signaling over another server, I order a beer and check my phone again to make sure the tracker isn’t malfunctioning. I’m just putting my phone in my pocket when a deep voice cuts over the music.
“Gentleman of Syn. It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. The one your dicks have been begging for all fucking night. The Princess of Syn herself. The one and only, Rose!”
The Princess of Syn? What an idiot. I laugh to myself, placing my beer to my lips for a long pull. The music starts and the first few notes of Lollipop by Framing Hanley fill the air. Got to give this chick props—at least she picked a good song.
The house lights go down, plunging the room into darkness, before a spotlight hits the main stage. The smoke clinging to the air gives the stage an eerie glow. I take my eyes off the action and attempt scan the darkness of the room again for Emmy. Movement by the back corner catches my attention at the same time that the crowd goes electric. Idiots start throwing their money left and right, calling to this Princess of Syn to take them.
I focus on the corner again and see the blonde from earlier smiling her wicked smile at me before pointing to the stage. Turning back to the stage, I watch as a woman, who I assume is this so-called princess, spins effortlessly on the pole, her movements all but blurring her body from the men wishing she were spinning on their dicks. It doesn’t take me long to see why the bitch from earlier is telling me to look.
With one quick spin, her hands are placed at the center and her legs are spread wide and parallel to the pole, showing off her barely there G-sting, I see my Emmy. It takes a second for the shock to wear off, and in that second, she gracefully drops from her spin with a guarded smile to the men crowding the stage. Lifting her small hands from her side, she drags them up her flat stomach to take her tits in hand and jiggles them.
Fucking jiggles them.
I can’t control my body at this point. I’m focused on one thing—the best way to get her off that stage and out of this place.
She reaches up and, in a move that is obviously practiced, removes her top, throwing it in to the crowd. There she dances with her body on display, caressing her naked tits until her nipples pebble. Turning her back to the room, she bends at the waist and starts to slowly pull her G-sting down her long, toned legs.
This is when the reality of this situation hits me. I’ll fucking kill all of these motherfuckers in the room.
Then she drops to her knees before getting on all fours and crawling towards the end of the stage.
I’m on my feet in seconds, stalking through the crowd, pushing any man who stands in the way of my woman and me. I don’t even lift my arms from my side. I just barrel through the bodies with one goal in mind.
She doesn’t see me coming since she’s back on her feet and walking to the pole again. With a leap that would make my high school track coach proud, I’m on the stage, and a second later, I have a naked Emmy thrown over my shoulders before I jump off the stage. The sharp pain up my leg does nothing to extinguish my determination.
I can see the bouncers coming, and with one hand on her slick ass, I reach out and punch the first one in the face, taking great pleasure watching him instantly buckle to the floor. The other one comes at me from the side, but he doesn’t get far before I pick up the chair to my left one-handed and crack it against his fucking head.
Emmy is struggling with such vigor that I’m forced to put her down. She looks up, ready to spit fire at me, before snapping her mouth shut when she sees the expression on my face. I have no doubt that I look just as feral as I feel.
“Don’t you open that sweet fucking mouth, Emersyn. I swear to Christ, now is not the time to fucking piss me off any further.”
I rip my shirt off and roughly pull it over her head. She struggles and puts up a fight, momentarily distracting me from the third bouncer coming at full throttle. His fist takes me by surprise, but not for long. Grabbing her wrist so she doesn’t get away, I turn to the motherfucker stupid enough to get in my way.
“You shouldn’t have done that,” I seethe.
He goes to punch me again, but I duck and pop up before he realizes he failed. Bringing my head forward, I head-butt him right between the eyes and almost smile when he falls instantly.
I’m stopped at the door by the last bartender she was speaking with earlier. He goes to make a move but pulls up when he sees the look in my eyes. I’ll fucking kill and I’m sure it’s written clear as day on my face.
“Do it. I dare you.” My tone leaves no room for argument. I’m leaving with her and there isn’t a person on this Earth who can stop me.
Fate hasn’t always been friends with Isabelle West. In fact, fate has been a downright bitch.
Isabelle has learned the hard way how hard life can be when fate isn’t by your side. It can hand you dreams on silver platters, but it can snatch them right back and hand you nightmares. One thing Isabelle knew for sure fate was consistent with was taking away everything she ever loved.
For the last two years Isabelle has been slowly clearing the clouds of her past. Happiness is finally on the horizon. She has a thriving business, great friends, and her life back. All she has to do is jump over the last hurdle…her ex-husband.
When problems start causing her to fear her new life, and memories that are better left forgotten start rushing to the surface the last thing she needs is a ghost from her past to come knocking on her door.
Axel never thought he would look into the eyes of Isabelle West again, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to now. He’s carried his anger for so long he isn’t sure he can just turn it off, but when he is faced with protecting her and an unexpected desire to have her again, life gets a little more complicated.
How will Axel and Isabelle deal when all their cards are put on the table and everything they thought was true blows up in their faces?
Greg Cage was born to protect. While growing up, he was his mother and sister’s shield against the world… until he failed. For the last decade, he has carried that guilt and need for vengeance around… until it was stripped from him. Now, with his best friend getting married and no longer needing his protection, he is even more lost, completely adrift, and desperate for some control. All he has ever known was how to protect: his family, his friends, and his country. Can he go against everything he has ever known, and give up that control?
Melissa Larson will never let anyone hold the reins in her life. She has been the rock in her family for more years than she can remember, and the fight to keep them together is her main priority right now. She has always been fiercely independent and proud. The last thing she will ever do is ask for someone else’s help. But when that choice is out of her control, forcing her to rely on others to save her and her family, and pick up the pieces that are left, will she be able to let someone else be her strength?
The second Greg locks eyes with Meli, he knows that she is someone he needs. Someone he craves. Meli knew the second she met Greg that he would be nothing but trouble and heartache. Her life takes an unexpected turn, and that bitch Fate is back to wreak more havoc on another member of the Corps family.
All hell breaks loose, leaving Greg no choice but to call in a favor. He hooks back up with his old friend Braxxon Breaker from the Breakneck MC. Together, they make sure that nothing threatens anyone Greg loves again.
I’ve always been good at wearing masks. Not letting anyone see the real me. I’m content being the happy-go-lucky best friend. The strong willed boss. The independent woman who doesn’t need a man.
But the truth is I’m just as broken as the rest of you. I’m terrified that all it will take is one person to make all my carefully constructed walls crumble into fine dust. So I guard my heart with everything I have. Determined to never let anyone get close enough to hurt me again.
All is perfect until HE walks into my life. No… he doesn’t just walk. He struts his good-looking, sex-oozing self right into my space and demands that I see HIM. Making me want what I know I can’t have.
So I did the only thing I know how to do.
But he just won’t let me go.
The second I see her, I know she will be mine. I see past the gorgeous smiles and heart-stopping laughter. I see HER. She doesn’t want me to know her secrets or the past that haunts her, but I make it my mission to find out.
To make her mine.
She can run all she wants, but it will never be far enough to stop me from coming after her.
She’s it for me and she knows it.
She’s just too scared to admit it.
Greg Cage’s life is more fulfilling than he ever could have imagined. He’s married to the love of his life, has an amazing son, and in a few short months, his family will grow again with the birth of his twin girls.
The past year has been a tough one for the Cage family, but they are now on the road to healing by learning to let go of the past and looking forward to their future.
When situations beyond his control threaten to take away so much of what Greg holds close to his heart, he has to learn that he doesn’t always have the control he tries to maintain in their lives. Will he be able to handle the stress of knowing his wife and newborn daughters are beyond his protection?
Join the Cage family as they embark on yet another one of life’s journeys with a rambunctious four-year-old, pregnancy complications, and the fear of the unknown.
Will the love that Greg and Melissa share hold true as they fight to overcome the obstacles that face them?
Do you take me seriously? Because I don’t. I use my jokes and easygoing personality to hide the pain I’ve felt since he took his last breath. I’m adrift without my partner in crime, my best friend…my brother. I can taste the vengeance just within my grasp.
Until she barges into my life. Promising me happiness and a peace I’ve been craving for years. She is the sun to my darkness, the happy to my despair.
But she holds secrets. Just like I do. She holds hers close, where I just pray mine don’t rock the walls we’re trying to build.
Now I’m stuck at a crossroads between my desire for revenge and my craving for her and the life we could have together—and I have no idea which road I should travel.
All I know with crystal clear certainty is that the past has the power to destroy it all.