Carnal series, book 4 & Prequel to Carnal Whispers, book 3
by Reily Garrett
by Reily Garrett
Life on the street molds emotional athletes.
Three years ago, her brother’s death marked the beginning of Kendra’s new life, an existence with no home, no family, and no friends. Time in the underground byways toughened her emotional shell with the loose association of like-minded street rats where survival meant compromise and constant vigilance.
Before he died, Billy had sent her a package in care of his teammate, Conner. For Kendra, re-entrance into polite society comes with a deadly price, as betrayal comes from both sides of the grave.
Conner Crofton owns the BDSM club Ambrosia. After failing to protect his teammate on their last covert mission, penance takes form as a promise to safeguard Billy’s little sister, a girl he’d unknowingly remanded to a world of darkness and uncertainty, deception and psychopathic stalkers.
The past will always haunt us. Each must earn forgiveness and trust as passion, guilt, deception, and betrayal, interweave a destiny formed long ago. A romantic suspense with a twist.
“You? You own this animated horror show? Conner, what happened to you?” A decade ago, he and Billy had filled her head with fantasies only an innocent could dream, back when sex in a t-shirt carried the easy grace of a natural predator and filled her delusions of eternal love. Time had lent fuel to her imagination. Like a boiler that continued to build up too much pressure, her thoughts skated along the razor’s edge of a volcano. The age-old longing persisted despite current reality’s intervention and the memory of how Conner had led Billy into the military, to his death.
“Hello, Kendra. I’m glad you and your band could make it tonight. I look forward to hearing you sing again.” That sweltry intonation could curl an iron bar, yet there dwelt a deep sadness, as if memories pulled him down a road too often traveled.
An audible gulp. Her mouth opened and closed several times without issuing a sound.
She couldn’t look at him, not when her face flamed with the memories of first infatuation. The disappointment invading her mind now stung the back of her eyelids. “When did you turn into a pervert?” It was too much to bear. She needed the quiet and peaceful white noise of the street, wind chimes on someone’s front porch, a car backfiring, a breeze sifting through the trees and blowing the road’s detritus in small dust devils.
“Nice place you have here, Mr. Crofton.” Daeron, ever the peacemaker, stepped forward to shake Conner’s hand.
“Yeah, all it needs is some spider architecture, pointed hats, and magic wands. Oh, and I think you’re missing a vat of boiling oil.” Mumbled words lost the bite of her intent.
“Can’t say spiders do much for me, but we do have plenty of oil and violet wands. Most women think of them as magic.” Conner’s husky laugh scorched the knot in her throat like melted sand, changing its consistency until acid threatened to spew forth.
“Looks damn interesting.” Daeron’s comment would earn him an all-out brawl later.
Freaking traitor. Men always stick together.
After a moment, Conner’s words sank in. No!
“Violet? You’re gay?”
It seemed bystanders thought her a comedian or imbecile, their laughter creating more blazing heat to encompass her face.
Marc, brother of her current tormentor, took pity as he stepped forward. “Hi, Mackendra. It’s been a long time.” Sympathy radiated from him in waves to envelop her in a maelstrom of cloying, sickly sweet flashbacks she couldn’t handle. Of the four brothers, he’d been the nice one.
“Hi, Marc. Let me guess, you’re also part of this zoo?” Regardless of his intended sincerity, she couldn’t rest her gaze on either man. “This den of perverts?”
“You got it, hon. You ready to work? I’ve missed hearing your zany and spirited songs.” Marc stepped forward to offer a hug yet stopped short of contact.
No! She couldn’t abide the company of men whose lives had been twisted by pain and despair, the last men to see her brother alive. Conner’s presence ushered Billy’s last words to fill her mind before he ditched her for another military stint, his final tour. “You’re being selfish, mongrel. I need to do this, protect my brothers. You’ll be safe here, yet they won’t be unless I go back. When I return, we’ll start a new chapter in life, together.”
Well that sure as hell happened. Just not the way I’d planned.
The physical ache in her heart wasn’t relieved with the pressure of fist against chest. She turned and ran, just as she always did when the agony of memories washed over her. She would never again allow anyone to witness her suffering.
An impulsive decision can alter the course of your life.
Adara’s enigmatic and sexy boss asks her a simple question. “How are you going to celebrate your twenty-first birthday?” Sounds innocent enough, until he suggests she go to Ambrosia, the infamous BDSM club.
Since her adoptive parents died six years ago, she’s accumulated innumerable scars and bruises from her twisted uncle and cousin. She doesn’t want more. When Julien invades her personal space, her body goes into panic mode, her mind simply shuts down.
After he finagles her under his protective wing, all hell breaks loose. A psychopathic killer is leaving him notes and packaged body parts. The warning is clear—Adara is off limits.
While evading Adara’s sadistic family and an unknown psychopathic stalker, passion ignites. In progressive increments, Julien fans her spark of infatuation into a raging inferno. Can Adara learn that perhaps not all men are evil and just maybe…whips can be fun?
Who do you count on in your darkest hour?
Callie, an extraordinary genius raised in a Think Tank superstructure, has unique talents sought by scientists and terrorists alike.
A botched rescue attempt hurls her into a world of spies and terrorists while leaving her to adapt to a sexual mutilation that will last her lifetime.
Nate, an ex-Special Forces private investigator, is unprepared for cyclone Callie sideswiping his life during a meet and greet at his BDSM club. After an old team mate is assassinated, he must ferret out a traitor while keeping Callie from the radicals’ clutches.
From their first meeting, Callie embodies an otherworldly aura with mysteries neither his heart nor mind can refuse to unravel as he helps them navigate a world of sensual exploration and betrayal.
TRIGGER WARNING: 18+
Genital mutilation subject ramifications discussed in this book, which may be triggering or deeply disturbing to some readers. Please do not be afraid to put it down and walk away, or skip certain chapters.
To delve into another’s mind is to revel in the depths of truth, cringe in the face of past and imagined horrors, and suffer their dreams, all while searching for balance and serenity.
Daniele is a mysterious, gentle, and loyal young woman harboring knowledge capable of destroying millions. Thumbing her nose at fate, she hides in plain sight while concealing her extraordinary talent, enduring isolation despite her fantasies of a normal life.
Marc, owner of the BDSM club, Ambrosia, is determined to protect the elusive beauty stalked by a psychopathic killer. Hidden underneath her vulnerability, he senses a courage and determination forged from horrific circumstances. While adapting unique scenes to free her from fear and low self-esteem, he strives to stay one step ahead of a branch of the government answering to no one.
Each must rely on the other to survive a world where betrayal and deception, desire and trust, weave a fabric that threatens their sanity.
TRIGGER WARNING: 18+
This book contains BDSM scenes that may be triggering or deeply disturbing to some readers. If this book is triggering to you, do not be afraid to put it down and walk away
Prequel to Carnal Whispers, book 3
The strength to bend fate lies in our minds as well as our actions.
An extraordinary ability cursed her existence, but Dani’s alienation from society’s mainstream can’t dampen her commitment to help another genetic oddity hunted due to a unique DNA sequence.
Through the terror of avoiding a sniper’s bullet and nature’s temper tantrum, she struggles to deliver a warning in hopes of saving a like-minded, young woman. Dani’s ability is both a blessing and a curse. Those who would use her for their own ends would kill to control her, yet it’s her ability that allows her to seek out and help others.
Here is a riveting, fast-paced prequel to entertain while kindling contemplation of the metaphysical world.
Shadows obscured the myriad, nebulous phantoms that Dani’s imagination conjured sliding underneath the water’s stygian surface while concealing her criminal activity. The choppy waves’ rhythmic slapping against the decking’s underbelly kept time with her quiet inhalations as the first frozen flakes of snow melted on her bare neck, sending an icy chill to spiral down and curl around each vertebra. Tendrils of naked fear snaked outward in a labyrinthine crawl to disrupt her previously steady hands as she once again prodded her conscience with the justification for borrowing this small skiff.
I have to warn Jake about the foreign bastards after his girl, Callie. Cursed with an extraordinary intelligence and a talent any government would kill to control, Callie deserved a chance at freedom, even if it entailed constant vigilance.
Trust in technology proved difficult considering the limitless electronic reach of the outsiders. Old-fashioned stealth was safer when many could demolish privacy with a few clicks at their keyboard. The group she intended to expose considered laws for the mass populace a bogus endeavor. She hadn’t spent years hiding in plain sight to act recklessly now when her own demons, guised in the form of a previous foster family, were equally desperate to reacquire her.
Tonight, stealth included significant risk.
Gloves, a shield against the cold and from leaving fingerprints behind, made it difficult to untangle the cleat hitch securing the small wooden boat bumping against the dock. Improperly secured, the rope wrapped each cleat horn twice in defiance of her need for a speedy departure. Using her flashlight now might hasten her departure but also might alert someone in the nearby home to her presence.
This legal infraction signified nothing in the grand scheme of things. If the foreign asshats tracking Callie came across Dani, her life would be forfeit in the time it took to pull the trigger. She’d bring the wooden craft back before midnight after delivering her message.
Taking the small dory from a private dock had seemed to make sense at the time, with no security personnel, no gates, and no discernable alarms. Now, as her heart raced wildly and the cold breeze swept away the perspiration dotting her brow, her sanity came into question.
With the release of the last knot came a frustrated sigh. If she was late to the rendezvous, Jake would leave and her warning would go undelivered. She’d risked much in the past month in her bid to free Callie, held prisoner in the bowels of a think tank due to her extraordinary mind. Though they’d never met, after learning of Callie’s unique psychic abilities, so similar to her own, the compulsion to see her free had overpowered rational thought.
If all had gone well three nights ago, Callie was now free of the Institution, yet the wardens who’d raised her would go to the ends of the earth to recapture the unique young woman. Still, she was unaware of the foreigners plotting her abduction.
Why isn’t Franklin answering his phone?
A hundred yards away, the house remained dark except for an outside security light, the inhabitants probably tucked in their warm beds, dreaming of snowball fights and sledding during their snow days. A life she’d enjoyed only in her imagination.
The sky’s cap was lower now than even an hour ago. Darker too. The cloud’s ever-increasing burden of frozen crystals would soon smother the world in a late-season, brief visit in spite of the temperature hovering above freezing.
Her muscles protested the stretch when she stood and rolled her neck and arms to relieve the spasm spanning her shoulder blades. The sooner she finished this dangerous task, the sooner she’d go back to her uneventful life, concealing her uniqueness behind a veterinary assistant’s quiet and humble facade.
After dropping the line, she stumbled over the rowlock when something nudged her thigh. Lips locked tight between her teeth muffled the scream threatening to broadcast her nefarious activities. Anyone near should feel the vibrations of her rampaging heart. To be caught before delivering her message would leave many lives at risk.
Precarious balance forced her to step down to the craft’s slippery seat, windmilling her arms in a bid to avoid the freezing water. Fate had never been her friend, and now conspired to thwart her best efforts. Losing the battle for equilibrium, she lurched forward, sliding on the slickened floor and striking her elbow on the quarter knee in an attempt to remain inside the boat. Her waist-length braid snagged on the oarlock, bringing tears to cool on her lashes. After several attempts and accumulating new bruises, she managed to slide onto the seat, her jeans instantly soaking up the moisture. Great. At least her small flashlight remained dry in her jacket’s zippered breast pocket. I’m not cut out for this crap.
The quiet chuffing of the golden retriever did nothing to settle her nerves in light of his subdued excitement. If he became more vocal and floodlights spotlighted her criminal undertaking, she’d make an excellent target with a watery grave already prepared. Oblivious to her desperate plight, the wide, doggy grin and weight shifting between his front feet broadcast his eagerness to join her for the late-night escapade. “Go home, boy. You shouldn’t be here. This is dangerous.”
Part of her unique talent insured that dogs, cats, and horses all loved her, which was great at work. Dr. Carari had hired her five minutes into her interview when one of the problem patients had scrambled onto Dani’s lap. The dog in question supposedly hated people, especially veterinarians.
The first leg of her journey entailed defying the river’s current surging in a roiling, angry tempest, threatening all but the strongest-willed to test their mettle. Her objective to hug the shoreline necessitated chancing undercut banks, overhanging sweepers, and sieve-like obstacles waiting beneath the smoother surface along the edge, and had made sense in her head. Reality declared her attempt at playing superhero foolish and a recipe for disaster. She’d purposefully chosen a meeting point upriver to use the current in her favor should unforeseen circumstances necessitate a quick escape.
“C’mon, boy, go home. This water is too cold for you to survive if anything goes wrong. I can’t risk it no matter how much I need someone to listen to my ramblings.”
Reily’s employment as an ICU nurse, private investigator, and work in the military police has given her countless experiences in a host of different environments to add a real world feel to her fiction.
Though her kids are her life, writing is Reily’s life after. The one enjoyed…after the kids are in bed or after they’re in school and the house is quiet. This is the time she kicks back with laptop and lapdog to give her imagination free rein.
In life, hobbies can come and go according to our physical abilities, but you can always enjoy a good book. Life isn’t perfect, but our imaginations can be. Relax, whether it’s in front of a fire or in your own personal dungeon. Take pleasure in a mental pause as you root for your favorite hero/heroine and bask in their accomplishments, then share your opinions of them over a coffee with your best friend (even if he’s four legged). Life is short. Cherish your time.