Day: March 20, 2016
Rachel takes the same train every weekday, the 8:04 from Ashbury to London, where she watches the landscape flash past, lost in the nightmares of her own tormented past. At one point, where the train slows, near where she once lived, she finds herself drawn into the lives of a couple who occupy a house near the house where she once lived with her ex-husband, Tom. Jason and Jess, as she has named them, have the perfect life she didn’t have, until one day she sees something that shatters the perfect illusion she has created. When she shares what she’s seen with the police, she finds herself drawn into the lives of the couple, and the relationship of their lives with her ex and his new wife; and no one’s life is the same afterwards.
The Girl on the Train is a debut thriller by Paula Hawkins that begins like a train journey, slowly leaving the station, and gradually picking up speed as life flashes past, mostly blurs with the occasional sharp, barely remembered glance. Hawkins pulls the reader into the lives of the characters, moving from Rachel to Megan (Jess in Rachel’s mind) to Anna, her ex-husband’s new wife, in a journey that sucks you in like the muck at the bottom of a sluggish stream. This is mystery as mystery should be—with red herrings, misdirection, in a tangled line that leads inexorably to a shattering conclusion that will leave you breathless.
I received this book as a gift, and after finishing it felt compelled to share my views on it. Rarely does a debut novel impress me the way this one did. Paula Hawkins is an author to watch out for.
A solid five-star book!
Grace is a lifeguard who has been on Rafe’s radar since she lost a little boy three years ago. What she doesn’t realize is the green haze that comes over her during a rescue is actually a divine presence who’s about to give up his celestial body to become a very real entity in her life.
While Grace is trying to overcome her own demon, Rafe is discovering his own sexuality, but there’s a darker presence making himself known. The Deceiver wants what Rafe is getting, and he’ll do whatever it takes to have her.
Gabriel is God’s Strength, the Messenger, who’s been tasked with delivering the Word for millennia. His most recent assignment will be his last, to fall in love and become human. But he can’t quite figure out what he’s done to displease the Boss. Gabriel’s latest assignment might be the hardest, but this gorgeous rubenesque quirk of a woman definitely has him intrigued.
Michael, the archangel of war, is pissed. Humanity has taken every last vestige of any feelings he might have had and colored them in with cynicism. He’s ready to be done. So when The Boss gives him the deal, he’s eager for his mortality, at any cost, regardless of who he has to ‘fall in love’ with to get it. Blessed death. That’s what he’s looking forward to. When he finds out what Faith does for a living, he’s pissed off all over again.
Faith is a cat burglar, but when she inadvertently makes a deal with Damien, Michael steps in to protect what is rightfully his. She’s not over her own tragic past, and this hulking bundle of hotness can’t change that. But when he insists on protecting her, claiming her, and dominating her, she is powerless to deny her own emotions.
For mature audiences. Contains swear words, sex, elements of BDSM, and possibly heretical viewpoints.
Excerpt from Falling for Faith
“Ballsy… breaking in with a house full of people.” The quiet voice behind her had her heart pounding before he’d even finished speaking. Spinning on her heel, she turned to find an exquisite man lounging on the chair in the middle of the room, watching her with interest, if not amusement. Something else shone in the depths of his eyes, though. Anger?
“It’s actually easier this way,” she whispered. He’d caught her in the act, there was no use denying it. And his relaxed posture, legs casually crossed, leaning back, stroking his chin, told her he wasn’t in a hurry to turn her in. Did he want a cut?
Nope. She wasn’t going to let him screw this up. This was her last job for Shamus, and she’d be damned if she’d let herself get caught now. Security. He had to be on security detail here, and she must have done something to give herself away. He had followed her. She wasn’t sure how, but he had. And now she was busted.
“Who are you?”
He didn’t answer her, which was irritating, but she wasn’t exactly in a position to force the issue. As tall and fit as she was, she could see he was taller and fitter, even from his seated position. She didn’t need a scene here tonight. Maybe a distraction would work.
Licking her lips, Faith eased her hip to the side, revealing a leg. She watched the man’s eyes snap to her shoes then reached behind her head for the clip holding her chignon in place, releasing it. Her hair fell in waves to just below her shoulders, and Faith swung it around, fluffing it with her hands. The man stood.
“What are you doing?” His voice was rough, scraping across her skin to leave delicious abrasions behind. No longer pretending, her breaths came in raspy gasps.
“Subduing the enemy without fighting.” Faith spoke to herself more than the man, but he seemed to hear anyway. She always turned to Sun Tzu when she was in danger. Eli had ingrained it in her. Sun Tzu knew everything.
He moved closer, gliding, with the grace of a predator, and Faith saw she was in some serious trouble.
His sensuous mouth quirked into a smirk. “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” Laughter filled his voice, and she saw amusement twinkle in his eyes, crinkling around the edges.
Shit. He knew Sun Tzu too. Undeterred, she continued, using her sexuality as a tool. She pursed her lips and forced a breathy quality to her voice. “To avoid what is strong, strike at what is weak.” His silver eyes penetrated into her, looking deep inside her. She felt naked under his gaze as it traveled across her face. She was so intent on those eyes that she didn’t realize his hands had moved.
A knuckle grazed her cleavage, and she lost her breath. She inhaled deeply, trying to get much needed oxygen into her system, but it only served to raise her breasts higher, into his touch. It burned. The humming in her body was louder than ever as if it was connected to this man’s presence. She could feel it in her bones, her cells.
The man’s perfect face lowered closer to hers until their mouths aligned but didn’t touch. She could feel his warm breath on her lips as they moved. “The expert in the battle moves the enemy and is not moved by him.”
He hadn’t moved to subdue her, but neither had she. Faith was paralyzed by a sudden lust coursing through her veins. With all of her being, she wanted to grab this man and smash her lips into his, feel that little scrub of hair on his chin against hers.
With every ounce of will she had, Faith turned away from him, back towards the safe in the wall. She could only hope to get out of here without police involvement at this point. “The wise warrior avoids the battle.” She heard rustling behind her, and when he spoke next, she realized he’d moved back to the chair.
“I can see it.” He spoke as if to himself, murmuring so quietly she almost didn’t hear. “We’d make a decent match. You’re almost as irreverent as I am. And you know your Tzu.”
Without a word she slipped her hand back under her skirt again and retrieved her multipurpose tool. She’d have to come back, but she wasn’t going to let this asshole get what was hers. Doing her best to replace the faceplate in a hurry, she left the wall safe a ridiculous mess, not having taken anything from it. Super. She could hear him muttering behind her about thieves and Jezebels and tamped down the flash of irritation that flared to life.
“I work alone.”
“For now.” He chuckled as she darted out the door and back downstairs. She didn’t dare glance back.
He’s never been given a choice in this prison of fate, but it’s his turn now.
Hell is about to meet his match. When Damien gets a woman, the only underworld he’s ever known changes. She’s chosen for him, but she’s enough…
Cynthia doesn’t believe in Hell; she believes in kindness and science, and the greater good. She’s perfect, and pure and…
But she’s his.
And he’ll move Heaven and Hell to keep her.
This is Anne Conley’s final installment in the Four Winds series.
“Oh God…” she murmured under her breath.
“Are you alright? Do you need the hospital?” He knew what was happening to her, and it was probably embarrassing to her, but he was turned on beyond belief, and it was something he’d never felt before. Sure, he’d indulged in carnal pleasures with women before, but this was something completely different.
“Yes… No… Oh God…” He steered her out of the restaurant, and as soon as they made it out the door, Cynthia pushed him against a wall. “Stupid tumor…” she moaned as she threaded her fingers around his neck, pulled his head down, and crashed her lips against Damien’s.
The feel of her lips on his took his breath away. The soft heat of her tiny little tongue as it swept inside his mouth with a whimper caused him to lose all semblance of control. He didn’t know what came over him, but he had to have this woman. Now.
His hands immediately grasped her ass and spun her around so she was against the wall. He lifted one of her legs, wrapping it around his hip, and ground his erection into the warmth separated from him by their clothes. He’d never felt anything like this lust before. He needed her with a burning fire that he wasn’t sure one night with this creature could douse.
She responded, pressing against him wantonly. Her fingers tangled in his hair, and the prickly pain made him groan. He pushed the vision, knowing the image of them in her bed—a mass of sweaty tangled limbs—was undoing her, the same way his mental fondling was.
The same way it was undoing him. A torrent of lust wracked his body, and he fairly shook with it. He wanted her. Right here.
Damien so wanted to do some real-life fondling, to sink his fingers inside her wet heat and feel her pulse around him, but some conscious thought told him that wouldn’t do. Not on the first date. He knew enough about good women to know that wouldn’t further his purpose with Cynthia.
She was whimpering into his mouth, and he swallowed the sounds eagerly. He continued his grinding, building her to heights he couldn’t even imagine. His own erection was painful, but he held back doing anything to relieve it, knowing this was for her. He selfishly wanted to show her what they’d be like together.
She flew apart in his arms—on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant—with a muffled cry which he devoured with his kisses. He could kiss her forever, he realized. As she came down from her climax, he slowly lowered her but didn’t stop kissing her, wanting her with every fiber of his being.
When she pushed him away, a sinking feeling flooded him, dousing the fire with disappointment.
“Um… I’m sorry.” She was straightening her hair and smoothing her pants, refusing to look at him.
“Don’t be.” He couldn’t keep his hands to himself, so he cradled her face with his palm, thinking that may be a classy way to reassure her.
“I have to be. That was really embarrassing.” Her eyes darted around to see if anyone had seen them, but he chucked her chin with a finger.
“It was beautiful, Cynthia.” Beautiful wasn’t the word for it. It was magnificent, celestial. She glowed with an inner light that nothing could extinguish, better than any fantasy he could conjure.