SUMMARY: A young, hardworking, and successful editor/journalist for an arts and entertainment website keeps her haunted childhood behind her as best she can by relying on a handful of obsessive coping mechanisms. Despite the appearance of having it all together, Ren Hayden doesn't do real relationships of any sort, caring only for her criminal stepbrother, Seth, the only person she could ever count on. When Seth inexplicably commits suicide, she is left to deal with Corinne Zabriese--the rather innocent girlfriend he conned, her unique family, and Seth's trail of disturbing messages that follow her around after his death. Worse? Corinne's brother, Galen, comes to Ren's rescue when all her defenses collapse. He sees the real person behind her emotional walls, and while he can't come to terms with his own misplaced guilt, he becomes hellbent on drawing her true self to the surface. Ren wants nothing to do with his noble, free-spirited nature, except that Galen is the most delicious guy she's ever met--from his expressive eyes and amazing physique to the way he teases and taunts her into his arms. As Ren holds Seth's secrets back from Corinne, she feels increasingly undeserving of the steamy, beautiful bond she is developing with Galen and the friendships she is forging with his family. She explodes, flinging venom at the family she was growing to love--just as Seth's past is about to catch up with all of them.
BLURB: I made a pact with myself a long time ago: Ren Hayden will never accept the ‘victim’ label. I stick to that promise, too—going on seven years now. Perhaps I’m somewhat twisted, but I easily numb the effects of my tragic life story by turning my emotions on and off as if by switch. When I can’t, I rely on three coping mechanisms that never fail me: cigarettes, writing out checks to charities, and meaningless, mind-numbing sex. A lonely life at age 23, perhaps, but living for my notable career as an entertainment journalist is enough. It’s the best I can hope for and it works for me.
Suddenly, another tragedy takes away the only person who really knew me. The loss and all the turmoil he leaves behind become the final straw for my defense mechanisms, leaving me wide open to a sincere set of ethereal, hazel eyes.
Galen Zabriese is nothing this emotion-phobic girl can afford to be near and everything the world needs to be a better place--although he would certainly say differently on both counts. And for some reason, he sees right through my faltering defenses. He knows I’m hiding things. And no matter what I say or do, he can’t keep his hands off me....
Reviews from readers on Amazon, Goodreads, and BN...
“Wow! This was just an incredible book. It was so emotional! The whole last third of the book had me in tears about every 20 pages. There were so many intense issues going on here...”
“...so intensely captivating. The storyline is dramatic and suspenseful and tragically sad and heartwarming. The characters are extremely likable, even a couple of the bad guys.”
“This book has so much angst and distress at the beginning that I though my head and heart would explode.”
“I really enjoyed this book. I think Raimz is a new romance writer, and I love to discover new voices to keep my reading interesting. This book has just the right balance of romance and steaminess for my tastes. It's a nice story, which is well told and has a lot of complexity to it. I'd like to start a Galen fan club! Definitely recommend this one.”
“This book took me on a whirlwind of emotions.”
“Great story. Loved the characters and the emotional growth. Can't wait to see what's next!”