Cleared by the police of any wrongdoing in a school shooting, Nora’s finally looking to her future with hope. She and her five guys are ready to move on with their lives, and take their unconventional relationship to the next level.
But not everyone is ready to accept her innocence. Viewed as a monster by the people in her small town, and put in a frightening position by the people claiming to help her, Nora has to make a choice between what she wants, and what she believes is best for the men she loves.
Will her budding relationship be strong enough to survive these new challenges, or will it all be too much, and she’ll be alone again?
Still recovering from her injuries, Nora needs to contribute to the household.
When an opportunity comes to her through Tyler a friend of Cai’s she listens carefully to Dr. Murray as he describes the study he is involved in and the benefits to her, housing on campus and classes to reach her goal of a teaching degree.
She is going into this with her eyes open but the first interview and coffee with the Dr.’s colleagues ends with an experiment that ends badly.
The guys don’t like her going off by herself after an unpleasant confrontation with a reporter Seok escorted her to the appointment and returned to pick her up.
This is a favorite scene.
“Let’s go.” Glowering at the men, Seok wrapped his arm around her, leading her down the street.
She gave a little squeal when he brushed against one of the wounds on her side. The seatbelt had dug into her with such force her blood pulsed beneath the older injury. She’d have a hell of a bruise later.
“Are you okay?” he stopped, putting his hands on her shoulders, and bending his knees a little bit to see her face.
“My side,” she whispered. “The seatbelt dug into it.”
“Can I look?” She glanced back over her shoulder where Dr. Murray’s team still stood, but nodded.
Slowly, he lifted her sweatshirt and t-shirt, hissing in a breath when he saw the clear contact abrasion of the seatbelt against her skin. The healing bullet graze looked okay, it wasn’t bleeding, but the abrasion went right across it.
“He did this?” he asked, voice shaking with anger.
“I didn’t realize.”
He lowered her shirt gently, and placing his hand on her cheek, leaned forward to kiss her on the forehead. One moment he held her, then he took off like a shot. A blur of movement, he sprinted down the road and leapt at Nils.
The man let out a soft, “Omph,” when Seok tackled him. He managed to land one blow before Grant and Dr. Murray wrestled him off Nils.
“You fucking asshole,” he said, shaking out his fist.
Shock kept her in place, but now she rushed to him, holding his arm, putting her body between him and the team.
“She’s fucking injured. What is wrong with you?” He was genuinely confused. “Is this how you run your lab?” he asked Dr. Murray. “Because I’m sure the college is going to wonder about this. You want her to trust you? To work with you? Maybe you should try a little goddamned compassion.”
The doctor shook his head, while Nora kept her eye on Nils. A dark bruise formed on the man’s cheek, and she waited for him to retaliate. Seok packed a punch, but he didn’t seem bothered. It was weird.
“I’m sorry, Seok. Honestly.” “
I really am sorry as well, Seok,” Nils added. “Look, if punching me makes you feel better. Do it again. I was wrong. It wasn’t funny.”
“You’re goddamn right it’s not funny.” Turning his back on the others, he strode to her. Her body jerked when she tried to go to him. Jessica held her arm. Distracted by the fight, she hadn’t realized the woman’s hands were on her. When she tried to move again, Jessica let her go.
“I want to go home,” she told him. “Can we please go?”
Pressing a kiss to the top of her head, he held her to his chest. “You okay?” His voice was calm, but she knew him well enough now to catch the fury.
“I’m pissed and my side hurts.”
He stepped away from her, tracing her face with his gaze. It dropped to her lips, and he leaned in, kissing her. He wrapped his arms around her before burying his face in her neck, and giving her a soft kiss.
“Let’s go.” As they got out of earshot, he took her hand. “Will you tell me what happened?”
Leaning her head on his arm, and squeezing his hand tightly, she nodded. Seok, she could trust. She’d tell him anything he wanted to know.
Ripley Proserpina. Finding Nora (Kindle Locations 656-687). After Glows.
Personally I wouldn’t have given the man the time of day and would have reported the whole thing to the Dean. That’s just me though.
Things get weirder and weirder with this study and Nora gets more frustrated not only with it, but with her inability to get a job.
Nothing seems to be going right except her relationships with her men. However that has it’s moments too.
Suspenseful, romantic and enough going on to keep you turning the pages to see what happens next.
5 Contented Purrs for Ripley!
Forgiveness is out of reach…
Nora’s relationship with Ryan, Seok, Apollo, Matisse, and Cai is everything she could want. Never believing she’d fall in love, the acceptance they offer her is the only thing standing between her and a world that still hates her, no matter her innocence. Falling into a routine with the guys, she finally lets herself relax and dream about the future.
Until the past catches up with them…
Suddenly, Ryan’s entire future is at stake, and a man from his past, one with good reason to hate him, arrives to take the things he’s worked so hard to build. Rather than fight, Ryan wants to submit, weighed down with the guilt he believes he deserves. Pushing Nora away, he distances himself from her and his friends, placing everything they have at risk.
Can Nora help Ryan heal? He has to believe the person he’s become is nothing like the man he was, but all he sees in the mirror is evil. Will he ever believe he’s earned her love and the chance to be happy?
Finding Valor centers on Ryan. Ryan status for the local Law School has gone from early admission to waitlisted. His calls are not returned and finally Nora convinces him to go in person to see the Dean.
What he finds out is disturbing on a lot of levels yet he feels he deserves the censure and to be waitlisted. Although the question remains, who dug into his past to sabotage him.
This is a favorite scene between him and the Dean.
“Mr. Valore,” she began. “Our school’s mission may seem antiquated, but it has a purpose. We want to graduate lawyers who are truly guided by a moral and ethical code.”
“I understand.” He was not the kind of student they were looking for.
“Any student who may not meet this standard is immediately suspended or waitlisted while an investigation takes place.”
The irony of a school requiring their students to hold themselves to a higher standard, suspending— or in his case waitlisting— accused students before asking for evidence, was not lost on him.
“I’ve spoken to your professor, Erik Bismarck, and he assures me you would be a boon to our program.”
Some of his tension left him. Was there hope?
“He told me about your work with Legal Aid and your support of the accused school shooter, Nora Leslie. You apparently went above and beyond your role as intern. You let her live with you when she was evicted and lost her job?”
“Mr. Valore, we will be taking a closer look at your case, but until then, you remain on the waitlist. CCSL has a student committee who will have the final say on your admission. They put you on the waitlist.”
“Someone on the committee wanted me to be waitlisted?”
“Your name was brought to the attention of the committee, but the committee is not one person. It is not an entity out to get you, Mr. Valore. I promise.”
“Of course not… But so I understand, the student committee has the final say on all incoming students?”
“No,” she clarified. “The student committee is one part of the admissions process. However, they do have the final say on any student who has been waitlisted or might be expelled.”
“Dean Williams,” he ventured. “The thing I don’t understand is, who would have brought me to the attention of the committee?”
“Vermont is a small state. It isn’t hard to run into someone who knows your story. I can’t go to the grocery store without meeting a cousin of a cousin of a cousin.”
His mind went a mile-a-minute, trying to think of someone who knew of his past, who believed he was a liar, and who knew of the requirements of CCSL.
Someone had it out for him; someone wanted him to get what he deserved. Because he did deserve to be waitlisted. What right did he have to move on with his life? No matter who he was now, he’d once stolen someone’s future.
Ripley Proserpina. Finding Valor (Kindle Locations 335-360). After Glows.
Nora has unwittingly met the person responsible for Ryan’s problems. It throws a bit of a wrench into their relationships as does an enlightening session with Dr. Murray and his cohort Dr. Chase. Love that Nora catches something here as well.
Communication is key in this form of relationship and while all the guys know each others secrets Nora does not.
The time has come to see if this relationship really can work.
Piecing together the mystery of the waitlist, a life-threatening illness and more weirdness thanks to the study. All these challenges and some really sizzling scenes will keep you from putting this book down.
I can’t wait to see what’s next for these intriguing characters.
5 Contented Purrs for Ripley!
Click the Cover for Buy Links
Ripley Proserpina spends her days huddled near a fire in the frozen northern wilds of Vermont. She lives with her family, two magnificent cats, and one dog who aspires to cat-hood. She is the author of the Reverse Harem series, The Searchers, and “Missing Linc” from the paranormal series, The Aegeans in the horror romance anthology, Bloody Kisses.