Eyes in the Darkness – The Coveted Book 1 By Rebecca Royce & Ripley Proserpina

Eyes in the Darkness
The Coveted Book 1
Rebecca Royce
Ripley Proserpina



There’s something in the darkness,
and it’s watching her…

Lacey Madison wants to be like every other teenager. She wants to wave to her best friend, and have him wave back. She wants to kiss a boy, and for him to stay in town.

She wants to go to school,
and not be accused of murder.

But bad things are always happening around her, and in this dusty little desert town, nothing is what it seems. Lacey’s entire life has been leading to something, and those eyes in the desert darkness hold all the answers.



One thing is certain, when Rebecca and Ripley put their heads together you are in for an awesome journey.

Lacey has been trying her best to keep her head down, not so easy in this small town. Her goal is to finish school and get out, go as far north and the furthest she could get. One of the things she did was kick a can on her way to and from school. Little did she know that beat-up can would start to change everything when she kicked it into the road in front of a car she didn’t recognize.

Thorn Evans and Colton Ivy exited the car and almost immediately started exerting their alpha maleness. Which Lacey blatantly ignores and continues on her way.

She even felt like poking a bear, in a manner of speaking and starts up a conversation with Aaron Chee who lived in the trailer across from her. He was homeschooled she only saw him here. A dinner invitation there adds even more to the intrigue. Aaron, Oliver, Kelly and their parents, Jacinda and Ray, have an unusual occupation, and well there’s more than a little creepy in this quiet town.

This is a favorite scene when some horses get sick.

I’d never shoveled horseshit before, and I’d certainly never done it with barn lights blazing down on me. I wiped sweat off my brow and tried not to think about what I was getting on myself. Ugh. And the smell. The smell was not pleasant.


I winced at the sound of my name. I should have known that Thorn would show up here. His father owned most of the stables in town and the outskirts. People came to his ranches to have authentic cowboy experiences and didn’t know they’d walked right into another version of corporate America. There wasn’t a cowboy operation in the state of New Mexico that he didn’t have his hand in.

Thorn Evans.

He had a cowboy’s name, and if his hair was just a little longer, he’d look like one. I put my head down, like horseshit was the most interesting shit I’d ever seen, and hoped he’d leave.

See— here was the thing with Thorn— I didn’t want to have any sort of reaction to him. Yes, I’d kissed him. And yes, everyone knew about it, hated me for it, and treated me like I threw puppies into traffic.

So the last thing I wanted was to be stuck in a barn, looking like shit while I shoveled literal crap, with Thorn Evans and his kissable lips and sad eyes.

Of course he’d show up to watch me shovel crap. I surveyed the barn. Where was Oliver? He’d wandered off somewhere, and I hadn’t seen him in a while.

A horrible thought occurred to me. What if Oliver left me here on purpose? What if he was in on it with Thorn? What if he and Colton were somewhere, watching me shovel, laughing their asses off? I forced the thought from my head. That wouldn’t help anything right now.

“Lacey?” I had the strangest impression that Thorn was nervous but discounted it right away.

“Thorn.” He’d said my name, so I said his back.

“What are you doing here?” He put his hand on my shovel handle to stop me from using it.

I lifted my head. “My friend asked me to help him. I came. End of story.”

Thorn looked over his shoulder. “Are you friends with that new guy? The one everyone likes? What’s his name? Chee?”

“Oliver Chee.” I took the shovel back. “Yes, he’s my friend.” Or at least, I’d had a glimmer of hope he could become that. I’d technically met him just hours earlier, but there it was. “I guess I should ask what you’re doing here. Do you often get your hands dirty?”

I knew the answer to that was no. Thorn didn’t do the manual labor.

He smiled at me. “I came to help. If I’d known you were here, I’d have come earlier. I want to talk to you.”

The last thing I wanted was to have a one-on-one with Thorn. “Whatever happened, I’d rather leave it alone. It was a year ago, and people are still talking about it. We kissed. Your mom was suuuuuuper upset about it and told everyone I ruined your life. So you took off with Colton. Which meant I was also responsible for his downfall. Both of you destroyed by me. The temptress of boys.” I motioned to my disgusting outer appearance at the moment. “Sorry to have ruined your life.”

“Lacey?” It was Oliver. With the inky darkness behind him, his silhouette seemed to glow in the barn light. “What are you doing?”

At first, I thought he meant Thorn, but he was looking at me. I was at a loss. Hadn’t he said to haul out the stall? “I’m—”

He came inside, dusky cheeks flushed pink. “Lacey. I’m so sorry. I meant take out the hay. Not the manure.”

Nearby, there was a snort, and I whipped a glare in Thorn’s direction. He held up his hands as if to placate me. “You made a stable hand really happy, though.”

Pitching the shovel into the wheelbarrow, I wiped my arm across my sweaty forehead. “Great. That’s exactly what my goal was.” I probably stunk to high heaven, and I’d made a fool of myself in front of two people. At least—

“What are you doing here?”

The wall was too far away to bang my head against. “Colton. I was just leaving.” Of course he and Thorn would be joined at the fucking hip. Of course.

“I need some help,” Oliver said, his voice a little confused. He watched the other two guys with narrowed eyes and held out his hand.

Pulling my gloves off, I stomped by my arch-nemeses. I was going to head right past Oliver, too, but he stopped me with a hand on my arm. One long look was all it took for some of my anger to drain out of me. “At least I got the hay out with the shit,” I said and shrugged.

He gave me a slight smile before glancing over my shoulder toward Colton and Thorn. “Come see the horses.”

Immediately, I forgot all about the sweat and the smell. “Are they better?” I asked.

“I’ll find you later, Lace,” Thorn called after me, but I didn’t answer. And he didn’t follow.

“Come see,” Oliver replied a little cagily.
Ripley Proserpina; Rebecca Royce. Eyes in the Darkness: The Coveted, Book 1 (Kindle Locations 289-328).

Thorn and Colton do finally get to explain what happened that they left town so abruptly and seem to be quite friendly with the Chee’s as well.A truly freaky exorcism performed by the local pastor has Lacey moving in with the Chee’s and Thorn and Colton get involved as well.

Fast-paced and suspenseful as the attraction between Lacey and the four boys increases and so does the danger.

I couldn’t put this book down, every page just adds more twists. I do hope the next book isn’t far off. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

5 Contented Purrs for Rebecca and Ripley!


Rebecca Royce Rebecca Royce

As a teenager, I would hide in my room to read my favorite romance novels when I was supposed to be doing my homework. I hope, these days, that my parents think it was worth it.

I am the mother of three adorable boys and I am fortunate to be married to my best friend. I live in Austin Texas where I am determined to eat all the barbecue in town.

I am in love with science fiction, fantasy, and the paranormal and try to use all of these elements in my writing. I’ve been told I’m a little bloodthirsty so I hope that when you read my work you’ll enjoy the action packed ride that always ends in romance. I love to write series because I love to see characters develop over time and it always makes me happy to see my favorite characters make guest appearances in other books.

In my world anything is possible, anything can happen, and you should suspect that it will.

I’d love to hear from you!


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Blog | Amazon Author Page


Ripley Proserpina

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, Midnight’s Crown, and the young adult/fantasy duet, Wishes and Curses.

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