And they say you can never go home again…
When the past tries to rewrite itself, Lacey has to return to the town where the darkness was born. Together with her guys, she’ll face the troubled present, and try to secure her future. But she never could have foreseen that the cost to her and the men she loves would be so impossibly high.
To save them all, Lacey will have to embrace who she is, and trust her guys—no matter how they might change.
After a decade, it’s time to come home. And this time, Lacey, Oliver, Colton, Thorn, and Aaron will destroy anything that threatens it.
If you haven’t read the other two books, stop, go read them first!
This book starts right where we left off in Alaska with Lacey and her guys, Oliver, Thorn, Colton and Aaron. They are preparing to return to New Mexico where it all began. Now settling in they need to decide where to go first. The town is very different now that the darkness is gone, more prosperous.
This is a favorite scene.
I couldn’t remember the last time I’d worn a bathing suit. I was lucky I even had one. Clad in my black bikini, I sat in the hot tub. The jets loosened my back as we all sat around like it was the most normal thing in the world.
“Do you guys do this a lot?” I looked at each of them as I asked the question.
Oliver sat with his eyes closed across from me. Thorn was next to him, a bottle of water in one hand. Aaron was next to me on my right. He stared off in the distance, maybe admiring the view. I didn’t let myself look. The last thing I wanted was to start to think things around here were pretty. I couldn’t start to like it. No matter how nice it had become.
Colton wrapped his foot around my own. He had a bead of sweat on his face that I watched, transfixed, as it ran down his cheek.
“First time. We don’t hang around in hot tubs. I swear.”
Oliver lifted his head. “I think we’re only doing this because you have that bikini on. I mean… please don’t wear that in public. I don’t mind sharing with all of them, but I will have to gouge out the eyes of anyone else who looks at you.”
Aaron laughed. “Oh no. I’m going to disagree with my brother. Wear it. Let everyone see what belongs to us.”
I supposed I should have said or thought something like ‘I wear what I want, and my choice of swimwear has nothing to do with your opinion about my body.’ But that wasn’t what I thought or said when heat hit my cheeks. I fucking loved that they were reacting to my appearance.
Colton leaned his head on mine. “I’d rather she be sitting in here naked. What do you say, Lacey? Willing to take it off and let us see you naked in the bubbles?”
I shook my head fast. “What if someone showed up? This is not a town I let my guard down in, ever. I won’t be caught naked outside. No matter the circumstances.”
Thorn nodded. “Maybe that’ll change in a couple of days. We’re fenced in back here. No one is getting in here that we don’t want here. Okay. So what do we do now, Chees? Your father is here somewhere, and he isn’t going to magically appear in front of us. Or maybe he will. Things like that happen around us.”
I thought back to the last time I saw Ray Chee. It had been a while since I’d had to lucid dream in order to kill Mara. “We closed all those doors.” What if I had locked him inside?
“I know where your mind has gone,” Aaron said, “but he physically left my mom after your dream. He’s alive and out there somewhere. The place to start would be in your old neighborhood.”
Despite the warm jets and being surrounded by the people I loved, a chill ran down my spine. “I don’t want to go back there.”
“You don’t have to,” Oliver assured me. He leaned forward and grasped my hand. With a gentle tug, he pulled me onto his lap and wrapped his arms around me.
“I should have done that,” Aaron grumbled. “Had you right next to me.”
I leaned my head on his brother’s chest, soaking in his warmth. When he spoke, his chest rumbled with the sound. “I think it’s best if Aaron and I go to check out the old riverbed and trailer park. We know how our father works, and if there’s evidence to be found, we’ll find it.”
Colton moved his foot from mine and edged forward. “I’m an archaeologist. I know how to examine a site. I could go for you.”
Oliver’s entire body tensed. I glanced up at him, taking in the set of his jaw and the way he pressed his lips together. It hit me. He didn’t want to go either. Like me, this trip home was stirring up all kinds of issues. For me, it was what this town had done to me. But for Oliver, it was what his dad had done to him.
“Is your mom here?” I asked.
At my question, he startled and squeezed me again. “Yeah. I couldn’t make her stay away. She’s just as stubborn as the old man. I half-expected Kel to show up, too, but she’s got a bunch of big events at her vineyard, and I promised after the last time, she wouldn’t have to leave her life to rescue our parents.”
Hmm. There seemed to be a story there. Peering at Aaron, I caught the slight shake of his head. I guessed that was a story for another time.
The guys’ bravery took me down a few pegs. Here they were, facing their issues, and all I wanted to do was hide my head under my pillow. “I’ll go with you.”
“Uh-uh.” Oliver was quick to respond. His denial was echoed by the others, but tempered a little by Aaron’s, “Not yet.”
“Why not?” I asked. I hated that I was a little relieved to be given an out. Not that I wouldn’t take it, but I should probably know why I got one when no one else did. A horrible thought occurred to me. “Do you think he’s awake?” I didn’t even want to say his name, afraid that here, so close to where he slept, his name on my lips would rouse him.
“Absolutely not,” Colton answered.
Shifting, I placed myself between Oliver’s legs so I could see all of them. Thorn was shaking his head. “No, Lace. You knocked him out. He’s not getting up any time soon.”
“It’s been a decade,” I reminded him. “We don’t know how long my darkness will keep him wherever he is.”
“Can we agree not to call it your darkness?” Aaron shook his head. “It’s something in you, Lacey, but it’s more like your abilities based on a genetic heritage. Maybe you and Thorn could use his considerable talents to find information on everything and figure out what those abilities are. That could be a very useful thing for us to know going forward. Once we leave here, we can set up lives. If we get called to do other paranormal-type things, you could have a real sense of what you can do.”
I wouldn’t mind some clarity, but I was pretty sure Aaron was still dismissing the fact that for whatever the reason, I was pretty dark inside. Whether that was my upbringing, some facet of the fae an ancestor had made a baby with, or just a Lacey thing, I didn’t know. I didn’t know if it mattered.
Ripley Proserpina; Rebecca Royce. Return to the Darkness: The Coveted Book 3 (Kindle Locations 239-287).
The worst part of all of this is that Ray Chee wanted to be the one who took care of Erdig, instead he was upstaged by a teenager. Now he’s changing the past which totally screws up everything as Lacey shows up in a time where she’s dead.
Plenty of suspense and intrigue with hold your breath moments, time travel and plenty of heat.
An awesome conclusion to this trilogy! I can’t wait to see what Rebecca and Ripley will concoct next!
5 Contented Purrs for Rebecca and Ripley!
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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!
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.