Anne L. Parks
Kylie Tate believes the stalker who nearly killed her is dead.
She believes she has finally escaped John’s sadistic grasp. And she is a survivor.
But it’s all a lie.
And now he’s back—and wants revenge.
When Kylie learns Alex’s father’s appeal for a new trial has been granted, she jumps at the chance to join the prosecution’s team. There is no way James Wells can go free. Not after he killed Alex’s mother and forced a young Alex to watch as his mother die—unable to do anything to save her.
But the investigation into the death of Alex’s mother uncovers secrets. Secrets which point to someone other than James Wells as the murderer. Could Alex have been responsible for his mother’s death?
She owes her life to Alex, and deep down she knows he could not have killed his mother. But as more new evidence comes to light, Kylie begins to question everything she knows about the man she loves. When she uncovers proof he has lied to her about what really happened to John the night she was shot—Kylie must decide if she can ever trust Alex again.
If you haven’t read the first book of this series Malevolent, STOP and go read it first. Even though the prologue is right where we left off you will definitely get more out of the story if you read the whole thing.
The horrific events of the last book are reignited in this one right from the start. Kylie has survived both being shot and the coma but has pretty severe PTSD from it, including nightmares. Repeatedly she asks Alex if John is gone. Alex’s response is always the same, forever.
Even though Kylie is better, Alex is distant, he’s still the loving Alex but all the intimacy is gone. Granted the whole incident brought back some painful memories for him, but instead of facing them he is withdrawing. He’s also keeping things from Kylie, not really intentionally, but as she discovers them they hurt her deeply.
To top it all off their trying to exonerate John Wells, Alex’s father who was convicted of his mother’s murder years ago. The twist, they’re trying to pin it on Alex.
They go to NY to visit with friends Paul and Ryan, this visit helps both Kylie and Alex re-center themselves and they finally talk when they return to Alex’s apartment.
This is a favorite scene.
I lift his hand and kiss his knuckles, knowing this next part could end everything between us, and destroy all my hopes for a future with him. “If that’s something you want— a baby, a family— then we need to re-evaluate our relationship, and where this is going. I won’t change my mind, Alex, no matter how romantic the notion of sharing a bond with you through a child might be, it’s not enough to make me want that life.”
I inhale slowly and hold it, watching him, waiting for his reaction. My heart pounds, my hands tremble, and a thin layer of sweat breaks out over my skin.
Finally, he looks at me, and a smile lifts the corners of his mouth. “Baby, I don’t want kids, either. If I did, I’d have them by now. My life is my company and my charities— at least, until you came into it. If there is any woman I’d want to have a child with, it’s you, but I am perfectly happy just having you. Building our future and sharing dreams. I can’t imagine my life being any more complete than it is now, with you. I don’t want or need more.”
I nearly burst into tears. At least this won’t come between us, but this is not the only thing standing in our way. I might as well address the elephant in the room and make him tell me why he hasn’t touched me in any meaningful, intimate way since before the shooting.
The little bit of relief I felt has evaporated, and tension wracks my body once more. I need to know what’s going on— but that doesn’t mean I necessarily want to know.
“Alex, I need you to be straight with me about something.”
“I need you to tell me what’s going on with us. I need for you to be honest… and tell me why you don’t want to make love to me.”
Alex drops his head back, closes his eyes, and rubs the bridge of his nose. “Kylie, it’s not that I don’t want to make love to you— I do. You have no idea how much—”
Well, that’s true…
“Are you scared for some reason?” I ask.
He opens his eyes and gazes at me. They’re so blue and beautiful, but the dark circles detract from them, and the corners dip down. “Many reasons.”
A chill runs through me. “Why?” I hate that my voice is shaky. My fingers toy with the double heart pendant Alex gave me hanging around my neck.
He closes his eyes again, takes a deep breath, and slowly releases it.
“Please talk to me, Alex. Whatever it is, no matter how hard it might be for me to hear, I need to know what’s wrong.” I wrap my hands around his. “Are you afraid of losing me?”
“I’m fine, Alex. The doctors say I’ve made a full recovery, and there’s a low risk of me developing any complications from being shot or hitting my head.”
“Well, I admit, that did worry me at first.”
He drops his head, his thumb making a circle on the back of my hand, and he’s quiet for a moment. “You don’t need me anymore— don’t need me to protect you. The reason you fell in love with me is gone now that John can’t hurt you anymore.”
A sudden coldness hits me square in the chest, my extremities tingling with disbelief. “You think I fell in love with you because you protected me from John?”
I sit, time seems to stand still for a moment while I gather my thoughts. “Alex, I love that you protected me, but that’s not the reason I fell in love with you, and certainly not why I’m still so in love with you.”
“But will you ever be able to truly forgive me for failing you?”
My mind races to find answers. “What are you talking about?”
“John shot you— almost killed you— while I watched it all unfold. I swore to protect you and I failed.”
“God, I hate this— even from the grave— he can still come between us. But, baby, you did not fail me. I wish I could make you understand all the ways you have saved me. I know you’re scared, but if you give up on this part of us because you’re afraid you’ll lose me somehow, then you’ve already lost me. I’m doing a really horrid job of explaining this— it’s just that— anything can happen, at any time, or nothing could happen. We could have thirty years together or thirty minutes.”
“I watched you die,” he whispers, and my heart breaks.
“I came back to you, Alex.”
His hand caresses my cheek, his eyes reach into my soul, his lips press against mine. He gently sucks my lower lip, releases it, and murmurs against them, “Can anything this good really last forever?” His hand cups the back of my head, and he pulls me into him, our lips crashing together.
I rest my hands on his thighs, not sure what I should do, how far he will let me go before he shuts this down like he has every time we get to this point. He’s going to have to take the lead on this, I’m not sure I can handle the rejection again.
He pulls his head back, his eyes dark and lusty, but his eyebrows gather together. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” I blurt out a little too quickly. He sighs and drops his head. “It’s just… it’s hard for me to start down this path— think we’re going to make love, and—” My voice cracks, and trails off.
“And I never let it go there.” His hand is still at the back of my head, and he tilts it back so he can see directly into my eyes. “I’m not perfect. I make so many mistakes, but I’m trying to learn, also. I have come up with so many reasons lately to keep you at arm’s length, to deny that part of me that is so desperate for you, because I thought it would somehow hurt both of us. It’s flawed thinking, I realize that, especially after hearing it out loud, but it’s what I’ve been clinging to. What I lost sight of is, even with all the reasons I’ve come up with, the one reason I’m ignoring you— is you. You’re the reason I changed who I was in the first place. The only reason that should matter to me is you… and it is.”
Anne L. Parks. Revenge: ARC Advanced Reader Copy – Not For Sale Or Distribution (Kindle Locations 715-724).
There’s still something major that is being held back from Kylie and that is one surprise she didn’t need to find out by herself.
There is so much tension from many fronts in this book. Friendship is of great importance and things between Alex and Kylie have several ups and downs and some sizzling heat.
The ending of this one shocked me and now I need the next book!
5 Contented Purrs for Anne!
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Born and raised in the Rocky Mountains, Anne L. Parks has spent the last 28 years moving all over the United States. Married to the Navy – well a Commander in the Navy – Parks has lived in various locales throughout the United States. She currently resides in the Washington D.C area. When not writing, she spends her time reading, doing yoga, mountain biking, and keeping track of four kids and a very spoiled rescue German Shepherd. And drinking wine.
Author of nine novels (Tri-Stone Trilogy, Return To Me series, and Strangers) and four novellas that have been published in anthologies, she loves to create stories with mystery, plenty of twists and turns, and loaded with suspense.
With a military husband, it was only a matter of time before she broke into the military romantic suspense genre, where she feels right at home amongst highly trained, somewhat jaded, ready to take out terrorists alpha males and the strong, brave women who love them. Parks first military romance, MIA, went to #1 on Amazon’s Kindle World. Thirteen more books will be released in her new series, The 13. Two other series are being planned.