We’re up to week 3 of my Kele Moon Spotlight and countdown till The Slayer. Speaking of The Slayer, have you seen the absolutely lick worthy cover for it along with the full synopsis? You can check it out HERE! But please be prepared to lick your screens. Don’t say I didn’t warn you 😉
If you missed my previous posts, last month I was incredibly lucky to read a super early ARC of The Slayer and It. Blew. Me. Away. It was one of the best books I’ve read to date. Period. And also one of the best books Kele’s ever written. Considering I’ve loved pretty much every book on her back list, that’s REALLY saying something. I can’t even describe to you all the amount of feels, the swoons, and the hot flashes that Chuito gave me, so I won’t even try. The Slayer will be released on March 31, and I’ll be sharing lots of teasers with you guys in the meantime.
But before you get to get your grabby little hands on MY Chuito (uhem), I want to take you all back to the series that started it all for me; The Battered Hearts. Each week I’ve been spotlighting a different book from that series, which all leads up to Untamed Hearts with The Viper & The Slayer. In case you’re curious, you don’t necessarily need to read The Battered Hearts series before Untamed Hearts and each book has a different couple. I would still highly recommend reading Battered Hearts first simply because it’s a fantastic series and each of the characters from that series continues to appear in Untamed Hearts. You’d enjoy and appreciate every book that much more if you read them in order.
For those of you that haven’t yet read the Battered Hearts series, don’t forget to enter the Giveaway below. You’ll get a chance to win every book in the series or a $10 Amazon gift card!
So let’s continue, shall we, with my absolute favorite book in the Battered Hearts series: Crossing The Line. If you haven’t read the previous 2 books in this series and plan on reading The Slayer, I highly recommend starting with Crossing the Line and following it with The Viper. This is the book that really sets everything in motion and it’s simply a MUST READ second chance love story. You can check out my review for it HERE
Wyatt Conner is a hard man. A sixth generation sheriff in his hometown of Garnet. A former MMA fighter. His life is about following the rules and making sure everyone else in Garnet follows them too.Before life hurt him, Wyatt was different. Love had once blinded him to his upbringing and made him defiant against anyone who tried to separate him from the girl he loved. He easily broke laws to ensure her safety.
When she left it destroyed him.
Now she’s back.
Tabitha knew coming home was a mistake, but family obligation demanded it. She wasn’t expecting to run smack into the love of her life the same day she returned.
Despite the danger, Tabitha is powerless against the wild rush of desire that explodes between them the moment she finds herself in Wyatt’s arms again. She needs a second chance too, but she can’t risk Wyatt finally discovering the real reason she left.
Even for another taste of true love.
Tabitha knows her haunted past will destroy both of them if Wyatt finds out. What she suffered through was too terrible and it’s the one thing that will have him crossing the line for revenge.
Tabitha retched so hard and for so long, she felt like she was ripping all the pain of her soul out through her stomach, and even then it wasn’t enough. The rain fell harder, soaking her hair as the thunder rolled. Lightning cracked in the distance, illuminating the gray sky. It’d be just her luck to get struck. She certainly didn’t see how things could get much worse than they were at that moment.
As soon as she formed the thought, it was shattered with the short, impatient sound of a police siren. The flash of red and blue colored the pretty lavender and white flowers around her. The groan of a big police vehicle pulling up behind her car made it obvious she wasn’t going to be left to wallow in her misery. Welcome back to Garnet, where nothing was private and everything was up for public entertainment.
This was truly unbelievable, and Tabitha found herself saying a prayer, out loud, just to make sure any celestial being in the near vicinity heard her, because the situation was that desperate.
“Please don’t let it be him,” she whispered frantically, her voice hoarse from all the throwing up. “Please, please, please. Anyone but him. If there is a God, you will not do this to me.”
She sat there on her knees, shaking in exhaustion and pain as the sound of a car door being opened and shut actually made her jump. She kept her back to the intruder on her private meltdown, because she just couldn’t bear to look. Life could not be this cruel. It just couldn’t, even to someone born with the last name McMillen.
Her stomach rolled once more, and she fought to hold back the urge to be sick again. The sound of boots squishing in mud and grass had her silently wishing for the earth to open up and just swallow her whole.
Tabitha stiffened when she heard the low, stunned voice of Wyatt Conner, the man who was impossible to get over.
It was official—there was no God.
She squeezed her eyes shut and hung her head. She was sitting there, covered in mud, throwing up in the grass after driving nonstop from Key West to Garnet. If there was a worse way to see him again after thirteen years, she couldn’t think of what it could be.
“Are you okay?”
Tabitha answered his question by leaning over and retching again. Her stomach was empty. She hadn’t eaten all that much in the past twenty-four hours due to nerves. Now she was actually shaking, though if it was the exhaustion, the low blood sugar, or the trauma of coming back home again, she didn’t know. Wyatt fell down on his knees behind her as her stomach continued to rebel, and she didn’t have the strength to argue.
“I’m gonna call Tommy. He and Frank Duffy take turns running the ambulance up to Mercy General.” Wyatt stroked her hair, his other hand resting over the small of her back as if she’d never left.
“God, no,” she choked out, because that was the very last thing she needed, to get hauled to Mercy General in an ambulance driven by the former quarterback from her graduating class. “I’m fine. Just nerves.”
“I ain’t buying it. You’re hurt.”
“No.” She shook her head frantically and wiped her mouth as she struggled to pull herself together. “I’m fine, Wy.”
“Just the dumb bottom step back at my old place. I slipped. It’s nothing. I’m okay. I just need a moment. You don’t have to—”
“I do have to,” Wyatt said firmly. “Is your stomach better?”
She nodded silently, still refusing to look at him. This just felt too hard. It made the loss of innocence a little too much to bear if she actually had to look eye to eye at what she’d lost.
“Stay here. I got some water back in the car.”
Wyatt didn’t really give her a choice in the matter, just jumped to his feet and turned to go back to his squad car. She wiped at her mouth once more and pushed at her hair, tucking the wet strands behind her ears. As ridiculous as it was, she was trying to pull herself together.
She looked down to her navy-blue tank top and khaki shorts, now both covered in mud. Then she brought her leg up, finally acknowledging the cut from the rake when she fell. It ran nearly the full length of her calf, which was just perfect. She couldn’t imagine what her shoulder looked like.
Wyatt made it back in record time and silently offered her the bottle of water. She took it without looking up and rinsed her mouth out. She spit the water into the grass a few times, knowing her dignity was already in tatters. Then she took several long gulps of water. She was still working on washing the taste of fear out of her mouth when Wyatt dropped a blanket over her shoulders—one of those trusty police-issue brown blankets that were thick and scratchy but served their purpose.
Then, without further ado, certainly without asking or even warning her, Wyatt bent down and picked her up. She gasped from the shock of it. The water bottle slipped out of her hand and dropped to the ground as she flung her arms around his neck out of instinct. She blinked past the rain and finally stared up at him simply because she had nowhere else to look.
Tabitha had the same crushing breathlessness she’d experienced in the yard after falling on her ass, because she’d forgotten how good-looking Wyatt was in person. She’d seen him plenty over the years on television. His best friend, Clay Powers, was a UFC heavyweight champion. Since Wyatt was his right-hand man and training partner, he’d always been featured heavily in those pay-per-view fights. Tabitha had watched every single one. She enjoyed watching Clay fight. They’d been friends a long time, and she was beyond thrilled to see him become so successful. No one deserved it more. But the reason she saved those fights for years afterward was to play back the parts with Wyatt in them—like a lovesick fool. No mixed-martial-arts fan had mourned Clay Powers’s retirement quite as much as Tabitha. It’d cut off her lifeline to a time and a dream that was long dead but impossible to let go of.
Now here Wyatt was, all six feet five inches of him. He was much bigger at thirty-four than he was at twenty-one, stronger, more powerful and intimidating. His blond hair was longer, curling at his nape. Despite the rain, it still held the unnatural impression from his hat, which he must’ve recently abandoned. Without thought, she reached up and ran her fingers through golden strands, a habit thirteen years dormant rising to the surface as if she’d never left. His hair was as silky as she remembered, flowing through her fingers easily as she flattened it out.
Wyatt stopped his trek and stared down at her for one stunned second. She looked into his eyes that were the lightest shade of blue, like sun hitting the ocean on a clear day. They were haunted, filled with pain that was stark and cutting when she realized she was the one who’d caused it. She wanted to touch the fine lines at the corners of those beautiful eyes, and the worry creases on his forehead just to smooth them out and give his innocence back. He was still stunningly handsome, far more so than she remembered, because Wyatt was one of those men who just got better-looking with time, but she could still tell life was taking its toll.
“You shouldn’t have stopped.” She sighed. “It wasn’t necessary. I was just having a moment, and I know I don’t deserve—”
“I’m your husband,” Wyatt interrupted, his low voice filled with pain. “Taking care of you was supposed to be my job.”