Prologue and Chapter 1 reveal – THE CONSEQUENCE OF LOVING COLTON by Rachel Van Dyken


It’s all fun and games…until someone’s heart is broken.

They’re not kids anymore, but Milo Caro is certain that Colton Mathews will only see her as his best friend’s little sister for the rest of their lives. After all, he made that clear the night before she left for college. But four years later, her brother is getting married and Colt’s the best man—and guess who is the best man’s last-minute date?
Milo vows to use the wedding to either claim the smoldering firefighter’s heart or douse this torch for good. When Max—her best friend from
college, who may be carrying a torch of his own—crashes the party, they devise a plan to make Colt see what he’s missing. But after Colt catches on, he decides to cook up his own revenge.
Now it’s personal. Colt and Milo are at war, and between Max’s questionable acting methods, an unfortunate trip to jail, and a maniacal
fiancée, what could possibly go right?

Summer 2009

“I can’t believe you’re really going to college, Milo.” Colton’s teasing smile flashed right in front of me, rendering me temporarily blind. Man, he was beautiful. His normally dark-brown hair had shots of gold from the summer sun. Dimples peeked out from his mega-white smile and I was pretty confident that I saw a twinkle in his green eyes meant just for me. He’d been home for two months since graduation and was already off saving the world one fire at a time. I watched his full lips curve around the mouth of his Corona. He and my brother Jason had organized a going-away party for me. Apparently me getting accepted into NYU was a big deal: they’d even gone so far as to get a Star Wars–themed cake from Dairy Queen and a princess tiara that said “Pretty” across it. It was always their joke with me. I was a complete and total tomboy—I loved picking fights and getting muddy—yet still demanded they treat me like a princess.

With a sigh I leaned back on the picnic blanket and looked up at the stars. My crown fell to the side of my head, causing my hair to fall all over my face. The party had been over for a few hours, leaving me, Colt, and Jason. I should have been happy: after all, who does that for their little sister? What brother would even care? Furthermore, the fact that it had all been Colt’s idea, someone who wasn’t even family, was huge. But . . . maybe that’s the part that left me feeling empty. I might as well be family to Colton. I was the little sister he’d never had—and secretly, I’d always wanted to be so much more.

“Aw, you messed up your hair,” Colton teased, lifting the crown with the tip of his finger and giving me a sexy wink.

“Whatever shall I do?” I huffed.

“I’ll save you.” His voice was just above a whisper. “I’ve always wanted to save a princess.”

“You did.” My grin was huge. “You saved me a least a hundred times when we were little—slew the dragon at the top of the stairs and did it all without getting a scratch.”

“Messy job.” He let out a long, exaggerated sigh. “I don’t know how I made it to my twenty-first birthday without getting singed.”

“Donald didn’t breathe fire. He was a fireless dragon, remember?”

“Oh, right.” His eyes twinkled. “How is the old dragon anyway?”

I shrugged and chewed on my lower lip. “Haven’t been in the attic since you guys left for school. I’ve been busy.”

“Too busy to play?”

I rolled my eyes. “Too busy graduating to play, yeah.”

“Where’s the fun in that?”

“Fun.” I snorted. “The last time I had fun was when we snuck into your parents’ pool and—” I clamped my mouth shut before the words could tumble out on their own. Crap. Crap. Crap.

“Skinny-dipped.” He finished my thought. “Yeah, that was a blast.”

“Hey, guys!” Jason called as he ran out of the house. “Dad needs me to grab Mom from work so I’ll be right back! Don’t do anything fun without me! I mean it!”

The loud roar from his truck drowned out our conversation for a brief second and then slowly dissipated as the vehicle barreled down the driveway.

“You thinking what I’m thinking?” Colton asked.

If his thoughts were along the line of finally getting him alone, away from my brother? “Absolutely.” I grinned as he grabbed my hand and helped me off the blanket.

“Come on. Let’s go have fun.”

Curious, I followed Colt as we ran through a few backyards and finally ended up at his house.

“What are we doing?” I asked in a hushed voice.

“Having fun.” I swear his grin made my heart almost stop. “Now strip, Milo, we don’t have all night and Jason’s going to be pissed he isn’t with us.”

Laughing, I took off my shirt and shorts—I’d spent years swimming with the guys in my sports bra and underwear, though as we got older it became weird, but only on my end. It felt strange to strip down to nothing, knowing that my feelings for Colton were very real whereas his were nonexistent. I mean, it was Colton. Sure, I had a crush on him, but he never, ever thought of me that way. Ever.

“Last one in’s a rotten—”

I didn’t hear him finish—but I did beat him into the water. His mom and stepdad’s pool was always my favorite place to swim. It had a little waterfall in the deep end that you could swim under that always made me think of fairy tales and the movies. Then again, that could be because every time I broke through the water it was Colton’s face I saw, and his smile that drew me. He was my own personal Prince Charming.

Laughing, Colton splashed around, then hauled himself out of the pool and did a cannonball right by my face. I was glad that it was dark—I must have been beet-red. Man, the guy was ripped.

“Wanna race?” he asked, out of breath.

“Wanna lose?” I countered.


“Um, it’s an everyday occurrence.” I swam over to the edge. “Ready, set—”

“—go!” He ran instead of swam and then dove under water.

Bastard! Arms burning, I tried to make it to the other end of the pool. I usually didn’t open my eyes under water, but this time I did to see where I was going.

His body was a blur in front of me. All I saw was hard-lined muscle.

I stopped right in front of him and jumped to the surface. “You cheated.”

“I like to call it winning.” He beamed triumphantly.

“Cheating.” My teeth ground together as I pushed against his chest. Laughing, he fell backward, pulling me with him. Our bodies ground together, heat against heat, skin against skin.

And suddenly sneaking away from Jason wasn’t funny anymore.

Neither of us was laughing.

His hands moved from my waist slowly up my body until they rested on my face. With a curse he pulled my head toward his. “We should . . .”

“Yeah,” I whispered.

Neither of us pulled away.

His lips brushed mine, just enough to make me strain toward him—I needed him like I needed air.

“Kids!” His stepdad’s voice rang through the night air. “You out here making noise?”

Colton pushed me away and I nearly hit my head on the waterfall rocks.

“Yeah, just . . . hanging out!” Colton called. “I’m with Jason’s sister.”

I froze. He’d never called me that before. He even said it in such a final way, as if that was all I would ever be. Period. My heart didn’t just sink . . . it shuddered, then combusted, as all the hopes I’d harbored since I was thirteen came to a crushing world-altering halt. My suspicions were finally confirmed. Out loud. On the day the boy I liked had thought enough to throw me a party.

The line had been drawn. And I might as well be on the other side of the universe.

That was the day I lost Colton Mathews—forever.


Four years later

I gripped the steering wheel with both hands. Actually, I would have gripped it with my teeth, toes, and ankles had my brain actually fired fast enough to send the message: Red alert! Red alert!

Instead, mouth dry, I just sat there like an idiot.

I couldn’t think of anything to say to make it better—anything. I couldn’t even give the guy a smile, which really was a shame considering it was my best asset.

“Milo!” Colton tapped the door of my light-blue Mercedes. “You look good.”

I blinked. Well, I thought I blinked, I wasn’t really sure. The car was still running, you’d think I would at least have enough sense to take my foot off the pedal and put it into park, but all I could do was stare. Fantastic. Twenty-one years old and still dealing with sweaty palms because Colton Mathews had said my name.

One thing I was sure of—my mouth was still hanging slightly ajar. Drool would soon follow and then Colton would have just one more reason to make fun of me—Jason’s little sister.

“You all right?” He leaned his muscled forearms against the open window and stuck his head in. Merciful God in heaven, he still smelled the same. His spicy cologne blending with his perfect tan skin would have made any girl pause, or swallow her tongue, or sweat; really, take your pick. “You do realize at some point you need to turn off the car and go inside the house, right, little girl?”

And there it was, I wasn’t any girl. To Colt, I was Jason’s little sister. Nothing more.

It didn’t matter that my boobs cheerfully filled out a C cup or that I’d had my braces off for over seven years. I still wasn’t a woman to him.

God must have taken pity on me, because for some reason, in that instant, when the smell of Acqua Di Gio floated into my car, I snapped out of my insane moment and smiled.

“Fine. Great. Awesome. Perfect. You?” Too many answers, Milo. Too many answers.

Colton chuckled. It was a deep chuckle. The type that makes girls sigh while simultaneously trying to figure out how to get out of their clothes and trap the man into marriage. Seriously. His smile was one that made girls want the condom to break.

Great, now I was thinking about condoms.

Condoms and Colton.

A barking dog interrupted my sexual daydreams. It was Max’s ringtone. “Um, one second.” I put up my finger and shooed Colton away from the window as I pressed “Answer” and let the window close. He smiled, seemingly amused, and leaned against the car.

“How goes the first day of childhood hell, my friend?”

“That depends,” I whispered into the phone, not taking my eyes off Colton as he stood facing the window. He was tall enough that I was basically staring at his lower abs and lower . . . body. Heat flooded my face, informing me without a doubt that crimson decorated my cheeks.

“Why are we whispering?” asked Max, my best friend from college.

“Because we are in the car.”

“You are in the car. I’m at Starbucks.”

“Whatever,” I conceded with a snort, waving my hand in the air flippantly. “And it’s not going well. In fact, I’m pretty sure Colton thinks I have a learning disability.”

“Why would he think that?”

I sighed into the phone and tried to concentrate on anything but the fact that Colton was standing a few inches away from me. So freaking close. “I kind of, sort of . . . blacked out when he was talking to me.”

“So where are you now?”

“We’ve established this. I’m in the car.”

Max sighed. “Then where’s Colton?”

“Outside the car.”

“I’m confused.”

“I’m an idiot.” I groaned and smacked my hand against my forehead. “When the phone rang I closed the window to answer it but now he’s not moving.”

“Well . . .” Max cleared his throat. “I guess there are worse things in life than a hot guy standing outside your window, right?”

“Right.” My voice wavered. “But he’s like facing the door. All of him.”

“All of him?”

“His parts,” I clarified. Swear I felt my entire body go up in flames. Great, so now I was going to hell for looking at his parts. His very nice parts. His yummy, tight, straining—I needed to stop before I gave myself a stroke. “He’s facing the window and leaning against the car and I swear, Max, the whole front of his body is pressed up against . . . my car.”


“What?” I yelled.

“Well, you said his parts.”

“Not his parts-parts,” I clarified. Shoot me now. Could this conversation get any more awkward? “Never mind, I mean—oh, crap.”

“What? What’s happening?”

I could see Max now, coffee thrust in the air, pacing the Starbucks floor like a crazy person.

“He’s stretching across the car and—” I stopped mid-sentence. “Shit, my brother’s on the other side.”

“Let me get this straight.” Max chuckled. “You have your lifelong crush, who just so happens to be your brother’s best friend, on one side, his parts pressed firmly against your hot little Mercedes, and your brother, who has no idea of this sad infatuation, on the other side, making it possible for you to ogle his best friend’s goodies?”

“Yup.” My breathing picked up as I heard Colton laugh and then his front pressed against my door. “Good Lord, I’m sweating. He’s—”

“Please don’t finish that sentence. It makes me want to puke, and as much as you make fun of me for not having a girlfriend, it’s not because I prefer men, so please . . . spare me the details.”



“What?” My eyes were glued to Colton’s hot body as his stomach stretched across an eight-pack straight out of a glossy magazine cover.

“Seduce him.”

“With what?” I whisper-yelled. “I have nothing to offer him!”

“It’s not like I want you to plant a chocolate trail from the ground to your lips, Milo.”

“I know that!” I snapped. “Besides, he’s allergic to chocolate.”

“Please tell me you don’t have his medical history memorized.”

“I don’t,” I lied, suddenly finding great interest in the black leather steering wheel while my shame increased. “Besides, it doesn’t matter. His Facebook profile says he likes blondes. I have dark hair.”

“I’m going to ignore the fact that you stalk him on Facebook and just help you fix the problem. So dye your hair.”

“Yeah, let me just get the hair dye from the backseat, Max!”

“Sheesh, touchy. You, my friend, need to get laid.”

“Tell me about it,” I muttered. “I’m the one stuck in the damn car with nothing but my Kindle[SBK4] and a prayer.”

“Your life makes me sad.”

“Shut up.”

“Seduce him.”

“Again, with what?”

“Your body.”

“I have no body.” I slumped against the seat in a pout. “Besides, I don’t know the first thing about seduction. And he hates me.”

“He doesn’t hate you.”

“I tried kissing him when I was sixteen and he laughed in my face.”

“To be fair, your skirt was tucked into your underwear.”

“Not the point!” I yelled for real this time. Why the heck had I drunk that entire bottle of wine and confessed all my embarrassing moments to Max? The terrible two outside my car began banging loudly on the windows. Great, I’d probably captured their attention when I raised my voice. And fantastic, the car began to move. I’d officially awakened the beasts.

“I’m in hell.”

“Well . . . ” Max laughed. “Don’t let the flames give you a sunburn. I gotta run, just saw my Starbucks barista . . . I will gain a date if it kills me! Oh, and good luck. You’ll need it.”

“Right.” I clicked end and shut off the car.

Nothing was going as planned—that was for sure.

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at



Prologue Reveal – EMBER by Rachel Van Dyken


Ember Smashwords Cover (1)

I am a Killer. A Rapist. A Monster.

I know only pain and survival.

That is until the Cappo’s sister walked into my life.

And changed everything.

She’s a light who makes my darkness darker, her smile makes my heart turn to ice, and I can’t escape the fear her seductive looks instill–knowing it’s only a matter of time before I fail–again, and take her for myself.

This is the story of my redemption.

But it’s not pretty…I died, and now I’m alive, but not living, breathing but not surviving. I am Phoenix De Lange, son to a murdered mob boss, estranged brother, horrible friend, monster in the making, newest leader to one of the most powerful families in the Cosa Nostra.

And I will have my vengeance.

Or die trying.

I am Phoenix De Lange.

Death is all I know.

Until she offers me a piece of life–I can’t resist taking.

B&N      iBOOKS      KOBO

Eagle Elite Book 5
Copyright © 2015 RACHEL VAN DYKEN

Ember: A small piece of burning coal.

Origin: Old English, Germanic.
Example: All it takes is a one tiny piece of ember to start a flame, one small
flame to burst forth into a fire. One spark, and a man’s world may implode from
the inside out.


“Do it,” my father spat. “Or I will.”

I looked at the girl at my feet and back at my father. “No.”

He lifted his hand above my head; I knew what was coming, knew it would hurt like hell but had no way to fight back — he’d already starved me of my food for the past three days for arguing, for trying to save the girl and her cousin.

His fist hit my temple so hard that I fell to the ground with a cry. The click of his boots against the cement gave me the only warning I’d have as he reared back and kicked me in the ribs; over and over again he kicked. The girl screamed, but I stayed silent. Screaming didn’t help; nothing did.

I waited until he was done — I prayed that he would kill me this time. I prayed so hard that I was convinced God was finally going to hear me and take me away from my hell. Anything was better than living. Anything.

“You worthless—” Another kick to the head. “—piece of shit!” A kick to my gut. “You will never be boss, not if you cry every time you must do the hard thing!” Finally, blessed darkness enveloped my line of vision.

I woke up from the nightmare screaming, not even realizing that I was safe, in my own bed. With a curse I checked the clock.

Three a.m.

Well, at least I’d only had one nightmare — that I’d remembered. I’d been living with Sergio for the past week; his house was so big that I’d basically taken the east wing, and he’d taken the West, said he’d hated living alone anyway. I wasn’t stupid; I knew the guy wasn’t exactly a big fan, but it worked. I needed to stay in the States while I figured shit out.

And I wasn’t ready to leave. Not when I needed to learn all I could from Nixon. Not when I had responsibility.

And not when I had those black folders freaking burning a hole in my mind.

Luca hadn’t just left me an empire; he’d left me secrets. I wasn’t sure what was worse, knowing everything there was to know about those I was supposed to be protecting or knowing that at any minute one of them could turn on us.

“Hey!” Bee barged into my room.

“Damn it!” I pulled the blankets over my naked body, my heart picking up speed at her tousled hair and bedroom eyes. Tex’s sister, Tex’s sister. My body wasn’t accepting that — physically it wasn’t accepting any information other than she was beautiful.

And it was dark.

I looked away, scowling.

“I heard screaming.” Bee took a step forward, her perfume floating off her body like an aphrodisiac or drug, making me calm, making me want something I had no business wanting.

“Yeah, well…” I gave her a cold glance. “…clearly I’m fine, so you should go. Actually, why are you here? You know you live with Tex, right?”

She shrugged and sat on my bed. I clenched my fists around the blankets to keep from reaching out to her. It was getting harder and harder to ignore her warmth — when I lived in a constant state of near-death cold.

“He’s with Mo, and they need privacy. I’m not stupid. So I asked Sergio if I could move in for a while.”

“You did what?” I asked in a deadly tone, one I was sure would probably give her nightmares later.

She grinned. “I’m your new roomie!” Bee bounced on the bed and sent me a shy look from beneath her dark lashes. “Admit it, you miss our slumber parties.”

Forget the nightmare — I was looking at it.


AMAZON  B&N  iTunes


Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at


Prologue Reveal – UNDENIABLE LOVE by Kelly Elliott

Tristan Williams thought the path of his life was on the right journey. He had a successful career, good looks, and a carefree lifestyle. One conversation changed Tristan’s way of thinking forever as his father presented him with a bottle, representing his journey and forcing unwanted thoughts of a lasting relationship to the surface. Running from the fear of commitment, he pushed away the only woman he ever had feelings for and turned to the one girl he knew he didn’t love.
Ryn Webster was finally putting her past behind her. Moving to Texas and concentrating on the success of her own company, she had her life almost where she wanted it. One thing was missing though…love. She thought she had found love with Tristan until he casted her aside.
After being hurt by Tristan, Ryn does whatever she can to push him from her heart, even if it means being with a man she doesn’t love.
Regardless of the path one thinks they are on, the journey of life can cause unexpected turns, altering the planned course. Will Tristan and Ryn’s bottle be tossed about, lost in the rocky waves of life? Or will calm seas prevail to help Tristan and Ryn finally find their journey of love…together?


I had been sitting on the beach for the last hour just staring out at the black ocean. I tipped the beer bottle back and drank the last of my beer.
“Well hell. Looks like I have to go back,” I said as I got up and brushed the sand off my pants. I turned and looked back at the house. My brother Lark and his new wife, Azurdee had left two hours ago for their honeymoon and I couldn’t take watching Ryn another second.
I sucked in a deep breath of salty air and slowly let it out. My phone went off and I pulled it out of my pocket. I let out a deep breath when I saw it was Liberty.
Liberty: Just letting you know I’m thinking about you. If you want me to join you I’ll come down. Just text me back and I’ll be there.

Me: I think I just need some time to think, Liberty. We need this time apart.

Liberty: I didn’t mean to push you. I’m always pushing you, I know. I just really wanted to see your parents and would have loved to have seen the wedding but I understand you have your reasons for going alone. Things haven’t been so great with us lately. I’ll work on that. Promise.

Me: We’ll talk when I get back to Austin.

Liberty: Okay. I love you, Tristan.


I let out a sigh and shook my head. I’ve never told Liberty I loved her. I wasn’t sure anymore how I felt about her. We had been on again and off again so many times I was beginning to lose count. Currently, we were off. All she had been doing is pushing an engagement ever since she found out Lark and Azurdee were getting married. When I thought of my future I didn’t see Liberty. I only saw …Ryn. And that scared the piss out of me.
I turned my phone to silent and shoved it in my pocket. I started heading back to the house and began putting on my game face. The one I’d been wearing for the last ten months. The one where everyone thought I was happy, but deep down inside I was the unhappiest I’d ever been in my life.
I walked up the stairs to the deck and the first person I saw was Ryn. She was leaning against the railing with her head back and her eyes closed. There was no one else out here.
She looked tired. I smiled when I thought about what I had overheard earlier when Mom and Azurdee’s best friend, Jessie, were talking. Ryn had taken a two-week vacation and was renting a house on the beach just two houses down from here. I already began planning ways to ‘run in to her’ while we were both here.
She hadn’t talked to me in over ten months. No matter how many times I called and left her messages begging her to call me, she never would.
Her cell phone rang and she quickly answered it. I walked around to the other side of the deck and sat down to where she couldn’t see me.
“Hey, Dodge. Are you on your way? Yes. I thought I could, but I can’t. I need you.”
Dodge? Who the fuck is Dodge?
She laughed at something he said and then she let out a sigh. “Well, considering I still need my RFB, I’d say yes … it’s been a sucky last three days.”
I peeked around the corner and saw her smiling. She reached her hand up and began playing with her nipple.
What the fuck?
“That sounds like heaven. Yes. I’m going to need it a lot. I don’t know, you’d think after all this time you’d have been able to fuck him out of my head and heart.  Maybe you’re not as good as you think you are?”
My mouth dropped open and I quickly turned back and stared out in the night sky.
She laughed again and said, “I’m still at the wedding. Yes. It was hard to see him.  I don’t know. Maybe, I’ve thought about that. Yes. I realize I only use you for sex to forget about Tristan, but maybe I’m falling for you and just want your company. You ever think of that?”
My heart started beating faster and I wanted to pound this asshole’s head in.
She let out a sigh and said, “Okay. I’ll see you then. Oh trust me. I’ll be waiting and I will most certainly be ready for you. Yes naked. Hey, Dodge? Hurry please. I need to be fucked in a bad way. Bye.”
She let out a sigh and then I swore I heard her crying. I slowly stood. She was looking out toward the ocean. Her shoulders were moving up and down and when I saw her wipe away her tears, my knees about buckled out from underneath me.
I started making my way toward her. I didn’t want to walk up on her crying, so I cleared my throat and asked, “May I join you?”
She quickly wiped her tears away and looked the other way. “It’s your house,” she whispered. “How have you been, Ryn?” She turned and looked at me. If looks could kill, I’d be on the floor right now. “You’ve ignored me for three days and now you ask how I’ve been?”
I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I wasn’t sure you wanted to talk to me.” She let out a small laugh.
“Usually people attempt to talk to a person before they make that assumption.”
“Well, considering I’ve been calling you for months, and you ignore my calls—” She took a step back and shook her head.
A look of hurt moved across Ryn’s face as she slowly said, “You’re seeing … another … girl.”
“It’s not like that. We are kind of off and on. I mean … I’m not seeing her right now.” She rolled her eyes before looking into mine.
“Do you have any idea how much you hurt me?”
My heart felt like it was physically hurting as I swallowed and said, “I just thought … I wasn’t planning on—” I looked away and then back into her eyes.  “I thought you just wanted to have fun, Ryn. Then you started acting different and I started having these feelings and … I was confused.”
Anger replaced the hurt in her eyes. “The only thing that confused you is why you brought the wrong girl to meet mom and dad.”
She turned and began walking into the house. I wanted to call out for her but I couldn’t. My heart felt like it was squeezing in my chest as I stood there and listened to her retreating footsteps.
I turned and stared out at the dark ocean again. That’s what my heart felt like.A dark deep sea of … darkness.



Kelly Elliott is married to a wonderful Texas cowboy who has a knack for making her laugh almost daily and supports her crazy ideas and dreams for some unknown reason…he claims it’s because he loves her!
She’s also a mom to an amazing daughter who is constantly asking for something to eat while her fingers move like mad on her cell phone
sending out what is sure to be another very important text message.  In her spare time she loves to sit in her small corner overlooking the Texas hill country and write.
One of her favorite things to do is go for hikes around her property with Gus….her chocolate lab and the other man in her life, and Rose, her golden retriever. When Kelly is not outside helping the hubby haul brush, move rocks or whatever fun chore he has in store for her that day, you’ll find her inside reading, writing or watching HGTV.

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