Publication date: March 1st 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance
I pretend to smile.
Two years ago my life was perfect, until it wasn’t. I scattered my wife’s ashes then walked away from the Marines. I didn’t think I had anything else to lose.
I was wrong.
The blond showed up at my surf shop, beaten and stabbed. I did what I was trained to do—I stitched her up. I didn’t have a clue who she was and I told myself I didn’t care. Until they came looking for her.
I swore I’d take my last breath before I let anyone else hurt her except I didn’t know she was keeping a deadly secret. Now I had two choices, her life or mine.
Marriage and combat taught me the same thing—I was no one’s hero. And I was about to prove it.
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Other books by Sybil Bartel: No Apologies | Impossible Choice. Click to read about Sybil’s favorite thing to write.
About the Author
Sybil Bartel grew up in Northern California with her head in a book and her feet in the sand. She dreamt of becoming a painter but the heady scent of libraries with their shelves full of books drew her into the world of storytelling. She loves the New Adult genre, but any story about a love so desperately wrong and impossibly beautiful makes her swoon.
Sybil now resides in Southern Florida and while she doesn’t get to read as much as she likes, she still buries her toes in the sand. If she isn’t writing or fighting to contain the banana plantation in her backyard, you can find her spending time with her handsomely tattooed husband, her brilliantly practical son and a mischievous miniature boxer…
Here are ten things you probably really want to know about Sybil.
She grew up a faculty brat. She can swear like a sailor. She loves men in uniform. She hates being told what to do. She can do your taxes (but don’t ask). The Bird Market in Hong Kong freaks her out. Her favorite word is desperate…or dirty, or both—she can’t decide. She has a thing for muscle cars. But never reply on her for driving directions, ever. And she has a new book boyfriend every week—don’t tell her husband.
To find out more about Sybil Bartel, be sure to follow her on Twitter (she loves to hear about your favorite book boyfriend!), visit her website, like her on Facebook or join her Facebook group Book Boyfriend Heroes for exclusive excerpts and giveaways. Goodreads, Amazon author page.
I kept my secrets, always. But tonight, this woman, her scars, they were tormenting me. I wanted to open up and bleed. I wanted her shelter. I wanted her acceptance. I didn’t want to be a broken ex-Marine with a dead wife. I wanted to be something different and I wanted that different to be something worthy of her. But I was pumped on adrenaline and drowning in regret and all I could think about was the feel of her body under mine. “I want to go to bed.” My hand shook with restraint as I stroked the side of her face. “With you.”
Her head turned away from me and I panicked. Then I said something to her I’d never said to another woman.
“I just wanna hold you in my arms and sleep next to you.” I needed her innocence. More than anything.
“Okay,” she whispered.
Taking her hand, I led her to my bedroom. I wanted to see her scar. I wanted to see her ink. I wanted to sink so deep inside her I forgot my name. But I wouldn’t. Not tonight. Maybe not ever. “Get in bed,” I demanded, my voice strained.
I pulled my shirt off and removed my 9mm from my back waistband as she crawled across my sheets. Drinking in the sight of her like a starved man, I unbuckled my belt, unlaced my boots, and stripped down to my boxers. My chest tight, I got in next to her.
The second I pulled her into my arms, my lungs filled with air. “Fuck, you feel good.” If there was a heaven in my fucked-up life, she was it.
Her hand settled on my arm. “Are you okay?”
I didn’t want to talk or think anymore. I just wanted to lose myself in jasmine innocence. “Go to sleep, beautiful.”
She turned her head just enough to meet my mouth with a tender touch of her lips. “Goodnight, Talon.”
Jesus, I didn’t deserve this. This girl was better than being my landing zone. I grabbed her face and slipped my tongue in her mouth to taste her sweetness, just once. Forcing myself to pull back, I tightened my arms and curved my body protectively around her. “Night, Siren.”
She settled into me like she belonged and minutes later her breathing evened out.
It was the fix I’d been looking for. I fell asleep.