Release Date: November 11th, 2014.
“She sat beside me on the bus – and she changed my whole life.”
Successful, wealthy and absurdly handsome – Spanish ex-football player Mateo Casalles seemed like he had it all. A high-society wife, an adorable little girl, and flashy apartments in Madrid and Barcelona only sweetened the deal. But there was more to Mateo than met the eye – a life of uncertainty and regret that colored his black and white world.
That was until Vera Miles came into his life like a shooting star. Tattooed, wild and young, Vera seemed like Mateo’s polar opposite at first. But you can’t choose who you fall in love with and the two lost souls did everything they could to be together, all while suffering the grave consequences.
Now with Mateo divorced and living in Madrid with Vera, there is a whole new set of challenges and setbacks facing the couple and rocking the foundation of their star-crossed relationship.
Unfortunately for them, the brighter the star, the faster they burn.
"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."
I turn in my chair and give Vera a curious look. Yet another English saying that I don't know. "I'm afraid I don't understand."
She gives me a soft but tired smile and sits down on the arm rest. I immediately wrap my arm around her waist and pull her down into my lap, where she comes to a rest with a giggle, her hair obscuring the impish smile on her face. No matter where she is, I can never stop touching her and now more than ever I need her to relax, to feel safe, to know I'm going to get us out of this.
"Explain," I demand. "Or I will punish you with kisses."
She raises her brow. "Followed by punishment by penis?"
I shrug. "That can be arranged. Now, tell me my Estrella."
She sighs and buries her lips into my neck. I can't help the small moan that escapes from me, nor my hardness building beneath her plump, round ass. I close my eyes and fight the urge to pick her up and take her to the bedroom, the only other way I know how to make her feel safe and sated, the only way I know how to escape.
"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," she says against my throat, "is a saying. I don't know where it's from but it means, well, nothing is scarier than a pissed off bitch." She pauses, sucking in her breath and I know she fears she's said the wrong thing. "Sorry," she quickly adds and I feel her body tense up beneath my fingers. "I didn't mean that Isabel is a bitch."
She is still so skittish over her words, the way she blurts things out, but it's one of the reasons why I love her. I cup the back of her head with my hand and let the softness of her hair sink over me. "I know you didn't," I assure her. "And, well, she is being a bitch."
"Can you blame her though?" she asks, her voice rising a pitch and when she pulls away from me, her eyes are wet. It breaks my heart. I'm getting tired of my heart breaking and I know that this isn't going to change anytime soon. Every day there is another weight on us, another crack appears.
"No," I tell her honestly. "I cannot blame her."
A silence lapses over us, heavy like a wool cloak. It does this sometimes. What we've done, it coats us.
Finally she clears her throat. "She's going to hurt for a long time," she says. "She's going to be angry. This isn't going away. I thought everything was behind us now, that she'd move on. You've been divorced for a year, if she's still this mad a year out..."
"She is mad because I am going back to Atletico," I tell her. "She is mad because of the paparazzi, the way they are hounding us again. She is mad because she feels she is being made to look like a fool. If I had just stayed with my head down, she wouldn't be doing this."
"But you can't live your life in fear, Mateo," she tells me.
I smile at her and brush her sunset hair from her face. "And neither can you."
She settles back against my body, sinks, conforms, melds. She is second skin. She is a part of myself I can't bear to separate from. I pray I never have to. I pray we can survive whatever is coming our way.
And I can feel it coming, that tension, that storm rolling in the weeks and days.
I pick her up in my arms and for all her pillowy curves, she weighs nothing more than a feather. I take her down the hall to the bedroom, throw her on the bed. She glows in the afternoon sun that streams in through our window and it isn't long before we are both naked and I am climbing over her, pinning her arms above her head and drinking in her body like the most beautiful, decadent wine.
I will devour her until all of this is gone.
I will consume her until we are all that's left.
I push inside her and let my hunger take over.
He’s thirty-eight. I’m twenty-three.
He speaks Spanish. I speak English.
He lives in Spain. I live in Canada.
He dresses in thousand-dollar suits. I’m covered in tattoos.
He’s married and has a five-year old daughter.
I’m single and can’t commit to anyone or anything.
Until now. Because when they say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, boy ain’t that the f*#king truth.
To a restless dreamer like Vera Miles, it sounded like the experience of a lifetime. Instead of spending her summer interning for her astronomy major, she would fly to Spain where she’d spend a few weeks teaching conversational English to businessmen and women, all while enjoying free room and board at an isolated resort. But while Vera expected to get a tan, meet new people and stuff herself with wine and paella, she never expected to fall in love.
Mateo Casalles is unlike anyone Vera has ever known, let alone anyone she’s usually attracted to. While Vera is a pierced and tatted free spirit with a love for music and freedom, Mateo is a successful businessman from Madrid, all sharp suits and cocky Latino charm. Yet, as the weeks go on, the two grow increasingly close and their relationship changes from purely platonic to something…more.
Something that makes Vera feel alive for the first time.
Something that can never, ever be.
Or so she thinks
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term "Hybrid Author." Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she's a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA...whenever possible.
Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiancé and rescue pup.