Amazon (#FREE with #KindleUnlimited)
Synopsis: The conclusion to Caleb and Isabelle’s story…
Everything is going as planned, for the most part. With school, the club, and new responsibilities on the horizon, the life Caleb and Isabelle imagined together is so close they can taste it. But their happiness is also a fragile one–all it takes is one wrong turn, one stupid decision and their happily ever after shatters all over the highway.
Because as old threats resurface and new ones rise, the most deadly enemy of all lies not in outside forces, but inside the club itself. How do you follow orders when you know those orders might destroy everything you love? How do you move forward when all your best-laid plans slip right through your fingertips?
Choice breeds consequence. Hope rises from the ashes. Love weathers any storm. And in the end, every road leads home.
**Carry You Home is not a standalone and is the sequel to Carry Your Heart. It is intended for readers 18 and older**
“Can I make you dinner tonight?”
She laughed and I had to steel all my control just so I didn’t ruin this moment by kissing her again. “Can I help?”
My eyes widened and my mind immediately jumped back to every single one of Isabelle’s cooking disasters in the past. Chicken, spaghetti, lasagna, even homemade pizza—each one more horrific and traumatizing than the last.
“You know, Iz, I think my stomach’s finally recovered from your cooking. Maybe—ow!” I ducked when she swatted at me again.
“Oh, shut up,” she laughed again. “It wasn’t that bad.”
I just cocked an eyebrow her way. Enough said.
Her eyes lifted to the ceiling and she sighed. “Okay, fine. Maybe it was that bad, but I’m much better now. I can actually make an entire meal without getting anybody sick or burning down my kitchen.”
“Tempting,” I held my hands up. “But you’re my guest. I’m gonna cook for you whether you like it or not.”
“Oh boy,” she muttered under her breath and whether I liked it or not, she sank down right onto my bed.
To be fair, there really wasn’t anywhere else to sit, but I still wasn’t prepared for the sight of her sitting there, waiting for…something. I took that as my cue to get my ass to work and after a quick inventory of what little food I had in my barely-existent kitchen, I got down to business. Isabelle observed me with careful curiosity as I got the sauce going and mixed up some batter before tossing the chicken in.
She leaned over my shoulder to inhale the aroma of tomatoes and Italian spices and her eyes widened. “Wow, that smells amazing. Since when do you know how to make chicken parmigiana?”
“Since always,” I tossed back. “You just never got a chance to try it because you were too busy trying to kill us with salmonella.”
She smacked me on the shoulder and shook her head, muttering, “Asshole.”
“You know,” I wagged my marinara-stained spoon at her as I spoke. “How have you managed to survive all these years anyway?”
“Just fine, thank you very much,” she shot back. “I took some cooking classes and everything. But I guess some of us go grocery shopping a little more than others.”
I laughed as I dumped the sauce and a shitload of mozzarella cheese on top of the chicken and shoved the dish in the oven. Little did she know that Saul kept all the fridges stocked—the one in our break room downstairs and the one in my apartment. Whatever he bought, I cooked.
When I turned back to her, I leaned up against the edge of the counter with my arms folded across my chest.
“So you’ve got cooking classes, a kick-ass art studio, the fancy apartment, and a dog,” I surmised.
“Hey, I can take care of myself. You don’t even know the half of it. If anybody ever messed with me, I could totally take ‘em.”
“Oh really?” I cocked an eyebrow at her.
“Yep. You think Coop’s all I got? I have a bat under my bed, I carry a knife in my purse, and I took a self-defense class with one of the assistants at the gallery a few years ago. I got a certificate from the class and everything. It’s official—I’m a real badass.”
While part of me was impressed, and a little turned on by the idea of her wielding a bat, the idea of her in an apartment all by herself didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t even want to think about any times when she hadn’t been by herself, if she’d had anybody with her for the night…
“So, you know,” she went on lightly. “If you need any protection, you know which girl to call.”
That got my attention and I pushed off the counter to crowd her space a little, willingly playing along. “What makes you think I need your protection?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe the fact that you’ve got at least two guns here somewhere you’re not supposed to have.”
I cocked a playful eyebrow at her, liking the turn this conversation had taken. “Oh really?”
“Yeah, you haven’t seen my moves,” she laughed, grinning up at me like we were the only two people in the world and nothing else around us existed.
“Alright, alright,” I pivoted around her to put some space between us and motioned toward myself with both hands. “Bring it. Show me what you got, Martin.”
Her head tipped back as she laughed and waved her hands in front of her. “Your funeral. But this only works if you come at me.”
My lips twisted into a wolfish grin. Yeah, I definitely liked where this was headed. When I took a few confident steps into her personal space, her hands came down to rest lightly on my shoulders, putting just enough pressure on them to keep me from moving any closer.
“So if you were coming at me from the front,” she breathed, her voice thick and husky. “I would probably bring my knee up like this.”
When her knee lifted up to my groin, just enough to brush up against my jeans, her lips twisted into a knowing, almost powerful smirk. Her knee lingered there for a few agonizing moments, moving up and down with enough sweet pressure to elicit a low growl from me.
“What else would you do?” I murmured into her hair.
“I’d probably go for your knee next,” she whispered up at me. With that, the tortured pressure left from between my legs and she playfully tapped my right knee with her left foot, twisting her hip to press into my knee from a side angle.
“That’s not a bad move,” I chuckled hoarsely.
“I think it’s pretty effective,” she retorted, even though my hand was already making a leisurely trail from her ankle right up to the inside of her thigh. When my fingers skimmed around the curve of her hip, her eyes fluttered shut at the light contact. I wouldn’t let things go much further than this, but for now? I’d let us have some fun.
“Anything else you’d do?”
“Blunt objects are good too,” she murmured, her eyes still squeezed shut. “I could always hit you over the head with my phone or stab you with my keys or something.”
A low chuckle erupted from my throat and I placed a featherlight kiss on her neck, reveling in the taste and the feeling of her sweet skin underneath my mouth. Using my hands to guide her where to go, I turned her around so that her back rested against my chest.
“What if I came at you from behind, huh?” I hummed into her ear. “What would you do then?”
Her breath was coming in more haggard now and I suspected it had a lot to do with the fact that my hands had curved around her waist, teasing her into doing exactly what I wanted.
“I’d probably do something like this,” she pushed out roughly, lifting her left leg up to lightly tap the inside of my foot with her heel. That small amount of pressure against my foot was enough momentum for her to arch her hips right into my jeans, offering up sweet payback with just a little bit of friction.
“Uh huh,” I groaned into her hair, digging my fingers even deeper into her soft skin. “That’s pretty good, too. Anything else?”
“Maybe this,” Isabelle whispered as her right arm reached up over her head and touched her elbow to my cheek. A moment later, her arm continued its ascent and wrapped around my neck, skimming up to run along the buzzed edges of my hair.
“I like your hair like this,” she murmured in my ear.
It would be so easy to take this opportunity, one she was giving me so willingly, and let my fingers do exactly what they knew how to do, but we were both too vulnerable right now, too emotional and raw, for this to go much further. But after tonight? That was a different story.
“Hey, Caleb?” Isabelle’s voice called out to me, pulling me from the push and pull of my thoughts. “Do you smell something burning?”
I jerked out of her arms and sped right to the stove, waving away the billows of smoke wafting from it. Oh shit. Of fucking course. When I opened the stove, only to be met with more smoke and the horrible stench of salty, burnt cheese, it only confirmed it: I’d epically screwed up dinner.
My eyes narrowed on Isabelle, who’d all but collapsed on my bed in a fit of laughter. “You distracted me on purpose.”
That just made her double over with more laughter. “I swear I didn’t! You messed up all by yourself.”
I threw a hand towel down on the floor. “Oh, that’s it.”
When I advanced on her, she leapt off the bed and scampered playfully into my bathroom, yelping when I wrapped my arms around her waist and hauled her back into the main room. I tossed her lightly onto the bed and even as she laughed, she’d never looked more beautiful. Her hair fanned out on my comforter, all spread out and waiting for me to run my fingers through it, and all I wanted to do was fall onto the bed with her and let it happen.
But I pulled myself back, firm in my resolve to respect the little bit of room she’d given me to move here.
So I ran a hand over my head and blew out a deep breath as she sat up on her elbows, waiting for me to make the next move.
“What should we do now?” she asked, her breath still coming in and out in short rasps.
Pretty soon she’ll be back where she belongs, I promised myself. Just not tonight.
If she stayed on my bed like this any longer, I’d…and then my mouth quirked up.
“I got an idea, Iz.”
READ CARRY YOUR HEART, THE BEGINNING OF CALEB AND ISABELLE’S EPIC LOVE STORY…
Amazon (#FREE with #KindleUnlimited)
Synopsis: When Isabelle Martin steps onto Sawyer Auto Repair’s parking lot, she can’t believe it’s come to this. After dropping out of a school she never really wanted to go to in the first place and dumping a boyfriend she never really loved to begin with, she thought coming home to Claremont, North Carolina would solve all her problems. Instead, she’s still reeling from her mom’s death six months earlier and trying, but failing to help her dad, who’s sunken deep into a whiskey-fueled depression. Working in the local, motorcycle club-owned, auto shop’s office is a last resort, but it’s the only option she has…even if it means working with Caleb Sawyer, the bad-boy biker with swagger to spare who used to drive her up the wall in high school.
Caleb Sawyer is on the fast-track to a downward spiral. He used to think he had the world at his feet–all he has to do is be patient, earn his keep in the club and in the shop, and his legacy within the Iron Horsemen MC will be his for the taking when the time is right. But that just doesn’t mean anything without his old lady by his side, who wants to leave Claremont more than she wants to stay with him. When the bottom finally drops out, nothing prepares him for the impact and he deals with it the only way he knows how–with whiskey and women. Despite all that, being around Isabelle Martin, the girl whose feathers he ruffled so easily in high school, somehow brings him back to life. She doesn’t take any of his crap, but she calls him on it without judgment and without pity.
Despite some initial animosity, Caleb and Isabelle quickly realize that the perceptions they had of each other in high school couldn’t be further from the truth. The more time they spend together, the closer they become and the more they gravitate towards each other. Both are at a crossroads, but stuck in reverse. Isabelle needs help; she just doesn’t know how to ask for it. Caleb needs a life preserver; he just doesn’t know where to find one. And ultimately, on the path to rediscovery and identity, all roads lead them to exactly what they need–each other.
New adult/contemporary romance told in alternating points of view. Recommended for readers 18 and older.
ABOUT K. RYAN
K. Ryan is a former English teacher, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2009. When not writing, she’s either binge-watching something on Netflix, running, reading, or cheering on the Packers. She lives in the Green Bay area with her crazy-supportive boyfriend and the best decision of her adult life, a not-so-stray cat named Oliver.
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