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Falling In (The Surrender Trilogy #1)
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The debut of an emotionally charged and highly erotic contemporary romance trilogy, in which love and trust are the most dangerous games of all…
With a dark past that would have shattered most people, Evelyn “Scout” Keats is doing what no one in her bleak world thinks possible—getting off the streets and leaving her impoverished life behind. She’s a new maid at the luxurious Patras Hotel, and aims to keep her job no matter what. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to sacrifice her dignity, or let anyone into her heart. The risk of losing either is just too great.
When hotel tycoon Lucian Patras discovers Evelyn in a compromising position, he uses everything at his disposal to seduce her—a proposition that both surprises and frightens her.
Ignorant to her true circumstances, Lucian relentlessly pursues Scout as a prize to be won. But he is soon given an unforgettable lesson in love and sacrifice when he learns how far Scout has gone to gain her independence and discovers that there are some things money can never buy.
LOOK FOR THE NEXT BOOK IN THE SERIES, BREAKING OUT
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The early morning sky was the color of steel wool, sharp, ominous gray hanging low over the city without a hint of softness, but Scout Keats’ trajectory was somewhere brighter. She hustled down Randolph, past the urban district, and into the commercial quarters of Folsom. Only after crossing that invisible divide from the hidden shadows of the impoverished sections of the city to the streets teaming with endless opportunities of prosperity, did she take her full first breath of the day. A sense of possibility invigorated her every time. Scout’s lungs filled with hope and her weariness ebbed with each step as the world she coveted awoke and slowly began to flow around her.
Today was a day to be proud. After two weeks of learning her way, mimicking those who had it already figured out, she had done it and would finally see some of the results of all her hard work. Her heart raced each time she imagined clocking out at the end of her shift and being handed her first big fat paycheck.
This was it. This time it would be different. Being a maid at Patras, although nerve-racking, was going to change Scout’s life. Like scenting the snow before it fell, she could sense change approaching, and every cell of her being told her that Patras Hotel was the key to her escape.
She couldn’t say how she knew, but she knew. Parker had come to simply roll his eyes each time she fell into fanciful ramblings, warning him that her evenings at the shelter were numbered, that one night she simply wouldn’t return and when that night came, he should celebrate, in memory of her, Scout Keats, the dragon baby who outran her destiny and made it in the real world.
She was aware of what Parker thought. She knew how they all saw her. While much of the transient population seemed to accept their hand in life with bitter surrender, Scout never would. Their cynicism ran deeper than any still waters could wash, but she refused to let herself drown in their doubts.
Born in a back alley, ripped from her mother’s womb by claws sharp enough to make her scream to a point of delirium, she came into this world running. She was chasing the dragon before she could even crawl. Ironically, her mother had been running from it as far back as her memory held.
The dragon killed her daddy before she ever knew him. No pictures to tell her if her silver blue eyes were his or how he wore his hair. All Scout had was a collage of mumblings, broken bits of her mother’s jigsaw mind to tell her the kind of man her daddy was. Didn’t matter anyway. He was dead before she was born.
Death favored the poor. People of wealth had an astounding ability to not see them. As insignificant as litter, they were merely unfortunate crumbles of trash lining the curbs they hoped would soon blow away, and each night they did, retreating back to the warmest corners of Folsom to barter their scavenged finds of the day, sleep with one eye open and strategize how to outmaneuver their pretend friends the next morning, because in reality, you had no friends when you were homeless. You only had yourself and your only objective was to stay alive.
Parker had been a concession she made at the age of fourteen. She supposed she could call him a friend. He did kick Slim’s ass when he kept leering at her that one year, and she sort of liked him then. Not that she needed a hand defending herself. It was nice of Parker to do that, but that wasn’t what made him her friend. Scout decided he could be her friend when she found out he could read and he offered to teach her.
But friends were liabilities. Survival was easiest when emotion stayed out of it. She was getting off the streets and she didn’t need to be liable for anyone when she already had her mother to worry about.
Pearl had long ago surrendered to a doomed existence that worried Scout sick, but she brought her into this world and no matter how much Scout hated the life her mother chose, she’d seen it enough to know she really didn’t choose it at all. She merely flirted with a dragon that swallowed her whole at first chance and traded her soul for the poor excuse of the life it let her slip away with.
The woman who raised her was gone, replaced by a flesh-covered skeleton who whispered gibberish in her momma’s voice, but she loved her all the same. Heroin was Pearl’s weakness and she was Scout’s, and damn Parker for intruding on her meager list of those she cared for, but Scout wouldn’t let him hold her back no matter how many words he taught her to read or how many leering creeps he beat the piss out of. Parker was a lifer and she was not.