Contemporary

Showing 1137–1152 of 1152 results

  • The Deception by Marina Martindale

    0 out of 5

    A string of misfortunes has left photographer Carrie Daniels penniless and desperate. When her former mentor, Louise Dickenson, steps forward to offer her a job as an art model for a private commission, Carrie has no choice but to accept. Things seem to be looking up when she meets Scott Andrews, however her friends soon realize that Scott isn’t who he appears to be, and Carrie’s luck goes from bad to worse when Louise’s photos of her fall into the wrong hands. Can Alex Montoya, a long-lost friend from her past, save her from ruin?

  • The Reunion by Marina Martindale

    0 out of 5

    Gillian Matthews is becoming famous in the art world. All her hard work has finally paid off and her paintings are being sold in several prestigious art galleries. Gillian expected her opening night at a Denver gallery to go flawlessly, but her perfect evening was disrupted when a man from her past suddenly appeared. Her long lost true love. The one man she never forgot, never got over, and never expected to ever see again. Has he come to wish her well? Or is his motive less than pure?

  • Dream Lover by Té Russ

    0 out of 5

    Liz and John have been best friends for years. They’ve never thought about taking things past their platonic relationship. John was previous left at the altar, and Liz has relationship issues of her own stemming all the way back from childhood.

    But at some point things begin to change for John. Once he embraces the feelings he is developing for Liz, he makes it his mission to make her see whether she realizes it or not she feels the same way.

  • Taking Chances by Té Russ

    0 out of 5

    Copy editor Miranda Parker is surprised when the famous photographer Spencer Gray becomes the CEO of the company she works for after his uncle passes away. She’s always found his work amazing and inspiriting, especially since she desires to put her photographic skills to use. And he’s not bad to look at either.

    Grieving Spencer Gray is immediately attracted to Miranda, and she is a welcome distraction.

    After a few coincidental run-ins, he decides he would like to something more with her, but she has strict rule, no dating co-workers.

    But Spencer Gray is determined and with a little help from fate, he finally convinces her to spend some time with her.

    But can she keep her past in the past to prevent her from messing up a good thing with Spencer?

  • Public Attraction: The Complete Trilogy by Sophia Moore

    0 out of 5

    Emma Turrell is just a small town girl with a loser boyfriend.

    That all changes when she meets one of the world’s biggest movie stars.

    But their relationship isn’t easy. Paul Thatcher will challenge everything about the way she sees the world, love, and sex.

    Desire can’t wait for privacy. Neither should you.

    This book is intended for mature audiences only, due to intense sexual scenes and graphic descriptions. Themes are for adults only.

    ———–

    Public Attraction is perfect for those who seek:

    Books like Fifty Shades of Grey or 50 Shades of Grey

    Books like Bared To You

    Books like Beautiful Disaster

    Books like Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared To You (yes, both!)

    Books Like This Man

    It’s a story of public sex, private love, and the place where the two meet.

    If you love E.L. James, Sylvia Day, Sylvain Reynard, or any of today’s top contemporary romance authors, you’re ready to meet Sophia Moore.

    It’s clear: Public Attraction is what to read after 50 Shades of Grey, what to read after Bared to You, and what to read when you’re ready for a steamy night in.

  • Little Trouble in Tall Tree by Michael Fertik @LTiTT

    0 out of 5

    Beneath the peaceful exterior of the leafy town of Tall Tree, the brutal baby gangster underworld is simmering to a hard boil.  Squeezy the Cheeks, undisputed leader of the long ruling North Wood crew, is facing the toughest challenge of his career: his archnemesis Harry the Rash, who rules the Poopypants Gang with an iron rattle, is making a play for Squeezy’s territory.  Mama’s Boy, the freshest recruit into Squeezy’s mob of infant thugs, is unwittingly thrust into the middle of the massive heist Squeezy must pull off to keep himself and his crew in their seat of power. Everything is at stake for the North Wood Gang.  But can Mama’s Boy keep it together to make the score, or will the mysterious redhead he encounters at Story Time distract him at his most important hour? Join Mama’s Boy as he journeys into the dark underbelly of the baby hoodlum wars and is forced to change his worldview forever.

  • HUCKLEBERRY MILTON by Bradley J Milton @bradleyjmilton

    0 out of 5

    HUCKLEBERRY MILTON is a brand new rewrite of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, set in a time warp between Haight-Ashbury in the Summer of Love and today, right here on the social-media Internet. It’s like Austin Powers meets The Office with a mix of 80s technology and today’s Internet. The experimental literary cut-up techniques, the pop culture references and and the psychedelic touches make it a book that can be read forwards and back, to and from anywhere. Now who’s got the remote for that 400-channel Russian satellite dish?

  • Infinity (Valkyries: Soaring Raven) by Sedona Venez @TLClarke_TLC

    0 out of 5

    Infinity discovers a dark secret from her past that rocks everything she knows to be true.

    Infinity is a troubled 22-year-old superstar singer with the worst reputation for drugs and hard partying. Now, she is on the road to a comeback with her controversial tour. But everything about doing the concert feels wrong from missing employees, to anonymous threats to ruin her career. Things spiral further out of control as she wrestles control of her life and career from a relationship that crossed the fine line between love and obsession. She deals with a powerful corporation determined to kill her and everyone she loves.

    Infinity knows too much, with no way out.

    Now she must put her safety and trust in the hands of sexy, tattooed and delicious Torch Channing and Boulder Vigari, hired to keep her from getting killed. Boulder wants to make her his. He won’t stop until he claims her. Torch struggles with his primal need to possess her and his hatred of everything she represents.

    Infinity is determined to protect her heart while dealing with the pressure of pulling off another successful tour without spiraling into another mental meltdown.

    (Due to sexual content and language, this book is recommended for 18+ – Adult Contemporary Women’s – Paranormal Romance – New Adult Fiction)

  • Sunspots by Karen S. Bell @KarenSueBell

    0 out of 5

    Sunspots follows the healing journey of a young woman thrown into the horror of losing a spouse. It is a story of loss and redemption and the ghosts that haunt our lives and our houses. A love story, a romance, and a mystery of sorts, Sunspots, is above all an exploration into the psyche and emotional arc of the MC and it follows no formula.

    Snapshot:

    “One can never be, and should never be, smug about life,” says Aurora Goldberg. An aspiring New York actress who has never realized her dreams, Aurora keeps herself afloat by doing odd temp jobs where her rich fantasy life helps her get through the day. Aurora sees the world through the lens of characters in literature and film and these fictionalizations are woven into her interpretation of reality. On one of her temp assignments she meets Jake Stein, a man who could “charm the skin off a snake” and she decides to follow her destiny as his wife in Austin, Texas. But Jake’s sudden death after two short years disintegrates her world and Aurora must reevaluate her life and let go of a love that has become an obsession.

    Sunspots takes the reader on a journey of high emotion as Aurora uncovers Jake’s secret life and her own internal conflicts as she matures to self-awareness. Narrated by Aurora, the novel’s tone vacillates from irreverent humor to solemnity as she relates her previous life with Jake and her present challenges. The title refers to the solar maximum which became the backdrop for Aurora’s conception when her hippy parents went to Canada to observe the Aurora Borealis. In name and in spirit, Aurora is connected to the observable and unobservable energy around us.

    With the help of friends, family, and the ghost of Viola Parker (her home’s original owner), Aurora accepts her fate and the secrets revealed about Jake’s true character. She realizes that in this life she will finally break the cycle of pain caused by her love for this man, Jake Stein, through the centuries.

    Embedded in the novel is the question of the afterlife and paranormal events abound. The incidents are left vague enough so the reader is not certain if they are external events witnessed by Aurora or exist only in her own mind. My approach to the extraordinary has always been with keen interest and skepticism. Just as we cannot see unaided that at the quantum level solid objects consist of vast spaces and swirling particles, so too, we define our human existence with only our limited five senses, three dimensional orientation, and our perceived space/time continuum. So then, what can one say with any certainty is reality?

  • Hannelore Takes Note by Margit Amundsen

    0 out of 5

    Hannelore Riker is a grad student with a dry sense of humor, a pathetic dating life, and little patience for grade-grubbing undergrads. She does her best to keep from falling for a guy who always seems ready with a witty remark, and she learns to deal with eccentric professors who play by their own set of rules.

    Some reviews for Hannelore Takes Note:

    “[L]ike talking to a girlfriend…lovely in [parts], funny everywhere else.”

    “[I]t was compelling, the characters were imaginative.”

    “I really enjoyed this book and was laughing out loud at some of the antics…”

    “The author did a really great job of writing with a snarky wit…The characters were well developed…”

  • Aloft by Ben Rovik @BenRovik

    0 out of 5

    Junior technician Ensie Thalanquin is the odd girl out in the Aerial squad. Building flying machines should be an exciting life, but years of being alternately teased and ignored by her fellow Petronauts have turned it into a grind.

    Cooper Carper is a hard-working machinist whose boss has made him his personal whipping boy.

    Love was the last thing they were looking for when they went to work. But sometimes love pops up in the most unlikely places…

    Can they keep a relationship afloat despite the differences in their backgrounds, the meddling of their superiors, and the pressure of a dangerous flight test a few short weeks away?

    I’m an author, actor and dad living outside Washington, DC with my wife, baby girl, and a brawling pair of cats.

    My current projects are the humorous fantasy series “Mechanized Wizardry” and a related series of medium/short length pieces called “Petronaut Tales.” The Petronaut Tales are set in the same fantasy world, but give me license to play with new characters and genres, including romance.

    With “Aloft,” I was inspired to write a romance about characters who weren’t especially beautiful, and who spent most of the lives feeling overlooked and out of place. Meeting each other is what lifts them up to do great things, even through adversity and danger.

    Why not write about a passion-fest between two supermodels? Because most of the world’s passion-fests are between ordinary folks. I wanted to explore the reactions of two characters who didn’t ever imagine themselves capable of feeling a love that strong, let alone inspiring it in someone else. And I wanted to show how love can make people stronger, which was easier to do with characters starting from a lower-status place.

    Sample from Book:

    Ensie smoothed out the dog-eared corner of the blueprints for the dozenth time. She shifted her weight on the bench, feeling the warmth of the sun on the back of her neck. She was too poor to own a watch, but she resisted the temptation to duck out into the hallway again and check the sepia-faced clock mounted on the wall. It had been 10:20 on the spot when she’d checked it moments ago. That meant that, by now, twenty-five minutes at most had passed since she’d left Mister Upforth and the rest of his team. And Upforth had said Cooper—or was it Carper?—would meet her in fifteen minutes. But the drafting room might be hard to find, for a civilian who’d never seen the Aerial compound before. And there had been an awful lot of wood left in that cart for just one person to move quickly. Even someone so tall, with those big arms and broad shoulders…

    “You need to get a hold of yourself,” she said aloud, pressing her palm against the desk. She closed her eyes.

    You’re an Aerial technician. Your ‘naut wants a consultation from a civilian firm. You’ve been trusted with getting information vital to the success of your project. This is Business with a capital B. Not some kind of private—

    —and don’t you dare even finish that thought, because seriously: this is Business.

    She scratched the space between her too-thick eyebrows as she looked at the door.

    And even if it wasn’t Business, the morose thought crept through her defenses, it’s not as if anything’s going to happen. Any friendly vibes you’re getting are because he’s good at his job. Do you really think that there’s anything about you that would inspire unprofessional thoughts in a civilian guy like him? When he’s meeting all the other wisecracking Aerial girls and the Parade squad knockouts on the same day? Count yourself lucky you’re getting to talk to him at all. You’re just—

    The door inched open. Ensie leapt to her feet behind the desk. There he was.

    “There you are,” she said, rubbing her hands against her hips.

    “So sorry,” he mumbled, turning sideways to come through the narrow door. He sounded a little out of breath. “I… I thought I heard you say ‘third building on the right,’ but I must have misheard. That’s actually the, uh, fuel center, I learned, where you guys are doing some crazy things with petrolatum…”

    “Oh, gosh, you went to the refinery?”

    “Yeah, through a back door. Got a little turned around with the fumes. But then someone—I forgot his name—pointed me here…”

    “Spheres, I led you to the refinery without a mask! I am so sorry. I don’t know why I… I meant to say ‘first building on your—’”

    “You did. I’m sure you did. I just heard it wrong—”

    “No, no, I’m sure I said… I don’t know what I said!”

    “Listen, with these ears, all bets are off. It’s a miracle I’m here at all.”

    “It is.”

    They stood facing each other with their hands flat against their hips. The sunlight illuminated the lower halves of their bodies.

    “I’m Ensie,” she said, for no reason.

    Why, oh why, oh why do I speak?

    He smiled at her. His teeth were a little small and his gums were a little long, so when he smiled he looked like a kid, with a child’s whole-hearted good humor. “That makes, what, the third time we’ve done introductions?”

    “I’m sure, probably,” she laughed. She touched her fingertips to the desk and found herself leaning towards him. “My third time, at least. And somehow I’m still not sure what your name is! Carper? Cooper? Caper?”

    “Cooper Carper, actually.”

    She felt herself smiling like a porpoise. She ordered her lips to stand down. Business. “Nice to meet you, Mister Carper,” she said, very professionally.

    “You too, technician.”

    She tilted her head at him. ‘Technician?’ Who are you, Sir Tomas? “You can call me Ensie.”

    “Well, then,” he said, pressing the door closed behind him with a click, “you can call me Cooper.”

    Business!

    “I’m on a project now for a concept craft called the Flicker,” she said, brushing the blueprints with her hands as she stared fixedly at the parchment. Cooper came over to the side of the desk to look. His hands floated in space for a moment as he considered resting a big palm on top of the desk to lean over the plans, as she was doing, which would have brought their heads very close together. But instead his hands interlocked behind his back in a sort of parade rest and he just bent his head to look down. Ensie tried not to watch him as she folded the dog-eared corner back into place for the thirteenth time.

    She laid out the specifications for the grasshopper-like craft, discussing fuel projections, the airflow models they’d run, and the properties of the alloys they’d debated for the hollow, curved wings. Cooper’s head bobbed up and down, and he offered a succession of mmm’s and I see’s at appropriate times. As she heard herself talk, she fidgeted with the bottom edge of the desk and only allowed herself quick glances up at his face. It was hard to tell if he was following the run-down at all, which gave her a heavy feeling in her stomach.

    Burn me. Maybe Mister Upforth had a good reason for wanting that woman Skye to be the one to talk to me…

    “So,” he said at last, shifting his weight. She looked up at him. “What exactly do you need us for?”

    “Just wanted to, uh, forge a partnership with Upforth’s for a consultation on our ranine apparatus. That’s all.”

    Cooper nodded. His forehead was wrinkled with vigorous thought. Ensie folded her hands together and tried not to let her disappointment show. He had the look of someone at an absolute loss for the right thing to say. Please, please, don’t be stupid.

    “Honestly?” Cooper said.

    “Mmm-hmm?” she said, tucking one of her bangs back into her hairnet.

    For a long moment, he just looked at the plans. Then he shook his head and gave a heavy sigh. His hands reappeared from behind his back and he leaned down so quickly their foreheads almost brushed.

    “Mister Upforth’s going to kill me,” he said, “but I don’t think you need us at all. The ranine designs you already deploy don’t have any trouble getting a Bulwark Petronaut off the ground, do they? And a Bulwark ‘naut in full armor’s gotta be eighty percent of the weight of this Flicker; maybe even the same, if their suits are steel and this alloy of yours is as light as all that. And I can’t imagine your test pilots are bulked-up the way Bulwark grunts are. I mean, who flies your things?”

    “Knighted ‘nauts and expert techs, mostly,” Ensie said, her eyes widening. There was a whole new energy to him.

    “So, right! When I think of a burly man or woman in armor jumping through the air no problem, and then I envision someone on the svelte side—like you—piloting a Flicker that, all things being equal, is the same weight but with, you know, better airflow?”

    “Hang on,” she said.

    “Sure. Sorry. I know I don’t have the right terminology—”

    “Did you say, uh.”

    She pressed her lips together. Business! But there was no hope.

    “Did you say I’m ‘on the svelte side?’”

    Cooper’s looked down at her. His face went gray with horror.

    “I hope that word means what I think it means,” he whispered.

    She looked to the far wall. Cute? Petite? Is that what you meant? She longed to ask him that like a Parade squad nymph would say it, drifting towards him with an archly raised eyebrow and a lazy, kissable half-smile. But just playacting through the line in her head set a swarm of nervous giggles buzzing around in her throat, perilously close to her voice box, and it was all she could do to keep a lid on them.

    “You’re.” Was that my voice? The word was a mortifying squeak.

    Ensie swallowed and tried again. “You’re right that the aerodynamic profile of the Flicker sure beats an armored ‘naut,” she said, folding the corner of the blueprints back for the fourteenth time. “And weights are comparable. But the jumping action we’re thinking of is on a different scale.”

    “Ah, okay. Higher elevations.”

    “Yes, but more importantly, jumping’s the primary locomotion for the Flicker. A ‘naut can leap around from time to time, sure, but most of what they do is run. A totally different use of the coils and their, uh, built-in suspensions. Their legs.”

    “Whereas the Flicker does nothing but jump,” Cooper said, rubbing the back of his neck.

    “Jump, and glide, and jump, and glide. You see? That’s why we need to make sure the coil box we build can handle tons of impacts, and launch with tons of force; but not so much force that the pilot loses control. See? It’s tricky.”

    “It’s tricky,” he agreed. Cooper raised his hands. “To be honest, though, I’d trust you Aerials more to make it work right than I’d trust us.”

    “But, uh.” Was he really going to walk out of her life because he was too honest to land his company a contract? Keep him. Keep him here! a hungry voice blared out somewhere inside her.

    “You must have done something this size before,” she said, hurriedly.

    “Oh, sure. We’ve worked big carriage suspensions. A motorized dais that raised and lowered, too, and had a bunch of dancers leaping around on it for, uh, a play or something.”

    “See? So Upforth’s could lend experience with scale, while we figure out the whole ‘aloft’ part.”

    “Ensie. I just want to be sure we wouldn’t waste your time.”

    Ensie took a deep breath through her nose. “It would take a lot of time,” she said slowly. She curled her hands into little fists, rubbing her thumbs against her fingers as she looked up at him. No giggling. No giggling!

    “We’d have to meet, uh… quite a few times, probably.”

    Cooper looked down at her. His hands unlocked from behind his back and floated to his sides. “Quite a few times?” he said, quietly.

    “Oh, yeah. A big project like this could take hours and hours of collaboration.”

    He nodded. One of his large fingers pointed to the desk. “Here?”

    As he tapped the surface of the desk, Ensie thought of purposes for the wide flat surface that had never even crossed her mind before. She’d never wanted to get started on a collaboration so badly.

    “Or your workshop,” she said. “You know. Whichever sounds more productive.”

    “Either sounds good to me.”

    “Great.”

    “Great. Can I say—”

    “I just want to—”

    They both spoke up simultaneously, and leaned a little closer at the same time. It brought them many centimeters closer than either had meant independently. Ensie froze there. He was so close that her hairnet was almost brushing the center of his chest. She turned her face up to him and saw something very interesting in his eyes.

    “You first,” she whispered.

    Cooper took a long moment before speaking. “Can I just tell you that I’m looking forward to working with you?”

    “Likewise…” Ensie shifted her hand so their fingertips on the desk were touching. “Cooper.”

    He shifted his hand on top of hers. Warm pressure, skin-to-skin, flooded up her arm and into her chest. The contours of his rough palm were fascinating as she explored them through the fine hairs and delicate nerves of the back of her hand. Her vision went a little blurry as she dedicated all her brainpower to experiencing his touch against her skin.

    A massive noise clattered through the hallway just outside. Ensie recoiled before she recognized the sound of the tool cart for what it was. Cooper started too, raising his hand up and away. He flushed the color of an overripe apple and he refused to meet her eyes as the tech outside pushed the noisy cart from one workroom to the next.

    “I.” Ensie brushed the nonexistent dust off the blueprints again, trying to get her voice under control again. Cooper slowly put his hands behind his back.

    “That, uh.” He cleared his throat. “I’m sorry. That was unprofessional of me, and I’m sorry.”

    She looked up at him.

    “I shouldn’t have… I mean, I didn’t mean anything by, by touching you.”

    “You didn’t?”

    “Well, I… it’s not… There’s a time and a place, that’s all. Unprofessional,” he rambled, shaking his head.

    Ensie felt the grain of the desk beneath her hand. “I made you think unprofessional thoughts,” she murmured.

    Their eyes met.

    “It’ll never happen again,” he said, something low coloring his voice.

    Ensie raised one eyebrow in an unspoken ‘really?’ she would have been very proud of if she had been able to see herself.

    Sunlight flooded the room as their lips pressed together.

  • Heart Robber (Lifestyle by Design Book 2) by Miranda P. Charles @MirandaPCharles

    0 out of 5

    Jessa Allen knew she was plain and average. Yes, she was brainy and successful in her career as a senior writer for the popular Lifestyle by Design magazine, but she wasn’t a raving beauty who easily attracted hunky, gorgeous men like Rob Granger even if her well-meaning friends wanted her to believe she was. So when Rob asked her out, she was shocked. A seriously handsome man who had magnetism she couldn’t seem to escape wanted her. That wasn’t something that happened everyday.

    Rob Granger was instantly attracted to Jessa Allen. She wasn’t the usual type he went for but there was something alluring about her that drew him like a moth to a flame. But he was a self-confessed playboy who had absolutely no plans to be tied down by any woman. He valued his freedom, first and foremost and his expanding business was the only thing he was committed to. But he was intent on satisfying his intense desire for Jessa.

    They both didn’t want to fight their physical attraction for each other. But Jessa found herself falling for the man who could not promise her tomorrow. And Rob was set on only having a short fling with Jessa especially when they lived in different states – he in Melbourne and she in Sydney.

    Could Jessa trust herself not to fall apart when the time came to let Rob go? And could Rob ever find freedom in what he considered as a prison to be avoided at all cost?

  • Will To Love (Lifestyle by Design Book 1) by Miranda P. Charles @MirandaPCharles

    0 out of 5

    Clarise Carson was desperate to keep her newly-engaged sister from playing matchmaker at her very own engagement party. She couldn’t think of anything more embarrassing than have her sister’s guests see her as the loser in love who couldn’t find “The One”. So she dragged a handsome friend to be her “pretend” boyfriend for the night.

    Will Matthews went to his friend Rick’s engagement party for one reason – to meet Rick’s future sister-in-law, the writer for Lifestyle by Design magazine, in the hope that he could have an article published for his boutique travel agency service. He knew Rick had plans to introduce him to some single girl at the party but he laughed it off. He had no desire whatsoever to be in a relationship with any woman who would want commitment. He was far too focused in building his business to the success he dreamed.

    When Will and Clarise met, sparks flew and there was an instant, undeniable attraction between them. With Will, Clarise found herself wanting to bury demons from the past. But Will knew what he wanted – and it wasn’t a relationship.

    How can Clarise stop her old wounds from opening up and bleeding again? And how can Will learn to embrace the one thing he didn’t even know he wanted?

  • Second Chance Grill by Christine Nolfi @christinenolfi

    0 out of 5

    Dr. Mary Chance needs a sabbatical from medicine to grieve the loss of her closest friend. But when she inherits a struggling restaurant in Liberty, Ohio she isn’t prepared for Blossom Perini. Mary can’t resist falling for the precocious preteen—or the girl’s father. The bond they forge will transform all their lives and set in motion an outpouring of love that spreads across America.

    Welcome back to Liberty, where the women surrounding the town’s only restaurant are as charming as they are eccentric.

    Second Chance Grill is the prequel to Treasure Me, 2012 Next Generation Indie Awards Finalist, which The Midwest Book Review calls “A riveting read for those who enjoy adventure fiction, highly recommended.”

  • Pass the Hot Stuff by Dana Page @DanaPage_author

    0 out of 5

    Blythe Townsend is a belle in desperate need of having her chimes rung. But the man she is dating would have to get his head out of his briefs – his legal briefs – long enough to notice. She lives in the French Quarter with her dog, Lady Marmalade, and is determined not to go sour on love even though she has dated every nutcase along the Mississippi Delta. When she spots a man she christens Tall, Dark and Eye Candy, she starts to feel what she’s been missing. A lover of classic movies, she is going to have to reach down deep to find her inner big-shouldered broad to find something a little sweeter and overcome the obstacles that are about to be hurled at her like doubloons from a Mardi Gras parade.

  • Fate Interrupted by Kaitlyn Cross @KaitlynCross6

    0 out of 5

    Dean Jacobs is one of Milwaukee’s hottest eligible bachelors and in no mood to settle down, until she comes along. Evy, however, is focused on opening a new dessert bar with her sister but Dean won’t take no for an answer. She finally gives in to the want in her gut and – much to her surprise – discovers he isn’t the player she thought he was. Just when things turn into a fairytale sent from above, Dean’s past comes back to haunt him. The only question is: will it make them stronger, or rip them apart?