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About the author:
Sharlyn G. Branson is a Bestselling author of contemporary and new adult romance—BEAUTIFUL DEVIL DUET, BETWEEN CLOUDS AND STARS and THE LIMITS OF DESTINY SERIES (ranked #1 on Amazon USA, UK, Australia and Canada). She is known for her sexy romance style that's full of mystery and emotions.
Sharlyn is happily married and mother of a lovely boy. She is addicted to coffee and love to travel around the world with her family.
Sharlyn G. Branson is currently working on her next novel…
Here is a short sample from the book:
“DON’T YOU DARE contradict me, you dumb bitch. When will you learn to show me re-
Just as my father finished saying those words, his
hand landed on my mother’s cheek. The slap knocked her to the kitchen floor.
I couldn’t stand watching him beat her. Why did he do it? Wouldn’t it be easier if they got divorced? After all, they didn’t love each other.
I hated my father, Josef, more than anyone else on this Earth.
God, to think that his blood flowed through my veins! How could we be so different?
I was sick to death of the constant beatings he gave my mother and me. It was his fault I was aggressive and got into fights in school, but I’d sworn never to lay a hand on a girl. Never!
My heart beat so hard I thought it might burst. “Don’t hit Mom,” I said in a voice I barely recognized as my own.
Josef turned to me, his eyes piercing, though blood-
shot from drinking. With his overgrown beard, shaggy hair, and bulky body, he looked like a werewolf who’d stepped out of some horror movie. I was afraid of him, but I couldn’t let him abuse the only person who truly cared for me.
“Are you trying to boss me around, you little shit?” Just three long strides and he was in front of me. His fist struck my chest, and I flew back, hitting the wall behind me.
I coughed as agonizing pain shot through my ribs and reached my lungs.
I still hadn’t recovered from the beating he’d given me three days ago. I looked up to see him unbuckling his belt. He was going to lash me with it to teach me to not meddle in his business ever again.
“Please, Josef, don’t beat him.” My mother’s sobs tore through my heart. “I beg you.”
Something had to be done to end this. How much more would we have to go through? How much longer did we have to endure?
My father turned to her and screamed, “Shut your fucking mouth, bitch.”
Just then, my eyes fell on a dirty frying pan on the table. I grabbed it and lunged toward the man I hated with all my heart and soul.
Josef tried to stop me, but lost his balance and fell to
the floor. I took advantage of the opening and hit him on the head with the frying pan, over and over again.
I was quite muscular for my tender ten years, and now it was as if my strength had somehow tripled. My blood coursed through my veins and pulsed in my ears. The whole world around me disappeared as I recited the mantra in my mind: Hit him. Hit him as hard as you can.
I had lost my mind.
I have no idea how many times I hit him, but when I stopped, I realized that what I’d done was irreversible. Josef’s face was mutilated beyond recognition.
How could I have done this? I was just a child. Maybe the devil had possessed me?
I looked at my mother. Her eyes were wide with shock. She’d put her hand over her mouth, suppressing her sobs.
“Mom…I think he’s dead.”
1 Miami, Florida, 17 years later
TWO WEEKS HAD passed since I returned to Miami from a world tour with my pop rock group, Blackstone, and I still couldn’t recover from the wild life: all-night parties, easy girls, alcohol, and cocaine. I was only 27 years old, but I was exhausted. My life had become a roller coaster. I would plunge down, narrowly escaping death, and then shoot up again, high into the sky. It was then and only then that I felt truly free.
This whole thing repeated day after day.
Why did I do this to myself?
I had no idea what it meant to be in love, because I
always avoided getting emotionally involved. I knew the reason for that was hidden in my past, which still followed me everywhere—like a black shadow. Some- times I simply couldn’t take a breath and felt like I was suffocating, and I also had nightmares. But no one can choose their parents or the childhood they’re given.
However, we’re all born into this world with a cer- tain mission. I knew mine was music. It was the only thing that gave me peace.
I’d always dreamed of being on top of the world, and
eventually I’d managed to reach it. Fate had smiled and nudged me out of the dark hole I’d been in. Blackstone now enjoyed worldwide fame, and the bars and night- clubs I’d opened as investments in Europe and the States were always jam-packed with partiers.
In short, I led a life others could only dream of. I had fame and enough money to buy anything I could want.
And yet… Something was still missing.
I often asked myself, What do I need?
It wasn’t women. As the lead singer of a rock group,
I didn’t need to make much effort to attract hot chicks— the music had already done that for me. I rarely had to spend the night alone. True, I never fucked any woman more than once. But I didn’t feel the need to do so. One night was more than enough. The chicks I spent the night with knew not to expect more from me anyway.
I was good at making them scream, grip the sheets tight, and dig their nails into my back. And then…then it was mission complete. They were left happy with their evening, and so was I.
I’D GOTTEN UP at 6:30 and had already been running along the coast for two hours. As usual, I tried to outrun the demons pursuing me, but they were inside, so there was no way of ever losing them.
The air was heavy and humid. I was out of breath,
and my legs were barely holding me up, but I needed to be outside. Jogging allowed me to let off the tension that had built up, to push aside the memory of my latest nightmare.
The sun escaped the clouds to spread its rays over the ocean, showering it with blinding sparks. Luckily, there weren’t many people out who could recognize me at this hour. The shore was deserted other than dog owners here and there on their morning walks with man’s best friend.
I appreciated my fans, but sometimes it was all too much for me. I missed my days of freedom—to simply sit at some bar, sipping my drink and enjoying life. Being famous certainly had many advantages, but there were downsides too.
I needed to find a place where nobody knew who Ryan Wilder was, where nobody would want a selfie or ask for an autograph. Where nobody would paw at me, screaming, “I love you. Marry me!”
How could you want to marry someone you didn’t know? I’d never be able to understand that, but it was definitely a common declaration from my female fans.
A couple on the shore drew my attention. I slowed my running and listened to their conversation.
“Travis, I trust you,” the woman said. “We can do it. You just need to hold me high.”
She had a mellifluous voice, and she was young—no more than twenty years old. Dressed in a tight vest, which highlighted her nice breasts, and denim shorts, which revealed her long, tight legs, she was impossible not to notice.
I won’t hide that, as a man, I always fix my eyes on a woman’s body first. You might say, “We get it. Fifty percent of your brain is occupied with music and the other half is filled with thoughts of sex.”
Even if that were true, would there be anything wrong with it? Of course not.
My eyes shamelessly scanned the chick’s body until they reached her face. Fuck… She was beautiful. And that smile? Simply stunning.
“Come on, Trav. We can do it. This isn’t the first time we’re trying a difficult acrobatic move.”
I’d started walking toward them without even realiz- ing it.
“Emily, it’s dangerous,” the guy responded. “What if you fall?”
Her boyfriend didn’t seem very sure of himself. He wasn’t particularly tall, but he had well-developed muscles.
The beauty shook her head, swaying her hair, which was dyed bright red and tied neatly in a ponytail.
“I won’t. You ready?” she asked.
He widened his legs slightly to assume a more stable position and nodded. “I’m ready.”
The chick ran over to him and put her foot in his
cupped hands. He lifted her up.
Damn… This girl was so graceful.
She spread her arms, freed one of her legs from the
man’s hands, and raised it behind her as she leaned her body forward. The man tried to keep hold of her, but I sensed he was at the end of his strength. I started running the moment her body tilted forward.
I caught her securely in my arms, stopping her plunge toward the sand, which could’ve ended tragically. I turned her toward me and, gazing at her, stopped breathing.
Her eyes were blue—just a shade darker than mine— and surrounded by long, curved lashes. She had high cheekbones, a small snub nose, smooth skin and lips. Fuck…Her lips were thick and looked so soft…
I got the urge to bite them.
She was gorgeous.
Pressed against me, her breasts moved up and down.
She was scared, and who in her place wouldn’t be? She’d been about to hit the ground headfirst.
I narrowed my eyes in disapproval as I chided her. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Are you trying to break your neck?”
She opened her mouth, getting ready to say some- thing, and then she closed it. She opened it again, but it seemed nothing would come out.
I smelled a whiff of strawberries, which made me
even angrier. This girl had a divine scent, but clearly she wasn’t all there in the head if she practiced such danger- ous acrobatics.
I was furious that she hadn’t been thinking about her safety. But in spite of my anger, my body responded. Something twisted in my stomach, and a powerful tingle engulfed my groin, making it throb.
I was hard. Incredibly hard.
I wanted her to be mine—and to punish her for put- ting herself in such danger. I wanted to take her back to my house, throw her on my desk, spank her butt until it was flaming pink, and then give her a good, hard fuck- ing.
I managed to tear my eyes from her tempting lips, which I just knew could suck me to ecstasy.
I turned to the man, who seemed at a loss for words. The thought that he was most likely her boyfriend made the blood boil in my veins. “It’s your duty to protect her, rather than help her break her spine.”
He said nothing and stared at me as if he’d seen God step down from the heavens above.
I hadn’t even noticed I was still holding the petite red-haired girl. Reluctantly, I put her down, and when I was sure she was steady on her feet, I took a step back.
“Don’t you think you’re a little over the top?” She put her hands on her hips and raised her chin. “Travis is strong enough. He would’ve caught me.”
It didn’t bode well for me that she was stunning even when she was pouting.
Pushing my sunglasses up, I regarded her. “If I were in your shoes, I wouldn’t repeat that dumb stunt ever again. Next time there might not be anyone to save your ass.”
She gasped, but I paid her no mind, turning my eyes back to her boyfriend. I gave him my most withering look—the one I’d inherited from my father. A look I hated, but which brought fear and respect from the people who saw it.
I turned back to her. “It wouldn’t have hurt to say thanks, would it?”
Without waiting for her reply, I continued jogging.