UNDER THE STARS, the stunning conclusion of the thrilling, white-hot second-chance Bright Lights Duet from USA Today bestselling author Tia Louise is available NOW!
All around us was darkness and night…
I’m not a hero. I’m a survivor.
I had one way out, and I took it.
Now all I want is peace,
A place to pick up the pieces and start over.
But she wants justice.
Names on a list, faces in the crowd.
I vowed to help her, but it’s taking us back to the demons.
Until he appeared.
I thought he died in the fight.
I was wrong.
Stronger, more powerful… Sexier.
The boy I loved is now the one man we have to fear most.
When he tried to save me, he had no power.
Now everything has changed, and he’ll never stop until I’m his.
~ Lara ~
We stop walking and turn to face the emerald waters. The briny air pushes her hair back and around her shoulders. Tendrils spin around my face, and the inescapable sorrow filters through my chest.
“I can’t do this anymore.”
“Yes, you can.” Her voice is flat, and she bends to put Pierre on the dry sand. “I’m going up. How much longer will you be out here? Celeste is making Quiche Lorraine for breakfast.”
Another sigh. “I’ll be up in a bit. I’m finishing my exercise.”
“Don’t stay out too long or I’ll eat all the food! Come, Pierre!”
I watch her run up the tall staircase, her little dog at her heels, thinking of the reasons she has to run. I remember her as a small girl on the street, in the dark alley behind the theater. She was thin and starving and hunched in the corner waiting to die.
She was so malnourished, I thought she was younger than her actual age, which was twelve. I remember carrying her inside and fighting with Rosa. I remember Rosa boxing my ears and telling me the first time that kid cried, she’d throw us both in the alley with the rats. I remember the terror I felt that night and Molly falling asleep so quietly with her head on my chest.
She needed me. She loved me, and I loved her fiercely in return.
I remember her running around the theater, a sweet and innocent kid never suspecting the hawk was circling above, watching her, closing in to steal her soul and warp her future. I’ll never forgive myself for what happened to her. I’ll never forgive myself for not being there to protect her.
A flash of pain moves through my stomach, and I remember someone saying the same words to me not so long ago…
Walking to the edge of the water, I look out at the surf, at the waves rushing in and out. I think about how nothing bad can happen here. The sins of the past are far, far away from this beautiful place.
Only it’s a lie.
The sins of the past are never far away.
We carry them with us in our hearts wherever we go.
No matter how far we run, we can never outrun ourselves.
Tears are in my eyes, and I blink them away. My emotions are so close to the surface these days. I squat and wrap my arms around my knees, holding my insides together and wishing…
My wishes never come true.
“Lara!” A strong male voice cuts through the breeze.
For a moment I don’t believe it. It’s a wish caught on the wind and carried away out to sea.
“Lara!” It’s louder this time, closer.
Nervous anticipation floods my chest. I stand and look up and over my shoulder. The staircase where Molly descended is empty. The one ahead of it is empty as well.
Was it a dream?
Another shout, and I realize it’s coming from behind me. Turning, I see a tall figure jogging down the steps. He’s alone, and he’s moving fast. I look around, and no one is here. I have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
My heart alternates between beating out of my chest and dying. I’m back on that train, seeing him for the first time out of the blue, completely caught off-guard, alternately panicking and rejoicing… He’s alive!
He’s wearing faded jeans and a plain white t-shirt. His caramel hair is a little longer, but not much. It moves in the breeze as he approaches me.
He’s strong and pure and gorgeous as ever, and the way we touched, our glorious reunion is stronger and hotter in my memory than the sun climbing higher in the sky.
I want to cry. I want to sing. I want to hold him…
But now everything has changed.
~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~
Tia Louise is the USA Today best-selling, award-winning author of When We Touch, the “One to Hold” and “Dirty Players” series, and co-author of the #4 Amazon bestseller The Last Guy.
She loves all the books (as long as they have romance), all the chocolate (as long as it’s dark), strong coffee and sparkling wine.
After being a teacher, a book editor, a journalist, and finally a magazine editor, she started writing love stories and never stopped.
Louise lives in the Midwest with her trophy husband, two teenage geniuses, and one grumpy cat.
~CONNECT WITH TIA~
Amazon Author Page: http://smarturl.it/TLMAA
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The writing in this one was just as fantastic as in the previous book. The pace was perfect and at no time did I feel that the plot dragged (an issue I had with book one). The plot was engaging and kept me turning the pages. That said, I DID find the beginning a little confusing. The reason being I never got around to reading the novella book that takes place between book one and book two of this duet. It is this readers opinion that you really DO need to read that novella or you will find yourself a bit clueless about the events that take place from when we left this couple at the end of book one to when they pick up again at the beginning of book two. I will go as far as to say that the author probably should have included that novella as a bonus at the start of book two. That’s just MY two cents though.~HERO~
I ADORED Mark in book one and I continued to adore him in this book. I think the man might be close to godly in his patience and his ability to forgive Lara because some of the shit she pulled (always running, always putting Molly first) would have had me kicking her a$$ to the curb.
Lara…she was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I had small issues with her in book one and again in this one, she annoyed me. One, she came across as a bit of a doormat when it came to Molly. I got she felt responsible for her. Made a promise…yadda…yadda…yadda. But she kept placing Molly above her own daughter AND Mark (at least in the beginning) when her loyalties SHOULD have been to them. Two, she did something that as I felt was just SO unbelievably selfish and my heart broke for Mark. He will NEVER get those months he missed back. Now that said, she DID finally get her head out of her a$$ but not until Mark YET AGAIN chased her down.
I loved the cast of secondary characters in this one (well apart from Molly). I loved seeing Roland again, and he needs a book of his own. I also would love to see a book featuring Evie, Armand, and Phillip. Their story is waiting to be told (a girl can hope). You know who I could not stand? MOLLY…OMG was she a selfish and self-centered BRAT for the entirety of this book. I wanted to bitch slap her face so many times. That said, I still very much want to read the next book(s?) featuring her and hopefully Joshua because I quite liked him.
Medium. There were some good spicey sex scenes in this one and the frequency fit the tone of the story.
Low. The beginning was the angstiest part of the entire book. Once the couple moves past a few issues it is pretty much smooth sailing in the relationship department. It’s mostly the revenge angle that moves the plot forward. There was also no OW or OM drama. Because I haven’t read the novella that takes place between book one and book two (five years and seven months pass between the full-length books) I can’t say if either of the main characters slept with others during those years apart. I will say that there weren’t any other people for them once they meet up again (in the novella).
~IN THE END~
I LOVED this duet. It was a magical love story of two people who found (and kept finding) the other half of their soul. Through ups and downs and heartache and pain these two always found a way back into each other’s arms. The writing was fantastic. Both the plot and characters well developed. The ending will leave you with a huge smile on your face. And there is more to come with Molly’s book. This duet gets two HUGE thumbs up from yours truly.