Release Date: February 19, 2020
Cover Design: Lori Jackson Designs
Model: Zachary Altland
Photographer: Wander Aguiar
Once upon a time a young girl dreamed of a handsome prince who would rescue her from her grandmother’s prison and make all her dreams come true.
But then Linnea grew up, left her past and that godforsaken town behind. She rescued herself because real life is no fairy tale—or is it?
One day, just like an alpha hero from one of the tattered paperbacks she’d kept hidden beneath her bed, he appeared at her door. Kyan. Long dark hair, muscles and tattoos, eyes as blue as the summer sky…
With him, she felt things she never even imagined. He took her places she never dared to go. Behind the red door, where nothing was forbidden and her pleasure was everything.
Perhaps her life was a fairy tale after all. She was surrounded by a royal family of fierce Irish Vikings, a court jester, and even merry minstrels—the hot rock stars of Venery.
And she was his princess.
But every story has its villains. An evil queen. A mad king. A she-devil with eyes like a cat.
Linnea had forgotten that before the happily-ever-after, storybook tales are often sick and twisted.
She should have paid closer attention.
On this early summer night, Linnea’s courtyard seemed almost magical, illuminated only by dancing candlelight and the market lights strung overhead from the dogwood, with its white bracts giving off a Milky Way effect. Linnea hit the igniter button on the grill and sat on the chaise end of the outdoor sofa. She fluffed the colorful mismatched pillows and rearranged the throws while she waited for the grill to heat up. Chloe must have changed the music because some sultry New Age shit was wafting from the speakers.
Linnea laughed softly, thinking that her little courtyard looked idyllic enough for a romantic soiree when it was just a girls’ night in with her best friend. She thought of Kyan and sighed.
Chattering voices broke Linnea from her thoughts. She stood and peeked into the kitchen, but Chloe wasn’t there. Just as Linnea spun around, Chloe stepped into the courtyard from the open French doors in the living room. Linnea gasped. Trailing behind Chloe were Jesse, Dillon, and then Kyan, as Linnea stood dumbstruck. They filed past her with boxes and bags, each of them stopping to kiss her on the cheek, before continuing on through the opposite set of French doors into the kitchen.
Chloe didn’t look surprised. At all. She wore a smug smirk on her face and all of a sudden the candles and the New Age shit coming from the speakers made perfect sense.
Maybe someday was today after all.
Taking a deep breath to gather her wits, Linnea followed them into the kitchen. Smiling at the guys, she sidled over to Chloe who was bent over, rummaging in the refrigerator. She couldn’t help but notice Jesse checking out her friend’s ass as he unpacked bottles of champagne and beer from the box he carried in. If he was trying to be discreet, he wasn’t doing a very good job.
Linnea leaned into the fridge next to Chloe and spoke in a hushed voice. “I hope you’re ordering pizza because we don’t have enough food for three hungry men that you must have forgotten to tell me were joining us for girls’ night!”
Chloe giggled. “I ordered the groceries, didn’t I?” She proceeded to pile containers of steaks and lobster tails in Linnea’s arms.
As soon as Linnea backed away from the fridge Dillon claimed the space, placing desserts they brought from the restaurant onto the now-empty shelf. “I brought you your favorite.” Dillon winked at her and planted a lingering kiss at the corner of her mouth.
What in the actual fuck?
Kyan was pouring bags of ice into a galvanized metal tub. He looked her way with those striking eyes of his and smiled, a comfortable smile as if he had been in her kitchen a million times, instead of just once the night before. Had that really only been yesterday?
“C’mon, beautiful.” Kyan nudged her towards the courtyard carrying the tub of ice, his biceps bulging.
Linnea preceded him outside. Her arms laden with the food to be cooked, she went directly to the grill to start the steaks. She could feel his eyes on her. She didn’t have to turn around to know he was standing right behind her.
“Here, babe, let me.” Kyan took the tongs from her hand. “I’m the master…” Linnea parted her lips to speak, but before she could utter a word he leaned over and swiftly kissed her lips. “… of the grill.” She brought her fingers to her mouth and he gave her that comfortable smile again, then turned back to the grill to put the steaks on.
“I’ll go get the plates and stuff.”
As she turned away Kyan reached for her and captured her wrist, spinning her into him. Their bodies were flush against each other. Her softness melded onto his firm muscle. His fingers encircled her wrist, her hand flat on his chest. She could feel his heart beating and the warmth emanating from his skin into hers through the thin deep V-neck tee he wore. With every inhale, she breathed him in.
He smelled like sin. Delicious sin.
She stared at her hand on his chest, at his ink just visible beneath the almost-transparent fabric. He didn’t look like the Kyan at work. He looked like a bad-boy rock star you’d see on the cover of a romance novel. Sexy. Dangerous. Irresistible. And that’s what she was afraid of.
Kyan rubbed the skin of her inner wrist with his thumb. “Don’t be long. I need you. Right. Back. Here.”
Heat spread throughout her body. Linnea had to be flushing from head to toe. She didn’t trust herself to speak, so she nodded and he let her go.
Dillon and Jesse were putting the champagne and beer on ice in the metal tub that Kyan had filled as she went back into the house. Chloe was organizing items from the kitchen to be brought outside. She took one look at Linnea and poured her a glass of champagne from an open bottle on the counter.
“Relax and have some fun, Linn. Remember?”
In one go she drank it down.
Let life happen.
One of Five ARC’s for Serenity
About the Author
Dyan Layne is a nurse boss by day and the writer of edgy sensual tales by night–and on weekends. Serenity, the first book in the Red Door series, is her debut novel. She’s never without her Kindle, and can usually be found tapping away at her keyboard with a hot latte and a cold Dasani Lime–and sometimes champagne. She can’t sing a note, but often answers in song because isn’t there a song for just about everything? Born and raised a Chicago girl, she currently lives in Tampa, Florida, and is the mother of four handsome sons and a beautiful daughter, who are all grown up now, but can still make her crazy–and she loves it that way! Because normal is just so boring.
Connect with Dyan
Facebook Author Page: http://bit.ly/38KiUmk
Facebook Reader Group: http://bit.ly/2uIlkTW
Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/3aLPzJX
Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2Ry2APD