Ten Tiny Breaths and One Tiny Lie are two of My Favourite Books ever, but Four Seconds to Lose was my top pick in the series. Significantly edgier than its prequels, this book changed the tone of the series by stepping out of its ‘vanilla’ comfort zone and delving into darker sides of human nature. To celebrate the paperback release on 1 April, I have the great pleasure of sharing with you an excerpt from Four Seconds to Lose and a signed giveaway… ♥
Owning a strip club isn’t the fantasy most guys expect it to be. With long hours, a staff with enough issues to keep a psych ward in business, and the police regularly on his case, twenty-nine year old Cain is starting to second guess his unspoken mission to save the women he employs. And then blond, brown-eyed Charlie Rourke walks through his door, and things get really complicated. Cain abides by a strict “no sleeping with the staff” rule. But being around Charlie challenges Cain’s self-control… and it’s been a long time since any woman has done that.
Twenty-two-year old Charlie Rourke needs a lot of money, really fast, in order to vanish before it’s too late. Taking her clothes off for men makes her stomach curl but Charlie tells herself that at least she’s putting her acting and dancing skills to good use. And though her fellow dancers seem eager to nab their sexy, sophisticated, and genuinely caring boss, she’s not interested. After all, Charlie Rourke doesn’t really exist—and the girl pretending to be her doesn’t need to complicate her life with romance.
Unfortunately, Charlie soon discovers that developing feelings for Cain is inevitable, that those feelings may not be unrequited—but losing him when he finds out what she’s involved with will be more painful than any other sentence awaiting her.
“What do you mean you can’t deliver until after the weekend?” Despite every effort to keep my cool, my tone is biting.
“Sir, I’m sorry. As I’ve already explained, we’re experiencing labor shortages. We’re working as fast as we can to cover orders. We’re sorry for the inconvenience,” the customer service rep recites evenly, sounding like she has said it a hundred times today. Because I’m sure she has.
Pinching the bridge of my nose to dull the sudden headache forming, I fight the urge to slam the receiver against the desk. This conversation is a complete waste of time. It’s the same one I’ve had every day for two weeks. “Tell your management that ‘inconvenient’ isn’t the right word.” I hang up before she has a chance to spew the prewritten response for that.
With a groan, I lean back in my leather chair and fold my arms behind my head. I survey the walls of my office—lined floor-to-ceiling with shelves, doubling as supply room overflow. Five weeks of abnormally busy nights at Penny’s coupled with sporadic beer deliveries means I’m out of our top brands for the coming weekend. That means I’ll have to spend yet another Saturday night explaining to customers why being out of Heineken doesn’t entitle them to a free lap dance.
I hate this business, some days.
Lately, I hate this business all days.
Cracking open a fresh bottle of high-end Rémy Martin, I pour the deep golden liquid into my tumbler. It’s my vice—a glass before the club opens to take the edge off and one to close the place down. Unfortunately, the edge doesn’t come off so easily anymore and I find myself topping up the glass a lot. It’s a good thing our hours are limited or I’d have a drinking problem. At two hundred bucks a bottle, I’d also have a money problem.
My office door cracks open just as the comforting burn slides down my throat.
“Cain?” Nate’s deep voice rumbles a second before his six-foot-six, 280-pound frame eases through the doorway. I’m still in awe of how that twiggy little kid turned into the giant now standing before me, almost overnight, too. It shouldn’t surprise me, though, given that I was the one footing the steep grocery bill through his teenage growth spurts. “Just got a text from Cherry. She’s sick.”
“She texted you?”
He nods slowly, his dark eyes never leaving mine.
“That’s the third time she’s called in sick in two weeks.”
“Yup,” he agrees, and I know his thoughts are on the same wavelength as mine. No one knows me better than Nate. In fact, no one really knows me but Nate.
Cherry has worked for me for three and a half years. She has the immune system of a shark. The last time she started missing shifts because she was “sick,” we found her battered and strung out on blow, thanks to her douchebag boyfriend.
“Do you think he’s back?”
I shove my fingers through my hair, gritting my teeth with rising frustration. “He’d be the world’s biggest moron if he is, after what happened the last time.” Nate put him in the hospital with a broken femur and two dislocated shoulders as a warning. I have to think that was an effective deterrent.
“Unless Cherry invited him over.”
I roll my eyes. She’s a good girl with low self-esteem and terrible taste in men. Though I’d be surprised, I wouldn’t put it past her. I’ve seen it happen before. Many times.
“I think I’ll just swing by her place to make sure this isn’t something more than a bug or chick issues.” Nate grabs his keys from the rack.
With a sigh, I grumble, “Thanks Nate.” We’ve helped her stay clean and idiot-boyfriend free for a year. The last thing I want to see is a repeat. “And, here.” I pull a twenty-dollar bill out of my wallet and toss it across my desk. “Her kid loves Big Macs.”
Nate scowls at my money, leaving it where it lays. I should know better. “And if he’s there?”
“If he’s back in the picture…” I run my tongue over my teeth. “Don’t do anything yet. Call me. Immediately.”
With a lazy salute, Nate exits my office, leaving me with my elbows on my desk and my folded hands against my clenched mouth, wondering what I’m going to do if Cherry has taken a turn for the worse. I can’t fire her. Not when she needs our help. But… f*ck. If we have to go through this with her again…
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Ten Tiny Breaths – Reading Order and Purchase Links
Ten Tiny Breaths: My review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | iBooks | Paperback
One Tiny Lie: My review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | iBooks | Paperback
Four Seconds to Lose: My review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | iBooks | Paperback
Five Ways to Fall: Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | iBooks | Paperback (24 Jun 2014)
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Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.
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To win a signed paperback copy of Four Seconds to Lose, please enter below. By entering, you are accepting the following Giveaway Conditions. This contest is open internationally.
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