venerdì 22 luglio 2016

THIN LINES, book #2 in the Donati Bloodlines series by Bethany-Kris

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Thin Lines

THIN LINES Coverby Bethany-Kris Donati Bloodlines #2  
Publication Date: July 5, 2016  
Genres: Adult, Organized Crime, Erotic Romance
 

Purchase (#FREE with #KindleUnlimited): Amazon | Amazon CA


Synopsis: Calisto Donati Calisto had never been a fan of pain, but he found it provided a certain relief. It was a high that couldn’t compete with anything else he experienced. That was why he fought bare-knuckled, why he drove fast, despite knowing he might crash, and why he still enjoyed looking at Emma Donati—no matter her current status. Pain felt good. He might have been a fool for doing so, but as long as he got what he wanted from it, he didn’t really care. When he fought, he was given release. When he drove, he was given freedom. When he looked at Emma, he was given memories. All of them brought a certain level of pain. All three might kill him someday. Calisto glanced at Emma, taking her in again when she didn’t know he was looking. He realized then that only one might actually be worth dying for. Emma Donati Emma kept her gaze on the book in her lap, pretending like there wasn’t an argument going on across the room. She had become terribly good at acting like she didn’t hear. Calisto watched her out of the corner of his eye while he argued on with Affonso. She was too focused on Calisto to care about their fight. His anger. The tightness of his jaw. Searing soul-black eyes. The two men were not the same. They might have shared blood, but their hearts were entirely different. One man never let her out of his sight when he was nearby. The other acted like she didn’t exist. This was what it was like, she realized, to be in love with someone she couldn’t have. Calisto Donati would never be hers. This wasn’t a fairy tale that would end happily. They weren’t star-crossed. They were impossible.  

WARNING: The first two books in the Donati Bloodlines Trilogy end on a cliffhanger, the third is a HEA.


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EXCERPTS: Thin Lines (Donati Bloodlines, #2) by Bethany-Kris





Excerpt #1

“What’d I fucking tell you two, huh?” came a shout from outside the mesh.
Calisto ignored the fool and grabbed the bar of chalk that was passed to him from a fellow gym member. He rolled it in between his hands, letting the powdery block soak up what blood seeped from his cut knuckles and the sweat inside his palms.
“Protective gear needs to be worn at all times,” the owner said, waving wildly at Calisto.
“So?” Calisto asked. “He didn’t mind.”
“Nope, I didn’t.”
Calisto tossed his opponent a grin, and jerked a thumb in the younger man’s direction. “See?”
“Not the fucking point.”
“Come on, JD, we’re just sparring.”
“Gio’s got a bloody mouth,” JD barked. “And your knuckles need ice. You two don’t seem to understand the concept of following the fucking rules.”
Calisto leaned against the mesh of the cage, unaffected. “And what about them?”
“I—”
“You know, we could always take our business elsewhere,” Gio said, resting against the cage like Calisto was. He’d interrupted JD with a smooth drawl and a blank stare that spoke of boredom and little else. Gio sported a cut lip, but the bleeding wasn’t that bad. “I know how much you would hate to lose out on the bets the guys get going when we’re up here fighting, man.”
“Truth,” Calisto said, tipping his head toward Gio.
JD gritted his teeth, clearly struggling with a response. “Could you at least tape your hands next time?”
No.
Gio smirked. “We’ll think about it.”
Huffing, the owner walked away. Most of the other watchers had already fled from the cage. Sighing, Calisto pushed away from the wall and tossed the chalk bar over the edge where it landed in a pile of hand towels on the table.
“You need to stop covering your face so much when I come at you,” Gio said offhandedly. “It’s not like I’m going to knock out all of your teeth, if that’s what you’re worried about. Maybe just a couple.”
“You’re fucking hilarious. Really.” Calisto pressed his fingertips around his right kidney, wincing at the shot of pain blooming in his side. “Still would have kicked your ass, had JD not hit the buzzer.”
Cazzo. Bullshit, stolto.”
“Next week, same time. We’ll see who the fool is then, huh?”
Gio chuckled. “You’re still going to protect your face, man. I’m still going to give your body one hell of a beating while you do it.”
Calisto grinned. “Hey, if your face looked like mine does, you’d protect it, too.”
“Bastard.”
“Tell me something I don’t already know, Marcello.”
Two towels were tossed over the cage wall. Calisto caught them both and tossed one over to Gio before wiping himself down. He ignored the sting in his knuckles and the aches in his lower half, knowing he’d earned them and it was just another reminder that he was still breathing.
“Heard your uncle was having trouble with the Irish in Jersey,” Gio said.
Calisto shrugged. “Nothing serious.”
“Territory disputes?”
“Basically.”
Gio hummed under his breath. “Be careful with them. The O’Neils can be vicious.”
Calisto didn’t respond, because he didn’t have to. He’d been keeping an eye on the small Irish family trying to bleed their way into New York territory from their roots in New Jersey. The best thing to do was avoid any street wars, but sometimes that shit just couldn’t be helped.
“Next week, you said?” Gio asked.
Calisto nodded. “Yeah. I need something to do on Thursday nights.”
Gio laughed. “Doesn’t Affonso have some kind of family dinner thing then?”
. Which is exactly why I need something else to do on Thursday nights.”
“You could always sit down at the Marcello table. We wouldn’t turn you away from a meal, Donati.”
Calisto knew that was true. Giovanni Marcello came from the long-reigning Marcello crime family. Cosa Nostra was in that man’s blood just as much, if not more, than Calisto’s.
“You might not turn me away, but I can’t go wining and dining with the rival family,” Calisto said, only half kidding.
“Just fighting with them on Thursdays, huh?”
“What are you talking about? I am nowhere near a fellow family tonight. I am over on Bleecker Street doing business.”
Gio cocked a brow. “Seriously?”
“What Affonso doesn’t know won’t hurt him.”
Calisto swallowed the lump forming in his throat. He couldn’t possibly explain to Gio how true those words really were.
“How’s the new family member?” Gio asked.
Calisto stepped out of the cage, keeping his back turned to the man. It was difficult for Calisto to hide the varying degrees of emotions that ran through him every time he was forced to talk about his uncle’s bride like she was just any other woman he knew.
She wasn’t any other woman.
Not to Calisto.
Emma Sorrento—now Donati—could never be “just someone” to him.
Calisto had taken Emma from her life in Las Vegas, uprooted her without a single care, and deposited her to his uncle like a gift wrapped in a pretty bow. Somewhere in between all of that nonsense, Calisto had managed to find himself in Emma’s bed, and she had somehow weeded her way into his mind.
He couldn’t get her out.





Excerpt #2

Emma fidgeted, twisting her fingers together as she watched her husband go. Her restless actions screamed of her nervousness, even if her expression was a blank slate. It bothered him in a way he couldn’t explain that Emma didn’t want to be near him, no matter her reasons.
“Well, I should—”
“Wait,” Calisto said, stopping her before she could make an excuse to leave him.
?”
Her jade gaze met his, unashamed. She stared at him like it didn’t bother her a bit that he was here, like maybe it didn’t hurt her. She didn’t seem like she was embarrassed at his presence or knowing that he had spent hours learning what her body looked like when she was wearing nothing but her skin. He wondered how well she remembered what it felt like to be wrapped up in him.
For the first time in months, Calisto felt better. Like maybe he could breathe again. He wondered all over again why he had been avoiding this woman when his only reasons for doing so were purely selfish.
Doing what you did with her the first time was selfish, too, his mind taunted.
Calisto pushed his inner thoughts away. “How are you doing?”
Emma lifted a single manicured brow high. “Fine, Cal.”
“Just fine?”
“Affonso treats me well, if that’s what you’re asking.”
“It was.”
Emma smiled. “And it wasn’t at the same time, right?”
“Something like that.”
“Don’t worry about me,” she told him.
The words slipped from Calisto’s lips before he could stop them. “I don’t seem to have much of a choice on the matter. I tried not to, but it didn’t do me much good.”
Emma didn’t bat a lash. “That’s a problem you’ll have to deal with, isn’t it?”
Damn.
Her words had sliced right through his tough-as-steel exterior, and cut him deep. Calisto supposed, after everything that happened and all that he did, he didn’t deserve much else from Emma. She owed him nothing.
“I guess it is,” Calisto finally said.
“Have a good evening, Cal. Thanks for coming.”
Emma hadn’t even smiled when she said it. She just walked away, in the same direction that Affonso had gone earlier, without even looking over her shoulder.
Strangely, Calisto was grateful.
Emma’s resentment and rejection were easier to swallow than her kindness. He could take the girl’s anger and her distance. He’d earned those things when he forced her from her life, let her get too close, and then handed her off like she meant nothing to him. Her attention and kindness was a different matter altogether. They didn’t belong to him now that Emma was married.
They hadn’t belonged to him before.
She was just making it clear.





Excerpt #3

“I’m sorry,” Emma said quietly.
She watched the cars they flew past, wondering who was inside the vehicles, and what their lives might be like. Were they happy?
Calisto cleared his throat. “For what, dolcezza?”
“Earlier.”
“You’re going to have to give me a bit more to go on.”
Emma willed away the guilt compounding in her chest, promising to keep her quiet. “I was snappy at you. I shouldn’t have been. You didn’t deserve it.”
She caught sight of the small smile gracing Calisto’s darkly handsomely features. Quickly, Emma turned her head again, not wanting to stare at him for long. It never helped her, it only hurt.
“I think I can overlook it,” Calisto murmured.
“And why is that?”
“Hormones.”
Emma’s mouth popped open a second before she reached over and whacked Calisto hard in the arm. It was nothing more than second nature, and she didn’t think much of it. But when Calisto started to laugh, hard and loud, Emma did all she could to stay still in the seat as she watched him let loose. His shoulders shook and his soul-black eyes lightened in his genuine amusement.
It made her companion all the more appealing. It reminded her of one of their first drives together. It was bad all over. Because it made her feel damn good all over.
Emma hid her sudden frown by looking back out the window again. Apparently, Calisto hadn’t missed it.
“We’re not very good at this whole thing, are we?” he asked.
“I don’t understand what you mean.”
“Being near one another. Do you remember what you said at the wedding reception when we danced?”
Emma wished her throat didn’t suddenly feel so thick with emotions. “Yes.”
“Well, what was it?”
“That we could do this. Pretend like nothing happened. Be friends.”
Calisto chuckled, but the sound was hollow and sad. “We’re not very good at it. I hide away from you, making sure I’m not within yelling distance. When I do come around, you barely hold back from spitting at me. Like you hate me.”
Emma’s heart clenched painfully. She slowly rotated in the seat, wanting to see Calisto as he spoke. Months ago, she’d learned that he could be emotionless and detached on the outside, but his voice gave everything away.
And his eyes, too.
“I don’t hate you,” she whispered.






Excerpt #4

‘Of course I care.”
“A lot more than you should,” she pressed.
Calisto’s chest constricted with pain. He’d convinced himself long ago that it was only imaginary where Emma was concerned. He couldn’t possibly feel something for someone that didn’t belong to him and that he could never have. He just couldn’t.
“Thank you, Calisto.”
Those three, seemingly innocent words struck him straight in his blackened, worn heart. She’d spoken them so quietly, but surely. Confident, even, like she knew exactly what they would do to him.
It hurt.
God.
But he liked it.
Calisto liked that she acknowledged him and what he did. He had needed it, and while every part of him screamed how wrong it was, it made him feel like a fucking king.
Before Calisto could think better of his actions, he stepped forward and grabbed the door, shutting it without even looking out to see who might be watching. Emma’s enforcer must have been around somewhere, but was he close enough to see?
Calisto was close enough to Emma that the silk of her dress brushed against his arms. He could smell the hauntingly sweet perfume she wore, and he took another breath, wanting to have more of it soaking into his lungs. 
“Where is your driver?”
“Carter is at a table,” Emma told him softly. “He’s ordering for us. I told him I would invite you out to eat with us.”
Calisto watched her mouth move, and the way her two front teeth peeked out through her upper lip. It was still a goddamn tease. He still hadn’t gotten this woman on her knees below him like he’d wanted to.
Jesus.
Why was he walking on this tightrope again with her?
“We can’t do this,” Calisto murmured.
Emma’s bottom lip disappeared beneath her teeth. “We’re not doing anything, Cal.”
“We are.”
It didn’t have to be labeled to be something.
It still was.
“Thank you for reminding me that I wasn’t alone,” she said.
“You’re not, Emmy.”
“Not when I have someone who cares watching out for me, right?”
Calisto knew better, but he snagged Emma’s wrist in his palm and held tight. The heat of her smooth skin siphoned straight into his bloodstream, like a shot of adrenaline right to his heart.
It was bad, but it was right.
It was good, but it was wrong.
“Right?” she asked again.
Her green gaze, jaded with pain and seeking something, watched him with an understanding that he didn’t know how she had gotten. He’d been careful with her, not wanting to bring her too close but never keeping her too far away.
Clearly, Calisto hadn’t been careful enough.
“Right,” he finally said.
Emma took a tiny step closer, her heels clicking on the tile floor. Her warm breath washed over his jaw when she tilted her head upwards so that she could stare at him again.
“We’re not doing anything,” Emma said so quietly that he strained to hear. “Someone has to know we’re doing something for there to be anything, Cal.”
“I’m not sure if I want to walk that line, Emmy.”
“Liar.”
Calisto’s jaw ticked. “I—”
“Liar, you do. Because you care.”
He didn’t even get the chance to blink before Emma lifted up on her tiptoes, and pressed her mouth to his. For a quick second, Calisto was stunned. All he could feel were her silken lips covering his, and her hand fisting into his jacket. He couldn’t think beyond the sweet-smelling perfume that reminded him of candied cherries, or the emerald eyes watching him, demanding he deny her what she was asking for.
How could he deny her?
After everything, how was he supposed to do that?
Calisto was far too selfish to stop Emma or to push her away. He cared too much.
When she grabbed his jacket tighter and pulled, making him stumble into her warm body, Calisto was gone. His one hand landed to her waist while his other tangled into the chignon at the nape of her neck. He pushed her backward until they came to stop against the door.
Emma laughed—breathy and low—against his cheek.
It made him fucking ache.





 
 

THIN LINES: MUSIC PLAYLIST

 

 

 CALISTO AND EMMA AREN'T STAR-CROSSED. THEY ARE IMPOSSIBLE. READ WHERE IT ALL STARTED IN THIN LIES, BOOK #1 IN THE DONATI BLOODLINES SERIES, #FREE WITH #KINDLEUNLIMITED!

 

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Purchase (#FREE with #KindleUnlimited): Amazon | Amazon CA | Paperback


Synopsis: Calisto Donati She was just a woman. That’s what Calisto wanted to tell himself; that’s what he wanted to believe. Emma was nothing more than a woman. There were other women for him to want. To obsess over. It couldn’t be Emma Sorrento. Not for Calisto. She was taken. She was claimed. She was not his. In a few days, Calisto would hand her off, and that would be that. He wondered why it wouldn’t be that easy to let her go. What good had saving her done? He had simply taken her from one monster to give her to another. Emma Sorrento Emma slid on her mask. All someone would need to do was look close enough to see what was really beneath the sheer falseness of her smile. At the other end of the table, Emma found her lies staring her right in the face. He smirked. And winked. Calisto Donati was her worst mistake, her greatest shame, and the one thing she still wanted more than anything. Emma could still feel him all over her, long after his touch and kiss was gone. In thirty days, her entire world had changed—he had changed her. Emma had a feeling that if she played another game with Calisto, she would surely lose. She had already lost once. Wasn’t it enough?


  WARNING: The first two books in the Donati Bloodlines Trilogy end on a cliffhanger, the third is a HEA.
 
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ABOUT BETHANY-KRIS

 

Bethany-KrisBethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to three young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.



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