How did I get here?
Of course I know the answer, but if those bastards Fate and Karma truly do hold the cards then I wish I knew where the hell I went wrong?
There’s no crossroad for me anymore because I’m kneeling on the floor at the hands of a monster. My choices along with my dignity are about to be taken and there’s little I can do for myself.
The harsh bite of the concrete under my knees and the cage that surrounds it is a cruel reminder of my past. A past which follows me wherever I go despite my best efforts to remain in the shadows. One thing for certain is that no matter what happens, no matter where this takes me or if I get out alive- Ryder will always fight for me.
I’m not on my own anymore. I have a strong man who loves me and Callaghan Security behind me.
Surrendering is not an option, and retribution may not be my answer.
This is a reckoning.
I will find the answers and survive long enough to reclaim what I lost. My intent is pure and if I’m worthy enough fate will grant me the one thing I may not deserve.
Excerpt from Elle POV:
“I want you so fucking bad beautiful, I do. I’m trying to take my time here, but Christ I missed you so much.”
I hear the agony in his voice, wondering how it must have felt for him. Not knowing if I was okay after the guard beat me. He would have gotten word that I was alive, and in the infirmary I’m sure, but mentally, who knows. He wouldn’t have. I didn’t even know.
I reach up and run my hands along his back, over his shoulders and into his thick hair.
“I’m here, and I’m okay Ryder.”
He pulls back to look me in the eye, once again with nothing but sincerity and love reflecting back from them.
I can’t help but ask again.
“Make love to me Ryder, please.”
My breath hitches a little on the please, because I’m not used to asking for anything. I am used to doing everything on my own and I hope he realizes exactly how important this moment is—for me to ask for something.
His fingers sift into my hair, and his thumb traces around the edge of my stitches. His eyes follow the path and I watch the crease between his brows form before he settles his eyes back on mine.
“Anything you want beautiful, I’ll give it to you. That being said I’m not giving this just because you asked, I’m giving it because I want nothing more than to make love to you, and I want to be the only one who does it, forever Elle.”
I close my eyes as the first tear of emotion escapes and runs down my cheek. Ryder catches it with his lips before it has a chance to hit the pillow.
“I love you Elle. So much it fucking kills me sometimes.”
Warm lips touch my own but it’s brief.
“Open your eyes, beautiful.”
I do as he says, staring at the handsome man above me. The way his dark hair falls over his forehead, the way his eyes light up when he’s looking back at me—leaves me breathless.
“I love you. Just you, and all of you. I told you to keep me babe, but I’m also keeping you. It’s been hell not knowing what was happening with you these past few days. Complete fucking hell. Now that I have you back, I’m not lettin’ you go beautiful. Not ever.”
Excerpt from Ryder POV:
“I want it over too. Still no news from Cabe or Maverick?”
I shake my head, disappointed in myself for not being able to find this fuck. “I have a name, I have a picture. I just have no paper trail to lead me to him. I’ve hunted people before. This is not a first for me, Elle. The last two I hunted were in the jungle and before that it was Iraq. My team were successful on both missions and I feel like a fucking failure seeing as I haven’t turned over any new stones in the past few days.”
Elle rests her head back on my chest, staring toward the window.
“You’ve tried Ryder, that’s more than I can ask you for. If you have other work to get back to I understand. But I can’t leave. Not just because of the judge’s orders, but because I won’t sleep until I know where he is. I’ll never truly feel safe.”
I flip her over on her back, she’s shocked for a moment until I get my face close to hers, pinning her body to the bed.
“I don’t quit, and whatever else I had lined up can wait. You may not have understood it but let me clarify for you, when I said I loved you, I mean I fucking love you. That means wherever you go, I go too. And when your life is in danger I won’t stop trying to protect you until the fucker is either dead or behind bars. That’s part of what me loving you means. I’m not going anywhere, beautiful. I told you to keep me, which also means you’re stuck. You understand?”
I don’t miss the shine of unshed tears in her eyes. Where my stubborn bitch went I have no idea, she’ll come back soon. For now I settle with the understanding on her face before I taste her lips, and then the rest of her.
5 GLORIOUS STARS
Well Harlow Stone has done it again!!!
I swear this series just keeps getting better and better to the point that I don’t even know what to say after reading this one.
Yet again the Author has been able to write an amazing story with all sorts of ups and downs, twists and turns. Your head will be whipping back and forth and every time you sit there thinking you have figured out a piece of the puzzle….BAM….you are proven wrong! I honestly don’t remember ever reading a story that has done such an amazing job at keeping you in the dark and practically begging for more!
Book three picks up right where book two had left off with Elle being stuck in jail, tormented and abused while Ryder is desperate to get her out.
I am floored by the depth of the character that is Elle. The Author has made her into one of the most remarkable characters I have ever read and I just loved reading her story. If you are looking for a female character who is as strong as a bull both inside and out, then look no further because she can be found in The Ugly Rose Series.
The one aspect of this installment that I loved was the different sides of Ryder. We were finally able to see more to him than just the strong alpha male that was present in the first two books. The ups and downs that his character went through emotionally was absolutely heart breaking at times. It isn’t often that I am left feeling that way with a male lead but Harlow did an amazing job with Ryder’s development and story.
One other thing I loved about this story was the last half of the book. Now I don’t want to giveaway any spoilers so all I can say is that I finally got the ending to a book that I have been dying for. Typically with a story you get the epilogue and are left wanting more. Not this one! You will literally be able to suck every little aspect out of joy out of this ending and close the book with a huge smile on your face.
Now that this series is over I have to admit I actually feel a little lost. I have been so desperate to get my hands on my of Elle and Ryder and now they are gone. I guess the only choice I have is to start back and the beginning and enjoy them all over again!
I am a thirty year old woman who loves books. Not just reading them, but books themselves. I have had a weird obsession with libraries and maps since I was a child.
Perhaps I can call it fate that I wrote my first book about a woman enters more than one address into her GPS throughout the story?
Sunny days and wine make me happy, and when I’m not enjoying the wine you can usually find me reading or making crafts with my six year old.