BOOK 10 in The Forbidden Men Series
Contemporary New Adult Romance
Orginally published November 2018
159,960 words, 492 pages
4-Flame Sensuality Rating
I might've ruined any chance I ever had at a meaningful relationship when I decided to become a male prostitute at eighteen, but that was okay.
I paid off my mom's debt, the rent, my sister's hospital bills. I put food on the table and kept eviction notices at bay.
It was worth it.
But was it worth the price of my soul?
Two years later, this job has begun to kill me in every way but physically, until SHE comes along.
Reese is the breath of fresh air I need. She makes me smile, she makes me laugh, she makes me want more. But how can we ever be together after all the choices I've made?
Listing one mistake after another, these are my confessions and how we came through to the other side.
The Forbidden Men series concludes with THE PRICE OF MASON by looping back to the beginning and retelling PRICE OF A KISS through his eyes.
Just when you thought you knew everything, here's the rest of the story.
Teresa Nolan clutched a plain manila folder to her chest as if it were some kind of life preserver. In a way, she guessed it was. The contents consisted of a petition for a name change, an order to show cause for the change, her social security card, birth certificate, and driver's license. All things to help her become someone new.
Next to her, her mom shifted uncomfortably in the hard plastic chair just outside the county clerk's office. "How long have we been waiting?"
Teresa consulted her phone as a new text popped up. "Seven minutes," she answered, checking the time before opening the message.
E: Is it done yet?
Sighing over the persistent nagging from her cousin, she wrote back.
Teresa: Soon. We're at the courthouse now. Waiting.
To which she received an immediate response.
E: So there's still time to change your mind?
Teresa turned the phone off and stuffed it back into her purse. She wasn't going to change her mind, no matter how much E insisted this was a bad idea. Rubbing the back of her neck, she trailed her fingers over the scar where Jeremy had cut her. If she hadn't turned at the last second, that scar would've ended up on the front of her throat, and she probably wouldn't be alive right now.
Staying alive seemed more important than keeping her name. Even her parents agreed. So, no, her mind was not going to change. She was doing the right thing.
Okay, maybe she had no idea what the right thing really was. But she was still doing this. She had to do something to protect herself. And every few seconds when the doubts rose, she just swallowed them determinedly back down.
Her mother leaned toward her. "You saw the packet in the mail this morning from that college, right?"
Teresa nodded, her indecision bubbling up her throat again, tasting bitterly like panic. The package hadn't been from the university she'd always planned on going to in her hometown but from some no-name community college halfway across the country, near her aunt. After she and her mom were done here at the courthouse, Teresa planned to head home and start packing so she could move hundreds of miles away and into the loft above her aunt's garage, where she would attend classes at that college, using her new identity to remain far-far away from her psycho ex-boyfriend, Jeremy, who'd tried to kill her.
Her knee began to bounce as she remembered the look in Jeremy's eyes when he'd told her no one would ever love her the way he did. She'd never forget the light that had glinted off his knife or how terrified she'd been when he'd slashed his blade toward her. Her mom set a reassuring hand on Teresa's thigh, making her jump and then stop bouncing her knee. "It's okay, sweetie. We're doing the right thing."
Teresa nodded again, the action more certain than her resolve.
"We're going to send you somewhere he won't find you. And then, as soon as the trial's over and he's locked away for good, we'll change all this back and you can come home again. Okay?"
Teresa gave a third nod, this one less enthusiastic. She didn't have quite as much faith in the "temporary" part of the plan as her parents did. Jeremy's father was a powerful attorney. The odds of putting him away forever didn't feel as if they were in her favor. And what if Jeremy did go free? What if this moving away, hiding, and changing her identity business ended up not being temporary? What if he just found her, and she had to run again, or he actually succeeded in killing her the next time? What if she was never Teresa Nolan again?
That was what scared her most: losing her identity forever. That bastard had already taken her security, now he was stealing her name too? It wasn't fair.
She rubbed the prickled skin rising on her arms. Maybe her cousin had been right; this plan was stupid. Life could be dangerous, no matter where she went or what she called herself. Why was she running anyway? She wasn't the running type; she didn't own a single pair of jogging shoes. And if she did die, at least she'd have her own name on her headstone.
Before she could stress further and back out of this crazy idea completely, the door to the clerk's office opened and a middle-aged man peered into the hall. "Miss Nolan?"
Teresa's heart leaped. That could've very well been the last time anyone ever addressed her as Miss Nolan again.
Her mom took her hand and stood, urging Teresa along. Teresa gulped. This was really happening. Her life was changing irrevocably. She wasn't even going to be Teresa anymore. A month from now, she'd be…she'd be…
Well, who knew what she'd be?