Beautiful Revenge by Sienna Blake ~ Cover & Excerpt Reveal

 

My name is…was Alena Ivanova.

Five years ago, I made a mistake. A big one. One that cost me the only man I will ever love.

Now in the lonely moors of north England, I live with my cold, cruel husband. My only friend is his daughter from a previous marriage. At least I didn’t starve to death during the bitter Russian winter.

When my husband arranges for a potential investor to stay with us, a mysterious self-made millionaire by the name of Mr. Wolf, imagine my shock when he walks in…

My name is…was Dimitri Volkov.

Until she broke me.

Five years I’ve worked for this moment.

Five years I’ve dreamed of revenge.

Bit by bit, she will watch her charmed life crumble to the ground.

Then when she needs me the most, when she is desperate, scared and alone like I was all those years ago…

I will destroy her.

Although this book is part of a series, it is a standalone novel.

Releasing September 24th

I sneak into Dimitri’s bedroom after dinner, making sure I’m not seen. He’s standing by the side cabinet pouring himself a drink. His eyes darken when he sees me, rejection flashing in them like lightning. “What do you want?”

I close the door behind me and walk towards him, my steps shaky. My hands are clammy and I have to keep wiping them on my skirt. I have to stay strong. “I’m here to ask you, no…to beg you—”

“Alena Ivanova is begging me?” Dimitri leans against the wall, a cruel glint in his eyes. He lifts his drink to the air as if to salute me. “Do go on.”

“Please,” my voice warbles, “leave.”

“Leave this room?” he asks with mock surprise.

Bastard. He knows very well what I’m asking. “Leave this house. Do business with my husband if you must, but please, leave me,” and Emily, “alone.”

He stares at me, the right side of his lip lifting in a horrible half-smile. “Get on your knees.”

What?

“If you’re going to beg, do it properly.”

Dimitri drops to his knees in front of me. His face has cracked wide open, but it’s not anger showing raw and naked on his face.

It’s desperation.

“Alena,” he grabs my hand, “I beg of you, don’t do this.”

“Dimi, I—”

“Don’t marry him. Marry me.”

My breath catches in my lungs. Dimitri watches me from across the room over his scotch glass. From the darkness in his eyes, I can tell he’s remembering the same thing.

I stiffen. “You can’t be serious.”

“You want me to leave? Get. On. Your. Knees.”

He wants to crush me. To wound my pride like I did his. He is crueler than ever.

You did this to him.

I’ll do it if it will get him away from me, then I can just go back to my life. It was empty but at least I had Emily to love. Now, with him here, I can barely love her.

I slide to my knees. His eyes flash with fiery triumph. “Please, Dimitri. Please, leave.”

Dimitri places his drink on the side table and pushes off the wall, striding towards me. My breath turns to stone in my throat as he stands right before me. I am well aware of the suggestive position I am in. His cock is at eye level. I force myself not to look at it. Instead, I look up, locked into the intensity of his stare. I know he wants to demean me. To embarrass me. My body burns with the indignity of it. Heat pools between my legs.

I gasp when he places his fingertips on my cheek, a riot of sparks cascading from his touch. He brushes my hair off my face almost tenderly. My heart skitters with hope.

His perfect lips pull into a smile. “No.”

The bastard. I leap to my feet, my hands in fists by my side. “You told me you’d leave if I begged.”

“No,” he says in a bored tone, “I told you to beg on your knees. I made no promises as to the outcome of your begging.” He turns away as if to dismiss me.

My body shakes with rage. I grab his arm and whip him around to face me. “I’ll tell my husband who you are. He’ll kick you—”

“You tell him who I am and I’ll tell him we slept together.”

I gasp. “You wouldn’t.” My contract. If I’m deemed to have been promiscuous I lose everything. More than lose everything, I’ll owe my husband a hundred thousand pounds. It’s a debt I can never hope to crawl out of.

Dimitri’s eyes glitter with mad pleasure. He has me over a barrel. And he knows it. “Do you wish to test me?”

He would do it too. I can see it in his eyes. “Edgar won’t believe you,” I try.

Dimitri grabs my upper arms with his hands, gripping me tight as vices. “Really? What are you doing in my room, Mrs. Worthington?”

I struggle against him. “Let go.”

He pulls me closer, crushing me against his hard body. “Go on,” he says, “scream. Alert your husband to your presence in my room.”

Bastard.

I hate him. I struggle to knee him, to kick him. My damn skirt is in my way and he’s too close to get any leverage.

He’s much too close. All those old aches and wants flood back into my body. Five years I’ve dreamed of being this close to him again. His familiar touch, his familiar smell, his presence around me swilling like a poison. His touch burns me. He seeps into me. He sinks his teeth into my soul.

I am lightheaded. I need oxygen. I part my lips as I suck in air. His eyes dip to my mouth. Something flares in his eyes. Despite everything, he wants to give in to me too. I involuntarily lick my lips. His stare turns…ravenous.

He lets out a small hum, his lips vibrating along my skin as he traces them across my cheekbone towards my ear. “Mrs. Worthington.” His voice is like liquid. “Alena,” he whispers, almost tenderly, sending me back to five years ago. I can feel his grip loosening on my arms but he doesn’t pull away. The ache coils tighter in my stomach. His hands move up my arms, his thumbs tracing the outer swell of my breasts sending shivers through me. This soft Dimitri is dangerous, more dangerous than the cold stranger. He appears too much like the old Dimitri, the one I love. I feel my self-control unwinding, my fingers curling into his shirt, as he presses his arousal against my hip. I bite down on a moan. Despite everything, my body screams to give in to him.

“Well,” his breath tickles my ear, “if I’m going to accuse you of being a whore, you might as well be one.”

I shove him back. He lets go of me, laughing.

“You bastard.” My breath heaves out of my lungs, my neck and cheeks flaming red. He’s playing with me. Toying with me. I want to strangle him.

He smirks at me and shrugs. “At least I can admit what I am.”

His words reach into my chest and wring my heart. “If you won’t go, at least leave Emily alone.”

“She is the one who won’t leave me alone.”

You kissed her.”

He smiles at me, cold and hateful. “Are you jealous?”

“Why are you like this? How could you be so cruel? Why do you want to torment me?”

“Why? Why?” His face cracks apart. “You broke me,” he roars. “You destroyed me when you chose him over me. You filled me so full of bitter hatred, it is all that I taste. It’s all I breathe.” His voice trembles with anguish.

My heart breaks right there. His eyes so open and raw, I can see right into his charred soul. The pieces of his heart that I broke all those years ago are still jagged and sharp. With every breath he takes, they cut him, making him bleed from the inside.

“I’m sorry, Dimi. I’m so sorry.”

“It’s too fucking late for sorry. It’s five years too late.”

It can’t be too late. It can’t.

Love can triumph over hate. It can.

I reach out for him. My voice is pained as I beg—as I beg— “Dimi, please…”

“Get out,” he spits, causing me to snatch my hand back. “It would be very cruel for your husband to find you here alone with me in my bedroom. We wouldn’t want him to get any wrong ideas.”

“I am not a cheater, Dimitri. Don’t you dare insinuate that I am.”

“Just a whore, then.”

His words slap me across my face. Pain spreads from where they strike me. “Fuck you.”

“No, you never did get to give that to me, did you? You gave that pleasure to your worthless husband.”

When Dimitri arrived at Worthington Manor, my hope took flight. To see him again, after all these years, to know that he found me, that he came here for me. Even after I realised that he wanted revenge, I still believed. Even after every cruel word, I still hoped. I thought that I could get through to him. That he couldn’t stay angry at me forever. I thought deep down that we would finally get our happily ever after.

But I have flown too close to the sun, allowed my hopes to soar too high. Hope has melted and my heart has plunged towards the ground, swirling and twisting, until finally crashing on the sharp, jagged rocks.

He still wants me. He hates me more.

He will never forgive me

He will never love me again

Sienna Blake is a storyteller & ink slinger, word spinner of love stories with grit, and alter ego of a USA Today Bestselling Author.

She loves all things that make her heart race — roller coasters, thrillers and rowdy unrestrained sex. She likes to explore the darker side of human nature in her writing.

If she told you who she really was, she’d have to kill you. Because of her passion for crime and forensics, she’d totally get away with your murder.

Sign up for my newsletter and get Paper Dolls, a full-length romantic suspense as a thank you gift. You’ll also be the first to hear about new releases, sales and giveaways ► www.subscribepage.com/SiennaBlake
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Release Blitz ~ Paper Dolls by Hanna Peach

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Paper Dolls CoverMy life comes down to this. Two faces. One choice.

Salem is my twin sister. She loved me. She protected me. She forgave me, even after I failed her. I just got her back after searching for three long, lonely years.

Then there’s Clay. Sweet yet intense and nursing a dark past of his own, he’s all the redemption I don’t deserve. He wants to open me up and know the insides of my soul. I want to let him, but I’m scared he’ll run from what he finds.

But I can’t have them both.

My name is Aria. And today, I must choose. One of the two people I love has to die.

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It has been days since I finished this book, and I have yet to find the right words to explain how I feel about it.  Hanna Peach did quite a number on my emotions and mental well-being with this story.  I know that this is classified as romantic suspense, but I would amend it to add psychological thriller.

The characters were a perfectly well-developed.  In that, you knew the basics of each of their personalities while still questioning how they came to be the people we meet between the pages.  There were dark-forbidden areas in each of their psyches which made them all the more intriguing.  For every one detail I learned about Aria, Clay, Salem, and the tertiary characters there were ten more that arose.  Trying to sort out the complicated web of their personas was one of the most fascinating things about Paper Dolls.

Paper Dolls was masterfully plotted.  Each twist expertly disguised, every turn perfectly misguided.  I loved every second of the rollercoaster that it took me on.  There were so many itty bitty tiny details that while I was sorting out each of those, I was caught completely unaware by things I should have easily noticed.  There were times, while reading, I thought perhaps I was losing my mind.  Situations I was sure I had read, but then couldn’t find in context, things I knew hadn’t come up that were easily found when I looked back.  It was a mindfuck.  And I loved every crazy word.

I can’t end this review without mentioning how beautiful the love story between Aria and Clay was.  He was everything.  He had a fierce loyalty and overwhelming protectiveness for Aria.  It was heart-achingly beautiful, but never so sickly sweet that it turned saccharine.  The way that he loved her, all in, with every cell in his body, it was perfect.  Perfectly imperfect.

Paper Dolls is truly a book that has to be experienced, nothing I can say will properly convey how wonderfully Hanna Peach was able to take the same 26 letters we all know and weave such an intricate story.  Hanna was a new-to-me author before this book, but I know that I will be delving into her backlist and eagerly anticipating any new releases she has coming.

5 feathers

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Prologue

In moments like these, everything slowed. Salem always joked that it was life’s way of making sure you didn’t miss the turning points, the important bits. As if gravity sank heavier and heavier with the weight of the moment until the world was too heavy to turn and everyone held their breath.

It certainly felt like that now. My next action, my next word, would change all of our lives.

“Aria,” Clay’s deep voice reached my ears. “Whatever happens…I love you.” The usual assuredness and authority was gone. Instead, strain and hurt had crumpled up and shoved into his throat. Choose me. Save me. Love me.

Before him my life had felt like a stack of old movies; frames missing or out of order, muted crackling sound, flickering and shuttering away, unloved and unseen in an old unused cinema.

Then I found him. Or he found me.

He created a warm shield around me where I could be safe. He coaxed away all my layers and shed all my masks and his love soaked right into my skin, right into the very soul of me. He pulled out the fossil buried inside that had been my heart and breathed life into me.

How could I give up the man I loved? The one who loved me with a fierce and unwavering passion, the man who made me feel like I could defeat demons as long as he was by my side.

Winking in the threads of sunlight piercing through the solemn gray clouds, seed fluff twirled about me like swirling, dancing couples. Spinning around like Salem and I used to do in our backyard, hands clasped together tightly, turning round and round, eyes to the sky, our twin voices giggling and floating into the air like dandelions.
She had been my shield before Clay.

“I’m nothing without you, Aria,” Salem’s voice trembled, desperation leaking into the breaths between her words. Choose me. Need me. Love me.

How could I end her? I just got her back. For so long we shared almost everything, and she protected me. Her whole life had been about protecting me. Because she loved me that much.

How could I turn against her, toss her away like an old broken toy?

But I had to choose.

I could see us now, the three of us making a chain like when I was a kid, folding pieces of colored paper into rectangles, cutting out an arm, a leg, and half a head, and unfurling my new patterns in the light to reveal a line of paper dolls. Clay, Salem and I − we were all just paper dolls in a paper chain, me in the middle, each end pulling tighter and tighter until something had to tear.

Even now as I stare between Clay and Salem, trying to digest our impossible situation, Hope is still there, that terrible pixie, fluttering on my shoulder, whispering.

Maybe it doesn’t have to end this way?

Fuck you, Hope. Here’s the truth.

Nobody is coming.

No one will save us.

And someone isn’t going to make it out of this forest today.

“Choose,” my sister screamed. “It’s either him or me.”

My fingers tightened around my gun in a reflex. This was it. I either ended her. Or destroyed Clay.

I squeezed my eyelids shut for a moment, just for a moment of peace. Just for an instant I could shut out the inevitable, and in this blessed darkness I believed I could conceive a way that both could exist in my life. A way that I could choose Salem and Clay.

You can’t have both.

You tried.

You.

Can’t.

Have.

Both.

Choose now.

But how?

What do you do when someone puts a gun to your head? Clay’s words came back to me, echoing as loud in my mind as if he had just spoken them. You refuse to bend. You push back. You find another way. You take that gun off him and put it back in his face. But you do not give in.

Find another way…

I knew what I had to do. A kind of peace settled on my skin, as delicate as gossamer, as light as silk.

I opened my eyes to a world of bright light until my vision adjusted. The torn and pained faces of the two people I loved came into focus. The only two people I’ve shared air with while we slept, the same two people I’d crawl into Hell to be with, and the only two people I would die for. I forced the ghost of a smile forward.

And turned the gun on myself.

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Hanna PeachHanna is the bestselling author of the Bound romantic suspense series and the Dark Angel fantasy series. Although she writes in more than one genre she can’t write a book without weaving together a complicated plot and filling it with twists. She writes what she believes: good people can do bad things, ordinary people can do great things, and choose love above everything.

Eternally restless, Hanna has lived in Indonesia, Australia, Germany, Scotland, England, Croatia and Ireland – everything she owns fits into one suitcase. She’s planning her next move with her gorgeous (and understanding) partner right now. If not writing, she can be found wandering a dusty market in Marrakesh or trekking a mountain in Peru, often using her travels as settings in her novels.

To WIN a copy of her next release go to www.hannapeach.com/subscribe.

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Hanna Peach, Paper Dolls giveaway

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