Pirates: Fact vs. Fiction by Nicole Castroman

The highly anticipated Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales hits theaters this weekend! Our beloved Captain Jack Sparrow goes on another swashbuckling adventure after being down on his luck.

Pirates are fascinating to so many of us, but there’s so much more to their history than we realize. Nicole Castroman, author of YA adventure romance Blackhearts and its recently released follow up, Blacksouls (the re-imagined tale of notorious pirate Blackbeard), gives us the scoop on what’s real and not real when it comes to pirates!

Pirates: Fact vs. Fiction

Childhood stories and blockbuster movies about pirates portray a desire for adventure, danger, and thrills, because those tales touch something deep inside of us. They speak to our souls, longing for the open water and freedom. Pirates were considered anarchists who lived life by their own rules and supposedly spoke in colorful language and dressed in colorful attire. No other profession in history has been idealized and romanticized as much.

There’s something about standing on the rolling deck of a ship with no land in sight, the sun shimmering on the white-tipped waves and the briny air filling your lungs. Sailing is like a conversation where communication is physical. Popular culture would have us believe that the life of a pirate during the Golden Age of Piracy was all about living fast and dying young.

But the truth is, what we imagine pirates to look and sound like matches only one decade of history: 1716 to 1726. Prior to that, pirates were often accepted members of their communities. Many of them married and settled down. Most individuals who turned to piracy hoped to capture one large prize and use their plunder to join the upper echelons of society, because life at sea was unpredictable and dangerous. There could be long periods of inactivity and boredom on pirate ships before a sail was spotted or a storm appeared on the horizon.

In most cases piracy was only an act or a phase, not a way of life. Seamen lived in cramped and filthy quarters. Rats gnawed through anything, including a ship’s hull. Food spoiled or became infested and water turned foul. And sailors fell victim to any number of diseases. Not exactly prime conditions to work under, which is why the majority of pirates were probably in their ’20s, with some exceptions.

Blackbeard was one of those exceptions, a legend in his own time. His reign of terror lasted only two years, but he was close to forty when he died in battle near Ocracoke, NC on November 22, 1718. He was aggressive as well as decisive. Nobody knows what Edward Teach did as a young man or what led him to become one of the most notorious and dreaded pirates to sail the seas. Yet despite his fearsome reputation, there is no record of him ever killing anyone before the last battle that eventually took his life. He was truly a strong and charismatic individual.

Living under such dangerous conditions, one might question why anyone would turn to piracy. The oceans were and always will remain untamed. The seas can take a violent swipe at anyone who chooses to cross them. Before the days of GPS and diesel engines, why would someone risk his life repeatedly if there was no chance he could spend his plunder. For many, piracy offered them a choice between starvation, beggaring, or thievery and possible riches beyond their wildest dreams. It was a crime of opportunity. Some chose this activity because they found themselves in areas where law enforcement was at a minimum or practically nonexistent, and the possibilities of success outweighed the threat of execution if caught and a short life-expectancy rate.

Many pirates were honest sailors who abandoned their jobs because the conditions on merchant or navy ships were so awful. A good portion of the British Navy consisted of men forcibly recruited by hired thugs who combed the harbors, looking for anyone with a full set of limbs. “Pressed men” were paid less than volunteers, if they were paid at all. They were shackled to the ships while in port so they didn’t try to escape and were flogged for any minor offense. Some pirates were forced to join pirate ships, especially if they had highly sought after skills, such as surgeons. Only a small minority of men became a pirate because they actually enjoyed being a criminal.

There were female pirates as well. At a time when women couldn’t even get a job or an education, one of history’s most influential raiders began her career in a Chinese brothel. Cheng I Sao, was a Cantonese former prostitute who married a powerful corsair named Cheng I in 1801. Together, they raised one of China’s most formidable pirate armies. After her husband’s death, she continued to lead up to 80,000 men, preying on the fishing vessels, supply junks and the coastal villages of Southern China. The government was so desperate for her to quit, they offered her immunity if she would give up her pirating ways. She retired, a wealthy woman and lived out the rest of her days in peace.

Anne Bonny was the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy Irish lawyer. Her father had her dress as a boy and pose as his law clerk for part of her youth. She later moved to America, where she married a sailor and journeyed to the pirate-infested island of New Providence in the Bahamas. There, she fell in love with “Calico” Jack Rackam, a flamboyant buccaneer who sailed the Caribbean. Abandoning her husband, she joined Rackam’s crew. Bonny had a fierce and courageous temper and almost beat a man to death when he tried to force himself on her.

She later forged a friendship with fellow female pirate Mary Read, who had spent most of her youth disguised as her deceased half-brother. Mary adopted the name Mark Read and took on a succession of traditionally male jobs, first as a soldier and later as a merchant sailor. Read turned pirate in the late-1710s, when buccaneers attacked the ship she was working. She eventually joined Rackam’s crew. When Calico Jack’s ship was captured by a band of pirate-hunters. Bonny and Read dodged the noose after they were both found to be pregnant. Rackham and several other pirates weren’t so lucky and were hanged.

The more familiar pirates were with an area, the better their chances were at finding prey. If too much time passed in between raids, their supplies could become dangerously low. A merchant ship filled with gold wasn’t always the most valuable plunder. Often times, pirates simply needed to replenish their stores in order to move on. Unlike most ships, pirates couldn’t simply pull into a port and restock their provisions, and so they stole whatever they could when they stopped another vessel.

When pirates did encounter a merchant ship they wanted to pillage, they didn’t immediately attack. First, they had to determine if the ship rode high or low in the water. (Empty cargo vs. a full load) They also had to ascertain a ship’s firepower. This could take several hours to several days. Once they decided to attack, the pirates fired a warning shot to scare their target into submission. More often than not, merchant crews weren’t paid enough to put up much of a fight, and they were often given the opportunity to join the pirates.

If a pirate ship was lucky enough to capture another vessel, it was time to head to port. Author Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 novel “Treasure Island” popularized the concept of buried treasure, another common pirate myth. Contrary to popular belief, pirates did not use a hole in the ground as their savings account. They were more likely to squander their spoils on women, rum and gambling as soon as they returned to land.

Pirates were notorious for their lawlessness and brutality. Yet they incorporated principles of democracy and adhered to the ideals of liberty, equality and brotherhood. The crews elected their captains, and signed articles of agreement to ensure that everyone earned a share of any prize taken. Such freedom was unavailable to men who remained on the right side of the law. If anyone was wounded during a battle or in the line of duty, pirates received the equivalent of workers’ comp. The worse the injury, the more money they could expect.

Contrary to another popular belief, pirates didn’t use eye patches to mask an empty eye socket. Instead, they wore eye patches so that one eye would remain constantly adjusted to the dark, which made it easier to fight below deck when boarding ships. The modern U.S. military uses similar tactics for nighttime engagements.

There are also reports of people forced to walk the plank. In truth, it was an extremely rare form of punishment. ‘Keelhauling’ was much more common. The rule-breaker would be tied to a rope and hauled under the keel of the ship and back up until he either drowned or was cut to shreds by barnacles. Marooning was also popular, but unlike Jonny Depp’s character in Pirates of the Caribbean, most people died when left alone on a deserted island. Without food or water, they were promised a slow, cruel death without hope or reprieve.

Historically, pirates have always been a fascinating subject. With tales of adventure, danger and daring, it’s easy for us to romanticize a life seemingly without rules. Even Mark Twain entertained thoughts of piracy, as he wrote in Life on the Mississippi, “Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.” With the upcoming release of the fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Dead Men Tell No Tales, I don’t anticipate this fascination dying off anytime soon.

Check your local theaters to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and click below to order Nicole Castroman’s addictive and fascinating novels!

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☆ VBB Weekly – 05.22.2017 ☆

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NEW RELEASES

Stand by A.L. Jackson (Available Now)

May-22

Zachary Kennedy has never been known as a fighter, but he’ll never regret fighting for her…

I’m Zee Kennedy.
Quiet. Reserved. Predictable.
When my brother died, everyone thought I was just the good guy who stepped up to take his place in the band.

No one knew what I was hiding. The one thing I’ve been fighting for.

For seven years, I’ve never lost focus.

Not until one chance encounter with Alexis Kensington.

Now she’s become my greatest temptation.
I knew better than to touch her, but now that I’ve had a taste, I can’t get enough.
Her kiss becomes my air. Her body my salvation.

She needed a savior and somehow she became mine.

Taking her was a betrayal. But keeping her means risking everything.
One look at Alexis Kensington, and I know she’s worth the fight.
Will my past continue to keep me down or will I finally find the strength to pull myself up and Stand

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All for You by Melody Grace (Available Now) 

Summer Bloom lives for adventure — and buttercream bourbon frosting. As a high-end pastry chef, she spends her days (and nights, and weekends) whipping up sweet treats, but when an unexpected detour leads her to the dilapidated bakery on Blackberry Lane, she decides to take a chance on her dreams and leave it all behind for a new life in Sweetbriar Cove. She has everything she needs for baking bliss — she just isn’t expecting her new landlord to melt her heart, as well as her chocolate truffles…

Grayson Reid knows better than to fall for his impulsive new tenant. He keeps his life quiet and drama-free, but there’s something about Summer he just can’t resist. He’s learned the hard way that a woman can turn your whole world upside down, but her kisses – and those croissants – are too tempting to ignore. He’s determined to keep the lid on their romance, but soon, their chemistry is heating up the kitchen – and he doesn’t want to play it safe any more.

Can this headstrong pair mix the right ingredients for love? Or will their passion burn out before they can find their happily-ever-after?

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Just A Little Junk by Stylo Fantome (Available Now) 

JUST A LITTLE JUNK …

…. if anyone asks, that’s all that’s in your trunk. Definitely don’t say anything about the dead guy you just found back there!

Jodi Morgan is having a bad weekend.

After partying a little too hard, she wakes up with a monster hangover and almost no recollection of the night before. So imagine her surprise when she looks in her trunk and instead of finding a spare tire, she finds the last guy she’d danced with before blacking out.

Who is he? How did he get in there? How did he die? And oh dear lord, did she kill him!?

When her older brother’s best friend offers to help, things start looking up. They’ve known each other since she was thirteen, and ten years later, he still treats her like a little kid – surely, committing felonies has to trigger some sort of spark. Together, they wind up going on an adventure that takes them all over Los Angeles. From raves to penthouses to strip clubs. All in the search for the answer to her question.

Who is the dead guy in my trunk!?

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Somebody Else’s Sky by Jessica Hawkins (Available Now) 

If I closed my eyes, I could still see them—all blonde sunshine, ocean-blue eyes, and long limbs. The glint of Lake’s gold bracelet. Pink cotton candy on Tiffany’s tongue. My scenery may have changed from heaven to hell, but some things never would: my struggle to do right by both sisters. To let Lake soar. To lift Tiffany up. The sacrifices I made for them, I made willingly.

A better man would’ve walked away by now, but I never claimed to be any good. I only promised myself I’d keep enough distance. If I’d learned one thing from my past, it was that love came in different forms. You could love passionately, hurt deep, die young. Or you could provide the kind of firm, steady support someone else could lean on.

Lake was everything I wanted, and nothing I could ever have. I was nobody before I knew her and a criminal after. The way to love her was to let her shine—even if it would be for somebody else.

Book two in the Something in the Way series, an epic, 3-book saga of forbidden love…

Series reading order

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Lord of Shadows (Dark Artifices) by Cassandra Clare (May 23)
Recommended Series

Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?

And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters’ demands. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear—before it’s too late.

Reading order

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Buns by Alice Clayton (May 23) – Read my review
Recommended romance


The third in the hilarious yet sizzling hot Hudson Valley series from New York Time and USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton.

Clara Morgan is living the dream, if you can call rebranding hotels that are desperate for a new life and running any kind of marathon a dream. Which she does. But the career she loves and the endurance races that keep her adrenaline pumping have kept her too busy to put down any roots. Growing up in foster care, she’s never been able to establish traditions of her own, which may be why she’s fascinated by the rituals that generations-old family resorts are known for. She’s especially interested in the Bryant Mountain House, and not just for their secret recipe for the yummy, gooey, can’t-get-enough-of Hot Cross Buns….

Archie Bryant, the man with the Buns, is fifth generation and one-day-owner of the charming yet run-down Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls, New York. He’s determined to save his family’s legacy from the wrecking ball the old-fashioned way—by gritting his teeth and doing what needs to be done. There’s no way Archie will be influenced by the new hotel branding expert his father brought in to turn one hundred and fifty years of tradition on its head just to attract a faster, younger, slicker crowd. But when some of Clara’s ideas start bringing in new, paying customers, Archie can’t deny that she may have just given him a shot at keeping his resort open.

It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s sweet, it’s Buns.

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Grand Slam by Heidi McLaughlin (May 23)

Win the game. Lose your heart.
Everyone knows who I am and that I could have any female fan I want. That’s supposed to be the “perk” of playing left field for the Boston Renegades. But I don’t want just any woman; I want her.

She should be just another face in the crowd, but I can’t stop thinking about the one night we spent together-and her look of regret the morning after.

Because Saylor Blackwell is the kind of woman who haunts a man. Smart, sexy as hell, and one of the best managers in the business. She’s every ballplayer’s dream woman. And I’d do anything to make things right with her.

I’m done sitting on the bench when it comes to Saylor Blackwell. Time to swing for the fences.

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Cheater’s Regret by Rachel Van Dyken (May 23)

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken returns with a smoking-hot story about the satisfaction of plotting revenge on your ex—until he turns your world upside down again.

Austin Rogers’s dreams of domestic bliss involved watching Netflix and eating hot dogs with the love of her life. But then he cheated on her. And dumped her—as if the whole thing was her fault. To maintain her pride and restore her sanity, she decides to get revenge. It feels immensely satisfying to plot her ex’s downfall—but so does kissing him.

Thatch Holloway, a plastic surgeon straight out of residency, knows he ruined the best thing that ever happened to him. But not all cheaters are created equal. He got himself into this messed-up situation—true—but he has his reasons for what happened, and he’d do it all again to protect Austin.

He’s not over her. And she’s not over him.

Austin wants closure, but since Thatch refuses to give it to her, she takes matters into her own hands. She needs to write a human-interest piece for her MBA, so she demands the full plastic-surgery experience. Sparks fly as they’re forced to work together. But Thatch isn’t afraid to play dirty in return. And he’s still hiding something—something that has the power to destroy not only Austin but their second chance at finding forever…

Can be read as a standalone

Series reading order

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Hold Me (1001 Dark Nights) by J.Kenner (May 23)

My life with Damien has never been fuller. Every day is a miracle, and every night I lose myself in the oasis of his arms.

But there are new challenges, too. Our families. Our careers. And new responsibilities that test us with unrelenting, unexpected trials.

I know we will survive—we have to. Because I cannot live without Damien by my side. But sometimes the darkness seems overwhelming, and I am terrified that the day will come when Damien cannot bring the light. And I will have to find the strength inside myself to find my way back into his arms.

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The Darkest Corner by Liliana Hart (May 23) 

The Gravediggers aren’t exactly what they seem. They’re the most elite of the world’s fighting forces—and all they have in common is that they’ve been betrayed by the countries they’ve died for. Because they are dead. To their country, their military, and their families.

Sometimes the dead do rise…

Deacon Tucker is a dead man walking. A former black ops agent, he was disavowed and stripped of all honor before being recruited as a Gravedigger. But his honor and good name no longer matter, because no one knows he’s alive, and he’ll never get the recognition he deserves. His mission is simple: save the world or die trying. And for God’s sake, don’t ever fall in love. That’s a rule punishable by death. The kind of death a man can’t be brought back from.

Tess Sherman is the only mortician in Last Stop, Texas. She has no idea how Deacon Tucker ended up in her funeral home, but she’ll eat her hat if he’s only a funeral home assistant. Deacon is dangerous, deadly, and gorgeous. And she knows her attraction to him can only end in heartache.

Deacon is on a mission to stop the most fatal terror attack the world has ever known—what’s known as The Day of Destiny—a terrorist’s dream. But when he discovers Tess has skills he can use to stop them, he has to decide if he can trust her with secrets worth dying for. And, most important, he has to decide if he can trust her with his heart.

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Sexy Stranger by Kendall Ryan (May 23) 

From New York Times Bestselling author Kendall Ryan comes a sexy and sizzling, enemies-to-lovers romp with bite.

He’s rude. Arrogant. And too hot to handle.

And she’s stranded with him for an entire week.

He knows the sexy stranger doesn’t belong in his small town, but he’s determined to keep her there. The second she opens her smart mouth, he wants to swap a whole lot more than insults with her. She’s got a secret. But he’s got his own agenda.

Buckle up.

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Real Sexy by Amy Meghan March (May 23)

Boone Thrasher has never walked away from a fight, and he’s willing to put everything on the line to win the woman he can’t live without in the conclusion to the Real Dirty Duet by USA Today bestselling author Meghan March.

***

In Nashville, stars are a dime a dozen.
I swore I’d never get caught up with one, but Boone Thrasher made a liar out of me.
I said I’d never put my heart on the line, but he didn’t ask before he stole it.
Now we’re facing my worst fears, and we’ll see if this country boy is tough enough to see it through.
Girls like me don’t get happily ever afters… but maybe he’ll prove that wrong too.

Real Sexy is the conclusion of the Real Dirty Duet and should be read following Real Dirty.

Series reading order

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A Girl Like Me by Ginger Scott (May 26) 

I’m not supposed to be here.

Death has come for me more than once, and each time it’s been a boy who’s stood between me and my final breath.

I called him Christopher when he saved me as a child. When he came into my life again, only months ago, I knew him as Wes. Just as he did the time before, he disappeared the moment he made sure I was out of harm’s way; as if I didn’t need any more saving.

This time, though, death left me with a reminder of how powerful it is. I know it meant to strip me of my spirit again, but it failed.

Even so, I know I need Wes to survive. Our souls are woven together somehow, our every breath in sync. I feel it, even though everyone says I shouldn’t.

The world thinks he’s missing.
His loved ones don’t want to believe he’s dead.
Only I know just how special he is.

I’m going to find him and bring him home, where he belongs. Together, we’ll face impossible—we’ll rewrite our ending.

And when the bad guys come calling, we will always win.

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Exclusive excerpt + giveaway: Seeker by Veronica Rossi

In Veronica Rossi’s Seeker—the follow-up to the apocalyptic fantasy adventure Riders—Gideon and team search for their fourth rider, Sebastian, who is trapped in another dimension with a demon. Seeker is out next week on the 16th, but I’m so excited to give you a sneak peek at what awaits! Plus, head to my Instagram to get the scoop on how to win a print copy of the book and some cool Seeker bracelets!

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Chapter 4

GIDEON

Twenty minutes out. Probably less,” Travis Low says as he peels out of the tiny airport that serves Jackson Hole. The SUV fishtails on the soaked road but Low regains control and pushes past eighty miles an hour in a matter of seconds.

I look through my window. Rain clouds hide the tops of the mountains in the distance. The Grand Tetons. I flew over them in the fall. On the back of a demon that had taken the form of a dragon. I also lost Bas here and got my left hand cut off.

Lots of fun memories in Wyoming.

It’s hard to believe that roughly three hours ago we were still in Georgia. Moving a team this fast takes money but if there’s a limit to the unit’s budget, I haven’t seen it yet.

In the passenger seat, Jared Suarez checks his GPS. “Thirty minutes is probably closer. Traffic a mile up.”

Between swipes of the windshield wipers, a string of red brake lights appear up ahead. “Drive around it, Low,” I say, thumping the back of his seat for emphasis.

Suarez shoots me a dark look. “This is the United States, Low. Don’t drive around it.”

“Drive around it, Low,” I repeat. “That’s an order.”

He laughs. “Blake’s full of it today, ain’t he?” he says to Suarez, loading his Texas drawl with all the sarcasm it’ll hold, which is plenty. He meets my eyes in the rearview mirror, chewing his gum in slow motion. “Yes sir, Blake sir.”

We’re all on equal footing under Cordero so I shouldn’t be giving orders to anyone, least of all a commando thirteen years older than me. Travis Low has a hell of a lot more relevant experience than I do. Life experience, in general. Fortunately, Low and I go way back. Jared Suarez, too.

Last fall they were “Texas” and “Beretta” to me, respectively. The guys who stood guard while I was interrogated by a demon disguised as Cordero. They saved my life from that demon.

Low’s a six-foot-five, two-hundred-fifty-pound lethal giant. Like Bas, he’s always looking for his next laugh. Low doesn’t take anything seriously except missions and his three-year-old son, back in Texas. The guy drops everything when his kid calls and gets this heartbroken, happy look on his face. I’ve wondered if my dad felt that kind of pain when talked to Anna and me back home while he was deployed.

Jared Suarez is ninja-quiet and calculating. He was a bluechip high school baseball recruit—a catcher like I was. In a way, it’s still Suarez’s vibe. When Cordero’s not calling the shots, Suarez steps in with the strategy and manages things. With the exception of Jode, who needs to question air before he breathes it, the rest of us pretty much follow Suarez’s lead.

After fighting the Kindred with them and spending the past months in Cordero’s unit, I have solid history with these guys. Marcus and Jode do, too. The respect and smack talk flow in equal measure in all directions.

As we approach the stalled traffic, Low doesn’t slow down. He pulls onto the gravel shoulder and bears down on the gas, sending a hail of rocks and rain into the windshield. Low passes car after car with an expression on his face like he’s supremely bored as Marcus and I bounce around like popcorn in the backseat.

When we’re past the stalled car that caused the slowdown, I turn around. The other Suburbans with Jode, Cordero, Ben, and the rest of the team are obeying the law and have fallen behind.

“Jode,” Marcus says, a smile tugging at his mouth. He won’t like being left with the slowpokes.

“That’s what he gets for sucking up,” I say. But Jode doesn’t really suck up. He just happens to be Cordero’s favorite because they’re extremely compatible. I mean, I’m Cordero’s real favorite for sentimental reasons, but Jode’s her favorite intellectually. They nerd out regularly by discussing the latest studies in science, technology, medicine. Et cetera. It all sounds the same to me. Like Wikipedia talking to itself.

The phone in Suarez’s hand rings. He answers on speaker. “Suarez.”

“Hold at a staging location off property,” Cordero says. “Ben’s sending you the address now. We’ll regroup before we approach.”

“Yes, ma’am. We were going to wait.”

I don’t want to wait. I’ve been waiting months for this already.

“Is that so?” Cordero says. “Then why roar past that traffic like your brakes don’t work?”

Suarez looks at Low, who does a bad job of laughing silently. “We wanted to wait at the property.”

“Tell Low we’re discussing his driving later,” Cordero says.

“Yes, ma’am.” Suarez hangs up. “Morons,” he says, addressing all of us. Then he checks the GPS again, inputting the address Ben sent. “Fifteen minutes out.”

I settle back in my seat, trying to relax.

I’ve thought about Daryn a lot these past months. Pretty constantly. But I didn’t focus on how to handle seeing her again. I spent my mental energy imagining that things were good between us instead.

I approached it like a math calculation.

Take away all the times she told you she just wants to be friends because she’s afraid she might like you too much. I mean, what? How is that a reason? But it doesn’t matter when you’re imagining. Minus one confusing excuse— check.

Take away the memory of the look on her face when she saw you with one less hand. Maimed. Incomplete. Don’t need that either, so. Get rid of it, too.

Take away the fact that she left one of your best friends to die in a realm with your nemesis. Tougher to delete. More brainpower required but I could get there. I could imagine it never happened.

Take all that out of the equation and what was left was good.

Without it, Daryn and I are incredible in my imagination. Tons of chemistry of all kinds. Physical. Mental. Emotional. Physical. Straight-up chemistry lab. Highly combustible.

I thought it would get old to picture us that way. Didn’t happen. Wasn’t able to get into hanging out with other girls, either. Anna brought her friends over. Marcus made an effort not to monopolize female attention. But being around other girls felt like killing time before the real deal. Before this.

“G?” Marcus says.

“Yeah, I’m cool,” I say automatically. I look at my hands. They’re in fists. Flesh and bone on the right, and magnesium alloy on the left. I open them. “Suarez, how close?”

“Five minutes.”

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About Seeker

When Daryn claimed she was seeing “visions” during her sophomore year of high school, no one believed the truth. She wasn’t losing her mind, she was gaining the Sight—the ability to see the future. If she just paid attention to the visions, they’d provide her with clues and show her how she could help people. Really help them. Daryn embraced her role as a Seeker. The work she did was important. She saved lives.

Until Sebastian.

Sebastian was her first—and worst—mistake.

Since the moment she inadvertently sealed him in a dark dimension with Samrael—the last surviving demon in the Kindred—guilt has plagued her. Daryn knows Sebastian is alive and waiting for help. It’s up to her to rescue him. But now that she needs the Sight more than ever to guide her, the visions have stopped.

Daryn must rely on her instincts, her intelligence, and on blind faith to lead the riders who are counting on her in search of Sebastian. As they delve into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems and where Samrael is steadily amassing power, Daryn faces the ultimate test. Will she have to become evil to destroy evil? The very fate of humankind rests in the answer.

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Review: Complicated by Kristen Ashley

  • Summary: Complicated is Kristen Ashley at her best—the perfect, irresistible blend of romance, suspense and sexiness. Greta and Hix’s story exemplifies the beauty of second chances, family and happily ever afters. I loved every moment.
  • Type: Contemporary romance
  • Related posts: Audible recommendations
  • Order now: Audible only

My Review

For me, a Kristen Ashley book always hits the mark. Hers is a special kind of romance with characters with whom you can relate, no matter their journey. It’s this special thread she weaves throughout that makes every story impossible not to love.

Complicated is quintessential Kristen Ashley—an unstoppable blend of romance, suspense and sexiness. Drake and Greta’s story is all about reaching for that second chance at love, complicated as it may be.

Hixon Drake had it all once, or so it seemed. A loving wife and three wonderful kids. Until one day his wife shattered a future he never thought would falter. Done is done and he is determined to look forward, protecting his kids first and foremost.

Greta Dare hadn’t had it easy. Growing up with an absent mother, taking care of a brother she adored from a young age, she realized early that dreams weren’t for her… all she could hope for is a peaceful life in small-town Nebraska.

But then Hix meets Greta and one indulgent night turns into something else entirely. A combination of bad timing, tangled feelings and a slew of misunderstandings takes these two people down a thorny path. Especially after a murder shocks the community. Their new relationship is a constant push and pull, but also a special something they can’t seem to leave behind.

You’ll quickly fall for these two, cheering for them along the way, as they navigate all the challenges before them. I loved the elements of suspense, which took the story to another level and sped up the pace. As an added bonus, Greta and Hix’s story comes to life in a whole new way through Audible, and you won’t be able to stop listening, I promise.

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