Crystal Gulf, Texas, breeds bad boys. Unapologetic when it comes to their desires, they destroy, they damage, and now they’re going to ruin …
Jona can’t see his lifestyle the same way after what happened to Hillary in Damage Me. Partying and getting high has amounted in only hurting himself and others. But he’s lost sober, and everything feels wrong without his one true love in his life.
Returning to Crystal Gulf was inevitable for Justine. The loss of her dreams sends her back to where they started. But there’s one silver lining, the same one that’s gotten her this far. Jona Kyles is waiting for her. The moment they reconnect, the destruction is painfully addictive.
It’s impossible not to pick up where they left off. After an impassioned night together, they didn’t expect it to come back and haunt them. Forced in the same reality, they must battle against their pasts and fears to give their second chance the future it deserves.
But some second chances come with scars …
Ruin Me, book three in the Crystal Gulf Series, is a powerful and raw second chance romance about forgiveness and growth, with a swoon-worthy bad boy and a heroine who is as strong as she is fierce.
Here’s an excerpt for you:
The funny thing about blow jobs is—
I know what you’re thinking. Wait a minute, blow jobs aren’t supposed to be funny; there’s a time and place for humor, and anyone with their mouth full can’t exactly laugh as it is
—how the person on their knees finds no pleasure doing it.
I don’t fool myself into thinking they love blowing me. They don’t. There’s no connection between this woman and the last woman, or even the next one. But there is an understanding, a mutual decision between us to take advantage of the other.
After all, this blow job wasn’t my idea.
But like all bad ideas, I’m drawn to it.
I watch her on her knees, spit coating her chin and her blue eyes glazed over. The sight of her is hitting every nauseous nerve I have in my body. I’m not typically like this, but tonight, I’m disgusted. She looks as empty as I feel.
It’s like I’m looking at myself, on my knees, giving parts of me away forever to someone who doesn’t even want them.
Eyes glassy with drink and drugs. Hair matted, sweat dripping down her forehead, her makeup running. What the hell am I thinking? I try and shake off my disgust. My dick’s getting sucked. Most men would be jizzing all over her sweaty face already. They wouldn’t need another reason to keep going.
Until last year, I would’ve been just as glad to be where I am. With a woman, high as shit, with a beer in my hand. But I’m not happy to be here. I’m forcing myself to stay.
I know what she wants. The ecstasy tablets in my back pocket. She’s willing to get on her knees for me, and trust me, I’m as hot as the next asshole, but I’m no prize. I wouldn’t get on my knees for me. I probably should’ve disclosed that before I dropped my pants, but particulars and blow jobs didn’t exactly go together.
“What’s wrong?” she asks, popping my cock out of her mouth and wiping it off on the back of her hand.
All I can think about is how many other dicks she’s done this to. I can’t get the image of her out of my mind, wiping her mouth off over and over again every single disgusting night. My hard-on shrivels up. I step away from her and put my dick back in my boxers, on the edge of falling over.
There’s a mirror over my dresser; it’s watching me break apart. It’s been watching for the past year, maybe even longer than that. I got a new bed. Got roommates to front the cost of not throwing parties for profit anymore. I go out and drink, buy other people’s dope—I do what I can to keep myself from myself; anything to keep from going back to the life I had before Hillary Hayes and Piper Cullen got sexually assaulted at my house. Piper wasn’t my responsibility—I didn’t know her before that night—but Hillary was, if only for the sake of keeping the good things in this world that way.
“Get off me,” I growl, stepping over her on my way to my bathroom. I pause on the way and dig out the baggie of pills from the pocket of my jeans on the floor, tossing a few of them at her as she kneels on her knees.
“Get out of here. Do you have any idea how many women I’ve slept with?” I demand. “And you blow me for these?” I snap, lobbing the entire bag of pills at her, which she gladly bundles up, standing wobbly on her heels. “They’re only pills. I’m not worth that shit, am I? Think! You have to think about this shit!” I jab at my temple, where thoughts are supposed to come from.
But she’s gone. She got what she wanted. My dick was a bump in the road she had to get off before she could run hand-in-hand down addict lane with her new bag of lovers.
All she had to do was ask for the pills. She didn’t need to earn them. I hadn’t wanted the ecstasy anyway. But that’s the thing about disgust; it makes common sense seem obsolete. It makes you drop your pants and hope for escape.
In my bathroom, I brace myself against the sink and try not to fall over. I’m too sober. I despise being sober. I’ve created this life I don’t want. The nothingness inside of me is so deep. I can’t even remember who I am or who I wanted to once be. I wasn’t sure I had a chance either. Since I was a kid, I’ve been trying to run from something I thought was just inside of me.
I haven’t quite figured out how to flee from myself without taking me with me.
I splash water on my face and hold the towel there, breathing in my breath, body unsteady. If I get high right now, I won’t come down.
I’ve been floating above reality for so long, it’s starting to reach for me. It wants me on the ground to fall. To break. To show me all that I’d been running from like some sick twisted punishment I know deep down I deserve.
I kick my bedroom door open and run down the stairs, still unnerved with this place being an actual house. I’d scored the place years ago—I couldn’t remember from whom at this point. He was graduating, I needed a place to stay, papers were signed, and I threw a party to pay my rent. It was the only house on frat house alley that didn’t have to correspond with the university’s rules. For years that’s how I lived.
Partying, drugs, and alcohol. Sex, without rules, and pills. It was all I needed. Or at least I needed nothing else but those things.
And then that night happened. When people come into my house, they’re looking for a good time and to screw up their lives in the best, most unforgettable ways possible. I’m not their parent. I never concerned myself with anyone who came here. I wasn’t their boss.
But Hillary was different. She was an angel. She came in here under false, sweet pretenses, and it damaged her. She had a life so much bigger than the entire city of Crystal Gulf’s combined. I had a hand in her damage, and it killed me.
A year later and she was gone, moved on, in love and happy. Her brother, Bach, my old party buddy, was gone too. I was left in Crystal Gulf, Texas with my mistakes, and they’re hard as hell to face.
My party house is now a regular college house. I have four other roommates to front the costs partying used to bring in. Now that I actually live in my house, it’s unfamiliar being sober. These walls used to contain my nothing. Now it’s set free, and the missing spaces show me the years I spent faded did nothing to help. My darkness is threatening to swallow me.
I don’t want to succumb.
Uneasiness burns in my guts. My roommates had turned my living room into an actual living room. There are cream-colored sofas and a large flat-screen television; even decorations adorn the wall. I eye the glass bowl of candy on the coffee table in disgust.
That’s what my life has come to.
I march over and plunge my hand inside, taking a fistful of Skittles with me to the kitchen. There are textbooks on the kitchen table … wait, when did we get a table? What’s next?
“Seltzer water?” A can appears in front of my face.
I stare carefully at Jacob until he takes the can of water away. He gives me a timid smile and then pops the tab like he’d been offering it to himself, taking a long drink until his freaky hazel eyes are watering.
“I’m still hyped about moving in here. This place is really cool,” he says, taking a seat on the stool as I continue to stare at the biggest dweeb in history.
Jacob’s mom pays his rent. I have no problem taking a sure thing when I see one. And maybe I rent him the biggest room because of who he is. This kid isn’t going to throw a party that gets one girl raped and another one drugged and assaulted. He’s a safe choice. I’ll keep him around because he has no idea he’s keeping me in line.
“Yeah, it’s real cool.” My skin is crawling. My brain is fuzzy with sobriety. I can’t think straight in this state. I need something to make my present easier to handle. “You want to go out and do something cool? Maybe get you laid?” I grin, anticipating his response. “Spend a minute doing something you’ll never forget?”
His eyes widen, and his throat bobs. “Like with an actual woman?”
“It doesn’t have to be a woman, Jacob. It’s a progressive world. Whatever gets your puny little pecker going works for me.”
He flushes, rolling his eyes. “She has to be a woman. And it isn’t puny. It’s … compact.”
I laugh, surprised by the humor in my body. Most things aren’t funny. They’re either fuzzy or empty. “We won’t lead with that. Making your dick sound like a Fiat isn’t going to get you laid.”
He smiles, turning back to his books. “Fiat,” he mumbles, shaking his head. “I promised my mom I wouldn’t do anything to taint the family name.”
I can’t with this guy. I stare at his back, waiting for him to tell me he’s joking. “How old are you again?”
“So, you’re telling me you came to Crystal Gulf University, chose to live on frat house alley, and want to stay home and do homework all year? Please don’t tell me you’re a virgin.”
He smirks at his textbook, turning the page on what looked like a math formula. “I have a girlfriend. We’ve been together since freshman year of high school. I may have promised her I’d be good. So, no parties for me.”
I roll my eyes. “What are you? A dog? You lick her ass when she’s dirty? Where is she?” If I know one thing about college chicks, it’s how many of them let me have them.
“New York. Fashion school. She’s a designer.” He sounds so proud, so honored.
So fucking delusional. “You really think your girlfriend’s sixteen-hundred miles away sitting in her dorm studying on a Friday night?” Poor guy.
He props his chin on the heel of his hand, gaze glimmering with defiance. “Yes.”
Bullshit. He didn’t come to the party city of the south for nothing. Maybe deep down, part of him wants to taste the thrill without consuming any actual darkness. Like inhaling secondhand fumes.
“Let me get this straight.” I pull a chair over and sit, eyeing the slight crease in his brows. He isn’t entirely stupid. He has his doubts. “I don’t want to shit on your parade. That’s a long time to be with someone. I get that. But you’re nineteen. You blow your time here being ‘good’ for a girl—who I can guarantee’s funneling beer out of a pair of tits right now—and you’re going to regret it.”
“Kyla wouldn’t do that. She loves me.” Defiance burns in his eyes. He pushes his hair away from his face and glares. “Where’s your girlfriend?”
“I don’t date. And I damn sure don’t let women put leashes around my neck.” But a pair of chocolate brown eyes flashes in my mind. I try and fight her place in my life, but I’m not sure there is much of a life without her.
There is one woman. Always one woman I come back to. Justine Fenton. Mine. She’s mine. But at the same time, she isn’t even hers. We’re toxic. The best kind of bad. We’re up and down, fire and ice—when we get together, we ruin everyone and everything in our path.
We’re a fucking storm.
It’s been months since I’ve seen her. She hooked up with this dipshit musician and had taken off to L.A. Like everyone. Everyone took off, left me here with myself like I was being punished each time I was forced to be alone.
Anger and hurt bubble up inside me whenever I think of her. But in the deep dark parts of me that I don’t dare go, she’s there too. I miss her. It’s that simple; it’s that complicated. Since we were teenagers, she’s been here. Maybe not right beside me, but her body was always close enough to long for. We fought, we got caught up in our own lives, we pushed the other away, but she always came back.
Why hasn’t she come back yet?
Maybe that’s the real reason I’ve been off lately. Because my heart is out there with someone else so far away from home. This is where Justine belongs.
In Crystal Gulf. With me.
But I’d just ruin her. I’d take her heart and bend it to the point of breaking, the same way she does mine. We’re so bad for each other that we’re actually so perfect for each other because of it. The push-and-pull kills us as it brings us both life.
“Jona?” A hand appears in front of my face. “Earth to, Jona.”
I knock Jacob’s hand away, shaking Justine’s sexy haunting eyes from my mind. I miss her eyes.
“We’re going out,” I snap, pushing away from the table. I need some ass. Some dirty, filthy ass that means nothing and wants it that way.
- eBook copy of Ruin Me