Four best friends struggle with decisions that affect their lives, their hearts, and their futures. As sisters, they embrace the Girl Code.
Hope by Jessica Jayne: Josephine “Joey” Lockhart escapes her past, herself and her home town of Pearl, Ohio to Florida after high school. Years later, she meets a man that refuses to let her hide behind her camera lens and encourages her out of her shell. Will he be the one to push her to feel for the first time?
Live by Lea Bronsen: After seven years in drug hell, detoxing Juliette “Juls” Carrington returns to her hometown Pearl to attend her grandmother’s burial. Once more rejected by her family, she has a swim in a pond nearby when a mysterious camper, an ex-drunk, coaxes her to come to his hut in the woods. Together they must fight their inner demons for a chance to love…and live.
Faith by Cait Jarrod: Selena Bodine escaped into the United States Air Force to leave behind a painful past and the one man who she refused to let herself love. Years later, an urgent call from her father brings her back to Pearl, Ohio and face to face with the man she still loves. But will the secret that Cullen is investigating her threaten their second chance?
Persistence by DC Stone: Laydi Michaels has been running away from her past and bad memories for years. Finding herself wasn’t an easy task, but she’s managed to finally get to a point to where she wants to be. Only to wake up married to her boss….who fired her the night before. Wrapped in a case that puts her life in danger, and dealing with a grave situation back home in Pearl, Laydi figures out she wasn’t close to finding herself, and now, she’s risked everything.
Introduction by NYT and USA Today bestselling author Julie Ann Walker.
About the Authors
Jessica Jayne is a born and raised small town Ohio girl, who moved to the Sunshine State after graduating from college. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English because she could not imagine doing anything else but reading and writing. In the journey of life, she obtained her law degree (and bar license) and also became a wife and a mother of three children. So, life is always an adventure.
She loves to read and write… obviously! She’s a huge sports fan, especially college football and The Ohio State Buckeyes! Go Steelers! Go Rays! Go Lightning! She LOVES to travel… LOVES, LOVES, LOVES to travel. She loves to drink coffee in the morning and tea at night! She loves a good glass of wine, especially if it comes from a bottle made by the FOOLS wine club… yep, she’s a founding member of that crazy group! She loves hanging out with her family and friends! Music makes her happy. She’s a mix between country girl and city chic. She’s a sucker for a cowboy hat!
Lea Bronsen likes her reads fast, hot, and edgy, and strives to give her own stories the same intensity. After venturing into dirty inner-city crime drama with her debut novel Wild Hearted, she divides her writing time between psychological thriller, romantic suspense, and erotic contemporary romance.
From writing ‘every girl’s dream heroes’ to ‘strong, down-to-earth heroines,’ Cait Jarrod twists ‘cliff hanging plots’ and ‘clever, unpredictable sub-plots’. She loves diving into a good book as much as she loves writing one. Mother of three gorgeous daughters, she’s married to her best friend, hangs out with a great group of women—the WWC, and loves a good glass of wine.
DC Stone has over sixteen years of investigative experience, including working as a criminal investigator in the United States military and a private investigator. Currently, she works as an internal affairs investigator by day and a romantic suspense author by night. She has her Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and is dubbed, “The Investigative Whisperer.” Commonly called upon to act as an expert witness, she also trains with local, state, and federal law enforcement officers. She provides numerous workshops that help authors gain insight into “digging” into a character’s mind to better understand motives, create suspense, and help maintain conflict.
When she isn’t trying to solve a new puzzle in the world of fraud, she is engulfed with coffee, her laptop, and all those crazy characters in her head. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hudson Valley Romance Writers, Rom Vets, RWA Kiss of Death, and the Liberty State Fiction Writers. She served as the 2014 Vice President and Conference Chair for NJRW.
Excerpt from Lea Bronsen’s story Live:
“Hey, watch out!” a male voice called.
Holy… She nearly jumped out of her skin. Pulse beating at a frantic pace, she ducked until the water covered her breasts…and slowly, methodically, scanned her surroundings.
There. On the other side of the pond, about three hundred feet from her bag, a shirtless guy wearing a cap sat on the shore with his back against a tree. Looking at her.
He had toned muscles and unusually dark skin for a blue-eyed man, making his clear gaze stand out like flashlights in his bearded face. An outdoors guy. Had he observed her the whole time?
“That place is dangerous!” He pointed a few feet ahead of her. “You don’t wanna get your feet stuck.”
“Oh, I know,” she called back. He wasn’t telling her anything new.
“Yeah?” His tone said he didn’t believe her. Understandable, with her toe still dipped in the mud.
“Yeah.” She pulled her toe out with a silent pop.
As if she needed to explain. “I used to live here.”
“Uh-huh? What’s your name?”
Damn, what a busybody. She frowned. What a weird conversation to have with a stranger. Her business was none of his. Shrugging him off, she spun in the water and swam toward her bag.
In the corner of her eye, the guy stood and walked along the shore, in the same direction as she swam.
Fuck. Her heart hammered in her chest. What were his intentions? Did he have the potential to hurt her?
Of course, he was faster. When he reached her bag, she was still fifty feet away.
She slowed, treading the water with her chin lifted. “What do you want?”
“Pretty girls shouldn’t be alone in the woods.”
Though her instincts warned to be careful, she swam closer and sent him a hard look. It would take more to frighten her. Living on the street, she’d seen it all. She sniggered. “If you’re planning on hurting me, I’ve already been raped front, back, mouth, every orifice you can think of. I’m beyond caring.” That should shut him up. Who would want to further damage a wreck?
Except she wasn’t a wreck. The rape didn’t break her, neither did the amount of chemicals she had absorbed over the years. Nothing could.
Her toes touched hard ground. She moved a little farther, arms flapping, until she could stand on her feet.
He stared at her, clear blue eyes beneath the gray cap scrutinizing and thoughtful. She’d seen eyes like that before, but couldn’t place them. He sat next to her bag, his gaze sweeping the grass around him. “Where’s your towel?”
She stepped forward until the water sank to chest level. “Don’t have one. Now, go away. Leave me alone.” If he thought he was in for a nude show, he had to think again.
“What if I don’t want to?” Brows lifted in nonchalance, he picked a grass straw and placed it between his white teeth, flashing them to her with a teasing grin. “This is my forest. You’ll have to make me go away.” He used good-natured humor, so he was a teaser, maybe not the kind of guy who’d hurt her.
“Oh, your forest?”
His smile widened.
She shook her head. “At least, look away.” Covering her breasts with an arm and her pubic area with the free hand, she treaded toward the shore.
He did look away—into her duffel bag. “What’s this?” Before she could react, his hand dove into the bag, rummaged inside, and brought out her colorful diary.
Oh, no. Her heart made a giant leap. He would discover the most intimate, sacred part of her.
She waded faster, water rushing like small torrents around her waist. Her breath picked up from the efforts.
Grinning again, he waved it in the air. “Bringing Christmas presents to the picnic, are we?”
Fuck him. “Don’t touch that!” She stepped closer. The water reached her knees and splashed around.
“What is it?” He opened the first page, feigning deep concentration, then looked up. “What are these things? What’re you keeping them for?”
“Stop! It’s personal.”
His brows lifted. “It is? How interesting.” With a chuckle, he stood and took a few steps backward while demonstratively turning page after page.
What an asshole. She hated giving the impression she was desperate, but fuck if she’d allow a perfect stranger to read her diary. Still covering herself, she reached the shore and sprang out of the pond, water running down her naked body in rivulets.
He turned another page and squinted as if unable to see well.
Breathless, she hurried around her open bag and stopped in front of him. He seemed harmless, but she was so pissed and shocked, she could barely speak. “Give—it—to—me!”
He stood a head taller than her and twice her size in width. Limpid blue eyes gleamed beneath the cap. Chewing on his grass straw, he gave her a once-over and grinned. “You want it?”
“Y-yes.” Cool water drops prickled from her hair and landed on her skin, sending a shiver up her spine. “F-fuck-h-ead.”
Holding her gaze, he closed the notebook with a bang and held it out to her.
Oops. In her hurry, she’d forgotten one vital thing. How was she going to take the damn thing when she needed both hands to cover her body?
He smirked. “Problem?”