Always Red by Isabelle Ronin – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Isabelle Ronin who is sharing an excerpt from her upcoming book Always Red, the second book in her duology, which is scheduled for release on November 7. Check out our post for the first book, Chasing Red, here. Leave a comment for a chance to win a print copy of Chasing Red (US only).

The highly anticipated and epic conclusion to the Chasing Red duology

“Red,” Caleb whispered. “Do you know how I felt when you left me?”

I looked into his eyes. The emotion I saw in them, the intensity, and the tenderness filled up my throat.

“I felt ruined. Because, Red, every time you break me apart, you put me back together. And I always come out better than before.”

“So,” he cupped my face, stroking my cheek with his thumb. “Ruin me.”

Chasing Red Duology:
Chasing Red (Book 1)
Always Red (Book 2)

Praise for Chasing Red:
“Chasing Red is a perfectly sweet romance, with just the right amount of spice.”―Foreword Reviews
“Readers will be chomping at the bit while waiting for the next installment!”―RT Book Reviews
“Readers will swoon over Caleb.”―Publishers Weekly

Enjoy an Excerpt

We were back at the beach. It was past midnight, and the place was deserted, as if it had been waiting for us all day.
As if it had been waiting for this moment.

We lay on the sand, on the same blanket he’d brought when he took us here the very first time. It seemed like a long time ago. Before, he would have reached for my hand, threading his fingers through mine.

Not this time.

I turned onto my side so I could look at Caleb. His eyes were closed. The breeze blew a lock of his bronze hair against his forehead, and I wanted to brush it back so badly.

“I miss you, Caleb.”

He didn’t respond. His eyes remained closed, but I knew he heard me because I saw his breath catch in his chest.

I had hurt him badly, and he was probably still angry at me. He must hate me, but I would rather have that than a cold shoulder.

I needed to explain. I needed to tell him what I really felt.

I took a deep breath, gathering courage. “All my life I had to work hard to get the things I wanted. To reach the places I needed to be. I had to be strong—stronger than most people. Because I had to be. I shut out everyone. And why not?”

I rolled onto my back and looked up to the dark velvet sky, at the bright half-moon and the stars glittering like diamonds. It was so beautiful, so peaceful with the sound of the lapping waves. But a storm was brewing inside me.

“People are selfish,” I continued. “They always want something from you, and when they get it, they leave. So I never let anyone in. But then…I met you. You made me feel. You made me want things that I never allowed myself to want before. And it scared me. It scared me so much. So I didn’t trust you. I didn’t allow myself to. Every time I felt myself getting close to you, I pulled away.”

“Why?” he asked, his voice low and quiet.

“Because…because it hurts to hope for the impossible. How can someone like you want to know someone like me? All I have is a suitcase of sad stories and a broken heart. My walls are high and impossible to break down, and I won’t let anyone in. But I felt your warmth…seeping through the cracks. How did you know where to find me?” My voice broke. “No one else ever worked to find me, Caleb. No one else stayed long enough to even try”—I felt a tear slide down my cheek— “until you.”

I sat up, pulling my legs close to my chest and burying my face in my arms. I felt him sit up and move closer to me.

“I didn’t trust what you felt for me,” I admitted. “I was scared. I kept waiting for you to disappoint me. Everyone else did. And I think that…that…somehow there’s something wrong with me. Something missing. That I’m not enough to make you stay, that somehow, someday you’re going to get bored with me and leave.” I sobbed. “All my life, my dad told me it was my fault. That I was the reason for all the bad things…” I swallowed. I didn’t want to talk about him. I didn’t even know why I’d mentioned him.

“I wish he was in front of me so I could hurt him,” Caleb said. “More than he hurt you.”

I heard the anger in his voice. He paused for a moment, and I could hear him breathing slowly, trying to calm himself. When he spoke again, his voice had softened.

“Red,” he whispered. “Do you know how I felt when you left me?”

I lifted my head and looked into his eyes. The emotion I saw in them—the intensity and the tenderness—filled my throat.

“I felt ruined. You ruined me. There is anger, but every time I see you, my anger fades away. And there is pain, but what is love without pain? Because, Red, every time you break me apart, you put me back together. And I always come out better than before. So.” He cupped my face, stroking my cheek with his thumb. “Ruin me.”

About the Author: My name is Isabelle and I’m a lover of belly laughs and snorts and I eat fries and tofu a lot and I’m in love with kind, compassionate people and you can usually find me in bookstores, coffee shops, karaoke parties or at the beach when it’s not frozen solid and I’m Filipino Canadian.

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Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Chasing Red by Isabelle Ronin – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Isabelle Ronin who has stopped by to share an excerpt from Chasing Red, the first book in her duology, which recently released. Leave a comment for a chance to win a print copy of the book (US/Canada only please).

THEY SAID SHE WAS GOING TO BE MY RUIN…
THEN LET HER RUIN ME.

He had everything—wealth, adoration, a brilliant future. Until one chance encounter changed everything. The moment Caleb Lockhart spotted the mysterious woman in her siren red dress, he couldn’t tear his eyes away. For the first time in his life, he wanted something. Something he knew he could never have. The unforgettable stranger he dubs RED.

Chasing Red Duology:
Chasing Red (Book 1) – available now
Always Red (Book 2) – available November 7

Enjoy an Excerpt

It was late when I arrived at Caleb’s apartment. I was exhausted, but I couldn’t help the grin that spread across my face. I might not have gotten a job offer, but I’d gotten my résumé into as many hands as possible. It had been a very productive day.

Opening the fridge, I wondered how fast I could make Caleb’s dinner so I could slip into my bedroom before he returned home—but the fridge was as empty as my bank account.

I groaned in defeat when I heard the front door open. But when I heard heavy footsteps coming from the living room, I reached for my pocketknife in case it wasn’t Caleb. I’d already made one mistake, but still—better safe than sorry.

“Red?”

I let out a sigh of relief when I heard Caleb’s voice. He was sprawled on the couch, remote control in hand as he turned on the TV. His black leather shoes and dinner jacket decorated the floor. Discarding his clothes there seemed to be a habit.

I stood behind him, admiring the way the bronze in his hair glinted in the light.

“What’s for dinner?” he asked, propping his feet on the coffee table.

“I just got back. I’ll make you something now if you want.”

He looked over his shoulder at me. If my heart tripped—which it totally didn’t—it was a normal and healthy reaction to seeing a gorgeous face. It didn’t mean anything.

“Are you trying to butt out of our bargain already?” he asked, turning back to the TV.

Insulted, I put my hands on my hips, glaring at him. “Unless you want orange juice soup with Pop-Tart croutons, you need to go to the store. We don’t have any groceries.”

He rested his head on the couch headrest and arched up and over so that he was looking at me upside down. “You’re giving me a neck injury. Why don’t you come around so we can talk like normal human beings?”

I narrowed my eyes at him.

He sighed. In a smooth move, he straightened, turned, then climbed to sit on top of the couch. He playfully studied me. “I’m bored,” he stated.

I raised my eyebrows. Did he expect me to entertain him? “And?”

“You owe me dinner.”

“I told you—”

A grin stretched across his face as he loosened his red tie. “You can pay me another way.”

My jaw fell open.

He laughed. “Why is your mind always in the gutter?”

I blinked once. Twice. My mind was always in the gutter?

He pushed off the couch, put his shoes back on, grabbed his keys and helmet from the coffee table, and walked past me. I thought he was going to leave when I felt his hand circle around my wrist, dragging me out the door with him.

“Oh for God’s sake, where are you taking me?”

God, he was tall. For every step he took, I had to take two to keep up.

He pressed the elevator button. “For a ride.”

“A ride?”

He started laughing as he pulled me inside the elevator, pressed the Down button, and watched the door close. “I’ve never met a girl who twisted my words as much as you do. You have a filthy mind, Red. Filthy.”

“What the… A filthy mind!” I sputtered.

When the elevator door opened, he dragged me into the basement parking garage.

“A ride.” He clucked his tongue. “On my bike.”

I pulled my wrist from his hold, rubbing my hand against my jeans. His skin was hot and made me feel strange things.

He stopped and glanced back at me. “Problem?”

“It’s Sunday night. Don’t you have class tomorrow?”

“So?” He shrugged a shoulder. “I’m in college, not high school. I can skip class if I want.”

“Of course you can. You’re rich. You don’t have to work for anything.”

His eyes darkened, and he shoved his hands in his pockets, giving me a long look. “Do you like to be judged for being poor? You think having money saves me from pain?”

Chastised, I fell silent. When I opened my mouth to apologize, he cut me off. “You coming or not?”

I nodded, feeling guilty, and followed behind.

When he stopped in front of a sleek black machine, I stared at him in disbelief. It looked like it ate kids for breakfast.

“Ever ride a bike before?” he asked, tossing his black helmet from hand to hand like a basketball.

I took a step back. “I’m not riding that monster.”

His laugh was low and sexy. He grabbed my wrist again and pulled me close—closer than was necessary.

“I don’t know,” he whispered, his thumb stroking my palm in lazy circles. “I have a feeling you’re going to like it.”

My breath hitched, and he chuckled when I pulled away.

“N-no. I’d like to keep my limbs intact, thank you very much.”

His eyes danced at me playfully. “Yeah? Where’s the fun in that? Rule number one,” he said, gently placing the helmet on my head, “safety first.” He fastened the straps tightly under my chin.

“Rule number two,” he continued, flipping the visor down. I felt slightly claustrophobic so I flipped it back up. “When I’m making a turn, lean your body toward the turn. Never the opposite way. Got it?”

“Sure.”

He smiled down at me, staring for a moment. I wanted to bottle the color of his vibrant green eyes. Realizing I was staring, I shook the thought from my mind and snapped, “What?”

He shrugged, then swung his long leg to straddle his bike. “Hop on.”

When I didn’t, he turned his head, eyebrows raised and eyes glinting with challenge. At that moment, he looked like a gorgeous devil who’d take my soul to hell—and enjoy every minute of it. “You scared?”

My skin prickled with irritation. It would take more than a pretty boy on a big-ass motorcycle to scare me. I’d prove him wrong. I huffed and climbed on the bike, grabbing the sides of my seat.

“Where’s your helmet?” I demanded.

“Only have one,” he replied. He was so close—close enough for me to catch his masculine scent. “Nobody rides this bike but me. You’re the first passenger.”

He turned the engine on, revving it a few times. The bike vibrated angrily.

“Forgot to tell you the last rule,” he said conversationally, looking over his shoulder. I could hear the mischief in his tone.

“I’m sure you’re going to tell me.”

He grinned. “Hold on to me. Really, really tight.”

“No, thanks.”

“Suit yourself.”

I cried out as the bike zoomed forward, and my arms automatically went around him. I could feel his shoulders and hard stomach shaking with laughter.

He so did that on purpose! Fine, he won this round.

I vowed the next one would be mine, as we exited the garage with a roar.

I didn’t like the bike. It was noisy and dangerous. But as we streaked down the road, and the wind whipped cool and damp on my skin, I felt…

Freedom.

About the Author: My name is Isabelle and I’m a lover of belly laughs and snorts and I eat fries and tofu a lot and I’m in love with kind, compassionate people and you can usually find me in bookstores, coffee shops, karaoke parties or at the beach when it’s not frozen solid and I’m Filipino Canadian.

Website | Facebook

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.