USA Today bestselling author Claire Kent continues her emotionally charged story of longing, betrayal, and insatiable desire as two lovers find themselves in a deadly standoff of seduction.
Kelly Watson got involved with mogul Caleb Marshall for all the wrong reasons: namely, to prove that he murdered her father twenty years ago. But Caleb is hotter than hell, the sex is mind-blowing, and Kelly’s afraid that she’s falling for him despite her chilling suspicions. Now, the more time she spends in his arms, the more she risks betraying her identity and losing her heart. The only way out is to discover the truth before Caleb figures out who she really is.
Caleb’s feelings for Kelly are taking him into uncharted territory, replacing his weakness for call girls and one-night stands with a hunger for something real. Still, the ruthless businessman in him can’t resist looking into Kelly’s background. When his investigation suggests that he’s not the only one with something to hide, Caleb is forced to decide if he can trust someone who’s been telling him lies. For the first time, Caleb understands how intimacy can be so tempting—and, in the wrong hands, so dangerous.
Darker the Release is intended for mature audiences.
Claire Kent has been writing romance novels since she was twelve years old. She has a PhD in British literature and, when she’s not writing, teaches English at the university level. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Noelle Adams.
Both Kelly and Caleb jumped at the unexpected interruption of a conversation that had felt so intensely personal.
Caleb’s expression was briefly annoyed as he turned to see who had broken in, but it immediately transformed into a genuine smile. “Wes. I should have guessed it was you barging in where you’re clearly not wanted.”
Wes was evidently a real friend, if Kelly was to go by Caleb’s demeanor. He looked to be around Caleb’s age—early forties—and had a pleasant face, soft hazel eyes, and a warm smile. He wasn’t the powerhouse and sex god that Caleb was. Not even close. But he looked intelligent and rather nice. “Ah, but someone had to save your reputation. Gloria Cannon was starting to tsk her tongue at you.”
Caleb was grinning as he made the introductions. He liked this man. Kelly couldn’t help but see it, and it intrigued her, since he didn’t seem to be close to anyone.
“We were friends at school,” Caleb explained, drawing her to his side, his arm resting on her waist.
“I guess you’ve known each other a long time, then.”
“You don’t have to make it sound like we’re ancient, but yeah, it’s been quite awhile,” Caleb responded.
“What do you do, Wes?” Kelly asked, genuinely curious and wanting to make sure she acted like a normal girlfriend would.
“I make cars.”
She was processing this as Caleb interjected, “Not with his own hands, just to clarify. He sits at a desk like I do.”
“I’m a corporate executive with the company, but it sounds more impressive if I just tell people I make cars.” Wes smiled at her. He seemed to be genuinely pleased to meet her, which wasn’t true of a lot of the other people at this party.
“You live in DC?”
“No. I’m in Paris, actually. But I’m back in town for a little while for family reasons.”
Kelly suddenly made the connection. The mother of one of Caleb’s friends had needed to go to the hospital for treatment several weeks ago. This must be the friend.
That day had evidently been rough on Caleb—he said he hated hospitals—so she figured he would only have done it for someone he was really close to.
It was strange to meet a friend of his, connections going back to his childhood. It made Caleb somehow seem more fully human.
They chatted for a few minutes, but then Caleb went to round them up some more drinks. As soon as he stepped away, Wes said with another smile, “Now that he’s gone, you can give me the real scoop.”
She lifted her eyebrows, but her heart gave a little leap, since it sounded like Wes believed there was some secret about her to be known. “What scoop?” Her mind was buzzing a little from the alcohol. She shouldn’t have drunk the third glass of champagne. She wasn’t as sharp as she needed to be.
“How did you and Caleb meet?”
She let out a breath of relief, trying not to reflect it on her face. “We just ran into each other by accident. At a park, actually. He was there with Ralph—his dog.” Wes evidently knew who Ralph was, so she continued, “I thought he was a client I was supposed to meet, so we started talking. We just hit it off.”
What had actually happened was they’d fucked each other like animals before they knew each other’s names, but no need to be quite so detailed about their first encounter.
“What do you do?” he asked.
“I paint pet portraits. It sounds kind of crazy, but there are a surprising number of people who want to have their pets memorialized that way.”
Wes chuckled. “I guess so. So you’re from the area?”
“Yeah. I grew up in DC, and I still live here.”
“Where did you go to school?”
Kelly was starting to get uncomfortable with all the questions. Wes appeared to be just acting friendly, but he was obviously curious about her, and she preferred to avoid a lot of personal questions.
The more information she gave about herself, the easier it would be for someone to find out who she really was.
She was safe—because her mother had gone to great lengths to hide any connection between her and her biological parents when she was adopted as a child—but still, she didn’t want to give anyone any clues that could be followed.
No one was perfectly safe.
First and foremost thanks go out to NetGalley, Random House Loveswept and Tasty Book Tours for providing us with a copy of this book so that we could bring you this review.
So being the second book in this series, we’d already been introduced to Kelly and Caleb and knew what their relationship was all about. We knew why Kelly was originally with Kelly and what else was at stake, but we didn’t know the depth of her feelings, or how Caleb feels about her. We also finally got to meet Wes and it wasn’t all what we thought it would be. I had hopes that the moment with Wes would be more exciting. Though I do understand why his interactions with Kelly were the way that they were. The role Wes plays in actually quite important.
There was one moment in the book that I was so scared that Kelly was going back to her old ways. I was afraid that the progress she’d made was lost. I will also warn that there are parts of this book that you will find the the need to have tissues close. The moments that you feel your heart is going to be ripped apart is the parts that you push harder for a happy ending for these two. I will tell you there are moments that you doubt that there is a future for Caleb and Kelly, but I can tell you keep reading because its worth it in the end.