Publication date: August 19th 2021
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
The Auctioned Series is a journey packed with action, nail-biting suspense, family, and love. In Gray and Darius’s fight for freedom and a future where they aren’t haunted by the ghosts of their pasts, they’ll make you laugh, cry, possibly yell at your e-reader, and swoon just a little bit.
In a race against time, Gray didn’t allow himself to consider defeat. He refused. They couldn’t lose now. Darius had to be okay. Oh God, he had to be okay.
One minute and twelve seconds had passed since the guys in the compound had started collapsing, and Gray could hear Darius in his mind, calling him knucklehead in that sharp tone that demanded attention. Pull it together, focus, get the job done. So with his heart threatening to pound its way out of his rib cage, Gray let this final task become his one and only mission. They were gonna finish the operation once and for all, and they were gonna walk away with a bright future ahead of them. A future that promised family, new adventures, and freaking farm animals.
This was it.
This story takes place in Cara Dee’s Camassia Cove Universe, a fictional town where all books stand on their own, unless otherwise stated, and the reader can jump in wherever they want. The Auctioned Series should be read in the following order: Auctioned, Stranded, Deserted, Played, and Finished.
There was no point in telling Reese to go faster. He was going as fast as the truck allowed, his hard stare pinned on the dark road ahead, his knuckles white from his tight grip on the wheel.
Gray couldn’t take his eyes off the speedometer. Except for when he glanced down at his watch.
One minute and twelve seconds had passed since Willow screamed out that the guys were collapsing in the compound.
One minute and twelve seconds since Gray’s heart had become firmly lodged in his throat.
A million thoughts constantly tried to stab at Gray’s concentration, and he couldn’t afford to let a single one in. The whispers, the questions, the fears—all of them swirled around in his head. I didn’t know there were gonna be so many victims. Darius better fucking live. Did Alicia release the carbon monoxide anyway? How do we get the guys to the hospital? Gray swallowed hard, his knees bouncing restlessly. He was squeezed into the middle seat between Reese and Niko, and it was suffocating. The second they made it back to the old brothel, he was gonna dive out of the truck. He already felt like Niko was in the way and would delay him.
Precisely everything had gone sideways.
Because Alicia had fucked them over. She’d been working against them from the start.
Gray wanted to murder her.
He closed his eyes for a few seconds and tried to take a deep breath. Focus. Get to the compound. Find Darius. He had to be okay. He had to. Willow hadn’t been able to see him on any of the cameras she’d hacked into, and apparently there were only three. One in the showroom where they’d hosted auctions, one in the back where victims had been held, and one concealed in the lobby.
River was passed out in the back, in the same room where he’d been interrogating Alfred Lange. Dante and Elliott had dropped in the showroom, and—
“G-guys,” Willow stammered. Gray adjusted his earpiece to hear better, past Willow’s panic and heavy breathing. “We have m-movement. Tariq—mask—he’s dragging—” She cut off with a pained whimper that felt like a knife to Gray’s chest. “I-I have to c-call someone.”
“Don’t talk,” Gray commanded, barely recognizing his own voice. It came out sharp and dark, reminding him too much of someone with more authority. “We’re almost there. Focus on your breathing, Willow.”
She’d already saved them more than once.
“Twenty seconds,” Reese said quietly, just as tense as the rest of them. “Gear up.”
Gray reached for his gas mask on the dash and strapped it properly around his head. Niko did the same. The rescue unit wasn’t supposed to face any threats whatsoever, so they didn’t have full combat gear, just utility pants, long-sleeved tees, boots, handguns, and a knife or two.
“Gray, I understand you’ll run for Darius right away,” Reese said. “Just like I will get my brother out of there first—but there’s no playing favorites after that. We help whoever we find.”
That went without saying.
Nausea crawled up Gray’s throat as the brothel came into view, but he pushed it down. He pushed everything down, leaving only his training. Darius’s voice in his head was as clear as ever, and Gray clung to it. He needed to hear Dare’s rough yet smooth whiskey voice calling him knucklehead.
In that voice, he imagined Darius reminding him that panic did no one any good. Keep your emotions in check. Focus.
To Niko’s credit, he opened the door and flew out before Reese had stopped fully behind their other truck, and it catapulted Gray into action. With his heart threatening to pound its way out of his body, he rounded the big truck, ran up to the remains of the brothel, and tore through it. Then down the concrete steps in one of the back rooms and into the compound’s lobby.
I’m coming for you, baby.
He’d just veered left when he came to a screeching halt in the narrow corridor. Tariq was there, wearing a mask, and dragging a lifeless…someone. Gray peered closer, just a quick glance, and recognized Ryan’s face.
“You’re here. Go,” Tariq urged, breathing heavily. “Hurry! Darius is in the kitchen.”
Gray didn’t need to be told twice. He left Tariq behind and ran down the hall, grabbing his gun on the way just in case. Through the showroom, where Gray did everything in his power to shut out the images that wanted to assault him. He’d been through too much, and tonight he’d seen too much, too.
The bodies strewn all over the floor didn’t bother him in the slightest. Justice had been served. It was the knowledge that young, innocent people had stood before the vile monsters that sickened him. Monsters that put a price tag on someone’s life.
“River!” Reese yelled somewhere.
“Niko, Dante and Elliott are here!” Gray barked out. He was sure he just saw Dante move, too; maybe he wasn’t out completely.
Gray darted through the doorway on the other side of the large room. It was darker back here, and he felt his senses sharpen, his heart beat faster, his pulse going through the roof. Too many doors, too many fucking doors. But one was open, two doors down, and he poked his head in. At the same time as his hand found a light switch, his vision adjusted enough to notice the big form on the floor.
“Darius.” He didn’t register flicking on the light or tucking away his gun, only that it was suddenly bright, and he rushed forward to roll Darius onto his back. “Baby, wake up.” He smacked Darius’s cheeks lightly and quickly searched the floor for a gas mask. When he didn’t find one, he removed his own and placed it over Darius’s face. “I’ll get you out of here.” Then he stood up and hitched his arms under Darius’s armpits.
You’ll be fine, you’ll be fine, you’ll be fine.
Gray gnashed his teeth and dragged Darius out of the room. Or kitchen. Christ, all impressions registered too late. Same with the cuts and scrapes on Darius’s face. Or… Shit. The blood. Darius was losing blood.
I’m often awkwardly silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex.
There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly.
Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve.
I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.
Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.
I’m a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, cooking, baking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and family, too. But mostly, I just love to write.
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