No one knew about the secrets that kept me awake at night.
Wicked Lies, an all-new heart-wrenching new adult romance from USA Today bestselling author Renee Harless is available now!
I had a new life.
One that I fought for.
One that I lied for.
One that I would do anything to protect.
No one knew about the secrets that kept me awake at night.
I fought tooth and nail to keep everyone at arm’s length.
Until a woman I hadn’t seen since childhood showed up on my doorstep.
Keeley Fox wanted answers, but all that I could give her were lies.
Lies that would shield her from the nastiness of my past. A past that collided with hers and could destroy the pretty world that she lived in.
One push from her became too much and I savored her downfall, except she took me down with her.
Now I was exposed to all of Wellington University and that reputation I had built was a pile of bricks at my feet.
The greatest lie of all was that love was worth the fight.
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I waited for her to finish her phone call before making her aware of my presence. Leaning against the jamb of her door, I crossed my arms against my chest with her notebook tucked protectively between my hands.
Deep in my chest a laugh began to bubble up, and I had to fight to push it down as her back stiffened while placing her phone on the now empty desk.
“What’s the matter, Keeley? Missing something?”
“No. . .I. . .” she said with hunched shoulders as she slowly turned to face me.
“Are you sure?” I asked as I pushed away from the door and stepped closer to her with the notebook opened. “I found this amazing book with a bucket list of sorts.”
“Give it back!” she said as she lunged for it, only for my height to thwart her attempt as I held the notebook above her head.
“No. I think I’ll hang onto it a bit longer.”
“Chance, please. You shouldn’t have gone through my things. It’s a violation!”
Shrugging my shoulders, I simply replied, “my apartment.”
“God, don’t be such an asshole and just give it back.”
“But I like being an asshole, it brings out this fiery side in you, little mouse.”
“Gah!” she exclaimed as she jumped for the notebook again, only for her fingertips to scrape the bottom of the book barely. “What do you even want it for?”
“I don’t know. Light reading? Maybe I’ll give it back when I’m done.”
“You know what?” she stated with her hands in fists resting at her hips. She looked like a deranged Wonder Woman. “Keep it. I don’t care. I have other things to do. Important things. Things that matter. Unlike you who seems to have nothing better to do than bed every woman you come in contact with.”
“Everyone but you,” I chimed in. “I don’t do users.”
“User? Excuse me?”
“Yeah. Used my brother for his hospitality, used your father for a job, I’m sure the list goes on and on.”
“I didn’t. . .you know what? I don’t need to explain myself to you. If you don’t mind, I have a project to work on, and then I have dinner plans. Please get out. I’ll have some sort of rent for you by the end of the day. Maybe that will keep you from going through my things.”
The tips of my fingernails dug into the roughened skin of my palms as I clenched my fists. Something about Keeley’s words triggered a recollection, a memory that had been safely tucked away in a locked box. It was from a past event, the time when my world was flipped upside down, and I was forced to be someone else. I had been five someone else’s since I was born.
I clenched my eyes shut as I stood in her doorway, praying for the blackness to wash away the images of bags, toys, and clothes. I couldn’t figure out why it seemed so familiar.
A soft hand pressed against my bare forearm and I jerked back like she had scalded me with a branding iron.
“Are you okay? You look sick?”
“Don’t fucking touch me,” I seethed, unable to pull myself from the grip of the false reality I had found myself in. “You don’t get to lay a hand on me, mouse. I’ll leave your shit alone when I feel like it.”
She crossed her arms and stood toe to toe against me. If I weren’t so fucked in my own head, I’d probably take a moment to realize that she was quite attractive when she was fired up with her pink cheeks and narrowed gaze.
“Fine, then it seems like that gives me permission to go through yours. Make sure you don’t have any skeletons in that closet, Chance, because I’m going to find them all.”
Stepping back, I tossed the book inside her room, the thick covers landing with a bounce on her bed. Leaning down, the tip of my nose pressed against hers as I said, “No skeletons, just a few notches in that bedpost. But a goodie girl like you wouldn’t know a damn thing about that, would ya? You’re too busy doing what everyone tells you. This little bucket list of yours is the only secret that you have.”
“Just stay out of my way this semester, got it?”
Renee Harless is a romance writer with an affinity for wine and a passion for telling a good story.
Renee Harless, her husband, and children live in Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She studied Communication, specifically Public Relations, at Radford University.
Growing up, Renee always found a way to pursue her creativity. It began by watching endless runs of White Christmas- yes even in the summer – and learning every word and dance from the movie. She could still sing “Sister Sister” if requested. In high school she joined the show choir and a community theatre group, The Troubadours. After marrying the man of her dreams and moving from her hometown she sought out a different artistic outlet – writing.
To say that Renee is a romance addict would be an understatement. When she isn’t chasing her toddler or preschooler around the house, working her day job, or writing, she jumps head first into a romance novel.
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