Exclusive Excerpt: Beautifully Broken Control - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

A woman trying to rebuild her life.

Kennedy is doing all she can to escape, to prove that she’s not the monster her father was. A simple life of peace and service is all she needs.

A man haunted by a past he can’t forget.

Cain has buried his demons under layers of control and success. The only thing he needs is his company and his solitude. Certainly not a woman with captivating green eyes filled with ghosts so similar to his own.

He’s a reminder of the life she’s left behind. And she’s a threat to his tightly guarded control. As sparks fly between them, they discover that what they might need most is each other.

But with pasts like theirs…you never know when darkness might descend.

Series:

Sutter Late Series

Book 4

Book Type:

Contemporary Romance

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Exclusive Excerpt: Beautifully Broken Control
By Catherine Cowles

Exclusive Excerpt: Beautifully Broken Control

Coming next week is the latest installment in the Sutter Lake series by Catherine Cowles—BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN CONTROL. This is a standalone small-town romance about two people who find each other, but struggle to let go of the past demons which bind them.

If you’ve not read the series, this is also a good time to start as the first book in the series, BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN PIECES, is FREE for a limited time!

But for now, I’m thrilled to share a sneak peek from BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN CONTROL below…

“Kenz, I’m getting us wine.” Jensen lifted up a bottle. “White okay?”

“Yes, thank you.”

Taylor reached out a hand, pulling me to her for a hug. “Hey, girlie.”

“Hey, Tay. How are plans for the engagement party going?”

She grinned up at me as I hopped onto a stool. “I think we’re pretty much done. We’re going casual and plan to have it right in the backyard.” She inclined her head towards the outside.

I took the glass of wine that Jensen handed me. “That sounds perfect.”

Irma peeked out from around Taylor, the lines on her face deepening as a mischievous smile spread. “What I can’t wait for is the bachelorette party. I’m calling it now. I’m in charge of the strippers!”

“Grams,” Jensen chided, but she couldn’t hold in her laughter.

I took a sip of the crisp, white wine. “If Irma’s in charge, we better all start saving for bail money.”

Taylor eyed her fiancé in the living room. “I think I’ve got us covered in that department.”

I chuckled. “Perks of marrying a cop.”

The doorbell rang, and Sarah straightened, wiping her hands on her apron. “Oh, good, that must be Cain.” Her smile was huge. “It’s been so long since I’ve seen my boy.”

I looked at Jensen as Sarah headed to the door. “Does she adopt everyone who comes her way?”

Jensen set her wine glass down on the counter. “Pretty much.”

Taylor’s gaze followed Sarah before she glanced back to J. “So, what’s this guy’s story? I haven’t heard much from Walker. All I know is that he, Tuck, and Cain went to college together and that they’re close.”

Something unidentifiable flickered across Jensen’s face before her features smoothed out. “He’s a real good guy. He comes across a bit distant at times, but he’s got a great heart. You’ll like him.”

Taylor set down her wine, as well. “Well, he found Tessa when she was kidnapped, so he’s already on my list of favorite people.”

Tessa was one of the girls I knew the least. She had been gone almost the entire time I’d lived in Sutter Lake, accompanying her boyfriend on a US tour for his latest album. But I knew from just a few encounters she was really kind. I eyed J. “How did he find her?”

There was a sparkle in Jensen’s eyes. “Didn’t I tell you? He’s kind of a crazy hacker. He can dig up anything on anyone.”

My stomach twisted. He could find out anything about anyone. I let out a breath, giving my head a little shake. So what if he could. There was nothing for him to discover about me, even if he was interested enough to look. Kennedy Charles was a blank slate, an empty canvas. One of these days, I’d start filling it in.

Irma shot to her feet. “Quick, someone call 9-1-1. I’m going into cardiac arrest with all this hotness.”

Jensen let out a snort of laughter, smacking her grandmother’s arm. “You’re incorrigible.”

“I know a fine man-meat sandwich when I see it.”

I looked up to see Walker, Tuck, and a man who had to be Cain in a huddle of hugs and back slaps. As the dark-haired man pulled out of Tuck’s hold, I sucked in a sharp breath. And then I couldn’t seem to take in any air at all.

Cain was tall, with broad shoulders encased in what could only be a custom-made button-down that skimmed his muscular chest and arms before tucking into dark-wash jeans that hugged his hips perfectly. But it was his face that held me captive. No, his eyes. They were a shade of blue I’d never seen on a human being. So dark, you might think they were brown. And they were locked on me.

My fingers began to tingle, and I realized that I hadn’t taken another breath. I forced my gaze away, taking in air and grinning at my shoes. Apparently, Irma wasn’t the only one affected by the hotness in the room. Get a grip, Kenz.

Taylor let out a low whistle next to me. “That man is something.”

Jensen laughed. “Yeah, I called the three of them the trio of terror when they were in college.”

“I bet.” Taylor took a sip of wine. “I’m looking forward to summer when they’re all shirtless at the lake.”

Jensen wadded up her napkin and threw it at Taylor. “Gross. One of those guys is my brother.”

Taylor shrugged. “Just keep your gaze focused on the other two.”

Jensen’s lip quirked. “Not a bad plan.” She looked at me. “He’s hot, right?”

I felt heat hit my cheeks. “They’re all handsome.”

Taylor scoffed. “Understatement of the century.”

Jensen rose from her stool. “Cain, get over here.”

My heart picked up its pace. It was fine. He was just a man. Handsome, sure, but nothing to be intimidated by. I forced my gaze up just as Cain wrapped Jensen in a hug.

“Little J,” he whispered into her hair. “It’s so good to see you.”

Jensen pulled back. “I’ve missed you.”

“Hey, hands off my girl.” Tuck strode forward, pulling Jensen into his arms. “You’ve got your pick of women. They follow you around like lost puppies. Go find another one and stay away from mine.”

Of course, Cain had a trail of women. My gaze traveled over him quickly, more assessing than appreciative now. The perfectly tailored outfit. The expertly cut and styled hair. I knew men like this. And I wanted nothing to do with any of them.

Jensen elbowed Tuck in the gut. “Like you were much better.”

He bent down, sweeping his lips across hers. “But you tamed me.”

Jensen snorted but gave him another quick kiss. “And now your ass is mine,” she whispered.

“Ew, gross. Enough with the gushy stuff.” Noah’s face screwed up as he spoke. He looked to Cain. “They’re always doing that.”

Cain chuckled, the sound so deep and rich, I swore I felt its vibrations against my skin. “It is pretty gross, little man. Don’t worry, you can come hang out with me if it ever gets to be too much.”

Noah threw his hands in the air. “Thank goodness.”

Jensen reached out a hand and ruffled his hair. “Just remember who feeds you pancakes, bud.”

“I’ll come back for pancakes.”

Walker stepped forward, wrapping an arm around Taylor. “Cain, this is my fiancée, Taylor.”

Cain reached out a hand, his expression just a touch more formal now. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.”

Taylor took his hand in hers. “You, too. I’ve only heard mysterious tidbits about you, so you’re basically Batman in my mind.”

That chuckle was back, and it made me shiver this time. “No bat cave, I’m afraid. Though maybe I should look into that.”

“You should,” Noah piped in. “I could help.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

Jensen gestured in my direction, and my stomach twisted. “Cain, this is my friend, Kennedy. She works at the Kettle with me.”

Cain’s dark blue depths moved in my direction, scanning my face as though committing it to memory and assessing me for weaknesses all at the same time. He reached out a hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Kennedy.”

I hesitated a brief second before moving to accept the shake, but my delay registered for Cain, and his eyes flared just a bit. I hurried to place my hand in his. It was warm, his palm a mix of smooth and rough. My mind wandered, trying to think of what could cause the roughness when the man probably spent all day behind a mahogany desk. The warmth from his hand spread up my arm, burning a path on its way. I released my grasp immediately. “It’s nice to meet you, too.”

I stepped back, letting the conversation swirl around me, a dull cacophony of noise with only direct questions cutting through. But every so often, I felt Cain’s eyes on me. Curious. Probing. What he didn’t know was that there was nothing for him to find. I was nothing. No one. And for now, that’s just what I needed to be.

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