(Crystal Gulf #3)
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: September 12th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Crystal Gulf, Texas, breeds bad boys. Unapologetic when it comes to their desires, they destroy, they damage, and now they’re going to ruin …
Jona can’t see his lifestyle the same way after what happened to Hillary in Damage Me. Partying and getting high has amounted in only hurting himself and others. But he’s lost sober, and everything feels wrong without his one true love in his life.
Returning to Crystal Gulf was inevitable for Justine. The loss of her dreams sends her back to where they started. But there’s one silver lining, the same one that’s gotten her this far. Jona Kyles is waiting for her. The moment they reconnect, the destruction is painfully addictive.
It’s impossible not to pick up where they left off. After an impassioned night together, they didn’t expect it to come back and haunt them. Forced in the same reality, they must battle against their pasts and fears to give their second chance the future it deserves.
But some second chances come with scars …
Ruin Me, book three in the Crystal Gulf Series, is a powerful and raw second chance romance about forgiveness and growth, with a swoon-worthy bad boy and a heroine who is as strong as she is fierce.
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I roll over, groaning as my head pounds.
When I do, my hand smacks off a smooth pale ass. I sit up and stare down at the female body it belongs to. Long, pale legs. Heart-shaped ass. Lower back tattoo. Butterfly. Classy. There’s a thong on the end of the bed. Light pink, lace.
The room is unfamiliar. Girly. Greek letters adorn the alcove over her closet. Sorority. College. Frat house alley.
My brain springs back to life, throwing memories of me pounding back shots and shoving my hand up skirts. Jacob had gone as far as locking the door after me, despite my best attempts to get him to come out with me. He was impervious to my methods. Apparently, tits and booze don’t tempt him as much as they do me. Go figure.
“Loser,” I mumble, rolling out of her bed so I don’t wake her. I don’t feel like playing that awkward hookup I’ll never see you again game right now. My jeans are on the floor. I hop into them and search for my shirt, finding it draped across her desk. My wallet and phone are still inside my jeans, so that’s a good sign. I smell like perfume, and my back hurts—I don’t even want to know why.
I slip out of her room and find the hall crawling with naked tail. They don’t even pause when I walk by, a few of them probably having the same experience as me last night. Their perky tits bounce, and their towel-wrapped bodies parade past me with knowing smiles. I duck my head and search for the front door.
When I make it back home, after a walk-of-shame and headache-filled hobble down the street, I find Jacob and Hayden, another roommate, eating cold pizza in the kitchen.
I grin, running a hand through my hair, trying to appear more alive even if I feel far from it. I don’t know why I put up the pretense this morning. I look like shit any way I see it. I need to cut my hair, but don’t have the desire to care about how I look. I usually put in some kind of effort. My façade’s the only thing I have going for me, and—thankfully—I’m a handsome bastard. Lately, however, worrying about how I look feels like trying to breathe with one lung missing. Every breath could be deeper, could mean so much more.
“Morning, virgins.” I head over to the fridge, yearning for something to kick the headache pounding in the back of my skull and the leftover taste of blurry whiskey-laden kisses. “I can smell your hairless balls and fondness for tighty-whities in the air.” I’m not sure there is something strong enough to kick anything for me.
“Is he still drunk?” Hayden whispers, pushing his glasses higher up on his nose.
“No. I think this’s just who he is.” Jacob clears his throat. “Be nice. He has to be this forever.”
I glare as I inhale a bottle of water. Crunching the plastic, I toss it in the garbage can across the island. “Exactly.” I miss Bach. My down-for-anything party buddy. He drank as much as I did, and high wasn’t high enough. He’d fallen in love like a pussy last summer and took off, leaving me here with myself.
Inadvertently putting his little sister Hillary in my path. Memories of her passed out in my bed with a black eye, skirt flipped over her waist, and that rapist piece of shit jumping out of my window, have me doubling over in the hall. I brace myself against the wall and squeeze my eyes shut, but you can’t run from memories. I know first-hand. They never go away. The cops wouldn’t even take me seriously with my priors and my reputation. They’d let a monster walk free to hurt other angels because it wasn’t true coming from a guy like me.
But the truth is still the fucking truth.
I couldn’t have known what Zane Eastwood would do. I slept with women who loved saying yes. If they said no, I moved on. But there were men like Zane who blurred the lines of what bad and evil were.
There are different kinds of bad. Different levels of evil. There are men like me who sleep around and do drugs, but understand that women have every right in the world to tell my piece of shit ass no. And then there are men like Zane Eastwood. Men who pull the feathers from angel wings one white feather at a time.
So, I walk past a clean house with The Big Bang Theory playing in the living room and not a pair of whipped cream covered tits in sight, because that’s what’s good for everyone. I’d give up my past in exchange for not hurting anyone else. I just hadn’t figured out what I left myself with yet.
The restless energy inside of me is growing, knocking into my guilt and colliding with my desire to escape.
I shower, washing my dick the way I’d wash a prized trophy. Carefully, gently lathering my hard shaft with my soapy palm in reverence. It’s all bullshit, though. There’s nothing reverent about me. It’s why I’m here. But sometimes, you have to claim your bullshit and be who you are even if it isn’t good because at least there’s that. I grip my trophy and claim my prize.
“Don’t mind if I do.” I brace myself against the tiled wall as I jackoff. It doesn’t take long before her dark chocolate eyes, and tall, tanned curvy body fight their way into my mind. Justine is the only woman ever to turn me on and be on the other side of the country.
She is my perfect woman. Pulling emotions from me I don’t even realize I have. Her skin is always lightly tanned, and her curves are always plenty. There are too many parts of her to focus on. My dick thickens in my fist. I grunt at the memory of her full round tits bouncing heavily as she rode my cock. Her dark eyes gleaming, mahogany hair flowing down her back. Her flat stomach leading the way to her hip bones and a shaved tight … perfection is illusive, but in this moment, Justine comes damn close.
“I miss you,” I cry out miserably as I explode, coming all over the shower as pain invades my chest.
It’s only reserved for her, this pain. For my Justine. She can try and be someone else’s. She can pretend. But we both know she’s mine. Her heart, her body—she’s the only thing in the world that makes me feel anything good.
That’s why I always ruin it.
I’m not sure what good even is at this point. What anything good is doing anywhere close to me. But I know it’s good when it feels bad. How can I hold onto something that brings me so much joy at the same time it rips out my heart?
Falling onto my bed wrapped in a towel, I stare up at the wooden beams in my ceiling for so many hours that the nerds I rent my rooms to start crawling out of their caves. I imagine them blinking at the light, hissing at the sun as they make their way down to the kitchen for sustenance. The sound of men giggling reverberates from downstairs, and I know for a fact they’re not talking about anything I’d find funny.
Nope, no blowjobs here.
I spend the next couple weeks ignoring them as best I can. They’re here to keep me out, and I take full advantage of my desire to be as far away from everything as possible. I ignore every part of myself. Drinking drinks with women who offer them. Sleeping with women I abandon in the morning. My walks-of-shame become too frequent.
When I walk into a book store I feel at home. When I smell the pages of a brand new book things make sense. When I read I am who I always wanted to be. I read to escape and I write so others can as well. My family, my actress dog Bella, coffee, and a steamy love story are a few of my most precious things.
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