Unmasked Dreams is Available NOW!
UNMASKED DREAMS is HERE!
I sort of love Violet and Dawson. I love how much they were attracted to each other and how they wouldn’t give in because they thought it would screw up their family relationships. I also love that when they do finally give in they’re absolutely ALL IN.
Do you like romantic suspense novels? How about second-chance stories? Or stories with incredible, decadent settings?
Because, y’all, that is seriously what Unmasked Dreams is! It’s probably my most adventurous story yet, but I think, when you read it, you’ll still find the characters connect with you in a personal way. At least, that’s what I hope.
Here’s what the ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ early reviewers had to say about it:
“Magnetic. Electrifying. Two opposites with an undeniable attraction you won’t be able to put aside.” – Michelle the PA
“Smart and sexy and just everything I love in a romance book!” – What’s Emily Reading
“The push and pull between these two is agonizingly delicious.” – BookBub Review.
“A roller coaster ride of emotions with twists and turns that are sure to leave you gasping. – BookBub Review
“This book has all the feels. Intelligent leads, strong unbreakable females, suspense, and of course love!” – Goodreads Review
“A thrilling ride… with two of my favorite characters this year!” – Bex Book Revieux’s
“They're chemistry and attraction is palpable.” – Paula Loves Her Books
🔥💜 Unmasked Dreams 💜🔥
🕴 Tortured Bad Boy
👩🔬 Quirky Scientist
🚤 Int’l Boat Races
💣 Crime Syndicates
💔 Second Chance
🔥 Slow Burn
“She was never supposed to be mine.”
Violet Banner was under-aged and off-limits when she and Dawson Langley first met. It didn’t stop him from leaving a brand on her heart that followed her to college. Five years later, she’s come home to find him living under the same roof, and it feels like nothing has changed. Except for the science lab she’s built in the garage and the secrets he’s keeping.
After years of fighting off the tantalizing connection between them, Dawson isn’t sure he’ll be able to restrain himself once grownup Violet lands back in his world. Even the nearly deadly mistakes of their past and the three separate lives he’s leading might not be enough to prevent him from touching her.
When the clandestine activity surrounding his international boat race tangles Violet in its grasp, she can’t help wondering if Dawson is the villain of the story.
Only one thing is certain: there’s nothing he won’t do to keep her safe…even if it means making her his.
Inspired by Daughtry's "What About Now," comes a determined scientist and a broody bad-boy-turned-hero who just might leave a mark on you in this adventurous, standalone, slow burn from award-winning author, LJ Evans.
Did you miss the book trailer???
No worries, you can catch it here:
Did you miss the prequel scenes that I wrote from Dawson and Violet’s perspective? You don’t have to read them to enjoy the book, but they sure were a lot of fun to write. You can read them by downloading the FREE sample when you subscribe to my newsletter.
Want a taste of what to expect from this broody, bad-boy-turned-hero and his strong-willed, genius scientist?
We’d only lived under the same roof for a matter of weeks. So short a period in either of our lives that it was a decimal place, and yet the impact had been meteoric. There were still secrets buried in holes in the ground from that time.
We were molding our lips and our bodies and our souls together so that there would never be a reason for us to be apart again. So that this moment was the beginning and everything else was the prequel. This was the rest of our lives. The second we’d finally given in to the need and the heat and the passion that had always lain between us, we were forever sealed together.
I felt like the fabric of my soul was tearing at her words. At the pain behind them. Because of me. I’d never once lead her on. Never once let her think there would ever be anything between us, and yet, just like me, she’d felt it in the very core of her being. We were an us. It was that simple.
His hands were on my wrists holding them above my head. His hips pushed against mine and our bodies rubbed together in a delicious way. Positive tension instead of negative.
“Can you? Resist me? Would you tell me to stop?” he asked.
“God not now, because this isn’t something stupid. This is perfect. This is exactly what we are supposed to be doing.”
I moved my hips against his. “Kiss me, Dawson.”
By the way, I’ll be in both my Facebook group, LJ’s Music & Stories, and the Do Not Disturb Book Club off and on today, CELEBRATING!!!! I’ll be sharing info about Dawson, Violet, and their adventure as well as doing some giveaways. So, that’s double the reason to join, right?
If you aren’t on Facebook, or just don’t want to join either group, I won’t be offended, and you can still have a chance at a signed copy of Unmasked Dreams here:
Before I go, I just wanted to say THANK YOU, as always, for being on this journey with me. I hope you get a chance to read Dawson and Violet’s whirlwind adventure. If you do, maybe you could let me know what you thought of it by emailing me, tagging me on my social media sites, or by leaving a review? I’m often known to respond to reviews as well as social media posts 😉.
That’s it for me today. I hope your day is full of books, love, and adventure!
Happy Reading and Stay Safe Out There!
♬ "𝒲𝒽𝑒𝓇𝑒𝓂𝓊𝓈𝒾𝒸 & 𝓈𝓉𝑜𝓇𝒾𝑒𝓈𝒸𝑜𝓁𝓁𝒾𝒹𝑒." ♬
Sample of Unmasked Dreams
“So, I close my eyes hoping you'll appear,
Cause it feels like grace every time you're near, yeah.”
Performed by Daughtry
Written by Blk / Johnson / Kelly / Daughtry / Mentore
I pulled in the driveaway and hit the garage door button. Nothing happened. I hit it again. Still nothing. I got out of the car, and that was when I heard it. Loud bass booming from inside the garage. My body automatically filled with alertness, adrenaline crashing through my veins. I eased to the side door and found it unlocked.
When I entered, what I saw had me pulling out the Glock that lived with me these days, stuffed at my back in my waistband. I directed it toward the clear plastic hanging down from the ceiling. Beyond it, I could make out vague images of tables and equipment.
Mandy and Leena were gone, and the power-monger must have set up a drug lab in their garage. I was going to kill all of them. Violet for dating the asshole. And Mandy and Leena for being so trusting.
The music was almost deafening. Watery Reflection, if I got my bands right. Violet had always had a thing for them.
That was when she danced into view, a fuzzy reflection of the blonde-haired beauty I knew. She was shaking her body, hands in the air, and even though she was all blurred lines, my body reacted to it. Just like it had reacted to her the very first time she’d bounded down the stairs and hit me with her purple eyes and sparkling smile.
I returned my gun to my back and pushed aside one of the flaps. The scents hit me. Orange and cinnamon and something I couldn’t place. Violet was in some sort of lab gear: a coat that ended just below her butt, clear goggles, gloves, some kind of hair net, and paper protectors over her shoes. It was the kind of getup you’d see serial killers wear so they wouldn’t leave behind DNA. Violet had her back to me, and she definitely hadn’t heard me come in. Her butt was waggling wildly as she danced.
My body hardened at the sexy image she made. Excited. Smiling. Bouncing off the balls of her feet. I swallowed hard. She twirled, stopping as her eyes landed on me, and screamed. She dropped the plastic container in her hand, and it hit the ground before rolling under a large metal table almost filling the space.
She placed her palm to her heart with wild eyes before she finally realized who was standing in front of her.
“Get out!” she yelled frantically.
Which wasn’t the response I’d expected. And it was a far cry from the response I truly yearned for.
When I didn’t move, she came at me, pushing me hard on the chest. The surprise caused me to move more than her slight frame did. I went backward through the plastic flaps, and she followed.
“What the hell?” she said over the music, jerking off her goggles, eyes flashing in anger.
I had no idea what I’d done other than startle her, but she was really pissed. Not just a little. There’d been a time in her life when she’d looked at me with wide, adoring eyes. Eyes begging me to see her in a way that had forced me to run from every room we’d ever shared. Now, there was no lingering trace of that adoration.
I stuffed my hands in my pockets. “What are you doing in here?”
“You can’t come into my lab, bringing all your contaminants with you,” she yelled over the music.
“What. Are. You. Doing?” I shouted back.
Instead of answering me, she disappeared through the flaps, and regret flew over me. She’d been happy when I’d shown up, bubbling with normal Vi enthusiasm, and I’d somehow blown it to smithereens. The music was clicked off, and the silence that followed it was almost louder than the beats themselves had been.
I saw a blurry version of Violet reach under the table to grab whatever had rolled away, and then she was back at the plastic, pushing her way through.
She took off the paper gloves and shoe coverings, shoving them into a garbage can, before washing up at the ancient sink. Her hairnet went into the pocket of the lab coat that she hung on a hook before she opened the garage door and waved me through.
The sunlight hit her white-blonde hair, making it glow. It was wrapped in a braid-like contraption she and Jersey were both known for, surrounding her head like a crown. Shimmers of purple gleamed through the twisted strands, faded but still there. A color I wasn’t sure I’d ever seen her without. A color that always highlighted the shade of her eyes. She was the only female I’d ever met with eyes the color of storm clouds hit with a sunset. Lilac. Soft and hazy.
But where her face had once been filled with wide-eyed innocence, there was a maturity to it now.
My little genius was all grown up.
It should have made me happy. It should have filled me with relief that I no longer had to chastise myself for having dreams about someone so much younger than me. And it did, but it also made me feel like I’d lost something of hers I could never get back.
It was then that the alarm bells rang through my head. I could no longer use her age as an excuse. But the anxiety edged away with the knowledge that there were other excuses…other reasons. The fact that she seemed to have a shithead of a boyfriend being one. Her sister being married to my brother was another. The three phones banging against each other in my pocket and the three lives that went with them was the strongest reason of them all.
I brushed a hand over my face, the wired energy that was keeping me afloat sagging.
I dragged my eyes down her. She was in a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt that clung to her frame. But it was the Birkenstocks on her feet that she never would have been caught dead in when we’d first met that had my lips twitching.
“Are you curing cancer in the garage?” I asked.
Something flashed over her face. Not quite regret, but maybe wariness, and it caused my almost smile to slip away as fast as it had come.
“No. I’m not curing cancer,” she said with a defiant lift of her chin.
“What are you doing?”
“Why do you care?” she came back with. This was the Vi I knew. Smart. Sassy. Daring you with just a look.
“I need to know whether I’ll have to send the DEA dogs on a detour or save you from some Russian spy who wants your recipe for free energy.”
“The Saint? Really? You’re tossing The Saint at me?” It was her turn to have lips quirking upward, and I couldn’t help the pleasure I had at seeing the soft smile. So much better than the anger she’d thrown at me in the garage.
The memories hit me like waves on the hull of my boat. Strong and relentless. Violet, in pajama shorts and a tank top that should have been outlawed, sitting cross-legged on the couch with a pillow tucked in her lap, hiding the see-through tank top and the black bra that she had on underneath it, but also pushing up the small swell of her breasts so that they were clearly visible above the pillow’s edge.
She’d stared at the screen, completely engrossed in Elizabeth Shue and Val Kilmer’s race from the Russian mafia through the sewers of Moscow. And all I’d been able to do was watch every single expression that crossed her face with my fists balled so hard that the nails had bitten into the skin so I wouldn’t touch her.
“It’s your favorite movie. You watched it half a dozen times that summer.”
I’d said more of the wrong things, because the smile that had been starting to form on her lips went away at the mention of that summer together. Truck and I had just moved out of the Victorian and into the cottage downtown when the termite damage at the B&B had sent everyone scurrying. Mandy and Leena had taken off to Eli’s place, but Jersey and Violet had moved in with Truck and me. The little two-bedroom, one-bath house had been so small we could barely stand with two people in the kitchen.
It was the place where Truck and Jersey had fallen in love. It was the place I’d avoided like the plague so a sixteen-year-old energy ball didn’t cause me to do more things I’d regret in my life.
Now, that sixteen-year-old was a twenty-one-year-old dynamo.
This wasn’t just a distraction.
This was a catastrophe.
BRAND NEW ME
“It took a long long time to get here,
It took a brave, brave girl to try.”
Performed by Alicia Keys
Written by Conway / Waters / Keys / Sande
Staring up at Dawson, my body burst into a mass of bubbles. Like I’d been sitting on a Bunsen burner that had been slowly brought to a boil. My brain swirled with the possible formulas to explain the response I’d always had to him. I couldn’t deny either of them. The formulas or the reaction.
For a while now, I’d told myself my response had just been teenage hormones and inexperience. But the simmering inside me as the early morning sunshine seemed to bend around him proved how wrong I’d been.
The light turned his dark-brown hair into a multitude of bronzes and deep embers, haloing him in a golden aura. His muscles rippled as he moved. Graceful and sure. Dawson was a thing of beauty. Molded by some unknown force who liked to play jokes on mere mortals.
An undefinable formula.
I wanted to scream at Truck and Jersey for not telling me he was coming. To send a stomping, temper-tantrum-throwing GIF to Leena and Mandy for not warning me. Because it was always better to be prepared to see Dawson. Then, I could tuck away every last strand of yearning I’d once had and lock it behind the door that was labeled Past so that it would never become my Present.
And now I hadn’t had that chance.
We contemplated each other for a few painful seconds, his face an unreadable mask where I’d once known all his thoughts before he even spoke.
He’d brought up The Saint. I’d wanted to be Elizabeth Shue for about a year after that, until I’d first met Raisa, and I’d realized she was the real-life version I would never become. Not because I couldn’t, but because I’d changed. I no longer wanted to be the woman hiding her genius and running from the Russian KGB. I didn’t have any desire to create free energy as Raisa did.
“Vi.” Dawson’s voice dropped, the warmth of it settling over my skin. He took a step closer to me and would have hugged me if the back door hadn’t banged open, jerking us apart.
Silas’s voice rang out over the distance. “What’s he doing here?”
As if he knew Dawson.
Even without touching, I was close enough to Dawson that the growl he let out vibrated over me. “I live here. What’s your excuse?”
I stiffened. He didn’t live there.
“You do not,” I objected, and it was breathier and more unsure than I’d wanted it to be. I stepped farther away from him.
“Yeah, I do, actually,” he said with a quirk of his lips I wanted to smack away as he waved a garage door clicker as if it were proof.
I glanced to the driveway where a sleek gray sports car sat. He must have tried to park in the garage. I’d disconnected the overhead door opener at the same time I’d loaded the plastic and tables inside.
Silas closed the distance as Dawson and I continued to stare at each other. When he got to us, Silas pulled me into him with a casual arm over my shoulders. I had to fight every urge in my body that told me to toss it off. Dawson took in the casual embrace with a slight furrow to his brow.
“Violet, want to tell me who this is?” Silas asked.
He was jealous, and it made me want to laugh for many reasons. Because we were broken up. Because Dawson was the one person I could never have.
“Silas, this is Truck’s brother, Dawson. Dawson, Silas.”
The two men eyed each other but did not shake hands. The negative energy drifting between them was tangible. Calculable. I wasn’t sure how they’d even met, but I did my best to lighten the mood by turning the conversation.
“Where have you been?” I asked Dawson.
“Tarifa,” he said.
My heart clenched even though it shouldn’t have. Just like Silas’s jealousy was so unnecessary, I had no right to mine either. I smiled. “Jada was just there too. At her family’s villa.”
“We were in Spain for different reasons, but it was convenient for both of us. We just flew back this morning,” he said casually. But beneath the nonchalant tone, I heard something else, something he was trying to tell me that I couldn’t unravel. Another formula with an unknown variant. All I knew was that he’d been with Jada.
I shouldn’t have been surprised. He’d been traveling with her for several years now. My friend had become his. They moved in similar circles. Circles I couldn’t imagine because they came with yachts staffed with a year-round crew and helicopters on the bow.
Dawson watched as Silas rubbed his hand along my shoulder. Then, he cleared his throat and said, “Well, I’m off to bed.”
He headed toward the house.
“It’s not even noon,” Silas said scornfully.
“Yep,” Dawson retorted without a backward glance. His tone said he didn’t give a flying fuck what Silas thought.