(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.
The stars shine brightly tonight.
The sky’s dark and unending, stretching as far as I can see. Beneath me, music pounds in the nightclub. The distant shout of cheers and life barely touch me. My arm falls away, reaching for Ryan, but he isn’t here. I was stupid to consider his presence even remotely stable in my life. He was never here to begin with.
My eyes try to focus, but I’m too far gone. Too far from everything and everyone. A groan tumbles from my lips and my heart pounds, beating in tune to the music of the nightclub Ryan drug me too.
The weight of my tongue prevents me from screaming. But I want to scream. Loudly, at the stars, at the moon, at everything that’s witnessing me fall apart silently. Like a quiet implosion, I am dissipating within myself.
The stars continue to twinkle tranquilly, uncaring.
Why should they care, after all? They’ve been witness to my self-destruction since the day I started to destruct.
I wait long after the music has stopped, until the stars are replaced by the sun, to accept that he isn’t coming back. He dragged me to L.A., sold me a dream, took my money, and left me here with the wreckage of his promises.
I usually know better than to trust a man. They lie, they cheat, and they do their best to destroy us. But Ryan’s supposed to be different. Maybe I just wanted him to be. He has a dream too. Our dreams collided the way dreams do, like addicts searching for a high long gone.
Pushing to my feet, I stretch my arms over my head, watching Los Angeles come to life. It’s so congested and confusing. Too many roads in and not enough out. I miss Crystal Gulf. I miss the balmy air and the haze of beer and sun over the city. Most of all, I miss feeling like I belong.
There’s so many of us in L.A. We all want to make it, but we aren’t exactly sure where we’ll go once we do. Begging to be seen in a city of millions for just as many reasons was starting to drain me.
Maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe it’s time I let my dreams go. What had they gotten me? Broke, alone, and single aren’t on my list of aspirations, despite how often I end up there.
I dig in my purse, bleary-eyed and hungover, finding enough cash left to get me home. On my way down the sleeping street, I call Ryan.
Instead of saying ‘hello,’ he sighs.
“Where are you?”
“On my way to Portland. I tried to call you,” he lies. In the background, I hear female giggles.
“So, it’s over, Ryan? You don’t need me anymore?” We were supposed to go to Portland together and meet with a record label.
He sighs again, but it’s far less breathy, and ten times more dismissive. “You’re a great singer, Justine. But you’re not … you know … commercial. You’re never going to make it past bar gigs and playing for change. I am. I don’t want you holding me back.”
I should have seen this coming. In all honesty, I hadn’t wanted to. Things at home had gone from overwhelming to empty. Dad’s drinking had worsened. My bruises were compounding. Instead of once a week, they were every day. I could only imagine the drunken state he was in right now. I had no reason not to follow Ryan to L.A.
It wasn’t all bad. Escaping for a few months had given me a chance to breathe.
My dreams of being a singer were gone as fast as they had materialized, coming in on Hurricane Ryan. He came into Crystal Gulf when I felt like exploding and whisked me away, painting my reality with color and possibilities.
I should have known better.
My reality has never been anything but a dull gray at best, and I’d only wondered as far as to realize there was no point to wonder at all.
This is my fault for dreaming.
For thinking I deserve more than what I have
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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