Cover for How She Got Free

Can they leave their toxic past behind?

Bonnie Carson is living a women’s fiction saga —juggling a career, a teenager, and an eating disorder. Meanwhile, her ex-husband can’t let go, making co-parenting an awkward and intense experience. Her strained relationship with the mother who abandoned her is the bitter frosting on her lopsided cake.

Her ex, millionaire mobster Leo Monarch, carries himself like the hero of a romance novel. In his mind, he’s one half of a sympathetic—yet complex—couple with a divorce in their rearview mirror and a reconciliation on the horizon. He’s determined to win his ex back—whether she likes it or not.

When their daughter’s life is endangered, Leo and Bonnie tumble into a world of suspense. The duo must put aside their differences to keep her safe, especially after they discover she wasn’t hurt because of Leo’s underworld activities. It was a personal attack, launched by someone much closer to home.

Confronting an unforeseen enemy forces Bonnie to make peace with her past—so that it doesn’t destroy her future.

(Book 1 of the Pennview Valley series)

Previously published as Can’t Stand Losing You, this version has been revised, re-edited, and has had significant content added.

GENRE: CONTEMPORARY; WOMEN’S FICTION
CONTENT: INTERRACIAL (BW/WM); EATING DISORDER; ADULT LANGUAGE
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EXCERPT

“Give me my keys, William,” she commanded. “Now.”

William’s lips thinned. “I don’t believe Leo would wish for me to do that.”

Turning just in time to avoid the man’s hold, she pushed against the front door and reached for her phone.

A deep scowl etching across her assailant’s pockmarked face, he angled a silver handgun at her head, cursing softly under his breath. “I don’t want to have to blow your pretty little had off, Mrs. Bennett.”

“I don’t know any—anything,” she stammered, her gaze darting between the gun and William’s retreating form. That bastard! How could he just leave her there? “I didn’t see anything. I promise I won’t tell anyone if you let me go.”

“Mr. Bennett asked me to bring you back to his office.”

“I can honestly say I don’t give a damn what Leo wants.”

His smile was chilling. Stretched lips. Empty, soulless eyes. “Move it, sweetheart.”

He stepped back, keeping the gun trained at her head. Bonnie advanced down the corridor, her trembling legs making her steps sound clamorous.

What she’d witnessed replayed in her mind over and over. Now, forced to face her ex-husband, she chided herself for not taking Caitlin and moving as far away from Leo as she could get.

He was more than a lowly debt collector or a loan shark in thousand dollar suits. The only man she had ever loved was a murderer.

She halted at the study door. Could she even bring herself to look at her ex? What would she say?

“Why are you stopping, honey?”

The gun at her back got her moving fast. She pushed inside the room, her gaze immediately drawn to the body beside the sofa. She hadn’t imagined it. There was so much blood. So red and thick. It spread beneath the body and had already started congealing.

“Come here, Bonnie.”

Her head snapped toward Leo’s voice. She didn’t move.

The gun on his desk scared her more than the one pressed at her back.

How could she ever trust him now? How could she trust him around Caitlin?

“Get over here, now,” he commanded, his tone sending chills down her spine. “Don’t make me ask again.”

Shuddering, she went to him. She noted the heavyset man sitting across from Leo. He seemed nonplussed. Just another day. Just another death.

She circled the desk, sickened when Leo pulled her in his arms. She instinctively struck her fists against his strong, wide chest, demanding her freedom. He chuckled, pulling her closer, encircling her waist in his powerful arms.

His grip felt vice-like, strong and unforgiving. She couldn’t think. She could scarcely breathe. As their bodies collided, her heart skidded, beating so wildly she feared he could tally the beats.

He winked at her before turning to his guests. “This is my wife, Bonnie. Bonnie, say hello to Mr. Angelli and his associate, Marco.”

“Good to meet you, Mr. Angelli.” She glared at Marco. “We’ve already met.”

Angelli smirked. “Call me Carmine, please. Leo, I had no idea you had such a beautiful wife. In fact, I didn’t know you were married.”

“She divorced me a long time ago. We’ve been working on a reconciliation. Haven’t we, sweetheart?”

At that moment she realized her ex was playing some sort of game.

Should she care whether Leo won or not?

And would him winning keep her alive?

“Yes, that’s right,” she said. “We just can’t seem to stay away from each other.”

The heavy-set old man eyed her with unconcealed interest. “That’s sweet. Real sweet. So, I take it you’re cool with everything?”

She gaped at him. What was she supposed to say to that? Was she fine with the dead guy lying in the middle of the office?