Saturday, June 4, 2022

Book Blitz and Giveaway: The Sacrifice by Kitty Thomas

Title: The Sacrifice
Author: Kitty Thomas
Publisher: Burlesque Press
Publication Date: May 23rd 2022
Print Length: 234 pages
Genre: Dark Contemporary Romance

I caught the bouquet at my best friend’s wedding. I wasn’t even dating anyone, so I was sure I wouldn’t be next.

Until someone from the past came back. We’d promised if neither of us were married by the time we were thirty we’d marry each other.

But then I’m taken captive by someone else and told I am the sacrifice, that I’m now property. A payment for a debt that has nothing to do with me.

Now I wish I could go back to that boring, safe life. Because this can’t possibly be my fairy tale.

NOTE: This is a dark contemporary standalone in the Dark Wedding world.

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I jump at the sudden knock on my door.

“Who is it?” I call from the sofa. I’m not expecting anybody, and if someone’s delivering pizza to the wrong apartment, I’d rather not get up.


I bolt upright. Soren is Livia’s husband. The legal one. What’s he doing here?

“Livia isn’t here,” I call back, still not moving.

“Could you open the door, please? I’m here to talk to you.”

I struggle to get off the sofa, stopping to look in a mirror near the door. As expected, my long dark auburn curls are disheveled, and I can see the blush already starting in my cheeks, edging out the freckles dotting over my nose. I hate those freckles. I already look too innocent. Freckles are just a bridge too far in adorableness.

When I open the door, Soren sweeps right in without an invitation, smelling of whiskey and cigar smoke. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him smoke a cigar, but he still smells that way. It’s like that’s just his natural masculine scent.

I can barely stand upright in this man’s presence. Soren has a strong effect on me. I spent the entire time around Livia’s wedding trying to focus my attention on Griffin, so I wouldn’t be lusting after my best friend’s soon-to-be husband. I didn’t know at the time that Griffin was hers too. So it was a pointless waste of effort on my part. I put absolutely everything into that Oscar-worthy performance and made every effort not to even look at Soren. His pull was far too strong.

Then when I walked in on her and Griffin kissing, thinking she was cheating on the man I’d wanted… I locked myself in my car and had a long pathetic cry about it.

Soren is tall with dark forest green eyes and a body sculpted by the gods. But it isn’t his looks or even his money that I’m so attracted to. It’s his presence. The sheer dominant overpowering and terrifying essence that is Soren Kingston. Yeah, he’s the Mr. Kingston in my longstanding fantasy. I make it okay in my head by aging him a couple of decades and not letting him participate. Much. Don’t judge me.

He’s like a storm that you just know will blow through and rip you apart from the inside out, but you’re so enthralled watching it coming your way, you can’t make yourself move out of the path of devastation in time.

“Do you have anything to drink?” he asks.

I still don’t know why he’s here, and I’m sure I’m so turned on he can tell. I wish I could turn this feeling off. I would never betray Livia—not that Soren would be into someone like me. But even if he was, I’d never hurt her. I just can’t shut off my body’s reaction to this man.

“Y-yeah. I-I have some tea. D-do you want tea?” Oh god, why am I stuttering? And I’m sure he means like a drink drink, like an adult beverage, but I don’t really keep liquor in the house. I’m not much of a drinker, and it’s a small studio apartment so it’s not like I do a lot of entertaining here.

“That’ll be fine. Make some for yourself, too.”

It’s a command, and I swear if he were single I would strip off my clothes and kneel at his feet right now. I’ve never felt this way around a man before. I have no idea how Livia managed to go months without sleeping with him. Is it possible I feel a stronger attraction to her husband than she does? That would be tragic.

I wish he’d leave. What’s he doing in my apartment? I take a deep breath and force my mind to stop racing as I heat the water in the kettle.

“Earl Grey or English Breakfast?” I hear myself say. It doesn’t even sound like my own voice. It sounds far too high pitched and squeaky to be me. Or maybe it’s more breathy like Marilyn Monroe.

“Whatever you’re making for yourself is fine.”

We’re both silent in the kitchen. He stands several feet away, but it’s still too close. In moments like this I’m jealous of Livia. I love her like a sister, but why does she get everything? She didn’t just get one hot, wealthy, kinky guy. She got three. How is that even possible? It’s statistically very unlikely. It just isn’t fair. Meanwhile I’m about to marry a probably gay guy where I might get to have vanilla sex one time for the sake of procreation.

Lucky me.

Am I really going to marry him? Even though I’m going through the motions I’m still not sure I’ll be able to go through with it. Livia’s right though, I need to end things before the invitations get ordered. But why the hell did I buy a dress if I don’t plan to actually marry him?

And I really thought we were to a point where a man could be gay and just be open about it. Why hide behind me and pretend? But then I remember that not literally everyone in the world is up to date on this, so maybe there’s a reason he needs to hide. And I can feel sympathy for that, but it’s still not right to hide behind me.

When the teapot whistles, I pour the tea into two cups and place them on the table. I can’t stop thinking about how bizarre it is that Soren is standing in my apartment. And he still hasn’t told me why he’s here.

“Do you take milk and sugar?” I ask, desperate to fill the silence with anything but the sound of my raging heartbeat.

“Just milk.”

I go to the fridge for the milk, wondering if he’s planning some kind of surprise for Livia and wants my help. I leave the milk on the table, then grab the sugar for myself and some tea cookies out of the pantry. When I return, Soren is seated at the table, milk in his tea, already drinking.

I put sugar and milk in mine and take a couple of sips.

“So, why are you here again?” I ask. I’m sure I sound rude. I don’t mean to, but I need him out of here before he figures out how much I wish I could be with him. I mean I don’t have a crush or anything. I’m not in love with him. I just… he makes me feel like I’m in heat, and I kind of want to climb him like a tree.

“Are you nervous about something, Macy?”

I take a big gulp of my tea and then another. It’s barely cool enough to be chugging it back like this, but I need a distraction.

“What would I be nervous about?”

“Let’s not play games. I’ve seen how you react to me. You think I don’t notice how you blush when I’m near? I think there’s something dark and a little dirty in you. You probably have needs you’ve never even admitted to yourself.”

The heat that was concentrated in my cheeks spreads swiftly through the rest of my body. Oh, I’ve admitted them to myself, but thank you for that psychoanalysis.

“You’re married,” is all I can say. Is he propositioning me? If this bastard is propositioning me I will geld him.

Soren laughs. “You’re so adorable.”

I’m about to speak again but my tongue feels… weird. I can’t make words work anymore. Soren’s face blurs in front of me. Then the world tips to the side and goes black.
KITTY THOMAS writes dark stories that play with power and have unconventional HEAs. She began publishing in early 2010 with her bestselling COMFORT FOOD and is considered one of the original authors of the dark romance subgenre.

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Win a $100 Amazon gift card and five surprise signed books by Kitty Thomas! (Open worldwide.)

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prizes. The author, Kitty Thomas, assume all responsibility over this giveaway.)

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