Cover Reveal and Excerpt: All Of The Lights by K Ryan

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All of the Lights

by K. Ryan Publication Date: August 22, 2016 Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Suspense

                     All of the Lights Cover

#PREORDER: http://bit.ly/AlloftheLightsKRyan

Synopsis: Two households. One secret that will change everything. I was raised to believe his family was nothing but trash. I was raised to believe her family was the root of all evil. I sent his brother to prison. I should hate her for what she did. Ive never fought a day in my life. Ive fought every day of my life. I need him to help me find answers. I need her to set the record straight. I should stay away from him. I should walk away from her. But I cant. But I cant. *This book is a standalone, contemporary/mystery romance and is intended for readers 18 and older*

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All of the Lights Teaser 1


Theres nothing but darkness in this alley and thats all I need. Am I stupid? Absolutely. But something tells me it would be even stupider to stay out in the open and anywhere near the lighted street. At least here, I can hide in the shadows. All I have to do is wait. What exactly it is Im waiting for remains to be seen. I shift anxiously from side to side, keeping as much pressure off my sore knee as possible and my eyes tilt up to the night sky. Right in between the buildings, above the skyline, there they are. All of the lights in the city cant hold a candle to the starstheyre my savior from the darkness, the guides that lead me to something bigger, something better, something peaceful. A door creaks open to my right and my head snaps toward the sound. Out here by myself in this dark alley, Im pretty sure Im a disgrace to my gender. I know better than this. I know better than to drift away from the herd. Nothing good ever comes from it. And then I get better look at this new, potential threat standing just ten feet away. Heat flushes my cheeks and I have to swallow my heart back down into my stomach. It flip­flops one more time as my eyes flit back to my intruder, whose presence seems to take up the entire alley. Hes tall with a mess of dark hair, the sides buzzed tight against his head, with just a plain white T­shirt and black gym shorts on. My eyes zero in on his broad shoulders and the myriad of tattoos reaching all the way down to his wrists. Finally, my gaze trails back up to his face. Even though half of it is covered by dark scruff, I cant look away. His eyes glint in the moonlight as he catches me staring and I cant tell if thats good or bad for me. Is it completely wrong that Id gladly hand over my purse if he asked? He has one of those faces thats almost painful to look at, but its the contradiction written all over him that I cant move past. From the tattoos, the thick silver cross dangling around his neck, the dark intensity radiating off him, the thick muscles peeking out from his shirt sleeves, everything about him screams danger. Even his stance reads as defensivewide legged, chest puffed out, both hands in his pockets, shoulders square with the building in front of us. Its the curve of those full lips that has me rooted to the cement. The way his grey eyes soften with curiosity as they roam my face. His left eyebrow lifts when I find myself fighting a smile and finally, he tilts his head back to gaze up at the stars Id just been admiring before his interruption. Nice night, he murmurs and it takes me a moment to realize hes not talking to himself. His accent is unmistakable. The clipped syllables, hard consonants, and quick i's are a dead giveaway. Its been awhile since Ive heard a true, genuine Boston accentPhilly doesnt even come close to the distinct pronunciation youll hear in Boston, and specifically, in Southie. Bennetts inflection has waned through the years, mostly from when we lived in Philly during college. From this guy, though, it might as well be music to my ears. I swallow hard as my stomach flutters a little too much. Yeah, it is. Thats the best I can come up with? Really? He tilts his chin up in my direction as he ventures a step closer to me. Hey. You got a light? No, I laugh. Sorry. He just shrugs and pulls a vape pen out of his pocket so he can take a nice long puff from it. Why did you ask me for a light if you didnt need one? I frown at him. His lips curl around his vape pen and some vapor flows out of his nostrils before both his shoulders shrug again. Just wanted to getcha talkin. Figured it was worth a shot. That was your move, huh? I laugh as my eyebrows shoot up into my forehead. Does that usually work for you? Now his lips pull apart in a wince as his free hand scratches the back of his head. When his head turns to find me, there it is again. The hard with the soft. The masculinity right along with a sheepishness, a shyness even, that just doesnt make sense. Ah, he exhales. Youre right. That beat wicked hard. It was the best I could come up with under the pressure. His accent has me biting down on my bottom lip to keep from smiling. Wicked hard. If only he could hear himself from my end What? he frowns. Nothing. Those gunmetal eyes narrow ever so slightly, but theres no danger to be found. Theyre all a playful softness that I havent seen in...God, I dont know how long. Can I have another shot? And here I was fully prepared to hand over my purse. My smile mustve been the go­ahead he needed because he takes that opportunity to inch a little closer to me, but hes still got his shoulders square with the street as he slips his vape pen back into his pocket. Okay, he rubs his hands together in thought and then shoots me a sly glance. How bout this one? I just heard someone inside the club say the word of the day is legs. What do yah say we head back to my place and spread the word? My eyes widen, momentarily stunned into silence, and my mouth practically hangs on its hinges. It takes me a second, but as soon as I see the mischief in those grey eyes, I bark out a loud laugh and shake my head. His hands spread out at his sides. What? No good? Terrible, I laugh. And offensive, too. If I didnt know you were joking, Id have to punch you. Or scream for help. Theres gotta be something a little better, I squint up at the sky in thought, What about this one? Its a good thing I brought my library card with me because Im checking you out tonight. After a moment of careful consideration, he nods. Its not bad. Its not great either. Theres always this oneyou look cold. Wanna use me as a blanket? I blow out a breath, my head rocking back and forth a little on my neck as I mull it over. Eh. Im not into it. How about this? I lost my keys. Can I check your pants? His shoulders shake with laughter and he rubs a hand over his mouth. Okay, okay. I can get behind that one. Im a big fan of this one though: are you free tonight? Or do I have to pay you? "Ugh, I groan and tilt my head back to squeeze my eyes shut. Never say that again. Ever. What about...got any Irish in you? Want some more? Nice try. I guess were on the right side of town for that one, he shudders a little through his chuckle and then snaps his fingers. Ive got it: you have 206 bones in your body. Lets add one more. I resist the urge to swat him on the shoulder. Do not get engage physically. Pretend hes a creeper. God, if this is what a creeper looks like, then sign me up. He must have a waiting list. I get the sense our little game has reached its end because he glances covertly around my shoulder and cocks an eyebrow at me. Im not gonna have an angry boyfriend all up in my face now, am I? This time, I dont miss a beat. Geez. Thats probably the worst line youve used on me this entire time. Not very subtle, my friend. Not. At. All. He holds his hands up in defense. Just tryin to cover all my bases before we slide into home later tonight. Oh God, I grumble. I take it back. That was the worst one. And no, theres no angry boyfriend, so you can rest easy while you watch the fight now. Grey eyes squint back at me for just a second and then one side of his face curls up into a smirk. I wasnt that worried, he slips his phone out of his pocket and glances at the screen before tilting his chin up to me again. Got a little time before I have to head back inside. Youre comin in for the fight though, right? Ah, no. I wasnt planning on it, I shake my head at him and his eyebrows fly into his forehead. What? he frowns. What are you doin then? And dont take this the wrong way, but you really shouldnt be out here by yourself. Youre lucky as shit it was me who walked out that door and not someone else. I know, I know, I wave off his concern even though my cheeks are hot. Its a long story. My sister wanted to see the fight, but shes not on the list. My friend has a cousin who bartends here, so hes trying to get her in. I just wanted some quiet, but this wasnt really the place to look for it, was it? Now his frown just deepens and I can see how this would be confusing. If Im standing outside waiting with my sister to get in the club, then why wouldnt I go inside too? That would just open up a whole other mountain of questions I dont want to touch with a ten­foot pole, so I skirt around anything that would potentially identify me as the one person who shouldnt be within a hundred miles of this place. Besides, I push on. Youre one to talk. I thought the whole reason people vaped was so they didnt have to go outside to smoke. What are you doing out here? Same thing you were, he shrugs and then that sly glint is back. If your friend cant get your sister in, Im sure I could find a way to sneak her inside. Thanks, I smile. That would be really nice of you. Its not a problem. Especially if it gets you inside the club, too. My eyes lift back up to the night sky above us. Another terrible line. And sorry, but my friend and I have other plans tonight. It wasnt a line, he tells me and I think I believe him. What exactly are these other plans? Oh, you know, just some dancing and listening to awful club music. But its good though. Ive been needing to do something like this for awhile. All I have to see is the question in his eyes and it just tumbles out. I just moved back to the city three months ago. I was stuck doing accounting and risk­management for a firm in Philly and I hated every single second of it. Im sure youre wondering why I even bothered, I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye and didnt give him the chance to respond. I guess the simple answer is that math was just always something I was good at, so I just kept doing it. It was the safe choice and it was a choice Id regretted all the way up until my boss called me into his office. Still, a stable career with guaranteed income and health insurance is hard to argue with, but theres a reason I still havent updated my resume. Anyway, I push on, very aware that his full attention rests on me. I got let go, which, lets be honest, is just a nice little euphemism for you suck and youre fired. He huffs out a laugh, but I find sympathy there, too. Hes listening. Hes not walking away now that our conversation has shifted to something a little more personal. He wants to keep talking to me, so I might as well run with it. Who knows when Ill ever get the chance to have a moment with someone like him again? It was a relief, actually, even if their methods were terrible, I shake my head at the memory. They actually called me in on a Thursday morning, told me Id lost my job, and then expected me to finish out the day. Jesus Christ, he exhales and blows out a deep breath. So did yah stay? Nope, I grin back at him. In a rare show of real courage, Id packed up the little belongings I had at my desk and walked right out the door. Its one of the few things in my life Im actually proud of. Good girl, he nods. What were they gonna do? Fire yah? Exactly. Thats feckin typical, though, right? he shakes his head and tucks that vape pen out of his pocket again to take a long pull from it. Youve got these corporate jockeys who just see you as a number on their spreadsheets and a notch on their yearly take­home cause they have to give you a severance package. Lemme guess, they used the good ol, this has nothing to do with your job performance excuse, huh? Pretty much, I laugh mirthlessly. And they added in, this is strictly budgetary too just for good measure. Bastards, he mutters with a smirk. Youre better off where youre at now. Maybe, I allowed. This was the part where I really needed to end the story, but my mouth just wouldnt stop. I guess it didnt really help that my boyfriend decided to dump me a week later. The sting still hasnt gone away. That rejection and dismissal from both my job and my relationship. Not being wanted. Not being important enough to fight for. I guess thats the story of my lifeone big fat dead­end after another, forever fated to afterthought status. His eyebrows fly all the way up to his hairline and he lets out a long whistle. Now hes angled his body so that were finally facing each other for the first time since he walked out here. A tight smile presses to his lips, but this time, some of the playfulness that had been there before has evaporated. Before either of us can get another word in, my phone rings from inside my purse and I dig inside it to glance at the caller ID. My sisters puckered­up face flashes across my screen. For the first time in too long, I hit ignore as he watches my movements from over my shoulder and toss my phone back into my purse. That was my sister, I shrug, but I cant focus on much else but the way his forehead has creased into a deep frown. Ill check in with her in a little bit. His eyes flick back up to me again and some of that softness is back again. Your sister doesnt look anything like you, he muses, gauging my reaction carefully. Hes officially hit a sore subjectIve responded to this exact same non­question my entire life and giving my stock answer one more time still doesnt sit well. My sister, with her long, flowing chocolate hair, matching eyes, and tiny frame, is the spitting image of my step­mom. I, on the other hand, look like a clone of my mom, or so Ive been told. Were half­sisters, I tell him, my eyes drifting back down to the pavement as I speak. I have no idea why I just told him that. It wasnt like he asked, but I offered that piece of information without a second thought. He mulls it over as he rocks back on his heels a little. Families are bizzah. Im still rusty, still trying to shake Philly off me, and it takes me a second to realize he means bizarre. Still, I appreciate the sentiment and return the sympathetic smile hes sending my way. All families are messed up. I think some of us are just better at hiding it than others. He nods with a somber smile that doesnt quite reach his eyes. So I really cant convince yah to come in, can I? Nope, I shake my head even though I have to admit, hes almost got me. Sorry. Did you at least put some money down on the fight? I hadnt thought about it, but I guess since Im here anyway Who should I bet on? That devilish smile slides up his lips again. Put whatever youve got on Flynn. He never loses. Huh. I didnt know that. He slips his phone out of his pocket again to glance at the screen. Couple more minutes and I gotta head back inside. Well, if youre ditchin me tonight, maybe I can catch yah tomorrow? Heat rushes into my cheeks again and spreads all the way down to my toes. If he knew who I was, hed probably push me into oncoming traffic, but I cant resist the sincerity in his voice. Ive known this guy for a whole ten minutes and Ive basically told him my life story, save for a few minor, important details. It just slipped out and I dont really know why I felt comfortable enough to tell him all that. I just know I felt it. Too bad theres a little snag in his plan. Im pretty much working all day tomorrow, and then the words slip out before I can stop them. What about Sunday? He clucks his teeth together and winces. Sundays arent real good for me, but Id move some things around if I didnt have to work. Where do you work? It finally dawns on me that he hasnt asked me that question yet and Im grateful for it. I just want this to last a little longer before the inevitable implosion. He motions with his head toward the bar. Really? Are you a bouncer or something? He laughs again and shakes his head. Nope. I bartend here pretty much every day except Fridays and Saturdays. It turns into a pretty nice, respectable sports bar when all this other shit isnt goin on. I cant help the way my lips curl up at his pronunciation: baah. What? Nothing, I say innocently. He rolls his eyes up to sky and glances at me exasperatedly. Anyway, if youre done zooin on me, maybe youd wanna stop by this way on Sunday anytime after six? I gotta go to mass and then I gotta visit my brother, so I wont be in the bar before then. Oh, I nod carefully, weighing the pros and cons of actually showing up here again on Sunday. I just need more time, so I shift from side to side, wincing a little as the pressure on my knee shoots down to my ankle. He frowns at the moment, catching the pain that must be written all over my face. Now I throw the first thing I can come up with at the wall and hope it sticks. Does your brother live here in the city? Cloudiness fills his eyes and all I get is: No. Still, I push forward because Im grasping at straws in my weak attempt at stalling. Where does he live? Prison. Oh, thats about all I can come up with. Im sorry. He just lifts a shoulder, but a tight line ticks down his jaw. Maybe itd be a little different visitin him every week if he actually did what they said he did. I dont have much time to digest that because my phone rings again and some quick digging inside my purse shows me that Bennetts calling me this time. This is dangerous territory, but I just cant force myself to walk away just yet. Its so easy, standing here and talking to him like this. I cant remember the last time anything felt this effortless. But when he glances at his phone again, I know our time has officially run its course. It was bound to happen eventually, but that still doesnt explain the disappointment that this fleeting moment in a dark alley outside a club is over. I gotta head back inside now, he pauses and then his lips curl into the most devastating grin Ive ever seen. You gotta come in for the fight. Even if its not your thing, your sisters probably already inside and you can meet up with her. And after the fight, Id really like to buy you a drink. I can usually guess peoples drink and I think Ive got you figured out. I wanna see if Im right. I doubt it, I laugh, but its forced and fake, seeped in regret. It feels duplicitous, standing here talking to him like this when I know Ill never get to see him again, when I know something he doesnt. I dont drink hard alcohol anyway. He just shrugs like that little kernel of information isnt important and in the grand scheme of things, I guess it isnt. I almost said, anymore, but he doesnt need to know that. And I dont need to rehash why either. So I waver between doing the smart thing and the dumb thing. The problem is that it feels like theres a dangerous grey area between those two choices. Part of me desperately wants to see where this goes and how long I can slide under the radar. The other part of me knows this will just epically blow up in my face. Come on, he tries again. I dont even know your name. Help a guy out, you know? My body freezes right where I stand. Here it is. Next stop, Implosion City. Okay, fine. Lets do this the hard way, he chuckles and shakes his head as he backpedals toward the side door. I lost my number. Can I have yours? A light chuckle vibrates in my throat and even though the risk is obvious, I dont care. This is a free­fall I dont know if I can survive. But I jump anyway. My fingers grope around my purse for a pen and something to write on. When my name and number are scribbled on the back of an old receipt, I hand it to him and leave the rest up to fate. His eyes skim the paper and his lips curve up victoriously. Rae, he murmurs. Thats pretty. Thank you. He shoves the paper deep into his pocket and holds a hand out for me to shake. I slip my hand into his larger, warm one and the feel of his skin against mine short­circuits my brain for a second. Jack, he tells me with a wide grin. He doesnt let go of my hand, but I freeze all the same. Jack. Whose brother lives in prison. Who works here at this club. Every day except Fridays and Saturdays. When the fights happen. His lips dip into a frown, but when they part, his eyes shoot up to something over my head and toward the front of the street. Strong arms shove me protectively into the cement as a hard body shields mine from the chaos around us. Everything seems to happen in slow motion and before my brain even has a chance to catch up, the quiet night air erupts in ear­splitting pops.

All of the Lights Teaser 2

 K. Ryan
  K. Ryan lives in the Green Bay area with her crazy-supportive boyfriend and the best decision of her adult life, a not-so-stray cat named Oliver. When not writing, shes either binge-watching something on Netflix, running, reading, or cheering on the Packers. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram (@authorkryan) and Facebook or visit her website,www.authorkryan.com, for updates and news. 

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