Title: Taken Love
Author: Casey Clipper
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 21, 2015
The international bestselling contemporary romance The Love Series comes to a conclusion with Taken Love. Questions will be answered, relationships and lives hang in the balance, and everything you thought you knew about the Murphy family will be turned inside out in the matter of one tragic event.
Smith has worked for the Murphy family for years. A powerful and dangerous organized crime family that rules the Northeast. He spends his days and nights with only one goal, to get through to the next day, watching his boss's back. A past he avoids at all costs leaves him with a cold, lonely bed and no possibility of future relationships. Until she needs his help. His good conscious won't allow the young woman to pay for her mother's indiscretions. One rash decision has him doing the one thing he's never done in all the years he's worked for the Murphy family.
Cara O'Hara has lived a hard life. A life altered by her father's death when she was a young girl. Now she spends her days trying to care for her mother, who's lost to a world of drugs, alcohol, and sex. Cara has nothing. No friends, relationships, or any semblance of a normal life. But nothing prepares her for the threat that Cara's mother has now hindered her with. A debt her mother owes but can't repay. A debt that the collectors decide taking Cara as payment is perfectly acceptable. She unexpectedly finds herself fighting for her life, literally, as she's dragged from her home and shoved in to the trunk of a car. In that moment, her life is forever changed.
Can Smith help save Cara from the men who will inevitably end up placing her in an early grave? Will Cara's overwhelming presence distract Smith from the mundane life he's created for himself? What happens when both their worlds collide on an unexpected and unwelcome course? How does Smith handle his attraction to the beautiful woman whose life he's devoted to saving? How does Cara deal with a man who's closed off in every way? And what happens when the men who want Cara seek revenge?
Everyone will pay, including those important figures in the Murphy family.
**Warning: Taken Love consists of some violence and "I knew it!", "OMG", and "I hate that man!" moments. This is a contemporary romance, which involves the mob and isn’t always pretty. There is some form of violence in this story (mild compared to other romance novels but still present). If you don't think that'll be to your liking, please do not read this novel.
Novels in The Love Series:
Silent Love (Book 1)
Unexpected Love (Book 2)
Dangerous Love (Book 3)
Taken Love (Book 4) - the final installment
Cara hated herself. Absolutely, positively loathed herself. Why was she unable to keep perspective around Hunter? Why couldn't she comprehend he wasn't her boyfriend−current or future−fiancé, husband, or any other form of commitment? She kept sucking herself back into a false relationship. While at the Murphy home, she'd been treated as if she was Hunter's partner. And she'd lost sight of reality. While the women spent all evening joking around with one another, they talked about their husbands. Smith was included in that mix along with Cara. She bought it hook-line-and-sinker. Watching Courtney with her in-laws and her husband and the entire family dynamic that the close-knit group exhibited made her long to become a part of their world. Until she looked into Hunter's eyes. She was a fool.
As they road silently back to Hunter's home, Cara decided it was time to take control of her own life. Trapped for too long as prisoner by everyone else, she was done.
"I need to know what's going on with the debt my mom owes." She broke the thick, silent tension in the enclosed space. "I need to visit my mother and see if I can get the information from her. It's past time I get out of your house, Hunter, and move on."
They pulled down his street without Hunter responding. When he parked the car in the garage, Cara jumped out and rushed into the house and up to her bedroom without looking back. She didn't want to talk to Hunter. She just wanted this entire mess over with. She wanted to start a new life. At the age of twenty-eight, she wanted to finally start living her life.
A soft knock on the door was her only warning before it opened. Smith stepped inside the room, his hands shoved into his perfectly tailored suit.
"Why the hell are you always dressed for a business meeting?" she groused, her frustration and anger spilling over.
He blinked, shocked.
"Don't you own a pair of jeans? Khakis? A fucking T-shirt?" She jumped off the bed. "Always so pristine and crisp. Always so contained. Well, except when you don't want your space invaded, right? Tell me, Hunter, is there anything not ironed and hanging immaculately in your closet?"
She pushed past him and stormed into his room. Fucking Hunter and his inability to look a mess. Never a hair out of place, not a day with stubble, teeth always brushed.
Cara tossed opened his closet door and sure enough, suits upon suits, all hung in a perfect row as if a department store employee had racked his wardrobe. She yanked one of the dark suits out of the closet and tore it off the hanger and tossed it across the room.
"Oh look, your jacket's on the floor. Might want to pick that up before it wrinkles." She grabbed another one and ripped the pants off and tossed them randomly over her shoulder. "Messy, messy suits. Everything's a mess. Can't have that." She opened the drawer at the bottom of the wardrobe. The top drawer, filled with black socks all matched, ended up across the room.
Fury fueled her. Her blood boiled in her veins. She hated Smith and his refined stature. Always poised, always calm. No emotion. Nothing.
"Cara, stop it," Hunter warned.
She ignored him, her mind a red haze of hatred. Anger consumed her. Anger for all she was going through. For all she'd been through. Irate that no one fought for her, that she couldn't fight for herself. Furious at her mother, at Hunter, at Mr. Murphy. Hatred that there was absolutely nothing she could do to gain even a nibble at life. She was a victim and prisoner of everyone around her.
Cara continued her assault on Hunter's clothes. It felt good to rip apart the suits and drawers, tossing everything around the room. It gave her some form of control over him. He couldn't stop her. He couldn't control her anger. No one could. Stupid designer suits. Stupid comforting bedroom. Stupid Smith.
Suddenly a strong pair of arms grabbed her by the shoulders and spun her.