I wasn't supposed to know about her. I never should have found her.
And I sure as hell shouldn't have taken her... From a New York Times bestselling author comes a BRAND NEW smoldering romantic suspense that will get your pulse racing, your thighs clenching and the pages turning.
For Vicente Bernal, truth is all he's known. The son of an infamous drug lord, Vicente was born to help run the family business, which means he's been raised on a throne of sordid pasts and dirty laundry, violence and pride. But when Vicente stumbles across someone he's not supposed to know about - a woman from his father's checkered past - he sets out to California to find her behind his father's back.
What Vicente doesn't expect to find in San Francisco is Violet McQueen, the woman's twenty-year old daughter. Beautiful and edgy with a vulnerability he can't resist, Violet tempts Vicente from afar and though he promised himself he'd stay away from her, curiosity and lust are powerful forces. Besides, Vicente has always gotten everything he wants - why shouldn't he have Violet too?
Soon his wants turn into a sexual obsession, one that sweeps Violet into his games as they fall madly, deeply in love with each other, the type of first love that can drive a person mad.
But it's a love with tragic consequences.
Both the truth - and the lies - not only threaten to tear them apart, but threaten their very lives.
NOTE: The conclusion DIRTY SOULS, releases March 17. This edition of Black Hearts also includes the first few chapters of Dirty Angels as a bonus!
EXCERPT: BLACK HEARTS, SINS DUET #1 Copyright Karina Halle 2017
The fog is continuing to roll in, bringing a briny mist that you can taste. Only the tops of the bridge remain visible, the orange red seeming to glow against grey skies, while shadows of the structure come and go as the fog moves in.
Violet stares in quiet fascination, her dark eyes taking it in. I can see the fog reflected in them, giving her an eerie quality. She appears to be listening but whether it’s the fog horns, the chatter of the fishermen, the lapping waves, or the dull roar of the bridge traffic, I don’t know. Could be something else entirely.
I don’t want to break her concentration or bring her back from whatever world she’s in. I just stand beside her and let her be. If anything, it says a lot about her comfort level with me if she lets herself drift away.
After a few minutes, she slowly turns to me and blinks. “How long did you say you were going to be in San Francisco for?”
“I don’t know,” I say carefully. “It depends if I find what I’m looking for.”
“And what are you looking for?”
“A reason to stay.” I hold her gaze with mine. The sea breeze picks up a few strands of her hair, moving them across her face like a black veil. Without thinking, I reach over and brush them away, tucking them behind her ear.
I could kiss her. I should kiss her. The feel of her skin against my fingers ignites a million torches inside.
Then she looks away, uncomfortable, the silence between us changing.
I steer the subject onto her. “You said your mother is a famous photographer. Does she have a studio?”
She lets out a soft sigh, her eyes back on the bridge. “Yeah. In the mission district.”
“And you don’t want the same for yourself?”
She rubs her lips together in thought before looking down at her hands that hang over the side of the railing. “As I said, I don’t know what I want. I’m not sure I feel comfortable with the idea of having a studio. My mom does portraits of people. That’s not what I like to shoot.”
“Not a people person?”
A wry smile cracks her lips. “No. Not really. It’s too…intimate. My mom is great at it because people feel comfortable with her. She can…I don’t know, manipulate their feelings.”
Interesting. Very interesting.
People like my father.
“So they end up exposing pieces of themselves that they don’t see. I guess I have the same intuition as her but the one on one is too much for me. I prefer to work with nature. With this.” She gestures to the fog. “No one else really understands how beautiful this is to me.”
I look back at the fog, moving faster now. I wouldn’t call it beautiful. Moody. Dark, maybe. If anything, her beauty stands out more because of the bleakness around her.
“My goal is to take photos that show how I see the world. All the beauty in it. The world is such an ugly and beautiful place, horrible and hopeful. I want to show the light in all the dark places.” She pauses and gives me a sheepish look. “Sorry. I know that must have sounded hella pretentious.”
I slowly shake my head because she sounds anything but that. She sounds real. She sounds like something I want to shake loose from her, to let free and run wild.
“You’re not pretentious,” I tell her, my voice low. “Not even close.”
“That’s not what I hear.”
“What do you hear?” I move in closer to her, the distance between us just a few inches. She doesn’t back up. “What does the world tell you you are?”
I watch her swallow, take a moment. “Oh, you know. I’m too self-absorbed. Narcissistic. Pretentious. I live too much in my head, I’m too anti-social, too distant. I feel too much, care too much. My mother has always chided me for being too sensitive and then I was diagnosed with having hyper-sensitivity, so it turns out she was right. I am too sensitive. About everything. And there’s not a single thing I can do about it except know that when I experience reality, it’s not what everyone else experiences. For better or for worse.” She sighs. “Mainly for worse.”
I feel like this is something she doesn’t unload on many people. My instincts about her were right. She’s fragile but not weak, too much a part of the world and too much removed from it. A contradiction.
“I’m sorry,” she says, shooting me a glance. “I didn’t mean to blab away like that. I know you probably think I’m crazy now. Hell, I think I’m crazy half the time. I really wish I could just be like everyone else. To just…shut it all off.”
“You’re not crazy,” I tell her. “I’m just understanding you better.”
Her mouth quirks up into a dry smile. “I’m surprised you understand me at all. We’ve only just met.”
“True,” I tell her as I reach out and run my fingers along her jaw, tipping her chin up. “But I’m sure you of all people would know that sometimes you can connect with someone in ways you didn’t think you could. Or should.”
From New York Times bestselling author Karina Halle comes DIRTY SOULS the much-anticipated, nail-biting conclusion to Black Hearts…
Violet McQueen has always been a sensitive soul. Troubled and misunderstood, she never realized her place in the world, nor her true potential…until she met Vicente Bernal.
From birth, Vicente Bernal has always known his place in the world – he’s been groomed to be a ruthless king. Yet for a man whose soul has become morally bankrupt, it’s only through Violet he’s realizing the worth of someone’s heart.
But at what cost?
With a deadly game set in motion taking them from the stark deserts of California to the steamy jungles of Mexico, Violet and Vicente’s forbidden relationship will be put to the test. Boundaries will be pushed, lines will be crossed and souls will get very, very dirty.
Because how do you choose between blood and love when both might get you killed?
You do not have to have read any of the author's other books in order to read or understand this one, but I believe that my experience with loving the others made me more excited for this one. The parents of the leads in this story had a heck of a storyline in their books so I will always be interested in anything to do with them.
Violet seems to be a bit sheltered and a tad emotional. Maybe her parents were trying to give her more of a perfect life than they had. She knows there is something off in her family's past but isn't sure what it is. Vincete grew up the differently. He was shielded from nothing and has participated in the underbelly of society alongside his father. When they connect, it leads to some wild sex and deep introspection.
Black Hearts is sort of a Romeo & Juliet type situation. The McQueen's and Bernal's are enemies. There's a lot of bad blood in the past. The possibilities are endless when it comes to how this will turn out. Everyone has their own plans, and no one really knows the mindset anyone else is in or what they're truly capable of doing. I'm definitely looking forward to the conclusion in Dirty Souls.