(Sons of Broad #1)
by Tara Thomas
In this first novel in the explosive, brand-new romantic suspense Sons of Broad series from Tara Thomas comes a novel of deadly secrets and hidden danger. In the sultry streets of Charleston, one family, ruled by its powerful, take-no-prisoners sons, has risen to the top. But a merciless enemy is out to destroy them…and everyone they hold close…
SHE THOUGHT SHE’D LOST HIM FOREVER
Tilly Brock has learned—the hard way—how to take care of herself. Once a pillar of Charleston society, her family lost everything in the wake of a shocking scandal. And then Tilly lost the only boy she ever loved.
BUT NOW THAT HE’S BACK IN HER LIFE
Keaton Benedict is Charleston’s most notorious bachelor. But in spite of all his advantages—the money, the women, the family name—he longs for more: the heart of the young woman he still can’t forget.
THE DANGER HAS JUST BEGUN… When Keaton re-enters Tilly’s life, after all these years, she is torn between feelings of doubt and desire. Can they put the past behind them and learn to love again? Tilly is willing to try. But Keaton is afraid that a vengeful enemy is watching—and waiting to destroy them. Can the rekindled flame of their love defeat the deadliest rival and light their way forward in the darkest night?
When I started this series, with the novellas, Tara Thomas was a new to me author I hadn't read any of her books under her other pen name Tara Sue Me either, well that is definitely going to change. I am hooked on the Sons of Broad series! Although this is the first official book in the series I would highly suggest reading the three novels, Shattered Fear, Hidden Fate, and Twisted End that started it all, you don't need to in order to read this book but I feel the story that threads through the three novellas will add more dimension to the on going story.
I enjoyed the second-chance-at-love for Tilly and Keaton but if you think it will be smooth sailing for either of them you would be wrong. There is someone after Tilly, we have several murders/attempted murders, and even a Love Triangle! There is so much going on that it will keep you at the edge of your seat wondering whodunit. I cannot wait to start the next book Deadly Secret to see what happens with Knox and Bea.
EXCERPT:Two scantily clad women strutted out onto the stage.
Keaton was too far away to see details. All he could make out were tiny bikini tops and even tinier thongs. Blondes. And pretty enough to make any red-blooded man fantasize about ripping the scraps of fabric off them. A movement to the side of the stage caught his eye. A server. He only saw her profile, but there was something about her.
He slid off the barstool to get a closer look.
“Hey, man,” Michael called after him. “Where are you going?”
Keaton didn’t reply.
“Where’s Benedict going?” he heard someone ask. “He’s interested in a dancer? Here?” someone else asked.
Keaton shook his head; it wasn’t a dancer that captured his attention. He wasn’t a stranger to the numerous clubs around the city that catered to wealthy men and their carnal needs. However, he’d never singled out any particular woman while at one. After all, he’d al- ways said, one half-naked woman was just as good as another. As made evident by the number of times his picture was in the society pages, but never with the same woman twice.
And yet, here he was, eyes fixed on the petite waitress at the side of the stage, currently trying to blend into the background and not take away from the duo on the stage. It was a horrible failure. He wasn’t sure why the management even felt the need to put anyone onstage with her working here. How could anyone look at those two with her in the room?
She moved with a grace that made the two blondes look like ducks swimming alongside a swan. She stretched out her hand to pass a glass to a man sitting on the far inside of a booth. Everyone in her vicinity turned to watch her lithe body.
“Drooling over a topless dancer?” Michael asked, coming up behind him. “I have to say, I’m a bit surprised. They look a bit rough.” “Not a dancer,” Keaton let slip before he could stop himself.
Michael moved to stand beside him and followed his line of sight. His low whistle signaled he saw the woman in question. “Hot damn. Wait until a certain blonde hears about this. I’m sure Miss Elise Germain will love the fact that her intended is drooling over a half-naked barmaid.”
“Shut the fuck up.” Keaton didn’t shift his attention from the goddess taking drink orders. “I’m not engaged.” “Please,” Michael’s voice dripped with sarcasm. “You two have been promised to each since you were what? Fifteen?”
Keaton mumbled a curse under his breath, but right now, he couldn’t focus on anything other than the serving siren. It sounded so crazy, he couldn’t even verbalize it, but he thought he knew her from somewhere. Some- thing about the way she moved called to him. Pulled him forward for a better look.
He took another step toward her.
She was magnificent. And the way she moved continued to captivate the audience near her. Keaton’s eyes traveled over her body, taking in as many details as possible: her light brown skin, the curve of her hips, and the slope of her breasts covered by a tight cropped shirt. He knew they would be oh-so-soft to touch. His eyes drifted higher at the same time she turned her head his way and he froze.
He couldn’t breathe. It couldn’t be.
What was she doing in Charleston? The last he’d heard, her family had moved to Texas. Granted, they’d both been fourteen at the time, but he’d never forgot- ten the day he’d got home from school, walked into the eerily quiet kitchen, and discovered his life had changed forever.
Tilly always came over to his house after school to help him with his homework. Usually her mother would come over with her and gossip with his mom. But there was nothing that day. He’d looked out the back door to get a peek of their house and gasped. There were men all over the yard, carrying furniture.
He’d run back inside and up the stairs to his mother’s room and, with a stomach filled with dread, asked where Mama Ann and Tilly were. His mother arched a perfectly shaped eyebrow. She didn’t like that her children called their neighbor Mama Ann, but every- one called her that. It was just her personality. She was so kind and loving, the name came naturally.
“They’re moving to Texas,” she said, and his world shifted out of focus.
“Why?” he managed to croak out. Texas was so far away. It made no sense why they would move away from their family like that and so suddenly.
“It’s been discovered that Mr. Brock has been embezzling money from your father.”
“What?” He couldn’t believe it. Not Tilly’s dad. He was stealing from them? Something didn’t sound right. His mother gave him a sad smile. “I’m afraid he was caught red-handed. The Brock family’s basically ruined now. Best they move and try to start over.”
His parents had always joked that he and Tilly would get married one day. Everyone talked about it and he didn’t even care because Tilly was smart and pretty. The week before, he’d kissed her for the first time. Her lips had been soft and sweet, and he’d looked forward to kissing them over and over. How could he kiss her if she were in Texas?
“Your father’s going to promote Howard Germain.
Isn’t his daughter in your class, too?”
Elise. Tilly’s best friend. Or was. He felt sick. He mumbled a half-intelligible answer to his mom and ran down the stairs to the living room. He had to call Tilly. Had to talk to her, even if it was only to say good-bye. But their phone had already been disconnected and when he went to their house, the men moving all the furniture told him they’d already left.
Tilly Brock put on her best plastic smile and muttered a soft, “Excuse me, please,” to the man blocking her path to her customer. She recognized the move for what it was: an attempt to make her reach across him. Two more months. Two more months. She grit her teeth and made sure the men saw just enough of her cleavage as she handed the drink to the waiting customer.
“Thank you, darling,” he said, eyes firmly planted on her chest, never once looking her in the eyes. “Why ain’t someone as pretty as you up onstage?”
Like she didn’t hear that ten times a night. Her mother might not roll over in her grave at the thought of her daughter serving drinks at a gentlemen’s club, but Tilly knew she’d come back from the dead for the sole purpose of telling her how disappointed she was if she even thought about dancing topless.
“Two left feet,” she told the guy instead.
“Trust me.” His laugh gave her chills. “It ain’t your feet we’re interested in.”
Two more months. I can do two more months.
Onstage, the dance was almost over. One of the blond twins glared at her and in doing so, tripped and almost fell. Several men booed. The other twin shot her a look that told Tilly they were blaming everything on her. Oh well, what else was new. It wasn’t a day that ended in “y” if she didn’t piss off the Wonder Twins.
She gathered several empty glasses and nodded as a few drink orders were given. Her tray was heavy, but she thought she could make it back to the bar. She turned that way and suddenly felt someone’s eyes drilling holes into her from the back of the room. Out of habit, she lifted her head to try and find who was watching her so intensely.
She scanned the crowd, but no one looked out of place. Then she saw him, standing slightly off to the side, watching her with an easy confidence, but with a tilt of his head that somehow seemed familiar. He recognized her at the same instant she recognized him. Keaton Benedict.
Her tray and glasses fell to the floor.
Copyright © 2018 by Tara Thomas and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.
NB: What did you edit OUT of this book?
TT: I’m that weird kind of writer who rarely edits out. I typically need to add to my books. Interesting thing about what got added to this book. Halfway through writing it, Tilly and Keaton are at a homeless shelter and Tilly runs into this strangely dressed woman one of the shelter’s residents refers to as Jade. Honestly, that was the only scene I planned for Jade to be.
She thought differently.
NB: Do you listen to music while writing? Does it influence the flow of the scene you are writing?
TT: Sometimes I do and sometimes I need quiet. It all depends on the scene I’m working on and how I feel at the moment. Songs I listened to while writing DARKEST NIGHT are:
Passenger - LET HER GO
fun - SOME NIGHTS
The Cars - YOU MIGHT THINK
NB: When sitting down to write a new book you have a specific outline to follow or does it just flow naturally?
TT: I never outline. I try, but my characters never follow the outline, so I’ve given up trying. I am horribly envious of those who can outline. But then again, I really enjoy those magical moments that happen when you don’t outline.
For instance, I was working through edits on BROKEN PROMISE and the day before they were due, this thought came to my head and it had to go in there because it didn’t make sense otherwise.
NB: What do you like to do when you aren't writing?
TT: I love to travel with my family. I think it’s important in this age of social media and self importance that our kids see there is so much more to this world than their backyard and so many different beliefs that we might not embrace, but that deserve our respect. The universe is so creative and diverse and you can’t see it properly from a book or a screen. You have to live it.
NB: Name three things on your desk right now.
TT: Bills that need to be paid.
The RITA Finalist flag I received for THE MASTER
A globe my husband and kids got me so we could mark places we’ve been and places we want to go.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tara Thomas’s love of books and writing started as a child and though she wanted to be an author, she decided a degree in science was more practical. After fifteen years in the pharmaceutical industry, she returned to her first love and hasn’t looked back since.
She writes erotic romance as Tara Sue Me. Her Submissive Series novels have been on both the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller lists. Her novel The Master earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was awarded Best Romance of 2016 from Best Book Awards.