We are so excited to be sharing this excerpt from Drew Elyse's upcoming MARKED with you today. This new standalone contemporary romance kicks off the Sailor's Grave series and will be released May 17th exclusively on Amazon.
“MOVING ON” IS JUST ABOUT ACTING THE PART.
I would never say as much to the people I love, but it’s the truth.
They want to see me doing better.
They want to see me living for more than just my son.
So I let them.
Everyday is about putting on a face,
pretending to get over the loss of my husband.
And every day is a lie.
UNTIL MOVING ON IS A TEMPTATION THAT CAN’T BE DENIED.
I’m not about to claim I’m a genius,
unless we’re talking with a tattoo gun or woman in my hands,
but I’m smart enough to know the beauty serving up my cupcake fix is off limits.
Really, I know.
Too bad the lure of putting a real smile on Kate’s face is so strong.
When she visits Sailor’s Grave Tattoo Parlor,
I can’t help but want to leave my mark.
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Read an excerpt from MARKED
Christ, I really needed to stop doing this to myself.
Not give up the desserts, because fuck that, but stop torturing myself with the gorgeous woman that served them.
I knew the deal. She was a single mom, widowed a couple years back. She was under the protection of the club because Daz was her late husband’s brother. I also knew that despite conversations I’d overheard about her doing better, about her starting to move on, that she was nowhere near that place.
Maybe it was because I’d been old enough to understand everything as it happened when we'd lost Dad and after. I recognized what the people in her life couldn’t: that she wasn’t moving past a goddamn thing.
It was achingly familiar, seeing that fake smile. It was even more so to see the one she gave her son, knowing that if I were seeing it closer, there would be that lingering sadness behind her eyes that I saw in my mom’s for too long.
And that whole thought process made it sound like I had some fucked Oedipus complex.
There was a cinnamon braid left. That never happened. Sugar’s Dream was more of a dessert place than full-service bakery. The few things Avery made that worked for breakfast were usually snatched up before I ever got there in the afternoons. The cinnamon braid specifically was a favorite at Sailor’s Grave—it was the reason we had an actual kitchen knife in the back after we’d all fallen on one and had to rip off pieces by hand.
“Gotta take that back to the shop,” I told her, pointing to it.
Unable to hide the fact that she was relieved to have a task that involved moving farther away from me to prep a box for it, she jumped right to it. I wasn’t enough of a gentleman to not glance up from considering what else to get in order to take a look while she had her back to me. Kate looked fucking incredible coming and going. I liked a woman with curves, and she was far from lacking in that department. She had light brown hair that danced around her shoulders when she wore it down, porcelain skin that looked like silk, and amber eyes that usually looked brown, but stood out when there was enough light to see them properly.
She was easily the most delicious thing in this goddamn bakery.
She was also the only thing in the place I was sure I wasn’t getting a taste of.
A minute later, she came back with the tied up box, setting it on the counter by the register.
“Anything else?” She tried to avoid my eyes but ended up looking right at my mouth. My cock took notice, fixing to fight for attention.
I was so fucking tempted to answer with something like “a taste test” just to get a rise out of her, but I bit my tongue.
“Two of the lemon cupcakes, one raspberry chocolate, and” —I peeked around her— “are those the mocha ones you’re working on?”
She glanced over her shoulder like she wasn’t sure what she’d been doing when I walked in. “Um…yes.”
“Can I get one of those?”
Again, it was full hustle to get away from me. I got it. If I were a better man, I might stop coming in. Of course, I’d probably lose it if I tried going cold turkey from my preferred sugar fix, but I could at least talk someone else into coming for me. Jess would probably do it if I bankrolled her own cupcake habit.
Turns out, I wasn’t that good of a person. I wouldn’t push her, but I couldn’t deny myself at least getting to see her beyond just the Disciples’ parties. These little visits were like a fucking drug.
“How’s your boy?” I asked, grasping at anything to get her to talk to me.
“He’s good. He’s telling everyone at his daycare that he’s going to be a biker when he grows up.” It was impossible to miss the love and pride in her voice.
“Probably not a stretch. I wouldn’t be surprised if the brothers had him on his own bike the minute he’s old enough.”
“His dad had a bike, too. Owen’s been around them since he was born.”
I watched as what she’d said registered. I saw her freeze, every inch of her tightening up. She was still facing away, keeping her expression hidden, but I didn’t doubt it was a mix of shock and devastation. I hadn’t known what a minefield the topic was, though I couldn’t be sure I’d have avoided it if it was. Mom told me time and again as she got better that talking about Dad helped, even as much as it hurt.
“I’m sorry. I know that doesn’t help at all. I know it still hurts and all the sympathy in the world doesn’t touch that, but it’s true.”
For a long moment, she didn’t move. I didn’t even see her breathing from my vantage point. Then, she turned around with the box of cupcakes in her hands. She didn’t adopt that benign smile she always had at work, but that didn’t mean she was giving me any glimpse of the real grief.
No, Kate’s face was fucking blank.
It wasn’t my fucking place to try to “help,” especially not while she was at work. Suddenly, if I could take the words back, if I could undo even the reminder of her husband, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
Before I could dig my foot out of my mouth and figure something out to say, she went over to the register and started ringing up my order. “That’ll be $17.56.”
Even her voice was flat, lifeless.
Rather than push and make a bigger ass of myself, I pulled out my card and paid without a word. I kept my mouth shut as she wordlessly handed it back with my receipt, and then slid the boxes toward me.
Only when I had them in hand did she say, again in that dead voice, “Have a nice day.”
I’d fucked up. Royally.
Marked is the first book in the Sailors Grave Series. This book follows the life of Liam and Katie. Taking us through their journey of Love and loss.
Katie has lost a part of her world that was meant to be forever. She has the support of her Brother in law who brings them into his Savage Disciples family without hesitation. She smiles and plays the part of the widow that is moving on with her life. Liam is a talented tattoo artist who is going about his life, loving his family and trying to stay away from the sweetest treat, failing miserably.
Liam wears his heart on his sleeve, he shows a side of himself that is full of emotion and bares his own personal loss and struggles. Katie’s character brings grief and loss to life in the book, she is independent and a protective mother.
The chemistry between Katie and Liam is there from the start. Their friendship opens them up to a level of intimacy that brings you the full love story feels. Leaving you wanting to be swept off your feet. Can Katie move past all her fears and live the life both her and Owen deserve?
Drew’s writing is strong throughout this book. The emotions that both Katie and Liam go through makes you feel that you are right there feeling them too. She seamlessly goes between the 2 characters with ease making the book flow into a love story.
This is the first book of the Sailors Grave Series, a spin off from the Savage Disciples. Having read the series I was familiar with the characters that were involved throughout the story. It wasn’t a necessity to read the series but I would recommend as they are just as good as Marked. Drew has set solid foundation for the series and I cannot wait to see where she takes Book 2, Jess’s story.
Writing Style: 4/5
About DREW ELYSE
Drew Elyse spends her days trying to convince the world that she is, in fact, a Disney Princess, and her nights writing tear-jerking and sexy romance novels.
When she isn't writing, she can usually be found analyzing every line of a book, binge watching shows on Netflix, doing strange vocal warm ups before singing in a variety of musical styles, or screaming at the TV during Chicago Blackhawks games.
A graduate of Loyola University Chicago, she still lives outside Chicago, IL, where she was born and raised, with her boyfriend and her fur babies Lola and Duncan.