Title: A STEEL TOWN
Series: A Gateway to Love, #3
Author: Chloe T. Barlow
Genre: New Adult, Romantic Suspense, Mystery, Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: January 11, 2016
BlurbHow do you protect the woman you love, when you fear you are the very person who could destroy her? Claudia McCoy has been told what she can't do enough for one lifetime. After a near-fatal childhood battle with juvenile diabetes and having to accept that her dreams of serving in the military would never come true, she's thrilled to begin a life on her own terms. Yet, when she finally starts her career in the FBI, Claudia is furious that her condition and overbearing big brother, Wyatt, have both once again interfered with her ability to have the life she truly wants. Now derailed from her high-profile aspirations of a position in the FBI's D.C. headquarters, she is instead planted far away from the real action, and practically right in her brother's Pittsburgh backyard. Trey Adler is known for fixing things, but he's broken just as many — leaving him with regrets that never go away. He'd be the first to agree he should stay away from a nice girl like Claudia, but he can't deny his friend Jenna Sutherland's request when she asks him to use his position as a temporary FBI consultant to keep Claudia safe — especially as it's clear this little firecracker needs protecting. Far away from all the action she so craves, Claudia is more determined than ever to prove herself in her first major investigation at whatever cost — and those costs are proving to be dangerously high. Their battle of wills turns quickly into a powerful need for one other, making them both rethink everything they ever wanted. Will Trey be able to keep her alive long enough to give them an opportunity at something real together — a future that can survive the danger in their present, as well as the darkness of his past?
ExcerptLooking up into his sharp gray eyes, Claudia licked her lips and asked, "Why don't you have a tattoo here, Trey? You have them all over your chest, but not here where your heart beats." "I'll answer your question about the bare spot over my heart, but you have to answer one for me. It's been bothering me ever since I met you." "Okay, shoot." "Are you sure? You won't like it, but you'll still have to tell me the truth." Trey's fingers were slipping back and forth against her thighs, caressing her lightly. "What?" she sputtered out. "Of co-ourse. It's a waste of time for me not to tell the truth. I suck at lying." "Being bad at lying and being honest are two very different things." "Fine. I promise to be honest," she answered, her throat drying with each persistent press of his hands, punctuated by the gentle circular motion of his thumbs against her inner thighs. "Good. Then this will be an easy way for you to get what you want." "Um, okay. What do you want to know?" "Are you a virgin?" "That's your question?" "Yes," he answered, letting his hands squeeze the sides of her legs, hard, sending a new set of shocks and tingles along her nerve endings. "Last night you ordered me to deal with you. Well, then I deserve to know what I am dealing with." She swallowed roughly, trying to use her prior irritation to pull herself back to reason. "It's a ludicrous thing to ask. Plus, it's such a dumb male thing to care about or think you have the right to know." "Uh-uh, little one. You're not answering my question. If you want to start making rules, then you have to be able to play by them, too." "What do you think is the answer? I'm twenty-three..." she said, her breaths coming out in short puffs of air. Claudia pressed her palms on the table, trying to get up. Trey slammed his hands over hers and met her eyes with a blazing fury that made his gray irises look like swirling, melted steel. "You're doing it again, Claudia. I've got all the time in the world, nowhere to be...and no desire to answer your question. If you want to back out so I don't have to tell the truth, then so be it." She moved her face to avoid his eyes, "You're ridiculous." Trey leaned in closer to her, using his nose against her cheek to force her face back toward his. He slid it across the length of her face, pausing to briefly brush his lips over her skin and suck on her earlobe, making her gasp out loud. When his teeth bit down on the flesh gently, Claudia couldn't help but release an embarrassing moan. His warm breath tingled against her moistened skin, when he asked again, this time with a whisper, "Are...you...a...virgin?" "No," she breathed out roughly. Trey moved so he was facing her, staring squarely in the eyes as he challenged her, "No — you've had mind-blowing sex that turned off that crazy, intense mind of yours and made you stop trying to control everything? Or you've had a dick in you?" "You-you dirty piece of —" "Eh, eh, eh. Answer the question." "Fine. I had sex when I was twenty." Trey's hands clenched a bit over hers, but his stare didn't waver from hers. When he stayed silent, she added, "He was my best friend. His name is Trevor. I felt it was important to get it out of the way and he was comfortable with my viewpoint, I guess. Are you happy now?" Claudia barely moved an inch, but Trey made it clear she wasn't going anywhere until he let her. "Yup, just like I thought. For all intents and purposes, you're a virgin, little one. And since we're being honest with each other, I would like nothing more than to be your real first... It could be the only way I ever get you to listen to me." Claudia swallowed a gasp until the air turned into an awkward bubble in her throat. The thrill in her chest dissipated quickly as Trey's face fell, and he added, "The thing is, your answer confirms you're a nice girl. The problem is — I'm not a nice boy. And that's something we both have to deal with." His words simultaneously frustrated and saddened her. She took a deep breath and muttered, "Your turn." Trey leaned away from her, and rubbed the left side of his chest a bit, looking away from her. He turned his eyes back to hers. There was no wicked gleam in his eyes, or smirk to lighten the mood. All that remained was dejection, and something even darker — almost ominous, though she couldn't quite place it. "I don't have any tattoos there because I felt it was important to leave the area around my heart bare. It doesn't deserve anything...it's my weakest organ." He moved away from her, but she didn't stop him this
All titles in the Gateway to Love series are only $0.99 during the A Steel Town release week!
Three Rivers (Gateway to Love, #1)
City of Champions (Gateway to Love, #2)
Shanghai Wind (A Gateway to Love, #2.5)
About Chloe T. BarlowChloe is a contemporary romance novelist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband and their sweet puppy. Chloe has always loved writing and cherishes the opportunity to craft her fictional novels and share them with the world. When Chloe isn’t writing, she spends her time exploring Pittsburgh with her husband and friends. She also enjoys yoga, jogging, and all Pittsburgh sports. She is an avid reader and wrote her debut novel Three Rivers in her spare time. She loves to research every last detail relating to her books. For example, in an effort to bring authenticity to Three River’s treatment of grief and loss, she consulted with a psychologist and grief counselor during its preparation.
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