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No one evades Fate. Especially when the escape route is cracked and full of holes.

As a naïve young woman, Marité Muro nearly drowned in a maelstrom of confusing emotions stirred by two very different men. One whose tortured soul tugged at her heart, another whose scorching touch made her innocent body want…more.

Four years in a Spanish prep school gave her time to gain perspective, and now she’s come home to Florida knowing what she wants. The one man she’s never been able to forget, and she’s ready to prove their age difference is no obstacle.

Vietnam left scars on Brian MacKay, some visible, some invisible—and infinitely more dangerous. His war buddy’s sister-in-law has ripened into a tempting, irresistible woman, but she is forbidden fruit. Yet she challenges his resolve until, in a moment of weakness, his demons slip free.

Marité isn’t sure why the man who held her closer than skin is suddenly holding her at arm’s length, but she isn’t afraid to fight for him. Even when someone returns from the past who could destroy everything. Her home. Her family. And Brian’s love.


December 1969

You’re late…you’re late. Where the heck are you? Out of the corner of her eye, Marité Muro scanned the hallway of the chapel. To her mounting frustration, several attendees standing next to a column blocked her view. She could stare forever and accomplish nothing. Neither the people nor the column would move out of her way. Reality does stink. She didn’t have X-ray vision or mental superpowers like the superheroes in her favorite comics and fantasy novels. Her human anatomy had its limitations, and just to reinforce that concept, a painful stab attacked her temples as a multitude of sparks filled her vision. Half-blind, she tangled the tip of her elegant new shoe with the footed base of a nearby massive candleholder, and she nearly flew forward. Mumbling a curse that would’ve shocked her mother, Marité froze in place, waiting for her vision to clear.

Thanks to the futile search, she’d almost made a fool of herself in front of everyone and, worse, had missed key aspects of a ritual she didn’t know well. She should be following the ceremony. Any minute, the spotlight and all eyes would be on her, which meant ignoring the stupid voice that wouldn’t stop nagging in her mind. The incessant taunts had begun as soon as she took her place by the baptismal font: Go ahead. Turn around. Check the crowd, silly girl. How else will you know? Well, screw the voice. She had an important role and should appear focused on the celebration—same as Brian, her partner in the ceremony—or at least pretend.

Still, she couldn’t stop thinking of Michael. Why aren’t you here?

How about a little peek? the voice insisted. Shifting her gaze to the left hallway, she tried again, seeking a body, a shadow, some movement, anything that might indicate her cousin’s arrival. Nope. Nothing. Zip.

You’re going to ruin it if you don’t show up. How could he miss the triple christening when it meant so much to everyone? The entire family had flown in from the Old Country, not to mention friends from all over. Forget the relatives, she had dreamed about this occasion for weeks, had bought this pink chiffon dress and complementary shoes, hoping to regain his attention. She wanted him to see her among adults, doing adult things like a young lady. Maybe then she’d impress the indifference out of him and the uncomfortable disaffection would end. Not so long ago, he would’ve insisted on driving her. He would’ve been full of advice on the ride over. He used to be so protective and supportive, so affectionate, but lately—

The clinking sound of the swaying censer and Father O’Leary’s voice grew louder. He’d moved from infant to infant, performing the sacramental rite: dabbing bits of salt in their mouths, sprinkling the tiny foreheads with holy water, and lastly anointing them with chrism. And now it was Rebecca’s turn, the gorgeous child cradled in her arms. Marité glanced at the beaming parents standing off to her right, Raquel and Matthew Buchanan, her sister and brother-in-law. Dismissing her earlier preoccupation, Marité sent a silent prayer on their behalf for a life full of well-deserved happiness. They’d struggled enough.

Father O’Leary recited the questions to the godparents, and Marité answered in unrehearsed unison with Brian. The sound of his deep voice, full of emotion and self-assured, rang in her ears as spirals of thick church incense wafted around her with its heady scent. A dreamy feeling overcame Marité. Each I do response seemed to roll out of Brian’s lips in slow motion. The words echoed throughout the room, then ricocheted inside her mind in giant swells. A sense of déjà vu transported her to a distant time in a faraway chamber, richly ornate and full of golden lights, nowhere she knew or had seen before… The experience didn’t last; it ended with the last question but left her shivering. She looked Brian’s way.


He leaned forward. “Lil’ godmother?”

“Forget it. It’s nothing,” she said quickly. Whatever she’d seen, Brian obviously had not. No point in pursuing it further.

Brian MacKay, Matthew’s best friend and ex-war buddy, was the happiest person she’d ever known in all of her fifteen years. His smile could brighten the gloomiest day. In these days of the Vietnam War, men who survived the jungle came home either physically damaged or with broken spirits, sometimes both. Not Brian. His cheerful disposition had carried him through exhausting physical therapy sessions—she’d heard Raquel and Matthew talk—and conquered his wounds. She watched in awed respect as he moved or walked about, displaying his faltering step like a badge of honor and the ever-present cane like a scepter.

Despite the seven-year gap between them, Brian didn’t condescend to her. He treated her as an equal, and she liked that quality best. When she learned Brian had agreed to become Rebecca’s godfather, she’d been overjoyed and honored. The sacrament would not only bind them to the child but to each other, as compadres in a very special lifelong relationship, almost like parents. Her thoughts pivoted to her absent cousin…and yep, she was back to where she’d started.

“What is it?” Brian nudged her arm. “That frown’s ruining your purdy face.”

Marité knew he’d tried to keep his voice down but was also certain folks in the last row heard him. “Shhh,” she whispered, and, suppressing a rising giggle, she bumped him with her shoulder.

Brian jerked up to his full height, snapping two fingers in mock salute. “Yes, ma’am.”

Rebecca must have found their exchange entertaining, because she decided to join the fun. Her rosebud lips puckered, releasing a loud half-raspberry, half-spit bubble.

“Not very ladylike,” Marité murmured. Brian snickered, and the priest shot them both a warning glare.

Her sister, Raquel, heard the sound and flicked a signal to Matthew. As a lighted taper was presented to Marité and Brian, Matthew retrieved Rebecca in exchange, rescuing everyone from the priest’s displeasure. With little Rebecca’s explorations in sound effects successfully silenced, Father O’Leary nodded, and the baptism proceeded in its ordered sequence.

Boom! The sound of a kneeler dropped carelessly on the floor reverberated throughout the chapel like a discharged cannon. Marité tossed poise out the window and turned, peering above and beyond the curious guests to the source of the commotion.

You know how to make an entrance, don’t you?

With hands pressed against the last pew, Michael leaned forward. His shoulder-length hair, falling in the direction of his hands, concealed his features. On her next breath, Marité evaluated the situation in the room: a pale Aunt Coralina directed a wife-to-husband plea for serenity to Uncle Jonas, whose gaze emitted ice-blue fury toward his irreverent son.

An unexpected censuring scoff out of Brian startled her, and Marité pivoted, beginning to feel like a spinning top. The frown of disapproval was a rare departure from Brian’s affable countenance. Confounded by it all, Marité flipped back around just as Michael looked up, tossed back his leonine mane in obvious defiance, and smirked. Ignoring everyone present, he glared at her. A chill ran down Marité’s spine…

Destiny’s Choice, the long awaited sequel to Destiny’s Plan, is available for pre-order through the following vendors.



Barnes and Noble


WLK Author Bio

A native of Cuba, Victoria acquired a love for books from her mother, and the desire to see the world from her father. As a result she has been around the globe by her count, at least twice. From her journeys she has gathered a varied collection of stories and anecdotes, which now serve to inspire her muse. Central Florida is home, but if she could convince her husband, she would pack her computer and move to Scotland, a land she adores.

Stay in touch with Victoria via Facebook or drop me a line on my web page, Victoria Saccenti Writes or visit her Amazon Author page:

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Brother to Brother
Series: The
Sacred Brotherhood Book I
A.J. Downey
Genre: MC
Date: August 1, 2016
Melody Beswick thought she
was bringing herself and her thirteen month old son home to his father. It was
her last ditch effort to make a better life for her and her boy. One in which
Noah had a father to look up to and guide him. While she knew Grinder wasn’t
perfect, she believed in him, and love always found a way, right?


Melody never thought her
dreams for herself and her son could twist into such nightmares, and that it
was so true, the old adage, that the road to hell is paved with good
intentions. She’s about to find out that another adage is true, that
sometimes  it’s better the devil you
know, when instead of finding Grinder, it’s his cold and critical brother
Archer at the end of her long drive that she must contend with.


With no other options, and no
place else to go, Melody is about to make a deal with this devil that she can’t
refuse. Who knew it could, quite possibly, be the best decision she’s ever


“You’ve been movin’ around
this place like some kind of ghost since we got back from the club. It’s
driving me nuts, so how about you tell me what’s up? You having second thoughts
or some shit?”
Melody looked up from where she sat, Indian style in the middle of the bed.
It’d been something like two or three days since we’d been at the club and
she’d been quieter than usual, which she’d practically been a fuckin’ church
mouse to begin with. Her phone forgotten in her hands she opened her mouth to
speak, thought better of it, closed it, opened it again only to turn around and
shut it again.

To make my point that I wasn’t going anywhere until I got some kind of an
answer, I crossed my arms over my chest and leaned a shoulder against the edge
of the open doorway. She leaned way over to get a look around me into the
living room.

“He’s out cold already,” I assured her and she leaned back slowly, resuming her
seated position in the middle of my bed. I’d kept sleeping on the couch,
figuring I’d be back in it soon enough once she and I were married, a couple of
weeks more didn’t make much difference.

She pinned me with those beautiful blue eyes of her and nervously pushed some
of that gorgeous blonde hair of hers behind her ear. Melody damn sure was a
beautiful woman. I was lucky on that score. Even luckier that she was a fine
mother and homemaker. Still, I was getting tired of her looking so rundown and
fuckin’ scared all the time, but I couldn’t fix it if I didn’t know what was
freaking her out so hard.

“I’m scared,” she admitted finally, and it was a start.

“Of what?” I asked, needing to know which dragon to slay would be an even
better starting point, but I could tell by the expression on her face I was
gonna have to drag it out of her. I hated that. Why couldn’t women ever be
straightforward like most dudes? I ask a question, I expect an answer but if
what I suspected were true…

“Of… of you,” she said finally and my suspicions were dead on confirmed. Well,
shit. Now how did I go about fixing that?

“Okay,” I said judiciously. “Why? What am I doing to scare you? Give me some

She smoothed her lips together and I realized I was looking forward to seeing
if they were as soft as they looked. She swallowed hard, and voice trembling,
said, “I don’t know if it’s anything specific…” I snorted and she looked like a
deer caught in the fuckin’ headlights.

“Don’t bullshit me, Mel. I promise not to get pissed off, but you gotta tell
me, else I can’t work on it, or fix it now can I?”

“No, I suppose not,” she said softly and I had to wait her out. I could see her
trying to gather up her thoughts. The slight line that developed between her
eyes as she thought furiously how best to say it, was cute on her.

Still, I didn’t have endless patience so I finally sighed and said, “Just gimme
the short version, and spill it. I gotta try and get some sleep tonight.”

“I don’t know how I’m supposed to… I don’t know if I can…”

“Fuck me?” I asked, the heat lending a sweet blush of color across her cheeks
cluing me in.

“I’ve never done sex without love… You’re attractive, Archer, don’t get me
wrong but I’m a woman and feelings… we have to have feelings as a part of it,
it’s just how it works, I guess…” she covered her face with her hands, “Oh,
god!” She groaned, “I’m saying this all wrong and I don’t want to hurt your
feelings but it’s important and I’m so sorry, but I’m really struggling and the
girls back in Arizona always said you were rough and that scares me too, and I
just am trying to get my head around it and I’m struggling… I’m sorry.” I let
her babble and repeat herself and waited her out until she was finished and
somewhat beyond that.

I could feel the slight smirk on my lips, a defense mechanism if I were being
totally honest, because what she said did sting, but I had to be honest with
myself, it wasn’t totally unexpected. Finally, she gave me what I wanted,
lowering her hands and looking at me.

“First of all, those girls back in AZ? I don’t and didn’t give a fuck about
them, so why would I give a shit? They weren’t mine, and I was just in it to
get my rocks off, meet a physical need, you get me?”

Again with that adorable little thoughtful frown. Mel nodded slowly, and I was
pretty sure she didn’t get what I was saying but I wasn’t too terribly worried
about it, because soon enough she would. I was a ‘doer’ by nature. I didn’t
really dig sitting around talking about shit, the only reason I was indulging
her in it now, was because I thought she was gonna worry herself sick and back

Copyright © 2016 Author A.J. Downey, All rights reserved.

Haven’t read the original
series yet?
The Sacred Hearts MC Boxset
This boxed set includes all six
books and novella at the
deeply discounted rate of 60% off each individual
cover’s price.


A.J. Downey is a born and raised Seattle, WA Native.
She finds inspiration from her surroundings, through the people she meets and
likely as a byproduct of way too much caffeine.
She has lived many places and done many things though
mostly through her own imagination… An avid reader all of her life it’s now her
turn to try and give back a little, entertaining as she has been entertained.
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