Never Let You Go

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The second novel in this darkly sexy contemporary series from bestselling author Monica Murphy wraps up an emotionally powerful two-part tale of forbidden love.
 
The truth hurts, they say—and my pain cuts deep. While I was falling for Ethan, he was deceiving me the entire time. He held a huge secret, protected by his lies. When I discovered what he was hiding, the truth shook my world, threatening to ruin us forever. Ruin me. But I soon realized that what we share can’t be destroyed.
 
The connection between us is too strong. It always has been. I can’t deny him any longer. And I can’t deny my truth: I’m in love with Ethan.
 
I don’t want to let him go.
 
While we’re trying our best to make this relationship work, other forces are fighting against us. My family, who wants to keep me safe. The media obsessed with my tragic past. The public that feeds off of it. Even Ethan’s father—the man who nearly destroyed me all those years ago. He’s doing his best to finish the job.
 
Despite my love for Ethan, the doubts creep in, clouding my mind. Is he worth the pain? Will our love survive, or will we have no choice but to end it—end us—once and for all?

Praise for Never Let You Go
 
“As a reader, this relationship shouldn’t work even though it has to work. It’s only because of Ms. Murphy’s skill in delicately addressing survival from sexual assault and abuse that we find the capacity to heal through touch and love.”Heroes and Heartbreakers
 
“Much like the first book, this story was an emotional roller-coaster ride that never really let up. But that’s what made the story so fantastic and engaging.”—Emilie’s Book World
 
“A story that will grip you, pull you in, and keep you immersed til the end . . . an emotional and sweet story that will stay with me for years to come.”—Read-Love-Blog
 
“A dramatic and beautiful and frightening story.”—Fictional Candy
 
“Murphy nailed it with this one for sure. . . . Katherine and Ethan. Katie and Will. They are such a dynamic couple. Everything they have been through makes their bond tight.”—Mommy’s a Book Whore
 
Praise for Monica Murphy’s Never Tear Us Apart
 
“All the best parts of romance and betrayal . . . I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.”New York Times bestselling author Jay Crownover
 
“A powerful story that left me raw yet hopeful.”USA Today bestselling author K. A. Tucker

“A powerful story of friendship, trauma, coping and betrayal. The characters jump off the page into real life and will have readers gasping and feeling every emotion that they go through. Another amazing book to add to Murphy’s already stellar library!”RT Book Reviews (4 1/2 stars)
 
“Murphy has written a compelling and emotional love story of two severely broken people, each of whom can be healed only by the other.”Booklist
 
“Murphy imbues these characters with genuineness and plausibility. . . . [Readers] will look forward to the promised sequel.”Publishers Weekly

Under the Cover

An excerpt from Never Let You Go

ETHAN

She is relentless in her pursuit of me. The constant calls, the texts, the voicemails, the emails. No wonder she’s one of the top investigative journalists on TV.

Lisa Swanson is a serious pain in my ass.

After three weeks of constant harassment, I give in and answer her call. She sounds surprised to hear my voice and I’m pleased that I could shock her. I don’t think much gets past her.

“You answered,” she says.

“It’s either answer or try to ignore you for another three weeks,” I tell her, sounding bored. Inside I’m a wreck. I’ve remained undercover since that moment Lisa texted me and Katie . . .

My heart thuds. Hard. Like it came to a complete and utter stop. How am I still alive? Just thinking about her wrecks me. Twists me up inside until I feel like I’m going to be sick.

When Katie discovered the text from Lisa and left me, I shut down. Physically and emotionally shut down for days. Only within the last week have I once again tried to pick up my normal routine. Working on projects. Talking to clients. I behave normally, move through life as if nothing’s wrong, but inside . . .

Inside I’m hollow. Broken into so many tiny pieces, I don’t think anyone or anything could put me back together. I’ve lost the only thing that matters. The only person I’ve ever really loved.

And she hates me. She should hate me. I can’t excuse my actions.

“Your father’s interview is set to air soon,” Lisa says, her determined voice bringing me back to reality. “I’ve delayed it for as long as possible, but I can’t put it off anymore.”

“Why’d you delay it?” I know the answer. I’m just curious to hear what she has to say.

“Because I wanted to get your side of the story, Will.” I flinch at hearing my name. My old name. I’m not Will any longer. I wish she would stop calling me that. “I’m going to be honest with you.” She pauses.

Honesty. There’s a funny concept I seem to know nothing about. Deception and lies, that’s what defines me. Makes me tick. I pretend. I don’t know how to be my true self. Only with Katie did I feel close to who I really am.

And now she’s gone.

“Your father said some . . . not-­so-­nice things about you,” Lisa says haltingly.

“Like what?” I sit up straighter, run a hand over my head. I’m still in bed. What’s the point of getting up? I can do everything here, even work. My laptop lies discarded next to me. My iPad is on my bedside table. I’m in my underwear, I haven’t eaten anything yet today, and it’s already past noon. I can’t remember the last time I shaved, looked at myself in the mirror. I’m afraid of what I might see, the truth in my eyes, the deception in my face.

Who said the truth hurts? Because they’re so fucking right.

“Accusatory things,” Lisa says, purposely being vague. Why doesn’t she want to tell me? Oh, probably because she needs something to draw me in and get me to talk. “You won’t like it if he goes on national television and says those things, Will. I promise you, it would be to your benefit to talk to me.”

Leaning my head back, I close my eyes and blow out a harsh breath as Lisa waits for my response. I don’t know what to say, how to reply. Doing a televised interview with her would expose me, when I’ve hidden in the shadows for far too long. Not talking to her might end up with me looking like a savage child rapist in cahoots with my father.

Either way I can’t win. And Lisa knows it. She’s taking a risk, hoping that I’ll choose talking to her as the lesser evil.

I’m not sure if that’s the right thing, though.

“Has she agreed to talk to you?” I ask, my voice tight, my muscles strained. I’m so tense I could shatter.

“Who?” Playing dumb. Lisa’s good at that, too.

“You know who,” I say through gritted teeth.

She sighs. “I told her I found you.”

My heart fucking drops into my toes, swear to God. “What did she say?”

“She didn’t say much at all, which surprised me. I thought she’d be happy to hear the news.” Lisa goes quiet, then clears her throat. “Talk to me, Will. Please. You won’t regret this.”

I will so regret it. And she knows it. She’s just trying to pretend she has my best interests at heart. “I don’t know.”

“Your father’s interview is tentatively scheduled to air ten days from now. If you talk to me, I could get an extension. The execs would love to hear your side. And if I could somehow get Katherine involved again at one point—­”

“No.” The word shoots out of me like a bullet, as though I’m defending myself against a direct strike to my heart. I feel like I’m already dead with just the mere suggestion of Katie being involved in this three-­ring circus Lisa is trying to organize. My father in one ring, me in the second, and Katie in the third, all of us alone, fighting each other.

Forget it.

“No?” Lisa’s voice is brittle. She doesn’t like being told no.

“She can’t be involved.”

“Why not?” Lisa asks incredulously. “Her perspective is vital. I think she would rush to your defense. She spoke so highly of you before.” Another pause. A judgment. “Unless maybe you’re not telling me the truth . . .”

“Fuck you,” I mutter, refusing to defend myself to her. I could give a damn what she thinks about me.

But I care about what Katie thinks. She’d hate me for talking to Lisa Swanson. I know it.

So I can’t do it.

“If you talk, she might talk, too. She won’t right now. She refuses to see me. But if I offer the chance for the two of you to speak to each other after all these years . . .” Lisa’s voice drifts, as if she’s dangling a carrot and I’m supposed to jump at that opportunity to speak with Katie.

She can’t know that I’ve already spoken to Katie. Basked in her presence, reveled in the sound of her voice, her laughter, the touch of her hand. The softness of her lips, the scent of her hair, her skin, how she tastes, how she squirms when I touch her in one particular spot. The sound of my name falling from her lips when I make her come . . .

Not my real name, though. An imposter’s name. Ethan is no one. Will is the devil.

Again, which side do I choose? Who am I really?

“I won’t put her through that. I’m not interested.” I’m about to end the call when I hear Lisa’s frantic voice. I bring the phone back to my ear.

“You should reconsider. I can put a temporary halt on this, and let you tell your side of the story. But if you choose not to talk to me, I can’t be held responsible for the attack on your reputation that is bound to happen The interview will air ten days from now, whether you like it or not.”

Haughty Queen Lisa is back to playing hardball. “Let it happen.”

I end the call.

I set my phone on the bedside table.

I close my eyes.

- About the author -

Monica Murphy is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of One Week Girlfriend, Second Chance Boyfriend, Three Broken Promises, Four Years Later, Owning Violet, Stealing Rose, Taming Lily, Never Tear Us Apart, and the eBook novella Drew + Fable Forever. A native Californian, she lives in the foothills of Yosemite with her husband and three children.

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Never Let You Go

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Never Let You Go

— Published by Bantam —