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Rend (Riven #2)
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After a whirlwind romance, a man with a painful past learns to trust the musician who makes him believe in happy endings.
Matt Argento knows what it feels like to be alone. After a childhood of abandonment, he never imagined someone might love him—much less someone like Rhys Nyland, who has the voice of an angel, the looks of a god, and the worship of his fans.
Matt and Rhys come from different worlds, but when they meet, their chemistry is incendiary. Their romance is unexpected, intense, and forever—at least, that’s what their vows promise. Suddenly, Matt finds himself living a life he never thought possible: safe and secure in the arms of a man who feels like home. But when Rhys leaves to go on tour for his new album, Matt finds himself haunted by the ghosts of his past.
When Rhys returns, he finds Matt twisted by doubt. But Rhys loves Matt fiercely, and he’ll go to hell and back to triumph over Matt’s fears. After secrets are revealed and desires are confessed, Rhys and Matt must learn to trust each other if they’re going to make it. That means they have to fall in love all over again—and this time, it really will be forever.
Roan Parrish’s pitch-perfect Riven novels can be read together or separately:
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We had what some people might call a whirlwind romance. I wouldn’t have called it that. But then, romance wasn’t something I was familiar with at all.
A sign outside the shabby bar in Crown Heights promised dollar well drinks and the chance to avoid my shitty apartment for a little while longer, so I ducked inside, out of the cold. I’d been walking for hours, desperate to be anywhere but home, and winter had seeped into my bones.
I had three roommates and my bed was also the living room couch, so the only chance I ever had at solitude was to arrive home late and leave early. Tonight, with any luck, I wouldn’t be going home at all.
The floor was dingy, the bar polished to a mirror shine, and the lull of a Wednesday night meant I could nurse my whiskey and ginger for a while. I slid a battered paperback out of my coat pocket but didn’t open it yet. My fingers were numb and clumsy, and after walking for so long, I had the sensation that I was still moving even after I sat down. An ocean in my ears and rust on my tongue.
When the whiskey flared hot in my chest I let myself relax slightly. It had been a fuck of a day. The kind of exhausting day that reminds you that life is exhausting. That sometimes just rolling out of bed—or couch, in my case—was so draining you wanted to crawl right back in.
Lately, every day seemed that way, and I was disgusted with myself, because I should’ve felt better. I finally had a job where I could help people with more than their beverage size or correct change. I had a chance—a chance to make life better for people who’d been through the same things I had. I should’ve felt better, but I didn’t.
It had been two months since I’d started working at Mariposa, and the initial flush of pride and relief—and, okay, surprise—had faded like the crash after a high, leaving me in the unfamiliar position of finally having purpose but no idea how to wield it.
I kept wanting to text my best friend, Grin, in Florida, but I couldn’t quite compose anything that didn’t make me sound like an ungrateful dick.
Hey dude, you know how we swore a pact that we wouldn’t be shitty abusive losers like everyone we grew up with? Well I got a job I really like helping people and for the first time I should feel some kind of hope but I’m having this problem where I still sleep on a couch and troll bars at night bc I don’t know how to be anything but what I’ve always been. S.O.S.
I ran my hands through my hair, the curls tangled from my walk, and pressed the heels of my hands into my eyes in an attempt to blot out everything. Stars of light burst on the dark horizon behind my closed eyes.
Maybe I could read in the park tonight instead of going home . . .
No, you idiot, remember last time? Besides, it’s fucking winter.
I sighed and opened my book to a random page, stabbing at a word without looking, in the hope it would give me some guidance about what to do next.
Well. That was no goddamn help whatsoever.
“Would you like another one?” a rough voice asked.
I looked up from my reflection distorted in the glossy bar to see that the man who’d been talking close with the bartender since I walked in had slid onto the stool next to mine.
He was big and blond, and I’d put him in his early to mid-thirties, maybe nine or ten years older than me. Most important, he looked like he could throw me down and fuck me into oblivion. Which was pretty much what I was after.
When I nodded he smiled at me—a warm, genuine, eye-crinkling smile that made me reevaluate him from a powerful, aggressive fuck to a powerful, aggressive fuck who might invite me to stay the night after. Ideal.
“I can only afford to pick up guys on Wednesdays,” he said, indicating the dollar-drink sign.
It wasn’t funny, and it clearly wasn’t true. But his confidence, combined with the way he said it so seriously and then grinned at me again, like he knew it wasn’t funny . . . it endeared him to me.
“Sucks for you,” I said.
I expected some generic, predictable flirtation—“If I’m lucky” and a wink, or “It could suck for both of us if you come home with me” and a leer.
But his eyes raked me, light blue, laser focused, and curious. Fuck, he was striking.
“Nah,” he said seriously. “I wouldn’t say so.” He clinked my glass with his beer and took a long pull, tongue playing at the lip of the bottle, eyes on mine.