The Stone Series
Heart of Stone (The Stone Series Book 1)
Bound by need. Entwined in secrets.
Krystina Cole was a girl on a mission. She had big dreams and aspirations, none of which included a man by her side. She knew better than that – at least until she met Alexander Stone, the New York billionaire real estate tycoon. She saw the way he looked at her, and the dark promises in his eyes. She was curious about his world and all it entailed. But the shadows of her past haunted her, making her afraid to explore the possibilities she could never before have imagined.
Alexander Stone was a man who knew how to get what he wanted. He understood the value of finesse, and the importance of patience and diligence to achieve the desired result. He was successful and wealthy, relying on his naturally sharp instincts to guide him through life. But a chance run in with Krystina Cole quickly turned his world upside down. Her quick wit and firecracker attitude was the complete opposite of what he wanted in a woman, and his instincts failed him at every turn.
However, both Krystina and Alexander are clinging to the secrets in their past, and neither of them are willing to compromise. Krystina’s hardened heart makes emotional surrender a hard limit. But for Alexander, revealing his past could have devastating results.
Heart of Stone is a full-length novel, over 380 pages, and the first of three books in The Stone Series.
After unwrapping the cellophane from the platter, I moved over to the minibar to choose a bottle of white from the wine cooler. I perused the selections, trying to decide what would pair best with the cheeses.
Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay? Both will go nicely, but which would she prefer?
I glanced over at Krystina, intending to ask her if she had a particular wine preference. However, she had a look about her that made me pause, and I didn’t want to interrupt the picture that she painted before me.
She was running one delicate hand over the wooden top of my dining room table. She wore a soft smile on her lips, appreciating the craftsmanship of the design. She looked beautiful sitting there, feet up on the chair, seeming completely at ease. And in that moment, I realized that she had never before looked quite like that in my presence. She had never appeared so completely relaxed.
I stood there studying every beautiful line of her captivating face. Seeing her that way, it was almost hard to believe she was capable of so many smart remarks and witty comebacks. Perhaps her sharp tongue and contentious behavior was a defense mechanism, one that she relied on when she was uncomfortable. If that were truly the case, then I would need to take corrective actions to remedy that problem. I had to calm her, or else I’d never get through the weeks ahead.
Since when do I think long term about these things?
The idea was novel for me and I was stunned to discover that I liked the idea of her being here more regularly. In my space. With me. It was a distressing sort of feeling.
This can all go to shit at a moment’s notice. Take it one step at a time.
A change of tactics was needed, for Krystina’s sake as well as my own. My normal methods of operation would have to be thrown out the window. Attempting to take control by laying down the law would only backfire, so I began to construct a new plan – one that would make Krystina feel more at ease. Once she was relaxed, I would begin to work on her trust by giving her what she’s been asking for.
Stepping Stone (The Stone Series Book 2)
Sometimes the only way to take control is to surrender…
Krystina Cole is flawed and damaged from a traumatic experience. A relationship with Alexander Stone will never work. She knows that her capacity for love is limited, and that only she alone can repair the pieces of her shattered heart. But Alexander is everywhere she turns. In her mind. In her heart. And in her soul. She cannot deny him. He is her addiction and she is unable to stay away.
Alexander Stone has accepted the inevitable. If he wants to hold on to Krystina, he must bare all and release the secrets in his past. There were risks, but she is worth it. No woman has ever affected him the way that she did. She is the sunshine in his darkness. The lightning to his thunder. She is his angel.
Bound by their passion to be together, Alexander and Krystina fight to let go of their pasts. Together, they embark on a journey of self-exploration, relying on trust to be their ultimate bond. Falling completely into one another, there finally seems to be a beacon of hope for their future. But as they test their boundaries of desire, fate takes an unexpected turn, threatening their only chance at survival…
Stepping Stone is a full-length novel, over 365 pages, and the second of three books in The Stone Series.
INCLUDES A PREVIEW OF SET IN STONE, BOOK 3 IN THE STONE SERIES!
I looked up into his eyes. They were scorching, searing right through me and fanning the flames that flickered in my belly.
“Don’t do that,” I told him.
“That thing with your eyes. You’re trying to eye-sex me.”
He flashed me another crooked smile and a low chuckle reverberated through him.
“Is it working?”
Um, maybe. Yes!
But I couldn’t speak the words as Alexander leaned in closer to me. His mouth was mere inches away. Even though I knew what was coming, I was unable to stop it. It was if my brain had shut down and my body took over.
Suddenly, a tractor-trailer whizzed by, pulling on its horn. The sound was deafening and I jumped, the interruption startling me out of my trance and back to reality.
“I – I can’t…” I trailed off, at a complete loss for words, feeling pissed for being so weak. Even after everything that I had been telling myself, I couldn’t last more than two seconds around him.
How does he do this to me all the time?
“You can’t what, Krystina?”
“I can’t kiss you. You can’t kiss me. We aren’t the same as we were before. I don’t want you to think that there’s something still between us.”
“Think? I don’t have to think anything, angel. I know what’s between us.”
I wanted to deny him more than ever, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to keep up the fight for much longer with him standing so close to me. I summoned all the courage that I could muster, and tried to ignore the sexy way that a damp lock of hair fell over his brow.
“There’s nothing,” I tried to deny.
The rain started to come down, the slow drizzle being replaced by large droplets that splattered on my cheeks. I was about to mention that we should probably get out of the rain before it started coming down any harder, when Alexander placed his hand over my heart. The feel of his warm hand on my chest stunned me into silence as my heart beat rapidly against his palm.
“Are you going to deny that you feel it?” he asked quietly. His voice had become low and raspy, the sound of it resonating through me.
“You’re imagining things,” I said, swatting his hand away.
His eyes flashed dangerously and in one swift motion, he cupped the back of my neck and pulled me towards him. Without warning, he crushed his mouth to mine.
It happened so fast, that my breath was literally sucked out of me as I tried to free myself from his grasp.
It’s wrong. I can’t do THIS!
I could not accept his kiss. If I did, walking away again would be that much harder and the hurt even more unbearable. I kept my lips sealed in a firm tight line, refusing to give in.
Alexander fought me and continued to crush his mouth down against mine. He ran his tongue over by bottom lip, testing me for a weakness as I continued to deny him access. But I could feel the will slipping slowly away, my resistance now only halfhearted.
“Don’t fight me, Krystina,” he murmured against my lips. “It’s been too long since I’ve last tasted you.”
Lightning flashed in the distance and a low rumble of thunder sounded. I moaned, losing all will power to hold him off any longer. My body involuntarily gave away, prompting my hands to fly up and grip the back of his neck. Alexander growled his approval and deepened the kiss, pulling my body tighter against his. Our tongues lapped and danced together at an urgent pace. It was so good – too good. When his mouth began to work over my jaw line, I resigned myself to being lost to him and hummed with pleasure.
After a moment, he inched back slightly, our lips hovering over each other’s and our breaths mingling with every pant.
“Do you still want to say that this is just a figment of my imagination?” he breathed.
Set In Stone (The Stone Series Book 3)
Two declarations of love. And a past that won’t set them free.
Alexander had rules. Krystina broke them. Together, they learned the hard way that life was too short to play the game. Choosing to not leave their relationship to Fate, they fell completely and irrevocably into one another. As two shattered souls, wrapped in each other’s arms, it was as if the world and all its troubles did not exist.
However, committing to love each other was only the beginning. Caught up in their blazing desire, they unexpectedly find themselves facing the shadows of the past once again. Just when Krystina thought she knew the man she committed to, more questions arise, causing her to wonder if Alexander is who he says he is. It should have been one of the happiest times in their lives, but the darkness still loomed, threatening everything they fought so hard to overcome.
Now Krystina is faced with a terrible decision: go against Alexander in order to save him or sit idly by and watch as his world shatters around him. For her greatest battle was the very thing their relationship was founded upon. Trust.
The heart-wrenching and seductive story of Alexander and Krystina concludes with Set In Stone, the powerfully moving finale to The Stone Series.
When we arrived at the penthouse, Alexander immediately went to the living room, grabbed a bottle of whiskey from the wet bar, and poured some into a lowball glass. No ice. Two fingers, not one. He threw back the amber liquid and poured another. I frowned. Alexander always exercised control when he drank. This was way out of the norm.
He braced his arms on the edges of the wet bar and dropped his head to his chest. His back was to me, but I could tell he was taking a few deep breaths.
“Alex?” I questioned cautiously.
“What?” he snapped, but didn’t turn around.
“What’s wrong? You never drink that fast.”
He picked up the glass that held his second round, stared at it for a moment, before tipping back the contents.
“Every man has his poison of choice. Today, mine’s whiskey,” he stated bitterly.
Alarmed, I moved toward him slowly, like he was a wild animal that could be spooked at any moment. Slipping my arms around his waist, I moved my hands up to feel the slow and steady rhythm of his heart. We stayed like that for a long moment before he eventually seemed to calm. Turning towards me, he wrapped his arms tightly around my back and cocooned me to his chest.
“I’m okay, angel. I just needed a minute.”
I nuzzled my head into his shoulder as he stroked the length of my hair. I felt as though my heart might burst.
“Let me take your pain away.” I lifted my head up to meet his gaze. Torment swirled within his pools of sapphire, so I offered the only thing I could to erase it. “Be with me.”
He took my chin between his fingers and brushed his lips softly over mine.
“I want that,” he murmured and ran a hand down my arms in quiet tenderness. A familiar warmth spread through me and I tipped my head further back, my silent plea for him to deepen his kiss.
Pushing my tongue past his lips, I explored the depths of his mouth, tangling my tongue with his. He matched my intensity, pulling my body tighter to his.
“Take me to bed, Alex.”
His grip on me slackened, creating an unwanted space between us. I ached for him to return.
“I’m wound too tight, angel. I don’t think…” he trailed off, seeming unable to find the words to express his thoughts. He began to turn away, but I placed a hand on his arm to stop him. I didn’t understand his hesitation, but I didn’t need to.
“I want you. In this moment, nothing else matters.”
Dakota Willink is a contemporary romance writer and editor, and the author of The Stone Series. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and a two-time Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards winner.
Dakota’s love affair with reading and writing began when she was in the sixth grade. Competitive by nature, she was determined to win a reading contest and blitzed through every Sweet Valley High book she could get her hands on. As a result, she discovered her love for words. Since then, she dreamed of one day writing her own book, but put her aspirations on hold to focus on family and a career that would pay the bills. However, her heart continued to be with fictional characters – whether they belonged to a favorite author or if they were just stories that she made up in her own head.
In 2013, Dakota gathered enough courage to turn her dreams into a reality. In between playing chauffeur to two very busy teenagers and working her job during the day, Dakota began to put words on paper. By 2014, she gave up the security of a steady paycheck and began working on her first novel full-time.
Dakota often says she survived her first publishing with coffee and wine. She’s an unabashed Star Wars fanatic and still dreams of one day getting her letter from Hogwarts. She enjoys spending time with her super-supportive husband and two witty teenagers, her two Labrador Retrievers, and her spoiled rotten cat. During the summer months, she can often be found soaking up the sun on the Great Lakes with her family.
Official Website: www.dakotawillink.com
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