Anne Roman is the author of suspenseful and thrilling romance novels. Her books are fast-paced, steamy, and will leave you on the edge of your seat! When not writing, Anne can be found at home with her kids, pets, and a husband who still sweeps her off her feet.
Juniper Wild is a liar.
With her full lips, pretty blue eyes, and angelic face, she might have fooled everyone else in our small town, but not me. I know the truth about her – that she’s a spoiled, selfish liar. Five years ago, she shattered my dreams with a single lie. And just when I thought she was gone for good, she shows up again, still hiding something. I won’t let her get away with it this time. I’ll bide my time, watch her from the shadows, and expose her for what she truly is. But as I wait and plot my revenge, I can’t ignore the feelings I’ve been trying to bury. I might hate her, but I can’t deny that I’m still drawn to her.
Cade Black is a nightmare .
He haunts my every waking moment. He thinks I’m responsible for ruining his life five years ago, but the truth is that I was just a scared girl who ran away. Now I’m back in town to take care of my brother, and I won’t let Cade bully me into submission. But as we clash the chemistry between us is undeniable. Yet, we both have secrets that we’re hiding, and they threaten to tear us apart. Can we find our way back to each other, or will our pasts continue to haunt us forever?
Trigger Warning: Dub Con (mild), Virgin Heroine, Violence/Murder, Emotional Abuse/Manipulation, Explicit Language, 18+ for mature content
The solid oak door slammed shut behind me with a finality that echoed in my soul. I stood on the wrap-around porch of my childhood home, my entire body vibrating with rage and hurt.
He’d gone too far this time.
I heaved giant sobs, my hands shaking with fear. I couldn’t stay anymore. Not in that house. Not with that man. The idea that I’d be leaving my home, ripped another sob through me.
But I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn’t a home. It was more like a prison.
My father didn’t raise his voice when he argued. He didn’t yell or scream. He’d just stare at me like a hawk watching his prey, waiting for the opportunity to strike. Waiting for a moment of weakness. And inevitably, the weakness would reveal itself. A question I didn’t answer correctly, or thought I failed to follow up on. That’s what happens when your father is a successful and powerful lawyer to some of the most dangerous criminal organizations in the state. There’s no need for theatrics. You just have to ask the right questions, bide your time, and your opponent will open themselves up to your attack. Then it’s game over.
Tears threatened to fall down my cheeks, but I refused to let them. Instead, I stormed across the lawn to the circular drive and my sunshine yellow 1969 Volkswagen Beetle. My father had wrinkled his nose in disdain when I’d first pulled up to the house with my prized possession, but he hadn’t objected. It was my only freedom. It surprised me that he’d even allow it, considering every other waking minute of my life was carefully planned and controlled. But it was more than just a car to me, it was my lifeline to my mother.
Before she’d gotten sick, my mother would tell me stories about her days traversing all over the countryside in a Volkswagen, just like mine. I’d sat at her bedside and listened to her talk about her adventures as a carefree gypsy, with rapt attention. Where my father was cold and calculated, all business suits and ties, my mother had been flowing dresses with wildflowers from the fields around our town braided in her hair. I’d wanted to believe that they loved each other, although I suspected that wasn’t the case. But then my mother had gotten sick shortly after Dean’s birth, and my father became a disapproving shadow, ever-present in our house and in my head.
Cranking up the car and pulling out of our gravel drive, onto a paved road that wound down the mountainside, I took one last look at the house I’d called home. I was leaving everything I cared about behind. My brother’s sleeping face flashed through my brain and fear lanced through my heart. He wouldn’t understand why I left. But it was the only way to protect him. So long as I was there, Dean was in danger. But if I left, my father wouldn’t have any leverage on me anymore. He wouldn’t be able to use Dean to manipulate me into doing what he wanted.
I wasn’t worried about Dean being forced to follow the path that I was trying to escape. The males of the family had a different role to play. The men went off into the world and made something of themselves. They were supposed to make alliances, deals, and uphold the traditions of the families. The women were just pawns in their game. It was backwards and patriarchal, something I had never understood. Especially given the free-spirited nature of my mother. I’d wanted to go to art school and pursue a career as an artist. But that was out of the question in my family. What dreams had she given up to marry to my father? I’d never know. She’d died when I was too young to ask those questions.
Before I could leave, though, I had one stop to make. One person, more than anyone, who would understand me leaving, though he could never know why. I gripped the steering wheel harder. More than anything, I wanted to tell him the truth and reveal the secret I’d been keeping. But to do that would mean driving an unforgivable wedge between us.
Cade would never understand why I did what I did. He would never forgive me for betraying him. And there was once a time where that wouldn’t have mattered to me. He was a Black, and I was a Wild. Sworn enemies in a long-standing feud that had gone back generations, since the very founding of the original town. Some even said that if it weren’t for the Wild’s wealth, this city would be called Black, Colorado instead.
I gripped the steering wheel tighter.
It was supposed to have been so simple. Gain his trust. Find out some useful information I could take back to my father and prove my loyalty. And then never think about Cade Black again.
Falling in love hadn’t been part of the plan.
But that’s exactly what had happened.
I’d fallen in love with the enemy.
And in doing so, I’d not only betrayed my family, I’d betrayed him.
So many nights I’d lay awake, the guilt of my betrayal keeping me from sleeping. But every time I opened my mouth to tell him the truth, fear squeezed my heart like a vice grip.
I couldn’t lose him. I couldn’t lose the one good thing in my life.
My father’s words cut through me. Whore. Liar. A disgrace to my family. Those were the words he’d used when I’d told him I wouldn’t betray Cade. I’d tried to get him to see reason. This feud was pointless and stupid. Our families had disagreed so long, no one even knew what they were fighting over. Just like that, a line in the mountain dirt had been drawn and on one side were the Blacks and on the other, were the Wilds. There was no in-between.
“Choose,” he’d said. “Your family or your brother.”
I’d looked at Dean and knew there was no other choice I could make. No other choice he would allow me to make.
My car was already packed. I’d been preparing for this moment for a very long time and had squirreled away little things here and there. Bess, our housekeeper and nanny, had helped me when and where she could. I’d hugged her one last time, my forehead bent to hers and whispered, “Take care of him, Bess, he won’t understand. But neither of us will ever be free if I stay.”
She’d squeezed me tight and kissed my cheek. “Go. Your mother would be so proud of you. I’ll take care of the boy. I promise.”
Honestly, it was all by chance. I’d always wanted to write and enjoyed it, but I never pictured myself as a fiction or romance author. Then one day a client of mine (another author) suggested I write an espionage novel and the idea stuck. I was terrified at first because the only things I’d really ever written were blogs and research papers. However, I stuck with it and soon found out I really enjoy the creativity and the freedom. The stories and characters just started to flow and before I knew it I had three books written and more lining up and begging me to share their worlds as well.
I usually get fixated on one overall theme or idea and from there, different spin-offs or versions start to take shape. I’m one of those people who can visualize each scene as if it were a movie and so one scene will flow directly into the next. I will write down the idea or emotion of each scene from start to finish and then from there I will go back and fill in details, dialogue, interactions etc. Sometimes the scenes change depending on what the characters say or do, sometimes I add new scenes or make cuts. It really depends on the book.
Reading! I’m an avid reader. If I’m not reading then I’m with my children or my husband. We’re a big sports family and so you can usually find me at a ball field somewhere watching one of them play a game.
I celebrate with wine and with friends.
Usually, I do a dinner out with my husband if we are able to (sometimes our sports schedule gets in the way) and then I celebrate with friends the following weekend. I like to do dinner and give them signed copies of my books as thanks for being so supportive.
I wanted to tell a story about strong women who come together and supported each other during their hardest times. I came up with the idea of Wild’s Emporium and that one character from the series would own a piece of it. Originally each character was going to get one stand-alone book, but then I started writing and the words just kept flowing and now I think there will be more to explore in this world than I could have ever imagined.
Absolutely! I can’t help but think of my husband in almost every hero I write. He’s my real-life book boyfriend and so I think I tend to add some of his personality traits into the men I write about. Bravery, heroism, sacrifice. My heroines often remind me of my friends and other women that I admire. Or they have traits and aspects that I think are admirable and want to see in real life.
Self-doubt. But that’s the challenge with writing any book, isn’t it?
Researching different Colorado mountain towns and looking up different motorcycles I wanted to include in the descriptions.
I’m a huge fan of J.T. Geissenger and love all her work. I also have several author friends that I genuinely admire for their creativity and skill with words. KF Breene, CN. Crawford, Amelia Hutchins, Debbie Cassidy. These are fantasy and paranormal romance authors but their ability to create tension and relationship dynamics are incredible.
“Why Cade? Why should I be scared?” She pulled her head away, forcing me to look down at her, as the music swelled around us. Her lips were parted, blue eyes glistening as they pierced through me. “Because you’re angry with me? Because I betrayed you and now you hate me for it?” She shook her head. “I’m not scared of your rage or your anger, Cade. I’m not scared of what revenge you’ll take out on me. I deserve it.” Her hand reached up, fingers tracing the edge of my scar with a featherlight, almost reverent touch. A scar I’d received because I was thrown into a prison I should have never been in. “The only thing I’m scared of is what the price of your revenge will do to my heart.”
I would meet Hannah, a character not in this book but in a different series. She was my first heroine and I think will always hold a special place in my heart. I would simply say thank you to her. Thank you for trusting me to tell her story and for sticking with me even when I didn’t know what to write.