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Oct 29

Blacklisted by Jay Crownover Blog Tour with Excerpt

 

BLACKLISTED, an irresistibly suspenseful new opposites-attract romance from New York Times Bestselling Author, Jay Crownover, is available now! I have an exclusive, extended excerpt, along with my review, to share with you today!

 

 

BLACKLISTED by Jay Crownover

Loveless, Texas (#4)

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From the New York Times bestselling author of the Marked Men series comes an irresistible and suspenseful romance between a doctor who plays by the rules and the outlaw who breaks them in order to protect her.

Dr. Presley Baskin has always lived a quiet, calm life. Unfortunately, nothing about her life in Loveless, Texas — especially not the wild, rowdy, and impossibly close-knit Lawton family who’ve claimed her — is quiet or calm. Which is how loner Presley finds herself roped into patching up local bad boy Shot Caldwell against her better judgment. Presley wants nothing to do with the dangerous, brooding leader of the local outlaw motorcycle club. But when someone starts stalking her, Shot is the only person she trusts to help. Plus he owes her one . . .

Palmer ‘Shot’ Caldwell has always known his life isn’t made for relationships. At least until shy, secretive, Presley reluctantly pulled a bullet out of him. He’s oddly protective of the pretty doctor, so when she comes to him for help, hard-hearted Shot suddenly realizes there’s nothing he wouldn’t do to keep her safe.

 

 

Order your copy of BLACKLISTED today!

Amazon US | Amazon AU | Amazon CA | Amazon FR | Amazon UK | Nook | Apple | Kobo | Google | Paperback

 

Add BLACKLISTED to your Goodreads TBR!

 

 

“…Shot and Presley’s story kept me on the edge of my seat and devouring Crownover’s words.”  ~Danielle, Red Cheeks Reads

 

Check out Danielle’s 4.5 SMOOCHES review!

 

EXCERPT:

My life used to be boring, predictable. I had a job I worked hard to succeed at, an ill mother who I devoted all my free time to taking care of, and one single friend I trusted and relied on. My days tended to bleed together, all of them seemingly the same, and I liked it that way. I liked knowing what to expect. I thrived with a set routine and did not field surprises and unexpected occurrences well. Part of that was because my mother had been sick for so long, and when things stayed the same, it meant she was still with me. Any upset in our day-to-day meant I ran the risk of losing her, and since she was the only family I had, I never adjusted well to even the smallest of inconsistencies in my schedule.

Unfortunately, those boring, dull, and predictable days were long gone. The job I loved and had worked my butt  off to advance in was in limbo. My mother was no longer with me. And not only had I lost my only family, but her passing had set off a domino effect of life-changing and suspicious scenarios in my life. On top of losing both my professional reputation and my mother, I’d come to realize my one and only friend, the woman I’d relied on since we were in med school together, the woman who held me, and held me together, when I broke down after finding out my mother had passed, was the person behind my sudden issues at work . . . and though it wasn’t confirmed, and there was no physical proof, I firmly believed she was directly involved with my mother’s death.

I’d suffered a horrible loss and faced the ultimate betrayal all at the same time.

After all of my former friend’s malicious acts came to light, the Texas Rangers put me in protective custody. She’d threatened to kill me and warned that she planned to take away everything and everyone that mattered to me. Since she had proved to be just unhinged and unpredictable enough to follow through on the threats, I complied with orders from law enforcement and stayed out of sight.

However, I soon realized the only way to ensure the people around me stayed safe was if Ashby Grant, my former friend and current tormentor, could see that I was suffering from the havoc she rained down on my life. She needed to know her efforts weren’t in vain.

The first step was to get myself out of protective custody so I could remain her prime target. After that, I retreated into myself, locking the front door to my apartment and shutting out the rest of the world. I was lonely and missing my mother, feeling like my life was a mess. However, I knew I didn’t want to die, and more than that, I really didn’t want anyone else to die because of me and the choices I made. I couldn’t stand the thought of seeing any of the Lawtons, who had suddenly invaded my life at the same time it fell apart, injured or worse, just because we all had the unfortunate luck of having the same father.

If it hadn’t been for my newly found half siblings forcibly inserting themselves into my life, I would have effectively disappeared, hiding while I waited anxiously for whatever fate Ashby had planned for the two of us to befall me. They threw an absolute fit when I declared I no longer wanted police protection or a full-fledged security detail. The Lawtons—and more specifically my younger half sister, Kody Lawton—refused to let me sink into my grief and overwhelming anxiety that something would happen to her and her two older brothers because of me. No matter how hard I tried to push her away, she kept dragging me back into the land of the living. She forced me to interact with my new family and stubbornly made me stand face-to-face with all my paralyzing fears.

When she called me in the middle of the night not long after I ditched my protective detail, screaming that she needed my help, my first instinct was to tell her no. I didn’t want to leave my house during daylight hours on a good day—no way was I driving out to her dive bar on the outskirts of town while I was both alone and afraid in the dark. Her disappointment was palpable over the phone, and I immediately felt the sting of letting her down under my skin, even though I told myself over and over again I didn’t owe her anything. She was the one trying to force a relationship even after I made it clear I wanted to be left alone. The argument sounded petty and weak as my mind went to battle with my conflicted heart.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t shake loose the panic in Kody’s words. She might be the toughest of the three Lawton siblings, so if she sounded scared, something was really, really wrong. It took five minutes for me to change my mind. It took ten minutes for me to get my on-hand medical gear together and another five to convince my feet to take me out of the front door. I almost turned around twenty times on the way to her bar, but the nagging voice in the back of my head wouldn’t let me run away. When push came to shove, I couldn’t ignore that I really did owe the Lawtons a lot, regardless of trying to convince myself otherwise. And I knew that given enough time I could grow to love them like they were my own. For someone who’d never had anyone, being part of such a tight-knit, loyal family was too appealing to turn away from.

Kody’s big, bearded bouncer was waiting for me outside and whisked me safely into the chaotic scene inside the bar. It was well past business hours, but the bar was packed. I tried to appear outwardly calm as I took in the battered and bloody bikers all hovering over a single, downed body on the floor. Kody caught sight of me and rushed over to where I was standing. She went to reach for me, but hurriedly pulled back when she noticed her hands and the front of her clothes were soaked through with blood. Eyes, the exact same green as mine, widened, and I could see the stark panic clear on every line of her pretty, freckled face.

Before she could thank me for coming or launch into an explanation of how she came to have the entirety of the Sons of Sorrow motorcycle club bleeding in her bar after hours, my medical training kicked in and I found myself pushing past her to tend to the injured man on the floor.

I’d seen many a bullet wound in my time working at the medical examiner’s office, but I’d never seen one, well more than one at the moment, that was fresh and still seeping blood. I had a moment of indecision, wondering if I could actually help this man. I had purposely picked a medical field where I didn’t have to deal with living and breathing patients. The risk was too high, and the responsibility for their well-being felt suffocating. All of that pressure I had purposely avoided now pushed down on me. I felt all eyes in the room look toward me as I started to assess the damage to the dark-haired man on the floor.

He was losing too much blood. I immediately knew he was going to need a transfusion. He wasn’t stable enough to stay where he was, but when I told Kody to call an ambulance I was instantly, and loudly, overruled by the rest of the bikers. The wounded man was the club’s president, and they insisted I just needed to keep his vitals strong enough to be moved somewhere else safely. They didn’t go into detail, but apparently they had facilities and someone who could take care of him. For whatever reason, they didn’t want the bullet wounds reported as would be mandatory if he went to the ER, thus getting the police involved in their business. None of it sounded on the up-and-up, but I had my hands full keeping the man from bleeding out, so I decided not to waste precious time arguing with them.

One biker showed up out of nowhere with a medical-grade bag of donated blood for an on-the-spot transfusion, and again I decided not to ask too many questions. The big, bleeding man also had a collapsed lung and his chest cavity was filling with air, making a dangerous situation even more complicated. It had been years since I’d inserted a chest tube, so there was no stopping the shaking of my hands or the nervous sweating. Kody was right next to me, offering silent encouragement, but I could tell how worried she was.

In all honesty, I was shocked by how well the biker was holding up. If it had been anyone else, I wasn’t certain they would’ve survived this long. After the chest tube was in place, and I had successfully pulled most of the air out of his chest cavity, the man’s breathing settled into a still shallow but more even rhythm. Once I had the blood transfusion hooked up in the most rustic manner possible, I declared him safe enough to move. The rest of the bikers immediately jumped into action, setting a plan in place to move their president back to their clubhouse up in the hill country.

Before I could be dismissed and ignored, I told the entire room, “I’m going with him.”

I had no idea where the words came from, or where I got the guts to make such a declaration to the room at large, but I knew I couldn’t send the man off without medical supervision. I was scared something would happen to him, and I was worried the rest of the bikers would blame me if he didn’t make it.

Kody immediately protested. It was clear she didn’t want me involved any further. Saving an injured man’s life was one thing; knowingly helping that same man evade proper medical and legal channels was another. Even though I was on a hiatus from work, my job was still closely tied to law enforcement, and getting tangled up with an outlaw motorcycle club was the last thing I needed. But I couldn’t turn my back on the scarily still man. Even deathly pale and covered head to toe in blood, I could tell he was someone with a powerful presence. And even though he was unconscious, his aura remained intimidating and fierce. He was also incredibly good-looking beneath the gore, something I shouldn’t have been noticing considering his current state and the fact that he was the exact opposite of the type who usually caught my eye.

My love life tended to be as staid and dreary as the rest of my life. The men I dated were bland and boring. I’d never had my head turned by tattoos and brawn, which the biker had plenty of. There was nothing about him I should have found intriguing or interesting, but I was unable to deny that I was curious about what he looked like when he wasn’t on the brink of death. I also wondered what his voice sounded like, and what color his eyes were. All wayward thoughts that came out of nowhere and took me completely by surprise. I rationalized it as my mind’s way of keeping me calm in a crisis. Cataloguing all his attractive points definitely worked as a good distraction.

It took some convincing to get both my half sister and the rest of the club members to let me ride with their injured president. Apparently, outsiders weren’t let onto club property . . . for any reason. Today they were willing to make an exception for me, but they made it clear things would not end well if I spoke about any of the things I witnessed once I was allowed through the gates.

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing, Presley?” Kody’s tone was full of worry and concern. She looked like she was ready to sit on me to keep me from going with my still-critical patient. I appreciated her apprehension. It’d been a long time since I’d had anyone in my life who actively and visibly cared about me. But I was independent by nature, and having come this far, there was no turning back now. I was determined to keep the biker alive come hell or high water.

“No. I have no clue what I’m doing, but I’m doing it anyway.” I decided to embrace the chaos that had overtaken my life lately instead of hiding from it. “Too many things can go wrong between here and there. As soon as I know for certain he’s made it back to their compound, I’ll breathe easier and head home.”

Kody shook her wild tangle of dirty blond curls and gripped my arm hard enough to bruise. “They’re all decent guys but they’re still an outlaw club. If you want to go back to work anytime in the near future, you can’t afford to have your name mixed up with this club—with Shot in particular.”

Shot.

It was a fitting name for a biker, and for someone who has just been shot and who was already sporting more than one scar from a bullet. I shook off my concerned sibling and took a deep breath. It wasn’t my fault things with my job were so uncertain. They’d offered me a promotion, which had set in motion my former best friend’s break with both sanity and reality. Jealousy over my advancement had pushed her over the edge. After all her evil and illegal misdeeds came to light, the ME’s office had apologized for doubting me and assured me the promotion they initially offered was waiting for me.

Only I wasn’t ready to go back.

After these last few months, I’d had enough of death and destruction to last a lifetime. Which might have been why

I was determined to make sure the biker pulled through, regardless of what side of the law he fell on. After assuring Kody I would be fine and telling her I would call her as soon as I was on my way back home, I let the bikers sweep me out of the bar and into the back of a plain white van with blacked-out windows. I knelt on the floor of the large vehicle, next to the still unconscious biker. Without understanding why, I reached for one of his hands, immediately noticing how rough it was beneath the slippery coating of blood. I also took note of the skull face tattooed across the entire back of it. He was alarmingly cold to the touch, which made me frown and press my hand to his forehead. It wasn’t exactly a professionally medical move, but one I was compelled to do as a human hurting for another human.

“He’ll pull through.”

The rough words were barked by a huge man in a leather vest with patches all over it. He had one that read vice president on one side, and top hat on the other. He was issuing most of the orders, so I assumed that meant he was in charge while the president was incapacitated.

“He’s going to need surgery.” I had no idea what kind of damage the bullet had done internally, but he was still bleeding and his breathing still gave me cause for concern.

The second-in-command nodded and dragged a hand over his tired-looking face. “I told you, we have a guy who will take care of it. The prez was in such bad shape we panicked and brought him to Kody’s, figuring we’d call him out. But she told us you were closer, and we weren’t going to take any chances with Shot’s life on the line.”

“Top Hat,” I tried out the unusual name and cringed when I received a lifted eyebrow and a smirk in return. Regardless, I plowed on with my warning. “He needs to be in an actual medical facility. If you try and do any kind of major surgery in an unsanitary environment, the chances of him getting an infection and dying are higher than him dying from the wound itself.” I knew I sounded cool and clinical, but I couldn’t help it. I was nervous. Nervous to be heading off into the unknown with a bunch of strangers, with men who very well could be involved in some serious criminal activity. Nervous that my patient would die and I would be blamed. Nervous I would let Kody down and the tentative bond I was building with my new family would be broken.

“I go by Top, Doc.” Soft snickers went around the van and I got the distinct impression I was being laughed at. The man who called himself Top gave me a look. I could tell he was tense and worried for his friend, and he wasn’t thrilled to have me along for this ride. “Our clubhouse is an old ranch that used to be owned by a vet. The barn is outfitted as a big animal hospital, complete with an operating room. It doesn’t see much use for livestock, but we’ve benefited from having access to it more than once over the years.”

He swore and rubbed his eyes. He still had his president’s blood smeared on the back of his hands but didn’t seem to notice. “If we get Shot to the property, the chances we can save him are pretty high.” I cleared my throat and went to pull my hand away from the injured man’s head. I had a lot of questions and a million concerns but decided it was best to keep my mouth shut. I didn’t know how to deal with bikers, or really anyone who had need of their own operating room on the regular. I was so far out of my comfort zone, it was going to take a miracle and a detailed map to get me back to where I belonged.

I gasped when fingers suddenly wrapped around my wrist in a weak grasp. My gaze locked on eyes such a deep, dark, and rich brown they appeared black. “Kody?” The word was rasped out and barely audible. It was a whisper of sound, but filled with emotion. Before I could explain that I wasn’t my half sister, that we just happened to look very much alike, the dark eyes drifted closed and the hold on my hand dropped away.

It was impressive, and a fairly good sign that he’d gained consciousness, even for a second. I could practically feel the relief that flooded through the crowded interior of the van. Suddenly my hand was grabbed again, this time by the man sitting across from me. He had bright blue eyes, and they were intent and serious as the VP told me, “Whether he makes it or not we owe you. Anytime, anywhere, no matter how big or small, the club owes you a favor. Your call when and how you want us to make good on it, but it’s there until you use it.”

I frowned and tugged my hand free. “I can’t imagine why I’d have anything to do with your club after tonight.” My life might not be streamlined and predictable any longer, but I  doubted I would ever have the need to be involved with the outlaw club beyond this instance.

The big man snorted but gave me the space I was silently asking for. “Doesn’t matter if you have anything to do with us in the future. We owe you, and the Sons of Sorrow always pay their debts.”

It sounded more like a threat than a promise, and I had no idea what to do with any of it. So I simply held my breath and reached for the unmoving biker’s hand. I knew deep down that this would be the one and only time I was going to be wrapped up in the club’s mess, so I planned on seeing it through to the end, no matter what the results were.

I had no idea that fate had other plans for me . . . and for Shot.

 

 

 

 


About Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, The Point Series, Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road.

 

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