Immaterial Defense

Once and Forever

Book 4
Off the Hook Publishing
Free sample

She’s all alone in the darkness.

He’s lighting up the stage.

But not even the brightest spotlight can reach the shadows of a broken soul. 


Declan

Every wanna-be rocker dreams of the day when crazed fans will pack their shows. But the more people worship me as some kind of musical god, the more I realize why singers are called "performers." I'm just a pretender. A fake. 

I need something real. Something to break through the revolting glamour that's bled into every part of my life. And for one perfect night, I found that in Sara. 

Then she ran. 


Sara

No sane woman would’ve ever walked away from Declan Hollis after only one night. But walking away from him was the safest move for both of us.

I've spent so much time burying my old self in the past, trying to erase the vulnerable person I used to be. I’m smarter now—men are dangerous, and relationships are doubly so. 

But the more time I spend away from him, the more I want to go back.

I may end up shattered all over again. Or maybe, just maybe, he'll be the one to help me pick up the pieces. 

 

***Immaterial Defense is a standalone contemporary romance***

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About the author

Lauren Stewart grew up reading Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, James Clavell, Piers Anthony, and Agatha Christie, which explains why she can't seem to stick to one genre at a time. 


She got to the more romantic stuff pretty late, but paranormal romance was what changed her from an obsessed reader into an obsessed reader and writer. Her writing style comes from a mash-up of all her early favorites and her new ones, women like JR Ward, Karen Marie Moning, Alice Clayton, Emma Chase, and Janet Evanovich. Wow, how much would you pay to be invited to that dinner party?

Lauren wants to make people think, cry, and giggle, not necessarily all at the same time (although it's great when it happens). In every one of her books, you'll find elements of other genres - fantasy, mystery, romance, paranormal, suspense, YA, women's literature, all with a touch of humor.


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Because what doesn't kill us should make us laugh.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Off the Hook Publishing
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Published on
Sep 25, 2018
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Pages
370
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ISBN
9781942700005
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Romance / Contemporary
Fiction / Romance / General
Fiction / Romance / New Adult
Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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See entire series

Can you call it an office romance if we've never actually met?


 

Sara has a kick-ass life. She has loyal friends, works from home, and sets her own hours as a virtual assistant. 

 

Perfect...

 

Except that Sara doesn't actually exist. 

 

She's just a borrowed name I use when I'm hiding behind my computer screen. But pretending to be someone else is the only way I can earn enough to make up for the mistake I made and the lives I ruined. 

 

If I hadn't typed my new boss' name into that search engine, none of this would be happening. I wouldn't want to know anything about his personal life, and I would do a quick change of the subject if he ever asked about mine. I could do my job without worrying if all those outside-of-normal-business-hours texts and chats seem like two sarcastic people talking or like two sarcastic people flirting. 

 

I would've kept imagining Hayden looked the same way I pictured all my other clients--late fifties/early sixties, a little soft around the middle, and a lot more forehead than hair. I couldn't have been more wrong. Seriously, how many VPs look like they go model underwear after leaving the office? 

 

Damn it, if I'd never found out what an amazing man Hayden is, I wouldn't want to cry every time he calls me Sara. 

 

But hey, that's life, right? And nobody's life is perfect.

 

 

Actually...

 

 

My life is pretty damn perfect. I'm married to a beautiful woman, live in a luxury apartment, and am prepped to take over the multi-billion-dollar company my father built. 

 

Perfect...

 

Except that all of it is a lie.

 

My wife is madly in love with someone else, my career is meaningless, and I forgot how to live, let alone be happy. 

 

But when I hired a new assistant online, it finally occurred to me that life wasn't meant to be endured. It was meant to be lived. Without Sara, I never would've known what it feels like to be happy or to want someone this badly.

 

It's unimaginably stupid to fall for someone at work, but I can't seem to stop it from happening. Sara's the best assistant I've ever had, the most interesting person I've ever spoken with, and the most beautiful woman I've ever known.

 

I'd give up everything I have to be with her, and I still have no idea what she looks like. That has to change. I've never felt like this about anyone, and I'm out of patience. I need to be in a room with her, to touch her to see if she's real. 

 

Unfortunately, the only way to get what I want is for a lot of good people to lose everything they have.

 

 

***There is no cheating in this novel. Hayden is far too noble a man to hurt and disrespect a woman like that. Trust me, you'll understand when you read the book.***

 

***standalone contemporary romance/romantic comedy (no cliffhanger)***

 

Now Available...

Deeper Water (Once and Forever #3) - Get a look into Carson and Laney's after happily-ever-after and be there for Hayden and Andi's island wedding!

 

Virtually Impossible is Hayden and Andi's story, and this is how their fairytale begins:

 

Once upon a time there was a woman who made the mistake of trusting the wrong man. And that mistake led to another. And another and another, each more damaging than the last. But the woman was as ignorant of her mistakes as she was of the damage they caused. Until she was punished for them.

 

Around the same time, but in a totally separate part of the city, lived a noble man and his beautiful wife. Though their castle was the envy of all, its empty halls echoed of loneliness and regret. For the man had lived his entire life asleep, and both of them remained silent of who they truly were and what they truly wanted.

 

And then one day, the woman entered the man's life and forced him to awaken...


***This novel is intended for adults only. It includes lots of cursing, descriptive sex, biting sarcasm, and dark themes. HYDE was inspired by Stevenson's novella but is not a retelling, in part because he and this author have very different definitions of 'bad boy'.

Honesty is impossible when you don't know the truth to begin with.

Mitchell Turner is everything women want most in a man--he's charismatic, successful, and undeniably gorgeous. But he's not a man--he's a monster. By venting his rage 24/7, Mitch keeps people out of the danger zone that surrounds him. But, after the most incredible night of his life, he realizes that might not be possible. Except the woman he wakes up with claims she doesn't remember any of it. And that kind of thing can make a guy insecure.

Eden Colfax is kind, loyal, honest to a fault, and cavity-inducing sweet. To rid herself of the monsters that haunted her broken childhood, Eden doesn't lie, doesn't curse, and definitely never wakes up naked in strangers' beds...until the day she does. Then the flashbacks start--places she's never been, people she's never met, blood she's never spilled. And the only person with any answers is a man she never wants to see again.

What they don't know is that someone is manipulating them, determined to find out exactly what they're capable of. And when the truth leaves them nothing to hold onto, they will be forced into a partnership neither expected. Or wanted.

But in life, who you trust is as important as who you are. And when you can't even trust yourself, sometimes the only person you can rely on is the last person on earth you should be falling for.


The other novels in this trilogy are now available:
Jekyll, an Urban Fantasy (Hyde Book II)
Strange Case, an Urban Fantasy (Hyde Book III)

--For lovers of J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series and Karen Marie Moning's Fever series—
Can you call it an office romance if we've never actually met?


 

Sara has a kick-ass life. She has loyal friends, works from home, and sets her own hours as a virtual assistant. 

 

Perfect...

 

Except that Sara doesn't actually exist. 

 

She's just a borrowed name I use when I'm hiding behind my computer screen. But pretending to be someone else is the only way I can earn enough to make up for the mistake I made and the lives I ruined. 

 

If I hadn't typed my new boss' name into that search engine, none of this would be happening. I wouldn't want to know anything about his personal life, and I would do a quick change of the subject if he ever asked about mine. I could do my job without worrying if all those outside-of-normal-business-hours texts and chats seem like two sarcastic people talking or like two sarcastic people flirting. 

 

I would've kept imagining Hayden looked the same way I pictured all my other clients--late fifties/early sixties, a little soft around the middle, and a lot more forehead than hair. I couldn't have been more wrong. Seriously, how many VPs look like they go model underwear after leaving the office? 

 

Damn it, if I'd never found out what an amazing man Hayden is, I wouldn't want to cry every time he calls me Sara. 

 

But hey, that's life, right? And nobody's life is perfect.

 

 

Actually...

 

 

My life is pretty damn perfect. I'm married to a beautiful woman, live in a luxury apartment, and am prepped to take over the multi-billion-dollar company my father built. 

 

Perfect...

 

Except that all of it is a lie.

 

My wife is madly in love with someone else, my career is meaningless, and I forgot how to live, let alone be happy. 

 

But when I hired a new assistant online, it finally occurred to me that life wasn't meant to be endured. It was meant to be lived. Without Sara, I never would've known what it feels like to be happy or to want someone this badly.

 

It's unimaginably stupid to fall for someone at work, but I can't seem to stop it from happening. Sara's the best assistant I've ever had, the most interesting person I've ever spoken with, and the most beautiful woman I've ever known.

 

I'd give up everything I have to be with her, and I still have no idea what she looks like. That has to change. I've never felt like this about anyone, and I'm out of patience. I need to be in a room with her, to touch her to see if she's real. 

 

Unfortunately, the only way to get what I want is for a lot of good people to lose everything they have.

 

 

***There is no cheating in this novel. Hayden is far too noble a man to hurt and disrespect a woman like that. Trust me, you'll understand when you read the book.***

 

***standalone contemporary romance/romantic comedy (no cliffhanger)***

 

Now Available...

Deeper Water (Once and Forever #3) - Get a look into Carson and Laney's after happily-ever-after and be there for Hayden and Andi's island wedding!

 

Virtually Impossible is Hayden and Andi's story, and this is how their fairytale begins:

 

Once upon a time there was a woman who made the mistake of trusting the wrong man. And that mistake led to another. And another and another, each more damaging than the last. But the woman was as ignorant of her mistakes as she was of the damage they caused. Until she was punished for them.

 

Around the same time, but in a totally separate part of the city, lived a noble man and his beautiful wife. Though their castle was the envy of all, its empty halls echoed of loneliness and regret. For the man had lived his entire life asleep, and both of them remained silent of who they truly were and what they truly wanted.

 

And then one day, the woman entered the man's life and forced him to awaken...


 “What would you give up for freedom?” 

“Everything.” 

“Even if it wasn’t yours?” 


For three years, Keira lived in hell on earth, kept and tortured by a psychopath. He should’ve killed her. Because now she’s looking for payback, to see his face when she shoves a stake into his chest, to feel his dust under her boot. Then she’ll finally be free…of everything but the memories, scars, and nightmares. Unfortunately, when a demon starts hunting the same prey, Keira’s life becomes less about getting revenge and more about fighting temptation. 

For three tours above the earth’s crust, Davyn has been as close to heaven as a demon can be. In a few weeks, he’ll go home to be reforged, stripped of all the humanity he’s accumulated and reminded of exactly what he is. Of course, in the depths of hell, nobody “finds themselves” through group therapy and happy pills. It’s not all bad news though—before he goes, at least he gets to kill a vampire. Maybe a human too, if that stubborn little hunter keeps getting in his way. After all, a nice ass can only buy so much of Davyn’s patience. 

Two people from opposite sides of a war will discover the price of freedom and what they’re willing to pay for it. But in the Heights, nothing is ever fair. For something they both want, one of them will pay with their eternity. 


The Heights not only protects the secrecy of vampires, shifters, demons, angels, and other supernaturals, it protects the humans unaware of the world hidden within their own. 



* UNEARTHED is the second book in this series and may prove confusing for those who haven't read the first. So I suggest you start with UNSEEN, Vol 1. Thank you, and happy reading!

Job security isn’t something Addison is all that concerned with. 
Death, however? Yeah, death is a major concern. 

After Addison finds a nearly-dusted vampire in the garbage outside her building, her ability to stay off the paranormal world's radar is deader than the vamp. Almost as dead as she’ll be if anyone thinks she put him there. So even though she’s practically shoving a stake into her own chest, she has no other choice but to get him indoors before he dusts in front of a human. And just when she thinks life couldn’t possibly get any worse, she finds out who he is. 

As vampire king and Prime to all races of supernatural beings in this zone, Rhyse gets what he wants when he wants it. But after being ambushed, he wakes up chained to a bed and with a hole in his chest. Unfortunately, he needs help to discover who tried to kill him. His only ally is his captor, someone unaware she has the power to bring down their entire world. 

While a prophesied war brews in the Heights, Addison and Rhyse must decide which carries more risk — trusting someone who could destroy you or trusting someone who could love you? 

* * * 
The Heights not only protects the secrecy of vampires, shifters, demons, angels, and other supernaturals, it protects humans unaware of the world hidden within our own. 

Unseen is the first book in a new paranormal series that is a mixture of urban fantasy and paranormal romance with multiple interlocking stories and characters and plot lines as well as different races of supernatural beings, each with their own cultures, hierarchy, and attributes. It's not a series about only two people, or three, or even four. This is a world in which everyone will have to pick a side. 

Each book centers around a different couple as the two sides intersect and individuals collide. Here’s a general overview of which character is the primary focus of each book. 

Unseen: Addison & Rhyse, the most unlikely of allies 
Unearthed: Davyn, a demon 
Unwanted: Noah, a seer-turned-werewolf 
Unforgiven: Micah, an angel 
Unchained: Logan, a seer 
Unturned: Graham, a vampire 
Unknown: Kaia, a mage 

How many more there will be after this depends on how long it takes to tell the story of this world. In between the novels will be novellas about a few other interesting creatures, like ghosts, mermaids, banshees, etc. If you decide to come along for the ride - which I hope you will - make sure to hold on tight...and be ready to laugh a lot along the way. 

*Titles and character names may change at any point up until release day.
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