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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Read the First 2 Chapters of Becoming A Legend (Releases 12.13.16)



Becoming a Legend_Robinson


From the author of Saving a Legend (“A deep and moving story about family, acceptance, and love.”—Katy Evans) comes another smoldering MMA romance featuring the Kavanagh brothers, the chiseled alpha males whose real legacy is love.

Kane Kavanagh has always had one goal: being the best mixed martial arts fighter alive. With the MMA National Championships in Las Vegas fast approaching, the man they call “Killer” has no intention of letting anyone or anything get in his way. Somehow, though, a feisty opponent has slipped beneath his guard—and stolen his heart. Fiery and passionate, Nora Hannigan is harder to pin down than any rival Kane has faced in the ring. And she isn’t afraid to tell Kane that she wants nothing to do with him.

With her best friend about to marry into the Kavanagh family, Nora has been resisting Kane’s shameless attempts at flirting for months. But after their undeniable chemistry finally takes over, leading to the hottest night of Nora’s life, she’s running scared. There’s a lot about her life Kane doesn’t know, and she won’t be responsible for ending his career. Now Kane’s out to prove that he’s ready for commitment by winning her heart—and he’s never lost a fight.

Preorder Becoming a Legend Today:
Coming December 13, 2016

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(DISCLAIMER: May contain spoilers for the first 2 books in the Kavanagh Legends series, Breaking A Legend and Saving A Legend! Also, may contain cuss words and graphic language.)



“I think you broke his nose,” Rory, his oldest brother, told Kane as he handed him a bottle of water in the corner of the Vegas octagon. The crowd buzzed with excitement, voices hoarse from screaming during the last few rounds. It was all Kane could hear, and it made the blood pound through his veins as they cried for more.

Kane glanced across to his opponent in the opposite corner, similarly surrounded by coaches and trainers helping him prepare for the next round. Xavier’s nose was clearly crooked and gushing blood into a towel, but he didn’t seem concerned or in pain. Meaty, but short, Kane’s enemy was built like a tree stump, low to the ground and impossible to budge. Kane had quickly discovered that although Xavier wasn’t fast, or all that powerful, he wasn’t going to be easy to take down.

Not that it really mattered. He was following someone else’s orders now. End it in the third round, not a minute sooner. Make it look believable, break his nose or something.

Everything Kane had trained for since the moment he’d first stepped into an octagon was staring him in the face. The fight of a lifetime, his dream of fame and fortune.

It was all happening right here, right now.

And he was going to lose it all. You can’t win, Kane. 

His father’s hand landed on his shoulder. “Ready for round three? He’s trying to tire you out, don’t let him.”

“Got it.” Kane stood and shook out his limbs, before Rory helped push his mouthpiece back into place. All four of his brothers and his father clapped him on the back and shouted words of encouragement over the roar of the rowdy Las Vegas crowd, before climbing out of the cage and continuing to cheer him on from the sidelines.

Xavier’s team cleared out as well, while the crowd eagerly awaited the start of the third round. Kane tuned them out, just focusing on his fists clenched in front of him. In less than three seconds, he’d have to make the biggest choice of his life.

The warning echoed in his mind as he stared at his opponent. You’ll do it, or everyone you love will pay your debt for you.

The words echoed and rolled in his gut, sickening him. He could win this fight; he wanted to win this fight. He’d spent his whole life preparing to win this fight. But now he had to choose between two of the most important things in the world to him—the fight, or his family.

Seconds away, and he had no idea what he was going to do.

Those beady, black eyes entered his mind again and the threat rang loud and clear.

Take a dive… or else.




“I don’t have time to go to a fucking party, Rory,” Kane said with a loud exhale as his fist crunched into the heavy bag his older brother was braced behind.

“Straighten your arm, hit it straight on,” Rory instructed as Kane continued punching the bag. “You’ve got to go. Ma would kill you.”

“You got engaged last spring, bro. Don’t you think when the leaves start changing you gotta stop milking the celebrations?” In fact, it had been at the state championship Kane had been competing in where Rory had popped the question to his then girlfriend, Clare. Everyone had gone all googly-eyed over the whole thing, and while Kane was happy that his brother was happy, he didn’t really care about romance, weddings, or “girly” things like that. Kane’s twin brother, Kieran, had fallen under the same ridiculous spell a few months later, proposing to his girlfriend, Fiona.

Now that the oldest two brothers of the five Kavanagh men were settling down, their mother was putting pressure on the rest to do the same. Her desire for grandbabies was getting out of hand.

Rory leaned into the bag as Kane continued to punch it. “It’s not an engagement party, it’s a joint bridal shower for Clare and Fiona.”

“Aren’t those things just for chicks? I’m not going to some pink-glitter party.”

Rory shrugged. “Apparently men are invited too. They’re being all progressive or some shit— I don’t know. Ma said we gotta all show tonight.”

Kane rolled his eyes. “Fine, but there better be beer.”

“You can’t drink even if there is. You’re in training.”

“I’m getting drunk or I’m not going.” Kane slammed his fist on the bag a little closer to Rory’s head.

“Nationals is three months away, Kane. If you’re going to beat Xavier, then you’ve got to be at the top of your game, and I’m saying that as your trainer. You need to be in the best shape possible.”

Kane straightened and pulled the wraps off his hands before turning to the young woman in a neon-green sports bra walking past them toward the treadmills that Legends Mixed Martial Arts gym had off to one side of the main room. “Excuse me, beautiful. Can I ask you a question?”

She paused and looked at him, fluttering her eyelids and giving him a flirtatious smile. “As long as it ends with you taking my phone number.”

Kane grinned. Women seemed to like the whole MMA thing he had going for him. “My brother here says I’m not in shape. What do you think?”

She raked her eyes up and down his body, a slow smile creeping over her face as she paused at his abs and touched her tongue to her lips. He flexed his eight-pack, and when she caught her breath, he shot her a knowing grin.

“Oh, I think you’re doing just fine,” she said with an exaggerated wink. She picked up the phone sitting on the shelf next to where he was standing and programmed in a number. “But call me, and we can put it to the test.” She set the phone back in place.

“Well then,” Kane said with a laugh, his brows raised as he watched her walk off, a purposeful sway in her hips that said she hoped he was watching. She disappeared around a corner, and Kane turned back to Rory. “See? I’m doing just fine, and I’m having that beer.”

“Next time you hit on a random chick, how about you stop her before she puts her number in my phone,” Rory said, grabbing the phone off the shelf and scrolling through his contact list. “If Clare saw something like that in here, I’d be dead.”

“That’s why I leave my phone in my locker.” Kane shrugged. “I come here to train, and that’s it. Honestly, I could be the poster child of restraint and focus.”

Rory snorted, shaking his head at Kane’s sarcasm. “Yeah, sure you are.”

While Kane avoided any romances or trysts at the gym his family owned, he had to admit that it was hard to refrain. There were some gorgeous women who came here, mainly because it was so well known for sponsoring some of the top mixed martial art athletes of the last decade. Rory’s romance with Clare had mostly flourished inside the walls of this gym, or at least the part Kane had seen when he walked in on them one morning having a naked sleepover in the middle of an octagon. Despite their breaking Kane’s cardinal rule, he had to admit it had turned out pretty well for his brother and he loved Clare like a sister now.

“What did she say her name was?” Rory’s face was scrunched up as he stared at his phone. “I can’t figure out what she added, I’ve got like hundreds of contacts in here.”

“Seriously?” Kane leaned over Rory’s shoulder, looking at the contact list he was scanning through. “You’ve got that many ladies on the hook you can’t tell them apart, player?”

“Fuck you.” A smirk lifted one corner of his mouth as he shoved the phone back in his pocket. “Clare’s the only girl for me. About time you started settling down too, you know.”

Not a chance in hell. Kane laughed and shook his head, saying goodbye to his brother as he walked toward the locker rooms to shower. He wasn’t looking forward to the bridal shower tonight, but if there were some hot women there, he might be able to get through it.




The blare of music could easily be heard in the night air outside of O’Leary’s Pub as Kane pulled open one of the heavy doors and walked inside. The moment his eyes had adjusted to the bar’s interior, he found himself in a place he barely recognized as the pub he’d been going to for years. Glimmering little lights hung from the ceiling, obscuring the old bar lanterns. Soft white fabric covered walls that were usually forest green with dark wood paneling, giving the place more of a gauzy boudoir appearance than a bar. The high tables surrounded by tall barstools had been draped in shiny gold tablecloths adorned with elaborate centerpieces.

What the fuck…?

His brothers must have rented out the entire place for the night. Thick red velvet rope strung between heavy brass posts created a barrier beyond which lay a dance floor that looked like it had been laid down just for the occasion.

Well, that was something. He did love dancing, and he had already spied a number of beautiful women he’d love to whisper sweet nothings to on the dance floor. And if he were lucky—

“About time, Killer” Kieran, his twin brother, smirked at Kane from a few feet away, using Kane’s fighting name. It was like looking in a mirror since Kieran was identical to him in almost every way, from their dark brown hair and blue eyes to broad shoulders and strong build. The only difference is Kieran was somehow an inch or two taller than him, but Kane was still well over six feet and made up for it in muscle.

Technically, it had been Kieran’s name first, but Kane had stolen it from him when Kieran was incarcerated. It was a good name, and he had wanted it. He wasn’t sorry. He always went after what he wanted. Kieran had initially been angry, but later forgave him, joking that Kane had more of a killer instinct anyway. Damn straight.

“Hey, bro.” Kane clasped his brother’s hand as they bumped their shoulders together and gave each other a pat on the back. “Nice party.”

“That’s all thanks to this lady over here.” Kieran pulled away and wrapped an arm around the blue-eyed brunette sporting a large diamond on her ring finger.

Having spent a couple of years in jail and now engaged to the beautiful Fiona and helping raise a sweet special needs little girl, Kane had never seen his twin brother busier—or happier. Kane was just glad to have him back, because those years apart were the worst. Kieran wasn’t just his brother, he was his best friend, and yet jail had changed all of that. He’d been gone, and then jumped right into a serious relationship with an instant family. Now Kieran was still a huge part of his life, but it was different. These days Kane saw Rory more often than he saw his own twin, which was odd since Kieran technically lived with him, though he spent most of his nights with Fiona, sneaking out before her little sister woke up.

“And thanks to Clare,” Fiona added, smiling up at her fiancé. Kane gave her a hug next, wrapping her in his big arms like she’d been his sister his whole life.

“Where’s Shea tonight?” Kane asked, inquiring after Fiona’s younger sister as he gave her a hug. Shea had special needs and Fiona had become her legal guardian after their mother had been murdered. Both girls had completely stolen his heart over the last few months, and he’d do anything for them. It might not be official yet, but in his mind, they were both Kavanaghs.

“Kiera’s babysitting her at your parent’s house,” Fiona answered, referring to the young teacher who always babysat for her.

“What? Kiera’s not coming?” A broad-shouldered man standing nearby turned and stepped into the conversation uninvited. Fiona confirmed with a nod, before Kieran whisked her away to greet other party-goers across the room. Frowning, he crossed his heavily inked arms over his chest, flexing his muscles and making his many tattoos seem to come alive. “Couldn’t Fi have found someone else? Kiera should be here.”

Kane acknowledged his younger brother with a roll of his eyes. “For fuck’s sake, Quinn, make a move on the girl or move on.”

“Like you’re one to talk,” Quinn tossed back. “You and Nora have been flirting for as long as we’ve known her.”

Kane laughed and shook his head. “Correction, I’ve been flirting. She’s stonewalling me.”

“Whatever. It’s not like that with Kiera and me,” Quinn continued. “We’re just friends.”

“Friends that want to bang,” Kane continued.

“Ah, the first crass line of the evening, and you only just got here.” Nora Hannigan, Fiona’s best friend and now a frequent guest at every Kavanagh function, walked up next to him, one hand on her hip as she looked at him with disgust before turning to his inked-up brother with a warm smile. “Hi, Q, how are you?”

“I’m great, but I’m not the one you need to worry about.” Quinn gestured between her and Kane. “Ma told me to make sure you two don’t ruin the party with your bickering.”

“We don’t bicker,” the hazel-eyed beauty protested as she pushed her tight blond curls over her shoulder, letting them fall down her back. He paused, unable to ignore how stunning she looked tonight in her short cocktail dress and strappy high heels. Everything hugged her small curves perfectly and he was instantly reminded why he’d first found her himself attracted to her so many months ago.

“Bickering is for kids,” Kane agreed, sidling up beside Nora’s tall frame and wrapping an arm around her waist. “See? We can play nice and be adults.”

Quinn rolled his eyes at them both before leaving them alone. “Whatever, but you’ve got Ma to deal with if you keep hating each other.”

Kane grinned and squeezed her side slightly with his hand. “I think he bought that we don’t hate each other.”

“You mean you hope he bought it,” she said through a tight smile.  “Since you’re petrified of your mother.”

Kane chuckled, but she was partly right because the last thing he ever wanted to do was upset his mother. He tightened his grip, pulling her more snuggly into his side. Yeah, he liked the feel of her there. He smiled down at her. “Nothing wrong with a man respecting his mother.”

Nora didn’t answer, but she stiffened under his hand. “You just said you’d play nice.”

“Oh, I am,” his voice husky and low against her ear.

She stepped away from him, but with little room to move she found herself trapped between him and the bar. He dropped one arm down on either side of her, gripping the bar’s edge in both hands. “Believe me, I can play very nice if you would retract your claws, kitty.”

He wasn’t one for nicknames usually, but from the moment he first met Nora in this very bar so many months ago, he’d called her kitty. She practically hissed at him as he had tossed out every pick up line he knew back then. The nickname riled her up so much, he made sure to tease her with it whenever the opportunity presented itself.

But sometimes, he didn’t just want to ruffle her feathers. Sometimes, he wanted them to put away the barbs and just be real. “You look so fucking beautiful tonight, Nora.”

Nora visibly gulped, her chest rising and falling faster than it had been a moment before. “It’s just us. You don’t have to play nice.”

“No games.” The blood rushed through his ears, drowning out the noise of the party. They were in a sea of friends and family, and yet it felt to him as if they were alone, in the same bubble they always found themselves in when around each other—and for a second, she looked like she was thinking the same thing. “I mean it, Nora. You’re stunning.”

Her pupils dilated, a soft red tinge of color touched her cheeks, and her cleavage seemed to push harder against the top of her shirt—little details he might have missed if he’d allowed her snippy words to keep him at a distance as they normally did. But up close… he felt a jolt of adrenaline, a bit like when he was in the ring and he zeroed in on an opponent’s weakness. But Nora wasn’t weak. He’d never make the mistake of thinking that—but she wasn’t nearly as immune to him as she pretended to be.

Just as quickly as it had appeared, the flash of lust on her face was gone and she cleared her throat, standing taller. “Kane, stop it. I don’t know what you’re trying to do, but nothing is going to happen between us. Never.”

He dropped one of his arms, making it easy for her to leave if she wanted. “Whatever you say, kitty.”

She stepped away from him, glancing back and giving him a stiff, strange wave where she wiggled all her fingers exaggeratedly. The corners of his lips twitched into a smile, his brows raised as Nora quickly dropped her hand to her side, looking mortified at her own, unusual actions. “Um, yeah, okay, bye.” With a small laugh that sounded more like a nervous exhale, she turned and walked off.

Kane chuckled to himself as he enjoyed watching her from behind until she disappeared into the crowd.

Not one to waste time, especially when the music was so good, Kane headed for the dance floor to enjoy the party. It only took seconds before a not-so-sober brunette he didn’t recognize slipped her arm around his, batting long eye lashes at him as she pressed against his bicep.

No words were exchanged, because none were needed. He wanted to dance, and she wanted to dance with him. He took her hand and let the beat move them around the crowded dance floor. The song was fast and everyone was working up a sweat in the tight quarters, but he enjoyed every second of it.

Several songs went by and the brunette kept moving closer and closer. Normally he wouldn’t mind, but for some reason, he wasn’t interested in taking things further with her. Strange.

The brunette turned around, shaking her backside for him. Kane let go of her hand and pulled away, trying to keep a slight distance between them. He wanted to dance, but he wasn’t in the mood to feel up a stranger who was probably somehow related to his future sister-in-laws—especially when his mind was on someone else.

As if she knew he was thinking of her, Kane caught Nora out of the corner of his eye standing on the edge of the dance floor. The song came to an end and she turned away, but Kane wasn’t about to let her go again. Excusing himself from the brunette, he waded through the crowd and caught Nora’s elbow.

“You looked like you were about to dance, kitty,” he said, his lips near her ear.

She shivered and looked up at him. “Maybe, but not with you.”

“One dance.” He slid his fingers down her arm from her shoulder to her wrist, then sliding his hand into hers. “Then you can ditch me for someone hotter.”

She let him lead her a few steps onto the floor. “’Til I find someone hotter? That shouldn’t be hard.”

He smirked, but didn’t respond because there was no doubt in his mind that once he had her out there, she wouldn’t be looking at anyone else. Kane led her to the center of the crowd, and pulled her to his chest. She looked up at him slowly, as if unsure what she was going to do, but when their eyes met and the next song started, she didn’t pull away.

He let his fingers trail down her arms, loving the feeling of her soft skin, then lifted her hands to his shoulders. She locked them behind his neck and together, they swayed with the music. Her tongue slid across her lower lip and it took every bit of strength he had not to taste for himself.

The tempo picked up and he moved faster, guiding her along with him. She kept up pace perfectly, and he felt proud when he saw her smile as he spun her around in front of him. Nora collapsed against his chest laughing, as he captured her small waist in his hands.

“You’re a good dancer,” she admitted, and his brows instantly shot up in surprise at her newfound kindness toward him. “I can’t believe you spun me around. I’ve never seen a guy do that except in the movies.”

He chuckled slightly, but kept them moving as the next song came on. “You need to be dating some better guys then, kitty.”

Nora dipped her head with the music, a slow smile pulling on her lips as his hands held her waist. “I’m not dating anyone right now.”

Kane pulled her even closer, bringing his lips to her neck and loving the soft silk of her skin against him. Her curls tickled his cheek, but the sweet vanilla smell was intoxicating. Nora shivered beneath him, her hands tightening around his biceps as if to keep herself from falling over. His lips found her ear and he whispered, “Is that an invitation?”

“What?” She stepped back slightly, her face flushing red as she blinked rapidly. “No way. I mean, I’m not dating at all right now.” Her hands perched on her hips as she cocked her head to the side. “And even if I was, you certainly wouldn’t be at the top of that list.”

Kane laughed loudly at that one and grabbed her hand, pulling her back into their dance. Her hips pressed against him and the friction between them made his entire body feel hot. “At least you’re a better dancer than you are a liar.”

She rolled her eyes but continued to shake with the beat, and he moved right along with her. It wasn’t overly sensual or hot and heavy grinding, but rather, light hearted and fun. For the first time, they were enjoying being together without all the hostility between them.

“One more dance,” he said as the beat switched over to a slower song. “To make up for the super embarrassing wave thing you did earlier.”

Nora snorted and let out a slight groan. “You saw that? Fantastic.”

“I always see you, kitty.” He was smiling, but not because of her sarcasm. Kane was just happy—genuinely enjoying spending time with the sassy beauty.

“Always with the pick-up lines,” she teased, but Nora couldn’t hide the grin on her face. There was an excitement in her eyes he’d never seen before. She pushed up on her toes and dropped a kiss on his cheek. “Thanks for the dance, Kane. I needed that.”

A huge grin spread across his face as he watched her slip away into the crowd. She wanted him. There was no denying it. After pushing him away for what felt like forever, the stoic blonde was letting down her guard. The evidence had been right there, so obvious the whole crowd might have noticed if they’d been watching.

He finally had a shot, and he was going to take it.




“I thought you were going to get trashed.” Rory handed Kane a set of car keys as they stood by the entrance to the pub with the party winding down behind them.

Kane shrugged. He’d had one beer a few hours earlier, but despite what he’d said to his brother at the gym, it really wasn’t worth ruining his training regime by getting drunk right now. If he was really honest with himself, the threat he’d made of getting drunk was more because Rory had tried to tell him he couldn’t. Defiant streak aside, Nationals was fast approaching, and his anxiety about it kept him dedicated. “I figured someone could use a driver tonight.”

“Everyone here is pretty plowed,” Rory agreed. “And with the five of us brothers, plus Casey, Clare, and Nora, we’re short on rides. Can you take Casey and Nora home? I’ll drive Clare, Fiona, and Kieran. Jimmy’s got Quinn and the parents. The car service we hired should have everyone else.”

Kane nodded, not surprised that his rigid lifestyle had him lumped in with now-permanently sober Rory, and their brother Jimmy who was a New York City police officer. “Got it. See you at Legends in the morning?”

“Yeah, I might sleep a little late. Get some cardio in if I’m not there, then weights.” Rory held up his hand and opened his mouth as if he might add something, but with a grimace, he shook his head instead. “I’ve gotta go find my passengers.” He turned and made his way across the bar.

“Yeah,” whispered Kane under his breath. “Me too.” He scanned the dwindling crowd but didn’t spot any of his charges. He should have figured finding them wouldn’t be easy.

When he did finally locate Casey and Nora, he found them on the small loading dock behind the building, their legs dangling over the edge as they laughed and chatted. Despite the giggling, Nora’s face said they were discussing something serious. There was something wistful about it… almost sad. He didn’t like seeing her that way.

Casey was holding a short metal tube with a significant amount of white smoke coming out of the end.

“Shit, Casey.” He combed his fingers through his short, brown hair. “Are you vaping?”

“Is that what this is called?” Casey held up the electronic cigarette and giggled endlessly. His cousin was definitely drunk. “Some guy at the party gave it to me. It tastes like pineapple!”

“Case, I can’t believe you. Smoking is disgusting, and you have no idea what’s really in this thing. Some guy gave it to you? Fucking hell.”

“It’s not disssssgusting,” Casey slurred.

“Come on, let’s get you inside.” His glare landed on Nora. “Help me get her up since you didn’t even try to stop her from smoking.”

“Hey, I told her not to. Is Rory inside? I’m not as drunk as she is.” Nora pointed to Casey. “But I still don’t think I should drive.”

“His car is full. I’m taking both of you home,” Kane told her as they helped Casey to her feet. Grabbing the electronic cigarette from her, he turned it off and threw it into the nearby dumpster where it landed with a sharp clang against the bottom.

Casey fell against his side, still giggling as she hugged his left arm with both of hers. Her breath smelled like booze and pineapple, and he was not a fan.

Ignoring him, Nora was already heading for the door. “I’ll get a ride with Rory. You should take Casey home.”

“There’s a luau in my mouth!” Casey shrieked with laughter as she took a step forward. Her feet somehow tangled together and she squeaked as she stumbled and tipped over.

Nora lunged forward to help her, but was too far away to make a difference. Thankfully, Kane managed to hook his arms under Casey before she hit the ground. “I need help with her, Nora. You’re riding with me.”

She surveyed him as he scooped his cousin into his arms, and cradled her against his chest. “I guess you’re right. She’s drunker than I thought.”

“Not drrrrunkk, just sleepy,” Casey murmured, her eyes already closed. “Wasss there even tea in thossse Long Island drinks?”

Kane blew out a loud breath. “Jesus, Casey. There’s like five shots in each one of those.”

Casey popped her head up again. “That would have been goooood to know four drinkssss ago.”

Kane shook his head, then nodded his chin toward Nora and then the door. “Can you get the door?”

Nora opened it and followed them inside and out to the front bar area. A cleanup crew was already getting to work pulling down the decorations and the previously dim lights were turned all the way up. A few stragglers stood by the front door, probably waiting for the next car as Rory continued helping people get home safely.

When Kane spotted Rory near the door, he caught his eye and nodded down at Casey. Rory gave a soft chuckle. “I remember those days. Or more to the point, I don’t.”

“Thank God for that, brother. You were an even bigger asshole back then.”

Rory had been sober for well over a year, and every Kavanagh was grateful for it. His career-ending injury had left him addicted to prescription pills and self-medicating with alcohol. After meeting Clare, he’d spent a lot of hard work getting himself clean and getting his life back in order.

“See you tomorrow, Killer. Bye, Nora, thanks for all your help tonight. Clare said to ask you to call her tomorrow. Something to do with bridesmaid dresses.”

“Will do. Goodnight!” Nora gave Rory a kiss on the cheek and then followed Kane and Casey out the door. “Where are you parked?”

“Around the side.” Kane looked down at his cousin, trying to gauge her level of consciousness as Nora reached the front of the car and waited for him to unlock it. “Casey?”

“She’s passed out. I don’t think she’s waking up anytime soon.”

“Shit. This night is such a clusterfuck.”

Nora shrugged. “She’s young. We’ve all had nights like that when we were her age.”

Kane pushed his cousin further onto his shoulder in an attempt to free up one hand and reach for his keys. She wasn’t very heavy, but her being total dead weight made it extremely awkward. Casey’s limbs flailed every direction as he tried to find his pocket, and he began cussing up a storm under his breath.

“Are you having a seizure or something?” Nora asked. “You look ridiculous.”

He sighed loudly, and looked up at the dark night sky. “I can’t reach my keys. You’re going to have to get them.”

“Where are they?” she asked.

“My front pocket.”

Nora’s hazel eyes widened as she glanced down. “Your pants pocket?”

“That’s the only pockets I have.”

Nora shook her head and crossed her arms over her breasts. “I’m not putting my hand in your pants, Kane.”

He chuckled. “Well it’s a good thing I didn’t ask you that then. Just reach in my pocket and get my keys.”

“If this is some perverted attempt to—’

Casey sighed and moved, forcing Kane to shift his stance so he wouldn’t drop her. “I don’t know how I can do anything perverted with my hands occupied like this,” he sighed, trying to reposition Casey against his shoulder. “Unless standing here all night is what you planned for your evening, can you please just get the damn keys?”

She shifted from one foot to the other, sighing with exasperation. “Fine, but you better not like this.”

He shook his head. “You’re asking the impossible.”

“I’m serious,” she huffed.

A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. “Be as serious as you want, but there’s no scenario that exists where I wouldn’t like your hands on me.”

Nora’s mouth fell open, but she didn’t look upset. She looked… intrigued? Kane wiggled his eyebrows as he stepped closer to her, a teasing smile spread over his face. “Come on, kitty. Don’t be shy.”

“You’re disgusting,” she said as she regained her composure and tentatively slid her hand into his pocket, fishing around for his keys.

While he’d been half teasing, the moment her hand was pressed up against him with only the thin inner lining of his jeans separating her from his skin, it took all his willpower to concentrate on anything else and remind himself that he was still holding his cousin.

Nora’s hand jerked, her spastic movement driving her fingers harder against his flesh. The breath backed up in Kane’s lungs as his body tensed. She froze for only a second, but it was long enough to tell she was aware of touching him.

Thankfully, her fingers finally curled away from him, and the jangle of his keys as she pulled them out and stepped back broke the moment. They stared at each other for a long moment. It was hard to tell in the parking lot’s blue-white light, but her face seemed flushed. Her lips parted and her tongue slid out to wet them.

“Are we in Hawaiiiiiii?” Casey suddenly blurted out from her near-comatose state in his arms, then promptly fell back asleep.

Kane jolted, startled. “What the ever loving fuck?”

Nora laughed. Not just the giggling he’d heard between her and Casey earlier. Not a friendly chuckle. She was full on belly laughing. Her head thrown back, she clutched her stomach, and he couldn’t help but laugh along. The street lights flashed off her bright hair, and her breasts heaved against the top of her tight cocktail dress which did nothing to help him keep his thoughts clean.

“Let’s get her home,” Nora finally said, still gasping with an occasional laugh.

She opened the back door to the SUV, and Kieran carefully sat his cousin down, propping her against the seat. Casey slumped to the side, but Nora and Kane worked together, Kane holding her upright while Nora buckled her seatbelt.

As the buckle snapped into place, Nora drew away from the car. Maybe it was her nearness, or her sweet vanilla scent, or the way he could vividly recall the feel of her hand brushing along his thigh in search of his keys, but the sudden mental image of Nora lying on her back, hair splashed across a pillow, gripped him. A chill raced through his body and settled low in his stomach, followed by a burst of heat much lower.

“There, she’s in.” Nora moved around to the passenger side front door.

Kane quickly put his hand over her door so she couldn’t open it. “Let me get that for you,” he said, lifting the handle and opening her door while simultaneously closing Casey’s.

She narrowed one eye and peered at him with suspicion. “Since when are you a gentleman?”

Kane shook his head. She had a bad habit of pushing him away with her sass and sarcasm, but that ended here and now. “I’m not who you think I am, Nora.”





The inside of Nora’s cheek was raw from all the abuse she’d subjected it to that evening. Every time Kane had come near, every word he’d spoken to her, every veiled glance he’d sent her way had kicked her heart into overdrive. She’d taken to biting her cheek to stem the way her body reacted as she became hyperaware of his presence. Why did she always have to fall for the bad boys of the world? The ones who would take everything and give nothing in return.

And yet, as she watched him round the front of the car heading for the driver’s side, his brown hair falling over his downcast face, movements stiff, he appeared genuinely hurt by her flippant comment. She wasn’t even sure why she’d said it. She didn’t understand why she said or did a lot of things whenever he was around except it had to be some sort of defense mechanism, a way of keeping her distance from him.

But finally, just as they’d seemed to be getting along for a moment, she’d tossed another barb at him. He’d done nothing to deserve it, but she’d thrown out the insult anyway.

Guilt flooded her stomach…

“Ready?” Kane asked as he climbed into the driver’s seat and started the car. Nora nodded, pulling on her seatbelt. She watched out of the corner of her eye as his powerful, large hands gripped the steering wheel. They pulled out onto the road and no one said a thing.

Nora glanced behind her, seeing Casey still fast asleep with the side of her face pressed against the window, drooling.

“Someone’s going to need to wash the window,” she muttered, unable to take the deathly silence any longer.

“She okay?” he inquired.

“Yeah, she’s fine. Just sleeping.”

Silence again. Great. Just wonderful. What a lovely way to end an evening. Nora sighed. “I don’t actually think that, you know,” she said as they pulled onto East 233rd Street.

“Think what?” His blue eyes glanced over at her briefly before returning to the road.

“That you’re not a gentleman.”

He didn’t say anything.

Overhead streetlights flashed, briefly lighting the car then plunging them into darkness again and again. She squirmed in her seat as the silence deepened. Whenever she felt nervous, words poured out of her in an unstoppable flow. “I mean, I don’t know you well enough to say. I know Kieran better, because of Fiona. She’s been my best friend all our lives. Our moms were neighbors growing up and stayed friends. So, I know her really well, of course. And now that she’s with Kieran, I know him. Plus he worked for me at the youth center for so long. I’m pretty much the third wheel in their relationship at this point, since I’m perpetually single. And I go to all your family’s functions, because, well, your family is pretty awesome. So I know a lot about you too, just from that. But I don’t really know you.”

More silence from him.

She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, leaning her head back against the headrest. “Okay, I’m just going to shut up now. I’m sorry. I hadn’t meant to offend you. It was a cruel thing for me to say.”

Woodlawn was a pretty small area, and it only took minutes before they were pulling up in front of Casey’s apartment. Kieran scooped Casey up once more, and Nora went fishing for keys yet again, but this time—thank God—in Casey’s purse.

She let them into Casey’s two-bedroom apartment and put a finger over her lips. “Her roommate might be here.”

Kane nodded and they helped settle Casey, fully dressed, into her bed. The young woman immediately curled into the covers and started snoring. She’d be fine. Nora definitely wasn’t jealous of the headache Casey would have in the morning, though. Nora had planned to drink more tonight, but nothing about the evening had gone the way she’d expected.

Her earlier encounter with Kane at the bar had unnerved her, and she was both frustrated and titillated by it. The way his muscular arms around her had felt, the feeling of his warm breath on her skin… she had wanted him. And that’s what frustrated her.

Because she didn’t want to want anyone.

She didn’t want a boyfriend. She didn’t even have time for a relationship since she was attempting to finish her degree, which was sort of up in the air right now with her low grade point average. Adding a man into the mix was a giant red flag on all fronts. She’d gone down that road a few times and had been constantly disappointed. Men had cheated on her, talked down to her, made her feel less than she knew she deserved. She’d always dated selfish jerks who were too focused on their own goals or ambitions, and never respected that she had her own too.

She had been a doormat, and she knew it. But she was trying hard to change that.

She didn’t want to ever give her heart over to another self-centered prick again. From everything she’d seen of Kane before today, he was exactly that. She needed more than that from a man in her life, and she refused to settle for less than she deserved no matter how enticing it seemed. Because Kane as a bad boy was pretty irresistible. The veins that bulged in his muscular arms as he concentrated on punching a heavy bag in the gym—which she saw him doing anytime she dropped by Legends—was so freaking sexy. She’d also seen him in the octagon a few times, the ferocity on his face as he destroyed his opponent was electrifying.

But Kane spinning her around the dance floor? Kane holding her hand, calling her stunning, opening doors, and damn it, being sweet? She didn’t know what to do with that particular brand of sexy.

She found herself lingering in the door of Casey’s darkened room watching him. She couldn’t pull her eyes from the way his shirt stretched tight over the muscles in his chest and shoulders as he helped Casey into bed, or how his smile was soft and comforting when he pulled a blanket over her. The way his blue eyes reflected the moonlight coming through the window completely mesmerized her, and she found herself wanting them pointed toward her.

And then they were.

Then he was looking right at her, a question in his expression. “Are you ready to go?”

“Yeah.” Nora cleared her throat. “I was just waiting on you.”

Kane lifted one brow and gave her half a grin, as if he knew what she’d been thinking. She prayed he didn’t. Her rambling earlier had been bad enough. If he knew she’d been fantasizing about his body, she might truly die of the humiliation.

“I’m going to puke!” Casey suddenly sat up in bed, startling them both.

Kane looked back at his cousin. “Casey, I love you to death, baby girl, but you gotta stop scaring the shit out of me like that.”

“Kane?” she said groggily, her hand suddenly flew to her mouth and Nora stepped back, worried she was going to puke.

“Alright, come on, let’s get to the bathroom.” Kane helped lead his cousin into the bathroom down the hall, and Nora peeked her head through the doorway to see him holding his cousin’s red hair back as she heaved over the porcelain bowl.

“Can I help?” she asked, trying to be polite.

He shook his head. “Not enough room in here.”

Nora ducked back out, completely conflicted. She felt nauseous, unable to stomach the sight, but at the same time, there was a warmth spreading through her body. Seeing the broad shouldered fighter delicately holding his young cousin’s hair back while she was sick was probably one of the sweetest, and grossest, things she’d ever seen.

Definitely never seen a self-centered prick do that before. Nora wondered if her initial impression had really been that far off.

A few minutes later, Casey came toddling back out with Kane’s arms around her and he settled her back into bed once more. She looked to be passed out once more, but Nora wasn’t sure.

“Is there anything I can do to help?” Nora whispered, feeling like she was just in the way.

Kane shook his head and joined her in the hallway. “I left a trashcan by the bed. She’ll be fine. Never seen her get this drunk before, but I remember the drill from when Rory used to drink. Let me just go wash up.”

“Please do.” Nora gave a small smile. “I cannot handle the smell of puke.”

Kane lifted one brow. “Says the woman who works with children?”

She chuckled and shrugged her shoulders. “Still.”

“I’ll be right back.” Kane went back to the bathroom and she heard the sink turn on. She glanced back into the bedroom, but Casey hadn’t moved. Kane rejoined her, smelling of lavender soap.

“You smell… flowery,” she said, a smirk on her lips.

“It’s a girl’s apartment,” he said with a chuckle. “My options were limited.”

Nora put her hands up, trying to hide her smile. “Whatever you say.”

He motioned toward the front door of the SUV. “After you.”

They headed back out to the car where he opened the passenger side door for her again, helping her step up and sit down, but he didn’t back away. Instead, he leaned against the car, his hands above his head gripping the frame, and his face only inches from hers.

“How much did you have to drink?” he asked, catching her off guard.

Nora frowned and thought back, but she didn’t even feel tipsy anymore. “Why?”

“Indulge me.”

She licked her lips slowly. “Just two drinks earlier. But nothing for a couple hours now. I’m not drunk, if that’s what you’re asking. Not at all.”

He nodded. “Good.”

She paused, waiting for him to explain further, but he didn’t. “Why does it matter?” she prodded further.

Kane looked down at his feet, then let his gaze slowly travel back up her body. “Because what I want to ask you, I’d never even consider if you were impaired.”

Nora searched his face for a clue as to where he was going. He didn’t give anything away, and seeing his stubbled jaw and long, brown lashes so close was only making it harder for her to remember why she didn’t want him. She might not know enough about him to even consider themselves friends, but everything about Kane screamed sex, and right now, the way his eyes darkened when he looked at her, she wanted him badly.

No, she didn’t want to date anyone. But sex? She could do that. And with him? She could definitely do that.

When he finally spoke, his voice was gruff and pensive, filled with an emotion she couldn’t identify. “You said earlier you don’t know me.”

“I remember,” she replied, licking her tongue along her bottom lip.

His eyes flickered down, watching the motion with interest. “Do you want to?”

Wait, what? Had she mentioned sex out loud? “Do I want to…?” she repeated.

Kane nodded as his gaze dipped down the length of her body and slowly dragged back up. “Do you want to know me?”

Oh. Right. That. Her tongue was too dry to form words, so she just nodded.

Because yes, she wanted to know him. The logical part of her mind was sending up red flags like crazy, but the ache she felt in her core screamed louder. She wanted to know what his lips would feel like against hers, how he’d feel pressed inside her… she wanted to know every inch of him.

“Good,” he said, leaning forward slightly.

Nora froze, waiting for him to kiss her. He was so close, mere centimeters away. Not daring to breathe, she parted her mouth ever so slightly. Any moment now…

Instead, he reached up and traced a finger from one end of her jaw to right below her chin. He tilted it upwards, so she was looking directly into his blue eyes. They searched hers carefully, and she stared back, mesmerized.

“Good,” he repeated, his voice huskier this time. “Let’s go home.”

With that, he let go and closed her door. She nodded her head slowly, trying to absorb the huge shift in their behaviors. After months of snarky replies and scathing glares, there was a silence between them.

And it spoke volumes.

Preorder Becoming a Legend Today:
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NOW LIVE: ‘Not A Hero’ is Available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited!

Guess What?!

Oh, you already know that Not A Hero went live on Amazon today? That’s because you’re amazing and my new favorite reader 😉

I’m so unbelievably excited to give you guys Miles & Zoe’s story because I’ve been working on it fooooooorever! It’s been sitting on the back burner while other projects moved ahead, but I knew I wanted to go back and finish it. Finally, I did and here it is–my first indie release in almost a year!

Thanks for all your support. It means more to me than you’ll ever know. You guys are the reason I keep writing!

Sarah R.

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From the bestselling author of the Kavanagh Legends MMA series, Sarah Robinson’s Not A Hero is an emotional standalone military romance where love battles trauma, and there can only be one victor. 

Former Marine, Miles Kydd, is trying to readjust to civilian life after ending his career and returning to his small home town when he learned his father was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Once the town hero and star quarterback, Miles no longer feels like the man he was, or who he’s expected to be–possibly because his demons have followed him home from Afghanistan.

Meeting Zoe Brooke, his father’s live-in nurse, gives Miles the slightest glimmer of hope that he can still find happiness despite the dark secrets he holds inside. The chemistry between them is undeniable, and together they are explosive–in more ways than one.

A helper at her core, Zoe is more than willing to care for Miles’s heart, but not at the expense of her own, and she’s not afraid to tell him that. She knows what having a painful past is like, and she wants to help him with his, if he’ll let her.

Things get complicated fast when Miles realizes burying his secrets isn’t actually the same as healing from them and if he wants the girl, he’s going to have to tell her the truth–the one thing he can’t do.

NOTE: This novel contains graphic content, violence, and sexual scenes. Meant for 18+ years of age. Plus, includes a free novella in the back of the book, as well as excerpts from other books for free!

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“Miles Kydd doesn’t think he’s a hero, but he is. A tall, sexy, damaged hero. My favorite kind!” – Award-winning Author Wendy S. Marcus 

“This is my first book by Sarah Robinson, and it was wonderfully written, with a heart-wrenching, engaging plot and endearing characters. I finished it in one day, which shows how much I enjoyed it.” – Lady with a Quill Reviews
“Sarah Robinson’s Not A Hero is a perfectly crafted military romance. Miles and Zoe’s love story has strength, tenderness, heartbreak, and passion. A must read!” – Alana Albertson, Bestselling Author of Beast
“Emotional, sexy, raw, and compelling…Miles Kydd will be your next hero! – Katie Rose, bestselling author of Hard to Hold
“I loved the emotional depth of the characters and their chemistry was breathtaking.” – Goodreads Review 
“Not a Hero made me feel so many emotions–shock, happiness, sadness, anger, jealousy, and a few others I’ll come up with as I think about this book over the next couple of days. It’s that good.– Goodreads Review
“I highly recommend this book to anyone who’s looking to honor our military families and loves a true happily ever after. – Goodreads Review  
“OH MY GOSH, THAT FERRIS WHEEL RIDE!! *fans self* Wow.-Goodreads Review

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Chapters 1 & 2 of ‘Not A Hero’ by Sarah Robinson Coming October 4th, 2016



Read the excerpt below for a sneak peek into next week’s release, Not A Hero, and preorder!

(Excerpt may contain language and situations that are suited for 18+.)

“Miles Kydd doesn’t think he’s a hero, but he is. A tall, sexy, damaged hero. My favorite kind!” – Award-winning Author Wendy S. Marcus  

“This is my first book by Sarah Robinson, and it was wonderfully written, with a heart-wrenching, engaging plot and endearing characters. I finished it in one day, which shows how much I enjoyed it.” – Lady with a Quill Reviews

“I highly recommend this book to anyone who’s looking to honor our military families and loves a true happily ever after. – Goodreads Review   

“OH MY GOSH, THAT FERRIS WHEEL RIDE!! *fans self* Wow.-Goodreads Review

Preorder Not A Hero: 
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Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA


“He’s dead, Miles! He’s dead!” A familiar voice called out to him, panic thundering through his screams. “We need to go. NOW!”

Someone grabbed his arm and roughly yanked him backwards.

Deafening gunshots rang in his ears, drowning out everything else.

His feet were concrete slabs, forcing him to stare at what he’d done. Everything inside him wanted to run for cover, find safety, and forget what had happened. The concrete pushed down, the ground swallowing his feet like quicksand, dragging him down into the dusty red clay as he scrambled to free himself. Greedy and unforgiving, the dirt had his knees and kept reaching for more, and he knew without a doubt this was it.

This is how it ends, Miles thought as he grabbed at the surrounding earth pulling him into a desert grave. 

This is how I am punished.

Miles Kydd shot out of his bed like it was on fire, electricity pulsing through every nerve in his body. He swiveled around, blinking rapidly, and taking in his surroundings. He quickly realized he was not on fire, but rather, standing in his boxers in the middle of the barracks filled with rows of snoring Marines in bunk beds.

A few shifted in their cots and glanced at him through half-open eyes before rolling over and going back to sleep. The flash of understanding on their faces quickly went blank as they pretended to be oblivious.

They all know.

Miles’s face heated, and he rubbed his fists into his eyes, attempting to rid the images burned there. Raking his fingers through short, dirty blonde hair, the perspiration that coated his skin transferred to his hands. Taking a deep breath and then slowly exhaling, he wiped sweaty palms on his boxers and walked back to his cot.

Quietly, so as to avoid any more attention, he slid under the scratchy wool blanket almost eight years in the U.S. Marines had conditioned him to find comfortable.

Miles glanced to his right. A few cots over, the desert moon beaming through the windows reflected off the pale skin of Tobin’s shaved head, which was partially covered by the blankets pulled to his nose.

His best friend since childhood, Tobin Leach had enlisted with the United States Marines alongside Miles the day after their high school graduation. They had reenlisted an additional four years together, and now were only a few weeks from heading home.

Seeing him close by calmed Miles, easing the anxiety his nightmares and memories had left behind. He clenched his jaw, pushing down the sudden surge of familiar shame, a constant poison threatening to overtake him if he allowed it. He wouldn’t—Miles never lost control.

At least that’s what he told himself.

Taking a deep breath, he hid his demons in a dark corner of his heart. Ignoring them was the best option he had, or maybe the only one.

It’ll be easier once I’m out of this hellhole. He needed to redirect his thoughts, to focus on his excitement about heading home, his discharge official in a few weeks.

Miles was most looking forward to seeing his father. Walter Kydd had recently been diagnosed with lymphoma, which was why Miles had decided not to reenlist again as he’d originally planned. He needed to be home as much as his father needed him there.

He bit down on the inside of his cheek as he considered his father’s illness—the last man on earth who deserved such a hardship. They were each other’s only family, and Walter had given Miles everything he’d ever needed and more. It was more than father-son, Walter was his everything.

A heaviness pressed on his chest, and he turned over on his cot, attempting to change his line of thinking to something positive, something to push the sadness away.  His thoughts drifted to his mother—not a topic which could aid his melancholy state—and he pushed that away as well.

Miles squeezed his eyes shut, exhaling slowly. I can do this.

Only one more month in Afghanistan.

Only one more month until his feet would be back on American soil. Then a few weeks later, he’d be walking down those Pennsylvania roads he loved.

It was time to go home.



“You know what I’m most excited to see?” Tobin leaned across the plane aisle toward him, an excited grin plastered across his face and a glassy look in his eyes as he sloshed down his fourth mini-bottle of whiskey.

“What’s that?” Miles warily eyed his friend’s glass, taking note in case things got out of hand. He’d never known Tobin to understand boundaries, but his friend’s drinking had increased since Afghanistan. Not that Miles blamed him after what they’d seen over there.

Miles lifted his own glass, considered the whiskey inside for a minute before putting it back down on the tray table and pushing it away. At the rate Tobin was going, one of them would need to maintain a sense of control.

“Grass, Miles! When is the last time we saw a patch of grass, man? Whole meadows of grass and big trees everywhere you look?” Tobin had a distant look in his eyes as he leaned his head against the headrest. He lifted the mini-bottle of booze to his lips, only to realize it was empty. Frowning, Tobin reached above his head and pressed the call button to summon the flight attendant.

When she didn’t materialize in half a second, he pressed it again…and again…and again.

“Tobin, quit it!” Miles scowled. “She’s coming. Don’t you think you’ve had enough anyway? We’re landing soon, and you don’t need to be completely shit-faced when you see your mom again.”

Tobin scoffed, shaking the small plastic bottle in front of Miles’s face. “I’m going to need more than this kid-sized bottle if I’m going to see Janiiiice.” He grimaced as her name left his mouth.

“Kid-sized booze?” Miles rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I think you’ve had enough.”

“I just want to see a patch of grass, Miles.” Tobin’s voice was softer now, nostalgic.

Miles couldn’t help smiling and nodding his head. He knew exactly what Tobin meant. One of the many things their camp in Afghanistan had lacked was the lush green grass and trees they’d grown up with in their home town of Slipwick, Pennsylvania.

“I miss the lake.” Miles mused over fond memories of the woods near Lake Arthur where his family home was.

His father had built their house—it was really more of a cabin—from the ground up, right on the lake’s and completely off the beaten trail. It was farther from town than most of Miles’s friends when he’d been in school, but he’d never minded since spending every warm weather day on the water had been worth the trek. He’d practically lived for the hours spent in the old canoe, or equally ratty rowboat.

Tobin chuckled, rubbing his hand over his bare head. “You and that damn lake.” He rattled the ice in his cup, pressing the call button a few more times.

A snarl escaped Miles’s lips, swiveling in his seat to shoot his friend an angry glare, any sense of calm gone. “I swear on your fucking life, Tobin, if you press the damn button one more time, I will break your finger clean off,” he barked.

Tobin’s eyes widened, but Miles’s continued seething, his thoughts taking off at a sprint. The incessant ringing from the call button. The ringing in his head.

Ringing like the sound of the first explosion, knocking him to the ground.

“Damn, Miles.” Tobin put his hands up in defense. “Relax.”

Miles blinked and looked around, suddenly self-conscious. He’d drawn the attention of a few neighboring passengers. From the looks of concern on their faces, he’d be lucky if they didn’t call the Air Marshall on him.

Forcing a tight-lipped smile, he sat back in his seat and faced forward. Guilt washed over him when he noticed Tobin still staring at him with a look of suspicion.

“So grass, huh? What’s next after the greenery?” Miles asked.

An unspoken apology passed beneath his question, and Tobin grinned. All was forgiven. It had always been that simple between the two of them. “Hair. I can’t wait to let it grow out and finally meet some women. A lot of women—you remember how chicks loved my hair. I won’t be able to keep up with them all.”

“Yeah, right. Mr. Romantic suddenly becomes a player. That’ll be the day.” Miles chuckled, smoothing a hand over his own head, his short, dark blonde hair tickling the underside of his palm. “Bet you fifty bucks you’re in a relationship by the end of the month.”

“Hey, not my fault they keep coming back for more.” Tobin rubbed his thumb and index finger over the top of his lip. “I might even grow back my ’stache.”

“Oh, hell no.” Miles dropped his head back, laughing loudly. Several passengers turned to glare at his most recent outburst, but this time, he didn’t care. “No woman is going to go near you with that dirt on your face again.”

“Hey, I got no complaints.” Tobin huffed, pushing out his chest defensively. He took the next mini-bottle of whiskey from the flight attendant and swigged it down in a single chug. Belching, he pounded his fist to his chest. “At least I wasn’t the town kiss-ass.”

Miles lifted one brow. “Town kiss-ass?”

“You heard me,” Tobin continued. “Once a golden boy, always a golden boy.”

It’d been a while since Miles had thought about his reputation back in Slipwick. All-star high school quarterback, prom king, and class president—he’d been treated like royalty in the small town. Not to mention, he was the late Violet Kydd’s son, the elementary school teacher nearly every single person in town had adored.

His mother, or “Vi” as everyone called her, had been well loved for her sweet demeanor, generous heart, and the brilliant smile that seemed to find its way into even the coldest hearts. Miles had never officially met her since she’d died during childbirth due to complications, but her legacy lingered in every framed photograph at home and every person on the street who stopped to tell him how much they missed her. The Mayor back then had even elected to plant a tree in the main courtyard downtown with a bronze plaque at the base dedicated to her.

“I’ve never been a kiss-ass,” Miles clarified, lifting his chin. He couldn’t control how the town saw him, but he’d certainly never been an angel—especially with a best friend like Tobin. “What about the time I set off an M-80 in Mr. Fenton’s rowboat? Sunk that sucker in less than thirty seconds. Would a golden boy do that?”

“Only ’cause I gave you the firecracker to begin with!” Tobin laughed, a deep belly laugh that always made Miles smile, along with anyone else who heard its unique lilt. “You were so scared—you bolted the second you tossed it in.”

“What else would I do? Wait around for it to blow my eyebrows off?” Miles was laughing just as hard now. “Those things are illegal, you know. I wasn’t about to end up in jail thanks to you.”

“Hey, true friends do time together.” Tobin pointed a finger at him, one brow raised. “I regret nothing.”

“I bet you regretted setting your arm on fire with bug spray,” Miles countered.

Tobin’s cheeks reddened slightly, but he shrugged. “Scientific research—plus now we know bug spray is flammable.”

“Yeah, reading that exact warning on the side of the can didn’t make it clear,” Miles said, laughter flowing easily between them.

“Trust but verify, my friend.” Tobin cocked one eyebrow as he opened his next mini-bottle, downing it in one go again. His face twisted at the taste, coughing until his throat cleared. “My life’s motto.”

“When your life motto leads to death, it’s time to pick a new one,” Miles said, shaking his head. “You’re reckless, man.”

“I prefer the term fearless.” Tobin crossed his arms over his chest. “And if I do kick the bucket, you better hope I don’t come back and haunt your ass.”

Miles tried to stretch out his legs into the aisle, feeling cramped in the tight plane seat. “There’s no such thing as ghosts, Tobin.”

Tobin didn’t respond right away.

Miles turned to see him staring out the tiny, square window, down at the landscape hundreds of miles below them.

“After what we did, you still believe that?” Tobin asked.

The reminder of the incident lashed out at Miles as if Tobin had slapped him across the face. He looked away, swallowing hard. There wasn’t anything to say about Afghanistan, or what they’d done over there—more accurately, what he’d done over there.

So, he said nothing.

“I’m just glad to be going home, Miles,” Tobin continued, his tone hushed and heavy now.

Miles opened his mouth to agree, but his voice caught in his throat as painful memories pushed into his mind. Finally, he cleared his throat and nodded.

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentleman,” the flight attendant’s voice came over the intercom. “We’re beginning our descent into Pittsburgh…”

Both men eagerly sat straighter at the mention of their destination, Miles’s anticipation growing as the flight attendant described the landing protocol and droned on about the weather on the ground. He drew his seatbelt across his lap and clasped it, pulling the band tighter around his waist.

The landing was suddenly making him a little nervous, which was odd since he hadn’t been afraid of anything in last eight years from raiding terrorist camps to returning enemy fire, even coming face to face with death.

Miles exhaled slowly, closed his eyes, and leaned his head back. Only a few more minutes and they would no longer be active duty Marines. They would be home.

And maybe that’s why this landing made him so nervous.


Getting off a plane was by far one of the most irritating parts of Miles’s journey home. Standing behind dozens of other passengers waiting to disembark, his head was awkwardly cramped to the side, unable to stand straight with the plane’s low ceiling.

He shot a look of frustration at Tobin, who was a few inches shorter and had no problem being completely upright. By the time they managed to shuffle off the plane and through the gate, Miles was beyond ready to get his bag and go.

Silence fell naturally between the men as they headed to baggage claim, trying to spot their gear bags amid the sea of black, wheeled suitcases.

While they waited, Miles watched the other passengers being greeted by loved ones—wives with signs of love, children holding My Daddy is an American Hero banners, and mothers wringing their hands with a nervous energy that was almost infectious. Shouts of excitement, tears of joy, and raucous laughter filled the room, and yet Miles felt the exact opposite—his skin crawled with unease from the cacophony.

Someone grabbed Miles’s shirt from behind, and he sprang forward, away from his assailant, pivoting quickly, his hands in the air prepared to fight, his breathing suddenly ragged and unsteady.

A small child stood in front of him, his knees wobbling and eyes wide. The stunned look on the child’s face told Miles he’d accidentally grabbed him before the little boy quickly crumpled into tears, his wailing immediately alerting a man—presumably his father—nearby.

Tobin stared over at him, one brow raised, surprise evident on his face. “Uh, Miles?”

“What the hell is your problem, man?” the boy’s father yelled, quickly scooping his child into his arms and staring Miles down with all the ferocity of a papa bear.

Miles dropped his aggressive stance and opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out. He swept his fingers through his short hair as the father stormed off, his bawling child tucked tight in his arms.

Tobin cocked one brow higher than the other. “Dude, what the fuck was that? Where do you think we are?”

Miles shrugged his shoulders, heat settling in his cheeks. “My bad.”

Tobin stared at him for another moment then frowned and went back to watching for their luggage.

Miles took the opportunity to scan the room, hoping finding a familiar face in the crowd might distract him from wondering why he’d reacted so impulsively to the child touching his back.

A deep-seated longing filled him—a desire to have someone there to greet him, someone who cared he’d just spent eight years and multiple tours overseas, or even someone to simply offer a hug or handshake. He already knew his father wasn’t coming because of his failing health, but the optimistic little boy in him looked around hoping to spot him anyway.

Tobin gave him a puzzled look. “Are you expecting someone?”

“No, just looking,” Miles replied. “Lots of happy people here…” His voice trailed off at the end, and he started looking for his gear bag instead.

“You know Walter would be here if he could.” Tobin clapped him on the back. “Cancer is a bitch, Miles.”

“What about your mom?” he asked, changing topics not-so-subtly.

Tobin scoffed and shoved his hands into his pockets. “Yeah, right, like Janice would ever take the time out of her day to do something for her son.” Tobin cleared his throat, his voice lowering to a mutter. “She probably doesn’t even remember I’m coming home—never responded to my last letter.”

Miles got the hint and dropped it; he had known Tobin long enough to know when his friend didn’t want to explain further.

Janice Leach had always had a drinking problem, along with some illegal activities they’d been too naïve as a child to understand. So, it was safe to say she’d never been one to count on.

Miles had never had a sibling, but Tobin had a younger sister who’d died when she was fourteen years old. After that, it had been just the two of them, and Tobin became the brother he never had. In fact, Miles had no childhood memories which didn’t include him, since Tobin had spent most of his time at the Kydd house.

Tobin smacked Miles on his arm and pointed to a military duffel bag falling off the carousel’s starting point and making its way around to them. “Isn’t that one yours?”

Miles pressed through the throng of people in front of him and grabbed it. Minutes later, both men had collected their bags and headed to the shuttle that would take them home.

Miles led the way and Tobin followed, balancing his luggage on his shoulder. “Time to head home, Tobin.”

Tobin grinned like a kid on Christmas morning. “God bless America!”


The shuttle dropped Miles off at the end of a dirt road pointing down to his family cabin on Lake Arthur. The driver refused to go any farther because of the narrow space between the trees and how large the vehicle was, so Miles agreed to walk the rest.

With a nod to Tobin and a promise to see him tomorrow, Miles slung his bag over his shoulder and stepped out onto the dirt road, which had mostly been formed from years of trampling and tire grooves.

It took Miles about twenty minutes of walking before he spotted the familiar home through the trees. It was a dark brown, wooden, two-story house with a slanting roof and an always-smoking chimney. Walter loved having the fireplace going, even if it was the end of summer and plenty warm outside.

The front of the house was circled in rows of flower bushes that only paused for the stairs leading to the porch. The wraparound porch had been his mother’s request back when Walter first built the house, and still one of his favorite parts of the whole place. It extended completely around the house, leaving plenty of room for lounge chairs, potted plants, a birdcage, and other eclectic items that had found their way there over the years.

The front of the house boasted two tall windows on either side of the red front door—another request from his mother who inexplicably insisted every home should have a red door.

Miles couldn’t stop the smile from spreading wider on his face as he increased his pace—bounding up the front steps, two at a time. The cool metal of the doorknob in his hand was the only reminder he needed—he was safe, he was home, God bless America.

Eagerly, he swung the door open, tossing his bags to the side of the front room. It didn’t even faze him that the front door was unlocked— Slipwick was a trusting town and the closest neighbor was miles away.

Familiar scents battled for his attention as he inhaled—the cedar walls, the breeze from the lake, the ashes from the fireplace, or the fresh iced tea always ready for visitors.

Miles smiled, the kind of smile that spread deep to his soul. Two years had passed since his last visit home, and it had been over eight years since he’d lived there officially, but it all looked exactly as he remembered each time.

He’d known he missed home, but it hadn’t truly sunk in how deeply he had longed for it until the swelling in his chest brought every memory rushing back into him. Miles closed the front door behind him, heading straight through the house and into the kitchen where a side door led out to the back porch.

The door was wide open with only a screen blocking the way, which Miles knew meant his father was out there like he was most evenings. The back porch connected around to the front, but was much higher off the ground due to the slope down to the lake. It had a great view of the lake, despite a few trees in the way, and had always been his father’s favorite place in the early evening.

Miles walked over to the fridge, pulling it open, and found the homemade iced tea he had been craving. Pouring himself a glass, he tilted the cool liquid to his lips, letting it slide over his tongue—some of the dust from his tours overseas sliding away with it. He finished the entire glass in a few gulps and placed it in the sink, heading for the porch door next.

Miles pushed the screen to the side, spotting his father exactly where he’d predicted. Walter was sitting at the patio table playing solitaire—one of his favorite pastimes.

He paused for a moment, registering the extreme changes in his father’s appearance. Walter had lost at least thirty pounds since Miles had last been home to see him, and looked as if he’d aged twenty years since then. An oxygen tank rested on the wood deck beside him, a tube hooked around his father’s ears and tucked in his nostrils. The quiet whirring sound of the oxygen pushing its way into his father’s nose fit right in with the chattering night life in the surrounding woods.

Miles struggled to fit the image before him with the father who had always exuded vitality. This man was different. This man was frail and breakable—two things Miles had never associated with his father before.

Despite the shock, he did his best to push his worries away, plastering a forced smile on his face and stepping out of the doorway, closing the distance between them.

“Dad!” Miles called out as he approached.

His father’s face lit up as he turned to look at him, smiling ear to ear, and raising his arms in greeting. “Miles, my boy, you’re home! Come give your old man a hug!”

Miles relaxed, glad to see the familiar twinkle still shining through his father’s eyes. “Good to see you, Pops.”

“Me? Look at you.” Walter held him at a distance, hands on both of Miles’s arms as he looked him up and down. “You’re huge! They trained you hard over there, huh? Man, my little boy is long gone, isn’t he? Hiding somewhere under all that scruff.” A nostalgic smile crossed his father’s face.

Miles chuckled, nodding in agreement. He rubbed his hand over the stubble on his chin, which he used to only need to shave once a week, sometimes less, when he’d first joined the service. Now he had a shadow by noon, and stubble by evening—not to mention his body sculpted by the Marines. “Oh yeah, people shooting at you is a proven motivator to get off your ass and run.”

A momentary flash of worry crossed his father’s face, but was replaced quickly with pride. His father was a veteran of the Vietnam War, so Miles knew he’d been equally terrified and honored when his son had joined the military at eighteen.

“We missed you around here, Kydd,” Walter said, using their last name as a nickname just as he always had.

“Missed you too, Dad,” Miles said, patted his father on the back. “How have you been doing? I see they have you on oxygen now…and a wheelchair?”

This was why he’d come home—no reason waiting to address the elephant in the room.

“Lymphoma will do that to you,” Walter confirmed. “All this crap just makes it a little easier on me to get around for what time I have left.”

“Dad—” Miles started.

“It’s okay, Miles,” Walter interrupted, his eyes misting over slightly—a sure sign he was thinking of Miles’s mother, Violet. “I’ve lived a great life and I can’t wait to see your mother again.”

Uncomfortable, Miles looked away. “Don’t talk like that, Pops. People survive cancer—you could be one of those people. Stay positive; fight it.”

“I am being positive,” Walter replied, still smiling. “That doesn’t mean I want to fight it, though. I haven’t seen your mother in twenty-six years—she is still the love of my life, you know.”

“You’ve only told me a million times.” Miles gently squeezed his father’s shoulder, loving hearing about his mother even if it was in this context.

“And when are you going to find your Violet?” Walter didn’t pull any punches, shuffling the deck of cards in front of him.

A laugh slipped out as Miles took the cards from his father and began cutting the deck between the two of them to start a game of war—one of their favorites. “That’s not happening any time soon, Pops.”

“You never know,” Walter said, his brows lifting.

Miles divided the deck into two piles as the screen door slid open behind them and soft footsteps landed on the wood. The air left his lungs in a whoosh and his breathing became staggered as he jumped up, almost knocking the table. He swirled to face whoever was approaching. Adrenaline coursed through his veins, leaving him shaky. His muscles tensed as he pushed himself to his full height, spreading his arms and legs in a solid fighting stance, preparing for an attack.

The young woman standing in front of him let out a shocked gasp as a look of fright overtook her features, her hand flying to her chest.

Then she faded and Miles only saw fire.
Flames that stung his eyes.
The smell of burnt flesh.

If you liked the first two chapters, please make sure to preorder NOT A HERO on Amazon today! 
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From the bestselling author of the Kavanagh Legends MMA series, Sarah Robinson’s Not A Hero is an emotional standalone military romance where love battles trauma, and there can only be one victor.

Former Marine, Miles Kydd, is trying to readjust to civilian life after ending his career and returning to his small home town when he learned his father was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Once the town hero and star quarterback, Miles no longer feels like the man he was, or who he’s expected to be—possibly because his demons have followed him home from Afghanistan.

Meeting Zoe Brooke, his father’s live-in nurse, gives Miles the slightest glimmer of hope that he can still find happiness despite the dark secrets he holds inside. The chemistry between them is undeniable, and together they are explosive—in more ways than one.

A helper at her core, Zoe is more than willing to care for Miles’s heart, but not at the expense of her own, and she’s not afraid to tell him that. She knows what having a painful past is like, and she wants to help him with his, if he’ll let her.

Things get complicated fast when Miles realizes burying his secrets isn’t actually the same as healing from them and if he wants the girl, he’s going to have to tell her the truth—the one thing he can’t do.

This book is suggested for 18+ years of age, contains graphic content, sensitive subject matters, and sexually explicit material.

Preorder Not A Hero (Coming 10/4/16): 
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This novel is available FREE on Kindle Unlimited, and is currently only available in the Amazon Kindle store.

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Not a Hero: A Marine Romance