1. Stranger: A Dark Stalker Romance
(Chapter One Excerpt below)
Warning: Stranger by Robin Lovett is a scorching, intense romance novel featuring an anti-hero out to get revenge against the trust-fund woman whose family destroyed his life.
This isn’t supposed to be a love story. She doesn’t want him to sweep her off her feet, and he is far from her knight in shining armor. He wants to ruin her life. But even the simplest plans for revenge can go wrong.
I like the way he watches me, this man I don’t know. It’s something I’ll never confess to, never tell a soul. But with one look of those penetrating eyes, I feel as if he’s unwrapped me, turned me inside out, rubbed away at my trust-fund-holding, good-girl exterior until I’m raw and exposed.
He looks like he wants to destroy me. Like he wants to obliterate me and my shallow, perfect life until there’s nothing left.
And once I meet Logan, I want him to.
I hate Penny Vandershall.
I hate her money and her family and her privilege. I hate her innocence and her smile and her shine. I want to annihilate her lightness and consume her with my darkness, my anger, my red-hot rage until there is nothing left of her.
I know the truth about her, the truth that will make it easy to bring her down. To ruin her for good. But through the blinding haze of my hatred, my burning need for revenge, she’s starting to get to me. She looks at me in wide-eyed fear, like a girl approaching the tiger’s cage. And yet she refuses to walk away; edging closer until she can meet the beast who wants to rip her apart.
And even though I set out to ruin her, she may be the one to destroy me.
Chapter One excerpt from STRANGER by Robin Lovett:
He’s been watching me for days.
I don’t know him.
He could be a criminal out to kidnap me or rob me. Though he’s only there when dozens of people are around, mostly outside during my lunch break at the hospital.
His stare—it scares me, but I like it.
The fear, the rush of adrenaline through my veins, it feels good. My vision focuses, my hearing clears, and my thoughts disappear. The distraction is a relief. A relief from the last three months of hell since . . . since . . .
Well, let’s say it’s a relief to be thinking about something besides the giant hole where my heart used to be, the one threatening to break me every spare minute. Any distraction from that, no matter how dangerous, is a high point in my day.
He stands in the same spot every day, half hidden behind the stone pillar. None of the other nurses seem to notice him. They’re too busy chatting or enjoying the hospital’s fountain on the patio. Me—I notice him. Only him.
He’s blond. The scary types are supposed to have dark hair but his lights up yellow in the California sun—gleaming too bright, almost lion-like. King of the jungle, stalking his prey. The
tips of his hair hang over his cheek, half hiding his eyes.
His eyes—they don’t match the predator.
They aren’t dark; they’re light, colorless, almost sightless. It’s eerie, confusing yet mesmerizing. He’s not trying to hide his stare or be discreet. No. He’s obvious, and the chills racing down my spine run colder with every passing minute. It’s addictive, the feeling of being stared at, of being frightened.
It’s the most I’ve felt in months. It fills me like spiked oxygen, awakening me from a numb sleep I didn’t know I was in. It’s stunning to my senses in a terribly blissful way.
I’m his prey.
I want to be.
I want to lose myself and be lost to everything but his eyes. I want to get closer, close enough for him to burn away everything I don’t want to feel. And flood me with things I do want to feel.
It’s the fifth day he’s done this. The first day, it creeped me out so bad I went back inside, praying he’d be gone when I left for the night. The second day he was there again. I decided to stay, to ignore him. He stared at me, unmoving. For the entire hour.
And I couldn’t ignore it.
I liked it too much.
The third day, fascinated, terrified, I stared back, and the fear grew worse, more intense, more exciting than fear should ever be. Like a shock to my dormant instincts, it sent my heart thrumming and my breath gasping.
He didn’t smile, didn’t tip his head, didn’t change his expression. But in his gaze there was this menace, this warning that drew me in. I latched on to my chair to keep myself from going to him, from leading myself to slaughter.
What about me makes him stare at me like that?
Yesterday, his fourth day, when I finished my shift, he was there outside in the shadows. My palms sweated on my bag, fearing he would follow me to my car. Except I hoped he would. And that was more terrifying.
If he chased me, would I call for help or let him catch me?
I fear the answer as much as I fear him. But I didn’t find out because he didn’t follow. He stayed by the entrance and watched me walk away.
I was disappointed to tears.
This morning, I woke excited—for the first time in months. To see him. My stalker. Staring at me. Me staring back.
I have every reason to. He stands, arms crossed. Below his alluring face, the seductive bad-boy hair, and the entrancing eyes, he’s shaped like something you can’t look at on a double take. It’s more like a triple take to make sure he’s really there. His T-shirt and shorts shouldn’t be sexy, but it doesn’t matter. The perfect V from his chest to his waist to his long legs—I get achy from looking at him.
I fix my eyes on my lunch trying to convince myself that my sandwich is more interesting than him. It’s not.
There’s so much power in his stare. I shouldn’t give him more by staring back. Even though I want to give him more power—over me.
I close my eyes, a little shocked and a lot disturbed by my thought patterns concerning this man.
“Penny, are you okay?”
My eyes flash open to my friend Amisha pulling out the chair across from me. She sits, and concern strains her features.
The last thing I want to do is give her another reason to worry about me. “Yeah.” I force a smile. “I’m fine.” I’m too weirded out by my reactions to mention him. Besides, where he’s standing, she’ll never notice him unless I point him out.
A light breeze ruffles her dark hair, and her eyes, just as dark, narrow. “Having a rough day?”
“Nah, it’s just the food.” I poke at my lackluster sandwich.
She pours dressing over her salad. “Did you check in on Noreen and baby Delilah?”
The newest extreme case in the neonatal ICU. “They took Delilah off the ventilator.”
“They didn’t make Noreen go home, did they?”
“No.” We fight hard to keep the moms and babies together as long as we can. They can’t breastfeed regularly if the moms aren’t staying in the hospital, and the best thing for any newborn is mom’s milk.
With her not looking, I sneak one more glance at my distraction. His light eyes could be blue or hazel, gray or green. Whatever they are, they glower, not at me but through me. Like he’s looking at more than just me—or more than what I know of as me.
I like it, how he sees me. Like I’m worthy of hunting. Worthy of devouring.
A wash of heat flushes my neck, my skin sprouting goose bumps in the cool breeze.
Maybe it’s my imagination, an illusion from looking at him too much, trying to detect something from him, but his chin nods almost imperceptibly. As if to say, are you ready for me to destroy you?
I jerk my gaze back to my food. My sense of self-preservation must be on hiatus, because something flips and tugs in my stomach, like a pulling string, a desire, a curiosity.
What would it feel like to be destroyed by him?
She’s everything I thought she’d be.
It makes me hate her more. Which I didn’t think was possible.
I never thought the anger festering in my blood for eight years, curdling into a need for vengeance that’s distorted my life—I never thought it could get stronger.
But watching her too-pretty face, those baby blue eyes screaming innocence, her flawless skin gleaming softness—everything about her disgusts me, revolts me . . . makes me want to wreck her.
She’s lived the sheltered life I never got, and I want to steal it.
Except . . . I need her alive. Her father died too easily.
Death would be too simple, an easy escape.
I have a plan, a meticulous one, to take it all from her. Piece by piece, I’ll dismantle her life until she can’t live it anymore.
I should count myself lucky. She didn’t call security and have me kicked off the hospital campus. It smacks of stupidity on her part, and I’ll depend on it.
She’s responding exactly as I planned: equal parts fear and curiosity. Soon, her curiosity will win, and she’ll talk to me. Soon she’ll learn the truth—a truth that will shatter her wholesome little world. I can’t wait to see the horror I will put on her angelic face, the pain it will permanently plant in her eyes.
Penelope Vandershall—I wonder if the friend she eats with every day knows who she is. If Penny—such a nauseatingly sweet nickname—has a trust fund half as big as I know hers to be, she doesn’t need to be working. She should be camped out at a beach house or a spa.
Like they do hourly, red anger spots cloud my vision. The need to go over there, dump her lunch in her lap, turn over her table, and roar in her face . . .
I grip the railing beside me and force myself to breathe. Now is not the time for action, that will come. Even though the anger living beneath my skin writhes like a feral beast with the need for revenge.
I want her to come to me. That’s how my plan begins. With her asking me to dole out her torture. Her childlike curiosity is my fiercest weapon. After the sterile, boring life she’s led, she can’t help being fascinated by a man stalking her.
Her little shoulders fold, her eyes puffy, like she’s been crying. She looks like that every day. No one can cry that much. She talks with her friend but never laughs. She cracks a half-smile, but her cheeks never lift, her teeth never show. I know why.
Grief has been her best friend the last three months. And I’m going to make it worse for her.
There’s nothing about her and her privileged life that moves me. I need her. Nothing can keep her from me.
She’s my last chance to make it right.
My last chance to avenge the only family I ever had.
The End of Chapter One.
For a FREE STORY in the Dark Romance series, sign up here.
Other books in the Dark Romance Series:
Book 2: Deceiver, A Dark Revenge Romance (Chapter One excerpt)
Book 3: Keeper, A Dark Captive Romance (Chapter One excerpt)