Ten years ago I offered her everything, and she threw it back in my face. When she walked, I vowed no other woman would ever screw with my head the way she did. I moved on. Now I'm the V.P. of the Bastards, run my own nightclub, and nameless sex keeps me sane. No commitment or ties, just the way I like it.
Now she's back, for one week only, gorgeous, successful, and I can't keep away. She offers a long goodbye, a way to heal our fractured past. She burned me so bad––there's no way I should even want to be near her. But the more she gives, the more I need. Until I discover the real reason she left, and my whole damn world implodes...
Each book in the Viking Bastards MC series is STANDALONE:
About the Author
Christina Phillips is an ex-pat Brit who now lives in sunny Western Australia with her high school sweetheart and their family. She enjoys writing paranormal, historical and contemporary romance but whether the hero is a fallen angel, tough warrior or sexy mortal, the romance will be sizzling and the heroine will bring her hero to his knees.
She is a triple finalist in the 2013 ARRA Awards for Favorite Erotic Romance, and finalist in the 2012 ARRA Awards for Favorite Paranormal Romance. She has been published by Entangled, Escape, EC, Berkley Heat and The Wild Rose Press and has dipped her toe in the indie pubbed waters. She is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, the Dark Side Down Under group and Historical Hearts. She helped establish the inaugural Professional Development for Authors program and has been a member of the editorial team for the RWA’s monthly newsletter, Hearts Talk. She loves hearing from her readers!
Christina is addicted to good coffee, expensive chocolate and bad boy heroes. She is also owned by three gorgeous cats who are convinced the universe revolves around their needs. They are not wrong.
Read an Excerpt
Why didn't they just pick up the damn phone?
The brick building in front of me takes up a prime piece of real estate on the corner of the block, but its facade is ugly and hardly welcoming. Like the whole area, really. Not that I care since I grew up in a street far worse than this.
Even the name is ugly, although that's more to do with my long held prejudices than anything else.
Not going to think about it.
Except I can't help it. The name reminds me of Thor's hammer, and anything to do with Norse mythology always makes me think of the Viking Bastards Motorcycle Club. They were a huge part of my life when I was a kid. And when I was older, the president's son, Tyson Jenson, was my whole world ...
I take a deep breath. It's been ten years since I left that life behind me, and I'm not going back. The only reason I'm in Los Angeles is to sort out my mom's affairs.
Ancient grief sears through me, and despite the warmth of the late May afternoon I shiver. Mom and I hadn't seen each other in years, and that's the way she seemed to like it. Our weekly phone chats turned into text messages, and half the time she didn't reply anyway. My secret hope that one day we'd reunite and she'd tell me how proud she was of me shattered three days ago when her landlord contacted me as her next of kin.
And according to the pay slips I found buried in her underwear drawer, this place is where she was working. I tried calling the management at the Hammer, in case they didn't know she'd passed. And while I could've simply mailed them the necessary information, a needy echo of the old Jasmine O'Brien pushed through my hard-won outer shell, and I had to go see for myself.
Did I really think Mom might've migrated into retail or office work? I spent way too many years as a kid sitting in the corner of dressing rooms while she did her stripper routines not to recognize a seedy club when I see it.
She left her life with the Bastards years ago, but we never talked about it, and she never told me what she'd been doing since. She was only forty-three, which is way too young to die, but was she really still taking her clothes off in front of a bunch of creepy jerks?
Oh God, Mom, why didn't you just come to Florida with me?
I take a deep breath. It's not easy to face, but I always wanted her more than she wanted me. Right up until three days ago, I still missed not having her in my life, and now that's never going to change.
It doesn't matter if the club is open or not. I've seen all I need. But unlike my teen self, I no longer run when faced with tough decisions. With a silent sigh, I steel my nerves and press the security button.
Ten minutes later I'm back out on the street. The woman who saw me said all the right things, but there wasn't any genuine sorrow the way there would be if someone had lost a friend.
Mom never had many friends.
I fish out the keys to my rental car from my purse. I've only been back in California for a day, and already memories I've spent so long trying to forget are swarming through my mind. The sooner I get back to my life in Florida the better.
My uneasy suspicion that the Hammer might be affiliated with the Bastards faded as soon as I walked inside the club. It was tasteful and Gothic inspired, and even though I only saw the entry and a small office, there wasn't anything that hinted it was owned by the brothers.
Huh. Their collective ego is so massive they mark anything they own, so there's never any question of whose territory you've walked into. Never any question that their MC is everything, and God help anyone who tries to say otherwise.
For a couple of seconds, I battle the overwhelming urge to bury my face in my hands, block it all out, and let the tears behind my eyes escape. Instead, I jam the key into the car, my jaw locked in place. I don't fall apart anymore, and definitely not here, where the slightest hint of vulnerability is like a neon sign saying: mug me now.
Eerily familiar shivers skate along the back of my neck, and I freeze, my heart slamming against my ribs. It's my imagination. Except I know it's not. Only one person in the world has ever affected me like this, just by looking at me, without even having to see him.
God, no. Not now. Not ever. I'm not ready to see him again ...
Slowly I turn. Swaggering down the sidewalk toward me is the boy I fell in love with when I was thirteen. The boy I left four years later, my heart and soul ripped to shreds.
He's not a boy anymore.
His dark blond hair is pulled back from his face into that ponytail I always loved, but he's no longer clean-shaven, and the stubble darkening his jaw takes my breath away. He was always lean and toned, but the intervening years have broadened his chest, and sweet baby Jesus, his biceps are the stuff of legend.
Despicable need curls low in my gut, desire springing to life like a ravenous tiger. I grip the key so hard the metal gouges my flesh, but it does nothing to halt the unwanted hormones flooding my body.
His cocky grin as he eyes my legs causes goose bumps to chase over my exposed skin. It's like I've tumbled back in time and have become the same besotted girl who melted every time Ty turned his sapphire-blue gaze her way.
I should get out of here before he comes any closer, but I'm paralyzed, drinking him in, despite the ghostly fear constricting my chest.
Not fear of Ty. Never that. But of his club and everything it represents.
He's almost within touching distance before his gaze slides from my breasts to my face. For an eternal moment, it's like the world stands still, just me and him, no history or recriminations between us. And then he blinks, disbelief replacing the predator, and reality smashes back in.
"Jas?" His voice is smoky, sexy, just the way I remember, and inside I'm seventeen again — needy and desperate and overawed that the gorgeous Ty even noticed me, never mind anything else.
I'm not seventeen. And I'm sure as hell not that girl anymore.
"Ty." My voice is cool and doesn't betray my thoughts, thanks to years of learning how to mask my true feelings. Although, I guess the therapy helped, too. "It's been a while."
Not long enough. I need to leave before he sees the hunger in my eyes. Ten years is too long to still want someone, but I've always known that. I just don't want him to realize it, that's all.
Great plan. Such a shame I can't follow it through.
* * *
No fucking way.
The words pound through my head, raw and brutal, as Jasmine O'Brien fills every jagged corner of my mind.
She stands there with a strange, distant smile on her face, as though it hasn't been ten years since she walked out on me.
Ten fucking years. There's nothing left to say.
"Yeah." I answer anyway, can't help myself. Never could, when it came to Jas. Shut the fuck up. Walk on. She's nothing to me anymore.
"You're looking well."
Is she for real? That's all she has to say to me after all this time?
I drag in a deep breath. Five minutes ago, I was checking her out, turned on by the way that plain black dress looked so damn hot on her. I usually go for the obvious, chicks who are dying for a piece of me, not women who cover everything up. The easy lay suits me. I don't want to work for pussy. But something about this chick was different.
The irony chokes me. Yeah, she's different all right. She's buttoned up and out of place, and by the way I reacted before I'd seen her face, it seems the same twisted chemical reaction that hooked me all those years ago still burns between us.
I dredge up my so-called trademark smile, the one that has chicks in the club dropping to their knees. The smile that Jas once told me was the reason she first fell for me.
Her expression doesn't even flicker, and red-hot anger blazes through me. What did I expect? That she'd beg me to forgive her? Ask for a second chance?
Drag me into the back of her car for a quick, mindless fuck?
My dick throbs, and that pisses me off more than ever. I narrow my eyes so she can't see the lust, and ignore her attempt at small talk. "What're you doing here?" It hits me that she must've come here to see me. She's in my territory, right opposite the Hammer. Had she been about to go in? Or had she just come out?
She's not been back to L.A. in years. Not that I've ever stalked her, but word gets around. I would've known.
"Oh." For the first time, uncertainty flickers across her face, reminding me of my Jas, and it's like a punch to the gut. It vanishes in a second, and she gives me another bland, impersonal smile that scrapes along my nerves like barbed wire. "My mom passed away a few days ago. I'm just seeing to her affairs."
My anger drains as I catch the haunted look in her eyes before she lowers her lashes. "Shit, Jas. I'm sorry."
Her mom wasn't that great to Jas when she was growing up, but she was still her mom, and I guess Jas loved her, even though they hadn't seen each other in years. For a wild, crazy second, I almost pull her into my arms, the way I would've when we were dating. I scowl and hunch my shoulders. It's been a long time since anyone has needed me the way she did. She was the only one who ever saw the other side of me, the side that didn't belong to the Bastards. A dull pain grips my chest. That hidden side of me died the day she left, but some nights I'd give almost anything just so I could let down my fucking guard again.
"Thanks." She brushes imaginary dust from her dress with the tips of her fingers and avoids looking at me. "I appreciate it."
Christ, it's like we're strangers. I guess we are. Jas sure as hell isn't the same girl I remember, who'd wind her arms around my neck and give me a sweetly innocent kiss every time we got together.
No. But I still want to plunge my hands through her gorgeous black hair, even though she's piled it all up on top of her head instead of wearing it loose like she used to.
What the hell? That's over. Done. Fuck, the last thing I should be thinking is how good it always was between us.
"Anything I can do, let me know." The words are gruff, and I'm still scowling, but this situation is like nothing I've ever imagined. I'll make sure Bella, who keeps on top of the admin side of things at the Hammer, sends Jas any outstanding wages owed to her mom. Apart from that, I can't think of any way I can help, but for old times' sake and all that shit, I'll do whatever she wants.
She catches my gaze again, and I'm lost in those deep brown eyes of hers, just like when she was fourteen and for the first time I saw her as more than the shy kid of one of the Bastards' strippers. Even at sixteen I'd had my fair share of chicks already, but after that day she was the only girl for me. And I didn't care who knew it, or how much grief the older brothers gave me for it. My fate was sealed the first time I kissed her, and I stupidly assumed she felt the same.
I forcibly relax my fists. Jas played me for a fool, but it was my fault for letting her. I damn well learned my lesson, and that's a fact.
"That's kind of you." There's a faintly husky note in her voice, and she clears her throat. The sane section of my brain is telling me to end this now, but I can't walk away. Not when she's obviously upset. I never could walk away from Jas. "But everything's under control. I just need to clear out her apartment now, that's all."
The old Jas would've wanted my help. This new everything's under control Jas really is a stranger. Why do I care? The past we shared is dead to me.
And I still can't move my fucking legs. "You staying there?"
"Yes. There's heaps of stuff to sort out, so I'll just work through the night. The quicker I finish, the sooner I can leave."
Suits me. I sure as hell don't want to run into her again. "Still living in Florida?" Her mom might've worked for me, but she never mentioned Jas in my hearing, and Jas was the last person I'd ever talk about to anyone, least of all her own mother. I didn't care what she did after she left L.A.
Still lying to myself? I craved news of Jas, but never went digging for it, in case I found out she'd gotten married and had kids. It would've killed me.
Even after all these years I still don't want to know.
"That's right." She doesn't make any move to get in her car, but tension spikes from her as though I've crossed an invisible line. I don't want to know about her life, but there's a self-destructive streak that can't let it go, that needs an answer to shut down the question that plagues me when the cheap booze and sex aren't enough to numb my mind. And I'll never get another chance to ask.
She gives a brittle laugh, as though I just asked something outrageous. "Hardly. You?"
Not married. Doesn't matter. Morbid relief washes through me just the same.
"Nah. Why tie myself down to one chick when I don't have to?"
She doesn't answer right away, and for some reason my smart retort doesn't make me feel as good as it should. Then again, this isn't some random girl who means nothing to me. It's Jas, and she's the only one I ever imagined spending a lifetime with.
Get a fucking grip. Jas doesn't matter to me anymore, remember?
"Well." She pulls open the door. "It's been good catching up, Ty. Take care." And with that, she slides into the car and drives off.
I watch her disappear around the corner, but it's not a sense of freedom that floods through me now that we've had our long overdue confrontation and she's gone. It's like I'm high on coke, wired to the max, and worse, my fucking hard-on is killing me.
Jas always screwed with my head when we were teens. Difference was, back then I liked it.
No chick rules my actions anymore. Not even Jas. Especially not Jas. I've business to sort in the Hammer, and tonight I'll get wasted and laid and once again forget about Jasmine O'Brien.CHAPTER 2
When I finish at the Hammer it's too early to go straight to the clubhouse, so I stop off at my parents' house. Even though I have my own place, I still spend half my time here. Mom's always had an open door when it comes to the Bastards and their families, so it's nothing unusual to find a couple of brothers there at odd times of the day or night.
Something smells good as soon as I walk in the front door. Guess that's another reason it's always a full house. There's always food to spare.
I stroll out back where Mom, my sister Savannah, and her best friend, Kat, are on the deck. Mom takes my hand, and I drop a kiss onto the top of her head. We've always been close. Not like Jas and her mom.
It slides in, unbidden, an image of Jas invading my mind the way she used to so long ago. Not that she was ever that far from my thoughts, whatever else I was doing. Enough. That time has passed. I won't get sucked into my memories again.
"Grace just asked Kat to be her bridesmaid," Sav says.
I grunt since, clearly, I've just gate-crashed a conversation I have no interest in being a part of. While I have no objection to Grace, I'm still in denial that my best friend and fellow brother Zach is planning a fucking huge society wedding.
"Yeah, I'm having a whole weekend away with her and her sister next week, just to do wedding stuff." Kat pulls a dramatic face, but I've known her all her life and she's just like another sister to me, so I'm not fooled.
"You can't wait."
"Grace is okay." Mom squeezes my fingers before releasing me. "Nothing like the girl I thought Zach'd end up with, but she'll do." High praise from Angie Jenson, that's for sure, and deep inside my chest, something twists. Well, fuck. I'm not going there. She didn't approve of Jas because we were too young.
That's not the only reason and you know it.
I fold my arms, and the girls' conversation washes over my head. Mom leans back in her chair and gives me a considering look. "What's on your mind, Ty?"
Nothing escapes this woman's notice.
"Kelly Gallagher just died."
"How?" She doesn't sound especially interested, which isn't surprising, since she never liked Kelly from way back, when Kelly used to hang around the clubhouse.
"Don't know." I scowl into the distance. I should've asked Jas. Or maybe not. Kelly liked using, even though she swore blind she was clean whenever she came into work, and I never dug any deeper. Not my business what she did outside of the Hammer. So why do I feel responsible?
"I never understood why you hired that slut."
There's no way we're having this conversation again. Kelly jacked in the stripper gig with the Bastards and disappeared off my radar three years after Jas left town. Truth is I've never been sure why I took her on as a cleaner a couple of years ago. She turned up at the Hammer one night and asked me for a job to my face, and some fucking stupid sense of nostalgia made me say yes.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Burned"
Copyright © 2018 Christina Phillips.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Burned by Christina Phillips is the third story in her Viking Bastards MC series, a second chance romance set in the gritty world of motorcycle clubs and all that entails. Jas left her life in the thick of the motorcycle club life as the 17 year old girlfriend to Ty, the son of the Viking Bastard’s president, when she endured an assault that she kept hidden. Leaving her mother, she’d moved away and moved in with her father and step-mother who helped put her through school to get her law degree. The death of her mother has brought her back to L.A. to sort through her things and give her a proper funeral. It’s also brought her back into Ty’s orbit. Ty never knew why Jas left him so abruptly. He knew his family didn’t approve of her, or her mother, a stripper who hung around the club, but he cared for her very deeply and was hurt when she left. Seeing her again brings back lots of memories, good and bad. It also brings their attraction back in full force. Jas will only be around for a few weeks as she settles her mother’s affairs. A sex only fling seems like a good way to put their memories to rest, but will it lead them to wanting more once again? I read and enjoyed the previous romances in this series and this one is also a very good read. Jas always believed Ty would put the club and his family ahead of her and had to make some quick decisions for her mental and physical health. They were the right ones for her at the time, enabling her to have a more stable home life and get a decent education and a good paying job. Being back in L.A. is difficult for her, especially when she discovers how bad the situation had been for her mother in the past few years. She finds out that Ty employed her mom out of loyalty to Jas for which she at first is dismayed (not knowing what kind of job she’d had) then grateful (when she finds out the truth). The chemistry between Jas and Ty is pretty hot and their sex scenes are equally so. It also brings back their emotional bond. Jas isn’t sure how or if she should tell Ty what really happened to make her leave though he suspects he’s missing parts of the puzzle. Jas has no plans to stay in L.A. with a permanent home and job elsewhere and even though her feelings for Ty are strong, she will not be a part of his life while he is in the local Vikings Bastards club, nor will she make him choose between her and them. There are some emotional scenes as things play out, but in the end Ty and Jas make the choices that lead to their happy ending. It’s an intense, steamy read.
Burned by Christina Phillips, is a scorcher of a romance, with two main characters that I instantly fell in love with. Attorney Jasmine O'Brien and business owner Tyson Jenson, were in lust in love during high school, and now ten years later, they have a second chance at forever. Jasmine's childhood was not typical. Her mother was a stripper and worked for the Viking Bastards Motorcycle Club in Los Angeles. The club solved situations with violence and her mother did more than strip. Needless to say, Jasmine was tormented in school and the club's management looked down on her. Ty, the son of the president of the MC, was the exception to the rule, and he treated Jasmine like gold. High school brought them together and they were in love. Then a horrible incident occurred which caused Jasmine to move in with her father in Florida. Now Jasmine is back home, sorting out her late mother's affairs. She runs into Ty, and her whole world changes. Ty's business is legitimate, even though he is still associated with the MC. Once the secrets of the past come to fruition, Jasmine and Ty can finally have their happily ever after. I really liked this book. Ms. Phillips is a passionate writer and as a result, her characters are compelling and full of intensity. This is a well-conceived story that I would have loved, if only there was a little less sex. Although I have to mention that the sex scenes were very hot. If you are in the mood for a second chance romance with a ton of heat and a captivating plot, pick up a copy of Burned. Complimentary copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
asmine fled California with her young life wanting nothing to do with The Vikings, or anyone associated with them. She moved to Florida with her Dad. Her mother still stripping and still an outsider to the club and the two had little contact over the 10 years. Jasmine is back after receiving word her Mother has passed away. She's there to clean out the apartment. This rundown apartment was her life until she left, leaving Ty behind. Ty and Jas were in love form a young age. It sounds silly if you think about it but in the more serious moments in the book and Ty wasn't running as mouth, you got it. From Jas too. The argument was always she was too young, truth was his family and the club said without words she didn't fit into their lifestyle. She wasn't club material. Even her slutty mother wasn't. When Jas runs into Ty outside the last place her mom worked before she died, he's a real a0hole to her, all swagger and mouth and damn he was disappointing. He also happens to own the club her mom was working at, she needed a job and he gave her a cleaning job. She was Jas's mom. He couldn't turn her away. So he's now VP of the Viking's, his friends are all Vikings and he and Jas have come to a semi-truce. Jas wants closure and one night of no strings sex, he wants the same. Closure for these two mean totally different things. So one night turns into a week, he helps her box up her mothers stuff. Old feelings surface. Neither of them can go there. Jasmine's bad memories surface with frequency and she just wants to go back home. She has a life there, now an attorney who works pro bono for domestic violence, rape and etc. Ty is a little surprised when he finds out what she does for a living. Which he doesn't bother asking her until 75%. This book was mostly Ty running his mouth either aloud or in his head. He's all over the place with Jasmine, the basic foundation for her leaving was there, but wasn't complete enough. Jasmine is a way was just an accoutrement to the story. The secondaries are limp and their women even more so. I was really looking forward to this one because I love the series and love Christina's books, but sad to say it didn't measure up to the two previous books. If you haven't read them, read them. You'll love them. Moving along. Looking forward to the next book, **advanced reader copy form NetGalley and Entangled for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.** (less)
Rcvd and ARC at no cost to author.(netgalley) This is the third book in the series and I loved it. I have to say that I was not even thinking of Ty as getting his own book, but boy I am glad he did. I honestly thought that out of this series that I loved Gage, and don't get me wrong I still do, however I was shocked by how I much I ended up liking Ty. Normally I dislike any person who uses sex with meaningless hook-ups to get over someone, and not that I condone that behavior but I actually felt for Ty and understood him (shocking right?) Anyhoo loved and his love interest Jas, and I am pretty sure you will to. Christine broke our hearts and then mended them, I truly can't wait til the next one.. Enjoy!
Wow! I really, really enjoyed the heck out of this book! Jasmine left L.A. ten years ago and has now returned due to her mother’s death. When she runs into Ty her heart yearns to reach out to him but it’s obvious that he’s still carrying anger over their past. Both of them recognize that they need closure and after an intense, sexy night, they agree to continue their one night stand on through the week until Jas has to leave again. Ty never fully understood how Jas was able to walk away from what they had. He understood the premise of it, and the reason she gave, but there was always something that niggled at the back of his mind. Hurt and anger obliterated those thoughts until pieces of the puzzle begin to fall back into place with her return. I totally got why Ty felt the way he did. Thinking their love was a forever kind of thing, he was heartbroken when Jas left. With her in his life again, even temporarily, he’s struggling to remember the past and that what he’s feeling now may not be what she’s feeling. Jas was completely broken when she left and there’s so many layers as to why she made the decision she did. This is a well-paced read, very well written, and sprinkled with a bit of angst but not the kind to knock you on your bottom. The MC lifestyle isn’t predominate but plays as a backdrop well out of sight. It was a very enjoyable read with plenty of steam and a hero that you will love to watch rise up from his past to secure the girl of his future. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book provided by NetGalley and Entangled Publishing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This was an excellent steamy second chance romance. Ty and Jas have some amazing chemistry and even after ten years it sparks intense and bright. Ty should want to run hard and fast away from Jas after she shredded him years before yet the pull to her is way too strong to ignore. Maybe one week of debauchery will finally burn her out of his system. Yeah right! A great read and a book I would recommend.
"It wasn't until she'd gone I realized how much of me she'd taken with her." It was my MC Romance addiction that had me taking a chance on a new-to-me author when I started the Viking Bastards MC series. I enjoyed the first two books, but I must say that this one is by far my favorite. It went much deeper and pulled harder, touching my emotions and leaving a lasting impression. The author set me up in the synopsis, teasing me with hints of a secret just waiting for me to uncover. She pulled my strings, intriguing me and keeping me on the edge of my seat. She made me fall for Ty's lost love right along with him. I mourned their broken hearts as their teenage love story was unfolded for me through their memories. I mentally yearned for all their broken pieces to be restored and for them to open up and share the parts of themselves they'd been withholding from each other. I hoped for her one week visit to turn into forever. And my-oh-my what a week it was! Let me tell you, it's amazing what ten years of unfulfilled feelings and unanswered questions will do for a couple once they are finally reunited. They told themselves and each other it was just sex. They just needed closure and to get each other out of their systems. Yeah, right. Like the explosive passion between them could ever be confused with 'just sex'. Let me tell you, I wasn't confused, not even for a second. But I might have needed to re-read a few scenes just to make sure. (wink-wink ) I don't know if Burned was the final installment in the series or not. But I can tell you that the author won me over with this one. No more riding the fence for me. The line forms here...