Darker Water

Darker Water

by Lauren Stewart


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Some fairytales begin with a kiss...


I finally get it. And to think, it only took my heart being pried out of my chest and stomped on five separate times by men who claimed they loved me. That's got to be a record, right?

Let me put it as simply as I can: Fairy tales aren't real. Love is a lie. And, at least in my experience, sex never comes with a happy ending.

Fortunately, I still have B.O.B, and he'll never fall out of love with me. I won't walk in on him in bed with another woman either. Nope. As long as I keep supplying him with fresh batteries, B.O.B's only purpose in life is to make me happy.

And, damn it, I deserve to be happy. I'm a nice person. I work hard. And, most importantly, I've learned my lesson:

I will never, ever let a man near my heart again.


My secret to happiness is to be completely upfront with what I want and, trust me, it has nothing to do with Laney's heart. Her lips? Hell yeah. A few other parts of her body? You better f*cking believe it. But her heart? Nope. Not even a little.

Until it does...a lot.

Forget I said that. I don't have feelings for anyone. They were all ripped out of me when I was a kid.

This thing between Laney and me could be great. But we have to follow certain rules. We have a good time--no dates, no sleepovers, no expectations. When one of us is ready for something new or if she starts getting too attached, we move on with no hard feelings. Win-win, and everybody's happy.

I came into this thinking it would be the same thing as it had always been and that she was like any other beautiful woman.

It isn't. She isn't.

But how do I tell her she deserves someone better, someone who can love her, someone who's not broken, if I can't seem to let her go?

***standalone contemporary romance/romantic comedy without a cliffhanger or cheating***

Now Available

Virtually Impossible (Once and Forever #2)

Deeper Water (Once and Forever #3) Carson and Laney's after happily-ever-after

Darker Water is a friends with benefits story inspired by The Frog Prince, and this is how Carson and Laney's fairy tale begins:

Once upon a time there was a young woman who lived in a tall glass tower in the middle of a city. She wasn't incredibly beautiful but she was attractive, probably somewhere around the eighty-fifth percentile. She was smart, kind, honest, and good with animals.

But the most beautiful thing about her was her heart, for it was made of the purest of golds. Unfortunately, she wasn't very good at taking care of it, and over the years, it lost its shine. Because every time she met a prince, she believed him to be perfect--strong but gentle, brave, and caring. So, she would show him her heart and give it to him to hold, thinking he would take care of it.

What she hadn't yet realized was that there was a curse put on her...at some time...by someone. And the curse was this: The moment the woman gave her heart away and kissed the prince--believing it to be true love--the prince would begin to change. Sometimes slowly, other times quickly. But he always turned into a frog. And although the frog would give her heart back to her, each time it was a little more worn, a little less brilliant.

But the woman didn't give up trying to find a prince who would remain a prince, knowing that somewhere out there was someone who could heal her heart and break the curse by remaining a prince after she kissed him.

Then one day, she finally understood the curse's power. No one could heal her, she would never find a prince, and the curse would never be broken.

And so, clutching what was left of her heart, she gave up her search.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780990334026
Publisher: Off The Hook Publishing
Publication date: 10/03/2014
Pages: 354
Sales rank: 508,918
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.79(d)

About the Author

Lauren Stewart lives in Northern California with one teenager, an almost-teenager, a cat, and a very big, very high-maintenance puppy. On the nights Lauren doesn't pass out from exhaustion, she reads almost every genre so, naturally, her writing reflects that. With every book and every story, you'll find elements of other genres-fantasy, mystery, romance, paranormal, suspense, YA, women's literature, all with a touch of humor.

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

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Darker Water 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read a lot of books, but I rarely write a review. This is the first book I have read by this author and I am looking forward to the next in this series. I started the book yesterday and had a hard time putting it down until I finished it this morning. This book is not a cliffhanger.
Tishia More than 1 year ago
Darker Water is the first book in the Once and Forever series by Lauren Stewart. This is the first book I have read by this author and I was pleased. This is a contemporary romance between a young woman named Laney and a man named Carson. Laney is convinced that all the men she dates turn into frogs instead of princes. She's done with relationships and men, until Carson comes along and offers her a sex only relationship. She is apprehensive at first, because she's never done that sort of thing. Luckily, the sex doesn't happen right off the bat like you think it will. I'm very glad about that. Laney can't make up her mind, and Carson won't leave her alone – so they end up spending a lot of time together before anything happens. Carson is adamant that there will never be a real relationship between them. Laney hides the fact that she is starting to fall for him – because she knows he will run if she tells him that she's developing feelings. Laney just can't separate sex and feelings. Luckily, Carson ends up falling for Laney as well – even if he won't admit it to himself. Carson has a lot of personal demons to overcome – which is the reason he doesn't let anyone get too close to him. He and Laney have great chemistry though. I'm glad it wasn't insta-love. The banter between these two is great. Both characters are awesome people and this is a really good book. If you want a funny and sexy romance, then you should definitely give this a try!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG ...  Loved, LoVED, LOVED!!!  This book was absolutely AMAZING!  I swear I felt every emotion the author portrayed in the book ... The anger, the yearning, the destitution, the confusion, the indifference, the humor, and most of all the heart-stopping romance!  I LOVE me some Carson and Laney!  From the second I started reading their story, I did not want to stop and I sure as heck didn't want it to end.  Read it!  You won't be sorry!  This is the fourth Lauren Stewart book that I have read and haven't been disappointed.  Her Hyde Series, though totally different than this book, was also AMAZING, and I highly recommend it too! I can't WAIT til the next books in both this series and her Hyde series ... They can't come soon enough!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Darker Water is the first book I have read by Lauren Stewart, but will not be the last. I am so happy that this is the first book of the Once & Forever Series. I loved this book! This book is about Carson & Laney. The book begins with Laney being told by her boyfriend that he is going to marry someone else! Laney is sick of turning all her princes into frogs, so she is done with men. Carson has deep issues that are easily not delt with by avoiding love. He will never fall in love because he would be bad at it. So, Laney & Carson are not in a relationship and are not falling in love they are all about the sex. Sadly, that is not how it works when you meet the one for you. I really enjoyed the story leading to their HEA and look forward to others in this series. I highly reccommend this book to you! ENJOY!!!
Karenls1956 More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not the usual, formula plot of a contemporary, love story. The fairy tale story of the frog prince is a thread that runs through laney's heartbreak. but her story & carson's is real, unexpectedly intense & emotionally affecting. It takes on the complexities of what could be considered rape & physical abuse. The author pulls you into how their past shaped them in the struggles of their sexual attraction towards each other & their idea of what love is or lack of it. It is a heartstopping story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Read it in one day
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this story and the dialogue between the main characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much I couldn't put it down! It captures you in the first chapter and doesn't let go until the last page. The character development was great and you really get to understand the characters pasts and what makes them tick. They aren't some cardboard cutout personas, they felt really. It touches on some pretty intense subjects but in a tasteful way that you understand what happened without the gruesome details that can go along with it. I'm so glad I gave this book a try and I definitely want to read more of the authors stories after this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it!
bonjovi01 More than 1 year ago
this is the first book by Lauren Stewart that I have read...I will say that it will not be the last one! I saw a write up for it and decided to take a shot. I am glad that I did. We meet Laney and Carson...Laney is done with love and men...she is tired of frogs. Carson is matter of fact, doesn't lie, doesn't do relationships or love! Carson is handsome cocky, damn sure of himself, outspoken, sexy with tats and goes after what he wants as long as he can leave when he wants. Laney doesn't do one night stands or so she thought...She and Carson hit it off and decide to be friends...just that.. Sparks fly! This book had me laughing and cheering on both of them, tears for them and gasping when parts of Carson's past is revealed. This was a book I could not put down and did not want to end. I have found myself a new author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun HEA story abt Laney, who is tired of kissing all frogs and never finding her prince. But then meets Carson who wants to help her become a stronger person, even thou she better not fall in love w him, or their fun will have to end. Highly recommend this romantic comedy
sugarpine721 More than 1 year ago
This was a great story twisting the fairy tale of the frog/prince. It was witty, funny, sweet and sad at the same time. Carson was the perfect damaged hero. You can't help but fall for him and his charm. Laney was the sweet girl looking for her prince charming but disillusioned by her past. Carson and Laney's bantering was well crafted and will keep you in stitches. You became invested in this couple and will end up cheering for their HEA. It was a totally enjoyable book. I look forward to the next book in the series about Hayden.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book I've read in awhile!!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. I liked the conversations between the two chafacters and their sense of humor. You could sense their chemistry right from the begining. Great read and I can't wait for more books by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I lovedthewitty banter between laney and Carson. Really worth time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Carson is hot , funny and troubled. His hurtful past keep him from believing he could love someone until he meets THE ONE girl who will challenge him. A great read with a disappointing end. I would have wanted to read a glimpse into their future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story had me on my seat. I had so man diffferent emotions while I read thisbook. Thereis some horrible horrible things in here but the strength of the people is incredible
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. Couldn't put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Damn, talk about being damaged! On one hand we have Laney, who is so damaged she loves wholeheartedly to the point of being completely blindsided by men who do nothing but take advantage of her. On the other hand, we have Carson who is super damaged, he just can't love enough even though he has the capacity and the heart to do it. Put these two souls together and they are bound to explode, sexually that is, hurt each other because they have no other recourse or just love each other unconditionally... It was a bit frustrating seeing the back and forth between this oddball 'couple' though they were very entertaining. I truly didn't understand the dynamic of their relationship, it was obvious they were both very into one another so they had to know, sex, without emotional attachments was not going to work. They were stupid to think otherwise. Overall, a very enjoyable read. Carson's humor and sarcasm, while an obvious defense mechanism did add many laughable moments in the book, as did Laney's responses. I liked how Laney did finally come into her own and grew a backbone after the fiasco breakup with Kevin. She was very sweet, understanding, funny and lovable. Not a bad start to a new series... SR
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book!!! I need me a Carson!