Four Seconds to Lose (Ten Tiny Breaths Series #3)

Four Seconds to Lose (Ten Tiny Breaths Series #3)

by K. A. Tucker


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When a gorgeous young dancer walks through his door, a strip club owner must decide whether to follow his rules or his heart in the third novel by the author of One Tiny Lie and Ten Tiny Breaths.

I believe you don’t have years, or months, or weeks to impact a person’s life. You have seconds. Seconds to win them over, and seconds to lose them.

Owning a strip club isn’t the fantasy most guys expect it to be. With long hours, a staff with enough issues to keep a psych ward in business, and the police regularly on his case, twenty-nine-year-old Cain is starting to second-guess his unspoken mission to save the women he employs. And then blond, brown-eyed Charlie Rourke walks through his door, and things get really complicated. Cain abides by a strict “no sleeping with his staff” rule. But being around Charlie challenges Cain’s self-control . . . and it’s been a long time since any woman has done that.

Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Rourke needs a lot of money, really fast, in order to vanish before it’s too late. Taking her clothes off for men makes her stomach curl, but Charlie tells herself that at least she’s putting her acting and dancing skills to good use. And though her fellow dancers seem eager to nab their sexy, sophisticated, and genuinely caring boss, she’s not interested. After all, Charlie Rourke doesn’t really exist—and the girl pretending to be her can’t get distracted by romance.

Unfortunately, Charlie soon discovers that developing feelings for Cain is inevitable, and that those feelings may not be unrequited—but losing him when he finds out what she’s involved with will be more painful than any other sentence awaiting her.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476740492
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 04/01/2014
Series: Ten Tiny Breaths Series , #3
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 173,448
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge. She is the bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series and the novels He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, and The Simple Wild. She currently resides in a quaint town outside Toronto with her husband and two beautiful girls.

Read an Excerpt

Four Seconds to Lose

  • chapter two

    ■ ■ ■


    Plan A—Turn myself in and beg for immunity in exchange for information.

    I don't have enough concrete information to nail him. I'll probably end up in jail for the next twenty-five years. If I even make it there, alive.

    Plan A — Turn myself in and beg for immunity in exchange for information.

    Plan B—Lose all my identification and fake amnesia so the government will be forced to create new documentation for me . . . eventually.

    What if they put my picture up on the news? He'll find me. Plus, I could end up locked in a psych ward for an indefinite length of time. And I don't know that my acting abilities are quite that convincing.

    Plan B—Lose all my identification and fake amnesia so the government will be forced to create new documentation for me . . . eventually.

    Plan C—Buy a new identity and make Charlie Rourke disappear.

    He's just standing there, boring holes into my face.

    Given that I've never laid eyes on him before, I don't know what his normal complexion looks like, but I'll bet it's not the sickly white pallor that I see now.

    As if he's seen a ghost.

    I try to catch Ginger's eye, to see if she thinks his reaction is strange, but I can't.

    'Sorry. I knocked but you didn't answer,' she offers in apology. It's true, she did knock, and we waited for close to a minute before entering. I don't know what he was doing in his office—behind the closed door with a sign that reads 'boss man' and pair of lacy underwear pinned to it—but, by the stunned expression on his face, we've interrupted something. A glance down confirms that his belt is at least buckled.

    'This is my friend, Charlie, who I told you about.' Ginger's long, slender fingers point to me and I force a bright smile. 'Friend' sounds a bit misleading, seeing as everything I've ever told Ginger about me is a deliberate lie.

    I met her only three weeks ago. Her beginner pole-dancing class was just finishing up and she stayed on to watch the advanced class. I guess I impressed her, because she sat through the entire hour and then talked my ear off in the change room afterward about how good I am. I took her proffered number with no intentions to call. The next week, Ginger cornered me after class and wouldn't leave until I went out to lunch with her. Last week, she coerced me into shopping. There's nothing wrong with her. She's twenty-six, but she doesn't act like it most of the time. She has an easy, genuine laugh and a sarcastic sense of humor. She's persistent, too. I just didn't plan on getting to know people, seeing as I won't be in Miami long. But I guess you could say that we've become friends—lies and all.

    It's ironic that we met when we did, actually. By my pole-dancing skills and looks, Ginger automatically assumed I was a stripper. There was no judgment in those bright green eyes when she asked which club I worked at. That's why I admitted to the few unappealing adult clubs I had applied to and the appalling 'interview' at one called Sin City. The one I had run out of. Her pixie-like face lit up, which was not the reaction I was expecting. Then she explained that she bartended at the best club in Miami and offered to get me a job. She asked about my experience and I, of course, lied. I told her that I had worked in Vegas.

    I left Vegas when I was six. I have certainly never stripped there.

    After my experience with Sin City, I wasn't sure if I could go through with it. But when I saw the unusually elegant sign out front—void of any big-breasted caricatures or flashing lights, just the name, Penny's Palace—I knew instantly that this was the place for me. And Ginger promised me that the owner, Cain, is like none other. The way she talks about him, I'd think he holds some sort of 'boss of the millennium' award.

    But he's still staring me down.

    He hasn't blinked once.

    I catch the almost indiscernible shake of his head before he offers in a clipped tone, 'Charlie. Right. Hi.'

    'Hi.' I was cool and confident coming in here, leveraging countless hours of acting classes to ready my wide, friendly smile. Now, though, under this man's steely gaze, I hear the wobble with that one tiny word. I step forward and hold my hand out.

    His coffee-colored eyes finally pry themselves from my face to glare down at my hand—without moving—and I fight the urge to retract it. Ginger swore that this guy was first class, but he still makes his money off the sex trade. A lot of things get shaken under this roof and hands are probably not one of them. I never did shake the hand of that slimeball at Sin City—Rick—before he instructed me to climb onto his lap two minutes into my interview. I shouldn't be surprised by this guy's reaction.

    These owners are all the same.

    I take a deep breath, reminding myself that I've handled my fair share of degenerates and can do this.

    Hell, I'm a degenerate.

    As if snapping out of a daze, Cain finally accepts my hand in his, his eyes locked on mine. 'Hi, Charlie. I'm sorry. You just . . . startled me. You look a lot like someone I know.' There's a pause. 'Like someone I knew,' he corrects himself softly. His voice carries with it a smooth, educated sound, which surprises me, given our surroundings.

    'Okay, well, I'll just be at the bar, getting things set up.' Ginger scoots out of the office, closing the door behind her, leaving me alone with this man. I take a few calming breaths. I'm going to throttle her.

    I don't know what to expect now. Ginger didn't tell me much about Cain, other than that he's really nice and honest, he treats his employees very well, and if I'm going to dance in Miami, then Penny's is the place to work. She did say that he sometimes comes off as intimidating but he's just reserved. And he's got a lot on his plate, running this club.

    She certainly left out details about his physical appearance, I realize, as my gaze skates over his frame to see the well-defined curves beneath a fitted button-down black dress shirt and black dress pants. As if that body isn't enough, his face is flawless—angular cheekbones and a sharp jaw combine to give him a masculine yet almost pretty look. He's like a sculpture—and about as opposite to Sin City Rick as you can get.

    Basically, Cain is panty-dropping hot.

    That your boss is panty-dropping hot is an odd thing to leave out of the equation. Cain's the type of guy that makes women lose their words and their train of thought when he walks by. Except Ginger, it would seem.

    But attractive or not, I'm feeling all kinds of uncomfortable right now, as Cain's hard, intelligent gaze slowly rolls over my body, appraising me. Taking a deep breath, I pull my shoulders back. I hold my chin up. I look him straight in the eye. I do all the things I know to do to appear confident. I will not cower under the intense scrutiny. If I'm going to be up on his stage, taking my clothes off for his customers, I can't be unnerved by this.

    And so I stand and let him pass silent judgment while I survey his office, taking in all the shelves, crammed with boxes. Aside from the large desk on one end and a black leather couch tucked into a corner, it seems like a storage room. By his appearance, I'd expect something sleek and tidy.

    'Ginger said you have experience?' His tone is gentler than it was when we first stepped in.

    I answer without hesitation. 'Yes, one year in Vegas. At The Playhouse.' I fight the urge to start twirling one of my loose blond curls. I know my tells, and that's one that says I'm lying. Ginger warned me, under no circumstances, to lie to Cain Ford, because he always finds out anyway and it pisses him off when he does. It's kind of impossible to heed that warning, though, given my situation.

    Plus, I am a very proficient liar.

    And I'm banking on him not doing an in-depth reference check. Short of divine intervention, he won't find a Charlie Rourke that worked at The Playhouse in Vegas.

    Because Charlie Rourke doesn't exist.

    Cain leans back against his desk and folds his arms over his chest, only accentuating the defined muscles in his shoulders and biceps. 'Do you have a preference?'

    I keep my face composed—I'm an expert at stone cold—while I struggle to decipher his question. Preference with what exactly? The desk? The floor? That couch? Is he seconds away from undoing his zipper?

    Either Cain interprets my long pause as confusion or he replayed the question in his head and realized how it could be taken because he adds very clearly, 'On the stage. When you're dancing.'

    I exhale and silently admonish myself. 'I'm pretty good on a pole.' That isn't a lie. That's actually a discredit to my talent. I've been in gymnastics since I was five, so my body is strong and limber. Then, two years ago, I needed an excuse to visit a specific dance studio in Queens once a week so I enrolled in a pole-dancing class. Not under my real name, of course.

    It turns out I took to pole-dancing naturally. I just haven't worked up to the move where I drop my clothes.

    'Okay,' Cain says slowly, his jaw shifting, appearing as if in thought. He hesitates for a second. 'Full nude or topless?'

    'Topless.' I shouldn't be so eager. I've heard what these girls wear as bottoms and they may as well be completely naked.

    Cain's eyes automatically drop to my chest when I say that, and they seem to settle there. His entire form is frozen in place.

    As if he's waiting.

    Of course he is. He wants to know what he's putting up on his stage.

    A quiver runs through my stomach. I can do this. This will be way less mortifying than the last time. Trying to pace my breathing before my heart explodes out of my chest, I quickly slip my thumbs beneath the spaghetti straps of my lemon-yellow sundress and pull on them until they pass the balls of my shoulders. With a sharp inhale, I let my arms drop and the dress goes with it. I intentionally didn't wear a bra today. I figured that would make this uncomfortable process quick and a tiny bit less embarrassing. The last thing I wanted to do was fumble with bra hooks . . .

    Because that would make standing in this man's storage-room office in my white thong that much more awkward than it is already.

    Cain's lips part but not a sound comes out of him as his eyes widen for one, two, three, four seconds. And then it's as if he wakes up, because he's suddenly moving. Standing, unfolding his arms, and taking steps forward to reach me quickly, I watch with my lungs constricting as he crouches down in front of me and grasps the straps of the dress pooled around my ankles. He pulls my dress back up, his fingertips leaving hot trails against my skin as he affixes the straps. If my body weren't already as stiff as a corpse, his touch probably would have made me shudder.

    Locking eyes that look wise beyond his years on me, he says in a strained voice, as if he's holding his breath, 'You don't have to do that for me. In fact, I ask that you please don't do that for me again. Ever.'

    I swallow and nod, my cheeks flaming, somehow more humiliated by his reaction than had he groped my breasts like that other pig. Spinning on his heels, he marches over behind his desk, a grimace on his handsome features. I don't know if I've done something wrong or if I have the job.

    I need this job.

    Cain speaks up again. 'Just stage dancing? What about private dances?' I see his gaze on me from beneath a fringe of thick lashes. 'I don't charge any stage fees, so what you earn up there, you take home.'

    The small exhale escapes my lips before I can stop it. When I came up with this plan two weeks ago, I wasn't fully aware of the inner workings at these clubs. But you can find anything on the internet. I found out that many owners charge a high stage fee, so the girls actually earn their money working hard on the floor and in the private rooms. Rumor has it that, though illegal, many of them do 'extras,' on top of the lap dances. The idea of stripping on a stage in front of people is a giant pill to swallow for me. But lap dances . . .

    I'll do it.

    I have to do it, I remind myself.

    When I ran out of Sin City that day, I was sure that my plan was dead in the water. I mean, how was I going to perform daily lap dances when I couldn't even get through my interview!

    But Ginger told me that Penny's is different. That Cain is different. That no one in the private rooms will be taking their pants off, and that doing 'extras' is one of the only ways that you get fired at Penny's.

    Cain sounded too good to be true.

    Setting my chin with steely determination, I say, 'Both, please.' Swallowing the revulsion bubbling up in my throat, I clarify with a struggle, 'I want to work the private rooms as well as the stage.'

    Cain blows air out of his mouth, one hand on his hip while the other pushes through perfectly styled, slightly wavy dark hair as he stares hard at me. There's an inexplicable look in his eyes, but I know he's trying to read me. I wonder if he's deciding whether to ask me for a demonstration. My gaze drifts to the couch again and my stomach tightens. Somehow I think giving this guy an interview lap dance might be harder than doing one for a sleazeball.

    Because if I could get past the embarrassment and nerves, I might enjoy it.

    But he doesn't ask me to demonstrate. Instead, he asks me, 'Have you ever bartended before?'

    I shake my head, frowning.

    'I have too many girls working the private rooms right now. But working behind the bar would bring your earnings up significantly. It's what another stage dancer of mine used to do.' He continues, more to himself, 'Maybe we see how that works out first.'

    I came in here expecting the worst—that I'd be grinding on guys' laps by the weekend because I have to. And yet, now, the relief is pouring out of me.

    'Why are you in this profession?' he suddenly asks, lifting his eyes to bore into me once again.

    One question I did expect. I meet his stare and hold it as I explain, 'Because I'm good at it, I've got a decent body, and have no interest in serving French fries for minimum wage while I figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life.' I deliver that as I practiced it—calmly, clearly, convincingly. It's a good answer. One that creates no doubt. And so far from the truth. I know exactly what I want to do with my life.

    End it and begin a new one.

    He nods slowly, his lip pressed together in a grimace. I don't know if that means I'm hired or not, so I bite my tongue and wait for a concrete verdict. I'm still waiting for Cain's decision when his cell phone rings. I watch with fingers laced together in front of me while he answers with a gruff, 'Yup.' He listens, his free hand absently rubbing a small tattoo behind his ear. A second later he barks, 'No! I'm on my way.' Hanging up, he digs into a drawer and comes out with a handful of papers. 'Fill these out, please. Bring a copy of your driver's license tomorrow night with you.' Whatever gentleness crept into his voice before has vanished. It's all business now, as he slides the sheets across his desk with hands that look strong and muscular but incapable to soothe. 'If the crowd likes you, you've got a job.' Turning those eyes my way once more and pausing for a moment, he adds, 'Fair?'

    'Absolutely. Thank you,' I say with a nod and what I hope is a courteous smile as I collect the forms.

    With that, he turns and crouches down behind his desk. I hear something metal slam that reminds me of my stepdad's safe door. When Cain stands again, it's to fit a holster and gun on him, startling me. It's not the first time I've seen a gun. I have a gun. I've used a gun. But seeing Cain with one right here, right now, was unexpected. Why does he even need one?

    Throwing a light jacket over himself to conceal it—he'll die wearing that in the summer heat, but concealing your weapon is a law in Florida and I guess Cain is a law-abiding citizen—he walks over and, with one hand on the small of my back, ushers me toward the door. It's not exactly rude, but it's also far from polite. With me in the hall, he pulls his office door shut and marches out the back exit, not turning once.

    I'm left standing alone, inhaling the faint scent of beer, my ears catching someone testing the sound system. The one that will play music that I strip to tomorrow night.

    I take a deep breath as a rash of butterflies swirl through my stomach, the sudden urge to let loose my bladder overwhelming.

    It's not a big deal.

    Mom did this.

    I can do this.

    After everything I've done, that I've been accomplice to, taking my top off in front of a bunch of drunks is nothing. I deserve to suffer a bit.

    I glance down at the paperwork in my hand. He said he wants a copy of my license. That's fine. The only accurate thing on it is my picture.

  • Customer Reviews

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    Four Seconds to Lose: A Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
    twimom101 More than 1 year ago
    First of all, let me start by saying that Kacey has nothing on baggage when it comes to Charlie. Then add Cain into the mix? Yeah, so much baggage they need their own conveyor belt at an airport baggage claim. Both Charlie and Cain are so tormented by their past it is crazy they are still walking around and living life. I had major feels for these two people. But I didn’t feel that way about Charlie at the start. Oh no. Let me explain… When the book first started I was all against her. I didn’t like her lifestyle. I didn’t like her lies. I didn’t like her. At all. She worried constantly that Cain was going to be her ‘pimp’. When the whole time her stepdad is doing just that, but in a different way. So here I am just reading along thinking I don’t much care for her and then BAM! All of a sudden I am 80% into the story and it hits me. I do like this girl. I don’t want to see her get hurt. I don’t want to see her gone and away from Cain. I need these two together and happy. This girl needs to be with Cain. She is the first person in years that has been able to wake him up and breathe life into his broken soul. She needs Cain to make her feel some sense of worth in her fractured life. He is the only one who can. They need each other. Tucker pulled another winner out of her butt with this one. (And I mean that in the best way possible.Truly I do.) I wasn’t sure I was going to like it with my dislike of Charlie in the beginning, but I truly did. It was fantastic, it was edgy, it was hot! It was an absolute winner in my opinion. Throwing in all my favorite parts of a great book (lots of romance, snarky humor, life and death suspense) I found it hard to put this book down. And when I did, I found myself wanting to pick it right back up again. It pulled at me and sought my attention. I am absolutely blown away by this series. Each one is uniquely different and so very endearing. Old characters make some appearances, new characters prove they are worthy of their own story, and a kick ass storyline shows us that this book is most assuredly a must read. Now bring on Ben's story. I.Am.Ready!
    terferj More than 1 year ago
    Oh wow how I loved this. In the previous books I always thought Cain came off as a stolic person. Thankfully this book showed more to him. He’s brooding, mysterious, and troubled but then he’s also swoon worthy and a great person. What he does for the people that worked for him was amazing and makes you wish everyone was like this. Charlie was a sweet girl that got put into a bad situation by someone she trusts. She was also very brave to go through with both things. If it was me, I would run as far as I could make it. It was such a great storyline. A first for me in my time reading. Oh man, what Cain did to keep his secrets and Charlie safe was a dirty thing to do but hey he kept his hands clean. Another great one in the series.
    Jesszelk More than 1 year ago
    I am totally adoring this series. Each book is different yet the characters intertwine. This one is a bit gritty and yet just as captivating.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    4468 More than 1 year ago
    I couldn't put down this book. I wasn't disappointed with the plot or characters. While reading it I jogged in-place, ate breakfast/lunch/dinner, not to mention staying up late in last few chapters because I wanted to finish it before I went to sleep!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    reviews editorial or other books by
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Could not finish it. Not into strip club stories and not being able to get out of transporrting drugs. Hated this storyline but loved the others. Did not finish book.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This one blew the first two out of the water
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Book_Bite_Reviews More than 1 year ago
    I absolutely loved this story! It was such a great addition to the series and I am so happy I finally got around to reading it. I honestly didn't think I was going to like the story since I never really cared about Cain's personal life, but boy was I wrong. K.A. Tucker had me hooked with her beautiful, calligraphy type, writing style. The only thing I didn't like was what we find out about Penny in the end. It felt cheap and like it was thrown in to make the reader say, "What!" There should have been hints or signs leading to our ending discovery, but other than that I absolutely loved the story. If you haven't read this book read make sure you do as soon as possible. You won't regret it.
    csingh More than 1 year ago
    I've been wondering what Cain's story was from the first time I met him in the pages of Ten Tiny Breaths.  I thought I got to know him a little then but it turns out what I'd guessed was just the tip of the iceberg.  I mean you don't often hear of strip club owners who value their "girls" so much.  I was hoping K.A. Tucker would be able to do him justice, and boy did she. Charlie is to be admired.  She's managed to find a way to get herself (mostly) out of a bad situation.  She's doing whatever it takes to make a clean break.  The circumstances will amaze you.  I swear, when the truth was revealed, my eyes widened and my jaw dropped open in disbelief.  I guess growing up the way she did taught her how to keep herself together and in control.  I was so afraid for her and Cain.  I totally understood why she didn't, no COULDN'T afford to fall in love. This book was REALLY intense.  I was literally walking around in circles and reading at the same time.  Every time I sat down, I'd get antsy and would have to get up again.  I'd even put the book down and try to do something else so I could calm down, but that wasn't happening.  My mind and heart were firmly entrenched in the story.  My heart was in my throat for a lot of the book, but it was just that good.   This book has some grey areas, but so do all the other books in this series.  The grey areas are what make the characters so easy to relate to.  It's easy to say you wouldn't do something, but when it comes down to survival or keeping a loved one safe, there are no limits to what people can or will do.  As you can tell somethings went down in this book and I'm totally a-okay with them.  Basically you have to pick up this book.  It can be read as stand alone but there are some awesome books that precede it.  Check them out!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    K. A. Tucker never fails! Cain and Charlie are so great together and their story is a powerful one. One Tiny Lie is still my favorite, but the way Cain loves Charlie...its irresistible! 
    LittlePiecesofImagination More than 1 year ago
    I honestly don’t even feel like writing a review for this. I feel like this series has gone so down for me that I’m not even sure I want to read Ben’s book. If this is any indication then I’m going to DNF his book which I do not want to happen. Ehhhh.. Okokok, I’ll try not to rant too much and say everything I have to say nicely. “For all that I hate about what I’ve done, there’s one thing I can’t regret. It led me to him.” Cade was a pretty decent character in previous books even if he was there just as a very minor character. I appreciate his attitude towards women. He respects them and as weird as it is to think about a strip club owner being nice, polite and for him to mean strictly business—that is all Cade. He has had a rough time in his youth and that was the catalyst to why he is the way he is now.  Charlie on the other hand… Oh boy. I liked her at first, but then grew to dislike her, because girl..?? You know, you KNOW Cade has the means to save your pretty self from this web of lies and deception yet you still don’t use it *pulls her hair* Plus, after all that talk about how malicious Sam (her stepdad) can be and how hard it is to play your move against him, the final scenes in the showdown sure did feel like anything but hard since the climax to the whole drug-maffia thing was so mild and non-eventful that it actually made me laugh out loud of its silliness. It literally felt like all that huge build up was for nothing other than just to throw a few anti-climatic pages in my face and be done with it *eyeroll*  Also, the love drama? Ehhhh… I liked the build-up very much. When they got together though, it lost the edge a little, and honestly? Some months after reading it I don’t even remember much of the romance. I guess it didn’t leave a huge impression on me. Also, I remember that this book had the good ole “girls steps into the room when another girl is on the guy’s lap and it’s actually very innocent” um. No. Please don’t. I found the explanation the most ridiculous ever and it just made me make a weird face and tap to the next page that more quickly.  I don’t even feel much towards this book other than disappointment mostly thanks to the ending since the beginning was so promising and then it suddenly all fell apart. I didn’t hate it per se, but it’s one of those books that I will never re-read. It would have gotten a tad higher rating than One Tiny Lie, but due to the mild climax of the whole storyarc in this book? Naahhhh, not gonna happen. Only one thing will save Tucker in my eyes and that’s Ben’s book. If that doesn’t work either then I’m done for good.  Overall rating: 2.4 out of 5.0 Originally published on my blog @ Little Pieces of Imagination
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I read a ton but rarely write a review. This author deserves a review...amazing writer and amazing story. Loved all 3 books in this series.
    AlwaysYAatHeart1 More than 1 year ago
    I have enjoyed this series so much.  I really liked Ten Tiny Breaths and One Tiny Lie, and couldn't wait to read Four Seconds to Lose, because I was so curious about Cain's story and I couldn't wait to meet Charlie.  True to form, K.A. Tucker writes a book that sucks you in from the get go and keeps you there until the very last page.  This has been one of my favorite books so far this year, and one of the best books I've read in a long time.     I loved Cain from the get go and have been so curious to know more about him.  We originally were introduced to him in Ten Tiny Breaths.  He owns a strip club, but is nothing like you would expect a strip club owner to be.  He truly cares about the girls and wants to help them, a desire that was born from past tragic events that have scarred him and left him with many regrets, something he is trying to make amends for.  Cain is very hot, mysterious, and only lets people get so close to him.  There are very few that really know him on a deep level, which is how he likes it.  He prefers to keep business and his personal life separate.  He really is a good guy at heart though and I just loved him.  He is calm, cool, and collected, that is until he meets Charlie, who causes his world to turn upside down then totally rocks it.   I loved Charlie's character also.  I felt sorry for her, wanted to shake her, slap her, and then hug her.  Charlie also has deep dark secrets and is running from a life and family that are not only dangerous, but also deadly.  She wasn't looking for friends or a relationship, but she falls hard for Cain, just as hard as he falls for her.   The story itself had the feel of a romantic suspense to me.  There was the great romance that K.A. Tucker writes so well, and there are things that transpire that will have your biting your nails, delving into a world of violence and darkness, where sometimes getting things right involves doing something wrong in order to save those you love.  While each of the books in this series (and they can be read as stand alones), have the romance we all are looking for, they each have their own individual story that makes them stand apart from one another.  Four Seconds to Lose is definitely the most dark of the three novels, but also the most captivating, at least to me.  I enjoyed where K.A. Tucker took me as a reader and I experienced the events and emotions in the book right along with the characters.  I also really liked the fact that we get to see the characters from the previous books make an appearance in this novel. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Four Seconds to Lose and found it to be captivating.  If you are a fan of contemporary romance, mystery, suspense, and just a downright great story, then Four Seconds to Lose is definitely a must read. 
    DiiMI More than 1 year ago
    It took ONE PAGE to draw me in and set the hook with K. A. Tucker’s Four Seconds to Lose. Charlie is living in Miami per the instructions of her father, a powerful and dangerous mob boss with a lucrative drug business he is expanding. Desperate to get away from the man she always looked up to as a child, finally able to see him for whom and what he is; Charlie takes a job as a stripper to earn enough money to disappear. Little did she know the club owner, Cain is like a walking sensual fantasy who has the potential to steal her heart. For Cain, Charlie is like a flame and he is the moth being drawn to it, totally against his policy. They each hide their own dark pasts and dance around the feelings they have for each other. Will they be able to hide their pasts from each other or will they risk exposing their wounds to each other, finally trusting another person not to stomp on their hearts? Will Charlie’s past catch up with her as she plays the puppet to her step-father’s wishes? Will Cain accept her, even though he despises both liars and drug pushers? Once again, K. A. Tucker has taken two brutally shattered characters and pairs them up in such an angst-filled and intriguing way that I actually felt their pain and their turmoil. Cain has worked hard to pay for his past sins, strong, silent and caring, always willing to help those around him. Charlie wants more from life than to be a puppet for her step-father, she wants love, she wants romance and she longs to retract the lies she has told. For an author to so fully develop characters that, no matter what, you root for them is one of K. A. Tucker’s strong points. As she builds her story and fills her world with wonderful satellite characters, Ms. Tucker’s brilliance shines through without a hitch! While creating strong male alpha types, she never fails to create female characters that are able to stand toe to toe with the “boys.” Looking for romance, tension, intrigue and a walk on the dark side of the street that flows smoothly from scene to sizzling scene? It’s all here in Four Seconds to Lose!