Free Read: UNLOCKING FEAR by Kennedy Layne

UNLOCKING FEAR by Kennedy Layne is free for a limited time!


A chance mishap with a sledgehammer was the sole reason a chilling nightmare was unleashed in Blyth Lake.

Noah Kendall’s grisly discovery left him in the middle of a murder investigation and a neighbor who knew more than she was willing to say. Reese Woodward had returned to town with dark secrets, and he was determined to unravel them. While evil lurks in the darkness, seduction burns between them…only time was their enemy.

Will her secrets destroy what they’ve built, or can he earn her trust before the killer strikes again?

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“You should take the first swing.” Reese lifted the black strap of the clear goggles over her hair and the back of her head. She secured them over her face until the plastic curve rested on the bridge of her nose. “Isn’t it good luck or something? This way, you only have yourself to blame if you regret doing the damage.”

Noah hadn’t heard that particular old wives’ tale before, but he wasn’t the superstitious type. He handed over the sledge hammer and stepped back, allowing her room to swing the heavy tool.

“She’s all yours, honey. Go for it.”

Reese bit her lip as she attempted to get a good hold on the rubberized grip over the wooden handle. Once she was comfortable with her grasp, she lifted the heavy weapon and swung for the fences. Her laugh reverberated throughout the empty house as her first try resulted in only a tiny dent.

“You can swing harder than that,” Noah encouraged, laughing with her.

Her next strike cracked the drywall.

“You’re right,” Reese said rather breathlessly with a radiant smile. “This is very therapeutic.”

Another blow of the sledgehammer had a piece of drywall falling to the floor, but her swing was off by a half foot or more. The angle of the head had made a rather deep hole.

“You’re lucky I don’t charge for…” Noah raised a hand to stop Reese from swinging the sledge hammer once more. He stepped closer to the portion of the wall she’d opened without meaning to, wondering what the hell was inside the partition. It looked to be some type of heavy construction plastic wrap. “Wait. Hold up for just a second.”

Noah grabbed part of the drywall and pulled it away, hoping to clear whatever was inside out of Reese’s way so that she could keep working.

“Noah, is that what I think it is?”

The sledge hammer hit the floor with a thud at the exact moment Noah took a step back at the realization of what was in front of them. Both he and Reese stood side by side as they stared in horror at a secret this house had held for twelve years.

“We need to call the sheriff. Right now.”

Noah reached into the front pocket of his jeans and pulled out his phone, blinking one more time in hopes that the grisly scene in front of him disappeared. That wasn’t going to happen.

A decomposed skeleton wrapped in plastic stared out from its hiding place inside the wall. The jaw was slightly opened as if to be screaming for help. The col or of the hair was still recognizable after all these years.

Just what kind of hideous crime had they uncovered?

Noah and Reese exchanged a horrified glance that conveyed a million words.

They were now bound together after having uncovered a shocking secret someone had wanted to stay buried forever.




About Kennedy Layne

Kennedy Layne is a USA Today bestselling author. She draws inspiration for her military romantic suspense novels in part from her not-so-secret second life as a wife of a retired Marine Master Sergeant. He doubles as her critique partner, beta reader, and military consultant. They live in the Midwest with their teenage son and menagerie of pets. The loyal dogs and mischievous cats appreciate her writing days as much as she does, usually curled up in front of the fireplace. She loves hearing from readers–find out how to connect with her at

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Available Now: ANYTHING FOR YOU by Layla Hagen

The first book in a sexy new series from Layla Hagen is available now! Get your hands on ANYTHING FOR YOU today! Check out an excerpt below and find out how you can enter to win!



Sexy. Sweet. Unapologetically romantic.

Hotshot CEO Landon Connor knows what he wants: success. He knows his way around the boardroom, and his work has been front and center for him since losing his wife. But after sealing the biggest deal of his career, he decides to take a trip to his hometown. Nothing spells vacation like a little time in the LA sun with the boisterous family he’s missed so mu

But the tempting landscape designer working for his sister spells a whole lot more than fun. Maddie Jennings is everything Landon didn’t think he wanted anymore. He can’t get enough of Maddie’s sweetness, or her sensual curves.

Despite fanning herself every time Landon comes near her, Maddie tries to ignore their attraction. But Maddie hasn’t met anyone quite like Landon. He’s sexier than anyone has the right to be, and more intense too.

When Landon romances her with late night walks and flowers, she can’t help giving in to him. His touch is intoxicating, and his love is beautiful.

But can Landon open up his heart for longer than a summer?

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Read an Excerpt from ANYTHING FOR YOU

When I stepped out of the cab, it seemed to me that only Maddie’s car was parked here. I stepped through the front gate and scanned the grounds. The rain soaked me in seconds. I had to use my palm as protection over my eyes to keep the rain from stabbing my eyeballs. The entire yard seemed covered in some sort of plastic tarp. Only the wooden trail was uncovered. I didn’t see Maddie, and my shoulders felt lighter. But as I finished scanning the front yard, movement on the far left caught my attention.

I groaned. There she was, her hands maneuvering the end of the tarp. And she was… arguing with herself? I couldn’t tell, but she was talking and shaking her head, and there was no one around. I headed straight toward her.

“What are you doing out here?” I tapped her shoulder, but she still startled, whirling around.

“I need to secure the cover with spikes,” she explained.

“Where are the guys?”

“They quit.”

“Maddie, let’s go inside. You can finish this when the rain eases a bit.”

She shook her head. “If I don’t secure this, there’s a risk the rain will dislodge the earth.” As far as I could see, there were spikes at regular intervals. The cover looked pretty fucking secure to me.

“Maddie, you’re soaked. I’m soaked.”

“Then go inside. I need to finish this.”

She kept fumbling with a spike, and I gripped both her wrists, looking straight at her. “Maddie, stop being so stubborn or I swear I’ll throw you over my shoulder and take you inside.”

She wiggled a hand out of my grip, then held the finger up warningly. “You just don’t get this.”

Except I did. I knew that feverish need to keep fixing what you could when a problem escalated until it was out of your control. I found myself in such situations at least twice a month at the office, and working through it always got me to the other end. But I wasn’t about to let Maddie give herself pneumonia.

She tried to wiggle her other hand out of my grip, but I tightened my fingers on her skin. I was scanning her body, weighing what the easiest way would be to toss her over my shoulders when she exclaimed, “Oh my God, you’re seriously going to throw me over your shoulder.”


She dropped the spike she was still gripping in the hand I held captive and started marching toward the house. I walked next to her, releasing her hand but keeping my eyes trained on her in case she changed her mind. When we stepped out of the rain and onto the porch, I took a good look at her. Her gray shirt was soaked and transparent, and I could see her black bra, the swell of her breasts where the fabric gave way to skin. Longing thrummed through me, to touch her, taste her. I wondered if she was wearing matching panties, but I didn’t have to wonder for too long. Her pants—not jeans, but some thinner fabric—were as transparent as her shirt. She was wearing a black thong, the thin scrap of fabric at the back running right over her crack, leaving her round ass cheeks in plain view. My fingers itched with the impulse to remove that thong, touch and lick all the places it had covered.

“You are unbelievable.” She took the elastic band out of her hair and squeezed the water out of her blonde tresses before whirling to face me. Stepping closer, she poked my chest. “Unbelievable. Who does that?”

“Who stays out in a torrential rain?” I countered, trying to ignore the bolt of heat her touch had sent through me.

“Someone who wants to finish a job.” She poked me again, and I caught her wrist because if she touched me one more time, I couldn’t be held responsible for my actions. Her mouth was so close. Pink and plump, and I knew she’d be soft and sweet. She licked her lower lip, her own gaze pinned on my shirt. When our eyes met, she brought her free hand to my chest, and I exhaled sharply.

I leaned in and captured her mouth. She parted her lips with a sigh, allowing me entrance. Her taste! I could get addicted to it, to the way she gave herself to me, without restraint or reservations. I let go of her wrist and moved one hand to her waist, fisted her hair with the other, angling her head so I could explore her mouth better. Slipping my hand down from her waist, I cupped her ass, pulling her flat against me. She groaned in my mouth when my erection pressed along her belly.

I was going to kiss her until her legs shook.


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 About Layla Hagen

Layla Hagen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance.

She fell in love with books when she was nine years old, and her love affair with stories continues even now, many years later.

She writes steamy and romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world.

She is represented by fabulous Louise Fury (The Bent Agency)

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