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Authors: M. Leighton

Tags: #Tall, #Dark and Dangerous

Tough Enough

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M. LEIGHTON IS . . .

“FREAKIN’ HOT!”

—Nette’s Bookshelf

AND “SERIOUSLY SCANDALICIOUS.”

—Scandalicious Book Reviews

PRAISE FOR M. LEIGHTON’S BAD BOYS NOVELS

Down to You
,
Up to Me
, AND
Everything for Us

“Scorching hot . . . insanely intense . . . and it is shocking.
Shocking!

—The Bookish Babe

“I definitely did
not
see the twists coming.”

—The Book List Reviews

“Brilliant.”

—The Book Goddess

“Leighton never gives the reader a chance to catch their breath . . . Yes, there is sex, OMG tongue-hanging-out-of-mouth, scorching sex.”

—Literati Literature Lovers

“Well, I drank this one down in one huge gulp . . . and it was delicious . . . Seriously
scandalicious
.”

—Scandalicious Book Reviews

“Delicious . . . I stopped reading in order to grab a cold beer and cool off . . . The twists and turns on the plot line are brilliant.”

—Review Enthusiast

“OMG! It was freakin’ hot!”

—Nette’s Bookshelf

“Steamy, sexy, and super hot! M. Leighton completely and absolutely knocked [it] out of the park.”

—The Bookish Brunette

“Scorching hot . . . An emotional roller coaster.”

—Reading Angel

“I devoured it, and I’m pretty sure you will, too.”

—For Love and Books

“Prepare yourself to be blown away.”

—My Keeper Shelf

“I loved it . . . Bring on the Davenport boys.”

—Smexy Books

PRAISE FOR M. LEIGHTON’S WILD ONES NOVELS

There’s Wild, Then There’s You

“Engaging and charismatic.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Will leave readers enthralled by the intriguing and emotional infatuation Jet and Violet share. This story is hot enough to start a forest fire, yet will keep readers cool, calm, and collected as they attempt to decipher the characters’ complicated personalities . . . This one is swoon-worthy.”

—RT Book Reviews

Some Like It Wild


Some
Like It Wild
left me feeling breathlessly happy . . . the exact same feeling I had when I read
The Wild Ones
. M. Leighton has done it again—she’s written the perfect, sexy love story!”

—New York Times
bestselling author Courtney Cole

The Wild Ones

“This book is worth every second I spent reading it. Ms. Leighton is a phenomenal writer and I cannot give her enough praise.”

—Bookish Temptations

“Hands down one of the hottest books I’ve read all summer . . . Complete with love, secrets, dreams, and hidden pasts!
The Wild Ones
is romantic, sexy, and absolutely perfect! Drop everything and read this RIGHT NOW!”

—The Bookish Brunette

“I can honestly tell you that this is one of my top books of the year and easily one of my new all-time favorites. I couldn’t put the book down.”

—The Autumn Review

“You will laugh, swoon, and even shed a few tears. M. Leighton knows how to write an amazing story. Get your copy of
The Wild Ones
today. You will not regret it.”

—Between the Page Reviews

“This book was one of the best books I’ve read this year. It may sound like just a love triangle on the surface but inside there’s so much more going on.”

—The Book Vixen

“One of the best books I’ve read this year so far.”

—Sim Sational Books

Berkley Titles by M. Leighton

The Wild Ones Novels

THE WILD ONES

SOME LIKE IT WILD

THERE’S WILD, THEN THERE’S YOU

The Bad Boys Novels

DOWN TO YOU

UP TO ME

EVERYTHING FOR US

The Tall, Dark, and Dangerous Novels

STRONG ENOUGH

TOUGH ENOUGH

An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014

Copyright © 2015 by M. Leighton.

Excerpt from
Brave Enough
by M. Leighton copyright © 2015 by M. Leighton.

Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

BERKLEY® and the “B” design are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.

For more information, visit
penguin.com
.

eBook ISBN: 978-
0-698-18761-0

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Leighton, M.

Tough enough / M. Leighton.—Berkley trade paperback edition.

p. cm.— (“tall, dark, and dangerous” ; 2)

ISBN 978-0-425-27947-2 (softcover : acid-free paper)

1. Man-woman relationships—Fiction. I. Title.

PS3612.E3588T68 2015

813'.6—dc23

2015025109

PUBLISHING HISTORY

Berkley trade paperback edition / November 2015

Cover art: “Couple” by Deborah Kolb / ImageBrief.

Cover design by Lesley Worrell.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

Version_1

Contents

Gratias autem Deo qui post pugnam.

Thank God for life after the fight.

PROLOGUE

Katie

Five years ago

Something is prodding me to wake up. Like an insistent finger poking my shoulder and someone whispering, “Wake up, wake up, wake up.”

But I don’t want to. I only want to hide. Hide from the light, hide from the world, hide from reality. I turn deeper into unconsciousness, but there’s no rest for me there.

Wake up, wake up, wake up.

A dull pain begins to spread down my left side and sounds that were a distant backdrop only moments before come closer, closer, closer. One by one, I can make them out.

Sirens.

Metallic clattering.

Strange voices.

Screaming. Awful screaming.

It sounds so familiar, that scream. That voice, although I can’t
figure out why. The answer is fuzzy, like the face that swirls behind my eyes.

Distorted. Mocking. Cruel.

The face belongs to Calvin.

Panic swells within me, forcing me toward wakefulness. I don’t want to go, don’t want to wake. I claw and scratch. I dig in with my heels, with my hands, but nothing can stop my ascent.

Agony rushes in. It steals my breath and sweeps over me like flames, licking at my skin, turning the air to napalm.

More screaming, only this time I recognize the voice. I know it. I’ve listened to it my whole life.

It’s mine.

And then I remember.

Just before the blackness welcomes me back.

•   •   •

I rouse again, despite a gut instinct that tells me not to.

I wake to harsh voices, shouted commands and muffled road noise.

The face is still there, still there behind my eyes. Taunting me, haunting me. Smug and satisfied.

Horrific pain radiates from the left side of my body. It sears its way across my nerves, gaining strength, gaining momentum until I can’t fight the blackness.

So I don’t.

•   •   •

My eyelids flutter open. I see white metal above me, the dark head of a man beside me. I’m lying on my back. He’s sitting to my right. I don’t know who he is or what he’s doing. I don’t even know where I am. All I know is that something is wrong. Terribly wrong. I know
it. I can
feel
it, like frantic fingers picking at my consciousness, picking away the scab. Tearing away the blindfold. Luring me into awareness.

But I can’t go back yet. Not yet. So I turn away. I retreat into the nothingness.

•   •   •

Seconds, minutes, hours pass. Time has no real meaning. It’s only a series of disjointed sights, sounds and feelings. Fear. Dread. Pain.

Excruciating pain.

And aloneness, even though I know I’m not alone; I’m far from alone.

I hear dozens of different voices now. Sounds, too. Beeps. Thumps. Scrambling. And I can smell. Something awful, putrid even, mixed with the chemical scent of a hospital.

I can’t focus on it, though. The pain is what overwhelms it all. It’s nearly unbearable, like my left side is trying to secede from the rest of my body. Nerves tearing away from skin, muscle ripping away from tendon. Flesh falling away from bone.

So I run.

I run into the deepest part of my mind, the part that refuses to participate with the outside world. I hide there until the pain stops.

Only it never stops. It never stops stalking me from the
shadows.

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