Thin Lives (Donati Bloodlines Book 3) by Bethany-Kris
Also in this series: Thin Lines
Published by Self-published on September 6, 2016
Buy on Amazon
The Final Donati Bloodlines Novel
Some days, it felt like Emma had just imagined it all. Like maybe everything she had been with Calisto was just a dream. Emma knew it was crazy—it was impossible to forget what she had shared with Calisto Donati. All their love, the stolen moments, their foulness together, and the beauty underneath it all were real. They were real. But he didn't know. He didn’t know any of it. And little by little, with every day that passed her by, Emma found she was losing those pieces that reminded her they had existed once. Just like the rosary. All too soon, Emma knew … there would be nothing left.
Emma hadn’t given him a choice. Her, not him. Yeah, that’s what Calisto was going to keep telling himself. He refused to feed into the strange curiosity he had about Emma Donati. It had been building from the moment he’d first seen her face after he’d awakened. He wouldn’t admit that for longer than he cared to admit, he thought there was more behind her false smile, polite words, and the distance she put between her and him—that there might be more to them. He couldn’t. Except … he was feeding into it. Calisto just wasn’t sure what it was. But tonight he was going to find out. Whether she wanted to tell him or not.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
Thin Lives is the final book in the Donati Bloodlines Trilogy. It ended the series in a beautiful yet nail biting suspenseful way. As with most series, it needs to be read in order, beginning with the first book, Thin Lies.
Emma has been on one hell of a ride, from being a spoilt daughter to a woman with commitments not of her choice. Upholding her duty as a daughter and wife proves to be a challenge no one would willingly volunteer to do. Now, feeling isolated and like she’s constantly in a survival mode she does what she can to stay one step ahead of Affonso. Her predicament never disillusioned Emma. I could see only one way out of her situation. What I couldn’t predict at the beginning of Thin Lives was how it could happen, with her only hope with a man who didn’t see her as he once did.
A fog of lost memories clouds Cal’s life and all Emma can do is watch from afar and hope for the best. Trouble is time is running out, and Emma’s situation is becoming more and more strained. Not knowing who can be trusted, Cal carefully navigates by his instincts and slowly attempts to unlock the key to the details he needs to move forward. What surprised me at this point was I knew which two were at the forefront. Which one was calling the shots was the angle I was that had me wondering.
Once the pieces start coming together, the suspense is still electric. At any moment, all the progression made could unravel, and Emma’s situation could go from concerning to perilous. What made the hard times good was Emma’s patience and determination to survive. Again, Bethany-Kris includes characters from her other series, layering her stories with the added dimensions without over-crowding the current story.
By the time I reached the end, I initially thought what a quick read it was but realised it was the fast moving pace of the writing, not the number of pages. This series is now complete, but I am hoping to hear more about the Donati family soon! Scroll down for playlists, excerpts for Thin Lives and an exciting Giveaway!
What I struggled with:
- The non showing at the hospital – I wondered about perceptions of others as to delaying the first visit
- When a passing comment/question costs the unthinkable price
- Broken promises
What I loved:
- The daughters and Emma being a genuine, good step mother
- Discreet communicating
- Time at the gym
- The Epilogue
Lily’s Rating: 5 Stars
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY
“Please, just wait a moment,” Father Day begged. “Talk to me a little while longer. Let me help you, Calisto.”
The priest grabbed Calisto’s arm in an attempt to stop him. It barely fazed him at all when he shrugged the man off and continued storming down the aisle.
“You’re too angry, Calisto!”
Words were meaningless.
In his current state—so enraged, confused, and hurting—he didn’t hear them.
Calisto didn’t want to.
“Don’t you remember the last time you were this angry?” the priest called after him.
He did, but it didn’t make a difference.
Calisto flew out of the church and into damp air. He cut through the rain, ignoring the splattering droplets falling from the black sky.
Maybe he shouldn’t have ignored it.
Weren’t black skies omens of sorts?
Before long, Calisto was inside his car and driving down the interstate. Toward where, he didn’t know. But driving felt good—damn good.
He pressed the pedal harder.
He gripped the wheel tighter.
Faster, until the engine roared and gears protested on the last shift.
Rain blurred the windshield, but Calisto’s focus was far beyond the squiggly lines running down the glass before the wipers swiped them away. There was so much agony in his heart, and something akin to betrayal sewing itself into the very marrow of his bones.
Somehow, he just knew …
He had done this to himself.
His car flew past vehicle after vehicle on the interstate. He couldn’t even find it in himself to give a shit about the speed limit, or that he could feel the car loosing traction under his control.
He hit the pedal harder, and kept the car straight.
Driving was his one sense of freedom.
Wasn’t that what he said?
Wasn’t that what he told—
Calisto’s gaze caught sight of a black SUV in his rear-view mirror, bringing him out of the hell that was his mind. For a moment, he didn’t begrudge the reprieve it afforded him.
But it was a mistake to look.
The second he stared into the rear-view mirror, high beams flashed on from the SUV behind him, blinding his vision instantly. He was driving far too fast for someone to be following him as closely as that vehicle currently was.
It wasn’t accidental, he realized.
It was purposeful.
Calisto’s reaction time was off just by a fraction of a breath as he regained focus on the road ahead of him. Suddenly, it seemed like the dark interstate was empty, but for his car and that SUV just inches from his bumper.
He missed his exit because of the distraction.
“Shit,” he muttered.
Another one was coming, but not for another ten miles or so.
His right hand itched to leave the wheel, wanting to reach out to the side and grab his phone, and make just one call to the only person who mattered to him.
He didn’t dare loosen his grip.
Even the stars were hiding in the sky.
He glanced into the mirror again, careful to avoid the direct glare of the high beams, and quickly noted how the SUV swerved to the left as if they were going to pass him. There was no room to pass with him being in the left lane as it was.
But the action of the SUV swerving was enough to make Calisto react out of nothing but instinct as he forced his own car to the right.
Maybe it was a little bit of hope, too.
Hope that whoever was behind him was no one he knew. Hope that whoever it was might be just another angry, stupid fool like him that was driving too fast on a rainy, dark night.
Calisto’s hope didn’t last long.
He felt the tires slip on the slick pavement as he slid into the right-side lane. There was no stopping the unmistakable twist of the rear-end when his car began to slide sideways. No matter how hard he pushed the pedal or straightened the wheel to bring his car out of the beginning of a tailspin, he couldn’t do it.
He had already lost control.
Suddenly, time slowed.
It seemed appropriate.
Calisto had just a few seconds of suspended breath and waiting to reflect over his time and choices. There was no flash of life before his eyes—just the knowledge that he had been a part of this world once, and that in itself was a mark left behind.
But he was still sorry.
It was the sight of black to his left that made Calisto turn his head. His car was almost halfway turned as the SUV came to pass at his side.
Hope left as the passenger window rolled down. Through the squiggly lines of water running down his window, Calisto could only see black staring back at him.
Black and a flash of brushed silver.
The plume of light was instant, and shocking. In the background, he caught a glimpse of the profile of the person shooting at him, but he was already reacting.
Calisto jerked the wheel of his car at the same time, forcing his car into a harder, faster spin that would probably turn his car over. He heard the bullet shatter glass a second before the roof of his car met pavement.
He wasn’t buckled in.
His shoulder hit the door, his leg crunched under a snapping wheel, and his head hit metal.
Calisto’s night turned even blacker.
The cook’s words were cut off by the sound of the front door slamming shut. Raising a brow at Sherry only earned Emma a shrug.
She didn’t know who it was, either.
Affonso hadn’t come out of the office to say anyone would be dropping by, and next to his phone calls and muttering, the home had been quiet for the majority of the day. Emma hated it when people came and went from their home like it was a meeting hub, available for anyone to use whenever they felt the need to show up.
Saying that to Affonso, however, had earned her a quick reprimand.
She chose not to voice her feelings anymore on the topic.
“I wonder who that is?” Sherry asked.
“I don’t know.”
Emma didn’t have to wonder for long.
Calisto’s shout made Emma jump in her seat. She shot the cook a look, only to see Sherry sporting wide eyes.
“Well, that answers that,” the cook muttered, grabbing a cloth to begin wiping the counter down. “I think I’ll just finish up for the day.”
“Zio, where are you?” Calisto yelled.
He didn’t sound happy.
In fact, his yell had been coated in a heated anger Emma had only heard from Calisto a handful of times since she’d known him. Something thumped against the hallway wall, making Emma get up from her chair a little faster than she knew she should to go see what was happening.
In the hallway, she found Calisto kicking off his other shoe. It too hit the wall with a snap.
His broad shoulders, covered with one of his many blazers, were taut. He scowled as he pulled the blazer off, and tossed it over a decorative hallway table. His usually put-together appearance was more disheveled than normal, and that worried Emma.
But even in his obvious anger, Calisto was still so breathtaking to Emma. Just looking at him brought back waves of memories—his touch, kiss, and how he loved her, fucked her. She hadn’t been touched by anyone since Calisto.
She did miss Calisto, though.
Every single day she was without him.
Affonso made all the efforts he could to keep Calisto away from the Donati home if he could help it. He always did it in such a way that nothing looked amiss from the outside. Most of the business Affonso had once done with Calisto, and his underboss Ray, was now done outside of the home. Dinners were rare, though they did happen. Parties had become even rarer.
Emma knew what her husband was doing.
He was purposely keeping Calisto away from Emma as much as he possibly could without making it obvious. He was probably worried the more time the two spent together, the more likely it was that Calisto would gain some memory of their relationship back.
Affonso didn’t want that to happen at all.
“Cal?” Emma asked softly. “Is everything okay?”
Calisto’s head jerked up, his soul-black eyes landing on her. A fire burned behind his irises—fury swimming as he took her in. For a second, the anger there disappeared and his shoulders loosened. A small twinge of hope swelled in Emma’s heart as Calisto just stood there, hand against the wall, watching her.
He’d done that very thing before.
He’d stood in the shadows of a room more times than she cared to count, watching her in that very same way.
It had hurt him to do it, but they didn’t have any other choice at the time.
Did it feel familiar to him?
She couldn’t help but wonder, even if a dull ache settled deep in her bones when he blinked, shook his head, and sighed harshly.
“Where is my uncle?” he asked, standing straight.
“His office,” Emma said. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing for you to concern yourself with, Emma. Go relax. Rest for my cousin, huh? No stress for the baby. Don’t worry about the problems of men.”
Emma flinched inwardly, her heart seizing with an invisible agony that Calisto couldn’t possibly know was there. His words had been said so flippantly—his cousin.
The baby was not his cousin.
It was his son.
She had to press her lips together in a tight line to keep from saying that exact thing to him.
Calisto strolled past her in the hallway, already moving onto his next thing. By the time she turned around to watch him go, he was already gone around the corner, and she was forgotten to him.
She had learned over the last few months that she was not a priority in Calisto’s world anymore, what with his memories being gone. As Affonso’s wife, she was simply a woman in Calisto’s life that he treated with respect, but kept a healthy distance from at the same time.
How could Calisto ever possibly begin to remember her when he wouldn’t get close enough to her to be triggered into a memory?
Emma knew it would only take just one memory.
The right one. A simple one. Anything.
A clue for him to see that something between them hadn’t been as innocent as it looked like to everyone else on the outside. Some small hint for him to go digging for more. When that avalanche started for Calisto, she hoped it didn’t end until he had everything he needed.
She would be waiting when it did.
But, today was not that day.
The final Bloodlines novel.
CALISTO AND EMMA AREN’T STAR-CROSSED. THEY ARE IMPOSSIBLE. READ WHERE IT ALL STARTED IN THE FIRST 2 BOOKS IN THE DONATI BLOODLINES SERIES!
Synopsis: Calisto Donati
She was just a woman. That’s what Calisto wanted to tell himself; that’s what he wanted to believe. Emma was nothing more than a woman. There were other women for him to want. To obsess over.
It couldn’t be Emma Sorrento.
Not for Calisto.
She was taken.
She was claimed.
She was not his.
In a few days, Calisto would hand her off, and that would be that. He wondered why it wouldn’t be that easy to let her go.
What good had saving her done?
He had simply taken her from one monster to give her to another.
Emma slid on her mask. All someone would need to do was look close enough to see what was really beneath the sheer falseness of her smile.
At the other end of the table, Emma found her lies staring her right in the face.
Calisto Donati was her worst mistake, her greatest shame, and the one thing she still wanted more than anything. Emma could still feel him all over her, long after his touch and kiss was gone. In thirty days, her entire world had changed—he had changed her.
Emma had a feeling that if she played another game with Calisto, she would surely lose.
She had already lost once.
Wasn’t it enough?
WARNING: The first two books in the Donati Bloodlines Trilogy end on a cliffhanger, the third is a HEA.
Synopsis: Calisto Donati
Calisto had never been a fan of pain, but he found it provided a certain relief.
It was a high that couldn’t compete with anything else he experienced. That was why he fought bare-knuckled, why he drove fast, despite knowing he might crash, and why he still enjoyed looking at Emma Donati—no matter her current status.
Pain felt good.
He might have been a fool for doing so, but as long as he got what he wanted from it, he didn’t really care.
When he fought, he was given release. When he drove, he was given freedom. When he looked at Emma, he was given memories.
All of them brought a certain level of pain. All three might kill him someday.
Calisto glanced at Emma, taking her in again when she didn’t know he was looking.
He realized then that only one might actually be worth dying for.
Emma kept her gaze on the book in her lap, pretending like there wasn’t an argument going on across the room. She had become terribly good at acting like she didn’t hear.
Calisto watched her out of the corner of his eye while he argued on with Affonso.
She was too focused on Calisto to care about their fight.
His anger. The tightness of his jaw. Searing soul-black eyes.
The two men were not the same. They might have shared blood, but their hearts were entirely different. One man never let her out of his sight when he was nearby. The other acted like she didn’t exist.
This was what it was like, she realized, to be in love with someone she couldn’t have.
Calisto Donati would never be hers.
This wasn’t a fairy tale that would end happily.
They weren’t star-crossed. They were impossible.
Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to three young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.
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