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Hale Wheeler inherited billions from his father. He’s decided to take those resources and change the world for the better. He’s married to his mission, so he doesn’t have time for love.

There’s more lurking behind this decision. He hasn’t faced the tragic loss of his father, or the bitterness of his parents’ divorce. He doesn’t intend to follow in his father’s footsteps, breaking a woman’s heart in a way it will never mend. So he vows he’ll never marry.

But Hale is intrigued when he meets Elsa Cohen, the ambitious celebrity news journalist who has been reporting on his famous family. He warns her off, but she makes him a deal. She’ll pull back in exchange for an exclusive interview.

Elsa Cohen is married to her career, but she wants love, marriage, children. She also wants the impossibly handsome, fiercely loyal, tenderhearted Hale Wheeler.

They go head-to-head, both denying why there are fireworks every time they meet. But once they understand their undeniable attraction, Elsa can’t help but fall for the dynamic do-gooder.

As for Hale, he knows he needs to fight the pull of the beautiful, bold, loving Elsa Cohen, because breaking her would crush him.

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Fighting the Pull

Kristen Ashley


Book Series: 

In the River Rain saga, Corey Szabo left his friends and family broken and confused when he took his own life. But no one more so than his estranged son, Hale Wheeler. In the fifth River Rain novel, we finally get Hale’s story as he deals with his newfound fame, enormous fortune, and fighting the pull of falling in love when he’s vowed never to do that. And I have a little sneak peek for you.

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She took his hand, this time her grip like a vise, and she turned to her dad.

“Another stellar evening at Chez Cohen,” she remarked irritably.

“I’ll call soon,” David said, looking and sounding forlorn. “We need to talk, honey.”

She studied him a moment before she nodded, got up on her toes and kissed her dad’s cheek. 

She then looked to Hale and said, “Let’s go.”

“Again, I’m so sorry, Hale,” David said, standing in the doorway they’d walked out.

Hale noted Inger wasn’t at his side, nor were any of the others.

“It was nice to meet you, David.”

“I hope to see you again, and soon. We’ll make it better next time,” David promised.

Hale lifted his chin and that was all he had the chance to do, Elsa was charging down the front steps of their brownstone, dragging him behind her.

The sharp, staccato clip of her heels on the sidewalk was all that accompanied their swift walk to his Jeep.

He silently helped her in, rounded the hood and got in beside her.

“Obviously,” she said to the windshield, “I have nothing to feed you back at my place, and we both took approximately three bites of food, so we’re going to have to figure out something else because I’m pissed, but I’m still starving. I missed lunch. There’s an Indian place around the corner, if you like Indian.”

“Love it.”

She turned to him. “We can walk there. It’s only a few blocks. Do you want to walk?”

“I’m not wearing spike heels.”

She rolled her eyes. “Please. I grew up in that house back there. I could walk two miles in these shoes and probably have.”

With that, she was out of the Jeep.

Hale got out too, met her on the sidewalk, and it was Elsa again who took his hand and led him to the corner, around it, down two blocks and onto a road with businesses on it.

She was in a mood, and he wasn’t about to say anything, because somewhere along the line she forgot he was playing her fake boyfriend, and now she was acting like they were together, had dinner go to shit at her parents’ house, and they were on to Plan B.

Which absolutely worked for him.

In another two blocks, they arrived at the Indian place, which was packed, but it was a relief the lady that seated them at the only available table, a cramped two-top in the back, didn’t seem to know who either of them were.

Elsa glared at her menu, declaring, “I’m eating so many damned carbs, I’ll only be done when I explode.”

He busted out laughing.

When he was down to chuckles, he noticed now she looked relieved.

And she didn’t hesitate to tell him why.

“It wasn’t okay for Oskar to bring up your dad.”

“He died a while ago, babe,” he reminded her.

“I know, just…” she trailed off and turned her attention back to the menu, though it was clear she did this as an evasive maneuver to release herself from his gaze.

So he reached out and grabbed her hand.

She looked back to him.

“I can’t say I don’t have issues around my dad. But I’m okay,” he assured.

“You went…very still, Hale. When Oskar mentioned him.”

“It was the hard-earned billions thing, Elsa. Like, me giving away the money Dad worked to make is a bad thing. First, Dad knew better than anybody what I’d do with it. So him giving it to me was his way of saying he was down with that. Second, it obviously doesn’t occur to Oskar what Dad had to do to make that money. The same thing I sense Oskar is doing to his wife, who’s already checked out of her family, because her husband has. She makes a show of it for social media, but it sounds like she lives her life like a single woman. Because, undoubtedly, Oskar works so much, for all intents and purposes, she is.”

“I hadn’t thought of it like that.”

He shrugged, and let her hand go, because the waiter was there.

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River Rain - Recommended Reading Order

(standalone stories with interconnected characters)

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