Authors: Terri E. Laine,A. M Hargrove
A BEAUTIFUL SIN
Published By Wicked Truth Publishing, LLC
Copyright © 2016 A.M. Hargrove and Terri E. Laine
All rights reserved.
This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to peoples either living or deceased is purely coincidental. Names, places, and characters are figments of the author’s imagination, or, if real, used fictitiously.
Cover by Sofie Hartley at Luminos Graphic House
Cover photo by Sara Eirew Photography
Chapter headings by Max Henry of Max Effect
To anyone who has suffered abuse at the hands of another, this book is dedicated to you.
Every day we are amazed by the number of readers who follow us, contact us, or speak to us through Facebook. The messages you all leave us totally blow us away. We are humbled by this because we never dreamed this would ever happen, especially to two hermits like us. So a big shouty thank you to everyone who loves our stories. We honestly can’t tell you how much we love you all.
We started writing A Beautiful Sin way back in the fall and it’s been quite the process for us. We had to juggle it between the release of Cruel & Beautiful, and then the writing of A Mess of a Man. We have a few rewrites too, that complicated everything, but Canaan stole our hearts and we hope he steals yours as well.
There are so many people we’d like to thank but first off, here’s a huge thank you to are beta readers: Kristie Wittenberg, Kat Grimes, Andrea Stafford, Heather Carver, and Jill Patten. You all have been with us since the beginning so thanks for putting up with us! A thousand hugs and smoochies!
Next, thank you Nina Grinstead for
you do—all the marketing, keeping up with the ARCs, the beta reading, OMG, what DON’T you do? You are
!!! There aren’t enough words to say it here.
Sofie Hartley at Luminos Graphic House—thank you for the AHHH-mazing cover. You knocked it out of the park, girl. And we have been crying ever since you told us were retiring from covers. We took to our beds for days. We’ll never get over that piece of news. If you ever change your mind, let us know. We’ll be here waiting—impatiently, of course.
A big thanks to Max Henry for making everything on the inside just as pretty as the outside.
We’d also like to give a big shout out to the RedCoatPR team (A couple of crazy Brits and the rest Yanks!) for everything they do. Newsletters, Ads, FB posts, Tweets, and all the behind the scenes things too. Love you all to pieces.
Finally, thank you Lisa Christman of Adept Edits for all the editing and Emily Lawrence for proofreading.
Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…
Words I’ve repeated how many times? It doesn’t matter. What matters is the confession that comes now. God and the church are my life, but sometimes we are given choices—choices that are neither good nor evil, but weigh heavily on one’s soul. Mine walks in the form of something so beautiful, she is the temptation I never thought I’d have. Or perhaps she is my salvation, my deliverance from my skeletons, the invisible chains that bind me, the very ones that have constricted my heart for far too long.
Believe me, I have no regrets, but I know I have sinned. When she stepped into my life, I didn’t see how much we would become entangled with one another—or how hard it would be to untangle those bonds. But I must admit the truth to myself, and to God.
This isn’t a love story. For that would go against my vows. Yet the sins we’ve committed could mean the end…or the beginning of everything.
Father, this is my confession
Fourteen Years Ago
I was a sinner, taught from an early age that I would fall short of perfection. If not by actions, I would eventually succumb to impure thoughts. And what kid my age didn’t have random thoughts that would contradict the laws of God? What I hadn’t known that day was how much of a sinner I was and the price I would have to pay.
“Canaan Michael, get out of bed now! Mass starts in forty-five minutes. You’re going to be late,” Mom shouted.
Blinking my eyes open, I glanced over at the clock and groaned. As much as I loved being an altar server, my bed felt so awesome right then.
“I’m up!” I called out as I threw the comforter off and climbed out of bed. I managed to do the necessary things in only a few short minutes in order to join my parents in the kitchen.
Dad glanced up from where he poured a cup of coffee. “That was fast,” he said. “Want some breakfast?”
“No, sir. Communion, remember?” As Catholics, we needed to fast an hour before we took Holy Communion.
Dad proudly glanced over at Mom. They were used to me spouting off rules of our faith and occasionally scripture, for that matter.
“You have plenty of time. By the time Communion comes, it’ll be way past an hour,” Dad said, patting my shoulder.
I glanced at the clock to check the time. “Okay, I’ll have some toast.”
Mom poured orange juice and milk for me while Dad handled the toast. As soon as it was set in front of me, I scarfed it all down, and they both laughed.
“You act like you haven’t eaten in a month.” Dad shook his head and his tone changed. “If I didn’t know better, I might have thought you were a glutton.”
I nodded, realizing my mistake. “And gluttony is a sin.”
Dad gave me an approving nod.
“Sorry. It’s just that I don’t want to be late. I’m the lead server today.” I took my duties very seriously, more so than any of the other servers.
Dad winked at me. “Gotcha. Well, let’s go then. You ready, Susan?”
Mom smiled and nodded.
We pulled into the church parking lot and I eagerly got out. On my way inside I remembered something. “Oh, before I forget, don’t wait on me afterward. Father O’Brien asked me to help him clean up the sacristy after Mass. I think Sister Rita, the one who usually does it, has been sick. So I said I could help. I’m pretty sure he’ll give me a ride home.”