๐Ÿ“•๐Ÿ“˜๐Ÿ“™ โ„๐•–๐•’๐”ป ๐•‹โ„๐”ผ ๐”ผ๐•โ„‚๐”ผโ„โ„™๐•‹ โ„๐”ผ๐•๐”ผ๐”ธ๐•ƒ ๐Ÿ“•๐Ÿ“˜๐Ÿ“™ KING OF CORIUM (Corium University Trilogy #1) by C. Hallman and J.L. Beck iแ”• Cฯƒษฑฮนษณษ  Sฯƒฯƒษณ, October 29th!! ๐’ซ๐“‡๐‘’-๐‘œ๐“‡๐’น๐‘’๐“‡ ๐“Ž๐‘œ๐“Š๐“‡ ๐’ธ๐‘œ๐“…๐“Ž ๐“‰๐‘œ๐’น๐’ถ๐“Ž! @CassyHallman @authorjlbeck @cassandra_hallman

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KING OF CORIUM (Corium University Trilogy #1) by JL. Beck and C. Hallman

Release Date: October 29th

Genre/Tropes: Dark Romance/Bully/Enemies to Lovers/Revenge Romance/Dub-Con-Non-Con

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PRE-ORDER IS AVAILABLE!!!

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58636533-king-of-corium

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Excerpt:

Quinton

I walk up to the small crowd of congregating students, trying to figure out what everyoneโ€™s doing. Itโ€™s then that I notice the floor mats, and I catch sight of the teacher handing out hand wraps. Heโ€™s about my height but bulkier with black buzzed hair and olive skin. Heโ€™s of Asian descent, but when he talks, itโ€™s without an accent.

โ€œWelcome to class. Iโ€™ll be your instructor for today. First thing you need to know about me: I hate repeating myself. So pay attention the first time because I wonโ€™t show you twice. You can call me Quan. Weโ€™re gonna start with basic hand-to-hand combat. Most of you are probably well versed, but I need to see where everyone is at, so weโ€™re going to start out slow.โ€

All I can do is roll my eyes. I donโ€™t need this class. Thereโ€™s nothing he can teach me that I donโ€™t already know. Iโ€™m about to turn on my heels and walk out, but then as fate would have it, I spot her sitting on the ground with her back against the wall.

Aspen.

Sparks of excitement form in my chest as I take in her small frame just as sheโ€™s pushing herself to stand. She tucks a loose strand of blonde hair behind her ear, her gaze trained on the instructor. She hasnโ€™t noticed me yet, so I slowly move closer to her, making sure to stay hidden behind a few other students.

Quan continues talking, but I drown the sound of his voice out and give Aspen my full attention. I study her delicate face, map each curve of her body, twitch of her muscles, and hair on her head. The more I know about my enemy, the better.

โ€œAll right, everyone, find a partner.โ€ Quanโ€™s voice booms through the space, and students start to pair up immediately.

None of the guys even glance my way. Everyone is keeping their distance from me. One petite but brave girl actually gathers up the courage to walk up to me. Her blonde hair is knotted into a tight bun at the top of her head. Her icy blue gaze sizes me up.

โ€œWant to partner up, big guy?โ€ she asks with a heavy Russian accent.

โ€œAny other time, Iโ€™d love to, but today I have someone else who needs an ass-kicking.โ€ I look past the nameless girl and over to where Aspen is standing. She still hasnโ€™t noticed me, even though she is actively looking for a partner.

Russian girl walks away without another word while I stalk closer to my prey. Much like me, people donโ€™t want to partner up with her, though for entirely different reasons. They all know what her father did, and if criminals hate one thing, itโ€™s a fucking rat.

โ€œNeed a partner?โ€ I ask casually, walking up to her side.

At my voice, she spins around so fast that I think she might give herself whiplash. Her already large eyes go even wider as she gapes at me. Sheโ€™s a good foot shorter than me and has to crane her neck back to look up at me.

She blinks slowly like sheโ€™s digesting what Iโ€™ve said.

โ€œThat would hardly be fair. You are twice my size.โ€

โ€œDid you just call me fat?โ€ I canโ€™t help but smirk.

โ€œFunny.โ€ She rolls her eyes at me like she has no idea the amount of danger she is in. Earlier, she put on a show, and now she has to face the consequences.

Folding her arms over her chest, she scans the room, realizing that everyone has found a partner, and we are the only two left.

โ€œI guess youโ€™re stuck with me.โ€ I can practically hear her swallow.

Her sass evaporates as she frantically looks for a way out. Her eyebrows pinch together, and fear overtakes her features. Iโ€™m not sure if she wasnโ€™t scared until this moment or if sheโ€™s simply good at hiding it. Either way, her mask has slipped, and I can see the panic starting to set in.

โ€œLetโ€™s go, you two,โ€ Quan calls over to us. Everyone else is already practicing the moves he demonstrated, and we are the only two people standing around doing nothing. โ€œStart fighting.โ€

Aspen gives the instructor a pleading look as if he could save her from me. To drive it home, he actually turns away from us, giving us his back.

โ€œYou heard the man, no more standing around.โ€ I snicker, and then Iโ€™m on her.

Iโ€™ve never fought anyone smaller than me, so when I tackle her to the ground, I do so with much more force than necessary. The thin mat isnโ€™t much of a buffer to her small body as she falls onto it, the air passing her lips on a wheeze. She grunts clearly in pain and squeezes her eyes shut. I almost feel sorryโ€ฆ almost.

A soft whimper passes her lips, and she tries to roll away from me, but we both know things arenโ€™t going to end that easily. I climb on top of her and straddle her hips. Her eyes fly open, and her hands finally start moving. She tries to push me off, but I easily snatch her wrists and pin them to the mat. If she thought I would let what she said and what her family did slide, sheโ€™s stupider than I thought.

โ€œWhat the hell are you doing?โ€

โ€œHand-to-hand combat.โ€ I wink.

โ€œThis is not what we are supposed to practice.โ€ She sneaks a peek around the room, and I follow her gaze. No one is paying us any attention. Quan still has his back to us, ignoring what is happening like the rest of the class.

โ€œI donโ€™t think anyone cares what Iโ€™m doing to you.โ€

Leaning in, I put most of my body weight on her, immobilizing her completely. With my chest pressed against hers, I can feel her heart banging against my skin furiously.

Her blonde hair fans against the floor and her cheeks have turned a soft shade of pink. Her chest rises and falls so rapidly I can see her pulse in her throat.

Lowering my head even more, I brush my lips against her ear. Fear laced with her unique flowery scents invades my nose, and I fight the urge to take a deeper breath. Her entire body trembles, and my cock stirs to life.

โ€œLet me make it clear to you since you obviously havenโ€™t figured it out yet. Youโ€™re at the bottom of the pole. Youโ€™re the dirt beneath the feet of everyone else here. You mean nothing to anyone. I bet I could pull your leggings down right now, fuck you on this mat, and not a single person would stop me, no matter how much you screamed. Care to prove me wrong?โ€

My threat sends her into a struggle, and she tries pathetically to push me off, but all she does is rub herself against my already half stiffened dick.

I chuckle into her hair, and thatโ€™s when she does something I didnโ€™t see coming.

She turns her head toward me, so her cheek is pressed against mine and her lips are on my neck. Her hot breath fans out over my skin, chasing a shiver down my spine.

For a moment, I think sheโ€™s going to fucking kiss me. However, instead of the softness of her lips, I get the sharp bite of her teeth.

She bit me, and not just a little bit. The bitch bites meโ€ฆ hard.

โ€œFuck,โ€ I hiss, startled by the unexpected pain. I shove away from her, giving her enough time to buck me off and roll away from me.

Stunned, I get up on my knees and bring my hand to the side of my neck to touch the tender spot.

She really fucking bit me.

I watch her get up, and I already know her next move. Sheโ€™s going to make a run for it. Itโ€™s what weak prey that canโ€™t fight back do. She doesnโ€™t get a single step in before I snatch her ankle and pull her back down onto the mat. Her body lands on the floor with a thud, and she lets out a yelp. She kicks at me with her free foot, but I evade her attack with ease.

Grabbing hold of her from behind, I pull her body flush to my chest and hook my arm around her throat, putting her in a chokehold. She fights me in earnest now, elbowing me in the ribs and even trying to throw her head back, probably hoping to connect with my face. None of her moves phase me. All that matters in this instance is control.

Ignoring my surroundings and her struggling, I tighten my grip on her. Like a boa constrictor, I pull her in, closer with each breath she takes.

Her ass grinds against my crotch while she fights harder to get away, both of her hands claw at my arms shackled around her. Her sharp nails pierce my skin, eliciting a hiss from me. I already know sheโ€™s going to leave more than that bite mark on me.

Once more, I tighten my hold on her, drawing a defeated whimper from her lips. One moment, her whole body is stiff, fighting against me with all her might, and the next, she goes completely lax in my hold.

Her head lulls back and onto my shoulder, and her arms fall uselessly to her side.

The room goes eerily quiet, and when I look up, I notice the whole class has stopped fighting. All eyes are on me, holding a passed-out Aspen in my arms.

My first instinct is to release her altogether and let her unconscious body fall to the mat, but something has me pausing. I drop my arm from her throat but continue holding onto her, supporting her weight fully. The concept has an allure I didnโ€™t know I was craving. I donโ€™t know why, but I like cradling her to my chest when she is passed out and canโ€™t defend herselfโ€”not that she has a chance against me even when fully conscious.

An odd sense of calmness washes over me. There is something about having this kind of control over her. Iโ€™m not only holding her body in my arms; Iโ€™m holding her entire life in the palm of my hands.

For the last year, everything around me has been chaos. I couldnโ€™t protect the people I loveโ€ฆ I was so helpless. I had no power over anything, but right now, at this very moment, Iโ€™m in charge. I, and only I, decide what happens next.

The only question is, what am I going to choose?



Aspen

A sharp sting to my cheek drags me from the darkness of my mind. My eyes are already fluttering open when someone slaps my face again.

This time, hard enough for my head to jerk to the side.

What the hell? It takes me a moment to make sense of whatโ€™s happening.

My vision focuses on Quintonโ€™s face, who is scowling at someone to my right. Following his glare, I find Quanโ€”the instructorโ€”kneeling on the ground beside me. His hand is raised, hovering inches from my face. Then I notice Qโ€™s fingers wrapped around Quanโ€™s wrist like he just stopped him from slapping me a third time.

I must have hit my head because there is no way Iโ€™m reading this situation right.

Quinton shoves the instructorโ€™s hand away, and the man who is supposed to be teaching us scrambles to his feet like heโ€™s scared of his student.

โ€œShe needs to be taken to medical to be checked out,โ€ Quan says.

โ€œSheโ€™s fine,โ€ Quinton answers like heโ€™s in charge.

โ€œYeah, but I still have to bring her ass to medical. Liability and shit. Iโ€™m not losing my job over something small.โ€

โ€œAll right, fine. Iโ€™ll take her,โ€ Q offers.

โ€œNo,โ€ I croak, trying to sit up. My throat feels like someone shoved crushed glass down it. โ€œI donโ€™t need to go to medical. Iโ€™m okay.โ€ Iโ€™m really not, but the idea of being alone with Quinton has me pushing through my lightheadedness. I canโ€™t imagine what he would get away with if we were alone, after what just happened in a room full of people. My best bet is to put as much distance between us as I can.

โ€œNonsense. Iโ€™ll be happy to take you.โ€ Q winks at me.

Asshole.

โ€œI said no.โ€ I push myself up to stand, still a little disoriented, I wobble on my feet, and Q has the audacity to grab my arm. Almost like heโ€™s being a good Samaritan helping me off the ground and not the one that just choked me to unconsciousness. I pull my arm from his grip as soon as Iโ€™m on my feet, but the quick movement has my head spinning and making me sway from side to side like a leaf in a storm.

Quinton wraps his arm around my back and pulls me into his side to stabilize me. Whatever game heโ€™s playing, I want out of it.

โ€œYup, definitely taking her,โ€ Quinton announces.

I want to protest and ask the teacher to keep me here, but I already know heโ€™ll do anything Quinton asks. I press my lips into a thin line and swallow down the words I want to say. Like Iโ€™m a child, Q escorts me from the gym and into one of the empty corridors.

โ€œI got it from here,โ€ I snap at him as soon as weโ€™re alone, trying to shrug him off.

โ€œI donโ€™t think so. You need to go to see a doctor and get your head checked, and I need to have the nurse look at my neck where a feral cat bit me and my arms where that same animal scratched me.โ€

โ€œThe only animal here is you. All I did was protect myself,โ€ I growl, wanting to sink my nails into his face.

โ€œAre you sure about that? I could have sworn you were rubbing your ass into my crotch like a cat in heat.โ€

โ€œYouโ€™re delusional.โ€

โ€œAnd youโ€™re feisty,โ€ he counters. โ€œKinda gets my cock hard a little, but not as much as you passed out. I like you better when you are not talking or moving. Kind of like a doll I can play with.โ€ I canโ€™t believe I ever said he was attractive in any way. I knew that darkness lurked inside of men like him, but I never anticipated it would be directed at me.

โ€œYou know they make blow-up dolls for guys like you who canโ€™t get a girl to like them. I think they even have a hole to stick your dick in.โ€ I donโ€™t know why I keep antagonizing him. Maybe he would leave me alone if I just kept my mouth closed. Then again, Iโ€™m done being shit on and treated like crap by my peers.

โ€œIโ€™d rather stick my dick in something warm.โ€ His arm is still wrapped around my back, and when he pulls me closer, I grind my teeth together and press my feet into the floor, trying to get him to release me.

โ€œI hear the pie in the cafeteria is served warm.โ€

โ€œDo you ever shut up? He shakes his head. โ€œTalking will be the downfall of your entire family. Your father didnโ€™t know when to shut up, and as it turns out, you donโ€™t either.โ€

I canโ€™t help but wince at his words. Pain slices through me at the reminder of everything my family has already lost, and I have no witty comeback to that.

โ€œAre you sure this is the way to the medical building?โ€ I ask when I realize weโ€™ve been walking down this corridor for a while.

Quinton doesnโ€™t answer, but he picks up his pace, making it hard for my shorter legs to keep up. An uneasy feeling builds in my gut, and I force my legs to stop walking, digging my heels once again into the ground.

I lean back into Qโ€™s hold, turn my head, and look up at him. The lights are dimmed in the halls, making it hard for me to make out his features, but what I do see will haunt my dreams for the next week. The way heโ€™s looking at me right now, like Iโ€™m his prey, instead of a human with feelings and needs, makes me shiver. The darkness in his gaze mounts and his lips curl up at the sides, his features turning villainous.

โ€œYouโ€™re not taking me to medical, are you?โ€ I try to hide how afraid I am of the answer, but the low shudder in my words gives my fear away.

โ€œSmart and funny. Youโ€™d be the total package if it werenโ€™t for your fucking mouth. Maybe if I find a better use for it, you wonโ€™t be so unbearable to be around.โ€

I donโ€™t know why, but I feel the need to apologize. Perhaps itโ€™ll make him change his mind about wherever it is heโ€™s leading me. โ€œLook, Iโ€™m sorry. About what I said this morning.โ€

He tightens his hold on me, his fingers dig into my flesh with bruising force, and he forces me to take a step forward, basically dragging me alongside him.

โ€œI donโ€™t give a fuck about what you said this morning. I donโ€™t want your apology. That wonโ€™t save you from me.โ€ He releases me and shoves me back against the wall, and pain radiates down my spine upon impact. His huge frame cages me in, leaving me no escape. I can feel the heat from his body rolling off of him and into me.

I shiver at the coldness in his gaze, and the tiny hairs on the back of my neck stand on end at his next sentence. โ€œWhat I want are your screams, your tears. I want you weak and immobile. I want you begging me to stop while I take and take until thereโ€™s nothing left to take.โ€

I was certain I had felt real, true fear before now, like back in the gym when he choked me, but nothing compares to this moment.

โ€œPlease, Quinton, just let me go. Iโ€™ll leave you alone. Iโ€™ll stay out of your way. I wonโ€™t come back to PE. Itโ€™ll be like I was never here. Like I never existed at all.โ€ Iโ€™m full-on rambling now, grasping at straws for anything that might get me out of this situation.

Quinton tips his head back and laughs. He laughs like I just told him a joke. The sound bounces off the walls and echoes back into my ears. Itโ€™s as menacing as it is mocking.

I choose then to make a run for it. I might not be strong enough to fight him, but if I get a head start, I can outrun him. Adrenaline spikes in my veins, and I dart under his arm, putting every last bit of energy I have into escaping him.

โ€œI donโ€™t think so, Aspen.โ€ His voice caresses my ear a moment before his hand circles my wrist. A scream catches in my throat as he whirls me around, shoving me against the wall, his hand wrapped firmly around the slender column of my neck.

โ€œDonโ€™t. You donโ€™t want to do this,โ€ I croak, barely getting the words out as his grip tightens. He leans into meโ€”the hard ridges of his body fit mine so perfectly. I let out a wheezed gasp when his hard cock against my stomach.

โ€œThatโ€™s the problem. I do want to do this. I want to do this more than anything.โ€ The air in my chest rattles, and Iโ€™m afraid of what will happen next.

I squeeze my eyes shut, preparing to sink deep into my mind, when suddenly, Quintonโ€™s grip on my throat disappears.

โ€œWhat do you think youโ€™re doing?โ€ A young, feminine voice meets my ears. I blink my eyes open, turning in the direction of the voice.

About twenty feet away stands a woman with bright blue hair, black-rimmed glasses, and a scowl on her face that could rival Quintonโ€™s. She appears young but not young enough to be a student. She adjusts her cardigan and continues staring at us.

โ€œWellโ€ฆโ€ She taps her foot on the floor impatiently, awaiting an answer. My tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth, so even if I wanted to say something, I couldnโ€™t.

โ€œWe were just talking, werenโ€™t weโ€ฆโ€ Quintonโ€™s jaw clenches at the effort it takes for him to expel the words.

โ€œIโ€™m sure thatโ€™s what you were doing. Why donโ€™t you get out of here, and Iโ€™ll pretend like I didnโ€™t see or hear the entire conversation?โ€

Leaning into my ear, he whispers, โ€œYou got lucky this time. Next time, youโ€™re mine.โ€

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Blurb:

She came here for protection, but thatโ€™s the last thing she’s going to find.

Welcome to Corium University, where the most dangerous criminals in the world send their offspring. Assassins, mafia leaders, arms dealers and art thieves.

You name it, this college houses them.

Here nothing can touch them.

Upon arriving I knew Aspen would be here, she was the daughter of our enemy, a snake in the grass like her father. I had no intention of sparring with her. That is until she opened her pretty little mouth. One sentence and she became my next target, and a woman that I would do anything to see on her knees at my feet.

If she thought the university was the only nightmare she would have to face, she was wrong.

I was the king, and this was my kingdom.

**King of Corium is a dark new adult, enemies to lovers romance, that contains dark themes, including dub-con, and non-con.ย  It is not a standalone novel.**

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About JL Beck:

J.L. Beck loves good books, wine, and coffee. Sheโ€™s a lover of words and when she isnโ€™t writing you can find her working on her newest book baby. She started her publishing journey back in 2014 and hasnโ€™t stopped writing since. Living in Wisconsin with her husband, two kiddos, and dogs she wouldnโ€™t trade them for anything. Well, maybeโ€ฆ

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Connect with JL Beck:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJLBeck/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorjlbeck/

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2srbge9

Bookbub: http://bit.ly/2tOVZl8

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8425041.J_L_Beck

Bleeding Heart Book Club Group: http://bit.ly/2sWljZG

Beck and Hallman Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/beckandhallman

Subscribe to Beck & Hallmanโ€™s Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/c588f427a88d/newslettersignup

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About C. Hallman:

Born and raised in Germany, C. Hallman moved to the United States when she was eighteen. Sheโ€™s now a stay-at-home-mom to three boys, and happily married to her husband of 13 years. With a love for reading, that love slowly transpired into writing she put fingers to the keyboard and started writing about the dark side of romance.

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Connect with C. Hallman:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CassandraHallman

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cassandra_hallman/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/cassandra-hallman

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CassyHallman

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18210189.Cassandra_Hallman

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2QfhMzu

Bleeding Heart Book Club Group: http://bit.ly/2sWljZG

Beck and Hallman Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/beckandhallman

Subscribe to Beck & Hallmanโ€™s Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/c588f427a88d/newslettersignup

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