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Kimberly Loth Books

Circus of the Dead Book Eleven

Circus of the Dead Book Eleven

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 113 reviews

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Juliette has a problem.

And it isn’t the monster variety.

With her and Luca on the rocks, her feelings for Samuel heat up and she isn’t sure what she feels anymore.

But when the case they’re working on goes sideways and Juliette gets hurt, she isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to trust him again…

Synopsis

Juliette has a problem.

And it isn’t the monster variety.

With her and Luca on the rocks, her feelings for Samuel heat up and she isn’t sure what she feels anymore.

But when the case they’re working on goes sideways and Juliette gets hurt, she isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to trust him again…

First Chapter

“Chief Ward didn’t pick up.” Samuel grabs a piece of pizza and plops down onto the couch, all in the same motion. When he takes a big bite of that pepperoni, I smile lightly. He won’t admit it, but he likes it better than that super fancy pie he had when we first had pizza together.

“That’s good news, right?” Grease drips down Mason’s face, and I gesture for him to wipe it away. He cocks his head, eyebrow raised. “What’s wrong with you? Are you okay?”

Samuel and I burst out laughing. “You have grease, Mason. Right here.” I point to the spot.

“Oh.” He smiles and aggressively rubs a napkin across his cheek. “Better?”

“Yes. Better.”

Mason focuses on his TV show, and Samuel picks up his phone, most likely to peruse headlines. I lean into the soft couch cushions, the only one who’s actually using a plate. The lake has officially frozen over and is stunning with the sun reflecting off the surface. The whole world looks like it’s taking a deep breath and reaching a certain level of calm. 

Or perhaps, that’s just how I feel right now.

I shrewdly glance over the large pillows on the small couch to watch Samuel. His brow creases as he reads, rising ever so subtly now and then. He takes a bite of pizza and chews slowly, then dabs the corner of his mouth with a napkin. I stifle a giggle at the properness. 

He and Mason have been the brightest spot the last two weeks since Callie and Benny left. We still don’t know what will happen to Serena’s yoga studio. Several interns are talking about trying to keep it open and run it together. We had a couple of meetings about it in the studio, which felt wrong without Serena. It felt even more wrong, knowing I was the one who shattered her office door, and she was dead because I killed her.

If all of the instructors can get our stuff together, we could have the studio back open in a few weeks. The plan is to run it as a co-op sort of thing, which would mean we’d all have an equal share in the studio, and we’d actually get paid. 

I take a deep breath and try to get Serena and the studio out of my head. Samuel shifts in his seat, bringing my focus to him. 

He catches me eyeing him. His lip tugs. “Yes?”

I shake my head, heat instantly warming my cheeks. “Nothing. Sorry. Just thinking.”

“About what?” 

I shove a huge piece of pizza into my mouth and chew slowly, not entirely sure how to answer.

“She’s thinking about you!” Mason announces from his spot on the floor, his attention still on the TV.

“Mason!” I slouch farther into the cushions, so I don’t have to see Samuel’s chuckles. Mason has been on this kick of teasing Samuel and me for the past week. Apparently, we’re spending a lot more time together “outside of work.” 

Which is totally not true.

Daisy bounds over and jumps onto the couch with me, flattening the pillows so I now have a straight-line view of Samuel. About a week ago, he suggested Daisy come over to his place since we were working so hard and spending so much time at the mansion. She loves it here with the added space and seems to get along with Alley well. 

He meets my eyes. “Should we head into town today to grab more paper and ink?”

I pet Daisy, and she snuggles into me. With her essentially moving in here and my working overtime with Samuel, perhaps I can see why Mason has been teasing us about our relationship.

“Juliette?” Samuel throws half an uneaten piece of pizza into the empty box. 

“Yes, sorry. We need more office supplies, yes.” I uncurl my legs. “I can run into town and get them myself though.”

“You don’t want company?” Samuel asks.

“Oh my gosh.” Mason throws his arms up. “You can be without each other for two seconds!”

“We work together, Mason. It’s going to happen,” I state firmly to the back of his head.

He turns around with narrowed eyes. “You know what I mean.” His nose scrunches up as if girls have cooties.

He’s ten, and he’s calling us out on our relationship, one that is turning into something more than friendship and colleagues. It’s as if I’m always aware of Samuel when he’s in the room. I instantly know if it’s his voice speaking or his scent if he enters a space. I don’t know how this happened, and it shouldn’t be happening.

I’m with Luca, and despite us being on very shaky ground, I will not hurt him like Victor did to me. Luca is a great guy, and we can work through our issues.

“I’m going to town. You two can stay here.” I head to get my coat and boots, Daisy bounding after me.

“Feel free to take the Audi, Juliette. No need to bother Tony.”

“Who’s Tony?” I put my hat on and check it in the mirror, making sure no one will notice I haven’t showered yet.

Samuel laughs. “The driver.”

“Oh, that’s his name.”

“You’ve been here over six months and never knew his name?” Samuel asks, appearing in the foyer.

I shrug, slightly embarrassed. “You never introduced me.”

“One would think you would have said, ‘Hi, I’m Juliette. What’s your name?’ at some point.” 

“Well, that never happened. Apparently.” Samuel’s surprised smirk has me explaining myself. “You reach a certain amount of time that you know someone, and it’s embarrassing to ask their name.”

He chuckles and shakes his head. “In any case, take the Audi, and drive carefully. You sure you don’t want me to come?”

“Ew. Just go already,” Mason shouts from the living room.

Every part of my skin warms with embarrassment. “I’m good. Thanks for the offer. Be back soon.” I grab the keys from the dish and rush out to the garage. In my rearview, I find my reflection.

“You have got to get a grip, Juliette. You do not have feelings for Samuel.”

I nod at my stern and serious reflection, but deep down, I’m not fooling myself. 

I am falling hard for Samuel Walker. 

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