The Path to Serenity Series

Book 1: Intensity

Book 2: Serenity

Intensity

What would you do to improve your life?

Twenty-one-year-old Serena Thomas is faced with a tough decision. Unable to get ahead of debt and loneliness since her grandmother’s death she finds a new job, placing the sheltered virgin in an underground escort business. She tells herself it’s just a temporary life choice, but destiny has a different plan. She meets a mysterious and gorgeous man, who happens to be her new boss. Will Serena fit in or will she be left all alone again?

 

Lincoln (aka: Linc) Jefferson has an unusual life. He established The Lounge, an exclusive escort club for very personal reasons. A place where the women say who, when, and what type of sex they’re willing to have. The escorts possess all the power and the money. It’s a business Linc guards at all costs. Trying to maintain the secrecy is a constant challenge and one that’s tested when he enters into a relationship with Serena. She tempts him unlike any woman, even though he’s surrounded by beauty on a daily basis. The more time they spend together the harder it is for him to keep his secrets. Will Serena stand by his side or will she abandon him?

 

Sparks and passion fly, taking these two on a journey neither could have expected.

 

Testimonial

Here's what readers are saying about INTENSITY:

 

"Wow what a breath of fresh air. You know that one novel you read and you're sad that you came to a end ? That's how I'm feeling right now" 
Ltmk Onbooks

"Intensity by C.C. Koen is a fast pace read. The author gives us a deep and intense love story that is filled with secrets, passion, difficult pasts and finding love. I loved that although this was a short read (for me anyway) the author did not leave any details out at all."

Lustful Literature

"Intensity is very special book, since its story is so different than any other and so damn unpredictable! Every twist and every turn the story takes is unexpected and brilliantly developed. The characters take us in one helluva ride and we love every second of it! I couldn’t put it down!!"
Mia

"This is a debut novel from C.C. Koen and what a debut it was. I picked this book up because of the interesting synopsis and for the most part I was not disappointed. Koen creates a world that you can get lost in. Characters that you can’t help but care for and love."

Between The Lines Book Blog

"Definitely a mix of sexy and sweet, INTENSITY is an exciting Debut from C.C. Koen."

A Tasty Read Book Reviews

Characters

Meet the characters: Linc, Serena, Mylaynee and Jax. Who's your favorite?

Trailer

YOUR INVITATION TO THE LOUNGE. ENTER IF YOU DARE.

Teasers

Wet your appetite with these teasers. Click on the images to enlarge. Enjoy!

Excerpt

 

Chapter One

 

 

     The flawless-skinned woman sitting across the table had to be out of her mind. Maybe I heard her wrong. No, her unsmiling lips and unblinking olive-brown eyes revealed she’d been serious.

 

     I examined the Cafe Haus to see if anyone had overheard her. The loud rock music must have kept her voice from carrying. In the back corner, a girl with punk rocker multi-colored hair, her nose buried in a book, bobbed her head to some tune playing in her earbuds. The only other customer was a gray-haired man on the opposite side, pencil in hand, scribbling in a newspaper.

 

     The coast clear, I leaned across the table toward Mylaynee Johanson and whispered, “You want me to be an escort?” I stood with such force my chair skidded across the tile floor, making an eerie screeching noise.

 

     She grabbed my arm. “Please, give me a few minutes to explain.”

 

     Embarrassed by the scene the exchange must have created, I scanned the room. The older man gone and the young girl halfway out the back door, I returned my attention to the stranger who’d just rocked my world, as if I needed any more surprises in my life.

 

     Curious, but reluctant, I plunked down in the wooden chair. The previous day while working at a fundraiser, as I shuffled between two crammed tables carrying a tray stacked with overflowing plates, her chair rammed into my leg. Her quick hands and my knee-jerk save kept the other high-profile attendees from wearing their next meal.

 

     Near the end of the evening, she approached me and struck up a chatty conversation. One thing led to another, and before I knew it I disclosed my hectic lifestyle, including three under minimum-wage jobs. When she mentioned a high-paying prospect, the possibility of earning a livable wage had me interested right away. Information exchanged, we agreed to get together. After hearing what she had to offer, it seemed fate got the last laugh, knocking me down another peg and reminding me I had no control or say about the obstacles thrown my way.

 

     Wearing an air of confidence and a white silk pantsuit that no doubt cost more than I made in months, she took a slow sip of her chamomile tea. Her eyes never wavering from mine, she alleged, “It’s not a common escort service. You’re not forced to sleep with anyone.”

 

     What? I cleared my throat. “I don’t understand.” Scooting my chair closer to the table, I clenched my hands on top and inquired, “How does anyone make money?”

 

     “Sometimes clients need a companion for an event like last night. That’s why I was there. It doesn’t always include sex.” Mylaynee spoke softly and measured as if every word had been well rehearsed. “Background and financials are checked in advance. They’re wealthy professionals that pay one- to five-thousand for each date.”

 

     Thousand? One particular point kept replaying in my mind, and I spit it out as fast as I thought it. “No sex? I’m guessing there wouldn’t be many of those. If you don’t get appointments, you don’t get paid, right?”

 

     She stirred her tea and spoke to me like we were longtime friends. “You get to choose. It’s all agreed to in advance and based on your preferences. If a client wants sex, he’s matched with someone who’ll provide it. There’s a lounge to get to know each other better. It’s in a secure building and invitation only. Our apartments are there too, but they aren’t permitted in them. It’s a strict rule.”

 

     “You live there?”

 

     “Our boss owns the place and rents to us, but you don’t have to. It’s convenient and affordable though.”

 

     Images of a dilapidated shack with peeling paint and holes in the walls filled my head. A glance down at my clenched hands revealed a crumpled Goodwill linen skirt that had been wrinkle-free this morning. On a debt-laden budget, the store had become a saving grace. This discussion and the lavender-scented perfume she wore made my stomach flip-flop. My silence must not have fazed her, because she continued to reveal more.

 

     “The owner makes sure we’re safe, and he manages everything. I’ve worked there five years and never had a problem. We’d take good care of you, Serena.”

 

     My eyes closed, and I drew in a deep breath. The blackness left me in the dark. No insights. No clues. No idea why I was still sitting here. Was this what my life had come to?

 

     Three years ago when Gram was diagnosed with cancer the roller coaster started. As her health continued to decline, I quit college and stayed at her side. She became my priority. After a hard-fought battle, she succumbed to the slow, ravaging disease, leaving me alone and on my own.

 

     I never would’ve imagined that at twenty-one, I’d be a hundred thousand dollars in debt. Costs for treatments and in-home nursing care, loans, and other money problems I never told Gram about left my finances a mess. One day a week working as a nanny and whatever time I could put into Gram’s accounting business wasn’t enough to keep up with the bills. After her death, I got the catering job, which brought me to this particular offer.

 

     “Serena.” Mylaynee’s gentle voice beckoned me.

 

     When I opened my eyes, she reached across the table and rested her hand on my fist. “We can help you,” she said with compassion.

 

     “I’m a virgin.” The blurted truth seemed to echo in the space. A piece of paper tossed around on the sidewalk all of a sudden became the most fascinating thing in the world. “I don’t think I’m qualified.”

 

     She squeezed my hand. “No one would know unless you told them. Experience isn’t required. Believe me, you’d do very well. I’ve seen you working a few events in the city. Men can’t take their eyes off you. Besides, they’d get off knowing you’re a virgin and pay a fortune for the honor.”

 

     Yeah, and I’d be surprised if I didn’t have an ulcer at the end of this conversation. The blackening storm clouds swirling outside mirrored my tumultuous mood. “I don’t think I can do it. Even if the money’s as good as you say.”

 

     “You don’t have to decide right now. Think about it over the weekend. Give me a call on Monday and let me know either way. I’ll need more information if you decide to interview. Linc, the owner, handles that.” She stood up, a twinkling diamond purse strap slung over her shoulder. “You can do this.”

 

     Right, she probably told everyone that.

 

     She strolled out the door carefree like she hadn’t just burst the biggest bubble of hope I had building in me since yesterday. As I watched Mylaynee walk away, “The Voice Within” by Christina Aguilera played in the coffee shop. The lyrics struck me and replayed in my head the entire walk back to my apartment, in the pouring rain.

 

     I didn’t feel one drop.

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Jax Livingston

Jax meaning: God has been gracious; shown favor Don't you just love him? My girlfriend has a serious crush. She had a chance to read earlier versions of the story (actually, she probably read drafts 4, 5, and 6 of 200). The writing process never seemed to end. Anyway, back to Jax. I have always LOVED the name Jake and Jax. For some reason Jake didn't feel right, but Jax seemed perfect. He's so HOT!