Installment #2 of the Love & Ink series is coming July 25th and here is the cover and blurb!
Liam Donovan can’t connect with women. The only woman he thought he had something with was his best friend Shayne, but she chose his younger brother over him. Single, bitter, and with a non-existent sex life, he’s accepted the only good things he’s got going in his life are his tattoo shop and fighting in the cage.
When Lucy Stevens walks into his shop for a tattoo, he dismisses her like so many of the beautiful but vapid girls he’s met over and over. Unfortunately for him, this five foot blonde bombshell is more than capable of going a few rounds, easily putting Liam in his place. He finds her ability to keep him on his toes both intriguing and annoying. But he isn’t just afraid of being able to keep up with her verbal jests. Despite nothing being medically wrong with him, Liam hasn’t been able to “perform” on that front in years…
But Lucy isn’t one to back down from a challenge. When she gets this man in a compromising position and it seems once again his body won’t cooperate, Lucy takes control of the situation. A little tough love never hurt anybody, and it seems with Liam, that’s just what he needed.
For someone that’s spent the last decade having to be in charge, Liam finds complete release in handing it over to her. But Lucy is keeping a few secrets from Liam. Secrets that have previously destroyed her life and her past relationships. As she falls for Liam, she knows she needs to tell him. But will he still want to submit to her once he finds out the truth? Or will this be the one fight he walks away from?
Be sure to add it to your TBR on Goodreads below!
Check out the paperback cover!
Want to get your hands on a copy? Enter the giveaway below to get a chance to win an eARC of Scratches Down My Back!
Title – Project Lexi Series – The Lexi Series Author – Lisa Survillas Genre – NA/Contemporary Romance Publisher – Lisa Survillas Cover Artist – Cover design by Kimberly Knight Photographs for cover by Geanette Trumbull of www.TLCbyG.com
BOOK SYNOPSIS: Lexi Crandall’s, world is turned upside down junior year of high school. Her confession tears her family apart and leaves them broken. Looking for escape, she heads out of town for college. Wracked with guilt and shame, she keeps to herself, befriending only her roommate, Paige.
Derek Fressen experiences one tragedy after another. After learning to cope with being raised by a single mom, he and his sister, Tiffany, become closer than ever. When Tiffany escapes Seattle for college, Derek takes the opportunity to leave his past behind as well.
San Francisco State University is where Lexi and Derek find themselves junior year, thrown into the most uncomfortable situation possible, a group project that requires each to open up about their past. Their grade depends upon the ability to prove to the professor through a class presentation that they truly learned about one another.
Painful memories and terrifying tests of courage propel Lexi to learn how to take baby steps in the healing process and give her hope of one day feeling normal. Although he feels he’s pretty well healed from the horrible events of his past, Derek is lonely and longing for a life of more. Will they be able to share enough of their lives with each other to pass this class? How much will Lexi let Derek help her in the process? Are their tragic pasts too much to overcome, or will love be in their future?
AUTHOR BIO: I'm Lisa. I live in sunny southern California with my wonderful husband and two teenage children. Hubbyis a high school PE teacher and is the coach of three different high school sports. With two kids in high school and involved in activities both inside and outside of school, I have a lot to juggle. When home, I lock myself inside the office to write. I've always loved to write, but life always seemed to be too busy. When inspiration finally hit, I made the most of the time hubby and kids were busy and published my first book in February 2014. It's a teen/young adult book and the first in a series. I'm currently working on a New Adult/Contemporary Romance series with the first book due out end of June 2014. Be on the look-out for more.
FOLLOW LINKS:Tour Organized by:
Cold, empathetic and step-ford. The good little girl syndrome on steroids. McKenzie Perry and Gia Edwards were at the top of the list. Spoiled rich girls, living the dream of every American girl. Flaunting looks, million dollar homes, talent, head cheerleaders, expensive cars, clothes, and any boy they chose to have.
They shared dreams, plans, and a lifetime friendship, never dreaming one night could be the end, changing it all with a speed so forceful, it couldn’t be stopped, a wildfire caught in the middle of the wind, spreading like a diseased outbreak.
McKenzie graduating at the top of her class, occupied her mind by landing a reporting job for one of New York’s most popular magazines.
Gia dealt with the horrific night in her own dangerous way. Gia partied hard, and when that didn’t work, she partied harder, lost in a world of sex and drugs, all angel with no wings.
This book has been rated for mature audiences only. Adult content not intended for persons under the age of eighteen.
Vote for your favorite cover by clicking on this link -
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
M. Robinson loves to read. She favors anything that has angst, romance, triangles, cheating, love, and of course sex! She has been reading since the Babysitters Club and R.L. Stein.
She was born in New Jersey but was raised in Tampa Fl. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D in psychology, with two years left.
She is married to an amazing man who she loves to pieces. They have two German Shepherd mixes and a Tabby cat.
Jettie Woodruff is a practicing physician and has been a Civil War buff for decades. No. Not really, she is not a doctor nor is she a Civil War buff. She is however a goof-off and has a hard time being serious for too long.
She does enjoy a challenge when it comes to her writing. She feels as though she needs to pull every emotion possible from her readers. She wants you to be pissed off, questioning your sanity, depressed, happy, and hopefully turn your mind from wanting to cut the villain into tiny little pieces to loving him by the end of the book.
Underestimated was her first dark endeavor. It was a goal alongside of writing a series, a standalone romance, a young adult, which she can’t check that one off. She tried she really did, but her mind just doesn’t work outside the gutter and it quickly became rated X.
Jettie lives on 163 acres in a rural part of Ohio. She loves living in Ohio, except maybe the snow, and the long winters, maybe the hot summers too, Ah, hell, she hates Ohio. She does love the land and the solitude of the country. She just wishes it was in a geographically in a better part of the country.
Jettie has two grown children and one who will be eighteen in a matter of days. YES!!! She has also recently just had her first, cutest ever, most adorable, granddaughter in the whole world. Her oldest daughter just hit her with the news that she will be adding another grandchild to the family in February. Although she is sure she will fall in love with the little creature, she still can’t say the G word.
Jettie enjoys reading as much as she loves writing. She has way too many favorites to list, but one of her all-time favorites from years ago was the Casteel series from V.C. Andrews. One of her new favorites is C.J. Robert’s, Captive series. Reading it gave her that needed push that she required to say the hell with what people think and write Underestimated.
By day Jettie is wearing business attire and managing a mattress store. By night she is in front of a keyboard or her Kindle, wearing, well let’s not go there. Underestimated was her fifth book published. The first one was just shy of a disaster, not that it was a bad book. People liked it. She just knew nothing about it, no revising, no editing, just a spur of the moment…. “Oh, I wrote a book, lets publish it.” Train wreck and a half. Her Star series was one of her favorites and is held dear to her heart. She is now working on an adult romance that should be live around the end of August, early September. She
can’t seem to stay focused on it at the moment, due to a much needed Bahamas vacation coming up with Adam Levine’s walking around half naked, buying her drinks.
If I would have known then what I know now.
If I would have known that having my heart broken at thirteen by my one and only friend, Garrett Rhodes, would never compare to the empty feeling at sixteen when I buried my mother.
If I would have known that changing schools in my senior year would throw all that back in my face.
If someone would have told me that when you drink a fifth a night and get in bar fights at twenty one, I’d end up in jail … again.
Maybe … just maybe … I wouldn’t be in the hell storm I’m living in these days. Letting my past dictate my future, allowing the best of the best male MMA fighters bully me day in and day out and knowing no matter what I do, Garrett will always be the only man that understands me. I didn’t have to live this way. One day changed the course of my life forever.
Through all this mess, the one thing that I’ve found that keeps me centered … martial arts. And I’m damn good. If only someone would give me a chance to prove my worth.
All I can do now is make the best of it and try to not let the fight consume me.
Ashley Suzanne is a married mother of three little boys as well as a daughter, aunt, sister, best friend, birth mother, blogger, book whore and author. Ashley is a native to the suburbs of Detroit, with most of her family living in Kentucky and New York.
You can usually find Ashley sitting in bed, with her laptop, playing on Facebook, pretending to write, entering giveaways (she’s also a swag whore) or on a football field with her oldest son, Tyler. Yep, not only is she a football fan, she’s a football mom!
When she’s reading, it’s typically something to do with romance, contemporary being her favorite genre. She’s a total fan-girl over a few authors; Pamela Ann, SE Hall, Madeline Sheehan, Jasinda Wilder, Maya Banks, CM Stunich, Nicole Jacquelyn and Riley Rhea to name a few.
Ashley has no pets, unless you count her children and she is a little OCD. Her favorite color is pink. Her favorite drink is cherry vodka and coke and double chocolate brownies are a must.
Other Works by Ashley Suzanne (all available on Amazon, BN, iTunes, Kobo and Smashwords)
Exiled from his family for half his life, hard-living cowboy Rory Morrissey finally quits Texas and embarks on a desperate and delicate mission: to return to New Zealand, convince shy Kiwi heiress.
Alfrieda Hamlin to marry him, and earn a fresh start, respectability, and one hell of a farm.
Alfie might be shy but she’s no pushover. When she learns about the succession deal being hatched between her autocratic grandfather and the handsome Texan stud, she rebels. There’s no way she’ll stand by and have her expected inheritance and freedom stolen away, so with only one month to outwit the scheming duo, she throws caution to the wind and snuggles up to the man she’s been ordered to marry. After all, she needs to know her enemy if she expects to beat him at his own game.
Warning: Contains one hunky cowboy determined to ride down his heiress, hog-tie her, and bundle her into his bed.
A perilous homecoming…
Everlasting is the second book in the heart-soaring and electrifying Evers, Texas, series by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lori Ryan. A true masterwork of contemporary romantic suspense, it is the story of a beautiful artist returning home to danger, and to a love she never imagined. Exiled by her father, the town sheriff, at age four following the murder of her mother, Katelyn Bowden is finally coming back to tiny Evers, against the wishes of her now-dying parent.
The new sheriff, ex-New York cop John Davies, fears Katelyn’s life is in jeopardy from a killer who was never caught. Though she resents the handsome lawman her father has always loved like a son, Katelyn is confused by the passionate sparks that fly whenever they are together. But, will John be able to save her when a murderer finally emerges from hiding?
And two hours later, she was just as frustrated and let down as she had been in the parking lot.
Are you kidding me? They were in a secluded, romantic spot by the water without another soul around. They talked about everything and nothing. They laughed and teased each other. They ate way too much food. Everything from chicken salad to peach cobbler, packed by the sisters. John held her hand, let his fingers brush her arm or the back of her neck as they talked, and even traced circles on her stomach as they lay on a blanket stretched out next to each other. But, he hadn’t kissed her yet. And Katelyn was just about ready to burst.
“Tell me more about your sculptures, Katelyn. Why do you work with metal? Why not stone or, I don’t know…wood?”
Katelyn’s brain was currently primarily a mixture of mush and sweet, puffy clouds. At least that’s what it felt like every time John traced another one of his circles. The heat pooling low in her hips and stomach didn’t leave a whole lot of room for coherent thought and conversation at this point.
“Um, what?” she asked, somewhat dazed as she stared at his hand tracing its pattern.
Damn him. He knows perfectly well what he’s doing to me.
John smiled that wicked grin he had when he was up to something. “I’m glad you came home, Katelyn,” John said, his hand now still on her stomach spreading heat through her whole body, making her tingle with anticipation.
“I’m beginning to be pretty happy about that, too,” she said with a smile as her eyes dropped to his mouth again. She had a really hard time not focusing on his mouth. He had really full lips that somehow looked like they’d be both firm and soft at the same time. They made her want to lean up and lick them. Just the tiniest little bit. Nothing more than a little flick with her tongue to see what he’d do.
Her breath caught as she let her fantasy take over, but a split second before she acted on her thoughts, John laughed. Deep and low and so knowing. As if he knew what he’d been doing to her all this time. How he was teasing her.
John leaned in close, almost touching his mouth with hers, but leaving the smallest of margins. He was teasing her. Well, she could tease, too. She moved just a hair closer to him, rolled in and put her hands on his chest.
Hard rock. But, warm and oh, so much better than rock. Katelyn couldn’t breathe as she slid her hands over the thin fabric of his T-shirt pulled taut over hard lines and sculpted muscles, and she wondered briefly if she’d pass out from holding her breath before they had a chance to kiss.
She let herself look up. That may have been a mistake. When she met his eyes, she was utterly lost in the intensity of what she saw reflected in them.
John stilled for a minute, then wrapped his arms around her, trapping her against him. He crushed her to him so deliciously, she never wanted to break the connection. And then his mouth was on hers, and it wasn’t slow or gentle or questioning. It was all-encompassing. John kissed the way he did everything in life. All out. All or nothing. And Katelyn wanted to give him nothing less.
She slid her arms up his chest and looped them around his neck, pulling him ever closer as his tongue swept hers. Every part of her body was responding to his demands, and Katelyn forgot all about any ideas of taking a break from men.
But two seconds later, Katelyn heard a deafening crack cut the air and John moved faster than lightning, pinning her beneath him on the ground. The John she’d been kissing was gone and Sheriff John Davies, unyielding and all business, was in his place. Confusion swamped Katelyn. Was that really a...a gunshot?
Lori Ryan is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes contemporary romance with a twist of suspense. She lives with an extremely understanding husband, two wonderful children, two mostly-behaved dogs, and a lone little cat in Austin, Texas. It’s a bit of a zoo, but she wouldn’t change a thing.
Author: Leighton Riley
Cover Designer: Ashley Christin
Release Date: June 10, 2014
Payton wrote a self-published book regaling her encounters with men while visiting Las Vegas. To her horror, life changes in more ways than one when someone finds out her true identity.
Ryder, a successful publisher, is determined to find and sign Reece Edwards. Using what little information he can find on her, he sets out to find her, feeling it will definitely be worth the chase.
While on his search for Reece, Ryder meets Payton and the chemistry is explosive. Payton has done well with not allowing anyone to get close to her, but something is different with Ryder. Ryder canât get Payton out of his head, but he is still on his mission to locate Reece.
With two tragic pasts, Payton and Ryder each have demons to overcome. Will they be able to put those demons to rest or will it be all for nothing?
About the Author
Texas born and raised, I found my love for dirty books rather recently. I work in real estate for my normal job and I write contemporary romance. I plan on having Sinfully be the first of three in its series. I would like to do a standalone after, but weâll see! I love sweet tea (made right!), cookie cake, and anything with chocolate and peanut butter. I have a few guys at my gym that are my TDFâs (tall, dark, and fuckable) but also have a HSB (Hot Sauna Boy), because letâs be honest, theyâre my motivation while Iâm there! I go to Las Vegas often but I swear I donât have as much fun as Payton does. Although, if I found myself a Tate there, I might change my opinion!
Authors such as Katy Evans, SE Hall, Angela Graham, Jasinda Wilder, and Jillian Dodd have been a large influence on me and Iâm forever grateful. I decided to write Sinfully on Black Friday in November 2013, on a whim. I thought Iâd get bored after a few pages but was captivated by the characters and it developed into something I am truly proud of. When it comes to book boyfriends, I love those who are strong but with a little imperfection or tragedy in their past (Remy, Kellan, Q, Twitch are just a few of my favorites). I LOVE talking to my readers so feel free to message me on Facebook.
LEARNING TO FORGIVE
Author: R.D. Cole
Series: The Learning Series, Book 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
This isn't your Typical Everyday fairytale.
This story isn't sweet or sugary.
It's Raw and Dark
It's Rough and Dangerous
And It's Definitely not for kids under 17 years of age.
So turn back now if you're not ready for Lyric and Blaire's story. Because shit just got Real.
âIâve learned a lot this past year, but there are two things Iâll never forget: one, People arenât what they seem, and two, I fucking hate liars.â âBlaire
Blaire Morgan was a quiet, grief stricken girl when she left Mobile, Alabama, a year ago after her brotherâs unexpected death. She returns a year later with fresh wounds from another betrayal, and sheâs not the same person. A woman letting her tortured past rule her life, her âtake no shitâ attitude is catching the attention of everyone that crosses her path, including the bad boy front man of Lyrical Obsessionsâthe new band that plays at Jay Jayâs. When she learns he has something she wants, she plans on doing whatever it takes to get it.
What is a demon? An evil spirit possessing a person, acting as a tormentor in Hell?
Lyric âThe Demonâ Devereux is that tormentor and Hell is any place he sees fit, either in the fighting ring or on the streets. He killed his first person at seventeen years old, and that list has grown over the yearsâas well as his list of enemiesâbut his biggest enemy is himself and he doesnât know how to win that battle.
When Blaire comes into town like wildfire and turns heads, Lyricâs temper emergesâuninvited and unexpected. His plan to stay at a distance for her safety, and his sanity, changes when she continuously shows up with her defiance and seductive pull. He now has no choice but to face his past that could possibly destroy the both of them.
Tempers will detonate.
Lust will consume.
Truth will destroy.
But will love forgive?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
R.D. Cole is a lively person with a determination to make it in life. Once her mind gets set on an idea she pursues it with passion. As long as she has God and her family she feels she can conquer every day. Besides reading and writing she loves to sing, dance, and go mudding on her Souped-up Can Am. Her hubby is 9 years younger but he seems more mature than her at times and they level one another out. She has a beautiful daughter named Bethani who is a miracle and a fighter. She's the only known living survivor of Matthew Woods Syndrome and when no one thought she'd live R.D. said "yes she will." R.D. takes nothing for granted when it comes to life. "Everything can be ripped from your fingers before they can grasp it. So if you want something in life, do it. Go for it."
That same mindset has helped R.D. write small pieces of her life mixed in to fictional settings and characters that will capture your heart.
"Read on. Dream on. Write on." -R.D. Cole
Social media links
Tour Host:Pic Attached
HEA Book Tours, PR & More: http://heabooktours.blogspot.com/
I got to sit down with AJ Walters, the author of the new release A Constant Attraction.
Brittany: So, tell me about you. Not the author you, but you. The person. and yeah throw some of your author self in there. :)
AJW - Me? Oh goodness. I'm just an average Joe who loves to read, drink wine & chat to folk. Haha!! I do have a milestone birthday coming up in a month (who said 50th?), so I'm planning on celebrating it with some special people around me. My everyday job is as a single mother to 2 wonderful boys, who are growing up very fast, in stature & age!! I'm a bit of a short arse you see! I also work full-time in a junior school, which I love. Since last year, I have really started to live my life again and share this wonderful journey with my boys & BFF. I have to say, I am loving it!
Brittany: What's your favorite part about being a writer?
AJW - Ooo! Good question. I'd say all of it, even when I cursing at the computer when trying to upload the books on to publishing sites. I think the best part is being able to put my thoughts and imagination down on paper. I have a terrible habit of talking to myself or talking aloud, and so now I can put those words down in characters.
Brittany: Shameless plug for your books! Tell everyone (including me) why we should read your book(s).
AJW - I never usually start an answer with "Because" apart from on this occasion...Because I can almost guarantee that you will be able to either relate yourself or someone you know, to the characters, especially Isabel. That makes you the reader, become a part of the story and travel on this journey with them. You will feel so many emotions with the wonderful melting pot of romance, humour, mystery and erotica in them. (Was that okay?)
Brittany: What's the craziest idea that's ever come into your head? Would you ever turn that idea into a story?
AJW - Writing a story! haha!! I may well do...That's a really good idea actually. A story within a story....(starts making notes)
Brittany: What have your friends said about your book, assuming they've read it.
AJW - They've been amazing. My BFF was a Beta reader for me and work colleagues love it! I know they weren't just saying it either, as they would be brutally honest with me. It's been a great bedtime read! My dad hasn't read it and my aunt is going around telling everyone that I've written a 'Naughty' book...she whispers the 'Naughty' part. Haha!! Really makes me giggle.
Brittany: You're stuck on a deserted island. You can bring one man, one book, and one electronic. What do you bring?
AJW - David Gandy, Romeo and Juliet, (eek! that's a tough one, without being smutty or rude!)....(still thinking!)....A Shaver!?!?! Please don't ask why. Haha!!
Brittany: What can we find on your writing playlist?
AJW - Writing play list? (turns to 10 year old son - Does that mean TBR?) I'm going to cover all corners here, as I'm not sure what that means, sorry, I'm British! On my TBR is Semblance (The Midnight Society, #1) which I am about to start to read. The Raven by Sylvain Reynard is also up there. I need to catch up on all of the books that have been published recently by Michelle Leighton, Samantha Young and Christina Lauren. I have just finished reading Interview With A Master by Jason Luke & loved it, I'm looking forward to In Love With A Master. I hope I've covered what you meant. Hehe!!
8. You're allowed a girls night out. Where do you go and with whom?
AJW - I lurve karaoke! So it would be Saturday night at the pub I go to regularly with my BFF. We have such a laugh, as there's always a great crowd in there. I love getting up to sing as well...Love it!
9. Uh oh. You've lost your keys. where's the most likely spot they'd be?
AJW - They should be where I last left them, until my kids get a hold of them or they grow legs! That's my excuse anyway. Hehe!!
10. You have all the money in the world. what do you buy?
AJW - What a question! (Thinks for a moment) I'd employ a cleaner, gardener and chauffeur for life! For starters anyway. Erm! Oh gosh! I'd buy an Audi, holiday homes in Cambridge, London, Spain, USA, Canada, Italy and Greece....and whatever my kids need to help support them in their life and careers. Yes, they would still have to work ;-) And support my 3 favourite charities for life as well....I'd buy what my dad and BFF would like...I could go on and on!
Ace is bad.
After losing my brother, I know I should stay away. So why can’t I?
He’s irresistible. He’s confident. He’s amazing… but he’s dangerous.
He was there the night my brother was murdered. He watched it all go down.
I should stay away. The things I saw weren’t acceptable.
I should want Ace as far away from me as possible—I should consider him a monster and a threat—but when my life is at stake I know I no longer have a choice of the matter. He's the only one that can protect me.
He's done what he can to keep me out of danger, but it's not enough. I need answers. I need the truth. He refuses to give it to me, and because of that I don't trust him. He refuses to tell me what really happened and to just forget about it but I refuse.
I won’t back down until I get answers.
But there’s one thing wrong with getting too many answers. It leads to lies. It leads to trouble. It leads to danger. But worst of all, it leads to me falling deeply and madly in love with him.
I’ve gotta be out of my mind.
London Stallone hasn’t always had the perfect life, but she did have the perfect older brother. He did everything for her. He took care of her when no one else would. He’s always been the shoulder she could lean on, but when he ends up murdered, things turn for the worst.
London soon demands answers, and the first person she runs to is her brother’s co-worker and good friend, Donovan “Ace” Crow. Ace isn’t the ordinary guy. He doesn’t come equipped with flowers and chocolate. He doesn’t hand out smiles and hugs to every female he meets. He’s strict and only about business, and London believes he’s a part of the reason her brother was murdered.
Soon, after finding out life-threatening news, it leads to something Ace never thought he’d have to do for anyone.
Although he doesn't want her to get hurt, it doesn't stop him from being selfish or bitter. He's promised to protect her, but has he done enough? Has he sacrificed everything in order to keep London out of harms way?
Sometimes love can get in the way of your priorities. And sometimes love can easily become your enemy—you worst nightmare. It can destroy you.
This is a story full of dishonesty. Disloyalty. Broken hearts. Pain. Suffering. Lies. Destruction. This isn’t a fairytale love story. This is real. And it just might break you.
You’ve been warned…
Footsteps start up the complex stairs. They’re heavy. Slow. I try to control my breathing, but it’s nearly impossible. I’m terrified. My heart is pounding in my chest. The room that was once my sanctuary – my getaway—now feels like a trap. A prison. I can hardly breathe.
Sealing my eyes, I listen as his footsteps get closer to my door until finally he stops. It’s quiet for a moment. I think he’s got his ear to the door, hoping to hear something.
Then, he bangs on it, and I gasp. I don’t get up though. He can’t get in. The door is locked, and the chain is on. I don’t think he’d be dumb enough to kick the door in, knowing I have neighbors. Good thing they’re nosey. They’ll come looking for the noise immediately just to complain.
“London, I know you’re in there! Car’s in the parking lot.” His voice is no longer calm and casual. It’s angry and demanding. “Open the door.”
I don’t say anything, but I do stand and hold the knife in front of me just in case. I slowly walk out of my bedroom and towards the living room.
“Open it or I’ll kick it down. I don’t give a fuck who sees me.”
I gulp and gasp at the same time, producing an unexpected and very loud burp. It’s certainly loud enough for Ace to hear.
Instantly, the door swings open and hits the wall with a forceful thud. I scream as I fall on my side. When I look up, Ace is standing between the frames of the door, adjusting his tie. All I can make out is his shadow, but I can feel his eyes hard on me.
Stepping inside, he coolly shuts the door behind him. I scramble away with the knife in my hand. When I get to my feet, I dash for my bedroom and grab the telephone. He chases after me, warning me not to do anything stupid.
I dial 9, but I’m not given the chance to finish. He snatches the phone out of my hand and slams it down. I spin around, bringing the butcher knife in front of me again. Ace takes a quick step back, glaring down at the sharp blade piercing the darkness. Then, a slow smirk forms on his lips, the lips I hate that I once admired.
“I’ll cut you,” I threaten.
“You won’t,” he says boldly.
“I won’t?” I hiss, bringing the edge of the blade to his neck. “Don’t test me. I will.”
He raises his hands in the air, shaking his head. “When’s the last time you sharpened this thing, huh? Three years ago? It’s as dull as a fucking nun.”
“I don’t give a shit! I can still cut you with it! Just… sit down!” I demand, circling him, knife still clutched in my hands and at his neck. “On the bed.”
He frowns. “No.”
“I don’t wanna hurt you, but if I have to I will!” I shout, voice wavering.
“That’s the thing… you won’t.” His tone is even.
I keep my tears back and my emotions behind me for now. I don’t want him to think I’m weak. I don’t want him to get away either. But deep inside, I know I won’t hurt him. I won’t cut him. I’m too afraid to shed blood after seeing so much already.
With a bored sigh, Ace snatches the knife out of my hand and tosses it out of my bedroom. It skids across the hard, wooden floorboards, causing a clanking noise that makes my ears ring. I gasp and scramble after it, but he grabs my arm and shoves me against the nearest wall. It’s not a hard shove. Nor does it hurt. But I’m still afraid.
As I tremble, he brings one of his large hands up and locks my face between his fingers. His eyes stare deeply into mine, and his nostrils flare. From the slit of light filtering in through my window, he looks pissed. I know he’s going to kill me. I’m a witness.
“Listen to me,” he grumbles. His warm breath spills down my chest, across my cleavage. “I told you I’m not going to hurt you.”
“Why wouldn’t you?” I breathe, voice shaky.
“I won’t. I’m not the one that killed Jonah. They did.” Hearing Jonah’s name causes fiery tears to build in my eyes.
“It’s your fault. I know it. Why wouldn’t they kill you, too?” I ask. “What were you doing there anyway? Why was Jonah there? Why did they kill him?” All of this is spilling out of me. I’m outraged. I’m pissed that Ace is still alive and my brother isn’t. I’m terrified. I’m… I’m a mess.
“Listen to me!” he demands, releasing my face to lock his hands on my shoulders. “I don’t know why they killed Jonah, alright? I don’t know why they didn’t kill me. But you have to understand… it’s what we do. It’s what Jonah signed up for. It’s business, and we can’t help when shit gets bloody.”
I process his words, giving them some thought. “So… you’re the one that got him into that shit? What is it? What’d you promise him? I know Jonah, and I know he wouldn’t do something this bad without getting something in exchange.”
“I didn’t promise him shit.” Ace runs one hand through his slick hair. “He knew what he was getting into. He was money-hungry, just like everyone else. It was a mistake… him coming to Atlanta.”
“How was that a mistake?” I demand. “I invited him. I graduated!”
Ace tilts his chin to meet my eyes. His are dark, and if I’m not mistaken, watery. I’m not given the chance to figure it out completely because he blinks, and just like that, he’s angry again. “Don’t go to the cops. It’ll only get you killed.”
And with that, he releases me and walks out of my bedroom. I follow after him, grabbing his arm before he can get out the front door. “Killed by who? You?” I’m keeping my voice steady, but deep inside, I’m scared out of my fucking mind.
Ace stares at me briefly. He then slides his fingers into his front pockets, turns his back to me, and walks out my splintered front door.
New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author Shanora Williams considers herself a wondrous, down-to-earth author who's all about romance, paranormal, and the historical fiction. Coffee and Oreos are her addiction. Reading is a necessity. Whenever she isn't writing or reading, she's most likely spending her time with family and loved ones, or watching hit TV series on Netflix.