Returning to Madison hurts. I thought Iíd left my past behind, but the past goes on living. I carry it inside of me, itís a piece of me. People have marked me in indelible ways and I drag the shreds of my soul behind me, trying to put my pieces back together. Iím not the Amber I used to be. I fly under the radar, try to be invisible.
It doesn't always work. Drawing attention scares me. It always spells trouble. Returning to my home town is a last ditch effort to lay my demons to rest and start anew, for good this time.
Meeting Jesse Lee wasnít in the plan. Yet here he is with his heart-stopping, sexy grin, handsome like a god, shining bright. Heís full of life, full of heat, packing the energy of a thousand suns in his gaze and muscular body. Jesse burns, and the pain of being near him is sweet.
But heís foiling my plans. Itís hard to remain a ghost when heís around. Hard to avoid his attention, to remain invisible. He sees me, really sees me, and behind his bright radiance, I can see shadows from his own past crowding in. Heís swimming hard to stay afloat even as he reaches for me.
What is he afraid of? And how can he save me from drowning when he canít even save himself?
Standalone novel. No cliffhanger.
*Warning: this book contains graphic language, sex, and violence. Mature readers only. Not intended for young readers.*
ìEmbers?î He lifts a dark brow, and I try to unstick my tongue from the roof of my mouth.
Kind of hard with all that muscled, male, inked flesh in full display in front of me. Heís shirtless, and oh God, his nipples are pierced. Silver hoops pass through the small brown nubs, gleaming. His bare chest is sculpted and hard, from his pecs to the cut abs and the fine dark trail of hairs leading into the waistband of his gray jogging pants.
Sweat glistens on his skin, on the colorful ink covering his arm, the swirls and lines dipping from his left shoulder down to a defined pec. A demon is tattooed there, stylized wings and a monstrous head, fading into the purple and blue of other, older-looking tats. And then of course thereís the cobra I noticed on his arm the other day.
ìHey,î I say vaguely, my brain on shut-down. I swallow hard, try again. ìWhat does the cobra stand for?î
Both his brows arch now, eyes wide, their green-blue irises crystalline in the morning light. He glances down at his arm, then back at me. ìWhat?î
ìWhat does the snake stand for?î I wave in his direction, wondering if I should cut my losses, turn about and run away right frigging now. Being antisocial is one thing ñ seeing it in action is another.
As Iím about to turn and run, one corner of his mouth curls up.
ìYouíre funny,î he says, and it stops me in my tracks.
ìNo, Iím not.î
ìYes, you are, trust me.î He grins. ìHow about we start again. Good morning, Embers.î
If flames jump from my cheeks, it wonít surprise me. ìMorning.î
ìWould you like to come inside?î he says, that sexy grin lingering on his full lips. ìThere might be coffee.î
ìNo, thanks.î The need to flee is worse than ever, only Iím caught in his spell and canít move. Heís staring at me, giving me a lazy, slow once-over, from the top of my head to my toes curling in my sandals.
ìWhat, no pet name for me today?î
Oh God, what am I doing here? ìCut it out, Jesse. Donít be an ass.î
I expect a witty comeback, but instead something shutters behind his bright eyes, and strangely, I feel guilt wash over me. He rubs a hand over his face and slumps against the doorframe, muscles rolling in his arms.
ìThis is who I am, Embers,î he drawls, closing his eyes. ìWhat you see is what you get. I told you that youíd get tired of me soon.î
But for the first time, Iím not so sure about that.
Author Bio and links
Jo Raven writes New Adult contemporary romance. She loves sexy bad boys and strong-willed heroines, and divides her time between writing and reading. When not cooking up plots, she putters in her cluttered kitchen and dreams of travelling.
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1huhvxy
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