I tell her “Believe in me.” Because I, Lars Samuels, will rock her world and treat her like a queen. She says, “Ha, I will never be caught.” Good thing I’m really good at catching things. I should be. I’m the best wide receiver on the Columbus Comets football team. I like winning. So I’m going to win her. Once I catch her, of course.
Title: A Cut So Deep
Cassandra cusses like a sailor, is addicted to tattoos, hardcore music, and chocolate. Her kids believe that she is an actual vampire. Oh, and occasionally, she has been known to write a book or two when not busy in her garden. Her novels straddle the line between taboo romance and romantic suspense. With themes as complex and varied as the author herself, they are sure to leave you on the edge of your seat.
“Are you going to say something or just stare at my ass until dinner’s done?”
Holy shit, he had been staring at that ass and who the hell could blame him? Didn’t he know firsthand how fine that ass looked and felt? “What the fuck, Ric? What are you doing here? How did you get in?”
“Cooking dinner so we can eat before we run, and I have a key,” Alaric answered without turning and continued to move food around a frying pan as if he had the first fucking clue how to cook. He never cooked or rarely ever cooked in the years they spent together.
Dumbfounded, Davin wasn’t sure he heard correctly. “You have a key?”
“Yep.” The spatula-free hand gestured toward the small breakfast bar. “It’s over there with my wallet if you want to take it.”
Obviously, there was no point in bothering. “You have copies.”
“Of course, I do.”
Of course, you do. You are Alaric Bennett and locked doors just magically open for you.
Then the rest of his words registered. “We aren’t running anywhere.”
“You didn’t come home to run?” Alaric finally looked over his shoulder, one perfectly sculpted eyebrow lifting as if to say, ‘who are you trying to kid?’ That subtle arrogance directly affected Davin’s libido and Alaric knew it. “Right. That’s what I thought.”
“If you came here to talk…”
“Do I look like I want to fucking talk?” Slamming the spatula on the stove, Alaric turned, reached out and curled a hand around the back of his neck, shrinking the already small space between them to nothing. “Or that either of us is ready for that conversation? You need to eat, you need to run, and you need to sleep. In that order. Go get changed.”
“Ric.” Davin was appalled to hear the helplessness in his tone, the one that begged Alaric to complete the embrace and finally give him a safe place to rest.
“Go get changed, Davin, now.”
With their foreheads touching, Davin could see that he wasn’t the only one all tied up in their emotions. That Alaric, who had always been so strong, was barely holding it together. In that moment, Davin realized he expected Alaric to take the news of his brother’s death, delivered by an ex-lover, the way he did everything else. With strength and stoicism, do what needs to be done and never show any emotion. Except with Davin, Alaric never hid them, and it was ridiculous to think he would start now.
No, they weren’t ready for that conversation and Alaric was right about what he needed, so retreat seemed the obvious choice. This—the dinner, the pretense of caring about what he needed—was nothing more than a way to ease some guilt. Maybe if he let Alaric get it out of his system, they could both move on.
“Violet is with Thatcher now. Which I’m sure you’ve already heard. And he would not appreciate you eyeball fucking her.”
I sigh, slamming my locker as I turn to face her. “She’s not who I was focused on.”
I’m not sure why I’m baiting her again. For years, I was so hurt that I let her say and do whatever without putting up much of a fight. But it feels like something has shifted between us. I noticed that night at Sal’s and again at the benefit.
Arwen seems thrown by the pushback, her eyes flaring and pink tinting her cheeks. She lets out a hissing breath and leans in, planting her hands on either side of my head. “It sounds like you’re saying the hunger in your stare was for me, but that can’t be right. I know you’re not that stupid.”
My laughter causes her mask to slip again, her features softening with amused curiosity. “It’s not my intelligence in question here, it’s my sanity. You make me fucking crazy, Star.”
She jolts back, standing straight again as her arms fall to her side. “Stop calling me that.”
Star was the nickname I gave her right after we became friends. Until a couple of weeks ago, I hadn’t called her that since she broke my heart. It wasn’t intentional when I called her Star at Sal’s, but hearing it again definitely had an impact on her. There was a sadness and remorse in her eyes that I’d never seen before.
“Why?” I challenge. “Does it make you uncomfortable? Do you not like being reminded that we were friends once? That I cared for you?”
“Let it go, Shaw. Move on. It’s never going to happen.”
“No?” I grin, lovingly brushing her hair away from her face. “Your kiss told a different story.”
Arwen’s eyes darken as a storm brews inside of her, and there’s no shelter in sight. “You clearly misinterpreted the message.”
“Yeah, you’re right. I probably just need to hear it again.”
She grits her teeth at me when I laugh. “If you want me to make you bleed again, all you have to do is ask.”
Struggling after the death of her husband and hindered by her inability to recover from cancer treatment, Lynn isn’t expecting to find anything other than entertainment at an awards show. When she meets music exec Donovan Rue, there’s instant chemistry – and instant chaos.
Donovan faces lawsuits and complaints from disgruntled employees. Lynn’s fragile self-esteem and her recent personal tragedy make her leery of Donovan’s interest. As things heat up between them, their chemistry threatens to implode.
As outside tensions and pressures mount, Lynn breaks away, but Donovan refuses to give up on the strong, resilient woman he sees beneath the damage. Can these two people find peace
“I hate when Christmas day ends,” Lynn declared as she stared into the fire. “It was such a nice Christmas. I’m glad that you and Dara could share it with us.”
“Thank you for having us,” Donovan answered. He smiled softly and asked, “Are you ready for your present, Peace?”
A small thrill ran through Lynn followed by guilt.
“You’ve given me so much, Donovan! Fancy clothes, jewelry, a chair …”
“But today is Christmas!”
Donovan stood up, found new music on his playlist. He motioned for Lynn to join him in another dance. Ben Harper’s Forever played as they swayed gently in place. Lynn’s body grew warm, her heartbeat increased at an idea of what Donovan’s present might be.
“Donovan,” she whispered as his lips grazed her cheek, their feet barely moving as he swayed her back and forth. His dark eyes sparkled, but he looked intense, needy.
“Just let me talk, please,” he pleaded.
He quit dancing. Taking a deep breath, Donovan took both of Lynn’s hands into his own.
“Lynn, you totally captivate me.”
His hand swiped through that raven hair again.
“I can’t imagine being without you. I love you so much.”
Donovan looked upward, closing his eyes tightly for a minute.
“Shit! I can’t even put this into coherent words.”
Lynn’s eyes widened in amazement. She was tongue-tied, too. Before she could find words to encourage or comfort him, Donovan was on one knee, still holding her hands. Lynn gasped, breaking her right hand loose from his hold, covering her mouth in surprise.
“Lynn, would you marry me?”
Now Lynn took back her left hand, bringing it up to join the other on her face. Tears sprung into her bright blue eyes; she still could not communicate.
Donovan wasn’t sure what to make of a subdued Lynn.
“I know we haven’t known each other long, but I know what I want when I see it.”
Again, he ran his hand through his hair.
“You see me for who I am, not the celebrity that the media makes up. You bring peace, happiness … shit, Lynn! I don’t care if I get sixty years with you or six minutes. I can’t live without you! I don’t know how to …”
Lynn sucked in a breath after she said the one word. Looking down at the man she loved, she saw a mixture of surprise, then relief, then complete love.
“Yes?” he whispered.
“Yes!” Lynn repeated, then grabbed his hands, intending to help him off the floor. Instead, Donovan pulled her down, wrapped his arms around her, and kissed her as if he was afraid the answer would change.
“I was afraid you would say no, say it’s still too soon,” he said when he broke the kiss.
“What’s too soon?” Lynn asked. “I’ve been thinking a lot about this since your first proposal. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that time does go quickly, and you’d better grab what you want when the opportunity presents itself. And enjoy every second you have.”
Donovan pulled Lynn to him, surrounding her with strong arms.
“Absolutely!” he agreed, then continued. “I mean it when I said the time thing. I need to enjoy every minute with you, whether it’s ten minutes or one hundred years.”
Lynn leaned over to give Donovan another big kiss.