Hope is a dangerous thing. I know that more than most. Everything good I've ever had has been stolen from me — my friends, my fiance, my innocence, some would say even my sanity. All I have left is the cage. Fighting is the only thing that eases the ache inside me even a little. It’s the only thing that keeps the bottle at bay.
I was content to ride out my life alone. I was done dreaming that things could be better. But then I met Grace, and suddenly, all I could do was dream.
She's battling those same demons, only she's losing. I don’t want to care, but something about her calls to me. That pain in her eyes is so sharp, so familiar. I know it’s only a matter of time before it pulls her below the surface.
I can help her, and maybe, just maybe, she can help me too. For the first time in what feels like forever, I’ve got hope, and that scares the hell out of me.
(This is a full length novel with no cliffhanger. There will be a sequel, but this book resolves all the story elements by the end. It is written with dual perspectives, so both Logan and Grace get their say.)
There were fresh tears rising behind my eyes now, and this time they weren’t for me. I felt like the world’s biggest bitch. “I…I’m sorry, Logan. I’m sorry.”
He nodded, seemingly not trusting himself to speak. I couldn’t blame him. That scene was more horrific than anything I’d experienced in my life. I was struck by an immense sense of shame. How much death had Logan seen? How many friends had been ripped away from him before his eyes? It didn’t bear thinking about. And here I was crying over one lost life. I probably looked so childish. If Logan could find a way to overcome his pain, then so could I.
“How do you stop it destroying you?” I asked.
"By acknowledging you don’t control the world. We all makes choices. Some of them are good, others are a fucking disaster, but very few things are the result of a single action. What if our CO had sent us to another village that day? Or the insurgent leader was slow with his dinner and the attack came five minutes later? What if Ace never enlisted at all? There are a million variables to everything. Blame isn’t black and white. I know I contributed to his death in some small way, but I also know I’m not responsible. You need to realise that too.” He stepped closer and reached out to brush my face where a single tear had leaked down. “There’s a girl in here somewhere who deserves a second chance, and you owe it to her to make that happen.”
The tenderness in his voice filled me with warmth. I stared up at him, everything inside me in tatters. I hurt for me and for him, for Tom and for Ace. There was so much pain, and right then it felt like we were both ready to drown in it. I desperately wanted something to cut through all that, if only for a moment.
There was barely a foot between our faces now, and slowly but surely, that space was shrinking further still. His hand lingered on my cheek, his eyes locked to mine. I could feel the heat of him enveloping my skin like steam, his scent swelling in my nostrils. There was something stirring in my stomach, something hungry and desperate and lonely. I knew I needed to look away, to break the spell of that moment, but his sheer presence held me in a trance.
He stood poised over me for what felt like a lifetime, gaze hungry, breath trembling, fingers dancing tiny circles across my skin, then with a low growl he pulled back.
Maya Cross is a writer who enjoys making people blush. Growing up with a mother who worked in a book store, she read a lot from a very young age, and soon enough picked up a pen of her own. She’s tried her hands at a whole variety of genres including horror, science fiction, and fantasy, but funnily enough, it was the sexy stuff that stuck. She has now started this pen name as an outlet for her spicier thoughts (they were starting to overflow). She likes her heroes strong but mysterious, her encounters sizzling, and her characters true to life.
She believes in writing familiar narratives told with a twist, so most of her stories will feel comfortable, but hopefully a little unique. Whatever genre she's writing, finding a fascinating concept is the first, and most important step.
The Alpha Group is her first attempt at erotic romance.
When she's not writing, she's playing tennis, trawling her home town of Sydney for new inspiration, and drinking too much coffee.