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 fiancé, 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.)
I gave a tiny shake of my head. It felt like a big gesture, one that should have set the earth shaking and the sky falling, but it was strangely liberating at the same time. A moment of clarity in an ocean of confusion. I wanted him. I couldn’t deny that anymore. I wanted everything those absent words implied. His hands on my body, his lips on mine. I knew that given a few days, a few hours, maybe even a few minutes, my pain and self-loathing would resurface and start sabotaging this again, but right now, in that moment, I was free of that.
Before I could talk myself out of it, I lunged towards him. He was so tall that I had to stretch up onto my toes, wrapping my hands around his neck to pull his mouth down to mine. It sent a powerful longing through me, that height, that sheer bulk. I normally hate to be reminded how diminutive I am, but I liked how small he made me feel. There was something strangely comforting about it.
His body stiffened and he mumbled a curse against my lips. For a moment, he barely moved. I could feel the war playing out behind his eyes. But then the fight drained out of him, and his arms enveloped me as he began kissing me back with an urgency strong enough to be almost frightening. Part of me expected it to feel wrong, a betrayal of everything I’d had with Tom, but instead my body simply melted against his like it had always been there, and all other thoughts disappeared.
All my other first kisses had been timid affairs, but this was something else entirely, fierce and hungry; an explosion of everything that was simmering inside us. Though I’d initiated it, Logan quickly seized control. This wasn’t a man who simply stood by and had things happen to him. Leather-rough palms ran amok across my back and shoulders, pulling me against him as though he was afraid I’d be snatched away at any moment. I moaned involuntarily into his mouth as his tongue darted and teased. In some distant part of me I felt ashamed, but it was dwarfed by the fire that was coursing through my veins. I’d never been kissed like that before. Not by Tom. Not by anybody. It felt like a matter of need rather than want. Life or death.
I’d seen him shirtless plenty of times of course, but the sight was different now. Erotic, sensual, and above all, mine. I could barely breathe for how magnificent he looked. Sculpted and tanned and lit with moonlight; a living breathing Greek statue. I wanted to touch all of him, to feel each inch between my fingers, in my mouth, in every part of me. I’d never been so intoxicated by another human being.
My hands took on a mind of their own, dancing hungrily across his bare chest. His muscles were so hard, like his entire body was just skin stretched over stone sculpture. Everything inside me seemed to clench as my fingers took it all in, the perfectly defined grooves between his pecs and his abs, the mountainous curl of his biceps. He was still slick with sweat and hot from the night’s exertion, but that only excited me more. Images played through my head of him in the arena, his body a perfect primal machine leveling all of that power at his opposition.
My lack of control seemed to trigger something in Logan. He reached for my shirt, tugging it over my head, and then his hands turned ravenous, squeezing my breasts, my ass, the curve of my hips. It felt like his fingers were everywhere at once, and my body tingled and burned in response. It was so good to be touched again. I hadn’t realized how long it had been or how much I missed it, but there was something exquisite about it — a tactile euphoria that kept me centered in that perfect moment and scattered all my problems to the wind.
He broke away, breathing heavily, his face twisted into some bizarre combination of pain and desire. Pressing his forehead against mine he locked eyes with me. “Are you sure?” His voice was low, the primordial growl of a man who was just below the cusp where words were no longer relevant.
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.
When she's not writing, she's playing tennis, trawling her home town of Sydney for new inspiration, and drinking too much coffee.
The Alpha Group is her first attempt at erotic romance.
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