by Lisa Ladew
One True Mate Book Four
He's hunted, she's living a lie, and an unlikely connection dooms them both…
Beckett Oswego has lost himself in his work for years, always looking over his shoulder for the killer who stole his father and brother from him. When he isn’t working, he parties his weekends away. Work, party...party, work. Anything to keep his mind busy and off the constant pain from the past that haunts him.
Cerise Pekin has been captive for years, forced into a life of old ways and restrictions. Always planning her escape, she yearns for the day she can truly be free, but when a violent incident pushes her into the real world before she is ready, she quickly realizes that she is not prepared for survival.
When Cerise talks Beckett into helping her escape from prison, he knows she isn't his one true mate. However, with the intensity of the connection they share, he is compelled to help her in any way he can, which sends them both straight into the clutches of a common enemy. With no help from Beckett's pack in sight, they are forced to rely on each other…
Genre: Paranormal RomancePurchase link(s): Amazon AmazonAU AmazonCA AmazonIT AmazonUK
Content/Theme(s): Shifters, Romantic Suspense
Release Date: February 24, 2017
Excerpt & More
As she peeked inside the room, enough light fell in the room from the window facing east that she could easily see what she’d come to find. A man lay sleeping on the bed, his back to her. Cerise stared at him, knowing he had been the reason she had felt compelled to come here, but still fighting that knowledge. The feeling said, trust him. Every experience she’d ever had in her life said, no way!
Her neck muscles tightened and her head began to pound harder as she resisted her inexplicable desire to go to him, to wake him, to tell him who she was and see if it meant anything to him. Men couldn’t be trusted. Most men. All men. Especially men as big and muscular as this one was. He looked like he could throw Myles across the room, and Myles was solid and tough as nails.
Her eye traveled over him even as her mind continued to rebel, taking in his dark hair in a military cut, the sculpted planes of his body, as his chest rose and fell under a single white sheet. The back of his arms and shoulders was covered with twisting tattoos she didn’t pay much attention to, except the one that looked like a depiction of a storm you might see on a map, a circle with lines radiating out from it.
The pillowcases and sheets below his big body were also white and pristine-looking. On the empty pillow next to him was a camouflage cap set perfectly facing forward and at right angles to the creased lines of the pillowcase, like the last thing he’d done the night before was take it off and place it there. Her eyes scanned the room, looking for the rest of his clothes, but the floor she could see was bare. No pictures in here, only a dresser and a closed door she imagined led to a closet. She wondered what kind of clothes she would find if she pushed the door to the closet open, rummaged around in there. The thought confused her and filled her with more desire. She wanted to know this man, wanted to examine his life, and him.
The man turned over and made a distressed noise in his sleep. Cerise sucked in a breath and prepared to run, but his eyes remained closed, his breathing even. Behind his lids, she could see his eyes moving quickly. Dreaming.
His chest began to rise and fall more swiftly. “No,” he said, and Cerise jumped, barely biting back a cry. “No Cole, not without you,” he spat out, and his handsome face twisted with some emotion, but his eyes were still closed. Not dreaming, nightmare-ing.
She held her ground, staring as the man’s heavy brows shot close together and his fingers twitched. “Why?” the man moaned and the agony in his voice destroyed her. What was he seeing in his sleep?
He whimpered, a foreign sound she never imagined would come from someone so big and strong and she took a step forward, unbidden, against all her better judgment. His handsome face with the wide-set eyes and strong jaw twisted again, sweat rising on his forehead, his back bowing. “Please, he’s my brother,” the man panted, his eyes squeezed shut. Cerise’s heart twinged in her chest, and she crossed to him, walking around the bed to face his back. She approached his bedside and lay a hand on his massive shoulder, the heat from his skin seeping into her hand at once.
“Shh,” she whispered, but she needn’t have spoken. With her touch, his forehead smoothed, his tensed muscles relaxed. He sighed, and half-smiled, one corner of his lips curling up as the sigh escaped them and he relaxed onto his back.
Her fingers stayed with him, moving to the strong muscles of his upper arm. She could no more stop touching him than she could stop breathing, stop thinking, stop being. His half-grin floored her, turning his face from dark and tortured to handsome beyond anything she’d ever seen or imagined.
A flood of feelings washed over her. Right. Good. Trust-worthy. Cerise’s eyes floated closed and she let the feelings and sensations come. Tingles marched across her skin as her hair tried to stand up on her head and arms. It felt so good that she never wanted it to end. Felt good in the way someone grazing their fingers lightly up and down your back felt good. She reveled in it, allowing sensation to overtake her.
With a jolt of dismay, Cerise realized her whole body felt different, more aware, more there. She could feel her pulse at her neck and in her chest and… between her legs? She licked her lips and pulled her hand away from the bare skin of the man in the bed in front of her, curling the fingers that had been touching him close to her body, wrapping them with her other hand.
She stared down at the sleeping man, trying to figure out exactly what was going on, but had no reference to start from. She had a rudimentary knowledge of where babies came from, knew men and women were supposed to stare at each other with lust and desire and would end up kissing and disappearing behind closed doors for sex. But what did any of that have to do with what was going on here? Why did he make her body pound with something she’d never felt before in her life? Why did thoughts of sex fill her mind when she looked at him?
Her mind fell silent for a moment as she noticed a scar furrowed above his right ear, a long, grooving scar almost a half-inch wide and five inches long, curving to the back of his head. Her fingers curled, wanting to touch it while her mind hungered, wanting to know the story behind it.
The room brightened incrementally and her intellect told her it was time to leave. Time to leave this man and run home before Myles woke up. If Myles found them both gone and even suspected they hadn’t been in the yard, they would pay. He hadn’t broken one of her bones in years and she wanted to keep it that way.
Cerise took a step away, then another, but her body carried her back to the bed for one last touch. Perhaps she wanted to know if she would feel the same things if she touched him again, she wasn’t sure, but she didn’t try to resist it. She lightly grazed his forearm and the good feelings returned, but they were already ebbing, not quite as strong. Her eyes slid shut and she let the sensations wash over her as her body tried to convince her how much she needed this man.
The thought sent a spear of fear through her and her eyes flew open. No. Self-reliance only, she needed no man, ever. Men were dangerous. Too big. Violent. At least the ones she knew.
Her gaze fell upon the part of his body covered by the sheet and she couldn’t help but suck in a breath at what was standing there that hadn’t been standing before. She knew what was supposed to be there, but had never seen it hard and jutting like that before, never quite tried to imagine exactly how the sex happened, but this new sight sent myriad images through her mind of how it could. She bit her lip and pulled her fingers away from him, ready to turn and run, scared at how her body and mind reacted to what she had seen, but before she could, his hand closed around her wrist. His eyes opened, and they were the loveliest shade of blue she had ever seen, like the afternoon sky as it deepened to evening.
“You here to kill me, darlin’?” he drawled, a slight grin on his face, showing white, even teeth with canines almost like fangs. Sexy.
“Oh no, no,” she babbled, automatically curling her other hand around his fingers that were holding her. “Go back to sleep,” she said, pushing with her mind in a way that felt both foreign and intimate to her. “Forget about me, I was never here.”
His eyes slid closed and his hand dropped to the mattress, but the slight grin stayed on his face.
Cerise ran, not looking back.
Purchase link(s): Amazon AmazonAU AmazonCA AmazonIT AmazonUK
Other titles by Lisa Ladew:
Secret Kink 1
the Heat 1
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