Today, I'll be giving you a sneak peek into the Prologue from Grave Bound (Secrets). This book will be released March 1, 2013 (approximately) and availabe on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and any other site where eBooks are sold for $0.99 (limited time only). Anyone preferring a paperback over an eBook will be able to purchase it online: Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Be warned: This is a contemporary romance that has profanity and sexual situations; therefore it is recommended for mature audiences 17+.
If you like the prologue, you should click on one of the bellow links, buy the book, and read it in its entirety.*
*after it's been approved
I'm sitting in my office, staring at hundreds of pictures of a woman I've never met… yet somehow I can't stop thinking about.
Emily Ador Riddle.
The instant I saw the first photo of Emily—that first beautiful smile—and listened to her Aunt Tess tell me story after story, I was hooked. I knew then and there she was the one for me and that I'd never truly felt that way about anyone before.
Sure, there had been plenty of attractive girls. There had been lots of quick and easy fucks. There was even a long-term relationship. But work was the only mistress who'd held my attention for any period of time before Emily.
For the millionth time, I study her face and try to understand what makes her so different. What, that is, besides her unfathomable beauty. There's no doubt in my mind there's something more to her when I compare her to the other women I've been with.
Memorizing her every feature, I realize the answer is hidden deep within her chocolate-brown eyes. In them, I see sadness so profound that it tests my feelings in ways they've never been tested. The thought of her being unhappy makes me want to charge into the commune, throw her over my shoulder, and rescue her from the men who have, for all practical purposes, enslaved her.
Instinctively, I want to put her on a pedestal and have her every whim catered to. In fact, I've sworn dozens of times that I'll do just that if I ever get close enough to make her fall for me the way I've fallen for her.
Therein lies your problem, Romeo. She lives in a commune where the women aren't allowed to leave without supervision, and Owen, her dickhead father, will die before he lets you on those grounds without a search warrant. He'll kill them all first. Even Emily.
"Jesus! You're worse than a fuckin' forlorn teenager. You don't even know her. She's probably the biggest bitch ever," Baby, my very crass assistant, says, sighing when she walks into my office and finds me in the exact same position she left me in an hour ago.
Of course, Baby isn’t her real name. Her real name is Ainsley Renee Night. I found that out the day she was arrested for killing her father. Her piece of crap dad was even worse of a man than Owen. He'd been sneaking into her room and raping her almost every night since she turned twelve.
The day she turned eighteen, he decided to take it up a notch. In honor of her birthday, he sold an hour alone with her to a few of his closest friends. When Baby found out, she went temporarily insane, killed him, and beat the hell out of her drunkard mother for turning a blind eye to what he'd been doing to her for years.
Back then, I was a fledgling public defender. Ainsley Renee Night's case was dropped in my lap like a hot potato. When I made it to her jail cell, I knew things weren't what they seemed. Despite the ink-black hair, lips, and nails; the pierced ears, nose, lip, and tongue; and the hard-to-miss tattoos of violence peeking out at me, I knew she was no cold-blooded killer. Not with the way she curved in on herself in the corner of the cell and sucked her thumb like a two-year-old.
It took weeks of nonstop meetings for her to trust me. When she finally saw I was nothing like her father, she told me what she'd been enduring and what he was trying to introduce her to. I was so upset by the traumas of her childhood that I'd have killed the son of a bitch myself if he weren’t already dead.
Instead of passively agreeing to let them put her behind bars, I fought to get her the help she needed so she could live the rest of her life without the stigma of her abusive father's actions hanging over her head.
Taking advantage of every chance she's been given, Baby goes to school at night and takes online classes at lunch. She'll have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in no time, and I predict one day she'll be the best assistant DA in the parish.
Usually I don't have any trouble ignoring her smartass mouth or her constant sarcasm, but today's different. "Don't call her a bitch. She has enough people pushing her down without anyone else joining in," I snap.
This is the first time I've ever raised my voice to Baby, but she has to know I'm not going to tolerate name-calling. Especially when it comes to Emily.
Baby's mouth drops open and her lip quivers before she bites the ring in the corner. I feel bad for being such an ass to her when I see how my bad mood and short temper hurt her. The last person I ever want to remind her of is her father.
My mind snaps back to Emily. I wish Tess never told me that Owen is letting Lorenzo marry Emily. I wish I didn't know Lorenzo is an arrogant prick. I wish I could stop thinking about what Lorenzo's going to do to Emily. No matter what she wants—and Tess swears Emily hates Lorenzo—she's going to be forced to marry him. Then, he’ll have his way with her because that's what they do in the commune.
Dammit! I think, again.
"Listen, Baby, I'm sorry. I've just got a lot on my mind. I didn't mean to be a shit to you."
She shakes her head. "No. You're right. I'm the last person in the world who should be judging people. If anything, me and her are kindred spirits. How about we work together to get her outta that commune so we can get to know her better? That'll give me the chance to see for myself if she's really good enough for you," she says, winking a thick black-lined eye my way as proof she's forgiven me.
I give her a crooked smile. "I'm pretty sure I'm the one who's not good enough for her, but thanks for thinking otherwise."
Turning her back on me and busying herself with straightening a stack of my papers, Baby asks, "Are you going camping again this weekend?"
I wish she hadn't picked up on how often I've been going camping at Black Lake, the lake next to the commune. What she doesn't know is that I'm spending my weekends there exploring the area's topography and taking pictures. When I'm not out there or working, I'm studying every inch of the forest and analyzing the best ways in and out of the commune. I'm determined to have a plan for rescuing Emily when the time comes.
"Yeah. Levi's coming with me this weekend. He's back for the summer and insists the one thing he wants to do is go camping," I say.
With the mere mention of Levi's name, Baby's back straightens and her boobs pop out. It's the same reaction every woman who's ever met Levi has. Everywhere we go, women fall in love with him and make it very obvious they're willing to cater to his every fantasy. Baby's no exception.
A second later, I catch a glimpse of Emily's sad brown eyes in one of the pictures Baby is packing away. I can't help but wonder if she would be tempted by the charms of my cousin.
As soon as the thought crosses my mind, I hear a pop and look down. The pen I'm holding has snapped in two. Dark blue ink is splattered everywhere and leaking down my fingertips.