(Book #2 in the Dark Path series)
Erika has reinvented herself as an author of erotic romance under the pseudonym, Lily Fredericks. After her eight month sabbatical in New Orleans, she’s returning to Manhattan to promote her new book. Chris is handling her book tour and wants Erika to give him another chance. She’s forgiven Chris, but Max is always in her thoughts. Sick of waiting for Erika to come to her senses, Max takes matters into his own hands. He’ll go to New Orleans to claim her before it’s too late.
With Erika back in Manhattan, both Chris and Max try to seduce her in the hopes she’ll choose one of them. As both men battle for her heart, a woman from Max’s past reappears, bent on revenge. Chris will ruin Max anyway he can in order to make Erika his own. However Max has something up his sleeve to insure he’s the victor, but not without a price—Erika’s soul.
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“I never meant to make you cry. I’m sorry.” He rested his cheek on her leg, laid his hands on either side of her hips. He longed to hold her like he did moments ago with her in his lap, but he allowed her to have the upper hand.
He stared at the wall, his heavy breathing the only sound in the room. If he believed in the power of prayer, he would have asked God to pardon his sins this one time and encourage Erika to forgive him along with his spiteful behavior.
She shifted under him, and he peered up at her. She leaned on the edge of the couch while holding his handkerchief to her mouth. A tear spilled from the corner of her eye, slipping down her cheek. She didn’t look at him.
He captured her free hand lying limp on her upper leg and kissed her palm. “Don’t hate me.”
Her fingers curled into her palm, so he wrapped his hand around her fist. She pulled her hand away and tapped his cheek. Expecting her to slap him, he lifted his face for his punishment.
She ran her knuckles up the side of his head and across his scalp. Unfurling her fingers, she pressed her palm flat then sifted her fingertips through his hair.
Placing his face onto her lap, he inhaled the feminine scent he wanted to bathe in. She always smelled so clean and fresh, even after he screwed her until she couldn’t move, or when they made love, boneless from his loving ministrations.
His cock awakened, and he locked his knees together. If he even dared try to seduce Erika, she would maim him. So, he suffered quietly, just like he recklessly made her suffer because of his thoughtless actions.
She gripped his hair, and he looked up, his head suspended. He expected to see loathing in her eyes, but instead found disappointment and regret.
She removed her hand, watching him with her mouth half open as she inhaled. Her throat moved as she swallowed hard. She dropped her hand on her lap.
“Get off the floor,” she commanded with a tired inflection in her tone. She shifted farther away when he sat next to her.
She ran her thumb over his monogrammed initials—MLC—on his handkerchief and sighed. “You say you’re sorry, but for what? For spying on me or for trying to ruin my company and my rep—”
“Sorry for keeping an eye on you. But it was never my intent to destroy Walsh or your reputation.”
“Then what’s your intent? This all comes down to your hostility with Chris? You don’t care your hate for him could cause a ripple effect and there would be other causalities of this on-going war you have with him?” Her lips twisted and a fresh wave of tears filled her eyes. “Me, being number one?”
“I shouldn’t have gone this far. I’m paying the price.” He hated admitting his wrongdoing, but he would do so just to get in her good graces again. “You being here is a wakeup call. Your tears….” He tried dislodging the lump in his throat to no avail. “Have torn me up inside.”
“You really thought I wouldn’t be affected by your deception?’ She rolled his handkerchief in a ball and threw it at his face. It landed too short and floated to the floor.
“I never meant to deceive you,” he said, offering no other explanation for his heartless deed. He didn’t have one.
She shot up from the couch. He started to stand, but she pointed her finger at him. “Don’t move.”
He remained glued to his seat. This was the first time he witnessed an enraged Erika. One more wrong move or statement on his part could have her rejecting him. No amount of groveling on his part would make her take him back.
The idea of him groveling to any woman, even Erika soured his stomach.
“You have no right to look so bent out of shape or sickened. If anyone should be ill, it should be me.” She poked her chest with her thumb.
He folded his hands in between his legs and studied the floor in front of him. “You’re angry, and rightly so, but we need to fix this before it gets too out of hand.”
“We need to fix this? There’s no we here, M.L. You need to fix this as soon as possible. No excuses.” She jabbed her finger in his direction.
Her hostility threatened to suffocate him, but then again, he had been in many regrettable situations comparable to this one. He would rectify the issue then work on his appeal to Erika. They were connected in such a way that they would always circle back to one another.
“When everything is dealt with to your satisfaction, then what?” He relaxed against the cushion to release the strain in his lower back as well as the stiffness in his shoulders.
“I don’t know, Maxwell. You’ve gone too far this time.” Her voice dropped to an anguished whisper.
“Would it help if I got down on my knees again?” There was a slight overture to his voice he couldn’t hide.
“Not even that.” She wiped her palms down the front of her blouse. “We’re done here. I don’t have anything else to say to you.”
“What if I’m not finished with you yet?” He gripped the arm of the couch. He could make her stay. But he promised he would never do that to her.
“What are you going to do? Keep me here until I give you the answers you want? Maybe engage in some of those kinky games of domination you play at The Gate, which you always tell me you keep separate from your world here?” She opened her arms. “I’m sick of playing.”
“Are you sick of me?” he asked, more concerned by her agitation.
Her chest heaved as she gulped in air. Her face was red—all signs she was about to have a panic attack. But his she surprised him. lowering her arms then backing toward the door, never looking away from him. She opened it wide. He didn’t spring up from his seat to stop her—the last attempt didn’t go over well. He wouldn’t be able to handle her tears a second time.
“Goodbye, Maxwell,” she said, finally turning away from him.
“Is it really goodbye, Erika? You said the same thing the first time you left me, but here we are. We’re connected and will always be no matter what obstacles are thrown at us.”
She stepped out into the hallway, clasping the doorknob. “This time you threw the obstacle out there. I really think you wanted to sabotage our relationship from the very beginning because you don’t know how to have a healthy relationship with a woman.”
“Psychoanalyzing me, Miss Walsh?” He dug his fingers into vacant seat next to him, the bite of the leather digging under his nails.
“I’ve stopped analyzing you because it makes me more confused. You make no sense, Max. I give up.”
“For now,” he volleyed back.
The knob rattled in her hold. “Whatever. I’m much stronger than you give me credit for.”
“I never thought you were weak.”
She proved her strength to him many times over. Confronting him here was a perfect example.
With precise calm, she shut the door. He didn’t even hear the snick of the lock. But then again, the blood rushing in his ears blocked out the sound.
He lay down, hoping his heart would slow down and the pounding in his head would stop. He took his cell out of his pocket, waiting for her to call, expecting some parting shot, for her to get the last word in.
His cell remained silent.
His gut clenched over the profound sense of loss.
About the Author:
KT Grant is a self-proclaimed eccentric redhead who not only loves to read a wide variety of romances, but also loves writing it. Under her alter-ego, she is a well-known book blogger who doesn’t shy away from voicing her opinion. A proud native of New Jersey, KT is multi-published and writes Gay, Lesbian and Straight romance. KT has been a top ten best-selling author at Amazon, as well as being a multiple All Romance Ebooks best seller and a Night Owl Reviews Top Author Pick.
KT loves to hear from readers. You can drop KT an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.You can also find KT at these fun places:
Blog: Babbling About Books, and More!
K.T. Grant is giving away 3 ebook sets of the first two books in the Dark Path Series, The Gate and The Key !