My next scene is from Long Gone, the fourth book in the New Beginning Series.
The hope of a future for the broken begins in Mourning.
Reporter Eve Darling has the story of lifetime, a candidate for governor and his brother connived a baby away from a teenage mom and plan on repeating it. Her boss won’t believe without a source. Eve isn’t willing to give up the first woman–herself. She turns to skip-tracer Alex Stratford to help locate the new intended victim.
Alex is stunned when Eve shows up and requests help. The woman who once accused him of murder now accuses another man of a crime. Having battled Eve’s mudslinging himself, and barely winning, Alex refuses.
Determined to bring the brothers to justice, Eve continues on her mission alone. When she’s attacked, Alex rushes to her aid–and a decision alters lives forever. Can a battered and disgraced Eve and a battle-scarred Alex ever feel worthy of love from another…or themselves?
“Heroes don’t let people die,” Alex said.
“I know her death is still so painful for you. It had to be hard witnessing–”
Alex pushed his plate back. “Talking about not talking about a topic, is still talking about the topic. Can you please just leave it alone?”
“Even when I’m trying to be supportive, I can’t do it right.” Eve slapped her hands to her side and rose.
Alex looked down at the table. “It’s not you. I just can’t be made to feel better about this.”
“Why not?” She walked behind him and rested her hands on the knotted muscles of his shoulders. He was a good, decent guy and deserved the same type of life. Why was it out of his reach?
Why did he want it out of his reach?
Eve didn’t get it. It was the one reality making her turn away, instead of to, religion. If the people who believed in God and did everything to make life safe and happy for others had hardships thrown at them, what would she be given?
“It’s just the way it is. I need to work it out myself.” Alex’s drew in a deep breath. He reached up and placed his hands on hers, giving them a squeeze. “I am all right, Eve. I just need time alone.”
She started to ask if he was sure but stopped herself. How many different ways would she make the poor guy say it? “I’ll clean up then head to bed.”
“You cooked so I clean. It’s the way it usually works around here.”
“Good night. Have pleasant dreams.” Eve drifted her right hand across Alex’s back and leaned over to kiss his cheek.
At the same moment, Alex turned his head toward her. Their lips met.
The soft brush of his mouth against hers sent a tingling through her heart. She had the sudden urge to dance and giggle. Instead, she remained still and closed her eyes. She wanted to enjoy the moment and bask in the warmth flooding through her heart. This wasn’t desire. It was happiness.
Alex hadn’t moved away from her. Joy bounced along her nerves. He didn’t mind the accidental kiss. Eve brushed her lips across his and wound an arm around his shoulders for balance. His hand went to her waist, drawing her closer.
The side of the chair pressed into her thigh. Keeping contact, Eve scooted around to rid herself of the discomfort. The pressure of the kiss increased. An ached developed in her back. Eve didn’t want the small aches and pains in her body ruining the delight she felt with Alex’s kiss.
Eve eased onto Alex’s lap and tightened the clasp around his neck. Alex wrapped his arm around her, one hand slid up her back to caress her neck and shoulder. Delight wiggled through her. Eve pressed into his chest. She roamed her hands from his strong, broad shoulders, to his neck, then ran her fingers through his damp hair.
With a low groan, Alex slid his mouth from hers. He rested his head on her shoulder, his breathing fast and erratic.
Kissing Alex wiped away all her troubles, doubts, and even the horror of the last time a man touched her — when Brandon attacked her.
Alex’s kiss was gentle yet strong. Allowing her to control the intensity until Alex ended it. Eve tried to lift his head, wanting to continue their soul-shaking, soul-satisfying kiss.
“No more.” Alex breathed the words against her throat. “We shouldn’t.”
He was right. His parents, one of the women living there, or one of the children could walk in on them. She didn’t want anyone thinking he took advantage of her.
Eve stood. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
If you’d like to read Eve and Alex’s story, Long Gone can be found at:
Print copy to be available this spring.