Show Me the Way (Fight for Me #1) by A.L. Jackson
Rex Gunner. As bitter as he is beautiful.
The owner of the largest construction company in Gingham Lakes has been burned one too many times. His wife leaving him to raise their daughter was the last blow this single dad could take. The only woman he’ll let into his heart is his little girl.
Rynna Dayne. As vulnerable as she is tempting.
She ran from Gingham Lakes when she was seventeen. She swore to herself she would never return. Then her grandmother passed away and left her the deed to the diner that she once loved.
When Rex meets his new neighbor, he knows he’s in trouble.
Will he hide behind his walls or will he take the chance . . .
Excerpt #1 Show Me the Way
A gasp ripped from my chest when I was suddenly swept off my feet and into the strength and security of Rex’s arms. He had one arm under my back and the other beneath my knees, my body held possessively against the strength of his chest.
“Won’t let anyone hurt you,” he murmured against my forehead. Carrying me, he angled through the door “I’m gonna take care of you.”
“Rex.” It was a whimper.
“Shh. I know, baby. I know.”
I clung to his neck as he carried me upstairs. At the landing, he took a left and headed into my bedroom, pushing right past my unmade bed and through the cutout arch that led to the bathroom.
As if this man already knew the way.
He set me on unsteady feet and turned me to face counter. My eyes met his in the mirror. A low growl climbed his throat, and he leaned around me to turn on the faucet.
The air constricted.
I swore, our slowed, measured movements attracted every molecule within a five mile radius. He wrapped his arms around me from behind, taking my hands in his and placing them beneath the fall of warm water. He gently rubbed our hands together, the basin filling with pink-tinged water as he scrubbed the blood free from our dirtied hands.
His voice dropped so low as he whispered in my ear, “Two weeks, Rynna. Two weeks I’ve been dying, hating the way I left things between us. Hating that I hurt you.”
His words brushed my cheek and his presence filled my senses.
He squirted soap onto our hands, continuing to wash away this afternoon, as if he wanted to erase the possibility of what could have happened.
His voice was a soft scrape at the shell of my ear, sending shivers down my neck, turning my heart into a thundering orb at the center of my chest. “All that time, I was wishing with every part of me I could change my circumstances. That I could be right for you. Then this, Rynna. Then this happened and I don’t fucking care, anymore. Don’t fucking care that this is wrong.”
His eyes captured mine through the mirror. They flashed with a warning. An omen. A prediction.
“I’m not afraid,” I whispered, my promise striking the throbbing air. He gathered my hair in his hand, shifting it all to one side, exposing my neck. He pressed his lips there in the barest kiss. “That’s funny, because I’m fucking terrified of you.” His nose ran up to the back of my ear. “Terrified of this.”
A shiver rolled down my spine, and Rex eased back a fraction, taking the hem of my shirt and drawing it slowly up my body.
That shiver shifted. An avalanche of chills. He peeled it over his head before he did the same to his own, scrubbing at his face before he tossed his shirt to his feet.
My gaze traced him through the mirror, and I swallowed around the emotion that grew thick at the base of my throat.
This complicated, amazing man. He made me crazy with desire. Crazy with need. Crazy with this want that had become its own entity inside of me.
He reached up and let his fingertips flutter across my exposed shoulder and down my arm. Tingles spread in a slow slide. All the fear I’d felt earlier transformed into this emotion I wasn’t sure I’d ever felt before.
Something so real it staggered my senses.
He reached back and unfastened my bra, drawing the straps down my arms.
My nipples pebbled as my breasts were exposed, and his chest heaved with a grunt. “So beautiful. So goddamned beautiful,” he murmured.
His fingers pressed under the waistband of my shorts.
“You want this, Rynna? You want me?” There was a tremor in his words. That same warning that flamed in his eyes. “Because I’m done running from you.”
“I want you so badly it hurts.”
He heaved a breath before he dipped down and kissed a path down my spine as he dragged my shorts and underwear down my legs.
“Oh God,” I whimpered, hit by an onslaught of sensation.
Need and want and desire.
But it was that emotion that pulsed in my depths of me that nearly sent me to my knees. Wave after wave. Seeping and saturating. Trembling in my throat and tightening in my stomach.
“Rynna.” It was a groan as he kissed down the cleft of my bottom and unwound my clothing from my feet, the sound so guttural it rumbled against the walls.
Then I was back in his arms and he was carrying me to my bed, lying me in the middle.
He stood at the side of my bed with his chest heaving. So much stunning strength. The man so gorgeous and darkly appealing my mouth went dry.
Every thought and reservation fled from my mind. Every pep talk I’d given myself over the last two weeks about forgetting him and moving on scattered in the wind.
Because when it was just him and me?
There was nothing but the beat of our hearts.
Nothing but the call of our spirits. It was something louder than all the questions. Something bigger than his past. Something higher than our obstacles.
Something fierce rippled as he looked down at me completely naked on my bed.
“Are you sure?” he grated.
My hands fisted in my sheets, my body arching toward him. Needing him in a way I’d never needed anyone before. “I already told you I’m not afraid. You, Rex Gunner, are a chance I’m willing to take.”
Excerpt #2 Show Me the Way
© 2017 A.L. Jackson Books
Tension roiled between us. That tether pulled taut. Drawing us closer. I swallowed around it and reached for the latch. He was quick to open his door, jumping out and rounding to my side before I had time to step out of his massive truck. He helped me down, and his hand scorched where he aided me by holding on to my elbow.
“Let me walk you to the door. Last thing I need to be worried about is you here by yourself and some asshole taking advantage of you.”
He quirked this belly-flopping grin that pierced me like an arrow. “Unless of course that asshole is me.”
He barely angled his head to the side. There was something so endearing and self-deprecating about it. Everything about him right then was at odds with the surly, bear of a man I’d met weeks ago, the man exposing himself, layer by layer.
I lifted my chin, both in strength and vulnerability, tossing all the uncertainties and questions out into the open. “Should I be afraid?”
“Yeah, you should be.” His response was hard, but there was no missing the fact his irritation was aimed at himself. He set his palm on the small of my back, helping me through the gravel drive in my heels, an inch behind as we ascended the porch steps.
We crossed the planks. That tension wound higher with each step until we were nothing but needy pants at my door. Slowly, I turned around to face him.
His presence sent a ripple of energy vibrating across the floorboards, the overwhelming sight of him the owner of my breath.
He stood beneath the faint glow of the hurricane lamp that hung outside the door. A sculpture of sinewy muscle and raw strength, forged through years of obvious physical labor. Every inch of him was rugged, from those roughened, callused hands to the crinkles set deep at the edges of his eyes.
The man was a carving of pure, daunting beauty.
“What exactly am I supposed to be afraid of, Rex?” My brow twisted, and my voice quieted with the admission. “Because when I’m around you, the last thing I feel is afraid.”
“I fuck everything up, Rynna, and the only thing I’ve got to offer you is my mess. I can’t do this.”
Restraint rumbled in his chest, the sound so deep I felt it shake the ground beneath my feet.
I gently cupped one side of his rugged face. “I’m not afraid.”
It was a promise.
“You should be,” he grated. “Warned you, my shit doesn’t ever end well.”
“Maybe that’s a chance I’m willing to take.”
He groaned and he planted his hands high above my head. The man panted above me, torn, desperate, his nose just brushing mine. “God damn it, Rynna. God damn it.”
I felt the moment he broke. When the thread pulled too tight and this mesmerizing man snapped. His mouth descended on mine.
Lips and tongue and nips of teeth.
And those hands. They were on my face. My neck. My waist. Somehow, I managed to hold on to him and spin away as I fumbled with the lock. He pressed against my backside, his cock against my bottom, and his mouth leaving a trail of fire at the side of my neck. We stumbled into the darkness of my house, breaking apart as I turned to face him.
The only light trickled down from the lamp I’d left on upstairs.
Slowly, he clicked the door shut behind him. We stood there, two feet away from each other, staring.
Before we collided.
A tangle of tongues and bodies.
The man frantic, trying to touch me everywhere.
“What am I doing? Fuck, what am I doing?” he muttered incoherently, kissing me deeper. Madder. Wilder.
I pushed up on my toes and tore my mouth from his so I could kiss down the strong column of his throat. His head thudded back against the door, his entire body pressing against it as if he needed it to keep him standing.
He grated my name, and I kept kissing at his throat while I worked free the button on his jeans, hands shaking.
Every reservation spun out of control.
Out of reach.
It was only spurred further when the defined muscles of his abdomen jumped and twitched beneath my touch, when he mumbled, “You’re killing me, Rynna. Fucking killing me.”
Desire rippled from him in heady waves.
And I felt so brave and bold, my kisses brazen as I nipped at the hollow of his throat.
Before I could consider it—the ramifications and the repercussions and the distinct threat to my heart—I dropped to my knees.
I refused to think of anything but setting him free.
Hoping he’d find a little of that freedom in me.