Excerpt Fallen Rose by Amelia Wilde
Leo’s grip tightens. He takes my air away. Makes it hard to breathe for long enough that my heart kicks up into a sprint. Even now, even when I can’t breathe, he smells so good I could die. Like a clean winter forest. Like a dark night.
He leans down and bites me. His teeth sink into the place where my neck curves into my shoulder, the heat of his breath tracing the marks. I’m on fire, lit up with him, every nerve responding to the pain. He’s never bitten me this hard before, never while he’s choking me like this, and I suck in a gasp.
Leo shoves himself away from me. My spine knocks against hardwood as he backs away with a growl. “Get out of here,” he says. “Go to the guest room.”
“What?” I put my hand where he touched me, press in like I can recreate the sensation. “No. I don’t want to leave.”
Leo looks me in the eye, and my heart thuds. Cracks. “I’ll be too rough with you. I’ll tear you apart.”
A heartbeat of fear. Another one of recognition. The gold in his eyes blazes with fury he’s not bothering to suppress.
Or that he can’t suppress.
The truth arrives like a bullet.
I’ve only ever had sex with Leo Morelli. The man standing in front of me now is the Beast of Bishop’s Landing.
This is the person Leo became to survive his father. This is the person he became to protect his siblings, and his secrets. I thought it was all an act. I thought he was only pretending to be angry. That it was skin-deep. A performance. And sometimes it is. Sometimes he allows people to think he is angry when he is really in pain. He allows people to think he’s ruthless and bloodthirsty when he is considered and calculated.
Now it’s real.
I’ll tear you apart sounded so raw, so violent, that I know it’s real. And it’s too late to stop it. Too late to hide it.
He’s trying anyway, though his anger is all in the open, it’s crackling in the air around us. It’s making the hairs on the backs of my arms stand up.
“Go,” he orders.
“No.” I separate myself from the door and take three steps toward him. Close enough for him to reach me. My body quakes with how lethal he is but I’ll never run from him. Never. Never. Never. “I want all of you. Even the beast.”
I look at him then. Really look. And I see everything. The agonized set of his shoulders. The way he stands up so tall as a way to keep himself in check. His hands shoved into his pockets to keep them off me.
The need in his eyes. A deep, animal need. He’s practically vibrating with it. Leo’s jaw works. “I promise, darling. I won’t be gentle.”
It’s as clear a warning as I’ve ever heard. This is my only chance to back out of this. To run to the guest room and lock the door. He’ll let me do it. Leo’s voice swears off softness.
I lift one hand and pull down the neck of my nightgown to bare my throat to him.
I show him the marks he’s already made.
“All of you,” I tell him. “Please.”
One second he’s standing there, and the next he’s all furious motion. It’s like the night he came after me. Watching him run into that alley was the most magnificent thing I’ve ever seen. He is equally stunning now. A graceful violence. His hands are all over me. Squeezing. Pinching. Bruising. He bites me again, layering more marks on top of the fresh one, and I cry out at how sharp the pain is. How little he’s holding back.
Leo tears my nightgown off. Shreds the fabric. Splits it down the middle.
He tears through the panties I’m wearing underneath.
When I’m naked, when there’s nothing left between us, he takes my face in his hands and kisses me in the ruins of my clothes. He kisses me so hard I taste blood. There is nothing gentle in his tongue, or his teeth, and I owe him everything, he is everything, because if he was soft with me now, I would be sick.
It’s not cruelty, the way he hurts me now. We are beyond things like cruelty and kindness. This is claiming.