My second book up for grabs is Between Heaven and Hell. All you have to do to be entered in the contest is answer this question:

When was Between Heaven and Hell released and from what publisher?

Please post your answer in the comments section below, along with your email address, in case you’re the lucky winner. (You can enter more than one giveaway). I’ll be drawing a name tonight around 11PM (CST), and the winners name will be posted here. (Hint: The answer can be found here).

————————————————————

heavenandhellBlurb: Somewhere between Heaven and Hell … there are nightmares. After being forced to confront an abusive ex-lover in court, Elaina Richmond wanted nothing more than to get away from the trial and the nightmares that came with it. Escaping to her Aunt and Uncle’s vineyard in the rolling hills of Sonoma, California, she is reunited with her first love, Caden Russell. An old flame is rekindled. Though Heaven is found in his arms once again, Elaina soon discovers that the Devil has a way of finding you … especially when there’s hope to destroy.

Excerpt: Daylight came much too early. As soon as Elaina opened her eyes, she looked for Caden, but he was gone. The onset of guilt was immediate. She felt horrible for waking him during the night. No doubt he probably thought she’d lost her mind. Jumping out of bed, she rushed to get dressed so she could find him and apologize.

The workers were arriving when she made her way outside, and she could smell Aunt Viv’s cooking the moment she stepped out the door. After walking to the other
guesthouse, she knocked on the front door, but Caden never answered. Her gaze roamed the outskirts of the vineyard, but there was still no sign of him. Maybe Uncle Thomas would know where he was. Bounding up the front porch steps of the main house, she heard laughter coming from the kitchen. Her heart thumped erratically. Caden’s deep laugh was easy to recognize. The smell of bacon and eggs had her stomach rumbling as she made her way inside to the kitchen where her aunt, uncle, and Caden were gathered around the table.

“Elaina, love! Good morning,” her aunt chimed. “Did you sleep well?”

Looking in Caden’s direction, she was unsure what to say. Did he tell them what had happened? He smiled at her and winked.

“I did,” she replied.

“Oh … my heavens, Elaina! What happened to your neck?” Aunt Vivien exclaimed, moving several of Elaina’s long tendrils of hair to the side so she could get a better view of the cuts there. Her mouth opened as she shook her head back and forth in dismay.

“It’s okay, Aunt Viv. Really. I went walking through the vineyard last night and I must have brushed against one of the vines.”

She hated lying, but at least it saved her aunt from a truth she wasn’t ready to hear. From the corner of her eye, she saw Caden look down at his plate. Apparently, their thoughts were in the same place.

“There should be an antibiotic ointment in one of the kitchen cabinets in your guesthouse. I keep some there for the workers when they get scrapes from working in the vineyard. You should put some on those so they don’t get infected.”

Elaina lightly kissed her aunt’s forehead and smiled down at her.

“I will. I promise. Now stop worrying.”

Mustering a smile, Aunt Vivien picked up an empty plate from the table and piled it with scrambled eggs and two slices of bacon, while Elaina sat down in the only remaining seat available, next to Caden.

“Good morning, Elaina,” he said softly. The way his brown eyes sparkled when he said her name caused a bolt of electricity to rush through her body. Even her toes shook.

“Good morning.”

She tried to eat the breakfast Aunt Viv placed in front of her, but with Caden sitting so close, it was impossible to focus on food. Nibbling absentmindedly, she listened while they continued their conversation. She caught pieces of information about problems with one of the stemmer crushers in the winery, and also something about a large retail client coming in a few days for a pickup. She made a futile attempt to look interested, but it was hard to drag her attention away from Caden sitting beside her. The outline of his sculpted thigh muscles against his jeans was very distracting, to say the least. Remembering what was underneath the jeans almost made her choke on her orange juice.

“Elaina?”

Shaking her head to clear her thoughts, she looked at her aunt questioningly.

“Thomas and I have to make a trip into town for some things. Would you like to join us?”

Normally, she would have said yes, but she still needed to get Caden alone so she could explain what had happened the night before and apologize.

“I’d like to call Mom and talk to her awhile, if that’s okay.”

Her aunt smiled, looking toward Caden and back to Elaina again. Vivien tried not to act enthusiastic, but her face gave her away. It seemed to take forever before her aunt and uncle finally stopped talking and headed for the door. Caden was given a list of things to do at the winery while Elaina kept her mind preoccupied with clearing the table. Once they were gone, and she heard the truck engine roar to life, she turned to face him.

“Caden, I’m so sorry about last night,” she began, trying to ignore the knot in her stomach. “I didn’t mean to wake you. I feel terrible about it.”

He was on his feet the moment she started speaking. When he came to stand in front of her, she put her hands in her jeans pockets so he wouldn’t notice them shaking. Why the **** couldn’t she control herself around him? It wasn’t like she was still eighteen years old. She was a grown woman, for crying out loud.

“Elaina, please don’t. There’s no need to apologize to me. I was glad I could be there for you. I just wish I could have done more to help you.”

The sincerity in his voice was unexpected, and at first she didn’t know what to say.

“Just knowing you were there was more help to me than you could ever imagine. Thank you,” she replied, reaching out to touch his arm.

He smiled as he looked down at her arm, but seconds later his smile seemed to vanish.

“What … what is this?”

His voice sounded strained and very unlike him. With his hand around her wrist, he turned her arm over and pulled up her sleeve so that he could better see underneath it. She tried to pull away from him, but he held her securely so she couldn’t move. His jaw dropped open, but no words came out. With his other hand, he slid his fingertips against the jagged row of scars that began at her wrist and stopped halfway up her arm. The muscles in his jaw clenched and unclenched several times, and he pressed his lips so tightly together they looked almost white. Several minutes passed, and he was so deathly quiet it was starting to alarm her. She wished she could kick herself for not wearing a shirt with tighter sleeves like she usually did. She didn’t want his pity. She didn’t want anyone’s pity.

Reaching out, he pulled her other hand from her jeans pocket and turned her arm over. Pulling up her sleeve, he saw the identical scars there, which did nothing but make the fury in his eyes that much worse. He tried to look into her eyes, but she kept her head down. Madelyn was the only person she had shown her scars to willingly. Her parents had never been aware of them until she had been forced to mention it during the trial. Hiding the truth from them had been for their own peace of mind.

“Are there any more?” he asked between gritted teeth.

She didn’t want to show him, but there was no turning back now. Prying her hands free from his grasp, she pulled her shirt up to just under her breasts. With her pants low on her hips, the numerous circular scars on her stomach were clearly evident. For a moment, he was speechless. She was expecting his remorse, but instead he just remained silent. When he suddenly dropped to his knees in front of her, it caught her completely off guard.

Placing his hands on her hips, he pulled her toward him and pressed a cheek against her stomach. The anger that flowed through him made his skin even hotter. Unable to stop herself, she placed a hand on his head and held him close to her body. They stayed that way for a long time until Caden sat back on his heels and looked up at her.

“Elaina, you should never…” He faltered, trying to remain calm. “It’s not right. You should never have to endure something like that.”

Inhaling deeply, he extended a hand and traced the scars on her stomach with his fingertips before pressing his lips to them, one by one. It was a move that took her by surprise and made her knees weaken. After kissing each scar, he took her hands in his again and turned her arms over so that he could do the same to them. He took his time, giving the same attention to each injury. It was such a tender gesture that it brought her to the verge of tears. She never would have expected him, or anyone, to act in such a way. Once finished, he stood up and cradled her head in his hands. Tilting her head back slightly, he nuzzled the cuts on her throat with his lips before moving upward along the length of her jaw. Then, very gently, he kissed her closed eyelids, her cheeks, her nose … and finally her lips.

Nothing had changed in all the years they’d been apart. He was still able to make her quiver from her head straight down to her toes. He seemed wary at first and just barely touched his lips to hers as if she were the most fragile thing he had ever held. Still, it didn’t take long before his kisses intensified. The moment he coaxed her lips apart with his tongue, she was ready for him.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This