Monday, February 24, 2014

Spotlight and Giveaway: Prologue for Breaking Spades by W. Ferraro

We are so excited to share the prologue for Breaking Spades with you.  This is the fourth installment in the Hamden Series by W. Ferraro.  


Cecille “CeCe” Cervetti lives her life by one rule: Never let a man control her heart, ever again.

CeCe has built a life to be proud of--she’s successful in business, and in lust. Men are her playground, to take from, and use to her body’s content. They can only have what she is willing to give, so don't try asking for more.

When an unknown stalker raises the stakes, ripping away her hard won control, CeCe reluctantly seeks help from the first, and last, man she gave her heart to before he vanished from her life--Jarod Gates.

As they struggle to unmask the stalker, CeCe and Jarod learn of each other’s scarred pasts—scars that made them who they are today. But when her body screams for Jarod’s touch, can CeCe manage to keep her control? Or will Jarod make her question the one rule she’s built her life on?


Thirteen Years Ago
I want to be here. This is what I want. Maybe this will be enough. Maybe this will show him I can be what he wants.
“Come on, Kitten, let’s get these pants out of the way,” Jarod urged, his voice husky, as he turned in the cramped back seat of his 1992 Camaro. As they struggled to contort their bodies into position, CeCe noticed how cool the leather felt against her bare thighs and how sensitive her skin had become as she winced at a scratch from a tear in the seat. Neither sensation bothered her enough to stop, though. She didn’t want to stop.
He rested between her thighs, her satin panties the only barrier between her and the point of no return. His lips were warm and the path his tongue trailed along her skin, made a tingle hum to life deep inside her. His strong hands molded to her body, caressing as they went. His hands were everywhere, touching every part of her. Through the haze of incredible sensation, CeCe’s mind wandered, Was this really happening? Between Jarod’s legendary skills as a lover, and the sensations she was currently feeling, CeCe smiled to herself. If you asked her three months ago if she would be in the back of a car, about to do the nasty with someone, she would never have thought it would be this man. However, at the same time, now that she was here, it was almost like it was meant to be. Without a doubt, she was firm in her decision to give Jarod Gates her virginity.
Dylan was going to be pissed, but CeCe couldn’t think about her honorary brother, Dylan Cross, right now. Definitely no thinking of Dylan. As if he read her mind, Jarod’s fingers ignited a flash of fire, which quickly engulfed her entire bloodstream, burning away all her stray thoughts.
This was it. This was really happening. Panic began to set in. “Jarod. Jarod. Wait!”
“Come on Kitten, don’t think. Sex isn’t about thinking; it is about feeling,” he mumbled, as his soft lips continued their sensual journey around her ear lobe while his fingers confirmed what his well-used line tried to sell.
And what a feeling!
His fingers pressed against the now damp satin, and she could not control the purr that fell from her lips as his fingers flexed and caressed her center in knowing fashion. Soon CeCe was arching to get closer to the pressure he so willingly wanted to share. Just when she was sure her panting escalated to a fevered pitch, Jarod pulled until the satin ripped, exposing her completely.
“You feel ready. Tell me, Kitten, are you?” He asked, as he buried his face in the crook of her neck.
Still, rather than answering his question, CeCe found herself asking her own, “This is special, right, Jarod? Tell me I’m not the only one that wants this. I need to know this isn’t a mistake.”
Instead of words, he answered by pushing into her. He was gentle, but it still hurt. CeCe shut her eyes to the discomfort and pain, focusing on the sounds within the car. She knew he was being gentle for her and soon the discomfort was gone, and his tempo changed—demanding, but still wonderful. No words could describe how she felt. Her body felt reborn to this completely new world of sensations. Every nerve ending was alive and vibrating. Even hitting her head on the side panel to the rhythm of his thrusts didn’t detract from the splendor radiating from every cell of her being.
Within a few minutes, Jarod’s pace slowed. Lifting his head so she could look at his beautiful face, CeCe watched as his eyes squeezed shut, and his jaw clenched as he found his release. Their panting was synchronized; his body heat was hers, and they shared this amazing moment in time. CeCe ran her hand through his shaggy blonde hair. With one final kiss on her exposed breast, Jarod sat up and leaned back, extending his long legs and closing his pants. She watched his jaw tighten as if he was grinding his teeth to keep from speaking. Suddenly, the wonderful connection from a moment ago was broken by the distant look in his eyes. CeCe watched as he opened the door, pulled himself out and closed it behind him.
Through the fogged over windows she could see the orange glow of a cigarette. He stood a few paces away, with his back to the car, but she could clearly make out his lean, yet powerful build. His stance was not his usual cock-sure posture, but slumped like he was disappointed. CeCe quickly dressed and climbed out of the car, instantly assaulted by the frigid air. Surrounded by the snow covered ground and icicle laden trees, CeCe’s blood began to go cold. Something was off. Self-doubt and worse, embarrassment, settled over her.
“Jarod?” she squeaked.
He spoke without turning to face her, “Get back in the car CeCe. I’ll take you back to your car in a minute.” Even his voice was different, almost angry.
CeCe did as she was told, not knowing what else to do. After a few more minutes, he returned to the car, but as he started the engine, he completely ignored her, as if nothing had happened. He never even glanced at her; instead, his gaze remained focused on the windshield, and they rode in utter silence back to the billiard hall and her car. Still, he said nothing as she climbed out of the Camaro. Jeez, he could at least say thanks for the tumble. Barely waiting for her to get settled in her car, he peeled out without a backwards glance. As his taillights disappeared into the dark night, CeCe began to doubt everything she thought was truth. Granted, she wasn’t dumb enough to think he loved her; he’d made no declarations of the sort. He’d clearly laid the cards out for her, that he was only looking for a good time, but she thought there was…something. The way he looked at her was softer than how he looked at the other girls. His voice wasn’t as hard or sarcastic. He was different with her. At least she thought he was. But, thoughts of before couldn’t ease the tightness clawing at her belly.

Three Days Later
CeCe arrived at Chase’s Billiards after class. She told herself over and over she was just going to hang out, but the truth was she was going because it was Friday, and that meant Jarod would be there. Chase’s was a place for the local teenagers and young adults to hangout, and was considered the “cool” place to go if you lived in Appleton, or its surrounding communities. Her stomach held what must be the world population of butterflies. There might as well have been a huge neon sign with a flashing arrow pointing to it saying, “CeCe, he’s here! He’s here! Look there is even still evidence of what you’ve done on his back seat!”
Feeling her cheeks redden, CeCe parked and checked her reflection in the rearview mirror before getting out and walking inside. She was greeted by many smiles when someone announced her arrival, but the one person she wanted to see joy on his face, was the one person that didn’t even acknowledge her entrance.
After greeting and chatting with her friends, and waiting what she thought was an appropriate amount of time, CeCe walked over to the table Jarod leaned against, holding the cue between his legs talking to a cluster of applicants for his next backseat encounter.
“Hey,” she said, knowing she was really grasping at straws. No response. In fact he looked at her as if he didn’t even know her. The girls hanging on his every word looked from Jarod to CeCe then rolled their eyes at her. Between their overly small, tight clothes and their big, used-a-whole-can-of-Aquanet hairspray heads, they looked like Barbie dolls, something CeCe would never look like.
“You haven’t called,” she said with all the strength she had, knowing she was being watched like a hawk.
He looked at her for the first time, and she could have sworn his eyes were such a soft blue before turning hard, “Was I supposed to?” This earned a round of giggles from the Barbie dolls.
That hurt. She knew she was sounding desperate, but couldn’t help it. She refused to cry. “What have you been doing?”
“What are you, my mother?” Jarod barked. The Barbie’s giggled again and began to add their own monologue. Jarod shushed them with a single look. The same looked he turned on CeCe.
His coldness was like an anvil in her stomach.
“I’ve been busy. Thinking, okay? Funny thing is, you helped me make some decisions I’ve been procrastinating on. Suddenly, everything is very clear.” The way he said the last part had panic racing through her system.
“What decisions?” she asked, unable to look at him and knowing it was barely audible.
“Doesn’t concern you.” He turned and made a shot, sinking the nine ball with an angry plop, effectively dismissing her.
Didn’t he just say she helped him come to these decisions?
Wringing her hands together, desperate to flee, her feet refused to budge. She wanted to hear a word—any word to give her hope. Instead, he stood to his full 6’3” height, and turned to face his audience before loudly declaring, for all to hear, “Look, Kitten,” the word sounded vulgar to her now. “I don’t know what you think we had, but you are wrong. Just because we did the deed doesn’t mean you are anything more than a wet behind the ear kitten trying to be a tigress in the wild. Run along and play with a ball of yarn, and leave the big game to the ones who know the score.” The cruel weight of Jarod’s words increased with the loud cackling from the Barbie’s.
Her world collapsed.
CeCe turned and ran out of Chase’s without a word to her stunned friends. Her only thought to escape the horrible nightmare playing out before her. Outside she threw herself in her car and slammed the door before any of her friends could try to console her.

One Week Later
CeCe parked at Dylan’s garage, her new place to go after class since the scene from Chase’s killed her desire to step foot inside the doors. Near as she could tell, CeCe had been able to keep what happened from Dylan. No doubt if Dylan had found out, he would not have bitten his tongue. At least that was the thought when she asked the question that had been plaguing her, “Where’s Jarod?”
Dylan had introduced CeCe to Jarod. The two had met at Chase’s and formed a friendship over their love of cars. Whenever Dylan wasn’t trying to get his new construction business off the ground, you could find the duo at either Chase’s or Cal’s, the bar in Hamden, or at the garage tinkering on whichever car or bike they were working on at the time.
“Jarod?” Dylan asked, his head under the open hood of his car.
“Yeah, you know. Tall.” Gorgeous. “Bad attitude.” Makes me wet just thinking about him. “Chip on his shoulder.” Took my virginity. “Jarod, ring a bell?”
“Oh, yeah. He left.” Dylan answered, his head still under the hood.
“Left?” she felt a lead ball drop in her stomach.
“Yeah, Boot Camp. Apparently, he wants to be a Marine when he grows up.” Finally lifting his head up, Dylan turned and leaned so his butt rested on the front grill as he pulled the rag from his back pocket and began wiping his hands. “Probably a good thing anyways. I heard he went all asshole on some poor girl last week at Chase’s. A man like that needs to grow up.”
Was her skin turning as green as she felt? He left. He was gone. It really was nothing to him. She really was nothing to him—the fantasy of him coming to her and telling her he was wrong; that he didn’t mean those horrific words he had said to her—gone.
“Hey, you okay?” Dylan asked furrowing his brow.
“Who me? Oh yeah, peachy. You’re right, this town doesn’t need a man like that around.” CeCe prayed she sold the nonchalance in her voice, and vowed to never again fall for slick lines, gooey feelings and drop-dead looks. She would never be a victim again.

Afghanistan - Eighteen Months Later
Their routine mission felt anything but routine. Even as Jarod walked in formation with his squad, he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. His gaze shifted just in time to see the explosion behind him and to the left. Jarod’s body slammed into the Humvee, pain overtaking his left side as the sickening orange afterglow overtook the quiet black night. He could hear the screams of his team echo across the night; some crying out in pain while others lay stunned, unaware their limbs had been blown off.
“Take Cover! Engage!! Engage!!” Jarod heard his sergeant shouts, followed by the quick rat-a-tat-tat of return fire. Falling back, the squad regrouped and began returning fire.
“G-man! G-man, c’mon we need to get under cover. G-man, you with me?” Buffy screamed, as he hooked a huge forearm around Jarod’s back, dragging him to the front of the Humvee for cover.
“I’m with you, Buffy,” responded Jarod, as he slumped to the ground, his back against the Humvee. As he turned to fire, he noticed the shrapnel sticking out of his shoulder, side and most of his leg.
“Shoot the muthafuckas!” Buffy screamed.
Trying to block out the extreme pain, Jarod emptied the clip of his assault rifle alongside his squad. When the clip emptied, and the vibration stopped coursing through his body, his adrenaline began to level out and Jarod’s body quickly grew tired. His hearing began to fade and his vision dimmed as everything began to go dark. He could vaguely hear Buffy screaming, “G-man, stay with me, man. Stay with me. You’re gonna be fine, you hear me?” The darkened sand and devastation melted away until all he could see was a petite brunette, with curves that made his mouth water. A sweet smile and full lips begging to be kissed; skin so soft, one touch and he felt like the richest man in the world. The memory of a night almost two years ago is the only thing that kept him sane, and drove away the depression and loneliness of the Godforsaken desert. Feeling his body being moved was enough to jostle her perfect image and pull him from her welcome warmth.
“G-man, do you hear me? God Dammit! Don’t you dare die on me, you pussy!”
Stay with me. Don’t leave me…CeCe! There was no answer, only her beautiful smile before everything went black.

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