Friday, December 19, 2014

Cover Reveal and Excerpt: Thick Love by Eden Butler

Title: Thick Love (Thin Love, #2)
Author: Eden Butler
Genre: NA | Contemporary Romance
Expected Release Date: August 2015

He doesn’t ask their names.
He doesn’t deserve to know them.
Ransom Riley Hale's friends think his life is charmed: first string as a freshman on a championship-winning college football team. A father with two superbowl rings. A mother with platinum albums and multiple Grammies under her belt. But he knows that brilliant shine on the surface hides the darkness beneath; it's all Ransom has ever known.
Despite the shadows he walked in, once there was a blinding light fracturing the darkness. It brought the promise of hope and happiness. He’d been careless, filled with pride and stupidity and lost that light. Ripped it from the world.
Now, the shadows dimming again. Aly King surges into his life threatening to pull him from the darkness. She is everything Ransom can never be again. Her light feels too warm, promises him that there is more waiting for him beyond the shadows.
But the shadows are relentless, resurfacing when he thinks he is safe, and Ransom knows he must keep Aly from them too before he pulls her down into the darkness with him.
*Unedited As of This Publication*
  Ronnie Blanchard had been playing that damn song for a half an hour straight. A shower, an attempt to drown myself under the blissfully hot spray hadn’t taken the headache from my skull or lessened the constant bump of the bass line downstairs. Fuck, how I hated Chris Brown. After our third straight win and telling my parents I just wanted to chill at the team house, I’d managed to get away from Blanchard and that stupid song by leaving the party still raging below. Just a few weeks into my first college football season and I’d already learned one thing about Claiborne-Prosper University: these assholes considered partying a God-given right. But, only when we win. The bathroom in my room was small and the hot water fogged up the mirror, filtered the air with heat so thick I grabbed a towel and swung the door open before I completely dried off. It didn’t matter. No one would see my naked ass in this room. It was mine, private, just one of the perks of having a high ACT score and a coaching staff that hoped I’d play as well as my father had when he was on the defensive line. But “private room” didn’t always equal privacy, a fact that became abundantly clear when I walked out of the bathroom and found a pretty girl I didn’t know sitting on the edge of my bed. Fuck. Why do they always send me the redheads? And it was red, more auburn than orange and it fell past her elbows, had long waves working through the strands. Those eyes are dark, like the color of whiskey that shone against the lamp light on my bedside table. She looked scared, like seeing me in nothing but a towel with water dotted over my shoulders and chest was some sort of threat to her. Hell, she was in my room and I still got that don’t hurt me vibe from her. “You lost, sweetheart?” I tried to make my voice calm, hoping that she wouldn’t catch on to how annoyed I was. This shit was getting old. “No.” That answer was barely a squeak and figuring she might be more relaxed if I wasn’t naked, I only moved my chin, acknowledging her before I hurried to my dresser to fish out a pair of boxers and a t-shirt. Her voice came out louder, clearer as she moved from the bed. “They said…well, that Trent guy said you might…want to…” She stopped her explanation as a low grunt moved from my throat. Trent Fucking Marshall. That asshole was always tossing girls in my room, knowing I wouldn’t be a bastard to them. “He trying to hook up with a friend of yours?” I watched the girl in the mirror over my dresser, trying pull up my boxers without dropping my towel. But, shit, maybe I should try and scare her off. She didn’t even look legal. “How did you know?” Tone light, distracted, I caught her gaze lowering, following the towel as I dropped it. It wasn’t something that surprised me. Girls watched. They liked to pretend they didn’t, but they always watched. The redhead jerked her attention back to me when I turned around to face her. “Um. He said I was your type.” “Did he now?” The blush was killing me. She was too damn pretty, nice curves, long legs, but she looked too young That red flushed against her pale skin grew the longer she raked her gaze over my body and I forgot that I was annoyed by my surprise visitor. She only nodded in response, curled her arms around her waist as though she needed to keep her hands to herself. “He said…” She stopped speaking, deciding, I guessed, that biting her lip would snap some sort of sense back into her pretty head. “He said that you…” Those red splotches on her cheeks darkened and I could tell her nerves were totally shot. “Hey,” I said, stepping in front of her, making her look up at me. “You okay?” I doubted the nod she gave me. It was all bravado. Someone must have laid it on heavy and thick and this girl seemed eager to see if the rumors about me were true. I wasn’t immune to a pretty smile, but God knows I didn’t deserve the attention. If any of them knew me, the real me, how fucked up and twisted I could be, not one of them would come tapping on my door. The only thing you will ever give anyone in this life is heartache. I should get that shit tattooed on my forehead. It was an insult I took like medicine, one that I tried to prove wrong every time some random girl came around me wanting a taste. I wouldn’t take one for myself, but I could at least give them what they asked for. When the girl moved her head down, pulled those arms tighter around herself, I rubbed my eyes, trying to keep that insult from sticking, shouting too loud in my head. “Are you even legal?” I asked her, voice soft. No matter what I’d done, I wasn’t going to jail for any damn body. This time when she nodded, I believed her. “I hit eighteen last month.” “I’m not trying to get arrested.” “I can show you my I.D.” How desperate was she? How badly did she want this? I didn’t think about what I’d get out of her being here. I never did, but it always blew my mind when girls hit on me, when they fucking begged to be with me like I was some sort of big Hawaiian rock star and not the dumbass jock I knew I was. She followed me around the room, watched as I tugged on my shirt, ran the towel through my damp hair and I let her, wanted to give her a second to change her mind. “I heard things…” she started, her voice following me as I sat on the desk next to the door. She didn’t stand close, but she had dropped her arms, seemed to relax. “I bet you did.” Those fucking rumors had my reputation a bit inflated. I wasn’t the whore of CPU. I didn’t fuck anything that offered it to me. That much, at least was all bullshit. But I liked to touch. I liked to service and girls, I guessed, talked just as much as guys did. Maybe more. Word got around, some of it ridiculous, along the “Poor, broken Ransom” variety. Some were spot on. “He won’t let you touch him.” No. I wouldn’t. No one touched me. Not ever. “The thing is, I didn’t believe them.” The shrug was cute, a little self-effacing but I didn’t think it was an act. This girl was genuinely curious, nervous. I liked that. “I just wanted to know if it was true.” She watched me close as I nodded, but didn’t ask for any explanations. She only stared back at me as I assessed, wondered if she wanted what they all did. Hoping, she didn’t. Knowing she did. I licked my lips and stood in front of her, trying to keep my tone light, curious. “You wanna know if I will make you come?” That damn blush resurfaced and just then I didn’t care why she was in my room. The innocent, sweet bit wore me down and I wanted to touch her. I wanted to show her how good I could make her feel. “Has anyone ever done that to you?” “No.” Red pushed her hair off her shoulder, looked at her feet and when she spoke, I had to twist my head down to hear her. “Not really.” “Alright,” I said, offering her my hand and she took it, glanced up at my face like she wanted to make sure I wasn’t messing with her. “My name is…” “No.” She didn’t recoil or step back when I dropped her hand. “I can’t know it.” “So. It’s true then?” “That I do this and nothing else?” She nodded, took to biting her lip again and I felt like an asshole, like I’d just deflated whatever bullshit ideas she’d had about me. Her skin felt like satin, pale and soft and fine to the touch when I brushed my fingers over her face. I could smell the faint hint of cinnamon from her breath and the sweet scent of lilac in her hair. Sensory overload was always my downfall. I liked all mine engaged and this pretty little girl managed that without any effort whatsoever. It was always the hardest part for me; pushing back the sensation, the sights and smells that women put off. It always had me doubling my efforts, ignoring how my body reacted to it, ignoring what my brain told me I needed. Her warm breath against my wrist when she kissed me there, forced me to close my eyes, to take control when my body wanted nothing more than to take her, lose myself, forget what I’d done at sixteen, just for a moment. “Lay on the bed and I’ll show you.” She wasn’t eager, didn’t shoot straight to the bed and I liked how cautious she was, how she kept her eyes up, straight at me as she climbed in the middle of my black sheets. She even lost her shoes, tucked her feet under and kept her hands on her lap, like she need me directing her. That would help me to keep from letting things slip out of control. I appreciated how perceptive she was, how she let me take the reins, but she sat with her back too stiff, with her shoulders too straight. That wouldn’t work. I needed her relaxed. “You nervous?” She only nodded, her apparent go-to response but I didn’t laugh at her, didn’t do much more than mimic her nod and sat in front of her with my thumb tracing across her knuckles. “Don’t be, sweetheart. I don’t bite.” Those thin fingers of hers shook under my touch and I slid closer, hoping my size, my width didn’t scare her. It was damn hard making this body seem less threatening, but I always tried. “At least…I don’t bite hard.” The little joke worked and Red gave me a smile, moving her shoulders down, then laying back against the pillow when I caught the back of her neck and led her there. “You ever touch yourself?” “Sometimes. Well, not a lot.” “You’ve never made yourself come?” “I haven’t ever…” I stopped her explanation with a twist of my chin, feeling a sudden need to make this right, to make it perfect. Maybe this night would set the tone, lift the expectations of what she wanted. Maybe the way I touched her, taught her, would have Red expecting nothing but mind-blowing orgasm from anyone she was with. I could not fuck this up. “Can you unbutton your shirt?” She tried, her movements a little shaky, disjointed and I covered her trembling fingers with my hand. “Want me to help you?” Another nod and I caught her throat working as she swallowed, the small breaths that moved past her open mouth as I slipped each button open. “Don’t be scared about this. If you are, it makes coming difficult.” The bra was pink with white lace covering the cups and I closed my eyes, took several deep breaths when my dick throbbed against my boxers. A spattering of freckles speckled along her collarbone. So fucking similar. Christ, I needed to stay away from redheads. Spotting each one, I remembered the first time I’d touched a girl, the first time I’d kissed skin this soft. I had to squeeze my eyes tight, force out that first time, all the times after that one. Instead, I focused on the girl laying in front of me. I concentrated on lowering those pink straps, on running my tongue over the curves of her generous tits. “You’re beautiful here, sugar.” She tasted like her lilac-smelling perfume. She was delicious and I craved more of that skin, more of the sounds she made as I kissed up her neck, over her collarbone. “And here…” I said, marveling at those perfectly round nipples I uncovered, loving the shocked, awed expression on her face when I grazed my thumb over that peak. “Pink and hard, just the way I like them.” She moaned, the sound louder, breathless when I took her nipple between my thumb and forefinger. The sensations rose up then, her voice like a melody, those raspy intakes of breath heady, shooting straight to my dick. “That feels good, doesn’t it?” “Yeah…yes.” And the rasp in her voice only caught, became breathless when I rolled the nipple with a little more pressure. “God I’m…” I caught the signs, knew what she wanted, knew that she was scared, still nervous around me. She gripped her inner thigh, tugging on her loose skirt and I couldn’t help but grin, knowing she was just on the edge of having what she wanted. She was right there and I’d gladly see her off that cliff. “Touch yourself if you need to.” Red’s quick glance, her widened eyes and the return of that blush pulled a small laugh from me. “You don’t need to worry about me, sweetheart. Nothing you do leaves this room. On my hon…” No. I couldn’t say that. I had no honor. Not anymore. Not after what I’d done. I wanted it back, I wanted to earn it, but it wasn’t mine, not yet. “I promise.” “I don’t know…how.” “I’ll show you.” I was careful to watch her face, gage her reactions, see if she’d change her mind, but my fingers on her skirt, pulling, then slipping down her too sweet, too girly cotton panties did nothing to make her stop me. “Relax. Just take a breath.” And she tried, nodded again but dug her fingers into my sheets as though she needed some grip to keep gravity in check, like she couldn’t manage to trust touching herself. It was fine. I’d do it for her. She was pink everywhere. Pink and wet and pulsing like a grape on the vine full and ready for the taking. This wouldn’t take long, I knew that. This girl was desperate and hungry for something she couldn’t quite reach. Something she probably didn’t even understand. So I was gentle as I lowered over her, as I separated her folds with my big fingers and brushed my tongue against that swollen clit. I thought she probably felt my smile against her pussy when I watched her, when the flush on her skin and those panting breaths made her skin glow. God, she looked beautiful. So looked ready to burst. “Is that good?” “So…so good. God…” “This is better.” Red bucked against my fingers when I slipped them inside, feeling the searing heat of her pussy, the tight, tight muscles that wrapped around my fingers. Fuck, those smells, the feel of her, the hiss of her throaty voice when she groaned, it was like a slice to my chest, feeling all of this at once, knowing I could only taste, could on touch. My penance. My punishment for taking something that had never been mine. “Ransom…oh God…what…Oh!” Fingers dipping deeper, tonguing flicking fast against her clit, Red only became wetter and she dug her fingers so hard against my sheets that her knuckles turned white. “Squeeze my fingers.” And she did, tight, greedy grip around my fingers and then the memory came back, like it always did. That small body, that sweet, sweet taste, the first I’d ever had. The way she’d called my name, how she’d tasted on my tongue. That memory cripples me. Every damn time. The memory stung, but I let it in, taking that pain, cradling it—Emily’s tight, wet body gripping my fingers, how fascinated I’d been by her reactions, by how responsive she was. I had felt like a god. I’d felt powerful and strong and so very astounded that it was me, the clumsy, senseless sixteen year old that made Emily writhe against my fingers. Me that had her pulling at my hair, pushing me closer into her body. Red’s climax was hard and I took her scream, her quaking body as my chance to dry my face, to scrub my palms into my eyes, hoping that the memory would fade; hoping that Emily’s face, her taste would finally be erased by the girl laying next to me. But again, it hadn’t worked. Maybe it was the red hair. Maybe it was the freckles, but for the hundred time it seemed, touching another girl, tasting someone else’s body, hadn’t managed to pull Emily from my thoughts. I didn’t think anyone ever would. When the girl’s breaths evened out and she rolled to her side, I took her hand, laid next to her. “When you’re alone, when you want to feel this again, touch yourself deep.” I picked up her hand, kissed her knuckles. “Use those beautiful hips to ride your fingers.” “O…okay.” I liked that she was shy again, as though she was just realizing that it was her voice that shouted out into the room, her body that had washed over in pleasure. But the blush didn’t return. “Don’t ever let anybody tell you what your body needs. Only you can do that and don’t you settle until you find someone that will give you what you need.” “Ransom…” I shook my head, knowing what she’d say. Knowing what the pull of her frowning lips meant. Sympathy. Pity. I’d seen it a hundred times before. “I’m good, sweetheart, really.” “You…you were crying. I felt it on my legs.” It would be so damn easy to talk to this girl. She didn’t know me. She knew nothing about my folks or my baby brother or that my mother was about to drop another one. She didn’t know about the years mom and I spent in Nashville, how I’d know Kona Hale was my father since I was thirteen. Red didn’t know about all the fuck ups I’d made. She didn’t know about my anger and need to excel. She only knew that I was the first person to make her come. She only knew what her friends had told her about me. She knew nothing and sometimes it was easier telling a total stranger about all the bullshit weighing you down than your own blood. But I couldn’t take the pity. I didn’t fucking deserve it. Finally, I shook my head, reached down to drop a quick kiss against her lips. “You’re sweet to worry, but I’m fine. Really.” “I just thought maybe you would want…” But I cut her off, standing to pick up her clothes. She dressed in silence with me waiting for her near the door. It was a little harsh, I guess, but seemed to work. They’d come for a release. I’d give it to them gladly, easily. There was no need to linger. “Thank you, really.” Red looked me in the eyes, all the hints of shyness absent from her features. “You’re a good person, Ransom.” Behind my closed eyelids, I said a little prayer, wishing that was true and the girl took her cue, left my room with the smell of her climax and the scent of lilac perfuming the air. “No, sweetheart,” I said to myself. “I’m not good at all.”  
Eden Butler is an editor and writer of New Adult Romance and SciFi and Fantasy novels and the nine-times great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum. Her debut novel, a New Adult, Contemporary (no cliffie) Romance, “Chasing Serenity” launched in October 2013 and quickly became an Amazon bestseller.
When she’s not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden edits, reads and spends way too much time watching rugby, Doctor Who and New Orleans Saints football.
She is currently imprisoned under teenage rule alongside her husband in southeast Louisiana.
Please send help.

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