by LeTeisha Newton
Publication Date: August 14, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Dark Romance
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If I should die before I wake…
Then my soul is Caesar’s to take. He pulls me down, he lifts me up.
And then he leaves me in the muck.
If I should fall before I fly…
Then they know it was the fault of mine. He taught me better, he led the way.
I just didn’t know how to stay.
And if I should not gain his heart…
Fuck that, he made me this way. Curled my thoughts and twisted me.
He belongs to me, forever.
WARNING: This book is DARK. So dark, I barely found my way writing it. Know this. Understand it. Believe it. It’s one long warning from beginning to end, but the love found between the pages is everlasting. This is NOT a conventional couple, and they don’t come together with rainbows and silver linings. There’s pain. There’s violence. There’s blood. You have been warned. Please … Please, walk away if a filthy dark story isn’t right for you. You will find no softness here. But if you like it so dark the sun won’t make you feel warm again, then you’ve found the right place, and Caesar is waiting.
How long had I been running? In what direction?
I didn’t know, but I kept pushing forward. Wind rustled the leaves but I heard no motor from a dirt bike or footsteps behind me. I was free. I’d gotten out on my own. My thanks to Caesar, but last night would have to be enough for him. I was tired of living in the darkness. I wanted a chance to live in the light, and without my mother, Trace, or Jason to hold me back, I could.
After hours, the trees gave way and a lone street appeared. But my happiness dissipated. Leaning against the sleek black car that took us to the warehouse last night, a smiling Caesar watched me over dark glasses.
“I hate waking up in the morning. I want to be like you when I grow up, having the urge to exercise and shit. It’s just not my thing.”
He shrugged, his thick shoulders apparent in his molded black t-shirt. He stepped from the car and opened the passenger door before he walked toward me. “Now you’re going to get your ass in that car and not fuss, or I’m going to take off my belt and whip you all the way back to the house, no matter how long it takes. Don’t try my patience after such a wonderful breakthrough last night.”
“Let me go, please,” I begged. “I won’t tell anyone.”
“Are we back to this shit again? Of course you won’t say shit because you aren’t going anywhere. Snitches get stiches.”
He laughed at his own joke but my shaking legs made me want to cry. “Caesar.”
He sighed and glanced up at the sky before pinning me with his dark stare. “We killed together, Ash. That does things to people. I liked the way it felt. I want to hurt more people with you.”
He meant it. Darkness filled his gaze, and I felt the pull, wanted to fight against it and find a way back to the peace and quiet of college life. Where, for a few hours, I could act like a normal young woman on the cusp of life. Killing Jason and my mother the night before…it felt to good, and I feared what that made me.
What the feelings Caesar brought to light inside me meant.
“I’m not like that,” I cried, shaking my head.
“Yeah? You lie to yourself all the time like that? Liar, liar, pants on fire. You wanted to hurt them. And I bet, if given the chance, you’d do worse. I bet you liked how much I hurt you, and you don’t want to admit it. That’s what you’re running from.”
I shook, unable to argue with him, and dreading that he was right about me. Those dark dreams whispered to me when I looked at them, but I hated it. Hated that he might be right about me. Hated that I didn’t know myself anymore. And I hated it even more that he was the key to it all.
“I’m not like that,” I repeated.
“Whatever you say, but my threat still stands.”
I took one step toward him. No, he wasn’t right about me. I wouldn’t let him be. I wasn’t some crazy killer like him. I didn’t need to hurt to survive. So what if I had satisfaction over killing my tormentors? That wasn’t anything different than any human being would feel if they’d gone through what I had. That I couldn’t cry for scum of the earth didn’t mean that I was like him.
Another step closer.
Caesar opened his arms wide and waited for me. Lucifer was the most beautiful angel. A perfect creation, but he betrayed God and was cast to Hell for his pride. Caesar was like that. Perfection and pride wrapped into one deadly package. He waited for me, to embrace me with pain and madness. He wanted to take me down into a world that I didn’t want to know. But after two times trying to escape him, I wasn’t so sure that I’d ever be free enough to try again.
I drew closer and he met me, taking me into his arms. His warmth wrapped around me, flaming the pain from branch cuts as he squeezed me tight. His touch burned and soothed at once. Because, when I stopped running, I could finally take a breath. The very breath he’d given me to live again. Maybe that was why I cried. Why I broke in his arms and didn’t fight when he put me into the car. Maybe that was why I let him drive me back to the cabin and walk me inside. It was most definitely why, when he walked me down to the basement, clicking his tongue in admonishment, I never said a word.
Writing professionally since 2008, LeTeisha Newton’s love of romance novels began long before it should have. After spending years sneaking reads from her grandmother’s stash, she finally decided to pen her own tales. As many will do during their youth, she bounced from fantasy, urban literature, mainstream, interracial, paranormal, heterosexual, and LGBT works until she finally rested in contemporary romance.
LeTeisha is all about deep angst and angry heroes who take a bit more loving to smooth their rough edges. Love comes in many sizes, shapes, and colors, as well as with—or without—absolute beauty and fairy tale sweetness. She writes the darker tales because life is hard … but love is harder.