From New York Times Bestseller Pepper Winters comes a timeless love story answering the question of what happens when everything is stripped away.
"There is a message for everything. From handwritten to verbal, seen and unseen. Messages exist all around us."
But what if you don't see?
What if you don't understand?
What if, by ignoring the message, your life is never the same again?
Estelle Evermore morphed from nobody to somebody overnight.
Galloway Oak put his past behind him and endeavored to make his fortune using his trade.
Multiple unseen messages.
From sky to island, they find neither fame nor skills can save them. Stripped from society and left alone to survive the elements, the very task of staying alive outweighs all other needs.
Until survival turns to desire.
And desire turns to danger.
“How are you feeling?” I hugged myself, doing my best to stay warm. Daytimes were hot but the nights…weren’t. If lack of hunger didn’t kill us, the swinging temperatures would.
Galloway glanced away. “I’m fine.”
“Would you tell me if you weren’t?”
A flicker of amusement. “Probably not.”
“Such a man.”
“I would’ve expected a worse name than that.”
We made eye contact. My heart became a stupid pinwheel. “Oh? What should I call you?”
He shrugged. “I dunno. Idiot? Douche-bag? Those are two.”
I let the joviality hover, enjoying the simplicity. “I don’t think either of those suit you.”
His voice switched to an intoxicating murmur. “What do you suggest then?”
Turning to face him, I cocked my head. I used it as an excuse to stare at him. Stare at his dark brown hair curling over his forehead, the pink sunburn on his nose, and his perfectly formed lips.
My stomach fluttered as his gaze dropped to my mouth.
Everything tightened. My muscles, my core, my heart.
I wanted to bridge the gap between us. I wanted to wrap myself around him, and in turn, have his arms wrap around me, stealing reassurance that tomorrow would be a better day.
Joking disappeared as we stood, totally silent, utterly immobile, neither breaking the spell. It was unbelievably stupid to get caught up in desire, but in that stolen moon-sleeping moment, reality vanished and I indulged in guilty, desperately needed pleasure.
Galloway sucked in a breath as I swayed closer.
I didn’t touch him.
No hands or arms or fingers.
Just closed the distance, stood on my toes, and pressed my lips to his.
The world froze as our lips joined, and I forgot what came next. I forgot because every thought in my head erupted into a thousand pieces of confetti.
His lips, oh…
They were so warm and firm and masculine and…
He tilted his head ever so slightly, the tip of his tongue caressing me. His touch wasn’t a seduction more of a question.
What are you doing?
I’d kissed him. It was up to me to decide how the kiss would morph.
Did I kiss him in thanks? In friendship? In desperation for everything I might never see again? Or did I kiss him in lust? In attraction? In hopes of finding my rules on friendship could be stretched to something more?
Galloway bit back a groan as I parted my lips, accepting everything I couldn’t articulate. His hand swooped up, capturing the back of my neck. His fingers tightened around my nape, pulling me harder against his mouth.
The possessive pressure undid me; I swiped my tongue into his wet warmth.
And that was it.
His crutch thudded softly to the sand as his arm wrapped tightly around me, lifting me off my feet. A few hops and hobbles and my back wedged against the umbrella tree, my front bowing under the hard lines of his body.
I gasped as his fingers hooked around my hair, tugging my head back, kissing me harder.
He was everywhere at once. Kissing me with an intensity I worried would devour me.
His hands ran down my body only to recapture my face. Kissing me harder, faster, wilder.
I clung to him, letting him do what he wanted because it gave me the freedom to live in sensation.
I couldn’t stop.
My lips danced with his; our tongues fought and licked.
Lust crushed everything in its path. I melted as Galloway grabbed my thigh and hitched it over his hip. I arched my back as his hand skated to my breast. I moaned as—
“Wait!” I pushed him away, panting hard.
He growled as I removed his fingers from my nipple. The sharp jolt of liquid pleasure almost made me give in. But this wasn’t real life. This wasn’t some holiday. This was serious.
This can’t happen.
Ducking away from the cage of his arms, I did my best to straighten my hair. Conner and Pippa still slept (thank God) and I rubbed my lips to rid the electrical current left by his kiss.
Galloway breathed hard. “What was that?”
I paced in front of him. “I—I don’t know.”
“You kissed me, remember?”
“I know I did.”
“Then why did you stop?”
“Just because I kissed you doesn’t mean I was going to sleep with you.”
“Oh, no? You were pretty keen on the idea a few seconds ago.”
The heat throbbing in my core rapidly switched to indignation. “Wow, your ego’s pretty big, you know that?”
“That’s not the only thing that’s big.” He winked.
“Really? You’re going to treat this like a sleazy pickup?” Infuriation was a smoking fire in my chest. “That’s low, Galloway.”
“What do you want? An apology for something I didn’t start?” His jaw ticked. “Look, I’m aware that there are things about me that aren’t…smooth. A lot of me is riddled with flaws. But that kiss…it wasn’t one of them. That kiss—” He cut himself off, whistling under his breath. “That kiss was the best damn kiss I’ve ever had.”
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Pepper Winters is a NYT and USA Today International Bestseller. She wears many roles. Some of them include writer, reader, sometimes wife. She loves dark, taboo stories that twist with your head. The more tortured the hero, the better, and she constantly thinks up ways to break and fix her characters. Oh, and sex... her books have sex.
She loves to travel and has an amazing, fabulous hubby who puts up with her love affair with her book boyfriends. She's also honoured to wear the IndieReader Badge for being a Top 10 Indie Bestsellers, best BDSM series voted by the SmutClub, and recently signed a two book deal with Grand Central. Her books are currently being translated into numerous languages and will be in bookstores in the near future.
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