Happy Hump Day, everyone! This week we’re celebrating with an exclusive excerpt for Monica Murphy’s Never Let You Go, available in May. The first book in the series, Never Tear Us Apart, earned an RT Top Pick! that our reviewer called, “another amazing book to add to Murphy’s already stellar library!” We just had to have a peek inside of book two …
Ethan never forgot the woman whose life he saved so many years before, and when an undeniable need to see her leads to yet another rescue, Ethan begins falling in love — and hiding a dark secret. When the truth is revealed, Katie must decide: can she trust the man who saved her?
She whispers my name again and again as I kiss her. I don’t even notice at first exactly what she’s saying. I just keep my lips on hers as much as possible, my tongue sweeping inside her mouth, my hands wandering everywhere I can reach. I’m consumed with her, consuming her, and when I end the kiss to let her catch her breath, my forehead pressed to hers, I realize exactly what she’s saying.
I don’t correct her because I’m just running with it. It’s a little uncomfortable, her insistence that she call me Will. And truly, she’s the only one who makes it okay to be Will Monroe. But it’s not who I am. Not anymore. My father has been a source of shame for so many years, the minute I could shed the name like a snake sheds its skin I went for it. Doing it legally turned into such a giant pain in the ass that I almost gave up, but it had been worth the time and money. So I could rid myself of William Aaron Monroe once and for all.
Yet here I am, allowing Katie to call me Will again. Reveling in it, really, because once upon a time, many years ago, there was a girl held captive and I was the boy who saved her. And though everyone cast their suspicions upon me, I prevailed because the girl never deviated from her belief in me.
She still hasn’t. The suspicions are constantly flung at me. The enemy is the one who’s now being held captive, yet his evil manages to permeate our lives.
I’m fucking sick of it.
Tonight, in this anonymous hotel room in this anonymous city, Katie and I need to purge ourselves of the memories and the pain and the bullshit once and for all.
Without a word I guide her toward the bed, walking her backward until her legs bump against the mattress. Kissing her softly on the lips, I gently push her shoulders and she falls onto the center of the bed, her mouth rounded in a shocked O. I tear off my T-shirt and let it drop to the floor. Unbuckle my belt and pull it through the loops on my jeans, dropping it on top of the T-shirt, the buckle clanking against the floor.
Laying myself bare for her.
Katie watches me, her eyes seeming to rove everywhere, all over me. She doesn’t stop me from undressing, her eyes wide and full of curiosity. It’s easy to forget that she’s never been with anyone else, at least not in an intimate way.
I think of who else she’s been with and I avert my head, clenching my jaw. It makes me sick to my stomach, what happened to her when she was only a child. If I could change anything, I would change that. What she suffered was . . . too much. That she’s so strong and survived it, overcame it, leaves me in awe. Now it’s up to me to take care of her. Remind her again how it can be between two people who care for each other.
If I had the chance, there’s no doubt in my mind that I would kill him. Tear him apart with my bare hands, all the while making sure he knew exactly who was squeezing the very last breath out of him. I’d not only kill him for her, but I’d do it for me. For the young boy that I once was, for all the chances he tried to steal away from me. For the mere fact that he tried to mold me into himself yet it didn’t work.
For that alone, I win.
I fucking win.
Taking a deep breath, I turn to look at her again, see the uncertainty on her face, and I want to ease it away with my words. My promise.
My vow to her.
“I tried to deny how I felt about you,” I say, undoing my jeans and pushing them off my hips so they fall around my feet, leaving me in just my boxer briefs, and I kick them off. “I’ve denied it for years. From the moment we met, you touched me. I just didn’t realize it then because I was young and stupid. Lost and ruined. And so fucking angry that he put me in that position. I didn’t want to be anyone’s hero.”
She blinks up at me, her lips parting as if she wants to say something, and I shake my head, needing to get this out all at once.
“That first interview—seeing you, all grown up, so damn beautiful—made me realize I wasn’t over you. I’d never gotten over you and I was curious. I had to find you. When I did, I told myself, ‘I’ll talk to her just once. I’ll make sure she’s safe.’ But I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t resist you.” I kick my jeans out of the way, kneel down to tear off my socks, and then I crawl onto the bed, until I’m right in front of her, on my hands and knees.
Her arms go back, her hands braced on the bed as she leans away from me, and I take a deep breath, hoping I don’t mess this up. It feels like this is my last chance.
“I’m in love with you, Katie. Not just because we share a connection from our past, but because I think you’re an amazing, thoughtful, giving woman. And I want to be a better man for you. I want to earn back your trust, I want to ensure your safety, but more than anything, I want you in my life. I need you.” I pause, unable to read her expression. She doesn’t look like she’s upset, but hell, I don’t know. I’ve never told a woman that I love her before.
I’ve never told anyone that I loved them before. I’m not one hundred percent sure if I even know what love is. But whatever I feel for Katie has to be the closest thing to it.
“You’re in love with me.”
I nod, fear strangling my insides and making me unable to speak.
She rears up on her knees and pulls her T-shirt off, tossing it over the side of the bed. “If you can bare your body and soul to me, then I should be able to do the same for you.”
My heart is pounding as she reaches behind her and unhooks her bra, the cups, simple white satin trimmed with lace, loosening around her chest. I get up on my knees and practically lunge for her, stopping her from pulling the bra off because I want that privilege.
“Let me undress you,” I whisper, smoothing my fingers along her bra straps, touching the soft skin just beneath. She shivers, goose bumps chasing after my touch, and I gently tug the straps down her arms until they fall at her elbows. She shrugs out of the bra and remains before me, her breasts on display, those pretty pink nipples hard and tempting.
I cup her breasts and she closes her eyes, tilting her head back. I play with her nipples with my thumbs, moving closer to her until my mouth is on hers once more and I’m devouring her.
She moans into my mouth and I’m overcome. Overcome with love and lust and need. I ease her back onto the bed, my mouth never leaving hers, fingers fumbling with the snap and zipper of her jeans. I spread the denim as wide as I can get it and touch her there, caressing the sensitive skin of her lower belly, tracing my fingers along the edge of her panties.
I wanted to take it slow. Kiss her all over her body, drive her wild until I have her begging for me. But my plan is completely waylaid by the feel of her skin, the sounds she makes, the taste of her mouth and tongue. My cock strains against my boxer briefs as I move down her body, raining her skin with hot, desperate presses of my mouth. I don’t linger, I’m moving on pure, primal need, and I tear her jeans down her legs until they’re stuck around her ankles and she’s kicking them the rest of the way off, giggling against my lips and making me chuckle, too.
That we can laugh during sex is . . . huge. Major progress for the both of us. I was never one to linger. I treated sex almost like a job, eager to get my satisfaction and then move on.
Not with Katie. I may not be lingering this time around, but that’s only because I’m so anxious to be inside her again, I feel close to blowing in my damn shorts.
“Will.” She rests her hands on my head and I glance up, my gaze meeting hers, then sweeping over the length of her naked body. I study her like this, laid out before me as I lie on my elbows in between her spread legs, clad in a pair of tiny white panties and nothing else.
Meaning, she’s trying to kill me.
“Yeah?” I practically croak but damn, I’m overwhelmed at having her this close, this naked, and having to actually conduct a conversation.
“I love you, too,” she whispers, her eyes glowing in the near-darkness. “I just wanted you to know that.”
I move back up so I’m lying on top of her, her legs between mine, my cock nestled close. We’re face-to-face, chest to chest, and I can feel her heart racing.
Mine is, too.
I curl my arm around the top of her head, my fingers playing in her hair, and she closes her eyes, her lips parting on a soft sigh. “This isn’t impossible, is it?”
She opens her eyes, frowning a little. Getting that crease between her eyebrows like she does when she’s confused. “What isn’t impossible?”
“Us.” I nuzzle her cheek, inhaling her scent. I don’t think I could ever get tired of smelling her. “We can make this work, can’t we?”
“All we can do is try,” she whispers, her arms slowly going around me as she holds me close. Her hands drift across my shoulders, her nails lightly scratching my skin, and I shift lower, resting my head in the crook of her neck. “It’s not going to be easy.”
“Nothing’s ever easy for us,” I murmur, pressing my mouth against her skin.
“That’s true.” She pauses in her scratching. “My mom is mad at me.”
“Your sister hates me.”
“So does Lisa Swanson,” she adds.
“That bitch can suck it,” I mutter, making her giggle. The sound warms my soul, fills me with so much happiness I could burst. Here I am nestled up close with the woman I love and suffering from a serious case of blue balls, but I don’t care.
Talking with Katie, sharing with her, laughing with her . . . is this what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life?
Or will I somehow fuck this up, too?
Excerpted from NEVER LET YOU GO by Monica Murphy Copyright © 2016 by Monica Murphy. Excerpted by permission of Bantam Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Never Let You Go will be available in digital and print on May 3. Grab your copy: Amazon | BN | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance | IndieBound. And if more hump day excerpts is what you crave, we’ve got you covered.