Rose and Thorn
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Kristin Rodgers
Word Count :51715
Publication Date :2021-02-05
Series : #
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-3199-0
A married woman with an absent husband finds herself falling for her engaged friend and dealing with the consequences.
Lexi Ross meant every word of her marriage vows - until her husband, Bryce, left her scarred physically and emotionally without a word. Even then, as far as she is concerned, they are still united by decree and the ever-present ring on her finger that serves as her daily reminder.
But then her friendship with her running partner, Jordan, takes an unexpected turn. Suddenly her eyes are open not only to new possibilities, but to the prospect of new love.
Sometimes right and wrong and love and hate struggle to coexist, rules get broken, and hearts don’t do what is expected, but the human spirit perseveres no matter how difficult the circumstances.
Shadows clung though dawn was breaking. In the subdued light, I gazed at his sleeping profile and felt the usual tumult within—affection, guilt, joy, shame…but before I could dwell on it too long, his eyes fluttered open and caught my gaze. He met it head-on, as always, and his intensity made my heart stall for only a moment before it began beating rapidly.
He smiled slowly, as if upon waking he realized my presence, and then he stretched toward me and wrapped me in an embrace.
“Hey, beautiful,” he whispered into my hair after pulling me tightly against him.
Our legs and arms entwined, and I had the sense of feeling complete, like the final pieces of a puzzle sliding perfectly into place.
The early morning sun crept in, uninvited, announcing my impending departure. Reading it on my thoughts, he tipped my head back, so I was staring into his brown eyes.
“I don’t want you to leave.” He said it so quietly. Had there been any discord, I might not have heard.
His words made my heart sing, but a melancholy tune, since the thought of leaving made my stomach lurch. So I closed the slight distance between us with a kiss. It began sloppily, a mere distraction from the unpleasant. But when our lips met, the electricity was surprising, even after our night of unbelievable sex. The kiss was broken momentarily with a satisfying smack as we stared at one another for an infinitesimal second, the air between us popping with surprise and desire and insatiable lust. At that moment, I wondered how I had ever gone without him. I felt the pull of desperation, knowing that soon we would be apart and there was no freedom in our relationship. It could only thrive in the shadows. But I saw the reflection of my despair in his eyes, and I knew he felt the same. And that brought us together again.
We kissed so deeply it stole my breath until I had to break away again just to regain it. His hand slid from my face to cup my breast, and without hesitation, his hand was between my legs, pushing my knees apart. I eagerly grasped him, stroked him. His low moan only made my want more unbearable, and as he swiftly rolled on a condom, I was already anticipating his hardness inside me. And then he was there, my wetness slipping on his skin, and he sighed my name as he thrust.
I reciprocated as my hips moved against his. “Fuck me,” I demanded urgently.
He pushed into me—one hand grasped my hip and held me to him as he looked into my eyes. I saw beyond his impending orgasm. I felt beyond the trembling of his body. He loved me.
And just as we let go, just as we came together, my phone alarm joined in like an out of sync, unwanted blat of a horn in a symphony. We cried out, grasping one another, and it continued its insistent ring.
It took us a moment to fall, to come back to reality. He collapsed on top of me, and I wrapped my legs around him, then my arms. His breath was hot and heavy against my neck.
The alarm continued, patiently.
“I have to go,” I whispered and reached over, peering at it through the haze of intimacy that still had me breathless.
He rolled off me and watched as I hurriedly dressed, his face less than happy. I leaned over and kissed him, then kissed him again, loving the feel of his beard against my lips. He pulled me back into bed and had me giggling as I struggled to get away.
Finally, face-to-face in all seriousness, we gazed at one another.
“Bye,” I eventually said, my voice heavy.
He responded with an equally despondent tone, “Bye.”
And then I was off, hurriedly attempting to close the distance between his house and mine, before I further betrayed my husband.
It was afterward that always got me. Standing under the hot spray of water in my shower as he washed off me and my sins swirled at my feet or thinking about Bryce and the fact I’d just fucked another man, or worse, staring at the diamond ring on my finger, knowing what kind of woman I’d become, those were the moments I wondered what the hell I was doing…if it was worth it. Because I loved Bryce, still. And once upon a time, I loved him so much it hurt to breathe.
The first time he went to Iraq, only a month after we got married, I could hardly muster the strength to get out of bed, where his scent still clung to the pillow. Day after day, the reality of his absence and the possibility that he might never return from war tortured me. Places that never had any significance suddenly did—the Quick Trip we stopped at to buy sweet teas, the dry cleaners that heavy-starched Bryce’s jeans just the way he liked, the beach where we walked hand in hand, the bar where we did shots. I’d never known heartbreak as such, but I’d also never known a love so fierce.
385 days after his departure, he’d returned. We did not leave our room for three days, except to eat. We made love until we were so sore, we just couldn’t anymore.
How could I forget what our love had endured? And yet that fire we had shared only five years ago had since dwindled to an ember barely holding heat.
Now, as I stepped out of the shower, my skin scalded not only from shame but from the heat of the water, I almost choked as I recalled being pushed against the door, his hand down my pants.