Title: Love in Darkness (Shattered Castles, #2)
Author: E.M. Tippetts
Release date: May 21, 2013
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Tour organized by: AToMR Tours
Links to find/buy your books:
Love in Darkness
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Love-Darkness-Shattered-Castles-ebook/dp/B00CWN8NB6/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1376762157
Barnes and Nobel – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-in-darkness-em-tippetts/1115375631?ean=9781484196526
Castles on the Sand (Shattered Castles, #1)
Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Castles-Sand-Shattered-ebook/dp/B008ZGNMDS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1376762180&sr=8-2&keywords=castles+in+the+sand
Barnes and Noble - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/castles-on-the-sand-e-m-tippetts/1112545170?ean=9781479120291
Love in Darkness
Alex had everything when he was with Madison. But the darkness within him wouldn't go away. After two years apart, he returns to Pelican Bluffs and to the girl he never wanted to leave.
Madison wants to give their love another chance, but Alex can't fight fate. He is what he is. Ruined. Crazy like his mother. And Madison deserves so much more. When his secrets spill out into their small town, Alex has a choice to make. Hide away in the darkness forever, or let love in.
Castles on the Sand
If there’s one thing Madison Lukas understands, it’s pain. The pain she feels when her mother ignores her completely. The pain her best friend endures as her parents starve her as punishment. The pain of a dangerous boy whose mother has to be carried away by law enforcement on a regular basis.
She gets it. She feels the pain of others as if it were her own.
But when a mysterious man claiming to be her long lost brother appears with promises of relieving her suffering, trusting him could reveal more truths than Madison is ready for. Because the truth can hurt, too.
The theater door swings open with a creak behind me and I look back over my shoulder to see Madison step through and stop, waiting for my reaction.
“Hey.” I try to muster a smile and fail.
“Are you all right?”
“I don’t know,” I admit. The voices are back to chattering, but I focus all my attention to the here and now, and find that it is possible to do.
She looks me over, processing this, with those eyes I’ve spent hours gazing into and still can’t get enough of.
“I don’t want you to miss the movie,” I say. “Especially not at the price you had to pay for a ticket.” And, I think, I need to get away from you. Only, I don’t say this aloud.
“So how bad is your condition now?”
“I don’t know. I’m just gonna go outside for a minute.” I don’t mean it as an invitation to her, but she falls into step with me and I don’t do anything to stop her. “You didn’t ditch Carson to talk to me this time, did you?”
“Carson’s working tonight. He’s not here.”
“Oh.” She must have been sitting with someone else, someone who hasn’t followed her out. We cross the lobby and exit the glass doors into the cool and humid night air that smells like damp earth and mist. I don’t look at her as I head for the sidewalk on the far side of the parking lot. The commercials and previews back in the theater will probably go on for another fifteen minutes, so I’m not robbing her of the chance to see the movie just yet. Neither of us says a word as we reach the sidewalk and head on down the street. This stretch of road runs along the edge of undeveloped forest, so it’s pretty dark in between the pools of light dropped by streetlights along the way.
We pass one streetlight and she keeps her eyes on the pavement as we head out of the pocket of illumination and into darkness beyond. It’s a stupid thing for me to do, given what just happened. Darkness already proved a problem for me tonight, and now I’m walking into more darkness with my trigger. I’m just asking for a disaster.
That fair skin and hair Madison always complained about makes her glow a little in the dimness. She hates that, but I think it adds to her ethereal beauty. We reach the outer edge of another pool of light and cross it without saying a word. I know I should say something to her or turn around, but I head on into the darkness beyond and she stays with me.
Her hand catches my wrist and I stop walking. Before I know it, she has her arms around me and her face buried against my neck. That soft, perfectly proportioned body is pressed right up against mine.
A kiss at the base of my jaw manages to hit every nerve ending in my upper body. I should ask her to stop, but instead I kiss her forehead and inhale the sweet scent of her skin. The feel of her in my arms is so good, it’s painful.
She leans up to kiss me on the lips, and at least I have the sense to pull back. “Don’t okay?”
At that, she collapses against me, her ribs shuddering as if she’s fighting back tears.
Madison never cries. She spent her whole childhood ignored and battered by an emotionally abusive mother. Her feelings are not something she puts on display. The last time I saw her cry was after Kailie’s suicide attempt. Carefully I lower her to sit next to me on the pavement, stroking my fingers through that silken hair and wishing I could just kiss and kiss her and forget about the consequences. I don’t notice the chill in the air anymore, or mind that I’m seated on cold concrete. Her ribcage shudders again and her fingers grasp at my shirt. I don’t deserve this, to have such an amazing person want to be with me so badly.
“I’m sorry,” she whispers, between sniffles.
“You have nothing to be sorry for.”
“Alex, I love you.”
Okay, I didn’t think this could get more painful, but those words lance me straight through the heart. I cup her cheek in my palm and lean my forehead against hers. “I don’t deserve that.”
“Because you don’t even like me anymore?”
“I more than like you, Madison.” It’s hard to breathe, my chest is so tight. “Listen to me. I hear voices. I just saw a swarm of rodents that don’t exist in the theater. My medication seems to help for now, but what if it doesn’t always?”
She blinks more tears out of her eyes and looks up at me.
“My condition is for real, okay? What happened in Japan wasn’t an isolated thing.”
“I know that. Come on. You think I care?”
“But this is my decision.”
I shake my head. “I’ve screwed up so many things with you, I’ve got to get this right. Even if the risk of me ending up like my mom is small, it’s still there. It’s because I care about you that I don’t want you to risk becoming the one to dole out my medications and choose which institution to lock me up in for the rest of my life. You can do so much better than that. You deserve to never even have to think about this.”
“It’s not your fault-”
“I know, and I know you’d never hold it against me, but this could be a rotten life for you. I know this, all right? I’ve lived that life, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, least of all you. You can get out of this so easily. Just…” My next breath catches in my throat and before I can stop myself, I kiss her temple and down the side of her cheek, her skin warm against my lips. When she turns her head to kiss me on the mouth, I force myself to stop while raw emotion floods into my chest. I want to hit something or run from here. My hands begin to shake as I try to keep control. The thing about being with Madison and trusting her as I do, is that I can’t keep up the façade any longer.
“Please. You know what my biggest nightmare is? Trapping you. I swear, it’s all I can think about some days.” I shut my eyes. Madison’s embrace is so perfect, so comforting. Nothing would be easier than to kiss her and tell her I love her. I stroke her cheekbone with my thumb. “If there were a cure for my condition, I’d be with you, no question. No question. I’ve never lied about how I feel about you, ever.”
She’s gone silent, though.
I continue to hold her, even though I know I should stop. Her escape route is so clear. She just needs to let us be over and move on and she’d be out of the woods, forever. Me and my issues wouldn’t affect her. Which means I need to let go of her now, but this feels amazing, even better than it did when we were together.
“Can I… ask you something?” Her voice is timid.
“What were things like with other girls?”
I pull back and look down at her. “What other girls?”
“People you dated before me.”
“I didn’t date anyone before you.”
“No. Come on, you would know. It’s a small town.”
“I just assumed you at least hooked up with people.”
I lift an eyebrow. “Without talking to them?”
“Well, yeah. That wouldn’t have bothered a lot of girls.” Her gaze is dead serious, no hint of joking around.
“Do I really seem like the kind of person who would do that?”
“I don’t know. You always seemed different for me than you were with everyone else.”
“No,” I say, “you just knew me and I trusted you. That was the only difference.”
She bites her lip as if it’s my last statement and she’s chewing it over. Her expression goes from disbelief to bewilderment, to curiosity. Her hand drops away from my chest and she sits back to look me over, as if for the first time. “So… wait, that time in the bathroom… that was your first kiss? No it cou-”
“Now you know why I didn’t dare kiss you on the mouth. I let you take the lead there.” This admission ought to be mortifying, but with her, I can just look her in the eye and say it.
“Holy crap, Alex. It was amazing. You were amazing. I mean, seriously?”
“You’ve always been kind, and yes. Seriously. You were the only one, ever.” Despite the topic, this conversation relaxes me. It’s easy to talk to her.
“You’re a virgin?”
I laugh. “No, Madison, I never kissed or even talked to another girl but I slept with tons. Of course I’m a virgin, unless there was an incident sometime when I was way too drunk to remember, but I doubt it. This is me we’re talking about. Social reject. Mental issues. Not exactly a great catch.”
“I… wow. I just assumed…”
I laugh harder. I can’t help it. She knows me better than anyone, and it’s incredible what she still doesn’t know.
Now she’s laughing with me, those eyes lit up with amusement. “I was so jealous of all these other girls who’d been with you, and then you joined the Church before getting together with me, which meant I could never have you that way. Not while we were dating at least.”
“You were jealous?”
“Beyond jealous. You kidding? You’re seriously hot.”
“Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but I’d have been no good at it and it would probably have been awful for you. Though you’re free to imagine me being really good at it… I guess…” Not the kind of thing you usually say to an ex-girlfriend, or anyone for that matter.
But if Madison finds it odd, she gives no sign. “Well, if I’d ever had the chance, I’d have given you plenty of practice. I’d have put you on a regimen, all right? For your own good.”
This is the most inappropriate conversation I’ve ever had with anyone, and I’m pretty sure it violates some Church handbook or policy somewhere.
Madison falls silent and continues to look me over.
I take a deep breath and will her not to stop. See me, I think, see that I’m not worth all these tears and all this effort. See that I’m just some overgrown loser with no future and no plan for my life.
Only, her expression doesn’t turn to disgust or enlightenment. She reaches up to stroke my cheek and I shut my eyes, unsure of what to say or do.
I hear the rustle of her clothing as she moves in closer and feel her breath on my lips.
About the Author
Emily Mah Tippetts writes romance under the name E.M. Tippetts and science fiction and fantasy under the name Emily Mah. Originally from New Mexico, she now lives in London with her family. Before she was a published author, she was an attorney who specialized in real estate, contracts, and estate planning, especially literary estate planning.
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