HERO: A tormented dragon shifter, Forge is a warrior who has been sentenced to death by the Dragonkind elite. Recalling the memories of his family’s murders could drive him to the edge of insanity, but it’s the only way to remove the target on his back. Fiercely determined to protect his pack and his newborn son, Forge agrees to undergo harrowing treatments to help him remember the trauma buried deep inside his heart and mind.
HEROINE: Young, bright, and haunted by her own demons, hypnotherapist Hope Cunningham helps patients recover from their darkest memories. But each time she liberates a wayward soul, Hope’s personal pain digs deeper—until one patient ignites an unforgettable passion.
He tasted like fine whiskey and hot sex. A combination she loved. Nothing wrong with a single malt after work. Probably something wrong with having hot sex with Forge. But with his mouth on hers as he walked her backward across the gym, Hope couldn’t bring herself to care. She didn’t try to look behind her. She didn’t ask where he was taking her. Or what he intended. None of it mattered. The moment he kissed her, the outside world fell away. All that remained was him—the wild taste of him, the heady feel of him, the delight as he dragged her so far under she couldn’t catch her breath.
The idea of rethinking her decision disappeared.
It was done.
A lost cause. Ethics thrown under the bus along with her ability to say no.
She’d gone and done it. No second guessing necessary. Hope didn’t want to change her mind. She’d already tossed caution to the wind and said yes. Might as well commit. Might as well go with the flow. Might as well enjoy the ride and reap the reward.
Tangling her tongue with his, she pressed her breasts to her chest. The shift and rub drove her higher. She opened her mouth wider, took him deep, her skin so sensitive she tried to get closer. His big hand roamed the length of her back, fingers seeking the skin left exposed by her tank top. The fabric shifted. Damp cotton stuck to her skin. Hope frowned. Crap. Her workout. She was a mess, the opposite of sexy, a total—
Her shoulder blades bumped against the cinderblock wall.
She turned her head, Hope broke the kiss. “Wait.”
With a growl, his mouth jumped her throat. Day old whiskers brushed over her
“Forge, wait.” Struggling to catch her breath, Hope gripped his biceps with her boxing gloves. “I’m all sweaty. I need a shower before—”
“Nay, I love you this way—hot, wet and sticky.”
Caging her with his body, he licked the side of her throat. Delight chased chills across her skin. She shivered as he did it again, humming his enjoyment, making her tip her head back to give him more access. Teeth pressed to her jugular, he suckled her pulse point. His tongue stroked her again before he settled in and drew on her skin. The slight pinch made her jump. He sucked harder, long enough to leave a mark.
Pinned in place, she gasped, uncertain whether to be delighted or outraged.
He tongued the underside of her chin. “You taste fantastic. Fucking gorgeous. I cannae wait to spread your legs and lick you.”
Forget outrage. Delight won out. “Forge, now. I need it now.”
“It’s been so long,” she whispered without the least bit of shame. He needed to know she wasn’t sexually active. Hadn’t been for a very long time. Unwise, maybe, to give him that kind of ammunition. He could, after all, use it to tease her beyond what she could endure. Somehow, though, she didn’t think so. Forge wanted to please her. She could see it in his eyes, felt it in the way he touched her, in the depth of his caring. Breathing hard, she undulated against him. “I’m on edge. I can’t wait.”
He raised his head to look at her. “I’ll not rush my first time with you.”
Panic nipped at her. She pushed against his chest with her boxing gloves. “I can’t wait. I know it’s stupid, but I can’t.”
“Easy.” Reacting to her urgency, Forge gripped her hips and ran his gaze over her face.
She squirmed, the pulse of desire so strong she couldn’t stay still. “Does it hurt, Hope?”
“Yes,” she said, her bottom lip trembling. She needed him, skin on skin, right now.
Waiting would kill her. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve never…I’m not usually this—”
Her cheeks heated. Needy was a good word for it. The maximum kind of horny—extra sensitive—might be better ways of describing it. She’d never experience anything so ragged. Her body throbbed. Her mind blurred, the burn jolting through her as though she’d been plugged into an electrical socket. Amped up. Voltage at dangerous levels. Supercharged and now ready to explode. No matter how hard she fought Hope couldn’t control her reaction. Heat buffeted her, rolling like whitecaps, frothing up desire, pulling her under until she was drowning in it.
He murmured her name.
She whispered ‘please’, the plea in her voice bordering on pathetic.
With a quiet curse, he laid his palm to her breastbone, flattening her against the wall.
Calloused fingers cupping her jaw, Forge tipped her chip up. Her gaze met his. His eyes started to shimmer. Muted at first, the glow intensified, the violet hue so mesmerizing time fell away, leaving her floating inside own head. Hope blinked, a slow up and down. Her heart rate slowed. Her body calmed, powering down, moving her away from panic. Arousal banked but still burning. Muscles relaxed but still ready. The hum in her veins—the hot, hard edge of need—more manageable.
“There we go. Better. Breathe for me, Hope.” The rise and fall of his voice washed over her.
Her chest expanded. “There’s something wrong with your eyes.”
“Is there?” He raised a brow. “Look again.”
She did and…blinked. Weird. Whatever she’d seen was gone. What had done that to his irises—a trick of the light, long-denied pheromones, her somewhat scrambled brain cells? Had she imagined it? Her brow furrowed. She must have. No one’s eyes glowed that way. Well, perhaps, in the movies, but that was all computer generated, so—
His growl dragged her away from the thought-she’d-seen dilemma. Tucking the mystery away, she refocused on Forge.
Staring at her from beneath his brows, he leaned away. “Arms up.”
Hope startled. “What?”
“You heard me,” he said, the angles of his face sharpening. “Arms. Up.”
His voice deepened. The command in his tone made her move. Both her hands shot above her head.
“Good lass.” The rumble of approval made her heart do a happy hop. “Now, hold still.”
Movements measured, he reached up and grabbed her wrists with one hand. Holding both against the wall, he tugged the Velcro the ‘wrist-lock’ boxing gloves away from the cuffs. Slow and sure, he pulled until he held half of each wide strap in his hands. Hands still encased in her gloves, half the Velcro still locked around her writs, Hope watched him tie the trailing ends together. She stared at the strong knot and frowned. What the heck was the point of that? The gloves needed to come off. Knotting them together didn’t make—
Watching her closely, he hooked the knotted length over a hook embedded in a cinderblock above her head.
Her eyes widened. “What are you doing?”
“Restraining you. Pleasing myself.”
The straight forward answer made her quiver. Oh God. Makeshift handcuffs. She tugged, testing her theory. No give. The micro-fiber held. The knot didn’t slip. Her heart stalled, hanging behind her breastbone a second before starting up a driving rhythm. Tied up and trapped.
Completely at his mercy and oh, the things he could do to her. Naughty things. Delicious things. All the best kind of things, and now, she couldn’t do anything to stop him. Surprise dropped away. Excitement took its place, raising goose bumps on her skin.
One corner of his mouth creased. “Enjoy that idea, do you?”
Mouth gone dry, Hope swallowed. “Maybe.”
“A little, but…” She tugged on her wrists again.
He ran his hands up her arms. Checking the tension, he caressed the hollows on the inside of her elbows, the soft, tantalizing touches designed to drive her wild. Strung up, body on display, arousal rising, Hope trembled. He stroked her over and over, ever patient as he waited for her to continue.
She searched his face. Solid. Steady. Not an ounce of artifice in him. Forge would never hurt her. It wasn’t his way. The realization steered her toward confidence. Worry leached away. “I trust you.”
His breath caught. His hands stilled as he leaned in to kiss her. Once. Twice. A third brush of his mouth. “Sweet lass, you honor me.”
Tears pooled in her eyes. Hope kissed him back, each soft caress as soothing as it was arousing. She shouldn’t cry. Not now, in the face of desire and in front of a gorgeous man who wanted her. Too bad her heart didn’t care. His compliment tunneled deep, digging up old wounds, exposing past grievances, laying her bare. Hope told herself to stop it—to be sensible and strong—but as her eyes burned and her chest ached, she couldn’t stem the growing tide of emotion.
Such simple words. Each one, though, touched a place deep inside her.
No one had ever called her sweet before, certainty not her father, the one person who should have loved her no matter what. As strong as her father had always been, he couldn’t hold a candle to Forge. He was the best kind of different—everything the vice admiral wasn’t—and as she gazed up at him, heart in tatters, Hope absorbed his compliment like a plant denied water for too long. Oh, to be accepted and valued, to be found sweet instead of lacking, was incredible.
Inconceivable. Confusing too.
After years of playing second fiddle to her brother, she’d never thought anyone would truly see her. Not just the façade she presented to the world, but her—the flesh and blood woman behind the mask. In one sentence, Forge changed all that. She sensed it in his kiss. He liked her just as she was, making her feel cherished and important, seen in a way she’d never had before
Hope flinched. Whoa. Hold your horses, lady. Far too heavy a thought.
Swallowing the lump in her throat, Hope nuzzled the stubble along his jaw. Rough whispers scraped her skin, helping her regain her bearings. Thank God. Serious thoughts needed to wait for a more serious moment. Sex with Forge was supposed to be fun, not world altering. Which meant she needed to lighten the mood. Now. Before things got out of hand and she lost her heart to him for good.
Wiggling, Hope threw him a playful look. “You planning on torturing me?”
“Only a little.”
Well, that sounded ominous. “Why am I not reassured?”
He chuckled. “Fuck, you’re fun.”
“Well, then, reward a girl, would you,” she said, teasing him, wanting to get to the good stuff—like him naked and over her. “I’ll take as many orgasms as you care to give.”
“Would you like each on a silver platter?”
“No,” she said. “Just fast.”
“There’s that impatience again.” His mouth curved. “But you’ll have to wait, jalâyla. I intend to enjoy you first.”
“Ask me if I care?”
Amusement in his gaze, Forge slipped his hands under the hem of her tank top. Strong fingers drew circles over her belly. Calloused palms slid over her rib cage. Without breaking eye contact, he found the bottom edge of her sports bra and pulled. The heavy elastic band obeyed the tug, the slow draw of fabric baring her an inch at a time. Cool air attacked her damp skin.
Tugging on her bound wrists, Hope arched, begging him without words to touch her.
Forge didn’t disappoint. Shoving her clothes up her arms, he cupped her breasts, big hands holding her secure, surrounding her with his heat. Her nipples furled tight. He rolled each one, pinching them between with his fingertips.
Pleasure throbbed through her. “God, that’s good.”
“We’ve barely started, lass.”
She twisted, trying to get closer. “I want your mouth on me.”
With a growl, he dipped his head and nipped a tight peak. The tip of her breast pulsed. He licked the small hurt away, then suckled, drawing her into his mouth, bathing her in heat, making her breath catch. Closing her eyes, Hope tipped her head back. He bit down, pressing her between his teeth. She moaned. He sucked harder, taking her to edge of pain and…glory, glory hallelujah. He was unbelievable. Just right, giving her what she craved, the firm hand of a skilled lover.
Arching into his touch, Hope keened in encouragement, egging him on.
Please, please, please, her mind screamed.
More, more, more, her body added as urgency overtook her, zipping through her veins, glowing bright, pushing her into imprudence. She should do as Forge asked and be patient. He wouldn’t leave her hanging. He’d please her in his own time. Hell, the pleasure would no doubt be better for it—explosive even—but as an insistent throb settled between her thighs, thinking became history. She didn’t want a slow, gentle exploration. She wanted him hard. She wanted him fast. She wanted him inside her now.
Using the makeshift restraints as leverage, Hope fisted her hands and with a quick lift, wrapped her legs around his waist. Hot and hard, his erection settled against her core. Shoulder blades pressed to the wall, she rocked her hips.
Forge released her breast. His head came up as he grabbed her bottom. She moved again.
He shoved her backward, meeting her stroke for stroke. Her back bumped against cinderblock.
The Velcro holding her prisoner rasped in the quiet as Forge rolled into her, stroking her through her shorts. He snarled her name. Bliss blurred her surroundings, making her move with him, enslaving her a stroke at a time.
He shoved forward again.
The pleasure mounted. God, she was close. So very close. Almost there. Just a little more and—
Forge ripped the Velcro imprisoning her wrists open. The bindings gave away, freeing her hands.
“Oh, yes, please” Curling her fingers in his hair, she offered him her mouth. He bared his teeth, snapping at her. The click of his molars echoed inside her head. “Sorry. I’m sorry. Go slow next time. Please, Forge—I need you right now.”
With a soft curse, he grabbed the outside of her knee. “Unlock.”
Thigh muscles quivering, she obeyed and opened, unwrapping her legs from around his waist. The second her feet hit the floor, he knelt and dragged her shorts down her legs. Tossing the thin fabric over his shoulder, he curled his hand over her bare hips, leaned in, touched his nose to the curls protecting her core, and inhaled.
“God, you smell good.” Nuzzling her, he caressed the back of her thigh and kept going, moving down until he grasped her ankle. Applying gentle pressure, he lifted her foot off the floor.
Her knee bent. He pushed it sideways, opening her to his touch. “Bet you taste even better.”
Without giving her a chance to answer, he bent his head, spread her open, and licked between her folds. His tongue lashed her. The heat of his mouth scorched her. Delight whiplashed, sending her spinning into the abyss. Pleasure blasted through her. Forge growled, and tasting her deep, brought his fingers into play. Wanting more, she opened wider, baring all, giving him everything. Slick with need, her sex welcomed him. He slid in with ease, caressing her with one fingertip, then two. Back and forth. Rub here, stroke there, return for more as he learned what she pleased her. Circling her entrance, he played, dipping in before retreating, only to come back and do it again.
The kind that left her hanging over a precipice Forge refused to push her over. Another light flick of his tongue. More gentle thrusts of his fingers. Her knee wobbled. He firmed his grip on her bottom. Muscles deep inside her clenched, released and…God. She couldn’t take anymore.
“You’re so wet, lass. So fucking hot.” Flicking her with the tip of his tongue, he drew circles around her clitoris, exposing the bundle of nerves. Hips canted forward, Hope gasped, then groaned when he licked her again. “Like that?”
“Want to come?”
“Go on, then. Come for me.”
His lips firmed. His fingers found her entrance and thrust deep—once, twice, a third time before he sucked…hard. Hands buried in his hair, Hope came screaming.
The explosion rocked her world, sheeting white behind her eyes. Her legs gave out. Forge didn’t give her time to recover. Still throbbing inside, unable to feel her toes or fingertips, Hope didn’t object when he laid her down. Cold hardwood warming beneath her back, he spread her thighs, kissed her curls one last time, then rose above her.
“Mine.” Taking her mouth, he delved deep, forcing her to open wider, take more of him, and taste herself on his tongue. The kiss lasted forever, yet not long enough, and when he lifted his head, Hope tried to follow. With a snarl, he nipped her bottom lip. “You’re mine—mine. Every fucking inch of you. Donnae forget it.”
His. All his.
The assertion should’ve scared her. Belonging to someone had never been big on her list of things to encourage, but somehow…for some reason…Forge’s claim lent her power. The power to choose. The power to agree. The power to claim him in return. Strange in some ways. Just right in others. She didn’t understand it. Couldn’t explain it. Didn’t care to either. Right now, all that mattered was Forge—pleasing him, seeing to the needs of only man who’d ever claimed her as his own.
The idea settled deep.
As it found a home inside her, Hope trembled beneath him. Poised above her, balanced on his elbows, Forge nuzzled her cheek. Day old whiskers burned over her skin, layering on sensation as he settled between her thighs. In no hurry, he stroked her out of afterglow and back into arousal: strong fingers playing over her skin, hot breath against her ear, sharp teeth grazing the underside of her chin. Such gentle touches. So generous in his attentions. So unbelievably hot, Hope burned brighter with each new caress.
His chest brushed over her breasts. She moaned. Intense violet eyes met hers. Her bottom lip trembled. He kissed her again. She opened her mouth wider, accepting his claim and staked her own. Craving the heat of him, Hope raised her knees and tilted her hips, welcoming him as he notched against her core. Big hands in her hair, he held her still, pressed in, thrust deep, possessing her with one hard, long stroke. Pleasure, more intense than before, arced through her, arching her spine. Lips parted on a silent scream, arms holding him tight, she tumbled off the edge and into ecstasy, trusting Forge to catch her.to
** We have yet to read this at Smexy – this excerpt was provided by a publicist. Fury of Surrender releases Tuesday, and will be available through Kindle Unlimited