I LOVED writing this scene in Lethal Redemption! From four years old until her escape at the age of thirteen, Grace Steele had lived within the Order of the New Dawn, a cult buried deep in the West Virginian mountains. It was after her ‘defection’ that she found the family she was always meant to have with father’s sister and four overgrown cousins, and that family also came with the boy next door, Cade Wright. Her and Cade’s relationship grew from friends to teenage sweetheart, and finally to young adult lovers eagerly looking to their future together. But their relationship came to a screeching halt when Cade re-upped with the Army for another four year term without so much as a heads up.
Through the years, Grace has avoided him at all cost which isn’t easy considering the Steeles and the Wrights were practically one big happy family. Her cousins, the current owners of Steele Ops, have been hired by the Vice President of the United States to extract his daughter from the very same cult form which Grace had grown up…and that’s where they bring her in. But what was supposed to be a simple assignment using her FBI profiler skills turned into an undercover operation and with no other than Cade as her backup…and her fake fiancé.
The way Grace left the Order puts them on shaky ground with the New Dawn recruiters. They can’t afford not to be believed. So in the hopes of selling their ‘reunited lovers’ storyline, Cade and Grace shack up at his place and play house. These two have a whole lot of history, something that this scene shows from the easy teasing to the lusty heat that hasn’t died down even an inch in the nearly decade they’ve been apart. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it…
Grace shut off the water and toweled herself dry. She anchored the fluffy white towel across her body before coming to an abrupt stop outside the bathroom.
She blinked, unable to fully comprehend the scene in front of her, and blinked again.
Cade attempted to build a Jenga-like tower on the coffee table. It teetered precariously, and he cursed before making sure it stayed upright. It would’ve looked like the start of any regular game night…except for the fuzzy red handcuffs circling his wrists.
“Would you like me to leave you alone?”
“Shit.” Cade’s knee slammed into the table, knocking down half his tower.
Suppressing a laugh, she gripped her towel and padded barefoot to the empty box at his feet. On the front, a half-naked couple embraced passionately among swirls of glittery gold lettering. “Scandalous Desires…The Ultimate Intimacy Game for Couples.”
“This isn’t what it looks like.”
“It looks like you’re playing with that mystery game Zoey seemed to know something about.”
“Okay, so maybe it is what it looks like, but I wasn’t playing it.” He attempted to clean up the fallen blocks, his movements hindered by the cuffs.
“I’m a profiler, not a prosecutor, but…really? The evidence is a little damning.” Smirking, she picked up one of the fallen Jenga blocks and read the black inscription. “‘Share the position which gets you to orgasm faster. Draw pictures for further explanation.’”
“I’m going to kill Jaz for leaving this here.” Cade squirmed in his seat, tugging at the bracelets. “My skin itches from these damn things.”
Grace picked up another block. “‘Put on the fuzzy cuffs and wear them for the rest of the game.’” She couldn’t suppress her laughter. “Looks like you already have that step covered.”
“Seriously, Grace, is there a key in the box or something? I think I’m allergic to whatever the hell these things are covered in.” Cade twisted his wrists, and she noted the red skin beneath the cuffs.
She shook out the box. “Nope. Empty.”
Cade swore again, his curse earning him a chuckle from Grace as he grabbed the box and looked inside himself. “How the hell can there not be a key?”
“You could always write to the manufacturer and complain.” Grace bit her lip and padded away toward the bedroom.
“Wait. You’re not going to help me get out of these damn things?” he called after her.
“Your curiosity got you into them, surely you can get yourself out.”
“If I could, I would’ve done it by now. And I wouldn’t be asking you for help.”
“They’re plastic, Cade. Beast out of them.”
“Then what?” She turned around before disappearing into the bedroom and leaned against the door, smiling coyly. “You can’t play with them again?”
He narrowed his eyes, getting off the couch. “You’re enjoying this?”
“Immensely, yes. It kind of reminds me of Johnny Franklin’s birthday party when you tried cheating your way into a Seven Minutes in Heaven session with Heather Tooley and got Wilma Hutchinson instead.”
Cade’s mouth opened and closed. “How did you know I tried stuffing the hat?”
Grace smirked. “My talents at reading people were on point even back then. The question really is how could I have not noticed.”
He stalked closer, each step that he took flipping Grace’s stomach. “That goes to show what you know.”
“Please. I saw you with all those extra pieces of paper.”
“Yeah, you probably did.” Cade stopped inches away. Heat poured off him in waves, but it was nothing compared to what was happening in his eyes.
Locked on her, they glittered with a faint trace of mischief and a whole lot of desire—blue-eyed molten lava. Grace had never been so aware of her lack of clothes until that very moment.
His gaze dropped to her mouth and back. “But it wasn’t Heather Tooley’s name I was stuffing in that damn hat.”
“Then whose was it?”
Grace’s breath caught in her lungs. Even while she mentally asked herself if it was the truth, she knew it was. Of the many things Cade Wright was, one thing he wasn’t was a liar. Her body warmed from the small wave of hope his lusty gaze created, and she didn’t know what to do with it.
“Don’t look at me like that.” Grace’s soft demand didn’t hold any kind of conviction, even to her own ears. Cade hadn’t touched her and yet she tingled from her toes up, her towel chafing her hardening nipples.
“Look at you like what, Gracie? Like you’ve been it for me since the second you walked into my life? Why? So you can keep denying the truth? We’re good together. Always have been and always will be.”
He wasn’t wrong, and, God help her, she didn’t want to deny it either. Right then, her next breath wasn’t as important as kissing him. She leaned closer, sliding her hand into his hair.
Cade stopped her. “I told you before, I want—”
Thank April & the Forever team for this excerpt. Lethal Redemption releases this Tuesday, November 26.