Apr 14 2017 12:00pm
M. O’Keefe Excerpt: Baby, Come Back
A MAN WITH NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE
I sold my soul a long time ago to pay my father’s debts. Now my life is a prison: no friends. No family. Nothing it would hurt to lose.
I never should’ve touched Abby. I tried not to, but she is beautiful, magnetic, sexy. Everything I want but can't let myself have.
UNTIL HE MET HER
She seduced me not knowing who I was or what I really do in the shadows. I should have resisted her, but I wanted to be the man Abby thought I was for as long as I could.
But all debts must be paid, sooner or later. And mine are paid with blood.
Now Abby knows who I am, what I am, and she’s run from me.
I would have let her go for her own good. But when I find out she’s carrying my baby — there’s nowhere she can hide…
Get a sneak peek at M. O'Keefe's Baby, Come Back (available May 1, 2017) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.
“Hello?” My voice was some shaky nervous thing and I wondered where all my bravado from earlier today had gone. To say nothing of my resolve not to care about this guy.
I was here. And I was nervous. And I cared.
The door to the bathroom was open and there was Jack, at the sink, his sleeves rolled up his forearms.
The tattoos on his arms were beautiful. Bright and colorful, but full of terrible horrible images of bloody deaths and avenging angels. His tattoos looked like stained glass windows from church, heavy on bloody swords and crying women.
So incredible were the tattoos that it took me a second to realize most of them were splattered in blood. Real blood. It was across his chest and a wide arc of it was dotting his face.
And he was the one talking under his breath. I caught the words: Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.
He was praying.
Mistake, this is a mistake.
Even as I thought it, even as I knew it, I didn’t move. I couldn’t. I wasn’t sure if it was the blood or the prayers that kept me there. Or just the magnet at his core that I could not resist.
Perhaps I made a noise, some raw sound from my throat, or maybe he saw me from the corner of his eye. I didn’t know but he turned and his eyes, the blue of them, they burned and I was pinned to the spot. My knees suddenly shaking.
“What are you doing?” he asked, his voice a growl. He stepped out of the bathroom, looking up and down the empty hallway. “Why are you here?”
“You’re… I was worried.”
“You shouldn’t be here.”
“You… You’re praying.” It was the wrong thing to say. So the wrong thing. But everything was upside down. He stepped toward me and too late I realized what a mistake I’d made. Everything I’d done with him was a mistake. When he looked up from that bar yesterday I should have looked away. I should have turned around and ignored him. I should have listened to every instinct that said he wasn’t for me.
Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
I turned as if to leave, wanting to leave, but he grabbed my arm, his touch so searing I gasped.
“Do you think this is a joke?” he asked, and I shook my head so fast my earrings slapped my face. “A game maybe?”
“You’re lying. I’m just a thing you want because I don’t want you.”
I found some feeble bravery left in my shaking body and I turned to look at him, his eyes the color of night, his face flushed and splattered with blood.
Oh my god, what am I doing, I thought even as I said:
“Now who is lying?”
He wanted me as much as I wanted him. His desire was in his face. His eyes. His voice. It was in the way he touched me. I tasted it across my tongue every time I inhaled.
His thumb stroked the inside of my elbow and a sound came out of my throat I could not control. He heard it and the rough timbre of his laughter tickled down my spine, across the nape of my neck, sending goose bumps over my entire body.
“This is why you watch me? Why you came back here? You want to be scared?” he asked. “Hurt?”
“No,” I said.
He scoffed and pushed me away. “Get out of here.”
And because I wasn’t smart like my sister, and because he was so much of all my favorite things, and because the chemistry in my body responding to the chemistry in his was literally the most powerful thing I’d ever felt for another person, I didn’t run.
I turned toward him.
He was breathing hard and his cheeks were flushed like it was everything he could do to keep himself under control.
And all I wanted was for him to break.
I put my hand against his chest, the fine white fabric of his shirt, the skin beneath it hotter even than I had imagined it to be.
At my touch he hissed.
I found a whole lot of courage in that reaction.
So I lifted my shaking hand and my fingertip, the long edge of my nail, touched a spot of blood on his chin and another on his cheek. And another near his eye. Connecting the dots like cities on a map.
“Are you hurt?” I whispered.
Later I would think about it, wonder how I’d been so brave. So bold, but I cupped his face in my hand, the rough scrape of his day-old beard against my palm echoing around my body. Like I was a bell for him to ring.
“What do you want?” he asked, baffled.
“Like this?” His voice broke like the idea was impossible, that a woman would want him blood-splattered and praying in a club bathroom.
“You don’t know me. You don’t know anything about me.”
“So,” I breathed, “show me.”
And he broke.
He broke so hard. So perfectly. He put his hands at my waist and took one step forward, pushing me back against the hallway, lifting me up off my feet. I was hung there suspended by his strength, and then the hard press of his body against mine.
And then his mouth. His kiss.
Whatever I expected from this man’s kiss… it was not what I got. It was not punishing or mean. He was not stamping me or claiming me. It was not the kiss of a man with something to prove.
It was gentle. Soft.
It was the kiss of a man with something he needed forgiven.
He kissed me like absolution was in my body.
Copyright © 2017 by M. O'Keefe.
Learn more about or order a copy of Baby, Come Back by M. O'Keefe, available May 1, 2017:
M. O’Keefe has always known she wanted to be a writer (except when she wanted to be a florist or a chef and the brief period of time when she considered being a cowgirl). And once she got her hands on some romances, she knew exactly what she wanted to write.