Trust Me Book 1
by Amy Romine
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Eric Stiles was in the middle of chaos, searching for a killer.
Hunted by an obsessed psychopath, Rebecca Gailen was trying to be strong.
The world stopped for a moment as they looked up and saw the other standing just feet away.
His heart lurched, her armor shattered and the world started again as Eric's brother, Charlie, appeared to take her hand.
Family loyalty isn't a choice. When Rebecca's stalker rages out of control, Eric's decision haunts him and he struggles to stay away. Can he remain loyal to his brother, even if it means abandoning Rebecca when she may need him the most?
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“I should probably get to bed.” She turned to him, her hands in her pockets. “My flight leaves pretty early.”
“Yeah, me, too,” he replied with a light nod. “Thanks for the company. It was fun.”
“It was.” She looked into his eyes, leaned forward, placing a soft kiss on his cheek. “Night.”
“Night.” His breath caught in his throat forcing him to turn away as she turned the corner and disappear.
He wanted to go after her, he wanted to know her name, and yet his feet remained cemented to the floor. He dug into his pocket, found his room key and moved to the elevator. He pushed the button for his floor and wondered why in hell he’d allowed her walk away. They would never see each other again. Which was the whole reason, he assumed, she wanted to keep it all in generalities.
She was just a stranger he’d met in a bar, a captivating, intelligent, stranger, but a random stranger, nonetheless. He didn’t need to complicate his life more than it already was. Walking away was the right thing to do.
Eric stepped onto his floor and looked at his key for the room number. He turned the corner, seeing her mane of curls tossed over her shoulder. She dug in her pocket while balancing two bottles of water in one hand. After a moment, she looked up and met his eyes again. All sense of reason disintegrated and a rush of heat swept through his body.
“Old hangover trick.” She flashed her gorgeous smile as he moved, needing to shorten the unbearable gap. He invaded her space, all of his energy falling into the ocean of her eyes. His hand rested on her hip and her voice faded. “Two Tylenol and a bottle…”
His fingertips grazed over the delicate twists framing her face. Her eyes fluttered closed and a powerful need overwhelmed him. His hand wrapped around her waist to land on the small of her back. He pulled her against him. She took a slow breath, the gentle rise of her chest spreading her exuding warmth across his chest. Her eyes opened, and he lowered his mouth to brush a hesitant kiss over her breathtaking lips.
The touch was soft and lingering. She moved her lips against his in a tender caress, making his heart flutter. Unable to ignore the softness of her lips, he kissed her long and slow. Savoring every touch, his fingertips swept her cheek. The water in her hands dropped to the floor with a soft thud. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and his hand tangled itself within the curled tendrils of her beautiful hair.
The delicate scent of her body filled him, stirred the rolling heat within his stomach and a groan sat at the bottom of his throat. His hands shifted beneath her shirt. His fingers danced over the silk of her lower back. Her soft body crashed against him. Her grazing hands inched down his back, across his abdomen and up to his chest, sending spikes of electricity into his groin.
Their once hesitant, tender embrace became deep, insistent and brimmed with mutual passion. One hand in her hair, the other encircling her waist and he walked her back, trapping her against the wall. His hunger for her seemed unquenchable. He devoured her lips and explored the recesses of her mouth with his tongue.
His heated body pressed against hers. Their lips parted, gasping for air. He traced his tongue down the line of her neck. He stopped, suckling on her collarbone. His fingers lingered on the area of satin between the dip of her waist and the curve of her hip. They played for a moment before moving upward, across her ribs. She attacked his ear with a purr. He lifted his eyes, the reflection of his own breathless passion shone within her depths of blue.
“Where’s your room?” He tugged at her lips in distraction.
“I have no idea,” he said with a grin. She cocked her head to the side before her hands dove into his pockets. Searching for his key, her fingers brushed against him.
Unable to turn away from her dazzling eyes, a smile edged his mouth. When she finished, she drew him against her by the pocket of his jeans.
“I think I found it.” Her breath teasing his lips.
She triumphantly lifted the key between them.
Room three forty-eight.
Content just to have her in his arms, he realized he didn’t care about the room or the world around them. Overwhelmed by the new sensation of serenity, his thumb traced the line of her cheek. He leaned down, once again coaxing her lips against his. Her arms slid around his neck pulling him closer. He fell into the candy of her mouth.
Voices descended the hall and she whimpered in irritation at the interruption. He groaned with the broken embrace, took her hand, and searched for his room. She laughed at his obvious desperation.
An unnerving ache replaced the serenity in the absence of her warmth. He found the room, swept her back into his arms, and pressed her against the door. He reclaimed her lips, in case she’d forgotten. His hands slid around her hips before he lifted her, and she wrapped her legs around his waist.
He carried her into the room. His attention still focused on her lips, the door closed somewhere off in the distance. Her legs locked around his waist, she pushed his leather jacket off his shoulders, and he shrugged it away. The edge of the bed bumped against his leg. He lifted his knee, and leaned forward, laying her down beneath him.
He eased against her, their bodies meeting through the barrier of cloth. His fingers traced the edge of her hair. Their lips part, his gaze searching for any sign of regret or hesitation. A sunlit smile and a grind of her hips erased any of his doubts.
He’d never wanted someone so much in his entire life…
Trust Me Book 2
Her resilience fading, Rebecca fights to remain strong against the man trying to destroy her mind and her life. Without the solace of Eric's arms, Rebecca's will to recover from the relentless blows wanes as she begins to break.
Eric, forced to face his own choices, races to end the nightmare before the woman he loves is completely torn apart.
Just when they think the worst is over, the game and the stakes change.
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She tried to move, hearing the scraping of metal. Her body trembled in resistance. Her eyes opened to faint whispering light and a pipe covered ceiling.
Her mind spun, she allowed herself to just breathe and not move. She waited for her thoughts to settle.
She got away
She opened her eyes again and took a deep breath of relief. Lucy managed to get away and Rebecca prayed that her sister was somewhere safe. Now she just needed to keep her head straight until Eric found her, or another opportunity for escape presented itself.
She lifted herself off the hard ground, her body screaming in protest. Cold metal beneath her hand, she grabbed one of the surrounding pipes, using it to sit upright. The area was much smaller than the previous room, but again there was no break of light only a single door.
Rebecca pulled her throbbing right leg beneath her and noticed an unfamiliar weight around her ankle. The scraping of metal broke through the darkness, and she reached down feeling thick rusted metal. Her eyes began to adjust to the lack of light. She focused on the area to see an ancient lead manacle beneath her hand. Attached to a bulky chain hanging heavy on the floor. She followed it along the wall before ending at a set of large solid pipes.
She reached out to examine her injury, stretching out her opposite leg. She pulled at the fabric covering her leg, until she saw blood. It didn't look bad, a simple flesh wound. She debated whether to expend the energy to stand. Before she could decide, the door opened.
Two of Marco's thugs enter the room and she remained on the floor. They wordlessly unlocked the binding around her leg and hauled her to her feet. Once her leg was free, they yanked her forward and dragged her out of the room and through the house. The sunshine blinded her, and it took a moment for her eyes to adjust before she could discern where she was.
An open luxury house, they led her down a hallway and shoved her into a room, and she heard the door lock. The room was beautiful. Hardwood floors, cream painted walls, and an antique bed covered in copper hued pillows and blankets.
She moved to the windows, and discerned the seal fusing the frames and thick plexiglas. A second door led to a lush but windowless bathroom. Her hand pushed through her hair in frustration. She moved back into the main room. She faced the bed with a deep breath. Its softness called to her weary body. She struggled not to lay down and let herself sink into mindless bliss.
It was then she noticed the black dress laid out on top. A pair of black stilettos on the floor.
"Get cleaned up and put on the dress. You have an hour," she heard echo through the small room.
"Why should I?" she called back, receiving no response until the door opened. A thug entered, his gun poised against his chest.
"You have an hour," the faceless voice repeated, and she begrudgingly grabbed the dress off the bed. The thug’s eyes boring into her back, she moved to the bathroom and closed the door.
Reluctantly stripping off her clothes, she stepped into the shower. Unable to take any enjoyment out of the heated streams of water. They slid against her body, effectively washing away the dirt. She could still feel the filth covering her body. Without warning, the world around her went fuzzy. She planted her hands against the tile of the wall waiting for the spell to pass.
Come on Beccs, you need to pull it together. You can’t lose it yet. You have to keep going
You have to keep going
You can do this… just breathe…
The shower allowed her to breathe, and her sight cleared. She shivered, despite the warmth of the room. The dress slid over her body, but it’s flawlessness made her feel disjointed and foreign. She tugged at the zipper and took in her reflection. Her bruised face stared at her. She gulped back the tears that threatened to fall. Her hands shaking, she acknowledged all the damage he had done.
She ached for Eric.
He will come.
He will find me.
She heard the door of the bedroom opening and she spun toward it. Marco entered and motioned her into enter the room. She lingered, looked at the armed guard behind him and then moved.
"Rebecca, you have to admit. I have extremely good taste," Marco moved around her, licking his lips, scrutinizing her body. She restrained her disgust with a short breath. He moved closer. "Your body really does fill that dress in all the right places."
She felt him just behind her shoulder. His hand rested on the small of her back. It proceeded to shift down her hip, and then across her lower abdomen like a tentacle. He moved to face her, his eye's cold and darting. He decided to brush the inside of her leg, and she suppressed a tremble of loathing.
"That dress pales in comparison to the body that it encompasses. It’s too bad Detective Stiles isn't here to enjoy it with me," she heard him breathe into her neck. A chill ran up her spine, the blood to drained from her cheeks. "You look so pale, sweetheart, did I hit a nerve?"
Mid-breath, she straightened her back and lowered her shoulders. His face stopped within inches of hers.
"What you did, with Lucy was…brave.” His breath on her face, he stared down at her lips. "It makes me wonder if Detective Stiles was as brave in his time of trial."
"What are you boasting about now?" She lifted her chin in defiance of him, her voice lined with thick sarcasm.
"Tit for Tat, Beccs.” His hand rested on her hip, and he smiled. "You take something from me, and I take something from you. You didn't really think I was going to let it go…did you?"
Her heart panicked uncontrolled, but she refused to take what he was saying at face value. He was taunting her, trying to get her to fight him, so he had an excuse. He was pissed at what she’d done, so he was trying to torture her.
His eyes remained focused on her lips. She turned her face away from him in disgust. Within a breath, she felt his lips and tongue against her now exposed neck.
"You don't believe me?" he said into her neck and she fought the rising fury sweeping through her.
Marco held a cell phone up for her to see. A picture of Eric on the ground covered in blood. His face dark, his eyes closed.
She turned away from the photograph, in an attempt to deny the panic rising in her chest. He grabbed her neck and forced her to look at the image. Despite her efforts to push it out of her mind, the reality hit, and her body trembled.
"He's not coming for you Rebecca. You're all alone. No one is coming for you, and soon, you won't want them to."
Trust Me Book 3
Rebecca Gailen thinks that the love of her life is dead and only the vigor of revenge keeps her fighting to survive.
When a secret reveals more than anyone expected, it changes Eric and Rebecca's lives forever. The devastating truth puts the couple at odds. Can they overcome their clashing conclusions and learn to trust each other again? Or will they let it rip them apart?
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"We found it over there." The same officer descended the stairs behind them. The beam of his flashlight landed to the right of where they stood. Eric reached for a flashlight, and his eyes landed on Charlie who scanned the room. An officer offered his and Eric stepped toward the area. His hand brushed against the cold concrete but his mind still refused to accept it.
Not here…not like this…
Eric’s eyes fell on a spatter of blood and his chest flooded with an unrecognized pain.
She was here
Unable to push the image away, all the air left the room as his entire body clenched at the suffocation. He ascended the stairs into the sunlight, fighting for control. He began to unhinge, mindlessly entered one of the side rooms
They didn't find her which means she's still…
Keep it together Stiles…falling apart isn't going to help anyone
The sewn seam around his emotions threatened to tear, and he couldn't move. The paralyzing agony that spiked from the core of his body was relentless. He fought back in vain. He knew it wouldn't stop until she was in his arms, safe.
"Eric, what’s going on?"
Eric wiped unexpected wetness from his eyes. He leaned against the wall to face his brother. Pure disbelief stared back at him.
"I've never seen you like this."
"Yeah, you never…"
"Yeah well, things change." Eric moved to exit the room.
He found the front door and pushed through it hearing Charlie just behind him.
"You still don't get it do you?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Have you really convinced yourself that all of this…what happened, was just some kind of joke?” He stopped to face him. “That Rebecca and I didn’t mean anything we said when we told you that we never wanted to hurt you?"
"I don't know what the hell you meant to do and to be honest, I don’t really care."
"Charlie…whether or not you choose to believe it, we did try to walk away.” Charlie’s eyes diverted in anger. "Jesus, Charlie she went through hell and all she could think about was how she couldn't hurt you!"
"So once again this is my fault!"
"No…I am just…" Eric’s chest turned to stone, unwilling to allow him to hide. "As your brother, your friend, I tried to forget about…everything. But that night. That first night in Dallas, everything changed. We did everything we could to ignore it, make disappear but it didn't. It only got stronger…can you try to understand that?"
"You really expect me to…"
"I expect you to believe that I tried! I expect you to realize that this had nothing to do with you. To remember that until that moment, I've never betrayed you."
"So because you’ve always tried to be the good big brother you want me to be okay with this? To just accept what you did and move on?"
"Because you’re my brother and I need you to." Eric’s watering despite his continued battle against it. "Charlie, I'm in love with her."
"I loved her too!"
"Okay Charlie,” Eric clenched his jaw. “Where did you see things heading with her? Let's say we never met, what then?"
"I don't know. I never got the chance thanks to you!"
"That’s the difference!" Eric’s fists balled in frustration. "Six weeks ago, and the two months before that, hell even in Dallas. I knew this was different. I knew she changed everything. Even when she left without a word and I didn’t even know her name, I couldn’t get her out of my head! I look at her and see everything I never knew I wanted. She's woken up this person inside me that I didn’t even know was there! The one who wants a house and a family. The person who needs to see her every morning and hold her every night, because when I don't something is missing, and the world doesn't make sense. "
"The difference is that the moment I met her, she became my whole world," Eric explained as he struggled to keep his furious heart under control. "I know that you loved her. That was one of the reason's I stayed away as long as I did. It might not seem like much but…she needed me, and I couldn’t turn my back anymore. Now she's gone and I can't…If we don't…if I can't find her..."
"We're going to find her, Eric.” He saw the first glimpse of understanding in his brother's eyes.
A mother of three, Amy has spent the past sixteen years working in Operations for Ricoh America's Corporation. She is an avid movie fan and enjoys books, television, theater, her dog Pip and all things romance.
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By Amy Romine
Romantic Suspense Author
Some of you may be wondering, how do you keep from losing your mind when your entire life has been turned inside out and upside down? When everything once within the illusion of your control is now running amuck like a bull in a china shop. We here are a few tips, from someone who knows.
If you think you are in control, just let go of that right now. The more you try to control the situation the worse it is going to get! If you do find yourself the object of affection for some psycho lunatic, let’s be honest, there really isn’t shit you can do.
Tip # 1 - Buy a Laptop
First, if you don’t have a laptop consider investing in one. Most are fairly cheap, and you will thank your credit card later. This wonderful device will soon become your only link to the outside world, via email, online content and the occasional Facebook posting (although I would limit your exposure). You will also hopefully be able to salvage the remains of your life. Continue to pay bills, work remotely, maybe even buy a new pair of shoes (although you will need to set up a separate destination for delivery as you won’t to give yourself away). Laptops are also portable and can pretty much handle anything you throw at them, and most are water proof for the occasional melt down.
Tip# 2 - Prepare for the Late Night / Early morning crawl.
Next, I would suggest you get familiar with binge watching television. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, have all of these will keep you going for a little while at least. If you have regular cable, stick to TCM, USA, & TNT. I am not talking Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brien. I am talking 230 AM TCM Abbot and Costello or my personal favorite, Tom and Jerry on Cartoon Planet. Rule of thumb, there is ALWAYS a Law and Order on somewhere. Also, just because it is black and white, doesn’t mean it sucks. Best channels for late night / early morning are going to be, TCM, TNT, USA, and Cartoon Planet (does anyone else see a pattern here?). If you go cable (HBO, Cinemax, Showtime) you are going to run into soft core and since you're probably not getting any, probably not the best idea.
A second option for your sleepless night dilemma’s is going to be a good ole fashion book. Paper or digital catch up on your TBR piles! There are tons of authors out there wanting your review. Now you may be thinking that you shouldn’t be prepared for the occasion of insomnia. Trust me, it will happen, and better to be prepared than get stuck watching infomercials.
*Note - Do not try and work at 3 AM! First off, people are going to think you have fallen off the deep end. Second, although your eyes are open and your mind is spinning, how coherent are you really? Don’t be stupid and try to ‘keep up’, you don’t need to be sending drunk emails to your boss. (They found that people who drive after being awake for 17 to 19 hours performed worse than those with a blood alcohol level of .05 percent.)
Tip# 3 - Keep the little constants in your life alive and kicking
Moving on, try and keep some fragment of your life stable. (Impossible, right?) They say that children need a schedule for a sense of reassurance. Believe it or not Adults do as well. So obviously if you go running every morning you are going to have to put it on hold for a while (yes, I know it totally sucks!) but things, small things, like your favorite creamer in the fridge or keeping up with your favorite blogs online. Even something as small as having Taco’s on Wednesdays can make all the difference in your ability to cope with the upheaval.
Lastly, and most important, DO NOT GIVE UP, it will end eventually. As you are already realizing, your friends and family are going to be supportive and wonderful, but the fact of the matter is, you are going through this, not them.
So, do not give up, give in or let go of anything you want, wish and hope for. Those are the things that will keep you going. Things are never completely hopeless. There is always a glimmer of hope smiling back at you when you look into his eyes…hold onto the warmth of the memory, the sliver of belief that if it is meant to be it will happen.
God please make it meant to be…
So here are your tips to survival. I could go on and on but these are the must have’s in my opinion everything else is negotiable.
Stick to your guns and as Scarlett said…tomorrow is another day!
Author Amy Romine writing as Rebecca Gailen the Heroine of Trust Me Book 1 - Serenity Lost available at Amazon.com
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