Bale holds a special place in my heart. My original plan for him in Hero Unleashed was his death. That's right. Bale was supposed to go out in a Llanos blaze of glory. But when I thought about what motivated him, I gave him a tragic backstory, and I couldn't kill him. Nope. I had to save him, and thus, Hero Rising was born.
I had other plans for Bale in Hero Unleashed as well that my editor told me was too far for even Ellora's Cave readers. Seriously! I did change the scene in question, but I kept it. Ha! Subscribers to my newsletter will have access to the cut scene in the next addition, so if yo haven't signed up, now is the time to do so.
Read, enjoy, and I hope you fall in love with Bale as much as I did.
*Passionate Plume winner for Best Erotic Paranormal Romance. Prism Contest, 2nd place for best Erotic Paranormal Romance.
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Ari Rayner’s fresh start in the city is put on hold when her car breaks down on a mountain pass. Her savior is a hooded angel with haunted eyes who gives new meaning to the words “smoldering intensity”. Drawn to his strength, she revels in helping him succumb to his illicit fantasies. Just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean she’s afraid to get down and dirty.
Bale made a deathbed promise to protect those who cannot protect themselves, a vow he’s done a damn fine job of upholding, but the fire burning within Ari beckons him to play in the flames, and the heat they generate brings the house down. But such brilliance sheds light on past mistakes that Bale must now answer for. With his true nature revealed, Ari uses everything at her disposal—whips, straps and a firm hand—to convince Bale he is not a monster and is worthy of her love.
“Look, Bale,” she finally said and he practically wilted with relief she had spoken. “I’m not quite sure what to say right now. Part of me is glad that you put that little shit in his place, but you can’t go around manhandling men like that. What if he called the cops or pulled a gun on you?”
“As if he could overtake me,” he scoffed before thinking.
“Bale!” She rounded on him.
“I am sorry.”
“My point is, I work in an industry where there are creepy people. It comes with the territory and you have to build a thick skin. If I needed backup, I would have asked for it. Don’t put yourself on the line like that for me.”
“I am going to anyway.”
“Well stop it.”
“Well you’re gonna have to.”
“I will not!” He stalked forward, inching her backward until the wall stopped her progress. “I cannot stop
Her eyes widened, the yellow flecks in the iris sparked as a shudder shook her body, yet he sensed no fear of him as she whispered, “Why?”
“Because.” He paused to swallow. “Because…”
A thousand reasons why he should follow her wishes engaged in a battle with the thousand why he refused to yield. There was no place in his world for a female, even one as fiery and passionate as Ari. But the thought of walking away made his stomach turn inside out with the familiar ache of regret. There was so much in his life he wished he had done differently. Was this moment to become another?
“Why, Bale?” Ari whispered again.
“Because I care about you. Your well-being means everything to me.”
“Can’t you show it in a different way?”
He shook his head. “This is the only way I know how.”
No. That wasn’t entirely true.
He raised his hand and placed his palm against her cheek. She stilled beneath his touch as his thumb brushed over her lips. Words were never his strength, so he’d just have to communicate without them.
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Until next time!