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Monday, September 28, 2015

Coming Soon!! Until Jax (Until Him #1) by Aurora Rose Reynolds


MATURE READERS 18+


COMING SOON!! MONDAY OCT. 5, 2015!!
Ellie Anthony isn’t looking for love. She isn’t even looking for a man, but when Jax Mayson insists on keeping her and her daughter safe, she’s left with no choice but to trust him. Now she just hopes she doesn’t get hurt when she falls hard for a guy who’s known for breaking hearts. 

Jax Mayson knows that Ellie is his BOOM the moment he sees her. When he finds out she has a daughter, he realizes he wants a family, and he will do whatever is necessary to keep both of his girls safe, even if that means facing the demons from his past.







Prologue


Ellie


By the time I arrive at the hospital and get put into a room, I’m at my wit’s end. My body is exhausted from having nothing really substantial to eat or drink over the last couple of days, and my mind is a mess from what I have just survived. On top of all that, I need to get to Hope.

“I’m really okay,” I repeat for what feels like the hundredth time to the doctor, who has been checking me over since coming into my room a few minutes ago.

“Ruth, let’s start an IV,” he says, looking over my head at the nurse, once again ignoring me and pulling my arm towards him.

“I need to get to Hope,” I whimper, yanking my arm out of his grasp when the nurse walks around the bed with the needle in her hand.

“Let the doctor put in the IV, Ellie,” the guy named Jax says, taking my other hand in his and smoothing his thumb over my palm. He hasn’t left my side since I walked out of the woods. I’ve been trying to ignore him, but am failing miserably. He’s a giant, and intimidatingly good-looking, which makes it nearly impossible to be in his presence without acknowledging him.

“You don’t understand. Hope needs me,” I cry as the doctor takes my arm again, placing the needle into my skin, causing tears of frustration to fill my eyes.

“Hey, don’t cry. I’m sure you dog is okay,” Jax says softly, running his fingers over the back of my hand.

“Ex-excuse me?” I sputter, turning my head towards him.

“Cat?” he asks, frowning.

“Hope is my daughter,” I hiss, pulling my hand from his grasp.

“Daughter?” He pales, searching my face. I’m not surprised by his reaction. That’s the normal response I get from men when they find out I have a kid, but something inside of me whimpers from his response.

“Daughter,” I affirm, lifting my chin, and then look at the doctor to glare. “I need to get out of here now.”

“Fuck me,” Jax mumbles, but I ignore him and continue to shoot daggers at the doctor, which does nothing as he places the IV bag on a hanger above my head.

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Anthony, but you’re severely dehydrated and we’re going to need to keep you here for at least a few more hours.

“I’ll drink some water,” I tell him, tempted to rip the IV out of my hand and stab him with it.

“Get some sleep.” He ignores me once more then walks away to speak with the nurse.

“This cannot be happening,” I mumble, falling back against the bed and feeling my eyes suddenly grow heavy, making me wonder if they put something else in the IV.


*~*~*


Waking to the sound of whispering, my eyes blink open slowly. The room is dark, with the only light coming from a TV in the corner, casting a blue glow throughout the room. As my eyes focus on the TV, I double blink. Jax’s uncle, Nico, is standing with a group of officers in front of the house I had been taken to, and the woman in front of the camera is speaking, but the volume is so low I can’t hear what she’s saying as the cameraman pans from the woman to the truck that had been driving after us. Sitting up, I find the remote next to the bed and turn up the volume.

“The two women were then chased by this truck while trying to get away on a four-wheeler they took from one of the assailants. One captor is dead and the other is still missing. If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of the suspect, please call the number listed below,” the woman says before the scene is gone.

Replaced by a man and woman sitting behind the desk at the news station, announcing, “Tonight, you can watch Dan Seagan’s special report about sex trafficking in the Nashville area.”

Pulling my eyes from the TV and sitting up, I reach for the phone next to the bed, dialing the only number I can think of that will lead me to Hope.

“Hello?” my aunt answers on the first ring.

“Aunt Marlene,” I get out through a strangled breath, holding the phone closer to my ear. “Have you seen my mom?”

“Did, but she’s gone now,” she mutters, and I hear her light a cigarette. I’m sure she’s sitting in her recliner, where she always is, with her feet propped up, smoking cigarette after cigarette and watching TV.

“Where’s Hope?” I close my eyes, praying my mom didn’t take her with her.

“Hope’s with me. When are you coming to get her?”

“I’m in Tennessee,” I whimper, not knowing exactly how far away I am from Kentucky.

“I know. Your mama was here when the news came on,” she tells me.

Tears fill my eyes, but I refuse to let them fall. I refuse to let these people hurt me anymore. I wasn’t surprised my mom told my aunt what happened or that she didn’t care. My mom stopped caring about me when my dad died, when she no longer had to pretend my brother and I mattered to her more than her next high.

“I’m on my way. Please tell Hope I’ll be there soon.”

“I gotta work tomorrow night, so keep that in mind,” she says right before the line goes dead. Setting the phone in its cradle, I rub my eyes.

My family is what most of America would classify as trailer trash. I hated that term growing up, but we were poor and lived in a trailer. There was a time in my life when I was okay with the kids at school calling me that, because I knew I might’ve lived in a trailer and been poor, but at least I had my family. Then, when I was seven, my dad died in a coal mining accident, leaving my older brother and me alone with my mom, who had an addiction to pain pills. Even though she was sick long before we lost my dad, we never suffered because of it. My dad always made sure we had food and clothing. We didn’t have much, but we had each other. After he passed away, we lost everything.

“You’re awake.”

Looking over my shoulder at the open doorway, my gaze connects with Jax’s concerned one. I don’t know what to make of him. I still don’t understand how someone who has just met me could show me more care in just a few hours than the people I have known my whole life.

“I need to get to Hope,” I say, placing my fingers on my throat, which I’m just noticing is dry and scratchy.

“I know, baby. I’m gonna take you,” he says, stepping into the room.

Baby? Why do I like that? Why do I get warm all over every time he calls me that?

“Thank you.” I close my eyes in relief then open them, saying, “I’ll pay you back as soon as I get home.”

“No,” he rumbles, making me jump, which seems to cause his jaw to grind. “I mean that’s not necessary,” he says gently, shoving his hands into the front pockets of his jeans giving me a chance to really look at him.

I wasn’t kidding when I said he’s a giant. His shoulders are so wide I’m pretty sure I could fit twice between them. His hips are lean, his thighs thick, and his legs are long.

His head is covered in a ball cap, drawing attention to his eyes that seem hazel in the dark, and he has an angular jaw, full lips, and an almost perfect nose that has a slight tilt to it. “My mom and dad are here. Mom brought you some clothes if you want to change before we leave,” he informs me, taking a step towards me then stopping and pulling his ball cap off his head, giving me the opportunity to see his hair for the first time. It’s dark brown, and it’s short on the sides and longer on top.

Standing and running my hands down the front of my dingy jeans, I look over his shoulder into the hall, where there’s a woman with red hair standing next to a man who looks like an older version of Jax. The moment my eyes connect with hers, she steps into the room.

“Honey,” the woman calls softly, “why don’t you go wait in the hall with your dad while I help Ellie get changed?”

“Mom.” He shakes his head, not taking his eyes from me.

“Come on, bud,” the man, who I’m assuming is his dad, says, stepping slightly into the room.


Jax pulls in a breath then releases it, looking at me like he doesn’t want to leave. Weirdly, I don’t want him to either.

“I’ll be right outside,” he says after a couple beats.

“Sure,” I whisper, fighting myself from going to him.

“You can come back in once she’s dressed,” his mom tells him when he doesn’t move then squeezes his shoulder as he moves past her out of the room.

Once the door is closed, the room becomes even darker, but then the light comes on, causing me to squeeze my eyes closed in surprise.

“Oh crap, I’m sorry. I didn’t even think,” the woman mutters, and I see through my closed eyelids when the room go dark once again.

“It’s okay; you can turn it on.”

“Are you sure?” she prompts.

“Yeah.” When the lights turn back on, it takes just a moment for my eyes to adjust, and when they do, I watch Jax’s mom step closer to me.

“I know my son didn’t introduce us, but I’m Lilly, and you’re Ellie, right?” she asks, studying me.

“Yes,” I choke out and she frowns, walking to the bed. Picking up a pink cup off the side table, she brings it towards me, holding it out for me to take.

“Just take sips, honey,” she says gently, with her hand under mine like I might drop the cup. “Is that better?”

“Yes, thank you,” I say, surprised to hear my voice crack again, but this time with emotions from having someone look out for me.

She nods, taking the cup back and setting a bag on the bed.

“Jax said you were small, so I just grabbed some of my yoga clothes for you.”

“Thank you,” I mumble absently, watching her pull out a pair of black yoga pants and a tank with a jacket to go over it from the bag.

“Do you want to wash up a little in the bathroom?”

I follow her gaze to a door I hadn’t even noticed and nod. Taking the stuff, she helps me into the small room murmuring “I’ll be out here if you need me” closing the door behind her.

Turning on the water I don’t even look at myself in the mirror above the sink as I strip off my clothes and grab a few paper towels, soaking them. Scrubbing myself from head to toe, being careful of my hands, which are still sensitive from carrying a two-by-four around as a weapon.

Once I’m as clean as I’m going to get without a shower, I catch my reflection in the mirror and cringe. My dark hair is matted, my skin pale, and my brown eyes are sunken in. “You’re alive,” I remind myself, pulling on the yoga pants that are a little too long, but they are clean and thankfully fit. Then I put on the tank and cover it with the jacket before slipping my sneakers back on and running a hand through my hair, watching as dried leaves and dirt fall to the floor. Giving up on getting the knots out, I pull it all up on top of my head and spin it into a bun, tucking the ends in.

“Everything fit, thank you,” I say when I step out of the bathroom, finding Lilly sitting on the bed with her head bent, like she’s deep in thought.

“I’m glad.” She smiles softly then her head tilts to the side, studying me. “Jax said you have a daughter.”

“I do.” I nod, taking my old clothes to the waist basket and dropping them in.

“And your mom did this to you?” she asks, catching me off guard with her question, making my body go solid in response.

Licking my lips, I turn to look at her. “She did.”

“Does she live near you?” she questions softly, looking me over.

“About twenty minutes away, with my aunt.”

“So…your daughter’s father?”

“He’s dead,” I say, feeling tears fill my eyes at the thought. “Hope isn’t my biological daughter. Edward, my brother, and his girlfriend, Bonnie, were hit head-on by a drunk driver. Both died on impact. Hope survived with only a few scrapes. I was granted custody of her the next day on my ninetieth birthday, when she was just four weeks old.

“I’m sorry,” she whispers quietly.

“It was a long time ago,” I say, wrapping my arms around my waist.

“Do you have a job back home?”

My body stiffens further and I feel my eyes narrow. I know people make assumptions about me all the time because of where I live and how I grew up, but I went to school and got my hairdressing license when I turned eighteen and have been on my own since then. I’ve worked hard at making a life for me and Hope, so her future will be brighter than mine and Edward’s. I know that’s what he wanted for her, and for me.

“I do hair,” I reply, just because I don’t want to be rude after how nice she has been.

“I know this is going to sound completely outlandish, but have you ever thought about moving and starting over somewhere else?” she inquires softly.

Sure, I had thought about it, but as a single mother, I was only able to save a few dollars here and there. Having a child isn’t cheap, and I refuse to use government assistance. My mother did it for years, even though she could have worked. “I’m only asking, because this is a nice place to live, a good place to raise a child.”

“Maybe someday,” I mutter, feeling uncomfortable.

“I was a single mother for awhile,” she says, surprising me. “I know how difficult it is to raise a child without having people around you can lean on. Not that I’m saying you don’t have that, but—”

“All I have is me,” I cut her off. Yes, I have a few friends, but no one I can trust. Not really, anyways, and family…I don’t have that either. It’s always been just Hope and me.

Her eyes go soft and she stands from the bed. “You could move here. My friend owns a salon in town. He’s always looking for help, and Jax already said you could stay with him until you got on your feet. He’s hardly home anyways.”

Stay with Jax?

Yeah, no thank you.

“We would all feel better knowing you’re here—at least until the other guy is caught.”

Oh, God. How did I forget about him? I don’t know if he knows where I live, and what if something happens to Hope? Closing my eyes, I rub my forehead, feeling a headache coming on.

“I know you want to keep your daughter safe, and my son will make sure of it.”

“I don’t know.” I open my eyes. This is too much to handle right now.

“Sometimes you have to jump off the ledge with both feet, honey. I know this is a scary time to be making big life changes, but I believe everything happens for a reason, and maybe…just maybe…you’re supposed to take a chance on something new.” She reaches out, rubbing my arm.

My grandma once told me, Devour life without chewing, and pray that you don’t choke. Could I do that now? Take a chance and pray for the best? “Are you sure your friend needs help?” I hear myself ask without even realizing it.

She smiles then nods. “I’m positive.”

“Maybe I have a concussion,” I mutter, surprised I’m really thinking about doing this. It’s not like me to take unnecessary risks.

“I’ll be here for you whenever you need me, and I know my husband and daughter will do the same, along with Jax.”

Oh, God. Jax. I’m not sure what to do with him, but I need to keep Hope safe, and the farther I get away from my family, the better, not only for her, but for me as well.

“Okay,” I state.

“Okay?"

“Yes, I need to make sure my daughter is safe,” I explain softly.

Her arms wrap around me in a hug and she mutters, “I promise things are going to be better now.”

I’m not so sure about that. I feel like I just went from the frying pan into the fire.




NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY & WALL STREET JOURNAL BEST SELLING AUTHOR Aurora Rose Reynolds was also featured in a one on one interview for the Cosmopolitan online magazine. Aurora is a navy brat who’s husband served in the United States Navy. She has lived all over the country but now resides in Tennessee with her Husband. She’s married to an alpha male that loves her as much as the men in her books love their women. He gives her over the top inspiration everyday. In her free time she reads, writes and enjoys going to the movies with her husband. She also enjoys taking mini weekend vacations to nowhere, or spends time at home with friends and family. Last but not least she appreciates everyday and admires it’s beauty.
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