Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Blog Stop & Excerpts: Corrupting Cinderella by Autumn Jones Lake

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Can a lawyer and a criminal maintain an enduring romantic relationship?

Although Hope and Rock care deeply for one another, the truth is they come from completely different worlds. Add to that the fact that they are also both headstrong people, and they have a very rough road ahead of them.

For Rock that means introducing Hope to what it really means to be part of his brutal and shady world, where the Lost Kings Motorcycle Club is his main focus. For Hope it means accepting the things she can’t change, and understanding that Rock is a man who will do anything to keep her safe.

As Rock continues to draw Hope deeper into his world, painful misunderstandings and opposition from the members of his club will threaten to drive them apart.

This excerpt is a two-in-one. The first piece is from Slow Burn (Lost Kings #1) and the second part is from Corrupting Cinderella (Lost Kings #2).
"You’re trouble," she whispers.
"Yes. You know it deep down, doll. You deserve someone good, honest, and clean. I am none of that. I can't give you those things."
"That’s not true."
"Isn’t it? Think hard, Hope."
She blinks twice. "You’re good to me."
I sigh like a sad sack. "Baby, I’m such a selfish bastard for trying to draw you into my world. I don’t want any ugliness to seep into your life."
"You’ve made me happier than I’ve been in so long."
"For how much longer, doll? I’m never going to be a man who slips into a suit and tie and takes you to some lawyer function. I mix with the regular world only when it's required. I don't have patience for small talk and bullshit."
She’s quick to shake her head. "But I don’t care about that stuff. I never have."
My gaze wanders over her beautiful face, drinking in every perfect feature. "But I will expect you to spend time in my world, around the MC. That’s my family, my life. It’s not fair, but it’s the way it is. I will protect you with my life, and my brothers in the club? They will also keep you safe. Just because you’re mine."
Tears glistened in her eyes. Fuck, I hadn’t meant to make her cry.
"Hope? Are you with me?"
"I’m with you."
"Why you crying, doll?"
"I’m scared. You sound like you’re letting me go."
Corrupting Cinderella
Babe, you wanna stay up at the clubhouse or at my house Thursday?”
Since her caseload is still small, Hope’s been taking Fridays off, so we normally spend the night together at one of those two places. Now that the clubhouse is free of girls itching to harass her, she seems more comfortable spending time there, which in turn makes my life easier.
She walks into the living room, nervously twisting her hands. “I, uh, have a thing to go to Thursday night.”
Her tone puts me on alert, and I sit up. “What kind of thing?”
She waves her hand in the air. “A lawyer thing. For Mara’s husband? The judge? I normally wouldn’t go—I hate those things—but she asked me to, so…”
That mean Sophie’s going too?”
Yes…” Something about the way she answers sparks my interest.
You going together?”
No, I’m going with Mara’s friend, Ross. You’ve met him. He uh, isn’t really ‘out’ in the legal community. So, Mara used to go to these things as his date, but you know, since she’s married now, she asked me if I’d go with him.”
I have met Ross. Still, something about her going as someone else’s date, no matter the reason, bothers me.
You said you don’t do those type of things, so that’s why I didn’t ask,” she says hurriedly.
There it is. That’s why I feel like shit. She’s right. I did make a big point of telling her I would never escort her to something like that. And fuck, I meant it.
But Christ, when I think of the amount of time she’s spent with me in my world, all the shit she’s put up with from the people in my club, doing that stuff because I needed her to. . .is escorting her to some stupid party really that big a deal? In the entire time we’ve been together, this is the first time she’s gone to one of these things. It’s not like she does it all the time.
I’ve been silent for so long thinking this through that Hope drops her hands and returns to the kitchen where she was preparing dinner. She gives up, just like that.
Maybe she’s embarrassed to be seen with me at that type of event? Even with long sleeves and a collared shirt, traces of my ink will be visible.
Well, no, she’s introduced me to her friends. By accident mostly. Even the invitation to Jonny’s show came unintentionally, because I happened to be sitting next to her when Sophie sent the invite. My girl never asks me to spend time with her friends, but I’m always making her spend time with mine. Fuck, she never demands anything from me.
Except honesty.
Which I haven’t completely given her yet.
Pushing off the couch, I find her in the kitchen stirring sauce over the stove.
Smells good.”
Without turning, she answers with a soft, “Thanks.”
Babe, I’ll go with you Thursday.”
Her shoulders sag, not exactly the reaction I expected. “It’s okay. It’ll be boring. Clay never went with me to that type of stuff either. It’s not a big deal. I’m used to it.”
I’m not crazy enough to think I’m in competition with her dead husband or anything. Still, her admission pushes me forward. Setting my hands on her shoulders, I pull her back from the stove. She drops the wooden spoon she was using on the counter and turns in my arms.
Her deep green eyes stare up at me with concern. “What’s wrong, Rochlan?”
She’s so serious all of a sudden. Maybe she doesn’t want me there.
Truth, give her truth.
I want to take you.”
She lets out a soft sigh. “Why? You can’t possibly be jealous of Ross. You’ve met him.”
Cupping her cheeks with my hands, I draw her gaze up to meet mine. “It’s not a jealousy thing. You’ve been so agreeable about spending time doing stuff with me, it’s only fair I return the favor.”
Confusion clouds her pretty face, and she looks down at the floor.
That’s not our deal. I knew your role as President meant I’d have to spend time at the club. You were upfront with me that you didn’t do suits, ties, and schmoozing. I agreed it was okay. I have no right to complain about it now.”
Christ, how she’s twisting the knife in my heart, and she doesn’t even realize it. Throwing my words back at me without any venom. She’s completely honest and serious.
You’re not asking me, sweetheart. I’m offering. I should do this for you.”
She glances up, and I get a glimpse of cautious optimism that cements my decision.
It’s at this stupid fancy-pants place. You’ll hate it.”
Is that your way of asking me if I own a suit?” I tease.
The corners of her mouth twitch up. “No.”
You worried your judge friend won’t want me there because of my record?”
She tilts her head as if the thought never occurred to her, and a slight frown darkens her face. “No. It’s not like they’re going to do a background check at the door.”
You gonna be embarrassed if I can’t cover all my ink?”
She tilts her head to the side, and a hint of a naughty smile curves her lips. “No. It’s sexy, since I’ll be the only one there who gets to see the full picture.”
Well, doesn’t that answer excite the fuck outta me.

As an only child, Autumn kept herself entertained by making up all sorts of stories. For a long time, life and school dimmed her enthusiasm for creative writing. But as soon as she rediscovered her love of storytelling, she put her fingers to the keyboard and hasn’t looked back.

Her favorite books to read are mystery, thrillers, horror, romance, erotica and urban fantasy. Her favorite thing to write is romance. All of her stories have to include a hunky hero and an optimistic ending.

When she’s not writing, Autumn spends time listening to music, going to concerts, and driving her family nuts. She enjoys reading, gardening, acting, and collecting nail polish. (Her husband says she shouldn’t be allowed to include gardening in her list of hobbies, because she makes him do all the work, but that’s not relevant.)

Autumn lives in Upstate New York with her husband and their three rescue dogs. She is actively involved with several dog rescue groups and her local RWA chapter.

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