Guest article by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
In the ancient Ozark hills, secrets abound in the remote valleys and caves. Jude Ryker has returned to his roots but there’s more involved than a homecoming. He’s a Department of Justice agent on a mission and there’s more at stake than falling in love. Ryker’s Justice, new from Evernight Publishing, by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy.
She sang the lyrics, eyes closed, her alto voice taking the words and claiming them. Nicole made it into her song, her lament. Jude shared the raw emotions she put into it and he wanted to weep or rage. He ached to pound the steering wheel to vent his feelings, and he wanted to take her with such a powerful rush of desire that he didn’t dare trust himself to share.
Without warning, without thinking, he pulled into the parking lot of a long-closed restaurant as gravel crunched beneath his tires. As soon the truck halted, he touched her hand. “Stop,” he cried, his voice hoarse and harsh. Then Jude twisted the radio off and silence fell between them, heavy as sin, darker than midnight.
Nicole lifted her head and faced him, her eyes brimming with unshed tears. “Jude?” she asked, hesitant.
Clumsy as a bear, desperate as a drunkard in search of drink, he grasped her shoulders and took her mouth with his. From the first impact, want triumphed over common sense and tenderness drowned under the powerful rush of aching need. In those moments, Jude sought to fill his emptiness, to erase his loneliness with Nicole’s vital presence. Desperation mingled with rising desire and he kissed her hard. Her mouth remained immobile beneath his and then yielded, her lips meeting his with the same hungry fire. Nicole wrapped her arms around him and held tight. Her essence, the taste of her mouth, the aroma of her hair and skin, surrounded him and he drank deep. Their connected mouths delivered a rush of pure emotion, enhanced with adrenalin. Jude kissed her until his lungs protested, until his breath came short and his body burned with want.
Something in the kiss awakened feelings he didn’t expect to have for any woman and delivered him from the abyss of his solitary life. He tasted hope on her lips and the impact skewered him, sharp and visceral. Everything he thought he’d wanted and worked for changed in those moments to a new reality. Jude broke away with more turbulent emotion than he’d had during meaningless sex. His feelings were engaged as much as his body, and the combination packed a potent punch.
He stared at her and when she smiled, his heart twisted into a pretzel knot. “Maybe I should sing more often,” she said.
Ryker’s Justice is available on Amazon!