Phoenix Rising by Alexandra Christian Book Tour and Giveaway :)
Following the tragic slaughter of his family, operative Macijah “Cage” St. John understands evil in a way no man ever should. He traded happiness for a magnificent and terrible power, and fate isn’t done with him yet. He wasn’t looking for comfort. He didn’t need tenderness. But today he’ll play hero to a damsel in distress, and his quest will deliver him to the uncanny Martian colony of New London—and his heart to the demure Phoebe Addison. The bookish beauty’s hidden talents and deep abiding love just might save Cage from himself.
Phoebe stood there letting the steaming water pour down over her body, wishing it would wash away the doubt. She didn’t hear the swish of the door opening so when Cage stepped into the shower behind her she screamed, coming at him with the tiny penknife she kept on hand at all times. “Whoa,” he chuckled, grabbing her wrist. “Calm down. It’s me.” She held firm to the hilt of the knife for a few seconds before letting him slip it from her grasp. “You’re all right.” “Am I?” He nodded. “You’re always safe with me, love.” “Is that a promise?” She met his gaze, searching for sincerity in it. “Always.” He leaned in and pressed his lips to her forehead. “You really must stop taking weapons into the shower. That’s a nasty accident waiting to happen.” All the pent-up emotion and stress from the last several weeks bubbled to the surface and she crumpled against him, her tears mixing with the falling water in a mixture of relief and fear, exhilaration and uncertainty. “There now, baby. You’re all right.” He wrapped his arms around her, brushing the matted tendrils away from her ear and kissing her lightly at the small hollow beneath. It made her feel small and protected. She craved the strength she felt in the hard muscles cording through his arms and chest. “Is it like this every time?” she sniffled. He chuckled. “You get used to it.” “I didn’t think you were supposed to be afraid.” “Where on earth would you get that idea?” he said. “Fear keeps us on our toes.” “It didn’t do so well for me,” she replied, rubbing at her burning eyes. “I fucked up everything.” “No you didn’t. It isn’t anyone’s fault. It just happened.” “If you hadn’t been there…” she sniffled. “I’d… I…” He took her chin between his fingertips and forced her head up. “You would have figured a way out. You’re smart and managed to keep your cool. As soon as the antidote took hold, you were able to shift. That confusion you created saved both our skins. So no more of this doubt, all right? You need to not worry so much,” he purred, nudging her back under the spray. The steam was a comfort, wrapping her in a blanket of humid warmth and she began to relax. “You’re so tense.” He turned her around brushing his fingertips along her spine. “You know I’m a worrier,” she muttered. “It’s a useless endeavor, I’m afraid.” His fingers came to rest at the swell of her ass and began tracing circles at the base of her spine. The callouses at the tips tickled at her skin and she shivered. He pulled her against him, so close that she could feel his lips fluttering against the cuff of her ear. “You have to let that go. Let me help you forget all about the wolves in the dark.” She leaned back, luxuriating in the sensation of his hands slip-sliding over her body. Her skin was slick with the water and the remnants of expensive bath oil. “I think you’re trying to seduce me, Mr. St. John.” “Of course I am,” he replied, pushing her hair away from her neck so that he could feather gentle kisses under her hairline. “Do you mind?” “I’ll tell you when I mind,” she mumbled with a groan as he pinched her fleshy earlobe between his teeth. She reached back, tangling her fingers in the soft curls at the base of his skull. They were short, but long enough to wrap around a fingertip and tug lightly. She could feel his body so close behind her, hard against her softness. The contrast was so erotic that she was breathless even before his hands slid over her breasts. “It isn’t fair,” she sighed as the blunt edge of his thumbnail slid over her nipple. “To let me get all clean only to make me dirty again.” “I’ll gladly scrub anything you have, Miss Addison.”
“Cage. Help. I’m stuck.” Cage could see her arms waving around over the top of the dressing room door. “You have to let me in, love.” She fumbled around, banging into the door a few times with a series of crashes until finally Cage heard the lock click so that he could come inside. He glanced over his shoulder to be sure no one was watching and then barreled on through the door. “What are you doing?” “This…corset…is a little…too…small,” she heaved, flailing wildly as she tried to break free of the unforgiving fabric.
Cage opened the refrigerator and gazed inside. In the car, he’d realized how incredibly hungry he was. While in St. Francisville, finding blood was not an easy task, so he had to conserve his supply as much as possible. “A-ha,” he said, pulling the narrow, stainless steel bottle from the back of the shelf. He opened it up and the lid made a hissing sound as the seal let go. Immediately, his mouth began to water, and his jaw felt tight. He turned up the bottle and drank deeply. The coppery flavor was a relief. He could already feel the warmth flooding his system. The exhaustion drained away almost instantly, and his eyelids fluttered with the overwhelming rush. “Ava is such a gift,” Phoe said. Cage opened his eyes. “She is, but how so this time?” Phoe gestured to the neatly packed containers stacked on the counters. “She packed up all the leftovers for us.” She opened one of the containers and gasped. “Oooh…her famous tiny cupcakes.” Phoe took one of the cupcakes and peeled the lacy wrapper off. “These are delicious. She used to make them for us when I was in her class.” She hopped up on the counter and sank her teeth into the cake. “Mmm…you have to taste this.” Cage came over to where Phoe was perched on the countertop. Her legs were open, and he slid between them, placing his hands on either side of her thighs. “Are you going to give me a taste?” he asked, his voice a low purr. Phoe offered a mischievous grin. Her tongue sneaked out to sweep away a tiny crumb stuck to the plump swell of her lip. “Do you want to taste my cupcake?” “I can assure you, Miss Addison, nothing would please me more than to taste your cupcake.” He leaned in for a kiss, but as he opened his mouth, she pressed the cupcake against his tongue. The fluffy white frosting was so sweet. He licked at it, almost sucking the cake into his mouth whole. “It’s good, isn’t it?” Phoe whispered. She took another cupcake and offered it to him. “Mmm,” he replied. “We must remember to thank Ava for being so generous.” He gathered the frosting onto his index finger and dabbed a bit of it on Phoe’s lips. He leaned in and lapped at the sweet smear. “More,” she cooed, opening her mouth.