Title: Key to Hell
Series: Hell Night #4
Author: Alex Grayson
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: June 27, 2019
Death. Destruction. Pain. A soulless void. Itâs his life. Itâs his reality.
Emo doesnât feel. Anything. His soul is dark and filled with hatred. People in the small town of Malus watch him with fear, with reverence. Exactly the way he prefers it.
Guilt surrounds him, caging him in an ominous past he refuses to let go. Canât let go. His past is responsible for the shell of the man who now exists. He doesnât know any other way to survive.
The woman who haunts his dreams is his only salvation. Heâs hurt her over and over again. He didnât have a choice.
The key he holds on to, the one he uses to carve into his flesh, is the key to his hell. Itâs his reminder of the pain heâs suffered and inflicted.
Will there be retribution? Can Emo be saved? Or is he destined to live in this dark hell heâs surrounded himself in for the rest of his life?
Her voice wobbles when she whispers, âCloser, Aziah. Please.â
âI canât,â I whisper back.
Her lips form a frown and the wrinkle is back between her eyes. âWhy?â
âBecause I donât want to hurt you.â
Some of the tension leaves her, but her bodyâs still too stiff for my liking. The fear isnât as pronounced in her eyes, but it lingers.
âYou would never hurt me.â
âNever physically,â I concede. âBut being close to you will mentally.â
She closes her eyes and lets out a slow breath before opening them again. Her hand falls back to the bed.
âI donât want to live like this anymore. I donât want to fear being touched. I donât want to freeze when someone gets too close. Youâre one of the only ones I trust to help me.â She swallows. âPlease.â
Fucking goddammit to hell. I canât say no to her.
I close the rest of the space between us. Instead of taking her hand, I drop to my knees beside the bed and sit back on my heels. Her gaze follows me, and I warily watch her in return.
Time stands still as we stare at each other. I wonât make the first move. Iâm not touching her, but Iâm still giving her what she wants by being close enough for her to touch me.
After several tense moments, her hand hesitantly lifts again. I close my eyes at the first whisper of her fingertips against my face. Itâs warm and smooth and oddly comforting. Her nails gently scrape across the bristles on my cheek. Iâm not used to such tender touches. I either donât let people touch me or I demand something harsh because thatâs what I like.
Her fingers move up to my temple and stop. âWhy do you have blood on your temple?â
I blink open my eyes and find hers trained on the dried blood I forgot was there. I should have washed it off before she woke up.
âItâs from my hand,â I answer quietly, afraid to break the spell we currently seem to be under.
Her eyes flicker down to the hand on my thigh. The one I unknowingly gauged in her presence earlier. I silently curse myself for being so stupid.
âWhat was in your hand? What were you using to hurt yourself?â
Against my better judgement, I answer honestly. âA key.â
Her confused gaze jumps to mine. âA key to what?â
Iâm not ready to answer that question yet, so I shake my head. Now that sheâs here, sheâll know soon enough what the key unlocks. She, more than anyone, has the right to know.
Thankfully, she doesnât press me for an answer.
Her fingers move slowly over my forehead and down my other temple, across my cheek and down to my chin. Her expression is one of awe and amazement.
âI donât like it when people touch me. When they get close, I shut down. Deanna and Mick never touched me in the ten years I was with them. In any way. They were always so nice to me, but I never let them get close, physically or emotionally. I couldnât stand it. I love my brother, and I know heâd never do anything to me, but Iâm even scared of him getting too close. I havenât willingly touched anyone in ten years. Youâre the only one.â Her fingers slide through my hair and a shiver races down my spine. âI wonder why that is.â
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Alex Grayson is the bestselling author of heart pounding, emotionally gripping contemporary romances including the Jaded Series, the Consumed Series, and three standalone novels. Her passion for books was reignited by a gift from her sister-in-law. After spending several years as a devoted reader and blogger, Alex decided to write and independently publish her first novel in 2014 (an endeavor that took a little longer than expected). The rest, as they say, is history.
Originally a southern girl, Alex now lives in Ohio with her husband, two children, two cats and dog. She loves the color blue, homemade lasagna, casually browsing real estate, and interacting with her readers. Visit her website, www.alexgraysonbooks.com, or find her on social media!
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