With Jared Corbit and Savannah Martin’s wedding day quickly approaching, everything should be golden for the two, but their trouble has only just begun. When the media learns of the damage Stewart Paulson has inflicted on the Talbot family, Savannah and Jared get caught in the cross-hairs.
Even worse, the past has caught up with Savannah in a big way, and nothing will prepare her or Jared for the danger headed their way or the devastating decisions they’ll be forced to make as a result.
Jared’s determined to protect his fiancée from the people milling in the shadows, but good intentions only go so far. When Savannah learns the truth he’s desperately trying to keep from her, their future together begins to unravel. How can she trust him when he’s lying to her? And just how far is he willing to go to protect the woman he loves from her past?
All Cried Out, told exclusively from Jared’s POV, is the exciting follow up to Ayden K. Morgen’s All Falls Down.
Release Date: June 7, 2015
Get it on Amazon.
PROLOGUE: SO CLOSE
Fury burns in his dark eyes, scorching me where I stand. His face is red, his temples pulsing with the force of his hatred. He looms across the room like a massive, wild animal… so fucking dangerous, I try not to breathe too deeply, hesitant to set him off.
“You did this,” he seethes, the crazed lights of his eyes intensifying as he glares at me. A muscle in his jaw ticks, spittle flying from his mouth. He’s cracking, losing himself to the hatred he’s spewed at me since I came through the front door. “It’s all your fault!”
I stand silently, my hands lifted to show that I’m not a threat to him in this moment. My heart beats loudly in my chest, her name pounding through me with every sharp pulse against my ribcage.
Savannah. Savannah. Savannah.
I’m dying to get to her, to protect her from this son of a bitch, but I can’t. There’s not a fucking thing I can do to keep her safe aside from what I’m already doing. And I’m terrified it’s not going to be enough.
The gun in his hands–my gun–is trained on me, unwavering as he stares me down, just waiting for me to make a move so he can end this. So he can justify in his mind that he’s in the right here. I rushed him. I attacked him. He had to shoot me to defend his life.
It’s bullshit, of course.
He came into my home uninvited.
He tormented my fiancée.
And if I make a move now, he’s going to kill her.
The one thing I never thought I’d want, I now pray for with everything in me: Please God, don’t let her walk through that door.
I can’t lose her.
Not to this son of a bitch.
“Let’s talk about this,” I say, keeping my voice calm and steady, trying to reason with him. To make him realize he’s never going to get away with this. As soon as he pulls the trigger, his life is over.
I’m an FBI agent. They’ll annihilate him.
I don’t think he gives a shit.
He’s beyond rational, beyond caring.
“Fuck you,” he snarls as if on cue.
I fight the urge to flinch as his voice reverberates around the room before slipping through the open window into the night beyond. I send up a silent prayer that the sound doesn’t bring anyone here. That she stays in the mansion with the girls, pissed off and hurting. Crying because of me.
Christ, I never thought I’d want that either… for her to cry because of me. But so long as she’s crying, she’s breathing. She’s safe.
Beautiful, sweet girl, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
The thought that I may never get to say those words to her–that I may never get to make things right between us–kills me. She’s my life, everything I live for, and right now, I’m not even sure if she knows that.
“You destroyed my life,” he says, recalling my attention. Spittle flies from his mouth again, wetting his lips. “You took everything from me!”
I desperately want to remind him that he lost everything on his own. He destroyed his own life. I merely ensured his fall hurt as much as he deserved. But I don’t say those words. As true as they are, I’m not stupid enough to get into all of that with him now.
“I’m sorry,” I lie instead, trying to placate him, attempting to buy myself some time. I’m not sorry for a damn thing I’ve done to him, but he’s clutching my gun in his hands, and there isn’t another weapon in sight. I need him off balance, just long enough for me to knock the Glock out of his hands and wrap my own around his fucking throat. He’s not walking out of this room alive.
He’s not going to get to her. Even if it kills me, I’ll keep her safe.
Savannah, baby, I love you.
He stares at me for a long, tense moment, and then he smiles. It’s dark, twisted with hatred and anger. “I want her to see your body,” he says, taking a step toward me. “I want to see the look on her face when she finds you and realizes you’ll never kiss her again. You’ll never fuck her again.”
A chill shoots through me, freezing me from the inside out as something perilously close to excitement ghosts across his face. The sick son of a bitch means what he’s just said. He wants her to find my body. He wants to watch her break into pieces.
I’ll rip him apart before I let him do that to her.
“I want her to know that I did this. I took you from her. I won.” He takes another step toward me, and then another. The gun doesn’t waver. “She’ll live the rest of her life knowing that she caused this when she let you ruin my life.”
I hold my breath, praying he keeps coming toward me. Six more steps, that’s all I need. If he takes them, he’ll be close enough for me to make my move. I can finally wrap my hands around his throat and squeeze the life out of him for threatening her.
Adrenaline fires through me when he takes another step, pumping me up.
My heart races, every nerve-ending in my body firing, preparing me to leap on him.
“She’ll beg me to kill her,” he continues, growing more animated, as if the insanity he’s spewing breathes life into him. As if the thought of tormenting my girl like that turns him on.
I want to vomit at the thought, but I don’t. I don’t move. I don’t breathe. I just wait.
“When she sees what she made me do to you, she’ll beg me to hurt her.”
Come the fuck on! I want to scream when he stops moving, far enough away to prevent me from launching myself at him. Far enough away to give him time to shoot before I can close the distance between us. Rage pounds through me, all that adrenaline demanding action I can’t take. I’ve got one shot at this, only one… and for her sake, I can’t fuck it up.
“I can’t wait to watch what that does to her,” he says. “To see her realize she’ll never get her fucking fairytale. Instead of walking down the aisle to meet you, she’ll be walking toward your casket. She’ll know you’re dead because of her. She won’t care what I do to her then. I’m going to enjoy fucking her while she cries for you.”
The desire to kill him rages through me unchecked, rising in intensity at his taunt. My hands clench into tight fists. I lean forward on the balls of my feet, desperate to silence him as he continues on, telling me in lurid detail what he’s going to do to Savannah when I’m gone.
I freeze the instant her sweet voice sounds from outside the front door. He freezes too, the disgusting scene he’s been painting for me dying on his lips at the sound of her voice so close.
“Jared, I want to talk to you.”
No! I scream silently, terror raging through me when her voice sounds again. Please, no.
She can’t be out there.
She just can’t.
“Jared, are you in there?” she says again, tapping on our front door.
His eyes are locked on mine as he takes a step backward, silently daring me to call out to her. Daring me to say something to warn her, to beg her not to come through that door. He knows… he fucking knows I can’t let her walk into the middle of this.
And as soon as the words to keep her out leave my lips, I’m dead.
Already, his finger is on the trigger.
Oh God, baby. I’m sorry. I’m so fucking sorry.
I feel helpless, completely eviscerated as I stand there, torn between two options that will devastate her. Every part of me needs to keep her safe, and I can’t. If I open my mouth to warn her, he’s going to kill me. If I don’t… she’s going to walk in here and he’s going to make her watch him do it.
I don’t even care that I’m going to die. All I care about is what my death will do to her.
All I can see is her sweet face, those beautiful doe-eyes wide as she smiles at me, so much love and hope and joy in her expression, it brings me to my knees. All I can hear is her voice, crying out as she shakes and trembles beneath me, her hair plastered to her face and my name echoing around us. All I can think about is her.
Every beat of my heart is for her.
I love her. Christ, I love her.
And I can’t save her from this.
All I can do is keep her from watching him kill me, to keep her from living with that horror. I’d give her anything, but I don’t want to give her this.
I don’t have a choice.
No matter what you hear, don’t open that door, baby. Don’t come in here. Please, don’t fucking come in here. I love you. I love you. God, I love you.
The doorknob wiggles, turning.
“Savannah, run!” I scream, diving toward her tormentor the second her name leaves my lips. “Run, baby!”
A gunshot rings out.
Pain explodes in my chest.
My body crashes into his, dragging us both to the floor.