Title: Beneath the Hood
Series: Sugarlake #3
Author: Emily McIntire
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 6, 2021
My life is a stage.
Followed by millions, and loved by none.
And me, the captain of control, steering my image through choppy waters.
Making sure I stay on top.
No one ever sees me.
No one ever looks.
But he’s everything impossible, and a thousand shades of wrong.
Falling for him would ruin everything I’ve worked for.
So why can’t I stay away?
My life is a back-up plan.
Surrounded by friends, and loved by none.
And me, the king of heartbreak, gluing my pieces back together.
Making sure they stick.
No one ever sees me.
No one ever looks.
But she’s everything off-limits, and a thousand shades of sin.
Falling for her would ruin everything I’ve worked for.
So why won’t she stay away?
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“Come on,” he whispers, dragging my body up with him to a standing position.
Twisting our fingers together, he leads us into my bedroom. I follow, my eyes stuck on where our palms connect, my heart accelerating in my chest. He walks us over to my silver floor-length mirror, pulling me until I’m standing in front of him, his hands resting on the curve of my waist.
I cringe as I stare at my reflection, my stomach twisting at how ridiculous I look, dressed in my pink silk camisole and shorts, bloodshot and swollen eyes, my hair tangled from my earlier panic.
My gaze shoots to Jackson’s and my heart skips. The difference in our facial expressions is extreme. I’m disgusted and he’s drinking me in like I’m water in the middle of a desert.
Tension mixes into the air.
“What are you doing?” My voice cuts through the quiet, sending a tremor down my spine.
His eyes stay locked on mine, his mouth dipping down to the shell of my ear. “Do you know what I love about you?”
I suck in a breath. “I don’t—”
“No?” he interrupts. “Let me show you.”
His hands drift up my sides, goose bumps leaving a trail behind them. His palm reaches my face and he cups my jaw.
“I love your mouth.” His thumb brushes over my lips, his touch lingering until I’m sure he can feel the heat of my skin blooming underneath his fingers. “Every time you speak, the world quiets so I can listen.”
My stomach tightens.
His hand moves down, tracing along my neck, his touch branding me with every pass. Emotion swells in my chest and I squeeze my eyes closed. His hand wraps lightly around my throat and my gaze springs open, a flare of desire curling through my insides at the dominance in his position.
“I love your eyes,” he continues. “The way they show me all your truths. No one has ever consumed me with a single look, but you…” He blows out a breath. “You fucking wreck me.”
I swallow and his grip tightens, making heat pulse between my legs.
What is happening?
His hand slides slowly from my throat, tracing along the edges of my collarbone. My core contracts. He continues his trek down my arms until his fingers reach mine, twining them together and wrapping them around the front of my waist.
“I love your hands. The way they fit so goddamn perfectly in mine.” His fingers weave back and forth between mine, tingles racing up my arms.
My knees grow weak from his perusal and I press further into him until the back of my head rests against his chest. He brings up my right hand and I watch our reflection, drunk off the sight of him as he kisses the inside of my wrist, his breath hot against my skin.
My heart pounds against my ribs, anticipation careening off my insides as his palms leave mine, gliding back up until they reach my shoulders. He squeezes slightly, sending shockwaves of pleasure rolling through me.
“I love your shoulders. The way they hold the world, but don’t buckle from the weight.”
I scoff, my vision blurring. “All I do is buckle.”
His head shakes. “Falling down doesn’t mean you break, Blake.”
My throat swells at his words, tears escaping the corner of my eyes.
“Your strength is when you rise back up.”
Releasing July 6
Emily McIntire is an author of painful, messy, beautiful romance. She doesn’t like to box herself into one subgenre, but at the core of all her stories is soul deep love.
A long time songwriter and an avid reader, Emily has always had a passion for the written word. When she’s not writing you can find her waiting on her long lost Hogwarts letter, chasing her crazy toddler, or lost between the pages of a good book.