Title: Gilded Inferno (The Helio Trilogy #2)
Author: Valerie Roeseler
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Ivy Harris has been hunted down ever since unearthing her true nature as an immortal weapon created through divine intervention. She has fought and bled, and loved and lost. Now, withdrawn from the family she gained, the love of her life, Jack, attempts to break through her walls. While she’s lost in the guilt of her past and her first love, Solas, remains in the depths of their enemies, Ivy struggles to find a balance between who she is and who she is expected to be.
A new ally emerges, and Ivy finds herself lying to Jack and her friends as she attempts to save Solas. Putting herself in danger time and time again creates a wedge between her and everyone she cares about. Will she find a way to rescue Solas from the Darkness? Will she be able to salvage the relationships she has destroyed?
Teaser & Excerpt:
Three hours before my impending anxiety of stage fright, which I’ve kept secret, I catch myself knocking on Jack’s door. I listen as his bare feet pad across the floor before he answers. His hair’s a mess, and he appears tired as he stands with his large arms tight across his exposed chest. My eyes find the deep ‘V’ of his hip muscles over his sagging sweatpants.
Jack clears his throat. “What can I do for you?” he coaxes with despondence.
“Can I come in?” I question in reserved softness.
He pivots away, making his way to stand before his fireplace, and I follow him inside, closing the door behind me. He regards the fire, waiting for me to speak.
My hands find their way into the back pockets of my jeans. “I’m sorry, Jack.” He’s silent and unmoving. “I’ve been having a hard time since Sheol. When I came back, I felt defeated. You helped me avoid the flashbacks, and I thank you for that, but… it also made me feel like a coward for not facing my problems.”
Twisting his body to face me, I gulp at the pity in his eyes. I wait for him to say something, but his reserve conveys that he wants to hear everything I have to say first.
I take a deep breath. “I’ve lost everything over the last year. I left my adoptive family and the life I had to come here and start over. I discover I’m not even human, then was kept captive and forced to kill or be killed. When you were taken from me, I broke. I couldn’t go on. Solas held me together, picked me up, and pushed me to keep going.”
Jack takes a cautious step towards me, “What are you saying?”
I swallow the lump in my throat again. “What I’m trying to say is, I realize how much I’ve been hurting you. I don’t want to anymore.”
His strong hands cup my face as he voices the questions in his eyes, “Don’t let this be it for us.”
I grasp his wrists, not wanting his touch to leave me. “I need to find myself again, Jack. I love you. If I can find a way to beme again, I can find a way to forgive myself.”
Jack tilts my head up as he steps closer, his voice barely audible to my angelic hearing, “You still love me?”
“I do,” I whisper, closing my eyes as his nose caresses my cheek.
His lips are a hair’s breadth from my own. My heartbeat quickens, my body becomes flush with heat, and my legs threaten to give out beneath me.
His voice is low and gruff as he demands, “I know where you are. Let me show you.”
Jack’s lips collide with mine in ruthless determination. I give in, letting his passion consume me. Our tongues slide against each other, and Jack tugs me closer, catching me against his hard body. I groan, the sound ringing in my ears.
Before the motion registers, Jack lays me to the ground. His massive frame hovers over me as his mouth finds the vein in my neck fluttering with every beat of my heart. My fingers bite into his shoulders, and I gasp with the pressure of him against me.
His lips brush against my ear with his husky tone, “You are mine, and I am yours.” His lips trace my cheek to the corner of my mouth with gentle sensuality.
“Always,” I utter against his lips. I witness his eyes darken, full of want. My world’s ripped away with Jack’s touch, and I surrender myself over to him. I’d forgotten how deep he affects me. I revel the weightlessness of my thoughts as he teaches me how to love and be loved again.
Valerie Roeseler is a bestselling author, devoted mother, and workaholic with the determination of a queen bee. She began writing as a child, creating fantastical stories with villainous animals on her toy typewriter. In her teenage years, her writing became a poetic secret before she wrote music, transforming them into lyrics. Valerie’s early inspirations came from her obsession with mythology and British literature. Her debut novel,Divine, is the first in The Helio Trilogy. She is a native Texan and an enthusiast of art, music, adrenaline, coffee, wine, and hair dye. When left to her own devices, she tends to forget that sleep is a necessity.
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