Dark Paradise (Dark Paradise #1)
Author: Angie Sandro
Genre: New Adult Paranormal/Romance
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Forever Yours
Mala LaCroix has spent her whole life trying to escape her destiny. As the last in a long line of "witch women," she rejects the notion of spirits and hoodoo and instead does her best to blend in. But when she finds a dead body floating in the bayou behind her house, Mala taps into powers she never knew she had. She's haunted by visions of the dead girl, demanding justice and vengeance.
Landry Prince has always had a crush on Mala, but when Mala discovers his sister, murdered and marked in some sort of Satanic ritual, he wonders if all the rumors about the LaCroix family are true. Yet after Mala uses her connection to the spirit world to identify his sister's killer, he starts to form his own bond to her . . . a very physical one. As they move closer to each other and closer to the truth, Mala and Landry must risk everything—their families, their love, and even their lives.
He looks down, and our eyes meet.
“Kiss me,” I blurt out.
“What?” His breathing quickens. “What did you say?
Oh, shit! I just propositioned him. Me, squeaky clean, cowardly Mala. Lack of oxygen must’ve given me brain damage. I take a shaky breath and straighten in his arms. “I said kiss me.” My voice cracks. “It’s okay. I won’t punch you or anything. You have my permission.”
“Your head’s not on straight.” Landry gazes off across the water … distant, cold. Oh, so sad, and it breaks my heart. All I want at this moment is to drink the pain in his eyes. Guzzle it down so it never fills him again. I know nothing’s forever. A momentary patch is about all the comfort I can give him, but maybe for now, it’s enough. For both of us.
“I know. I’m scared.” I take Landry’s face between my hands, holding tight when he tries to pull away. “Stop. Listen. Why do I have to keep dealing with the craziness of my life alone? I’m so tired … Why is it wrong to want to escape?”
My trembling fingers lightly trace the curve of his jaw. I never in a million years thought I could be so bold. I’ve always protected my heart because I feared it would get squished. Being afraid hasn’t gotten me anywhere but alone. “I like you, Landry. And … and I think you like me. At least a little bit, right? You make me feel safe … alive. Maybe … maybe I can make you feel the same way.”
His eyes, thick, black lashes outlining luminous silver, close as I trace my fingers across his eyelids. I press my lips to the angled plane of his cheekbone in a gentle kiss. His skin tastes salty from sweat and smells of grass. Rich and pungent. Intoxicating. His stomach muscles tighten against mine, but he doesn’t move. I kiss the other cheek, then tilt his head toward mine and brush my lips across his, so lightly that it’s more a mingling of breath.
My tongue caresses his lips. I taste him in small nibbles, and then, feeling bold, I pull his plump bottom lip between my teeth, gently teasing him until he finally responds.
Impatient, he threads his fingers into my hair so I can’t pull away. His tongue flicks against mine as I open my mouth to his, deepening the connection between us. I’ve heard about French kisses, in high school the girls giggled about them and rated the boys according to skill, but until now, I’ve never liked a guy enough to want his tongue in my mouth. Landry rated pretty high on the Awesome Kisser scale. Now I understand why.
The rush of excitement chases away any lingering fear. At some point, he stretches out on the ground, and I lay on top of him. My hands caress his wide shoulders and rise to tangle in his silky hair. I rub against his chest, wishing our clothing didn’t separate us. I want to feel the softness of his skin against mine. I want to trace the tempting dimple in the small of his back and lick the faded scar to the left of his belly button.
Yeah, I totally peeked when he did his striptease in the boat. I may be the queen of denial, but I couldn’t deny myself the sculpted beauty of Landry Prince in all his glory. I pull my mouth free of his lips and slide down the hard length of his body. He sucks in a breath, stomach tightening when I run trembling hands up his chest, lifting his T-shirt to give me access to that scar. I trace my tongue around it a swirl of motion, like licking an ice cream cone. He tastes ten times better than chocolate—maybe like chocolate and caramel with marshmallow chunks—all gooey and melty in my mouth. So tasty that I want to lap him up. But I bite him instead.
Satisfaction throbs at his growl. The soft bit of flesh between my teeth almost sends me over the edge. I’m so hot … burning up inside.
I release him, licking the soft indentations in his skin.
“Mala,” he moans, quivering when I pin his reaching hands to the ground. I give him a wicked grin, then lower my head. I steadily work my way up his chest, biting and licking until I reach his pecs. I run my tongue around his left nipple, then blow across the hard nub. His hips shift, a slight jerk upward. His erection presses against the fabric of his jeans. Is it uncomfortable?
I bite my lip, scared at the bold nature of my thoughts. It’s like years of repressed sexuality screams to be set free. Too many romance novels have given me a working knowledge of what goes on. I can fake it until I make it, but I’ve got to decide right now how far I want to go. Soon I’ll be too far gone. My body decides for me.
Angie Sandro was born at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. Within six weeks, she began the first of eleven relocations throughout the United States, Spain, and Guam before the age of eighteen. Friends were left behind. The only constants in her life were her family and the books she shipped wherever she went. Traveling the world inspired her imagination and allowed her to create her own imaginary friends. Visits to her father's family in Louisiana inspired this story. Angie now lives in Northern California with her husband, two children, and an overweight Labrador.