Title: Courageous & Ferocious
Author: Jennifer Ann
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Cover Designer: Najla Qamber
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Jennifer Ann is an award-winning and bestselling author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense with darkly complex plots. Much like her characters, she’s in love with the city of New York, trips on airplanes or the back of her husband’s Harley, and everything rock and roll.
Excerpt from Courageous:
Heavy, slow footsteps beat against the wooden floorboards leading up the stairway. With my heart leaping from my chest, I scramble behind one of the couches, breath held as I attempt to make myself smaller. For all I know, my father’s goons were following me all this time. They love to toy with me whenever my father’s not around, sometimes even seeing what it takes to make me cry.
“The fuck you doin’ here?” a deep voice growls from around the corner. Next thing I know, my thigh’s kicked by a booted foot. Cigarette smoke pollutes the air. “Hey, moron, I’m talkin’ to you. Your skinny ass is trespassin’.”
Pulling my hood down, I drag my gaze up a pair of dirty jeans and an intimidatingly thick torso covered with a leather coat until I’m met with chillingly beautiful eyes. They’re the same pale blue as a cloudless sky on a warm day.
But there’s a disturbing darkness behind the man’s hard stare, sucking all the air from my lungs. Chin-length hair the color of straw slicked back, strong jaw set, he’s fiercely good looking and older than me—maybe even out of high school. Most importantly, he’s an enormous, scary dude. Worst of all, he reminds me of my father’s men. The type who wouldn’t bat an eye at beating a woman.
If he decides to hurt me, there won’t be a damn thing I can do to stop him.
His beautiful eyes widen at the same time a smirk pulls at his thick lips. He seems to either be surprised that I’m a girl, or amused I’m not running in fear. “You speak English, lil’ mouse?” he sniggers in a voice that’s so deep and rough it rumbles through my chest.
Heat spreads through my cheeks. My belly tingles. “The door was open.”
“By open, you mean boarded shut?” As he puffs on his cigarette, pale blue eyes drag across my body. I cower beneath my bag, feeling exposed under his threatening stare. I’m feeling all kinds of things, some I don’t know how to describe. He’s beautiful and terrifying at the same time, sending a wave of shivers down my back. “What’re you doin’ here, anyway?”
I hold his stare, refusing to be rattled. “I just need a place to camp out for a few nights.”
“You took this as a free-for-all shelter?” He lets out a cold, heartless laugh. “Sweetheart, that place is down the road.”
My stomach tightens when he says “sweetheart,” making it hard to speak. To him, I probably look like a little girl, but under his potent gaze, I feel like a grown woman. “I can give you money…if you’ll let me stay,” I wheeze out.
He snarls like a wolf. “Go home to your daddy, princess. Girls like you have no business in a place like this.”
Rage thickens through my throat. “Girls like me?” I spit out, rising to my feet. He towers over me like a skyscraper. And there’s so much danger in his gaze that part of me wants to run. But even after he blows a stream of smoke in my face, I refuse to back down. “You have no idea who I am, or what I’ve been through!”
“Doesn’t matter. You’re outta your element.”
He bends down to my level, stopping just before our noses touch. A cold chill of fear spikes my veins, making it hard to breathe in his masculine scent. Rather than being sweaty or gross like with boys my age, it’s as dark and mysterious as the man it belongs to.
More tingles invade my belly when I wonder what it would be like to be kissed by this big, angry man. I haven’t been kissed by anyone, but I imagine those wide, soft lips could wreck me in an instant. When they move again, I almost sigh.
“Go. The fuck. Home.”
Shaking my head, I hold my chin higher, determined not to let him win. Whatever this guy decides to do with me can’t be any worse than what my father will do once he discovers I’ve left. “I can’t go home.”
Tension between us breaks with the sound of more footsteps. A handful of seconds later, I’m ready to cry a thousand gallons of tears of relief when a teenage girl walks in, dark eyes widening on me.
“Andie?” she asks, lips wavering with an unsure smile. “Oh my god, what’re you doing here? I haven’t seen you in forever!”
It only takes a second to recognize the big, beautiful mocha eyes belonging to Sasha Green. We’ve been close since elementary school, having bonded during a recess when Lucas Reynolds yanked me to the ground by my hair. Sasha marched right up to him and threatened to have her big brother and his friends kick his ass. I didn’t know anything about her brother or his friends at the time, but I guessed they must’ve been scary, because Lucas looked ready to piss himself with the warning, and never bothered me again.
Pretty much no one bothered me after I became friends with Sasha. We ate lunch together every day, and hung out whenever we had a chance. I wasn’t allowed to have friends outside of school, and never knew much about her home life, but I get the feeling she wouldn’t understand why I’m running away. She always seemed close with her brother, and she was laid back the few times I saw her interact with his friends. I figured she had the kind of normal parents who read her bedtime stories when she was little, and tucked her in with a kiss.
The big scary guy turns to Sasha, upper lip curled. “You know this chick?”
“Yeah, she’s a friend…from way back.” Sasha’s eyes narrow on him as she sets a hand on her hip. The guy must not be too dangerous the way she’s throwing him attitude. “Why? What’d you say? I swear to god, Stone, if you were a dick to her—”
“Tell your little friend she can’t stay here.” Stone drops the cigarette on the floor and crushes it with a boot before his beautiful blues lock on me. “Stay the fuck outta this neighborhood.”
As he saunters back to the stairway, my heart flips several times in my chest. Why’d he have to be so mean? He acted like he hates my guts, and I’ve never even met him before.
What kind of name is “Stone” anyway? Maybe it has something to do with his cold, stony heart. I’d never met anyone so cranky and gorgeous at the same time. The second he’s out of sight, the darkness brought on by his surly mood vanishes and I’m finally able to breathe.