Authors: Cory Cyr
Reviving Haven Copyright © 2014 CORY CYR
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions
thereof, in any form without written permission except for the use of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Published by: Cory Cyr
Cover design by: Wicked by Design
Cover Photo: © Unlisted Images/Fotosearch.com
Back Cover courtesy of Shutterstock ®
Edited by: Effie Konandreas Vernuccio
Formatting: Sharon Kay
Copyright 2014 by Cory Cyr
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead,
business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
Bite & Release
Well, after almost a year,
has finally been published. This was actually my first book, but due to many conflicts and complications, I was forced to push the book back. To be honest, I never thought this book would see the light of day, but thanks to supportive friends, as well as my editor extraordinaire, I have finally released
I have countless people to thank, so please bear with me. Ahren Sanders, Mary Ting, Cambria Hebert, Addison Moore, Raine Storm and Jaden Wilkes (fist pump, baby!): the words you write inspire me and the friendship you give me helps sustain me.
To my closest best friends—Jo, Katrina, Dee Dee, Kathy, Erinn, Jan, Lori and Ben: without all of you, none of this would be possible. I have said it before—you are my lifelines.
My street team, Cory's Pimpin’ Cougars (Alice, Lynne, Tammy, Patricia, Laura, Shelly, Desire, Angela and Jennifer): you all make my life so much easier, and without all of you I’d never get any writing done
. Brenda Kness: thank you a hundred times for creating all of my graphics, and even with all you have going on, you still find time to be a part of my street team and take care of our needs. Shannon Lester-Hayes: you are not only my street team ADMIN & PA but also a truly great friend. Without you “holding my hand” via the phone, those events and takeovers would suck.
Lisa Watmough and Danielle Green Linhart: thank you both for the KILLER SWAG!
Robin Harper/Wicked by Design: you never cease to amaze me. You took an old cover (one I loved) and did a whole new reboot that blew me away. Thanks to BookChickBlog who created the original book trailer and to Tonya Ridener who edited it and made it all shiny and new!
A heartfelt thank you goes out to Iam A BooklovinJunkie, Jennlovestoread, Hot BBR, Kim Renlentlessbookchic, Melyssa, Sarah, Jacqueline Tonella-Fiorentine (Jackie's Book Reviews) and tons of others who have supported me and embraced my writing.
To Effie, my editor, who took a book that had been basically through editing hell, tore it apart and started from scratch—thank you. Without her, this book would have never been published—ever! Having you in my life means more than I can say.
A special thanks goes out to Jodi Ellen Malpas. I was writing a dystopian YA when I read
and I wrote to her on Goodreads to tell her how much I loved her book. I also explained that I was a writer and currently experiencing severe writer’s block on this YA project. She wrote me back and said to “stop writing what you think will sell and start writing what you know.” She has NO idea how her words lit a fire in me. I put the YA down and began writing Adult Romance because I am quite versed in younger man/older woman scenarios. I seriously doubt that the fire she started will ever burn out.
Thank you so much to all the fans who loved
Bite & Release
enough to write a review, send an email or Facebook a private message. I hope Haven and Latch’s story will be worthy of your love too.
is for my mom. I began writing it while she was ill and finished it seven days before she passed. She is with me every day, and it’s her belief in me that keeps me going.
“Touch yourself.” He wanted to make sure she would know the difference between the way she made herself come, and the way he would make her come. Gasten forced Jolenta’s eyes to remain open, staring into his
eyes as she fondled her soft, dripping pink folds. The pleasure she got by looking at him while she masturbated wasn’t embarrassing—it was intoxicating.
A moan left her lips as she pushed herself closer to climaxing. Gasten’s skin was prickled with beads of sweat as he watched, fli
cking his tongue out to graze his mustache. He too was very aroused, yet controlled. As he continued to watch, he began to rub his hand across his linen pants, caressing his manroot as it creased the fine lines of his pants, stretching, demanding for release. His patience was at its breaking point. He grabbed Jolenta’s hand, tearing her fingers away from any possibility of finished ecstasy. As he held her one hand in his, he fumbled with his zipper, almost tearing the metal teeth out as he struggled to release his member. Once free, it stood like a thick steely rod wrapped in silk, yearning . . . no, begging to be touched.
Gasten wrapped Jolenta’s small hand around his manroot, moving it up and down. Her hand was so tiny, it could hardly handle the size and girth. He closed his eyes and hissed out a breath. Frustration and anger covered his body like a winter coat smothering him. His release would never come with such a delicate flower as Jolenta. Her petals needed to be plucked.
He pushed her backwards until his desk stopped her. She gasped as Gasten carelessly ran his finger up and down her slit. She was so wet, so ready, dripping with the hunger for need and release. He took his other hand and forced his slacks down to his knees. He put his knee in between Jolenta's legs, causing them to spread apart. Gasten’s eyes blazed as he prodded her opening with his steely head. He never had a virgin so willing, so abandoned. For a moment, Jolenta looked at him with absolutely no fear; stupid girl, she should be very afraid. He thrust into her, causing her to cry out as Gasten snapped his head back and roared his imminent release. He needed to layer her entire body inside and out with his semen. Marking her, making her his. As he released his last bit of seed into her, he held her tightly, whispering to her, "Jolenta, say my name."
“Douche,” I mutter under my breath, slam the book closed and toss it into a bin. That’s better than it deserves, but I can’t really toss it into the trash while I have customers in my store. Truthfully, trashing that damn book is too good for it. I smirk at the thought of a nice book burning and roasting marshmallows over the flames.
I feel the need to stifle a yawn as my eye rolling begins. Actually, I’m sure the eye rolling began before the yawn. The demand to plague myself with erotica—well, in this case, badly written porn—is my self-imposed punishment for seven years of abstinence. Truth be told, I do “take care” of myself now and again. His name is Earl, and he is my favorite battery boy toy ever.
Relationships with men, for me, are novelties of the past that tend to remind me—constantly, might I add—of my failures and insecurities. However, being a proud owner of a bookstore is my salvation in many ways. It gives me purpose and, even though I hate to say it, a refuge in which to hide from the deprecating memories.
No matter what, I have always adored books. And that’s how I met
—the man who ruined my chances at ever having a normal life.
Twenty-four years old, and I was so naïve . . . It had been a dream come true, working for Stanton Publishing and having the affection of its CEO as well. Jared Stanton chose to be my mentor, and then my lover. He made me feel special, wanted and loved, but he had a price. And if I wanted him, I had to surrender my body, my life, and my soul. He knew, right from the beginning, that he could mold me, bend me, and make me submit to his will. Though he never got physical with me, he tortured me with painful and endless mind games. His abuse came from direct emotional attacks. By the time he was done with me, I was broken—maybe even beyond repair.
I had been so deeply in love with Jared that I would have done anything to be with him, and I had stayed in a dominating, crippling relationship where he controlled what I wore, what I ate, and how I looked. He even created a persona for me. In addition to being by his side at work every day, I also had to make sure to be perfect in every other way. Anything he hadn’t physically controlled, he had psychologically manipulated.
Five years passed before Jared finally pushed me to the point of leaving him. The list of his cruelties was massive, but the one that finally forced me out the door was his cheating. I had given him everything: a nice home, companionship, love, my body, and my soul. We had shared ever
ything, except his fascination with other women. He had me so conditioned that I thought I loved him enough to accept his womanizing. When I confronted him about his affairs, he blamed me.
Though our sex life had never been extraordinary, it felt relatively adequate. I was positive that Jared’s straying had to do with searching for sex from a less vanilla partner. He had ridiculed me constantly on how substandard my oral skills were. It had never occurred to him that pulling my hair and choking me while giving him oral sex wasn’t very pleasurable for me. The act always ended in one of two ways—either he finished himself off, or we had a fight. Sometimes, it was both.
My issues with sex had transpired long before Jared. I had only been with one other man, the one who took my virginity. I never considered myself a very sexual person. I still don’t. I had far too many other things I wanted to do with my life than to be constantly concerned with sex. Maybe I had hoped that Jared, being seven years older, would have helped me blossom sexually. His tastes were far more advanced than I had realized. Before we met, I’d only read about the things he wanted to do with me in books. So, I felt like I was disappointing in the bedroom too.
I had been positive that I could make the relationship work, regardless of the sex obstacles. I didn’t want to fail at my first true partnership. I wanted a marriage like my mom and dad’s. Love everlasting, eternal.
I have to quit reading those damn romance books and face the fact that the only eternal love I am ever going to find is from a vampire. Since they don’t exist, neither does eternal love.
The last week in Jared’s house had been brutal. We’d been together almost six years with the promise of marriage. I’d wasted those six years on a man who turned out to be a cheating abuser. Weezie, my best friend—who hated Jared’s guts, by the way—had told me to view it as a learning experience. If it had been a learning experience, then I should have learned my lesson in the first year.
When the end of our relationship finally came, it took everything. Basically, I shut down in every way. Jared had destroyed every part of my self-esteem, leaving me empty and feeling worthless. I moved back to Colorado for fifteen months and stayed with my parents. They still don’t know about everything that actually happened. No one does. I even kept most of the details from Weezie, who has been my best friend and confidant since college. Almost twenty years of friendship and I still can’t tell her the true extent of what Jared did to me. Not only is it humiliating, but Weezie also has the money and the means to destroy Jared, and if I decide to tell her how deep his depravity ran, she would do it in a heartbeat. So, I stay silent. I can never let anyone know what he did to me.
I saw a therapist in Colorado, but I never fully admitted to her what Jared did to me either. The best advice she gave me was to start writing in a journal. Doing that helped me. I can relinquish all of my feelings through writing, cleansing myself by putting it all down in those pages.
Weezie finally talked me into moving back to Los Angeles over six years ago, something I’m sure she regrets now and then. I hardly left my room the first seven months of living with her. I was despondent and deeply depressed. Weezie encouraged me to see Dr. Bradley, yet another shrink. He was good and he was patient, and I started on anti-anxiety medication through his treatment, which eventually motivated me to leave the house.
Weezie found my bookstore through her real estate listings. Even though I send a rent check to a post office box every month, I’m sure it’s going to Weezie. Once I found Book Haven, it became my life. Setting up the store, finding the furnishings and filling the shelves with books ignited a fire in me that burned for a fresh start, a new beginning. Weezie made it all possible to draw me out of my shell. To give me a safety net.
My bookstore is small but quaint. It’s a nice place to buy a book, read a story, or just sit around drinking cappuccinos, talking about what others are currently reading or have already read. I have a very nice circle of customers, and I even have some very wealthy clients who pay me quite a bit to acquire particular books for them.
If I could, I’d probably spend twenty-four hours a day in my store. Between my regular customers and my reading material, I have found a way to ground myself. I have a nice condo, a great best friend, and I love my business. I have resigned myself to the fact that this is my life and I have to own it.
My eyes drift toward the clock. It’s nearly five, at the end of the work week, and this means it’s Weezie’s Friday night prowl. I groan inwardly and try to think of excuses that will guarantee that I can stay home and watch TV with a bowl of my favorite ice cream in my hands. I love my best friend, but she’s a slut—big time. I know the routine. I get home and try to have dinner while Weezie spends two hours begging and pleading for me to go to the bars with her. I’m thirty-seven, for God’s sake, and she’s forty. I always try to have a long and intense conversation with her in an attempt to convince her that we are not in college anymore.
I groan loudly this time, especially when thinking about how exhausting it is keeping up with her sexploits. I’m certain that I was the only virgin in college. Weezie made up for the fact that I didn’t lose my V card until I was twenty-one. I’m going to go out on a limb and claim that she was in the high double digits by that age. I always tell her that I will live “vicariously through
,” regarding all the men she sleeps with. Weezie has always been outgoing, the fun one, anyway. I was never in her league—and at my age now, forget it.
I wait for the last customer to leave and flip the sign on the door to “Closed.” My one employee, Denise,
works part-time during the week and on the weekends, but I just might come in and do some work in my office, which means reading. Even though the workday is over, I still primp myself by tucking my shirt into my pants, smoothing a few strays of my hair that had escaped my braid, and adjusting my glasses. I can’t help it—it’s just another way I take control of my life. I make my way to my Corolla and start the twenty-minute journey home.
Weezie has a beautiful condo in Hollywood Hills. It’s large, open, and the view out our back door is fabulous. We split the mortgage, although secretly I think Weezie is hoarding my half and saving it for me. Between the money from my bookstore and the rent, I can probably retire at fifty, thanks to my best friend.
When Weezie’s parents died in a car crash, they left her their entire fortune. She was only twenty at the time, and after the trauma of losing her parents, she could have gone crazy and completely wild. She may have played fast and loose with men, but not with money, and she had invested her inheritance. Even with all her wealth, she knows not to take it for granted and loves her career in real estate, where she works hard to be the best agent she can be for her clients.
We both have home offices. Weezie’s office is for her business, while mine is for if, or when, I ever decide to follow my dream and write. On my thirty-seventh birthday, Weezie had surprised me by converting one of the guest rooms into a home office—specifically designed for a writer. Sometimes I sit in the room, close my eyes and contemplate penning the next great novel.
I finally arrive at our condo, briefly stopping to grab the mail. I know Weezie is already home, but she never checks for our mail, so I’ve taken on the responsibility.
Yes, that’s me . . . Ms. Responsibility.
As I unlock the front door, I hear her voice echoing through the house. I toss my purse on the bar and make my way down the hall to her room.
“Listen, motherfucker, I am tired of this game shit. Do you hear me? Whatever . . . BLOW ME!” she’s yelling as I walk into her room. She throws her iPhone against the wall, smashing it to pieces. She then flops onto her bed, frowns as she digs into a chip bag and inhales a handful of Fritos.
“Trouble in paradise?” I question, trying not to snort. Weezie rarely gets upset.
“No, just the norm. That piece of shit Thomas is trying to highjack some of my listings. I swear I am going to cut off his vienna sausage and feed it to the pigeons.” Weezie continues eating her Fritos and dusting off the crumbs as they land on her comforter.
“Sounds a little extreme,” I say, as I try to bite the urge to laugh. “I thought for sure you were talking to one of your many admirers. After all, it is Friday.” I cross the room, pausing to bend down and pick up what’s left of Weezie’s iPhone. I hand it to her. “Dinner?” I ask, nodding at the bag in her hands. I watch as she grabs another handful to eat.
“Yeah, well, that jerk just pisses me off to no end, stupid ass dirt bag. And yeah, I’m hungry, so this is dinner.” Weezie keeps her eyes low, immersing herself in her bag of snack food.