Title: Immaterial Defense
Series: Once and Forever Series
Author: Lauren Stewart
Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Cover Design: Pixel Mischief Design
She’s all alone in the darkness.
He’s lighting up the stage.
But not even the brightest spotlight can reach the shadows of a broken soul.
Every wanna-be rocker dreams of the day when crazed fans will pack their shows. But the more people worship me as some kind of musical god, the more I realize why singers are called “performers.” I’m just a pretender. A fake.
I need something real. Something to break through the revolting glamour that’s bled into every part of my life. And for one perfect night, I found that in Sara.
Then she ran.
No sane woman would’ve ever walked away from Declan Hollis after only one night. But
walking away from him was the safest move for both of us.
I’ve spent so much time burying my old self in the past, trying to erase the vulnerable person I used to be. I’m smarter now—men are dangerous, and relationships are doubly so.
But the more time I spend away from him, the more I want to go back.
I may end up shattered all over again. Or maybe, just maybe, he’ll be the one to help me pick up the pieces.
“We should stop,” I said in the brief time it took for our mouths to separate, reposition, and dive right back into each other. “Declan, we need to stop.”
“Do we? Do we really?”
“Yeah.” I squeezed my eyes shut tight, trying to focus, to break out of the hold he had on me. Both internally and externally. “I need an intermission.”
He pulled back but didn’t let go of me. “Do I have to let go of you entirely? I really don’t want to.”
“Um…it would probably be easier for me to think if you did.”
“You scare me a little when you think.” He let out a big sigh, then inhaled deeply. “Especially because I have this awful feeling that you’re about to say that it’s nothing personal, but this isn’t going to work out.”
“Wow,” I said, unhappy he was right. “You’re good.”
“No. Good is what I think we could be. Together.” He paused, studying my face, his gaze moving from the eyes I’d just opened to the lips his had just released. “You’re serious. Fuck, of course, you’re serious.”
“Sorry.” I was trying to be smart and not get hurt, and the universe dropped him into my path. A test of strength I wasn’t sure I was up to.
“Don’t be sorry. Be…” He briefly dropped his head forward and then looked up again. “Before you tell me to go away, can I have a minute to make my case?”
“It’s not going to change anything.” Ugh. I’d never heard anything said with as much regret.
“Come on… I deserve one measly minute, don’t I?” He looked so sincere…and kind of needy. A big, beautiful man needed me. Not that I’d never seen need on a man’s face before, but everything about Declan was different. Not only did he want to sleep with me, he wanted to talk to me, too. Part of me actually thought he might still want to talk to me even if he were one hundred percent sure he’d never get to sleep with me again. That was definitely something I never thought I’d see.
“Only if you step back at least a foot.”
“A foot?” Even in the dark, his eyes shone with life and a little humor. “Is that at all negotiable?”
I grumbled under my breath. “Fine. Stay…six inches away.”
“If you really don’t want any part of me to touch you, there needs to be more than six inches between us,” he said, adjusting the erection stretching the front of his jeans.
I raised an eyebrow and put my hands on his chest. “Well, aren’t you cocky.”
“Yep. And, for the record? I’
m a good inch, inch-and-a-half cockier than six inches.”
“Huh. Are you sure about that?” I teased. He didn’t need to know I thought he was selling himself short at seven and a half inches.
“Damn, woman.” Running a hand through his hair, he chuckled. “Are you this hard on everyone’s ego?”
“Just yours.” I pressed my lips together to stop myself from laughing. “I guess that means you’re lucky.”
“Not unless you let me kiss you again, I’m not.”
Lauren Stewart grew up reading Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, James Clavell, Piers Anthony, and Agatha Christie, which explains why she can’t seem to stick to one genre at a time.
She got to the more romantic stuff pretty late, but paranormal romance was what changed her from an obsessed reader into an obsessed reader and writer. Her writing style comes from a mash-up of all her early favorites and her new ones, women like JR Ward, Karen Marie Moning, Alice Clayton, Emma Scott, and Janet Evanovich. Wow, how much would you pay to be invited to that dinner party?
Lauren wants to make people think, cry, and giggle, not necessarily all at the same time (although it’s great when it happens). In every one of her books, you’ll find elements of other genres – fantasy, mystery, romance, paranormal, suspense, YA, women’s literature, all with a touch of humor.
Because what doesn’t kill us should make us laugh.