A few things you should know about me. 1) I’m a terrible liar and 2) I’m terribly impatient. So when I said Atone would be out on Christmas Eve, I may have fibbed a bit. I just couldn’t wait that long. As an early Christmas present (or late Hanukkah present) to you all, ATONE is now LIVE on Amazon, and Smashwords for only $1.99!!!!!
(It has been uploaded to Barnes and Noble; I am just waiting for it to go live).
Since this is only a novella, I won’t have paperbacks for this book, but you can still read it without an ereader using your smartphone or computer using the free Kindle or Nook apps.
Remember that this is book 2.5 in the Patronus series, even though the story takes place before Awaken. I suggest at least reading Awaken before reading this to avoid spoilers.
Before there was Awaken, before there was “Lucy and Max”, there was just Max. And he had some issues.
A lot of issues.
Max Kensington ‘s death haunted him for years. The guilt of his sins tormented him. Unable to let go, he was sure he’d never be able to atone for all of them. But that didn’t stop him from trying.
When his reason for being is suddenly thrust back into his life, he vows to protect her at all costs. He’ll do whatever it takes to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself. And this time, he’ll fight to the bitter end to capture the one thing that has alluded him—happiness.
My fingers finally got the knob to turn. I opened the door and stepped inside, holding my breath. I pulled the curtain back, but kept my eyes closed for a moment longer. I could hear a hiss of air being pushed and knew she was probably on a ventilator. The knowledge made my heart clench, but hearing the steady beep of her heart monitor—knowing it was strong and constant—helped ease it a little.
I took a deep breath. Bitter iodine and antiseptic swirled in my nose, but underneath it was another scent. Soft lilac emanated around me, and though it was faint, it overtook everything else. It was her. The beautiful, flowery aroma somehow clung to her and caressed my senses, making my heart pound in my chest.
I opened my eyes and took my first look at her. If I had a thousand books filled with a thousand pages each, it would still not be enough to describe how beautiful she was. I knew that she was broken, bloody, and bruised, but I didn’t see any of that. All I saw was perfection. I took a few steps forward and reached my hand forward. My fingertips gently grazed her soft, creamy skin as I brushed her hair out of her face.
As my fingers grazed her skin, a sizzle of electricity passed between us. Her monitors beeped like crazy, letting me know that even in this state, she was just as affected by me as I was by her. I pulled back, double checking that she was alright and I wasn’t inadvertently hurting her. After all, she was in a very precarious state right now and I couldn’t risk anything happening to her. After a few moments, the monitors resumed their steady rhythm and I tried again, this time taking her tiny, delicate fingers in my own.
Her eyes fluttered behind their closed lids. I hoped she was having good dreams. I pulled up a chair and sat down next to her, leaning in to whisper in her ear. “I can’t believe I found you. I didn’t even know I’d lost you, and yet here you are. But I promise you this, I’m never leaving you again. So just rest now; let your body heal. We’ll be together very soon.” I brushed my lips against her temple, inhaling her sweet lilac smell as I did.
A quiet knock at the door drew my eyes away from her, but not my hands. They refused to let her go. “You guys can come in,” I whispered. I wasn’t sure why I was whispering; I knew it wouldn’t wake her, but it just seemed like I should.
James pulled back the curtain, allowing access for Cassie and Adam to slip in around him. James crossed the room, carrying a thick three-ring binder in his hands. That binder held the key to unlocking the mystery of who this woman was—I still didn’t even know her name, but I yearned to know everything about her. What was she like? Where was she from? What happened to her? I wanted to know it all.