Title: Souls Unfractured
Series: Hades Hangmen #3
Author: Tillie Cole
Age group: New Adult
Genre: Dark Contemporary Romance
Release date: 11th August 2015
"For fractured souls are like magnets. Drawn to collide into an impossible bliss…"
Labeled a ‘Cursed’ woman of Eve from birth, Maddie has endured nothing but pain and repression at the hands of The Order’s most abusive elder, Moses. Now living with her sister in The Hangmen’s secluded compound, finally, Maddie, is free. Free from the suffocating faith she no longer believes in. Free from endless years of physical and mental torment.
At age twenty-one, the timid and shy Maddie is content to live within the confines of her new home—safe from the outside world, safe from harm and, strangely, protected by the Hangmen’s most volatile member; the heavily pierced and tattooed, Flame.
The man who ceaselessly watches over her with his midnight dark and searing eyes. The man who protects her with a breath-taking intensity. And the man who stirs something deep within her numbed heart.
But when circumstances conspire for Flame to need HER help, Maddie bravely risks it all for the broken man who has captivated her fragile soul.
The Hangmen’s most infamous member, Flame, is ruled by one thing—anger. Plagued by haunting demons from his past, an all-consuming rage, and isolated by an abhorrent hatred of being touched, Flame's days are filled with suffocating darkness, pierced only by a single ray of light—Maddie. The shy, beautiful woman he cannot purge from his thoughts. The woman he has an overwhelming need to possess…
... the only person who has ever been able to touch him.
Flame’s mission in life is to protect Maddie, to keep her safe. Until a trigger from his troubled past sends him spiraling into madness, trapping him in the deepest recesses of his disturbed mind.
His Hangmen brothers fear that Flame is beyond saving.
His only hope of salvation: Maddie and her healing light.
I sat bolt up right in the chair and stared at the dark line of the forest. My heart slammed against my ribcage when a figure emerged from the heavy foliage.
My breathing paused, fear taking hold, then a familiar pair of leather boots and trousers entered the moonlit lawn. Blades hung at his sides, and his torso was naked under the heavy leather cut.
My heart, that was already racing, seemed to beat at an impossible speed. And then Flame lifted his head, and it ceased to beat at all.
The frown that was on his face instantly blanked. His lips mumbling something under his breath, stilling mid-speech.
I clutched the blanket lying over my knees to my chest. I remained frozen, as did Flame. I had not expected him to come tonight, his friend had taken him back to his home. I could see from my window how exhausted he had been. I could see, even in the haze of moonlight, how tired he was still.
Flame’s hands clenched at his sides. His chest heaved with movement that was too quick, then he abruptly turned on his heel, and with a rigid back, he headed back into the forest.
My stomach sank as he turned to leave, and without conscious thought, I slammed my sketchpad shut, shuffled to the edge of the seat and called out, “Wait! Do not go!”
Flame stopped dead.
As did I.
Swallowing back my nerves, my shock at what I had just done, I said, “Please, Flame. Do not go… I… I am glad you are here.”
Flame’s fingers curled and uncurled at his side, then straightening his shoulders, he slowly turned. His large frame was rigid as he faced me once more. Then he just stood. Stood at the end of the forest, his attention fixed forward.
But I wanted him closer.
Still perched on the edge of my seat, I asked, “Would you like to come closer? I… I have been sitting out here alone as I could not sleep. It…” I took a deep breath, fighting my natural instinct to flee, and continued. “It would be nice to have some company.”
Flame remained still, his rigid body convincing me that he would not come any nearer. Then, to my surprise, he began walking, his powerful legs bringing him closer to where I sat.
In the still and silent night, I could hear him counting his steps one to eleven, then repeating it back to himself under his breath. My head tilted to the side as he approached, a swirl of anticipation and fear mixing in my stomach.
His skin on his arms looked newly cut, and I could not help but feel sad for him. For whatever had happened to make him need to harm himself in such a way. Grasping the blade in his hand, his fingers tightened on the handle. Like he needed the blade as a comfort.
As though he was nervous to be here with me now.
Inhaling a long breath, I asked quietly, “Would you like to sit?” I pointed at the chair to in front of mine. Flame looked at the chair through his long black lashes, and exhaling sharply through his nose, sat beside me. I smelled the oil and leather. I smelled the rich musk and spice scent that only belonged to Flame and warmth filled my bones.
He was sat beside me.
Flame was sitting right beside me.
Dropping my eyes to the frayed edges of the gray blanket wrapped around me, I played with the clustered strands of wool just for something to help with the nerves accosting my body.
But Flame was absolutely still. Absolutely silent.
Then I glanced to the side only to see him watching. As soon as our eyes met, he dropped his. A blush raced to fill my cheeks, and for some unknown reason, a whisper of a smile pulled on the corner of my mouth.
Lifting my head, I stared at the large moon, and found the courage to speak, “I did not think you would be coming to see me tonight.”
After several seconds of silence, I believed Flame would not respond. Until I caught him shift in his seat, and he said roughly, “I couldn’t stay away.”
My pulse raced at his response and I whispered, “Why?”
Flame’s shoulder shrugged, then focusing back on the blade in his hand, he said, “I couldn’t stop thinking about you. And I…” Flame trailed off.
“And what?” I pushed.
“I needed to be near you. I needed to know you were safe.”
Tillie Cole is a Northern girl through and through. She originates from a place called Teesside on that little but awesomely sunny (okay I exaggerate) Isle called Great Britain. She was brought up surrounded by her English rose mother — a farmer’s daughter, her crazy Scottish father, a savagely sarcastic sister and a multitude of rescue animals and horses.
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