Book Title: Beneath it All
Author: Rani L. Rhyes
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 24, 2013
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
It’s hard to find someone that you’re meant to be with, unless of course you’re not looking. Tess Hammons is a troubled girl, trying daily to overcome the problems that have left her heart, among other things, scathed and scarred many years ago. After three horrific encounters with the opposite sex, she concludes that all men are dogs from hell, sent here to bring her back to the depths with them. No one could talk her out of her gloom and doom, but a handsome devil called Lust himself, better known as Avery Woodham might be able to penetrate it.
When Avery, who makes her insides tingle with a longing like never before, penetrates her surface and refuses to leave, Tess is forced to open up. Avery’s spell has a hold on her and no matter how much she pushes him away to protect herself, the snap back response from him is something uncanny. Read, as Avery cracks her shell and finds the woman hidden beneath it all.
“… Shade! I didn’t ask for this and frankly I think we wasted too much time going back and forth, like we have…I can’t even imagine counting the days I’ve dealt with this bullshit,” I was fuming my rage had reached an all-time high as she looked at me with wide doe eyes. Sure I never talked to her like that and I had been all too forgiving, given the fact that she never ever changed a decimal of the amount she always said she would. No matter your home training, everyone has a trigger and she had pushed mine, a little too hard.
Her hands shot to her face to avert the sting that my words threw at her. Sure she cried and wanted me to take it back like I always did, but this wasn’t the night and I wasn’t the one anymore.
“Don’t give me this Rust. I promise I’ll…” Her voice cracked.
“Don’t bother,” I cut her off, making the shock in her eyes pool over with more tears. “Just leave” I opened her car door and started the ignition before taking a few steps back, allowing her to get in. She couldn’t even look at me, I know I probably crossed the line a mile back, but I wasn’t about to stop, not until I knew this was over and never coming back.
She sat down in the drivers’ seat with her feet on the curb, her shoulders slumped and her natural wild ringlets of curls falling around her. I could hear her whimper something but the surroundings were too loud to make out what was said. Bracing myself on the side door, I let my rage cool over with a hint of compassion. Shade was a beautiful girl. She just had too many demons that she wasn’t quite ready to battle. And I wasn’t going to become one of them. I knelt down and moved her hair behind her ear so that I could gaze into her brown, autumn colored eyes. Immediately she turned from me… Shit was she hyperventilating? I huffed a breath before speaking.
“Look at me Shade.”
“Don’t call me that.” She failed trying to control her breathing as she was still avoiding my gaze. I didn’t want to acknowledge that that had burned my heart, since I enjoyed calling her that for years. She looked like shade on a beautiful summer day, always refreshing and cool. Her smoky brown skin and almond shaped eyes and full pouty lips only made this harder. But that nickname fit perfectly and she knew it.
“Look you have to know, this isn’t personal. You just have to figure out what it is that I haven’t been able to help you with. I can’t battle your problems for you, trust me I’ve tried. We,” I motioned my hand between her and me. “Can’t let this happen anymore. I’m sorry.”
I pulled her chin to face me so I could look into her eyes one more time before walking away. When she turned back to me her makeup was running and her eyes were glazed. I knew I’d broken her, but it had to be done. Her face was straight and as sullen as I’ve ever seen it and I could slowly regain enough senses to notice the faint smell of booze surrounding us.
“Shit, have you been drinking?” She shrugged her shoulders letting them fall lazily as she turned to put her feet in the car. I quickly reached in front of her and stopped the car so I could run inside and get her a ride home. Shade never drank before, so that proved that tonight had been the ultimate upset. The last thing I needed to have was a guilty conscious, letting her drive off in the state I just put her in. I ran my hands through my hair and stood up before turning around. “I’ll be right back. Imma’ get Hunter to drive ya’ home.” And with that I walked away.
The music was blaring and the house was in full swing from the party. It took roughly twenty minutes to find Hunter and when I did he was just as lit as Shade. Apparently they had been cramming shots down everyone’s mouths today in the good name of celebration. I walked further into the room to see if anyone was there that wasn’t half wasted.
“Well look at what the cat drug in, Rust!” Clay threw his hands in the air and everyone in the room did the same after acknowledging I was there. I shook my head and turned to look elsewhere.
“Whoa brother, where’s the fire?” I looked to see Clay looking at me. I had to yell to respond.
“I need to find a ride for Shade.”
“You still with that bitch?”
“Hey now, don’t call her that she just has some things to take care of.”
“I can give her something to take care of alright.” Clay held his fist out for me to bump. Shaking my head I just turned to leave. He followed behind me.
“Hey man, I’m sorry about that. I’m just foolin’ around.”
“Well I ain’t got time for that shit, seriously I need to find her a ride and no I’m not with her anymore.”
“I can take her home.”
I cut my eyes at Clay before turning down my brow, “A sober ride Clay, don’t be an ass.”
“Dude I’m sober I wouldn’t offer otherwise. Plus I need to make an alcohol run. They’re blowing through this shit like sand.”
“Fine, just take her home and I’ll see you back here.” I handed him the keys before finding myself another beer. I needed something to take the pain away because no matter how fed up I was with her, I still wanted to be her Knight.
“Ay! Is she out front?”
I nodded my head in return and twisted off the cap before chugging the whole thing. Yeah I know I told her I’d be right back, but personally I couldn’t face her anymore. I couldn’t look at her heart shaped face and not want to give in, yet again. I grabbed a six pack of beer before walking to the back room and settling on the couch. This was yet another night turned sour due to this shit. My mind raced as the music played and the room spun. I needed to get my shit together. I don’t know how long I sat there brooding over the whole situation before I snapped and threw my bottle at the wall. It shattered causing everyone to turn toward me.
“What the … man?”
“Leave him alone Chase, I’ll get it in the mornin’. Your place was a mess before this shit happened” Clay gestured to the broken glass. “Let’s go Rust, now before this gets any worse.”
I stood up I didn’t think it could get any worse, if I had lost my cool like this, then this was already past any degree of self-control that I had held. I opened the chest and grabbed another beer on my way out the door. I’d gotten half way through chugging it before it was snatched outta my hands.
Chase stood there pouring out my beer. “I think you’ve had enough.” I tried to snatch it from him but he smashed the bottle on the sidewalk before I could get my hands on it. “Get in the car, man. Cause this ain’t you.”
Somewhere in my mind I knew he was right, this wasn’t me but maybe it was the person I had become. This was the asshole that I usually kept at bay and now he was let loose like a wild animal that had been caged for the latter part of its life. “… you, you don’t know shit about me man. You think you do.” I spat at him with as much venom as I could muster. “You all … think Avery is a … saint and I don’t have the balls to let loose.”
“We don’t think, we know how you are man.” Clay was trying to reason while I was releasing my explosion of rage.
I jumped in Clay’s face ready to start a brawl on the sidewalk. I couldn’t believe he was trying to tell me about myself. “What the … does that mean?” I was inches from his face with a tension in my muscles that I needed to ease. I was tired of holding back. If they think they knew me, then maybe they’ll think again…with that I swung and I was pretty sure I busted his jaw as I felt a crack through my knuckles.
Clay stumbled back with heat fuming in his eyes as he lunged back at me. I landed a few more punches, cutting his lip and making an amazing shiner on his right side, before I was pulled off by one of my brothers. “Let me go.” I spat, straightening my shirt and tugging away from the crowd that had formed around us.
Clay had spit something into the ground before yelling at me while I stormed off. “I was only trying to help your punk ass, but if this is the thanks I get. … you! … you Rust! You talk about Shade but you got shit yourself that you need to handle…Let ‘im go.” Were the last words that I heard before I rounded the corner to the apartment complex.
I lived a few blocks away but wasn’t about to go home looking like this so I just walked around toward nowhere in particular, trying to cover the pain and anger that pumped through every vein in my body.
Rani finds herself at home in Sweet Home Alabama. Fast approaching her fine arts degree she released this book. Rani is a single, wild, and caring individual that has loved writing since she first found out she could. She found a comfort in reading and after discovering a style she loved, became obsessed with writing a novel of her own. Turned out this one leads the way for many more to come.