There are angels and demons at war inside my head.
I had it all figured out: finish high school, attend seminary and finally answer my calling of becoming a priest. What I hadn’t counted in the equation was her.
The girl who was always out of my reach. The girl who still makes me lose my breath with just a look.
Little did I know she would become my temptation and vice, and quite possibly, my ruin.
Now I’m standing at a crossroads, and my head is a battlefield. How do I choose sides when it means losing a part of who I am?
After two days I’m still not sure how to review this book. I loved parts of it, I hated parts of it (which I am sure was the intention in those moments), and other parts broke my heart. It was beautiful and frustrating, in equal measure. I loved both the characters and hated them. The entirety of the book was an interesting dichotomy and did a fabulous job of reflecting the tear in Sol’s heart between sinner and saint. Desolate was quite a ride, and I’m dying to see what comes in the next book, Disgraceful.
I am the most frustrated, torn, heartbroken over Sol. In the beginning, he was so easy to root for, to love, to sympathize with; his plight felt impossible and bigger than he was. Then, slowly, very slowly, he no longer had the charm of the selfless orphan he started out as. He wanted everything with no consequences, and I started to hate him a little bit. There is still a part of me that wants him to find happiness, but I was so very heartsick by how selfish he had become near the end of the novel.
My heart hurts deeply for Grace. I couldn’t imagine being in her position, and while one could consider her just as selfish as Sol, her actions felt different. Her heart heard one call, and she was willing to go to any length to answer it, even when she knew it might be disastrous for her. Her strength – once she finally found it – impressed me and I am sure her growth through this series is going to be phenomenal.
Desolate wasn’t as taboo as I thought it might be. It toed the line, but given Grace and Sol’s circumstances, it never quite crossed. I found the play with what was wrong and right fascinating. Sol’s story wasn’t an easy one, neither was Grace’s, and it was easy to see the connection and pull between them; I wish it would have been a smoother ride for them but love – and life – is never easy and their story is ramping up to be a rough and compelling experience.
“Can I ask you something? It’s totally fine to say no.” She adds the last part quickly. She smiles and looks at the spot over my shoulder, her fingers tapping a quick beat on the table. She looks vulnerable, her eyes wide, allowing me to see how nervous she is. I mean, how can I say no to her?
“Sure.” I settle back on the seat and stretch my arms along the back of it.
“Can I . . . can I kiss you?” Her eyes snap back to mine, and she hurriedly adds, “I know you’re heading to Boston in a few weeks and—” She sucks in a deep breath. “I really want to kiss you. I promise I won’t try to do anything else. Just kiss you.”
I take a deep breath, letting her words sink in, and realize I’m breathing faster than normal. My gaze falls on her mouth, and I literally stop breathing because that mouth, God help me. It’s like a gateway to a whole new galaxy where secrets and wishes are waiting to be unveiled.
I need to kiss her. I want to discover the universe beyond those full lips. I’ve been fighting the need to kiss her since I walked inside the diner and saw her wiping down the counter. But my brain is telling me it’s a bad idea and kissing her will irrevocably change me.
Change my life. I know I won’t be able to come back from that. But the other part of me, the part that has a hopeless, desperate crush on this girl, just wants to drag her onto my lap and let her do whatever she wants.
“It’s getting late. We should probably lock up and leave,” she says in a small voice when I take too long to reply. She pushes her hair back before standing up and starting to stack our plates together. Her gaze meets mine briefly. “Look, I’m sorry I made this awkward. It’s not fair to you—”
I reach out, curling a finger through the belt loops on her jean shorts, and tug. But she doesn’t move toward me. Instead, her grip around the plates grows tighter, and she turns to leave.
“Gracie.” I tighten my hold, forcing her to set everything back on the table and look at me. “Come here.”
I pull her close while placing my other hand on her hip. Then, I slide both hands in the back pockets of her shorts, pulling her closer until all I can see is her face and her lips—so close to mine.
Her chest rises and falls quicker than before, and I realize mine’s doing the same. We stare at each other. I wonder if she regrets asking to kiss me. That thought makes my chest ache. Right now, in this moment, with my face inches away from her boobs, I’d do anything for a chance to know what she tastes like. My fingers skim along her arm and bury themselves in her hair. She trembles against me, so I know she wants this as much as I do.
Earlier today after leaving work, I drove home. My mind was preoccupied, and I was restless, so after taking a shower, I got into my car. And somehow, I found myself parking the truck outside the diner. Maybe this is why I came here; I don’t know. But I really want to find out.
“Do it.” My voice is a whisper. I’m almost breathless with want. I want to yank her down and kiss her myself, but she looks like she’s about to flee. So I let her come to me. “Kiss me.”
She sinks her teeth in her bottom lip as she comes closer. I’m glad I’m sitting down because my knees are shaking with anticipation. Then her lips touch mine, her eyes on me the whole time. Need has my fingers tightening in her hair as she presses her lips more firmly to mine. Her tongue peeks out, running along the seam of my lips. I groan and shift on the seat to ease the discomfort in my pants. My mouth opens, and the second her tongue touches mine, my body rattles with a shiver. This moment feels sacred. Like a blessing. It feels blasphemous and holy all at once. It scares me.
Tugging her into my lap, I fist her hair in my hands as I incline her hear further, fusing our lips together more firmly. But our noses are in the way, and we have to find the right angle to stop bumping into each other. It’s frustrating at first because I want her lips on mine and her breath mingling with my breath. Our heads finally slant in the right positions, and our lips fit perfectly. We both exhale in relief and groan at the contact.
Something in me breaks loose. Suddenly I’m pulling at her hair frantically, and my kisses become hungry and aggressive. I’m trembling and desperate and all I can think is I’ve never felt anything like this before, and I don’t ever want to stop or let her go. I don’t need to wonder if she’s enjoying this kiss too. Her hands fisted in my hair, yanking me closer and closer are all the answers I need. She’s pressing her chest into mine, and I swear I can feel her heart hammering. Neither one of us wants it to end.
We break apart and gulp for air, and my hands leave her hair, greedy to explore other parts of her, but they end up on her hips, pulling her further into me.
“More,” I beg, because right now, that’s all I can do.
Beg like my life depends on it. At this point, I feel like I’m about to go up in flames.
Autumn Grey is the author of Havoc, Obliterate, Mend (Havoc series) and Fall Back Skyward. And just like her characters, she is quirky, sometimes funny and definitely flawed. She writes sexy contemporary romances full of drama, steamy kisses and happy ever afters.