Authors: Josie Litton
ANEW: Book Two:
By Josie Litton
“Amelia undoes me in ways that I can’t fathom. With her, I
can feel the coils of pain and memory that entwine so deeply inside me
beginning to loosen. Far in the back of my mind, I can’t help wondering what
will happen if they unravel completely. Will she know how to gather them up and
reweave them into something new and better? I sure as hell don’t.”
Amelia and Ian's story continues in Book Two of this erotic
retelling of "Sleeping Beauty" set in the near future. Torn apart by
the revelation of Ian's tormented past, the lovers are caught in a web of
deadly danger they can only survive by confronting together.
As the collective madness of Carnival descends on the
glittering world city of Manhattan, Ian's fight to redeem himself takes him
into the depths of the nightmare that has haunted him for so long. At the
center of it is Amelia, at once a pawn in a monstrous game of evil and the only
hope of ultimately defeating it.
In a world ruled by sensual excess, the passion of these
lovers holds the power to transform despair into hope and betrayal into
justice. But a fateful decision will change the course of their lives forever.
for the ANEW Trilogy by Josie Litton
"Most beautiful, erotic twist of Sleeping Beauty! Can't
wait til the next book!!"--
Chrissy Dyer, Goodreads Reviewer
"...a new twist on futuristic romance! And let me tell
you, it's totally worth it!!!...Cannot wait for the next installment. FIVE
STARS FOR THIS AUTHOR!!!"--
Summer’s Book Blog
"5 Explosive stars...nothing less than
spectacular..sensual, explosive and revealing
"I loved every minute reading this book...What an
amazing start to this series, thank you Josie Litton."--
"…a completely unique and creative story that had me
captivated from the start."--
Melissa Cheslog, Goodreads Reviewer
"I love Josie Litton's creativeness. She will capture
you and keep you conquered in everything she writes."--
Rockin' Book Reviews
“As an avid lover of romance novels of all genres, I am
always so happy when I discover a new type of plot line or a book that has a
superb story to support all of the steamy bits that make me blush. That’s
definitely what you’ll get in this book."--
Loredana, Goodreads Reviewer
“…a completely unique and creative story that had me
captivated from the start.”--
Melissa, A Risque Affair Book Blog
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Table of Contents
With heartfelt thanks to my readers over the years. Your
steadfastness and encouragement have been amazing!
he small gold plaque
bears a single line of cursive script, “The Cabinet of Secret Delights”.
A shiver of anticipation runs through me. I know this place.
I recognize it. I’m back at the palazzo where Ian and I first met. But it isn’t
real. It’s a dream.
I don’t care. Awake, I am forlorn and alone. Only in dreams
do I come alive.
At my touch, a hidden door beside the plaque swings open.
The room I step into is a study in beauty and opulence. Its intimate size is
magnified by the gilded mirrors hanging in ornately carved gold frames beneath
a soaring dome. The floor is covered by a finely woven carpet in shades of
hunter green, ivory, and ox blood red. The same colors are picked up by the
ceiling mural that depicts the god Zeus in pursuit of various nubile females.
Successful pursuit, it appears, as he is shown plunging his impressive
endowment into a succession of startled beauties.
But it isn’t the god who commands my attention.
In the middle of the room stands a gilded cage, six feet in
diameter and at least half again as tall, constructed of roped wrought iron
curled into scrollwork. I stare at it as my heartbeat accelerates. Everything
about the room arouses and alarms me--the padded benches fitted with discrete
restraints, the armoire filled with exotic toys, the aura of carnality that
hangs thick in air lightly scented by leather and sandalwood
nothing effects me more than the cage. Aside from its obvious purpose, I have
no idea why it is here.
But perhaps I’m about the find out.
In the world beyond dreams, the one we call real, I’ve only
been in this room once before and then I was alone. Now I’m not.
A man steps from the shadows. Black jeans hug the long
length of his legs and his narrow hips. Under a snug black T-shirt, I see the
movement of muscles across his broad shoulders and chest. His arms hang loosely
at his sides, the fingers of each hand curling inward as though he carries
weapons that are invisible to me. His hair is dark brown, thick and slightly
long. The sun has burnished his skin. He has strong, symmetrical features, the
facial bones angular and chiseled.
He hasn’t shaved in a day…two? I wonder suddenly how the
stubble along his square jaw would feel against my fingertips. Is it coarse?
Raspy? Silken? The thought shocks me with its presumption of intimacy.
When no more than an arm’s length separates us, he stops.
This close, he appears even larger, more formidable but also young, still in
his twenties. At last, I can see his eyes. Set under arching brows, they are a
rich golden amber shading to brown, framed by thick lashes. In them burn the
barely banked fires of heart-stopping hunger.
Distantly, I am aware that this is how Ian appeared the
first time we met. Such a short time ago. An eon. The pain of missing him fills
me with every breath I draw, threatening to blot out everything else. I push it
aside resolutely. The dream is fragile. I can’t risk any thought that might
He holds out his hand. Without hesitation, I step toward
him. At that moment, what I want most is to hear his voice. When it comes, the
deep, slightly husky timbre sends a shiver through me. I watch in unwilling
fascination as his full, surprisingly sensuous mouth--the only hint of softness
I can see in him--shapes a single word: “Amelia.”
My name on his lips is at once an acknowledgement and a
command. I obey without hesitation and place my hand in his. At the first touch
of his skin against mine, pleasure sings through my veins. I am overwhelmed by
a sense of relief. This is where I belong. Where I want to be.
As I move, I feel the thin sheath that skims my body from
shoulders to ankles. Beneath the diaphanous fabric, I glimpse blushing
alabaster skin. Ian’s eyes darken. His gaze lingers on my breasts, the
indentation of my navel, the small gap between my thighs that reveals my bare
I feel the wetness gathering in me, the excitement, the all
but unbearable need. I want so badly to touch him and be touched in turn. He
knows my body better than I do but even more, he reaches beyond mere flesh and
bone to the center of my being, soothing my fears, freeing my hopes, fulfilling
my dreams. In his arms, I have found the one place where I am complete.
A wave of anguish curls through me. I flinch and
instinctively step closer to him, seeking the comfort only he can provide. But
between one beat of my heart and the next his hand slips from mine. He takes a
step back and smiles with gently chiding regret.
My desperate effort to deny his rejection falters
against my knowledge of his implacable will. And with that, the edges of my
dream begin to fray.
Instead of Ian’s embrace, the wrought iron bars of the cage
close around me. As I struggle to shake them loose, the mirrors that line the
walls of this sensual retreat suddenly begin to crack. Through the jagged
wounds, skeletal fingers of dank mist rush into the room. They spread quickly,
encircling Ian. Far from trying to elude them, he stretches out his arms as
they weave around him, swiftly cloaking him in darkness.
I cry out, pleading with him to resist but it’s too late. He
is vanishing before my eyes. My sobs, my pleas, my curses have no effect. They
fall away, mere gasps on empty air, until at last nothing except the memory of
him remains. I am left alone, anguished and bereft, trapped in the gilded cage.
The coldness of the metal seeps into my skin. I begin to
shiver uncontrollably. Curled in on myself, I lie sobbing until the dampness of
my tears on linen pillow cases scented with lavender draws me back into a
reality from which no dream can grant release.