Love in the light, p.1
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       Love in the Light, p.1

           Laura Kaye
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Love in the Light


  Love in the Light

  FIRST EDITION January 2016

  LOVE IN THE LIGHT © Laura Kaye.

  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  ISBN 978-1522863915

  No part or whole of this book may be used, reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work via electronic or mechanical means is a violation of international copyright law and subjects the violator to severe fines and/or imprisonment. If you are reading the ebook, it is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. The ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share the ebook, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. Please do not participate in piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.

  The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional and/or are used fictitiously and are solely the product of the author’s imagination. Any similarity to persons living or dead, places, businesses, events, or locales is purely coincidental.

  Front Cover Art by Tricia “Pickyme” Schmitt

  Back Cover and Interior by The Killion Group

  PRAISE FOR LOVE IN THE LIGHT

  “Readers that have been anxiously waiting for more of this story will be thrilled with the passionate and poignant way Kaye dives back in with this complicated and much loved couple. Love in the Light will have readers falling in love with Caden and Makenna all over again!” ~ Jay Crownover, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Marked Men Series

  "Sexy, emotional and incredibly heartwarming, fans of Laura Kaye won't be disappointed!" ~ Monica Murphy, New York Times Bestselling Author of the One Week Girlfriend Quartet

  "Love in the Light is a beautiful read with Kaye's trademark sexiness and smart storytelling! Makenna and Caden are magic together—I loved this book!" ~ Jennifer Probst, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Marriage Bargain

  "Laura Kaye has a gift for writing beautifully damaged men and Caden Grayson leads the pack with enough vulnerability to twist your heart in knots." ~ Tessa Bailey, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Line of Duty Series

  "I begged Laura for this story and LOVE IN THE LIGHT exceeded every hope I had for Makenna and Caden. Sweet, sexy, emotional, gorgeous. . .utter perfection." ~ Robin Covington, USA Today Bestselling Author

  "This book delivers - sweet romance, smoking hot sex, an entire tissue box full of angsty drama, and such love shining off the pages that it will blind you." ~ Christi Barth, Author of the Shore Secrets Series

  “This follow up to one of the most beloved couples in romance is delivered in the emotional and touching way that only Laura Kaye can do. Love in the Light is everything I could have wanted for Makenna and Caden—and more!” ~ Jillian Stein, Read-Love-Blog

  Table of Contents

  Other Books By Laure Kaye

  Dedication

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Excerpt

  About the Author

  Acknowledgments

  The Raven Riders Series

  Hard Ink Series

  HARD AS IT GETS

  HARD AS YOU CAN

  HARD TO HOLD ON TO

  HARD TO COME BY

  HARD TO BE GOOD

  HARD TO LET GO

  HARD AS STEEL

  HARD EVER AFTER

  HARD TO SERVE

  Hearts in Darkness Duet

  HEARTS IN DARKNESS

  LOVE IN THE LIGHT

  Heroes Series

  HER FORBIDDEN HERO

  ONE NIGHT WITH A HERO

  Raven Riders Series

  RIDE HARD

  RIDE ROUGH

  Stand Alone Titles

  DARE TO RESIST

  JUST GOTTA SAY

  When the cloud in the sky starts to pour

  And your life is just a storm you’re braving

  Don’t tell yourself you can’t lean on someone else

  Cause we all need saving

  Sometimes

  ~Jon McLaughlin

  We All Need Saving

  Dedication

  To Lea, Christi, Jillian, and Liz for giving me courage.

  To Marcy for telling me I had to do this.

  To BK and the girls for helping me get it done.

  To all the readers who asked if there would be more.

  This is for you, with all of my heart.

  CHAPTER ONE

  Makenna James gasped awake, rushing up from sleep as if being tugged from deep under water. What had woken her—

  Caden moaned next to her, thrashing against the pillow, a cold sweat on his forehead. Her heart already raced from being startled, but now it squeezed for a whole other reason.

  She pulled herself closer and stroked her hand over the deep scar that jagged from his temple to the back of his head. A beam of early morning sunlight filtered through the window next to her bed, revealing his furrowed brow and clenched jaw. God, she hated the way his subconscious tormented him. “Caden? Hey, it’s okay. Wake up.”

  Startled brown eyes flashed to her, not quite tracking for a long moment. “Red?” A scowl settled onto his gorgeous face when awareness returned to him. “Dammit. Sorry,” he said, voice like gravel.

  She smiled and shook her head, still stroking the close-shaved brown hair surrounding his scar the way he liked. “Nothing to be sorry for.”

  His arms came around her and he shifted her on top of his broad bare chest, her legs settling over his naked hips. “Damn nightmare.” Caden blew out a breath. “I hate this. For you.”

  “I’ve got you.” Makenna kissed him, reveling as she always did in the nip of his metal spider bite piercings against her lips. And I love you. Though she kept that thought to herself.

  She’d realized weeks ago that she’d fallen for him, irrevocably and all the way, but she’d never given voice to the words. Something inside her warned against letting him know—yet—just how serious her feelings had become. Not because she believed Caden didn’t care for her, too. A part of her worried that making a man so marked by loss confront how close they’d become might freak him out. Fourteen years had passed since he’d lost his mother and younger brother Sean in a car accident that had trapped and injured Caden and left him claustrophobic, scarred, and alone, and the memory of it still tortured him. As the nightmare proved. “Don’t you worry about it.”

  “You’re too damn good for me,” Caden rasped, deepening the kiss, his big hands digging into her sleep-mussed red hair, his body coming alive beneath hers.

  It wasn’t the first time he’d said something along those lines, and the sentiment always made the center of her chest ache. How could he not see what she saw—a strong, amazing man who’d dedicated his life to helping others? “Never,” she whispered around the edge of the kiss. “You’re everything to me.”

  Her words unleashed a groan from deep in his throat. Caden lifted his head and pursued her lips, nipping and tugging and sucking until Makenna was hot and needy.
<
br />   The nightmares didn’t come every night. They mostly surfaced when Caden was stressed out over something. It didn’t take much to guess what today’s stressor might be—their trip to Philadelphia to see her father and brothers for Thanksgiving. The holiday was as close to sacred as things got in her family, her father insisting all four of his kids make their way home to give thanks for all they had in their lives, family most especially.

  No way she could go without Caden, though. Not when his family was gone. And not when her heart demanded that Caden was family, too.

  When she’d first brought up the trip, he’d actually thought she intended to go without him, and even said he’d just volunteer to work so the guys at the firehouse who had families could have off. Makenna made it clear that she wanted him to come with her, and she’d probably never seen him more resemble a deer in the headlights. Which she totally got it. Meeting someone’s family for the first time was never easy. But once he’d seen how much spending the day together meant to her, he’d agreed like the sweet, sweet man he was. And so they were road-tripping it for a weekend of turkey, stuffing, and football with the testosterone-dominated James clan.

  Caden’s grip tightened in her hair as his hips surged beneath her. “I have to get in you. Do we have time? Please tell me there’s time.”

  She smiled against his lips, the thick desire in his voice rushing heat through her veins. Grinding her core against his hard length, she said, “As long as we’re quick.” Though, truth be told, it wouldn’t take much to convince her to linger in this man’s arms. She was that far gone and he was that freaking hot.

  A sound like a growl rumbled from Caden’s throat. “Thanksgiving feasts are meant to be savored,” he said, flipping them over and pinning her to the mattress. He helped her remove her panties and his Station 7 shirt with his last name ‘GRAYSON’ on the back. She’d long ago stolen it from him to sleep in—much to his satisfaction. And then he held himself above her and rocked his erection against the very place where she needed him most.

  Makenna nodded. “I agree, but I’d rather not have to explain to my brothers why we were late.” Which would be a total nightmare. They’d be like a pack of lions fighting over a meaty carcass, not giving up until they’d made her spill. Then, like the pains in the asses they could be, they’d spend the day making up all the juicy bits she wouldn’t tell them to embarrass her—and Caden. No way was she letting that happen. Caden was nervous enough.

  His expression darkened and his eyes shuttered, just a bit. Enough to reveal just how anxious he was about the trip.

  “I want you, Caden,” she said, hoping to pull him back from wherever he’d gone. She stroked her fingers down his strong back. “And I need you. However I can have you.”

  The shadows disappeared from his face and he finally nodded and quirked a half smile. “Hard and fast it is, then.”

  Yes, please!

  He reached to the nightstand and pulled a condom from the drawer, then sat back to roll it on.

  “Love it hard and fast,” she whispered, watching him. Her gaze raked over the cut muscles of his chest and stomach and traced down from the yellow rose tattoo on his left pec to the large black tribal that wrapped around his side. Everything about him—his ink, his piercings, even his scars—was so damn sexy.

  “Then hold on tight.” The words had barely spilled from his lips before he was right there, probing her entrance, pushing into her, filling her with that delicious sensation of fullness that left her breathless, wanting, completed. He wrapped himself around her and leaned his cheek against hers. “So good, Makenna. Every time is so fucking good.”

  Buried deep inside her, he devoured her mouth in a molten-hot kiss, and then he pulled free but held his face just above hers. His hips rocked and thrust and ground, picking up speed and demanding that she take more of him, all of him. He stole her breath and her ability to think and her heart until there was nothing left of her that he didn’t own. Utterly and completely.

  The depth of her emotions pricked at the backs of her eyes and made it so that all she could do was grasp his back and hold tight as his hips flew against hers. Because it was so much better than good.

  How was it possible they’d only known each other for two months?

  They’d met after spending a night trapped in a pitch-black elevator together, and their bond had been fast and deep—built on conversation that had revealed how much they had in common and a physical attraction that transcended appearances. If there’d ever been a silver lining around an otherwise bad situation, it had been having the freedom the darkness allowed to get to know him. And for him to get to know her. Since then, they’d been nearly inseparable.

  Now, Makenna couldn’t imagine her life without Caden Grayson.

  And she hoped she’d never have to.

  * * *

  An hour later, Caden sat on the edge of the couch in Makenna’s homey living room. His knee bounced. Tightness squeezed his chest. His teeth ached from how hard he was clenching his jaw.

  What a fucking misfit.

  Makenna was everything Caden was not—polished and out-going and able to put others at ease with her warm smile and her ready, open laughter. In the two months they’d been together, she’d totally embraced his friends and his interests and his world—inviting the guys at the firehouse over for dinner, cheering on his softball team, and even delivering a big tray of homemade brownies and chocolate chip cookies to the station. Hell, Makenna had all the guys there wrapped around her little finger at this point. And Caden was sure they looked at him and wondered how the hell he’d gotten so lucky.

  Because he certainly wondered. Every damn day. And it made him sure it couldn’t last. Or wouldn’t. He couldn’t be that lucky. At least, he’d never been before.

  He shook his head and chuffed out a frustrated breath.

  For the most part, he was a loner who was only comfortable around the guys he worked with and a small group of long-time friends. Over the last two months, Makenna had worked her way inside that small circle, after having broken down his walls and accepted all the bullshit she found behind them. He’d never been happier in his life. And he was having a damn hard time trusting it.

  In his experience, happiness didn’t last. Instead, it was ripped from you when you least expected, tearing you from the ones you loved and leaving you all alone. It was why he’d never before pursued a serious relationship with a woman. Until Makenna. Who was like a force of nature with her honesty and her positivity and her acceptance and her touch. He hadn’t been able to resist the temptation of having something so good, something that might be able to shine some light on all his darkness.

  “Okay, I’m ready,” Makenna said, walking into the living room from the bedroom. She wore a beautiful smile and a lavender sweater over a pair of tight, sexy jeans tucked into knee-high brown leather boots. And, God, she was so damn pretty. Long, wavy red hair that he loved to play with swept across her face and settled around her shoulders. Her blue eyes were heaven in a stare, and saw right through all his masks. But instead of finding him unworthy—the way he felt—all that shined from those baby blues was affection and unconditional acceptance.

  It slayed him. It really fucking did. Because she looked at him and never seemed to see all the defects he felt down deep.

  “Great,” Caden said, rising and swallowing the sour taste in the back of his throat. On the one hand, he wanted to meet her family. They were important to her, and so far in their relationship, he hadn’t done nearly enough to meet her friends and get to know those she cared for the most. He owed this to her, and he wanted to be man enough—just once—to walk into a roomful of strangers and act like a normal freaking human being.

  On the other hand, Caden was the furthest thing from normal. New people made him nervous as shit and he sucked at small talk. He never knew what to say, so he’d either clam up or end up with a foot in his mouth. Either way, he came off like an anti-social asshole. Much as he loved his ink and h
is facial piercings for a whole bunch of reasons, he couldn’t say he was unhappy with the fact that his appearance scared some people off. Because being alone was miles better than being rejected, left, or abandoned.

  Been there, done that, got the blood-stained T-shirt. Thank you very much.

  Makenna came right up to him and wrapped her arms around his waist. “You look very handsome, Mr. Grayson.” Her smile warmed his chest, and damn if her touch didn’t make it easier to breathe. It had been like that from the start with Makenna—her presence easing his anxiety. He’d never had that with another person. He’d never even thought it was possible. “I hope you’re not wearing long sleeves to cover your tattoos.”

  He was, though his dragon tattoo extended onto the back of his right hand, so there was only so much he could do about that. And they’d already had the conversation about his piercings—Makenna didn’t want him to take them out for the visit, though he’d offered. “Just wanted to look nice.”

  Still holding one of his hands, she stepped back and gave him a long, slow once-over. Her gaze raked over his black dress pants and charcoal gray button-down shirt, a few of the nicer pieces he owned. A jeans-and-T-shirt kinda guy who worked in a uniform, Caden didn’t have much use for dress clothes.

  “So nice I’m tempted to take all this back off again.” Her smile was pure temptation. “But seriously, I want you to be comfortable. Okay?”

  Releasing a breath, he unbuttoned a sleeve and rolled it up. Repeated it on the other arm, revealing the whole dragon. Better already. On a roll, he undid another button at the collar. So much better. “There.” He gave her a questioning smile.

  “Perfection. And don’t worry. They’re going to love you. I promise.”

  He couldn’t keep his eyebrow from arching. Highly fucking unlikely. “If you say so, Red.” He tucked a silky wave behind her ear. Makenna’s hair had been the very first thing he’d noticed about her.

 
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