Author: A.K. Evans
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 12th
Four years later, Lexi yearns to get back to the former version of herself. A stronger version. One who is no longer afraid to share her story, her body, and her trust. When Private Investigator Cruz Cunningham comes into her life, he proves he’s a man that’s deserving of her trust.
When multiple women in Windsor go missing, it launches Cruz and the Cunningham Security team into action. As Cruz digs deeper into the investigation, he’s torn between finding the missing women and protecting the woman he loves. Putting her faith in Cruz, Lexi never imagines that this case could destroy everything she’s worked so hard to overcome.
WARNING: This novel contains references to rape and sexual assault and may trigger discomfort in some readers.
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This had to be a mistake.
Everything I had learned told me that this wasn’t how it was supposed to be. It was supposed to look different. Sound different.
I had it wrong. If I ever told anyone, they’d tell me I was mistaken. But something was gnawing away at me inside telling me this wasn’t right. It didn’t feel good and it wasn’t what I wanted.
But where was the struggle? The blood? The bruises? The cries for help?
This is supposed to happen in an alley behind a dumpster. I’m supposed to be kicking and screaming and fighting.
But I’m not.
This doesn’t happen in a dorm room. This doesn’t happen in a bed. This doesn’t happen with the guy you like.
But it is.
This must be a misunderstanding.
I wore a short skirt. I went on a few dates with him. I agreed to come back to his dorm room tonight. I cuddled up next to him. I leaned in to kiss him. I even enjoyed kissing him.
And in a matter of minutes, it all changed.
When the soft caresses and tender kisses turned into rough and forceful restraint, the butterflies I felt in my belly disappeared and were replaced by paralyzing fear.
When he rolled me to my back and pinned me to the bed, I froze. I didn’t fight. I didn’t scream. I didn’t try to get away. I only said no and asked him to stop.
The weight of his body hovered over mine.
I said no.
I sank deeper and deeper into the sheets.
But I liked him.
He gripped my wrists above my head.
I said no.
He forced my skirt up around my hips.
Maybe I had been asking for it dressed like this.
He pushed my panties to the side.
I said no.
He smiled through my growing opposition.
But I had flirted with him.
Then he raped me.
And I only said no.
I withdrew. I went somewhere else. Physically, I was still there, but my mind took me to a different place. Finals were coming up next week and I had a paper due in two days. I needed to get back to my dorm so I could finish proofreading that paper. I was always a good student and I focused on that as I lay there silenced and still in the bed of his dorm room.
Suddenly, my mind was back in the room with my body and he was still on top of me.
I wanted to scream. It was there, at the back of my throat, but it wouldn’t come out. The fear seeped into every part of me, but most especially, it silenced my voice. If I screamed, this might end up looking like an actual sexual assault.
It could be violent and bloody.
It could be worse.
My breath was caught in my throat. Perhaps it got stuck there simply to protect me.
But what about what my parents had told me?
Always stand up for yourself.
Before my parents dropped me off at college, my father gave me a lecture. “Don’t go out alone at night. Make sure someone you trust always knows where you are and who you’re with. Stay safe. And if someone ever tries to hurt you, you fight back.”
I didn’t heed his advice. I didn’t fight back.
I didn’t know for sure, but guessed that it couldn’t have been more than twenty minutes later when my attacker finished. He rolled off me and fixed his clothes.
Feeling ashamed and embarrassed, I quickly got up off the bed without making eye contact and pulled my skirt back down.
It was over.
I needed to get out, so I moved toward the door.
But his voice stopped me as I wrapped my hand around the doorknob.
“Don’t act like that isn’t exactly what you wanted tonight.”
That’s when I knew.
Maybe I didn’t run. Maybe I didn’t fight. But just because I didn’t fight, didn’t mean that I gave my consent.
And just because I liked him doesn’t mean it wasn’t rape.
About the Author:A.K. Evans is a married mother of two boys residing in a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. After graduating from Lafayette College in 2004 with two degrees (one in English and one in Economics & Business), she pursued a career in the insurance and financial services industry. Not long after, Evans realized the career was not for her. She went on to manage her husband’s performance automotive business and drive the shop race cars for the next thirteen years. While the business afforded her freedoms she wouldn’t necessarily have had in a typical 9-5 job, after eleven years she was no longer receiving personal fulfillment from her chosen career path. Following many discussions, lots of thought, and tons of encouragement, Andrea decided to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.
Between her day job, writing, and homeschooling her two boys, Evans is left with very little free time. When she finds scraps of spare time, she enjoys reading, doing yoga, watching NY Rangers hockey, dancing, and vacationing with her family. Andrea, her husband, and her children are currently working on taking road trips to visit all 50 states (though, Alaska and Hawaii might require flights).