S. M. Shade is a homeschooling mom hopelessly addicted to Dr. Pepper, love stories, sunshine, and men with full sexy lips, though not necessarily in that order. A voracious reader since sounding out her first word, she started writing as a teenager and rediscovered her love of writing as an adult. Originally from Indianapolis, she now lives in a small Kentucky town with her teenage son.
I first met S.M. a few months ago in a place I had never heard of and I liked her immediately. We have a lot in common and she has an incredibly sweet personality that I was immediately drawn to. After checking out her work, I knew I'd be a fan for life. Her passion for life and for the written word is evident in her book, The Last Woman.
When Abby Bailey meets former model and actor, Airen Holder, in a darkened department store, romance is the last thing on her mind. A plague has decimated the population, leaving Abby to raise her son alone in a world without electricity, clean water, or medical care. Her only priority is survival.
Traumatized by the horror of the past months, Abby and Airen become a source of comfort for one another. Damaged by her past and convinced Airen is out of her league, Abby is determined to keep their relationship platonic. However, Airen is a hard man to resist, especially after he risks his life to save hers.
When a man named Joseph falls unconscious in their yard, and Abby nurses him back to health, everything changes. How does love differ in this new post apocalyptic world? Can three unlikely survivors live long enough to find their place in it?
“Will you dance with me?” Airen asks, holding out his hand.
I try not to show my surprise as I take his hand and follow him. He changes the song to one of my favorites, an acoustic version of Give Me Love by Ed Sheeran. I try to act normal and hold him the same as I did Joseph, but he smells so good; like citrus and musk. It’s intoxicating.
He holds my hand and slips his fingers between mine, sliding his other arm around my waist and pulling me close. My hand is resting on his shoulder blade, and I can feel the flex of muscles in his back as he moves. My head rests tentatively against his, and I feel the soft tickle of his hair. He keeps me so close, his hard stomach against me. I’m pressed against his chest, trying to control the urge to slide my hand down to his ass. As the last verse starts, he pulls me away from him slightly. He gazes at me, and I’m drowning in those eyes, those dark mesmerizing eyes.
“I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to do this,” he whispers, and then his lips are on mine. Everything ceases to exist. My whole world is dominated by the feeling of Airen’s lips on mine. His kiss is sweet, his lips soft as they move and shift over mine. After a few seconds, the tip of his tongue strokes my lips, and I give in. I kiss him back, and I finally get to taste him, to taste Airen. We deepen the kiss, exploring each other’s mouths as he holds my face in his hands.
I slide my hand up his neck and bury it in his soft hair, as I wrap my other arm around him and press him to me harder. Oh, can this really be happening? Shouldn’t I be waking up by now? My moan fills his mouth as his fingers trail across my breast and stomach to rest on my waist. He sucks delicately on my bottom lip as we finally break apart.
I lean my forehead against his chest and close my eyes. He really kissed me. I kissed Airen. Beautiful, sexy, way out of my reach Airen. He seems to know I need a minute and holds me close, swaying to the music until I ask, “Are you drunk?”
“You know I’m not.”
We keep dancing as the next song comes on. I’m completely speechless, and my mind is spinning. I want him so bad. I want to grab his behind, reach under his shirt, rub my hands across his bare chest, and kiss him until I can no longer breathe. I’m fighting to control my urges. I know this is wrong.
“Stop,” he admonishes.
“Over thinking this.”
I sigh. “I don’t want you to be sorry or regret anything later.”
His hand strokes the back of my head and moves down to rub my back. “I won’t regret anything. Why would I?”
I give him a resigned look. “I’m not the last woman alive. It just seems that way, Airen. There will be other survivors, beautiful women who would happily fight to the death for a chance to be with you. I don’t want to see you settle when things won’t always be this way.”
“Abby,” he hesitates.
“Be honest, Airen. Before the plague if I’d passed you on the street in New York, you never would have noticed me. I can never compete with the skinny models and beautiful actresses you’re accustomed to dating. You’re way out of my league.”
He pushes me away from him and stares at me. “Look at me, Abby.”
I raise my eyes, and bite my lip.
“I’m insulted that you think I could be that shallow, as if all I care about in a woman is her appearance. Personally, I prefer a woman with curves.”
He runs his hands down my hips. “Still, that’s beside the point. Beauty isn’t the most important thing to me, and besides you’re—”
“Don’t!” I interrupt him. “Please just don’t. It makes me uncomfortable. I have a mirror. I know how I look.”
He holds my head in his hands, and his gaze burns into me. “You don’t know how you look to me. I want you to understand I don’t see you the way you see yourself. I see the woman I love.”
I can’t fight him anymore. I never had a chance. All I can do is nod and press my face into his shoulder. “I’ve tried so hard not to love you, Airen.”
“How did that work for you?”
I can hear the smile in his voice. “It didn’t. I just did my best to hide it.”
He snorts and threads his fingers through my hair. “You did a good job. I was afraid I’d lose you to Joseph for a while. Thank goodness he’s gay.”
I shake my head in disbelief. He was jealous? His hateful attitude toward Joseph and me really was due to jealousy? Joseph knew, and he tried to tell me, but I didn’t believe him. I can hardly believe it now.
I have to hear it from him. “You were jealous?”
Looking away, he mumbles, “Not one of my better qualities, I know.”
I giggle, and he raises his eyebrows. “It’s a trait that we share.” He sits on the couch with his arm around me, and I lean against him, inhaling his scent and reveling in the closeness of his body to mine. “Are sure you want this? I mean, we can’t exactly just date when we’ve been living together for so long.”
“Hmm,” he hums, nuzzling his face in my neck. “I may have had fantasies of sharing that big closet you have in your room, but we can take things as slow as you want.”
“You have to promise me something.”
“Anything,” he whispers, kissing my earlobe.
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My blog: http://www.smshade.blogspot.com