Genre(s): Adult, Erotic Contemporary Romance
Published: October 9th 2014
Welcome back to The Core. ALICE includes all four installments of Alice's story: Enticed, Seduced, Exposed, and Elevated!
The most exclusive, anything-goes, all-night dance club is alive with music, drinks, and unrivaled passion. As The Core’s top matchmaker, Alice is gunning for a promotion. One she’s got locked down as long as nothing disrupts her dance-floor dominating routine. But when the sexy mechanic Evan walks into her work and shakes her confidence in her matchmaking abilities, Alice can’t resist his good looks or his passionate ways. He sweeps her off her feet, enticing her with the adrenaline of his bike and the intensity of his attraction to her.
But Alice knows she can’t get close to anyone from The Core. And after learning the secrets in Evan’s past that drive his irresistible, never-hold-back personality, she’s not sure she can let him go without falling back on the dangerous patterns that haunt her own drug-addicted history. Admitting his part in the devastating loss of his brother nearly rips Evan apart.
Those pills locked in a drawer in her office grow more tempting with each passing day.
Now it’s Alice’s turn to let go of her fears and elevate herself to a new level... one filled with passion, confidence, and—she hopes—Evan’s reckless love.
Alice’s tale unfolds in this collection from The Core with a hot, emotional story that will tantalize new readers of the series and fans of The Core: Andee alike.
“Hey!” Andee stops when she sees me and stares, taking in the sight of my dirty tank top. I neglected to change it before we went to the hospital. “Whoa, what happened to you?”
I limp toward the bedroom. “I was riding a bicycle,” I say.
Andee chuckles. “You’re calling Evan a bicycle now? That’s not very nice.”
“Ha-ha,” I say. “Really. I fell in the mountains. Gotta stay off my feet for a few days.”
“Oh, shit, Alice,” Andee says. “Are you okay?”
I wave her off. “Yeah, just some antibiotic cream and I’ll be fixed right up.” My toes go cold as I omit a critical part of the truth from my best friend. “You don’t mind if I just hit the sack, do you? I’m fucking exhausted.”
Andee peels the tinfoil lid off the pasta, steam billowing out. “No, of course not. Get some rest. Are you hungry? Do you need anything?”
“Nah, just my pillow. Thanks, Andee.” My stomach rolls. Hungry as I was a moment ago, lying to Andee is too much for my appetite to handle.
I close my bedroom door and set my purse on the mattress. Get myself a glass of water from the bathroom. Sit down. Open the bag, pull out the bottle. Read the label twenty times.
Am I really going to do this?
These pills were prescribed to me, I reason. By a doctor, for a real injury. I didn’t fake a migraine to get them, nor did I buy them off the street. The bottle actually says my name, not the name of a widow who left a pile of prescription drugs behind for her adult children to sell. I did nothing wrong today.
Nothing wrong yet. If I swallow one of these little, white pills, I’ll be letting myself slide down into a rabbit hole that doesn’t have a way out. I should lock these pills in my bottom drawer at The Core and throw the key off a mountain.
My leg throbs with urgency as if to sway my decision. I put the bottle on my nightstand, shuffle out of my skirt, and apply some of the cream to my wound. Curling up on my side, I stare at the little orange bottle and read my name over and over again.
I can’t sleep with these pills in the room. I could sleep if Evan was here, but he’d insist I take one of them. I wouldn’t be able to argue with him without letting something slip out. I’m damned if I do, and I’m damned if I don’t.
My foot really does hurt.
So I flip the lid off the bottle, put just one pill on my tongue, and swallow it down. It tastes like failure, but as the medicine warms my blood, my bed starts to feel softer than it ever has before. My pain subsides. All the worrying was for nothing. I’m not behaving like an addict. I’m being a good patient, following my doctor’s orders. I have nothing to be ashamed of.
I wake two hours later, the throb in my leg returning with a vengeance. I try to find a comfortable position. Every way I turn pulls the skin on my thigh tight, and makes my foot ache anew. The medication bottle says I should only take one pill every four to six hours. But I was sleeping so peacefully, and I need sleep if I’m going to heal. I know I have kind of a high tolerance for narcotics, anyway. That light, airy feeling of nothing holding me down would help me drift back into a deep, soothing slumber.
So I take another one.
The bottle of pills is empty by morning.
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