"For fractured souls are like magnets.
Drawn to collide into an impossible bliss…"
Labeled a ‘Cursed’ woman of Eve from birth, Maddie has endured nothing but pain and repression at the hands of The Order’s most abusive elder, Moses. Now living with her sister in The Hangmen’s secluded compound, finally, Maddie, is free. Free from the suffocating faith she no longer believes in. Free from endless years of physical and mental torment.
At age twenty-one, the timid and shy Maddie is content to live within the confines of her new home—safe from the outside world, safe from harm and, strangely, protected by the Hangmen’s most volatile member; the heavily pierced and tattooed, Flame.
The man who ceaselessly watches over her with his midnight dark and searing eyes. The man who protects her with a breath-taking intensity. And the man who stirs something deep within her numbed heart.
But when circumstances conspire for Flame to need HER help, Maddie bravely risks it all for the broken man who has captivated her fragile soul.
The Hangmen’s most infamous member, Flame, is ruled by one thing—anger. Plagued by haunting demons from his past, an all-consuming rage, and isolated by an abhorrent hatred of being touched, Flame's days are filled with suffocating darkness, pierced only by a single ray of light—Maddie. The shy, beautiful woman he cannot purge from his thoughts. The woman he has an overwhelming need to possess…
... the only person who has ever been able to touch him.
Flame’s mission in life is to protect Maddie, to keep her safe. Until a trigger from his troubled past sends him spiraling into madness, trapping him in the deepest recesses of his disturbed mind.
His Hangmen brothers fear that Flame is beyond saving.
His only hope of salvation: Maddie and her healing light.
I couldn’t take my eyes off his face. I had never looked at men. After what I had endured at the hands of males, I could not think of them as handsome. I had given no thought to the matter at all. I simply did not think like that. I had never felt butterflies in my stomach. I had never felt my heart flutter, had never felt myself losing my very breath. When Lilah and Mae would talk of Ky and Styx, when they wouldblush just describing their love’s faces, eyes, lips, I did not comprehend.
But standing here, over Flame, right now, staring at his anguished face—his sharp features: slightly crooked nose, full lips, dark short beard, and those soulful eyes, those incredibly long black lashes—a feeling previously unknown to me bloomed in my heart, filling me with light. With an incredible heat. This close, I felt a tension spark between us. I felt something magnetic.
I… I wanted him as my own. In this moment, seeing the man who had become the center of my world, breaking, I wanted nothing more than to save him. To gift him the peace he so richly deserved, even if it meant sacrificing my newly-awakened heart in the process.
On a loud hiss, Flame’s body stiffened. My grip tightened on the handle of the knife. It felt like a ton weight in my hand, but I knew what I had to do. For Flame, I told myself, You must do this for Flame.
Steadying my shaking grip, I raised the blade, leaving it suspended it in the air. I inhaled deeply, then looked down at Flame. His beautiful eyes stalked me. With tears filling my eyes, I whispered, “Flame… I know you are lost right now, but I want to save you. I want to save you as you have so often saved me.” I swallowed the lump clogging my throat and continued. “I know you want eternal peace, but… but… I cannot… I cannot take your life.” Tears streamed from my eyes, but I lowered my mouth to a few inches from his ear. “I know the flames pain you greatly. And I know you live with pain.
I know you no longer want to live. I…” I sniffed back my emotions as Flame became eerily still. “I have been there too. I have felt the urge to fade, to never wake again. But then something happened to me. Someone happened to me… You.”
Flame’s erratic breathing blew against the hair falling over my face, but he did not move. His body was completely and utterly still.
Rearing back slightly, I searched his glazed eyes and prayed to the Almighty that he was seeing me. That he could hear my words. I itched to run my fingers through his hair, like I had seen Mae do to Styx, but I held back.
“I have watched you, Flame. I have watched you as you have watched
me. And I have seen you free the flames. I have counted with you from my
window as you have administered the slashes to your flesh, releasing what
you believe runs within you.” My legs began to shake as I lifted the knife,
and lined up the blade over his arm. “I will not take your life, but I will help
you release the flames. I will stay here with you, in this room, until you
come back to me.”
Tillie Cole is a Northern girl through and through. She originates from a place called Teesside on that little but awesomely sunny (okay I exaggerate) Isle called Great Britain. She was brought up surrounded by her English rose mother — a farmer’s daughter, her crazy Scottish father, a savagely sarcastic sister and a multitude of rescue animals and horses.