With Jared Corbit and Savannah Martin's wedding day quickly approaching, everything should be golden for the two, but their trouble has only just begun. When the media learns of the damage Stewart Paulson has inflicted on the Talbot family, Savannah and Jared get caught in the cross-hairs.
Even worse, the past has caught up with Savannah in a big way, and nothing will prepare her or Jared for the danger headed their way or the devastating decisions they'll be forced to make as a result.
Jared's determined to protect his fiancée from the people milling in the shadows, but good intentions only go so far. When Savannah learns the truth he's desperately trying to keep from her, their future together begins to unravel. How can she trust him when he's lying to her? And just how far is he willing to go to protect the woman he loves from her past?
All Cried Out, told exclusively from Jared's POV, is the exciting follow up to Ayden K. Morgen's All Falls Down.
I'm dead asleep when the alarm begins blaring through the apartment. Savannah cries out my name, her voice full of fear. I jerk upright, my mind instantly on alert, and reach for her.
She's not in bed with me.
"Savannah!" Pure terror rips through me. Leaping from the bed, I grab my gun out of the nightstand drawer and flip the safety off. I race out of the bedroom, bare-ass naked, fear for my girl driving me. I don't know what the f*** is going on, but the alarm is screaming and Savannah's not in bed.
Memories gnaw at me, tearing through me as I sprint into the living room.
"Where the f*** is she?" I yell, pacing up and down, my hand clutched into my hair. Paulson's note rests on the kitchen table beside Savannah's purse with her house keys inside. Her car is still in the driveway, and she and Paulson are nowhere to be found. No one has seen or heard from either of them in over four hours.
Madeline and Katrina cry quietly in the background, but I can't focus on them. All I can think about – all I see – is Savannah and that broken look on her face when she fled from the ballroom.
"I don't know, man," Chris says.
He doesn't know. No one does.
Dear God, if he hurts her….
"F***!" I roar, slamming my hands against the wall at the thought of Paulson hurting her. She's been through so much already. If he touches her, puts so much as a mark on her, I'll blow his f***ing head off.
"Jared," Lexi says when Madeline begins to cry harder, "calm down. You're scaring Maddi."
I spin to face her, fury pumping through me. "Do you think Savannah's not afraid right now?" I demand. "He took her and we let it happen! I let it happen." Oh God, that realization hurts. This is my fault. Had I not told her to go with him so I could deal with Toby McKee, none of this would have happened. She'd be with me right now, and the past two months of hell would be behind us. She'd be mine again.
Instead, I'm terrified I may never see her again. He could kill her, and she'll never know how much I love her. She'll never know that I never intended to marry Lexi, that I was trying to end this s*** so I could bring her back home where she belongs. My legs buckle and I sink to the floor, agony tearing through me at the thought of never seeing my girl again.
I have to find her. If something happens to her, I won't survive it. She owns me, body and soul.
"Please," I pray, tears burning at my eyes, "please don't take her from me."
"Savannah!" I yell again, shoving hard against the memories, pushing them down so I can focus on the here and now. The front door stands open, cool night air rushing into the room. I whip my head from side to side, searching frantically for my girl.
She's standing in the kitchen doorway in nothing but my shirt, sheer panic painted across her face.
"Jared!" she cries out, racing toward me as soon as she lays eyes on me.
She plows into me, her petite body trembling as I wrap my arms around her, careful of the weapon in my hands. I bury her face in my neck and hold on tight. My heart races, pounding fiercely. Her legs wrap around my waist and she clings to me, shaking. Fear gives way to an overwhelming sense of relief when she takes a shuddering breath against my skin, whispering my name.
I start across the room toward the front door and kick it closed before punching in the code to silence the security alarm. It cuts off mid-blare, leaving complete silence. My heart hammers in the quiet, seeming far too loud, and then the shrill ring of Savannah's phone rips through the room. I set my gun down and snatch the phone from the table where she left it when she got home and swipe to answer.
"This is Jackie with All Secure America. We received an audible panic alarm at your residence. Is everything okay, sir?" a calm female voice asks.
"Yeah, I think so. Our front door is standing open, but the apartment is clear."
"Someone tried to get in," Savannah mumbles into my skin.
"F***ing hell." I tighten my grip on her, my mind spinning. Who the f***tried to get in? And how the f***did they get the door open? There's no damage as far as I can see, and the door was locked before I went to sleep. "Did you unlock the door, baby?" I ask Savannah.
"Son of a bitch."
"Do you need police dispatched, sir?" the alarm company representative asks.
"Yes, send them." I'm not taking any chances with Savannah's safety. I learned that lesson the hard way once. I won't make the same mistake again.
"Another representative is on the line with them now, sir. I need your name and passcode, please."
"My name is Jared Corbit. The passcode is You and I," I mumble into the phone, giving her the phrase Savannah chose when she moved into the apartment months ago. Even though I wasn't with her, she picked something that reminded her of me, the John Legend song I sang to her. "You need to inform San Francisco P.D. that I'm an FBI agent, and I do have my service weapon in the home." I quickly rattle off my badge number and inform the representative that we'll be waiting in the living room with my weapon secured.
She repeats the information to confirm and then we disconnect.
I drop the phone and carry Savannah to the bedroom before sitting her on the edge of the bed. "We need to get dressed, beautiful girl," I tell her when she refuses to let me go. I'm not sure if she hears me or not, but I have to pry her arms from around my neck. When I tilt her face up to mine, her eyes are wide and watery, full of terror. "Hey," I whisper, sinking to my knees in front of her. "It's okay, baby. I've got you."
"I was so scared," she whispers, her eyes locked on my face. She's still trembling, her body shaking with fear and adrenaline. "I couldn't sleep so I took our dishes to the kitchen. Someone rattled the door knob and then the door flew open. I thought… I thought someone was going to come in, so I hit the panic alarm."
"Did you see anyone?" I ask her, cupping her face in my hands and stroking her cheekbones.
She shakes her head. "I heard them though. I-I think someone said my name. I screamed for you and then they ran down the stairs." She burrows her face into my palm, exhaling shakily. "I was so scared," she says again.
I want to hit something.
"I know, baby, but I've got you." I rise from my knees and press my lips to her forehead instead, and then her eyes and nose, raining kisses all across her face. When I get to her lips, I brush mine across hers before whispering, "I'll never let anyone hurt you again, baby, I promise you that."
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25% of proceeds from All Cried Out will go to the Polaris Project, a national nonprofit working to combat human trafficking around the world, in honor of Cassie M. Combs. You can learn more at http://polarisproject.org
About A.K. Morgan
Ayden lives in the heart of Arkansas with her childhood sweetheart and husband of ten years, and their five furry minions. When not writing, she spends her time hiking, reading, volunteering, causing mischief, and building a Spork army. Ayden graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology in 2009 before going on to complete her graduate degree in CJ and Law. She currently puts her education to use in the social services and CJ field.
Ayden also writes Young and New Adult fiction under the penname A.K. Morgen.