Title: Withering Hope by Layla Hagen
Genre: Contemporary Romance (Adult)
Release date: January 19th
Aimee’s wedding is supposed to turn out perfect. Her dress, her fiancé and the location—the idyllic holiday ranch in Brazil—are perfect.
But all Aimee’s plans come crashing down when the private jet that’s taking her from the U.S. to the ranch—where her fiancé awaits her—defects mid-flight and the pilot is forced to perform an emergency landing in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.
With no way to reach civilisation, being rescued is Aimee and Tristan’s—the pilot—only hope. A slim one that slowly withers away, desperation taking its place. Because death wanders in the jungle under many forms: starvation, diseases. Beasts.
As Aimee and Tristan fight to find ways to survive, they grow closer. Together they discover that facing old, inner agonies carved by painful pasts takes just as much courage, if not even more, than facing the rainforest.
Despite her devotion to her fiancé, Aimee can’t hide her feelings for Tristan—the man for whom she’s slowly becoming everything. You can hide many things in the rainforest. But not lies. Or love.
Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is forbidden.
“Just stay with for a little while, please. I need you so much, Aimee.” The sound of my name from his mouth awakens something in me that has me writhing in a blazing torture. It’s doing things to me it shouldn’t do.
“Shh, okay. I’ll stay. I know it helps having someone.”
“Not someone. You. You make the memories bearable, the present better. You have an unbelievably strong will to keep going, even if you don’t know where you’re heading, hoping you’ll find something worthy at the end of the road. You have an inherent ability to pick up the good on the way—those that give you strength, the happy things, like your poems—and you go on. You pass that strength onto others, even if it costs you sleep and peace.
“I used to hate waking up every morning. Now I look forward to every day, even though we’re stuck in this place. Because it means one more day with you.” He caresses my lips with his thumb. I open my mouth, but he shakes his head. “Don’t say anything, please.”
For a long moment, we are silent, our gazes locked. I breathe in his hot breaths, tension crackling in the short distance between our lips. Then he pulls me into a kiss. The touch of his lips on mine electrifies me, shimmer after shimmer coursing through my nerve endings. His tongue takes mine in a primal claim. Icy shivers splinter my skin, and at the same time, fire awakens deep within me. I’ve never been kissed like this. Ferociously, with absolute, desperate need. I try to temper the heated emotions building inside me. I try to remember it’s wrong. But that fleeting thought is drowned by the heat igniting his lips and hands, and I surrender. Tristan deepens the kiss until I’m out of breath. I become aware of his hard chest muscles, of every line and every ridge, as my hands roam wildly with a greed I don’t recognize. His hands graze my body, traveling from my back to my thighs, spreading the fire in my center; I’m convinced it will consume me. With a jolt, he pulls me even closer to him, so I’m all but straddling him. His fingers fumble with my hair, as his blessed mouth cradles mine, coaxing a whimper from me.