Stone Stripped Bare: The World Tour and Giveaway
The Story of Us Trilogy by Sydney Jamesson
Special Limited Edition - TouchStone for play
We are absolutely thrilled to bring you Stone Stripped Bare: The World Tour for the special limited edition of Sydney Jamesson's TouchStone for play! TouchStone for play is a contemporary romance, hailed as a five star adult fairy-tale and the first book in the bestselling Story of Us Trilogy.
" ... look and listen and let me tell you the story of us." ~ Beth Parker
Two worlds collide ...
"The power you have over me, Beth ... you feel it don’t you, tell me you feel it?"
The air around us is spinning. "I feel it, Ayden." My heart beat is whooshing in my ears, yet there’s a gentle stillness between us that comes from accepting our fate. I want to frame this moment, to put it up on a wall behind a curtain so only I know it’s there; the moment when our two worlds actually collide.
"I'm going to find you, Princess..."
It’s 0100hrs and another wasted night. No sign of her, but he knows she’s out there, thinking about him, waiting for him. Every night he gets one step nearer to finding her. He stands eye to eye with her faded image, remembering her smell, her voice and that look in her eyes. It excites him, makes him hard and ready. His mouth opens slightly and his hands unwrap, pinning her to the noticeboard with human hand cuffs.
“I’m going to find you, princess ...
Like a sad Cinderella, I pull off my uncomfortable shoes and throw them across the room, hoping that ridding myself of them will make me feel better. It doesn’t. I need to cry it out, but I can’t. I’m still too raw. There’s a buzzing sound. I can see my mobile phone dancing across the breakfast table; it’s on vibrate. I stagger over to see who is calling: it’s Ayden, Mr. P. himself but this time he has no potential, he’s not perfect or powerful and most certainly not Prince Charming. He’s a fucking Player and he’s played me for a fool.
“I’m going to tie your hands to the bed frame. Give me your hands.” I respond to his persuasive fingers as they lift my hands above my head. Every inch feels like a mile, every second an hour: it’s a big ask. “I know this is difficult for you, but it’ll be worth it, Beth, trust me.” His words comfort me, as he ties my hands to the frame with the soft cord from the drawer. I focus on my breathing and wait.
“It’s time to let me love you, Beth.”
I nod with a powerful, sexual awakening as he begins the colonisation of my body …
"My body misses him ..."
My pulse is racing; the air in my lungs is escaping, making my shoulders dip. The memory of that night in Rome, the blindfold, hands tied, pinioned beneath Ayden defenseless, hits me like an overwhelming torrent of hot steam, suffocating me.
Wide eyed I sit, assessing sensations and self-diagnosing symptoms as my hands inch towards my groin. It’s arousal. Not the kind I get from sex or oral stimulation, or even from Ayden’s words, but the kind that is beginning to creep up on me when I least expect it. It resides in my brain as a memory and grips me by the throat, leaving me gasping for air, totally helpless. He’s not even here and I’m ready to submit, so staggering is my clawing need for sexual contact.
I miss him.
My body misses him.
"Is this the night when I die ..."
I stretch over to my bed and boot up. In the middle of all this horror, I’m desperate to see him. As soon as my desktop appears I see his video call. I click on accept and see his face. Instantly I start to cry, realising who the monster outside my door is trying to steal me away from. “Ayden ...”
He looks pale; his troubled expression only makes me cry harder.
“I can see you, baby. Don’t cry. I’m here. We’ll get through this. “Let’s show this fucker what you’re made …”
I touch the screen.
“You’re so amazing, Beth. You’re so brave. Hold on, help’s on the way.”
Seeing him so distraught makes my chest hurt. The pain in my back is nothing compared to that. “Don’t worry Ayden.” I push back against the pounding and see his eyes closing, his hands covering his face. He cannot endure my suffering. I feel the trickle of tears on my cheeks, not out of self-pity or pain but because of the irony of it all. I’ve been waiting for the bubble to burst for so long and tonight it’s doing just that in spectacular fashion. Is this the night when I die – or worse?
A Vegas wedding ...
I enter the chapel; it's a huge room decorated in white, with enormous sheets billowing from left to right across the vaulted ceiling. Attached to the sheets are lights that sparkle and shine like diamonds dotted in rolling clouds, streaked with colours cascading through stained glass. Tall, swaying palm trees and greenery add natural beauty to this romantic melange.
The walkway is arched in polished wood but cut out like giant letter A’s, around which are white roses and lilies. Along the aisle are white rose petals, sprinkled like breadcrumbs in an enchanted forest, leading me home; leading me into the arms of the man I love. And there he stands, smiling, motionless, hands behind his back, sexy as hell in his signature suit and blue and white striped tie.
“You look so beautiful. You take my breath away,” he whispers.
“You don’t look too shabby yourself," I reply, trying to disguise my nervousness with a smile.
He arches a brow. “Are you ready to do this?”
“I was born ready, Ayden.”
He laughs out loud, realising better than anyone just how untrue that statement is. I laugh too. In a move worthy of the great romancers, he traces the shape of my jaw with the forefinger of his right hand. I close my eyes and raise my chin to receive his touch like a purring cat, feeling more connected to him at this precise moment than at any other time in our love affair ...
Fight for life ...I sense an opportunity. With every ounce of strength I have, I throw myself off the desk and onto the floor. My head hits the carpet with a thud and I’m temporarily stunned. The grip he has on my wrists slackens as I fall and I wriggle free. I crawl backwards away from him but he’s incensed. Like a raging bull he tosses desks left and right to get to me. I fear for my life. Tears erupt from my eyes and spill over onto my cheeks like lemonade from a bottle; my body hurts, my face aches …
As if I’m no more than a rag doll, he picks me off the floor single handed. This time he has no desire to communicate with words, his actions speak for themselves; he’s driven by an insatiable urge to fuck me. Now!
“Please, don’t do this … I haven’t done anything to you … you don’t have to do this … please …” I am quietened by the force of his hand against my cheek. It lands with a crack and sends my head careering to the side. I have nothing left.
Nothing to fight with.
Like a toy with the stuffing removed I fold over the nearest desk, my face pressed into the veneer; his splayed hand is flat against my back and his free hand is tearing off my panties …
I am beyond rescuing …
As my world folds in on itself, all I am left with is a black hole of nothingness; an empty well into which I’m about to fall. Everything that was good is a faded memory. There’s only one word in my head and I sob and scream it for all I’m worth.
The door flies open. I can just lift my head high enough to see Ayden standing there. He’s perspiring and breathing heavily, nailed to the spot by this act of sexual cruelty.
For a split second our eyes meet. I see the love he has for me there; it’s like an ocean, wide and deep. There’s compassion for my suffering but, in a flash that softness is gone. In its place is a steely resolve to hurt someone, to hurt this crazy bastard who was seconds away from brutally raping me.
“Take your fucking hands off my wife,” he snarls in a voice I barely recognise ...
Survival ...With absolute concentration I engage my senses until the distorted sounds disperse and reform into the beeping of a machine and gentle snoring. Where am I? My head is resting heavily on a pillow and turning to the right feels like a major feat, requiring actual mental effort to do so. My body appears to be glowing with warmth; the balmy air in this hospital room is suffocating and the body heat radiating off Ayden’s hands around mine has me close to igniting. A centimeter at a time I release my fingers and raise my hand as you would a lead weight until it comes to rest on his left cheek. I linger on the bristles before weaving my fingers into his hair, gasping in horror when I see the extent to which his face has been battered and bruised. My chest hurts and tears form. I try to contain them as you might a pint pot overflowing with froth but … My beautiful boy... He stirs and I still my hand, following the line of his silhouette with my eyes. He’s wearing crumpled clothes and a white shirt that has been roughly rolled back to the elbows. His wedding ring is the only object to draw the light. It’s a reminder, if any were needed, that we are connected; that we have always been connected.
"Welcome to my world ..."My hands are pressed against the glass window, the view obscured by the steam exhaled from my lungs. “Tell me what you see.” While I try to verbalise my thoughts he is lowering my panties with both hands, falling to his knees. I feel the lacy material against my ankles. “Lift.” I step out of them, right foot first, wobbling on my black Louboutins. How bizarre I must look outstretched against this enormous window like a human kiss reaching for the moon. To steady myself I take hold of the window frame with my right hand and plant my heels down onto the wooden floor. I’m not going anywhere. I feel his breath on my neck a split second before he speaks. “Look closely. Can you see what I see?” he asks quietly. “The world is laid out at your feet. Every flickering light is an artificial star. This is the nearest you will ever get to my world. I brought you here to share it with you.” “The first of so many for you and I.” He sniffs at my hair and pushes his nose into the sensitive spot beneath my ear. “Welcome to my world, Beth.” I close my eyes and lean backwards into his rock-solid body. I feel his mouth curving into a satisfied smile. He has me where he wants me; craving his touch like a drug. It’s getting so I want - no, I need - my daily fix of Ayden Stone.
His grip tightens on my buttocks. “Come on Beth, show me what you can do with this delectable body of yours,” he says, baiting
me, his mouth switching between an involuntary pout and a roguish grin.
I slide both hands into his hair and pull his mouth onto mine. “You haven’t the faintest idea what I’m capable of,” I state plainly, claiming his mouth with my tongue. “Lie back while I fuck you!” I push him backward, taking hold of his hands and slamming them down either side of his ears with our fingers entwined; the handcuffs dangling from his left hand like cheap jewellery. I arch my back and reposition myself so our union becomes a slick assembly of moist flesh and matted hair.
“This is not the woman I married,” he states, goading me on.
“That’s because I am not the woman you married,” I remind him, beginning to rock steadily up and down, gripping him like a gentle fist.
RedemptionAs the plummeting darkness swallows up the rural landscape I’m sniffing back tears, pressing buttons in search of headlights and wipers to clear away noisy raindrops that are rattling against the glass like bullets. Every new volley is a reminder of the battle raging in my mind and the conflicting emotions I’m harbouring. The motorway stretches out before me, a road leading me nowhere punctuated by the soundtrack to our love affair. The story of us plays out one song at a time. I fast forward to transatlantic tunes that closed the miles between us. I search for less meaningful songs but there are none; each recollection of images leaves me with only one conclusion: You’re all I have. I turn off Stone Patrol and search for something less emotionally charged on the radio. Florence Welsh sings about Sweet Nothings and I mouth the words! She reaches the chorus. I’m hitting the accelerator. I’m gripping the wheel as if my life depends on it. The world on all sides is a blur. I turn up the volume, feeling every word as if they are my own. Like a proclamation to God Almighty they voice my utter desolation, and bring me closer to the ultimate sacrifice; to do the hardest thing I will ever have to do: to forfeit my life for the sake of another. To atone for my sins I prepare to give my soul and all that I am: everything …
The First Encounter: Ayden's POV
TouchStone for play Bonus Chapter Excerpts
My phone lands on the seat beside me. How the fuck did I get roped into this? I launched the ‘Payback Programme’ years ago and here I am standing in for my right hand man. This won’t be happening again. I’ll turn up, turn on the charm and get the hell out of there. Job done.
Note to self: Get someone to explain to Jake Harrison how to organise his calendar.
It’s 8.10 a.m. When I raise my eyes, I catch sight of myself in the glass; my mouth curving up at one side in a self-satisfied smirk.
Looking sharp, Stone.
Bring out the welcoming committee ladies, Mr. Stone is about to make an entrance. I lean back into the leather seat, inhaling the calming fragrance of lavender on leather and check my emails.
“Stop! You know I want you to be happy, right? We’ve been through a lot together and when I say what I’m gonna say, you know it comes from a good place, right?” “For fuck’s sake! Just say it, Jake.” “Are you sure you’re right for each other? She’s a fucking school teacher and you’re a – for want of a better word – a player. What makes you think she’d be interested in you? Or you interested in her …” His words ring true. I pause to think … All I wanted to do was get the visit over with and flirt a little and here I am a fucking wreck. “If you’re serious about her being the one then you have to think it through. If you don’t she might run for the hills. And then what? If you think she might be the one ….” His words snap me out of my reverie. “She is. She’s … I can’t explain it! I like her smile – a lot.” He’s laughing. “Her smile! There has to be more to her than that!” “There is …”
About Sydney Jamesson: There are those moments in life when a person you respect says something to you that strikes a chord, we’ve all had them … that moment came one Parents’ Evening when I was 16. An inspirational teacher said; “Your daughter should consider a career in Journalism or as a writer, she has a vivid imagination and a flair for creative writing …” As a wide-eyed teenager, those words were music to my ears. How prophetic was it that I went on to do just that … For as long as I can remember, I have lived with The Story of Us in my head. The fact that Elizabeth Parker is an English teacher should come as no surprise; as novelists we write, initially, about what we know … Yet, I should confess, she isn’t me but rather that young, sensitive and naïve woman we all were or still are. The difference being, she has been victimized and, because of it, remained hidden. But, unlike some characters who may have suffered at the hands of others, she is not damaged: wary yes, but not damaged. She still believes people are innately good and that is one of her many qualities. It is her propensity for compassion that allows her to invite Ayden Stone into her world when, on the face of it, he’s exactly what she doesn’t need. So that’s me, furiously typing away until the early hours, unveiling the intricacies of a 21st century fairy-tale; creating an epic story that melds a heady mixture of romance, suspense and a touch of the miraculous.
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