The Guardian of My Soul, Book 1
Soul’s Desire Series
By Emily A. Lawrence
*Content Warning: intended for mature audiences 18+
Kristen Mancuso, daughter of a renowned fashion designer has everything her heart desires, and yet she’s still unhappy. After her father’s death, her mother’s over-protectiveness has prevented Kristen from choosing her own path in life, and she often feels as if she's a prisoner in her own home. Kristen thought her twenty-first birthday would magically bring her the freedom she craved. She was wrong.
When her mother hires Alec Warner to be her personal bodyguard, Kristen rebels against it, unaware of the true reasons why he’s needed and the very real danger threatening her safety. Having someone shadow her every move is the last thing she wants. Alec is handsome, intimidating and determined to stand between Kristen and anyone who would harm her.
Kristen doesn’t know what to do with Alec. She’s drawn to him, and while he is committed to his job, he refuses to allow her to control him the way she does with other men. Their relationship is volatile and explosive, yet they discover they have more in common than they ever dreamed. Together they face demons from their past and secrets which could tear them apart.
Alec and Kristen fight their attraction for one another, but that’s one battle where losing may very well give them everything their souls desire…
I could hear the sound of the galloping horse way before I could see it. I knew it was Alec. No matter what I did or said to him, the man had a stubborn habit of tailing me. He was relentless. In spite of my turmoil, I couldn’t help but wonder if he was as relentless in other areas of his life as well. That focused, determined passion would be irresistible in bed. I quickly wiped my tears off my face, feeling both my cheeks were burning.
He stopped at a considerable distance when he found me and just stared at me, apparently deciding on how to proceed. Alec took his time, approaching me at a slow, cautious pace, as he would approach a small, frightened animal which would dash away at the least provocation.
“I really can’t get five minutes alone?” I grouched, looking at him through speculative eyes.
For a moment he appeared disconcerted and I felt a sad satisfaction.
“It is part of my job description,” he murmured quietly, stopping a few feet away.
I shook my head, tired of hearing the same old explanation over and over again. “Is kissing me a part of your job description too?” I demanded.
“You kissed me back,” he retorted in a calmly manner. Alec never gave anything away, none of what he was feeling. It infuriated me.
“It will never happen again. I don’t want you to touch me.” I managed.
“Oh, really? I could make you beg me to touch you,” he said simply. The smug grin he wore, displaying his perfect white teeth, was the epitome of defiance to me. In a matter of seconds he changed from calm and reasonable to imposing and defiant, faster than a chameleon could change the color of its skin. But instead of anger I could feel excitement sparking through my veins like wild fire.
I jumped to my feet and I halfway expected him to step back, but he stood his ground. “Why did you do it? What are you trying to achieve? Is this some kind of game to you?” I drew back my fist as if to strike out at him, but he caught it easily. His hands wrapped around my wrists, holding me securely. “Let go!” I cried.
“Be still,” he commanded. His voice was dark velvet, raspy with magic and sex. I stared into his eyes. I didn’t understand the sensations rioting through me. It was frightening. Alec’s jaw clenched. He made a noise—a growl—and suddenly his mouth crushed down on mine and plundered, taking me completely off guard. The kiss warmed me, his tongue tasting until I was panting, furious at myself for wanting more. I writhed against him trying to escape, but he was too strong and demanding. My struggles resulted in my breasts scrubbing across his hard chest, making my nipples feel swollen and heavy, betraying me. I stilled and he finally allowed me to breathe, but I was trapped in his arms.
Alec was breathing harshly, his eyes clashed with mine, then moved down to kiss my swollen lips one more time. I couldn’t handle it, so I jerked my face away. “I want more,” he groaned, releasing my right wrist. With gentle but firm movements he twisted my hair around his hand until I had no choice but to look at him. There was a heat in his eyes which belied the mildness and candor of his countenance. He had no right to appear so in control when my flesh was tight and achy and I needed...
Damn him! Mr. Confusing has done it again.
“Say you never want it to happen again,” he whispered a few inches away from my face, his eyes daring me.
“I...I never want it to happen again,” I replied in a peremptory whisper, ignoring the pulse of need pounding between my thighs.
“Liar...” He freed me from his grip and returned to his horse. He mounted him and then waited expectantly for me to follow him.
I was not sure why I did it, but I fulfilled his silent wish and got up on my horse, joining him. My mind, my emotions and my heart were in total disarray.
The horses quickened their pace, broke into a trot and then went into a canter side by side.
There were so many unanswered questions swirling inside my brain, but I was afraid to address them to him, afraid of what he might tell me, of what I might discover.
Images of our passionate embrace danced in front of my eyes. I shook my head, but the feeling wouldn’t go away. No matter how much I fought not to allow him to tempt me, I found it impossible to resist him. The more I tried, the more intense the longing grew, startling me. Fear twisted in my gut as I realized I was slowly but surely losing control over my own will. I forbade myself to scream in frustration or show any sign of weakness.
We reached the stables and let John take care of the horses before we started for the house.
“Kristen...” Alec addressed me by my name for the first time, a question and an apology in his tone.
A fine tremor rocked me and a tingle sprang to life in my breasts, stopping me in my tracks. I had never dreamed the sound of one man’s voice speaking my name could invoke such longing within me.
His hand gently locked around my arm and spun me around to face him. “Look...I’m sorry if I upset you today. I really am. I couldn’t—”
“Don’t. Alec...please don’t tease me. What happened today was wrong. I never should have kissed you. We don’t know each other...at all. You don’t even respect me or what I say to you. I don’t know what Mother would say. A bodyguard daring to kiss her daughter...” I blinked, trying to picture her reaction.
“I’m not afraid of her or anybody else,” he said dryly.
“Perhaps you should be.”
“I’m not. I’m my own man. But it looks like you’re afraid of her. You wouldn’t even breathe if she told you not to.”
“That’s not true.” I frowned.
“Then why do you care so much about what she may have to say in regard to us?”
“There is no ‘us’, Alec! Whatever this is, it never happened. For your sake and mine, just drop it before it ends badly.”
“Badly...as in you falling in love with the son of a mere bodyguard?”
I trembled. “I’ll never fall in love. Not with you, nor with any other man. So forget it!”
“Never say never, sweetheart.” He took one last long look at me before strolling away. I felt like I’d been run over by a steamroller.
What inspired you to write “The Guardian Of My Soul”?
“The Guardian Of My Soul” is the first book in the Soul’s Desire Series, and tells the story of Kristen, daughter of a renowned fashion designer, and her bodyguard, Alec—two people who struggle with one another, as well as with their own fears and insecurities. Their relationship is volatile and explosive, yet as they are forced to cohabitate, they discover they have more in common than they ever dreamed. Together they face demons from their past and secrets which could tear them apart.
So when I started writing this book I had in mind the idea of an impossible love and how the characters could overcome their conditions and any obstacle that may arise and endanger their happiness.
I began with two questions:
My question for the heroine’s character was: what happens when she finds herself attracted to the very person whom she considers to be the symbol of her lost freedom?
My question for the hero’s was: what happens when demons from his past threaten to disturb his new found happiness?
Starting from these two premises I began building their story.
Which character in your book would you say you are most like? If any.
None, actually. The character that slightly resembles me is Ellie Benton, the heroine in “Unforgettable Hearts,” my second book in the Soul’s Desire Series which will be released on the 31st of March. I put a little bit of myself in her and her story.
What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve been writing stories for my own pleasure for many years but in 2012 I stumbled upon Fifty Shades of Grey. I had no idea what the story was about. I only knew it was a Twilight fan fiction initially. So, as a Twilight fan with a few of my own Twilight fan fiction stories under my belt, I was intrigued and curious about it. I just had to read it. Once I finished it, I decided to try my luck with a Fifty Shades fan fiction and posted it on the same site where E L James had initially posted Fifty. It was the way people responded to it and E L James’ success going from fan fiction to the real deal that gave me the courage to try and do the same thing. I just needed that final push. Now that story is being published under the title “Unforgettable Hearts” and I’m excited to share it with the world.
What are you the most excited for readers to experience/learn from your newest book?
A love story that will hopefully stick with you once you finish reading it.
Were you scared when you first published? Did you feel exposed or vulnerable?
I was a bit scared because I didn’t know how people were going to receive my books, but I never felt exposed nor vulnerable. I’m just lucky to be working with the most amazing people from whom I’ve learned a lot and whom have helped me throughout the entire process.
Do you have ideas for dream cast members for your book?
Oh, yes...I had Jennifer Lawrence in mind for Kristen in “The Guardian Of My Soul” and Alexis Bledel for Ellie in “Unforgettable Hearts.”
What do you do on your down time? What do you do to relax?
I watch documentaries, lots of them, or look for a comedy to help me unwind. I also enjoy going for long walks and try to do so every day. Simply being out in the nature is one of my favorite things in the world.
What do you love most about being a writer/author?
I love writing because I can escape into the worlds I create and lose myself in my characters and stories. When I write I’m in a totally different place and I get to control what happens. To me it is a wonderful way to escape everyday life and leave my worries behind.
What do you hate most about being a writer/author?
I don’t think there’s anything to hate. This is more than a hobby to me, it’s like a lifestyle. The only thing I hate is not having as much time to write as I wish I had.
What writers/authors have inspired you?
Stephenie Meyer and E L James. I rediscovered the pleasure of reading thanks to Twilight and the story of E L James’ success has encouraged me to write.
When you get stuck in a story, how do you get through it?
I put it aside for a while and just think of a way to continue it. I usually detach myself from it and occupy my time with something else. Ideas come to me when I least expect them and anything can inspire me. It can be songs, movies, a line in a book, a chat with a friend, a walk in the park with my dog.
Do you listen to music when you write?
No, I need complete silence in order to be able to write. Music would be too distracting for me.
Can you write anywhere? Or do you need a specific place to write?
I can write anywhere as long as it’s quiet and no one disturbs me.
Do you have advice for aspiring authors?
Writing ain’t easy. It requires a lot of time in front of your computer, lots of research and then promotion, which is even harder than writing the book. But if you have it in you and it makes you happy, you should give it a try. You can never know who the next E L James will be.
What was the worst advice you were given in the beginning of your writing career?
I don’t remember being given a bad advice. Like I said before, I was extremely lucky to meet the right people at the right time. Being new in the business, their guidance and knowledge was exactly what I needed.
What was the best advice you were given in the beginning of your writing career?
Tell my story. Any starting writer tends to start out with other writers’ voices, writers who have inspired them. Don't try and tell the stories that other people can tell.
Emily A. Lawrence lives in Transylvania with her family, hence her love for vampires and paranormal books. She is extremely passionate about fiction and has been writing stories, mostly fan fiction, for years now, but only began thinking seriously about publishing approximately a year ago. Having her family's support, and encouraged by friends and fellow authors, she pursued her dream of becoming a published author.
Emily loves creating new characters with whom readers can identify themselves, and losing herself in their worlds. Usually, she writes contemporary romance in three heat levels: sweet, sensual and erotic. However, she would like to try her hand at other genres one day, such as paranormal or mystery. When she's not writing, she enjoys traveling and experiencing new cultures, new scenery, food and meeting new people, or simply reading a good book.