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Authors: Kendall Ryan

When I Surrender

BOOK: When I Surrender
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When I Break, Book 2



Copyright © 2014 Kendall Ryan



Sara Biren

Stubby Pencil Editing


Cover Design:

Helen Williams


Photography Copyright:



All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission of the author, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes only.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

About the Book


Undaunted by Knox’s complicated history with sexual
addiction, McKenna pushes forward in her relationship with this deliciously flawed man. She experiences the highest highs as they discover each other and the lowest lows worrying that his past may not be entirely behind him.

But when
a complication from her own past demands attention, she is forced to decide where their relationship is headed and everything she thought she knew is questioned.

When I Surrender
is book 2 in the
When I Break



Contains explicit content, recommended for readers 17+.


Chapter One



The girl, whose name I couldn’t recall, writhed beneath me on the bed, ready and waiting. My pulse spiked as I watched her tempting curves move in the moonlight.

“Go down on me.” She
squirmed, wiggling her hips as if to entice me south.

“I’m not eating your pussy. You’re a stripper
, baby, I don’t know where that thing’s been.” It was probably an asshole thing to say, but that shit was the truth.

She let out a short laugh, but didn’t disagree.

“Roll over. I want you from behind.” That way I wouldn’t have to look into eyes that weren’t McKenna’s when I sank inside her. The darkness inside me had lain dormant for too long. Because of
. It was probably a good thing she figured out I was all wrong for her before I did something bad.

I reached for a condom
, knowing that the dual sensations of relief and regret would soon be flooding my system. It was familiar to me, and a feeling I welcomed. Even as I rolled the condom on, I knew this dull ache inside wouldn’t be satisfied by the girl in front of me. But this was who I was and I wasn’t fighting it anymore. McKenna might have helped me see the light, but she wasn’t here now. Just this warm, willing girl who wanted me. Sinking into her slick heat was the only thing I needed to numb my pain. Not to be psychoanalyzed by a girl who would probably never trust me anyhow. I’d lost McKenna anyway, so why was I even thinking about that? The truth was, she was still the only woman I thought about day and night, even when I was about to satisfy my needs with some random hookup.

pattern was impossible to ignore – I’d lost every woman I cared for, beginning with my mother several years ago. That had been the start of my descent into becoming the man I was now. Thoughts of my mother did nothing to relax me. In fact, I felt on edge and wound tighter than ever.

“What’s wrong? What are you waiting for?”
The girl shifted to her side and gazed up at me, obviously looking for the same release as me. Blinking several times, I fought to understand what I was seeing – her dark hair and eyes made her resemble my mother. 
What the fuck?
I scrambled away from her on my hands and knees.

With my heart hammering against my ribs
, I opened my eyes to blackness all around me. I blinked again, struggling to see.

I was in my bed, alone, sweat
glistening along my skin. It’d all been a dream.
Thank God.
My room was as dark and empty as my heart. I took a deep, shaky breath and scrubbed my hands over my face while adrenaline pulsed through my veins. I needed to calm the fuck down.

Knowing I wouldn’t get back to sleep anytime soon, I
climbed from bed and headed downstairs. I downed a glass of cool water and checked on the boys, who were all sleeping soundly, before returning to my own bed. I fell onto the mattress with a thud, my heartbeat still too fast to fully relax.

It’d been a week since I’d seen
McKenna – sobbing and hysterical over the thought that I’d slept with Amanda. It still tore me up remembering her like that. I’d done my best to calm her, to try and make her see reason – that I was messed up and it was only a matter of time before I really hurt her – but I hadn’t touched that girl. She’d fled the building without a backward glance. She either didn’t believe me, didn’t care, or both.

I stared up at the ceiling as the
minutes ticked past. My mother’s death left a cool, empty place inside of me, and McKenna running away only intensified that.

I hated this sick need that follow
ed me into the night. The desperate wanting that tightened my balls against my stomach. I knew only one way to make it go away. I needed to forget, to bury myself deep in distraction and pleasure. I forced my eyes closed and tried to breathe through the craving. Sweat broke out over my skin and my heart sped.
. I hated this side of myself. Trying to quiet my swirling mind, I thought of McKenna, of her quiet confidence and wholesome beauty. Bad idea. My dick started to rise to attention, liking the new direction of my thoughts. I considered grabbing the bottle of Jack that sat untouched in my nightstand drawer and downing a healthy measure to force my brain into oblivion. Switching tactics, I focused instead on my brothers. I would do anything to protect them from the man I’d become. I had to fight these feelings inside myself.

The fact that I was even questioning all this, trying to calm my raging nerves without sex or alcohol
, meant one thing. McKenna had gotten under my skin. And hell if a part of me didn’t like it. She was a fascination, someone I wanted to understand. And I felt that way around very few people. I had the boys, and I rarely made time for others. Even friends I’d once been close with no longer counted on my list of priorities. Besides, most were busy being twenty-two years old while I was busy playing dad and sinking deeper and deeper into a hole.

Pulling in a deep breath, I began to relax. I pictured Tucker’s uneven grin when he’d sunk that basket straight through the net earlier. I thought about my mother’s upcoming birthday and made a mental note to buy flowers and take the boys to her grave. I thought about all the little things I needed to get done this week. Luke’s
upcoming college placement tests that we needed to register and pay for, Tucker’s family tree that we needed to create for his history lesson, and Jaxon… I had no clue what was going on with my eighteen-year-old brother, only that he seemed to be becoming more and more like me. Which made my stomach cramp with fear. I wouldn’t wish this life on anyone.

Rolling over and shoving my pillow into place, I released a heavy sigh and closed my eyes, praying for sleep to take me.


Chapter Tw


I hadn’t planned to go on this retreat with Belinda, but given the current state of my life, running away for the weekend sounded like the exact thing I needed. The retreat was for addiction counselors in the Chicago area. There would be panels and lectures over the course of two days.
We’d learn about advanced treatment techniques and also take much needed time to rejuvenate with yoga classes and meditation. It sounded a little silly to me and I hadn’t wanted to go. I’d planned on staying home and throwing myself into my punishing routine of working and volunteering, but Belinda was my mentor and, well, basically I hated letting people down. So here I was, in the passenger seat of her minivan, watching the miles tick past while unease churned inside of me.

I regretted the way I’d broken down
, sobbing, and fled from the group I was supposed to be leading last Saturday. I regretted how close I’d grown to Knox in such a short time, and that he’d been able to break me so easily. Ever since Knox Bauer had first walked into my sex addicts meeting, my life had been in one giant freefall. Despite his baggage, falling for him had been the easy part. Some of my best moments were the quiet ones shared alone with him. The times he’d made himself vulnerable and opened up to me had felt like something. Something real and important. And hanging out with him and his three younger brothers was a nice distraction from the guilt and pain of my everyday life.

But I’d been forced to see the harsh reality of the situation. Knox was a sex addict. Even i
f he was telling the truth and he hadn’t slept with the girl from our group, Amanda, like I’d thought, he still had an addiction. Which meant he was dangerous for me, not someone to give my heart to.

“What’s on your mind?” Belinda asked, peering over at me
before letting her eyes drift back to the road.

I should have known she’d be perceptive. She was a counselor, trained in reading people and situations
, just like me. And I had zero emotional energy left to try and act bubbly and personable, so there was no sense faking it. I’d been sitting here sulking for almost an hour. “Just some guy troubles,” I admitted.

“Is this about your roommate Brian?” She had a good memory. In a moment of over-sharing I’d once admitted how I didn’t think my long time best friend Brian was on the same page with our friends-only status.

“No. But Brian has complicated things a little.”
Or a lot.
He and Knox had gotten into a fist fight because he didn’t think Knox was good enough for me. “It doesn’t matter now anyhow, I called things off with the new guy.” I had to. Even though I hadn’t known him long, Knox had the ability to turn me inside out and destroy me. And it wouldn’t be fair to his brothers for me to parade through their lives and then disappear. Not to mention it’d be unfair to shred the broken fragments of my heart in the process.

“Hmmm,” Belinda purred, squinting as she concentrated on the
highway. “Have you ever given thought to why Brian was so upset?”

“Of course.
He didn’t like that there was suddenly another man in my life.”

“And why do you think that was?”

I fixed my mouth into a polite smile. I could see what she was doing. My degree was in counseling, too. But the last thing I wanted to talk about was my lonely roommate Brian.

“Have you ever considered that Brian may be the better choice for you?”
she pushed on.

.” I gave her a mocking look. She needed to cut out the typical therapist questions. Everything about my body language screamed that I didn’t want to talk. And no, Brian wasn’t the better choice. I hated how everyone saw his rumpled blond hair and blue eyes and thought we’d look great together. He was cute – so what?

She chuckled. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to pry. I can just tell something’s
bothering you.”

Knox had already stol
en my heart, was I really willing to risk my job too by telling Belinda I’d been seeing a man who was supposed to be in treatment? I thought better of it and shook away the thoughts. “I’ll be fine. This weekend away came at just the right time.”

She nodded. “Let me know if I can help.”

Not unless she could go back in time and tell the old me not to get involved with a man so broken. But even as the thought filtered through my brain, I knew there’d be nothing she could have said that would have made me see reason. I’d been a goner right from the very beginning. His rugged beauty, masculine scent, those dark haunted eyes that spoke of his troubled past – all of it called to me. In his magnetic presence I felt fully alive. And I missed that feeling.

Those first two days were the hardest. I couldn’t convince Brian that I was okay, no matter how many times I said it. His worried stare followed me around our shared apartment. Somehow I suspected he knew my foul mood was about Knox, but I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of knowing that was true. I didn’t want to hear, ‘I told you so.’
So I would go into the bathroom and turn on the shower to cry. The scalding hot water would steam up the bathroom and fog over the mirror so I didn’t have to see myself lose it. I cried for myself, for Knox, for everything we’d both lost. I cried over my parents like I hadn’t in years. I guess feeling brutally alone and lonely would do that to you.

Despite the messed up circumstances surrounding how we met, Knox and I shared a deep connection. I wasn’t ready to give that up. But since my heart didn’t know what was best for me, my head had to make that decision. I needed to keep my distance. And being two hundred miles away for the weekend was a start.

I checked my phone again. There was a text from Brian telling me to have fun, but nothing else from Knox. After my blowup last weekend, he’d sent one text, ‘
We should talk
.’ That was it. I hadn’t responded, afraid I’d run right over there to him again and not be able to walk away this time. He was my addiction and this time away was my treatment.


Meditation was pointless. Every time I closed my eyes, it was Knox’s face that I saw. Every time the instructor told us to focus on something that made us happy, I thought about cuddling on the couch with Knox’s littlest brother, Tucker. But I trudged through the lectures and seminars, intent on wiping my memory of all those stolen moments. 

BOOK: When I Surrender
6.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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