ADDICTED TO LOVE
BUY THE BOOK
Wes Holiday sells his landscaping business and retreats
to a quaint mountain town to heal after ending a ten
year relationship with a woman he couldn’t bring
himself to marry. In three weeks he is so captivated by
a hair stylist that he deprives himself of food and
sleep to be near her. When the local sheriff is
murdered, Wes is recruited to keep the peace in the
town his parents built, but he knows nothing about law
enforcement and he’s struggling to understand how a
woman he just met can dominate his every waking
thought. Soon the idyllic town with a penchant for
romance is rocked by a bizarre series of murders that
defy explanation and it is up to Wes to stop a raging
epidemic of violence.
“Mmm. Your kisses are so
addictive,” Leah breathed.
Wes couldn’t get enough. The
taste of her soft lips easing over his, probing and
retreating in rhythm kept him leaned over her on the
couch despite the cramp in his triceps. His parents
would call her common. His brother would say he could
do better, but Wes’s whole body surged for her,
delighting in the touch of her lips, utterly satisfied
by the supple connection.
Her hand patted the couch, found the remote. The
He shifted to her neck. Breathed shampoo or conditioner
or mousse as his lips pinched tiny tracks toward her
earlobe. Strawberry. The scent sparked memories of
other nights, locked together kissing for hours like
kids who hadn’t been further. Every second with Leah
was that special. A frontier crossed. A moment that
commanded him to linger. He’d never imagined staying up
until morning holding someone close, but that’s what
they’d done three nights running. Leah dozed at work
with scissors in her hand. Wes slept half the day while
she was at the salon. He worried she’d crash her car.
Worried about the chemicals in the Red Bull she drank
to stay awake. But mostly he paced and waited for her
Jeep to roll up the drive.
What would Lynne think? Six weeks after they’d split he
ran off to Highland Falls and found unimaginable
passion with a stranger. In ten years with Lynne he’d
never felt anything so intense. She’d say he was
rebounding, trying to forget her, but he hadn’t come
looking for love. He wanted to get away. To find
himself. To break free. Instead he found another
anchor. One his heart would never let him untie.
His arm quivered under the strain and still he couldn’t
deny himself another kiss.
She kneaded the strong muscles of his back,
simultaneously worshiping his power and begging him not
to break contact, but he couldn’t support himself any
longer. He pushed up to his feet, scooped her legs, and
tilted her down on the couch, never letting their lips
part for more than an instant. They lay face to face,
bodies pressed together. He teased her hair until his
aching shoulder refused to hold his arm’s weight then
he eased it down on her back, his fingers still tangled
in her hair. They kissed with tender little touches,
their lips coming apart to absorb the feeling of being
completely consumed by the other. Breathing never felt
so good. Dreamy looks never communicated so much.
How had this happened?
Slow, soft kisses. Ecstasy. Not the drug, but it might
as well have been.
A haircut three weeks ago had turned into drinks and a
kiss. A sweet kiss, but nothing special. A few days
later they hiked around the lake and shared a goodbye
kiss that lingered for a breathless moment then
fizzled. On their next date they rented a movie, kissed
during the previews, and never looked at the screen
again until it was long over. Wes walked around all the
next day remembering how he felt when their lips met.
Since then kissing Leah had become an insatiable
craving that demanded to be fed.
Their bodies were so drawn to each other it seemed love
was more chemical than emotional. That might explain
why things with Lynne fell apart even though they
seemed so right for each other. Too bad it took six
years to discover what their bodies knew all along.
“Upstairs?” Leah whispered.
“Mmmm,” was all he could reply between kisses, his
answer vibrating on her lips. Neither of them could
break away even though their passion would reach a new
high in the bedroom.
Branches cracked and something fell hard in the leaves
Wes snapped his head toward the open window but
couldn’t see anything beyond the candle-lit living
room. Leah tugged him down and kissed his neck until he
turned back and gave her his lips.
More branches snapped. Another fall. This time a woman
moaned in pain and they both turned to the window.
Footsteps rustled the leaves. Wes crawled low over the
carpet and cupped his hands against the screen. Deep
blackness met his eyes, but he heard footsteps heading
away from the road and up the mountain. He grabbed his
boots from the foot of the couch and pulled them on,
laces flapping behind.
“You’re not going out there.”
“Someone needs help.”
“What if it’s a bear?”
It wasn’t a bear he was worried about. He could handle
any guy in town, any unarmed guy, but if the woman was
running upslope in the dark, she had good reason to be
afraid. His parents didn’t keep a gun, so he grabbed
the fire poker and rushed for the back door.
“Keep the doors locked and the lights off until I get
back,” Wes said.
“Should I call the sheriff?”
The stone wall he’d been building for the last week lay
in shadow at the edge of the lawn under a flicker of
moonlight. Beyond the wall, the pines blocked the light
so completely he had to stop to let his eyes adjust. A
heavy crash sounded a hundred yards up toward the ski
“Wait,” he yelled into the darkness. “I can help.”
He plunged over the wall into the dark, dodging
branches but still getting whipped sharply in spite of
his attempts to protect himself. A pine branch stung
his upper lip and raised a welt, making his eyes water
until he couldn’t see. Blindly inching forward with his
hands protecting his face, he had no hope of catching
“Hold on,” he yelled louder this time and listened.
Only a breath of wind stirred the pines. Rather than
turn back for help, the footfalls vanished deep in the
forest where the woman wouldn’t be found until
daylight. Wes went back inside for a light, not to
follow the trail, he knew that was useless, but he
wanted to know if it was a human or a maimed animal
crashing out there in the woods.
Leah sat perched on the edge of the couch, mashing a
throw pillow. She popped up and met him in the center
of the living room, throwing her arms around his
shoulders and pressing her head to his chest. When he
pulled away and started rummaging around the kitchen
for a flashlight, her face turned sullen, and she
trailed along behind with her finger looped in his
“It’s gone. Whatever it was,” he said before
disappearing into the backyard.
“So why are you going back out?” she called through the
“I need a better look.”
He didn’t answer.
Stripes of brilliant green grass shined under the
light, leading straight to the gap in the stone wall
he’d narrowed by ten feet that day. Scattered stones
promised to fit neatly into odd shaped crevices
revealed as the wall came together one stone at a time.
The fit of the rocks drew his eyes, a puzzle that
beckoned him even now. Beyond, the pine needles showed
no sign of tracks, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t
here. The interwoven carpet would only be ruffled if
the woman dragged her foot or changed direction.
Somehow he knew she had moved west, staying outside the
waist-high wall rather than climbing over.
The forest floor looked undisturbed until he came to a
flattened pile of small rocks he used to fit the larger
stones together. Mostly picked over, it was a hazard
even to him. This was where his visitor had stumbled
and fallen. No wonder. He’d fumbled around in the rocks
plenty in the daytime. Anyone following the wall
without a light was bound to trip.
Metal glinted as the light passed back and forth. He
couldn’t believe what he saw. Not in Highland Falls.
Beside the seven-inch chef’s knife, a softball-sized
rock captured a bloody handprint. Someone had lost a
lot of blood. Had the woman been in a knife fight? Did
that sort of thing happen up here? His only neighbors
were the sheriff and the Mahoneys, two of the most
prominent families in town.
Wes left the knife in the rock pile, vaulted the stone
wall, and sprinted to the house.
"C.J. West is a powerful
and original writer, and I look forward to reading him
for a long time."
Timothy Hallinan, author of the
Edgar nominated novel, The Queen of Patpong
Buy The Book
Addicted to Love is available as a trade paperback or
an e-book compatible with any e-reader. Personalized trade paperbacks
are now available for purchase via the BUY button at the bottom of this page..
ISBN 10: 0-9767788-5-8
ISBN 13: 978-0-9767788-5-1
Published: 22 West Books, October 2011
Barnes & Noble
Order your personalized trade paperback
signed and shipped by CJ.
$15.00 Plus Shipping
Be the first to know about new books and events!
to CJ's newsletter.
Suggested Reading Order
Dinner At Deadman's
The End of Marking Time
Randy Black Series
Sin & Vengeance
A Demon Awaits
Addicted to Love