Eleven years ago, I saved her. I loved her. I still do. But they took me away from her and locked me up. For two years, all I could think about was her. She consumed me. Took up every room in my head and gave me something to focus on, knowing I would see her soon.
Nine years ago, I watched her as she walked down the aisle and into the arms of a man that wasn't me. My brother. I promised him that I'd leave town.
I did and never looked back.
Now, I'm staring at seven letters, each envelope stamped with one word in bold, red ink: URGENT.
I have no choice but to go back home. Seeing her will be the hardest thing I'll ever have to do. But in order to reconcile with my past, I have to face my present. Even if the thought of seeing her, knowing that she is out of my reach, kills me.
I have no idea what awaits me, but I can only hope that the demons of my past will finally be buried and put to rest.
I bolt upright and turn to face him. "How did you get up here?" He doesn't respond. Then I remember that he can't hear me. I touch his arm, making sure he can see my lips. Thank goodness the moon is full tonight. He tilts his head to the side to look at me. "How did you get up here?"
He points to the side of the building. I follow his finger and see the white ladder poking at the roof. Ah, I'd completely forgotten about it.
He turns his head and faces the sky. Holding my breath, I study his profile; his sharp nose and angular jaw. A faint scent of musk cologne drifts toward me, making the hair on the nape of my neck stand on end.
Dragging my gaze from his face, I look up at the infinite dark sky and I smile. Every part of me is centered on him. His movements. Every rise and fall of his chest doubles my heart beat until the only sound that fills my senses is my pulse pounding in my ears.
Seconds, minutes, probably hours go by. Centuries could pass. Seasons could come and go, but I wouldn’t notice, because this is the most spellbinding moment I’ve ever experienced in my seventeen years on this earth.
Something fleetingly touches the back of my hand, startling me.
There it is again. A soft touch along the side of my pinkie. My skin is on fire now. My heart is in my throat and my lungs are nowhere near working right. The touch is firm now. Deliberate. He hooks his pinkie around mine and tugs gently. Then he exhales hard, and I swear the roof moves beneath our bodies. Suddenly, the finger uncoils from mine, leaving me cold. I blink several times before twisting, turning my head to the side to look at him.
Did I imagine that touch?
I glance down and see that his hand is curled into a fist at his side. He sits up, then turns slightly to the side to face me. His face is framed in shadows so I can’t see it clearly. A shiver skitters down my back as he leans forward without warning until I feel his quick breath fan my lips, his eyes on my mouth the entire time. He takes a tendril of the hair fanned around my head and rubs it between his fingers, his eyes not leaving mine. I’m captivated by his eyes, his overwhelming presence. I should scold him for being too forward and getting into my space, but I can't. I'm mesmerized by the inhales and exhales passing through his parted lips.
He lets go of my hair and climbs to his feet with the agility and swiftness of a panther. Between one breath and the next, he’s gone, disappearing into the night as quietly as he came. Taking with him a tiny piece of my heart. As odd as it sounds, I feel a certain connection to this quiet boy.
I attempt to prop my upper body on my elbows so I can watch him as he walks back to his house, but they feel too jelly-like. I settle back on the roof, grinning and listening to the muffled crunch of his shoes on the grass until it fades.
Autumn Grey is the author of the Havoc series (Havoc, Obliterate, Mend). And just like her characters, she is quirky, sometimes funny and definitely flawed. She writes sexy contemporary romances full of drama, steamy kisses and happy ever afters.