I’ve been in love with him forever.
But to him, I’ve always been off-limits. Until the night that changed everything.
Maybe it was the alcohol. Maybe it was the secrets we shared. Maybe he finally opened his eyes and saw me.
By the time the sun rose, I’d lost him again, my heart shattering on his parting words: “It was a mistake.” So I ran. Ran until I was thousands of miles away, in a country I didn’t know, surrounded by people who only made me miss him more.
I never expected him to follow me … or to pry more secrets from my soul. In exchange, he gave me more of his secrets too.
How was I to know it was the secrets we didn’t share, the words we didn’t dare utter, that would tear us apart?
I was going to throw up from the nerves.
No, I told myself. No throwing up. Not when you’re expecting Sam to come into your room any second.
But the feeling was so strong. I popped a mint from my bedside table in my mouth, rolled it around my tongue a few times, but the urge was still there.
Oh, shit. Was this a mistake? Was inviting Sam into my room a big fat problem? I was leaving for America tomorrow.
The printed itinerary, neatly stacked on my chest of drawers laughed at me. What was I going to do? I couldn’t let Sam come up here.
My hands fisted in my hair as I berated myself for telling him to come. What was I thinking? I wasn’t some sexual nymph, skilled in the way Sam surely was. I wasn’t a virgin, but I hadn’t actually messed around with a bunch of guys.
I didn’t know what to do.
I walked to the door, pressed my palm flat to it. I’d lock it. Then he couldn’t come in. He’d walk away, and we’d forget this ever happened.
Look how well that happened the last time you kissed him, my memory taunted me. Three years later, and you’re still wondering ‘what if.’
There was no reasonable escape from this situation. And, if there was, there was no escape that would make me not obsess over the ‘what if.’
It’d be okay, I told myself. Of course it would. Sex was nothing, right?
But I didn’t even believe my own thoughts. My nerves battled with my own desire. I couldn’t process a single thing.
I ran my fingers over my eyebrows or, what was left of them that wasn’t colored in, at least. I’d pulled so many out in the days leading up to the trip, needing some control over this impending trip.
I trailed my fingers to the sides of my face, tugging on my earlobes to ground me, and then, in tandem, I pulled out a hair with each hand. The immediate relief was nearly as intoxicating as the alcohol I’d consume in how it numbed my fears.
It would be okay.
I took in a cleansing breath, looking around my room for anything potentially embarrassing.
The blinds were open, so I closed them, leaving my room in soft, muted grays aside from the yellow lamp that lit up my dressing table.
My hand was on the back of the lamp to turn it off when my door creaked open.
Sam stood in the threshold, nearly taking up the entire space.
I switched the light off.
It was only a few loud heartbeats before he said, “Turn it back on.”
I couldn’t see him, but I heard the creak on the floor by the door. “Turn it on, Lotte.”
Swallowing hard, I did.
The room was illuminated again in soft light, casting shadows into the angles of Sam’s face—making him look exactly as he was: dangerous.
I am a wife to one and a mom to two humans and one cat. I have a deep and abiding love for nachos – especially the kind with the liquid cheese, like from Taco Bell (sorry). I run on less than four hours of sleep thanks to copious amounts of Diet Coke. (Note: this paragraph is not sponsored by anyone except my hungry stomach.)
As a Navy brat, I grew up all over the country, from California and up the east coast from Florida to New England and Colorado. I currently live in Idaho, where we have lots of potatoes and windmills.
I write character-driven contemporary romance novels, heavy on the emotional connection. I LOVE love. I love writing about broken characters who find their soul mates.
Signed copy of The Weight of Life & The Sounds of Secrets
(1 winner, US only)