She was supposed to be my forever.
Instead, I became her worst enemy.
I fell for the one girl I could never have…
And it destroyed us both.
I did a bad, bad thing.
But she isn’t exactly innocent either.
When I’m faced with the ultimate choice – Let her die or save her – I grab her and run.
She calls me a monster. The devil himself.
No one will take her from me.
She’s mine to punish.
Mine to keep… forever.
Note: This STANDALONE novel contains disturbing content that may be offensive to some readers. No Cliffhanger. Book 4 in the Savage Men Series.
Excerpt . . .
Our eyes connect again, and I feel inclined to look away, but I don’t. Something about her perfect face forces me to engage. It doesn’t allow me to walk away.
So I stand and wait as she walks to me with soft steps, almost as if she’s tentatively waiting for me to approach her too. But I stay put. It’s not my place to decide when the time is right.
She swallows, and I do too. My body feels jittery as though I’m supposed to run or do some stupid push-ups against the tree even though I have a fucking crutch. Does it look dumb? It probably does, but I need it to be able to stand although I wish I could chuck it in the bushes right now and make it disappear.
Damn, just looking at her smile makes me feel like a goddamn teenager again. The last time I felt this way was when she stepped into my papa’s shop for the first time and bought that awful shirt.
God, that feels like ages ago.
“Hey,” she murmurs when she’s in front of me.
I clear my throat. “Hey.”
“Are you visiting someone, or are you spying on me just for fun?” she asks, winking.
There’s only one reason I’m here, and that’s her.
But I don’t want to sound like a stalker even though I definitely am.
“I’m just your friendly neighborhood bodyguard,” I jest.
A cute, lopsided grin spreads on her lips. “Do I need a bodyguard?”
I smirk. Touché.
I don’t know why, but I felt compelled to be here as her father’s service ended. Like she needed me to be here so she could close that chapter once and for all without fear of losing everyone in her life. Even if she hates me, at least she still has that.
But being next to her, side by side, while they put her dad’s body in the ground seemed a bit too close. I only wanted her to know I was there and that she wasn’t alone in her misery.
I tug on my collar. “I came to give you this,” I say, pulling my pendant off and holding it out to her.
She blinks a couple of times. “I can’t take that,” she says, shaking her head. “That’s your papa’s pendant, right?”
I’m surprised she remembers. “My papa gave this to me after my ma died. In our family, it’s customary to give this to someone you want to protect,” I say, pushing it into her hand and closing her fingers over it. “I want you to keep it. Please.”
She looks up at me with those same innocent eyes I once saw when she stood in front of me in my papa’s shop, and all I can think about is how badly I want to kiss her pain away.
But my lips don’t have that kind of power.
A tentative smile edges her face. “I … don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t have to say anything,” I reply, and we both look down at the ground, unable to look each other in the eyes. There’s so much I wanna say to her, but I don’t know where and if I should even start.
So I opt for the most important words of all. “I’m sorry.”
I can’t say it enough. No number of apologies will ever bring any of her family members back, but it’s a start.
Her chest rises and her nostrils flare as she takes in a breath as if she’s inhaling my words to the fullest. Then she nods a few times, licking her lips.
She doesn’t have to say anything. I should be the one to say all the words, but there aren’t enough in the dictionary to describe how sorry I am for putting her through all that anguish.
“I should’ve known my uncle was the culprit. I should’ve known you were speaking the truth. I should’ve—”
She puts a finger on my lips, and says, “Don’t. Just … don’t say anything please.”
I nod. Every word I utter fails to give her peace.
She has every right to be angry, and I won’t even attempt to take that emotion away from her. Nothing I do or say will erase what I’ve done.
So I grab her hand and press a soft kiss to the top before turning around and walking off with my umbrella held high while my head slumps. Not because of sadness or despair. It’s the guilt that weighs me down. The shame that drags me away from her.
If I cannot provide her comfort, I will give her someone to blame.
An enemy she can hate for the rest of her life.
At least then I may be of some use to her after all.
“Wait!” she suddenly yells. “When will I see you again?”
I don’t know the answer to that question.
The only thing I know is that I still have some things to take care of. Some people to punish for ruining both my family and hers. People my uncle associated himself with.
People whose names I have tattooed on my skin.
Still, I can’t help but smile at the sound of her voice ringing in my ears.
I will keep it in my heart as I walk off, knowing she’ll be all right.
Even if we never meet again.
Giveaway . . .
About the Author . . .
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