How can you begin to live again when you’ve already been forced to…die?
Evangelina Ricci is trapped in a world that’s a never-ending nightmare, a constant ache in which consumes her every breath. Unable to bear the torture any longer, she does the one thing she can to take back control.
With her best friend Jace in tow, Evangelina attempts to escape her darkened past by leaving for college and diving head first into an aggressive schedule, determined with everything she is to make a name for herself. There’s only one problem—she can’t run away from the demons she struggles with. The demons that’ll forever be there, locked inside, battering her soul. Hiding behind a flawless façade, Evangelina faces her ghosts until her world is turned upside down, invaded by…him.
Blake Turner. Sweet, witty, flirtatious and drop-dead gorgeous, he finds Evangelina at every turn. Scared he’ll uncover the truth she keeps so well guarded, Evangelina tries her best to put on her act, deterring him like she has so many times before—only this guy’s different. He’s relentless. Utterly, absolutely and completely relentless. He sees her and he wants her and won’t stop until she’s his.
Will Evangelina succeed in pushing Blake away? Or will he break down her walls and be the person to make her realize life is worth living?
I drew my knees into my chest and began to sing. In hysterics, my fingernails gouged holes in the flesh on my shins. The words barely made it past my lips as salty tears invaded my mouth. Right here, I wanted to forget the person who did this to me, who made me this way.
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.
God help me. I couldn’t do this anymore. I just wanted to end it. That would be the only way to make it better. Free myself of the agony. Living this way just wasn’t worth it anymore. I might as well finish myself off all at once instead of shutting down one cell at a time.
I ripped the portals of torment from my ears and threw them down in disgust. “Please, God. Give me a sign. Something. Anything. What am I supposed to do?” I shivered, a weeping lump of flesh.The silence around me was deafening. The only sound was the sporadic hitch of air that came from your chest after a good bout of hysterics.Breathe in. Breathe out. Hitch.Breathe in. Breathe out. Hitch. Hitch.Frantically wiping up and down my face, I dragged myself off the lounge chair. Going to the perimeter of the roof, I peered down, wondering what it would feel like to free fall to the bottom. Take hold of my fate and say fuck it. Break these chains and finally be free.I pulled myself up and over the cold cement rail and settled my back against it. Holding on, I stared down at the tiny cars as I inched up on my tippy toes and leaned forward. Maybe I could fly like a blackbird. Dragging my bottom lip between my teeth, I creeped further, teetering on the edge. My stomach lurched, and I swallowed hard.Pussy.Another breath and I pushed back, unable to go through with it. That prick wasn’t worth ending my life over. He’d already taken too much of me; I couldn’t allow him that as well.You were only waiting for this moment to be free.EXCERPT 2:By the time we reached the hallway in my building, all awkwardness was gone and we were laughing and joking.“Thanks for the help. If I fail another test, I’m gonna kill myself.”He rolled his eyes. “Oh please, you’re such a drama queen.”“Am not!” I swatted at him playfully, but he skillfully dodged me.Out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed a ginormous, skeevy monster dash out from under a door. With its beady eyes and giant wings, it was raging at me, fists flying.“Ah! Oh my God!” I yelped. Before I could think better of it, I jumped up and wrapped my legs around Blake’s waist, nearly strangling him with my arms. “Kill it, kill it, kill it!”He secured me by my waist and spun around. In every attempt to keep my eyes on the ferocious beast, my head flew to the right and left as he swirled and whirled, trying to see past me to the ground.“Calm down, it’s only a water bug, sissy girl,” he said through his laughs.I didn’t care. “Come on! Get it!” I screamed.He twisted, maneuvering me on his hips, stomping his foot, trying to extinguish the hideous demon. I shrieked into his chest. My body was jolted and shaken, flying from side to side as Blake danced a jig, thrashing madly.As the pounding died down, awareness prickled up my body. I suddenly realized the severity of what I’d done. My face was buried in the soft hardness of his chest, feeling his heart beat against my cheek with each rise and fall. My nose taking in the scent that was just…Blake. My hands were buried in the hair at the back of his head, and my legs securely wrapped around his…Oh my God!I could feel his appreciation of me spearing me in my girl parts. The skirt I’d decided to wear did nothing to create a shield against his prodding tip. It tantalized me, teasing me, begging to be set free and touch me without any barriers. Of its own free will, my body opened up to him, welcoming him. Telling him to come inside and take a seat, stay for a cup of tea. The feeling was so strong, I was nervous I’d leave evidence of my own appreciation on his clothes through my thin undergarments.Feeling him nuzzle his nose on the top of my head, all movement ceased, other than his chest still heaving from exertion. At least, I thought it was still exertion.My voice was muffled in the peaks of his chest. “Is it dead?”“Yes, you’re safe.” He smoothed his hand down the length of my hair, keeping me tightly clasped with the other.I lifted my head, then immediately regretted it. Our faces were so close, I could see flecks of white mingled into his blue eyes. They flicked to my lips and he took a deep, long swallow, then his gaze moved back to my eyes, seeking approval. The tension in the air was massive, the pull to each other fierce. It would be so easy to give in to what we both knew we wanted, what we craved. My stubbornness was the only obstacle.Abruptly, I wiggled and unhinged my legs, signaling he should set me free, but his grip tightened, preventing me from hopping off. The corner of his mouth raised and he slid me down excruciatingly slow, my body pinned to the front of his, dragging down his length, feeling every—every—bit of his…length.Fuck.As I traveled down, his hands traveled up, feeling each curve of my body, and coming to rest on my shoulders. I swallowed hard and realized my hands were still rooted deep into his hair. That as much as I was trying to tell my body to relinquish him, it was grasping at straws, defying me.I uncurled my fingers, one at a time and dropped my hands to my sides, willing him to do the same. Realizing this would not be the time, a look of disappointment came over him. He dropped his arms but didn’t back away.“See. Drama queen.” His voice was gentle now.I smiled weakly. “Shut up.”“Shut me up.” Typically his eyes were wicked when he said things like that, but right now they were devoid of any humor. Longing and desire replaced his usual snarky confidence.Seeing another notch in my already strained resolve break away, he moved closer, closing the small gap that remained between us. “Shut me up, Angel.” He brushed the pad of his thumb over my lower lip. “I dare you.”My body was in flames. It took everything I had not to jump back into his arms and burrow into his pores. But I couldn’t do that to him; he was too important. I looked at him, trying to think of a witty response, but came up empty.In truth, that was all I really wanted to do anyway. Catch his bottom lip between my teeth and slide my tongue over his. Learn the curves of his mouth from the inside out.“It’s impossible to shut you up. I learned that already.” It was a struggle to get the words out when I could smell the mint on his breath. His proximity made the hairs on my entire body stand at attention, and they all seemed to be bending toward his electric current.“Try me.” He hooked his hands underneath my arms and slowly lifted me back up effortlessly so we were eye level again. “Wrap your legs around me.”I did as he said.My body was aching to please him. To feel him. To surround him and be consumed by him.He kept one arm securely fastened around my waist and buried the other in my hair before bringing his nose to the sensitive flesh beneath my ear. “God, you feel so good wrapped around me. You were meant to be where you are right now. Do you feel that?” He pressed his chest tightly against mine, and our hearts beat against each others in rhythmic thumps. Aching to get to one another and finally mesh into their other half.I licked my lips and nodded. I couldn’t deny it.His gorgeous blues followed the trail of my tongue. “You kill me when you do that.” He brought the pad of his thumb to the glistening trail, yearning in his eyes.“Sorry.”“Don’t ever be sorry to me. You have nothing to be sorry for. But I do suggest you refrain from any gestures involving this mouth.” He tugged at my bottom lip while staring at me with a fierce, carnal longing to claim me once and for all.He saw the desperate look in my eyes, the shattering of my resolve. The aching desire and need coiling and twisting like a wicked little tornado. “Tell me it’s okay, Angel. Tell me what you want me to do. That you want this as badly as I do.”“I can’t,” I panted out my words in forced gasps, my eyes watering under the pressure of trying to keep it contained.“Why not? Tell me why not. What’re you doing to us?”I cupped the side of his face. “You’re a beautiful soul, Blake. I don’t want to ruin that. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. You’re too good for me. I don’t want you to feel the anguish I go through every day. It isn’t right to drag you into that.” I blinked as the tears swelled over my bottom lids and trailed down my cheeks.“It’s too late. I’m already there, baby. Can’t you see that? I’m not scared, and I’m not running. I’m right there along with you, whether you want me to be or not. When you hurt, I hurt. You reside right here.” He took the hand still blanketing his cheek and placed it to the center of his chest, each pulse reaching out to touch me.“You’ve taken up permanent residency. Give it to me. Let me take it away from you. Protect you. Be with me and I swear, you won’t hurt anymore.”His words wrapped around my heart and clenched. Helping it beat in its weakened state. I wanted so badly to believe I could do this. To believe it would be okay. That I wouldn’t destroy him.“Just be sure when this happens, you’re ready because you’ll be mine from that moment forward. I don’t intend on letting you go—ever.” He slid one finger under my chin and lifted my tear-stained gaze to his. “Be with me, Angel. Be mine. Be my forever.”My insides shook violently. My whole body went numb, both unfeeling and feeling everything at the same time. All I had to do was say yes.Three little letters.One word.Yes.