I’m saying I love you, Cami. All of that was as real for me as it was for you. I’m asking if you’ll stick this out beside me. I’m willing to lose my badge and even be dishonorably discharged if that’s the case. I just don’t want to lose you.
My life has been like a battlefield, a war that could never be won unless I had her with me, and the day she died my battlefront stepped down and threw away their shields, allowing the gunshots to slip through the second her heart stopped beating. From that moment onwards I was left wounded, and for those seventeen years without her my wounds bled-wounds no stitch could ever repair.
The collar had restrained his winds but not killed them. They uncoiled from behind the shadows, ready to surround her, to lift her up, to carry her away with only Ariel’s silk-clad arms wrapped about her to keep her from falling.
Spirare, they whispered to her like an incantation. Breathe us in.
Bertie didn’t mean to, but she inhaled, and everything inside her was a spring morning, a rose opening its petals to the sun, the light coming through the wavering glass of an old, diamond-paned window.
Tendrils of wind reached for Bertie with a coaxing hand. Release him, and he will love you.
I kicked off my shoes and pulled his hand away from the wheel so I could straddle his lap and hold him. His grip on me was excruciatingly tight, but I didn't complain. We were on an insanely busy street, with endless cars rumbling past on one side and a crush of pedestrians on the other, but neither of us cared. He was shaking violently, as if he were sobbing uncontrollably, but he made no sound and shed no tears.
The sky cried for him, the rain coming down hard and angry, steaming off the ground.
While I stood on the front porch, watching him climb into his vehicle, I breathed in the humid air. I looked at the cloudless sky, and the blue vastness of it made me think about the endless opportunities that lay ahead for me. Life, I knew, was going to be different now… better. I was going to live for today and for the future. Dear past… thank you for the lessons. Dear future… I am ready.
Afterwards, as he held me and stroked my hair, my body was singing with pleasure, I couldn’t believe I had waited so long. I thought of how we had wasted a whole year we could have had together and I felt so sad I wanted to cry.
Nothing to say. I used to be a ghostwriter for a publisher.’
‘Eighty-page love stories. You have this guy, untrustworthy but good in bed, and this girl, radiant but innocent. In the end they fall madly in love and it’s incredibly boring. The story doesn’t say when they split up.’
‘Of course not,’ said Mathias
He looked like every glossy frat boy in every nerd movie ever made, like every popular town boy who’d ever looked right through her in high school, like every rotten rich kid who’d ever belonged where she hadn’t.
My mama warned me about guys like you.
He turned to her as if he’d heard her and took off his sunglasses, and she went down the steps to meet him, wiping her sweaty palms on her dust-smeared khaki shorts. “Hi, I’m Sophie Dempsey,” she said, flashing the Dempsey gotta-love-me grin as she held out her hot, grimy hand, and after a moment he took it.
His hand was clean and cool and dry, and her heart pounded harder as she looked into his remote, gray eyes.
“Hello, Sophie Dempsey,” her worst nightmare said. “Welcome to Temptation.