S T E P H A N I E J O H N
A D U L T C O N T E M P O R A R Y R O M A N C E A U T H O R
ExcerptWhen I joined him, he was leaning against the sink staring at the wall, his features twisted in annoyance. “It’s important to me,” I encouraged, setting his empty bottle on the counter beside him. I pressed a hand to his shoulder. “I want to know all about you like you do me.” “Yeah,” he scoffed, shrugging me off, “except you won’t let me in either.” The ferocity of him tossing the plates into the sink with a crash panicked me. My ears began to ring with the sound of my heart thudding in my chest. Nate glanced sideways, his face set. “You’re keeping secrets, too.” I winced at the harsh truth of his words. What right did I have, asking him to open up when I couldn't do it myself? “Kara.” His fingertips drifted over my cheekbone. I jumped, taken aback by the veneration in his touch and the gentleness of his voice. “I don't want to argue, to spoil an idyllic couple of days.” I hated seeing him like this, so lost and bewildered, out of control. It went against so much of what I treasured about him. Yet it gave me comfort to know he wasn't just an ideal high on a pedestal, completely out of reach. Nate was human, and he was here, with me. I stepped closer and rubbed his arm. His eyes were mesmerising, the pupils almost fully dilated. My breath caught when I saw the depth of his feelings swimming in them as he stared back at me. The tiny tick of his jaw pulsed as he gritted his teeth. “I’m trying to do right by you. Trying my utmost to shelter you.” My body tensed. “From what?” Nate caressed my face, seeking and finding strength the way I did from him. His eyes were fretful and undecided. God, what had happened to make him behave so out of character? I wrapped my arms around him and pressed my cheek to his chest. His heart pounded frantically. His shower gel still lingered on me, and mine on his skin. The two scents, woody and almond merged together, giving me an inevitable sense of calm and assurance. “What happened in New York?”
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