Genre: Contemporary Romance
He’s my protector, my confidante. Then one night he became more. I want him, I need him, and, if I’m honest with myself, I love him. I just don’t know if he’ll ever see me as more than what we’ve always been: friends. I don’t want to lose him but it’s getting harder and harder to keep my feelings to myself. Should I risk it all or play it safe?CAGE
She’s my light, my saving grace. The night we came together I knew I could never live without her. I want her to be mine: my lover, my friend. Maybe, if I can get her to see past all the reasons why we shouldn’t be together, she’ll be my forever. It just might be time to turn it up and go for broke.
We walk into the kitchen just as the teakettle begins to whistle.
He nods once and walks to the stove, turning off the burner. He pushes down the lever for the toaster and prepares my cup of tea. I head over to the little alcove rather than the table and sit on the window seat. I’d love to curl up here with a book… or just look out the window.
The ocean is angry today, the waves white-capping and frothing with fury. I wonder what fueled its anger today. I know all about anger. Anger is what’s kept me going the past twelve years. Without it, I’d have given up. Well, in truth, I did give up for a little while…until I found that anger.
Then I was able to focus and do what needed to be done. Just get through life until I could find my parents’ killers. I haven’t forgotten and as much as my parents tell me I should let it go when I dream, I can’t. Someone took them from me, took their lives so senselessly, so brutally, so carelessly, and then walked away without a thought. I grind my teeth and watch as a bird lands on the sand, picking at a dead fish. Irony? Or, my parents with a message?
“Here we go,” Cage says and sets a tray next to me. He sits on the other side of the window seat, crossing his legs like me and I grin. He’s huge… get your mind out of the gutter. I mean overall, not his naughty bits, but in truth those’re nicely proportioned.
I nibble on a piece of toast, looking at him with his black-rimmed glasses on, reading the newspaper. God, he’s so incredibly sexy. The glasses…oh, I’d love to get him under me while he’s wearing those.
“What?” he asks when he catches me staring.
I take a sip of my tea. Lemony and sweet just the way I like it.
“How tall are you, exactly?”
He smirks. “Six-four.”
I nod. “And how much do you weigh?”
I raise my brows. “Nothing but muscle.”
He shrugs a shoulder.
“You have to know that’s incredibly hot,” I say without thinking.
When he grins, I feel the blush stain my cheeks.
“It doesn’t matter what I think or know,” he replies, leaning forward, running a fingertip on my flushed cheek.
“What matters then?” Generally, I only care what I think about myself, my body. I’m not really into the whole making myself look how society and men want you to look—not since I gave up full-time modeling.
“What matters,” he tells me, sipping his tea, “is what you think.”
“Hmm,” is all I can come up with. He stumped me there. What do you say to that? I take another bite of the toast, which isn’t sitting all that well.
He winks and goes back to reading his paper and I turn to watch a mother with two little boys playing down on the beach—well, it’s more like they’re running and she’s chasing them. They can’t be older than three or four, and oh goodness are they cute with their curly brown hair that’s a little too long, yet stylish, and their cute little board shorts. I wonder if they’re twins or if they were born one right after the other. They look very close in age.
Absently, I pick up my tea and take a sip, then cradle it in my hands, the heat of the ceramic cup reminding me not to get too comfortable, but I hold it steady. Most would set the too-hot cup down, but I need the reminder, apparently. What am I thinking, thinking I could have a life like that? I can’t. Not with la Famiglia. And yet, I’m going to be thrown right into that situation with the tiny life growing inside me. I pull my knees to my chest and rest my cheek on them, still holding my tea.
I sigh and take another sip, watching the mother and boys twirl in the sand. I wonder if it’ll be a boy or a girl. I should tell the father, but I’m not ready. I just found out, just got used to the idea, and I’m not very far along at all. It’s only been since just before the tour started so that’s seven, maybe eight weeks.
I’m kind of glad we get a break for the next couple months. It helps with my being so sick and it also helps with the level of danger that’s been escalating daily.
The mom leads the boys back to their blanket and they sit down to enjoy a snack. Crackers maybe. And I imagine juice. Definitely juice. I note she’s drinking Starbucks and I long for my Caramel Macchiato.
I sigh again.
“You’re doing an awful lot of sighing over there.”
I look at Cage from the corner of my eye and shrug a shoulder.
“You’ll have that one day, Fee,” Cage says, tilting his head toward the family.
I snort. “It’s impossible. There is no way I can take my child down to the beach and be that carefree. I wouldn’t dare. I have to always be on alert. Always. It’s the first rule Grandpa taught me and one I never forget.”
Cage frowns. “There are ways you can have that, Fee. Nothing is impossible. You forget, there are ways to protect those in la Famiglia.”
I look at him, eye to eye. “Lucy,” is all I say and he nods.
“That wasn’t supposed to happen.”
I nod. “It never is. But it does.”
He tilts his head to the side. “It does. More than it should. We should have anticipated it wasn’t just you they were after.”
I nod, tears welling in my eyes as I remember seeing my sister pale and lifeless in that hospital bed.
One lone tear falls, trailing down my cheek and dropping onto my thigh.
“What is it?” Cage asks.
“That should have been me,” I admit.
The way he says it, so powerfully and definitive has me starting a bit.
“It’s never going to be you. This won’t happen again.”
“If they want it to, it—”
“No, Sera. It won’t happen again. Safety measures and security are now where they should have been then.”
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First and foremost I am an avid reader of romance. I read every single day. Without reading I wouldn’t be inspired to write. The same can be said about music. I started reading with Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown’s LoveSwept titles forever ago and went from reading solely traditionally published to reading nearly all indie authors. I still read my Nora and a few others. A must.
I started seriously writing about six years ago when the need to get the stories that are stuck in my head on paper became overwhelming.
I hope you enjoy reading my stories as much as I enjoy writing them.
I’m a huge fan of music, chocolate, fruit, Fall, Matt Shadows, Avenged Sevenfold, and Milo Ventimiglia.
Anne Mercier is giving away a print copy of Falling Down, a print copy of Blush, and $10 Amazon GC. For your chance to win enter the rafflecopter below.