Charlie Hunt is a slut.
Have you ever let one word define you? Allowed one single word to shape your reality? I have.
I’m not the girl you take home to meet your parents. I’m the opposite.
I’m a sure thing with no strings attached, but one college jock took it too far, and for once, I’m the person who needs saving.
Evan Dawson is lost.
I never imagined myself back here, in my childhood home, looking after my wayward brother, but here I am.
This isn’t the life I planned for, but as soon as I set eyes on her, everything made perfect sense.
The reason I’m here, the purpose of my existence is to be with this girl and make her see her worth.
For Charlie and Evan the journey has never been easy, but can two complete opposites become one whole? Or will Charlie’s reputation tear them apart?
He’s gaining ground. I can hear his heels pounding against the rocky pathway, but I don’t stop. Not until he says it, the thing I’ve been afraid of for all these years.
Stop running away from life, Charlie.
Those words, those simple words, mean so much. It’swhat I feared, what I suspect I’ve been doing all along. The walls I built, the sarcastic responses, a defense mechanism to stop myself from getting hurt. Again. My whole life centered on the one thing I so desperately tried to avoid.
I hear him take three more steps. He’s close, so close I can feel his presence without seeing him. And then he grabs my arm and turns me to look at him.
“Stop running,” he breathes.
In the dark night he’s the only thing I can see.
“Let go of my arm,” I say weakly. I don’t want him to let go at all.
His breathing is fast and his eyes intense. They don’t look kind and gentle like the first time we met. They are dark and hooded and they make me feel naked as he takes me in.
The air between us is heavy, filled with tension I don’t recognize. I’ve never felt an emotion so strong until this moment. The only light is from the headlights of his car, and yet, I can see him so clearly.
“You like being chased?” he asks and I’m surprised by the question.
“What makes you say that?”
“The words from your mouth are saying leave me alone, but your body is saying chase me.”
I can’t believe him. His arrogance pisses me off and I wonder if I really am as obvious as he says. I’m glad he chased me. I wanted him to. What the hell does that say about me?
“You’re so sure of yourself, aren’t you? I don’t play games, Dawson.”
“That’s good, because neither do I.” He smiles, his teeth peeking out from his lips. He looks good when he smiles. It touches every single feature of his face. His cheeks dimple and his eyes turn bright. He has the most wonderful smile.
He takes another step forward and my breathing hitches. Why is he standing so close?
He wraps one arm around my middle and my body instantly tenses. His hand rests at the small of my back and he pulls me forward, my body meeting his.
It takes me a moment, but I allow myself to relax. His other arm wraps around me. I’ve never felt so safe.
“Evan,” I whisper without looking at his face.
“Shhh. Just let me hold you.”
I rest my head against his chest and breathe him in. He smells so good, so rich and fruity, and oh so yummy.
I feel him pull back, his arms still wrapped around my waist. He’s much taller than me and I have to tilt my head to look at him. He licks his lips once and then dips his head, closing in on me.
“What are you doing?” I whisper.
“I don’t know,” he says in the same breathy tone to match my own. “I don’t know, but it feels right.”
The look on my face must make him second-guess himself because he cocks his head to the side giving me a questioning look.
“Don’t do it.” My voice is so weak I don’t know why I bother speaking. “Don’t you dare kiss me,” I say, but my eyelids are already falling closed.
He swoops in, his voice a soft whisper. “Just one kiss and you’ll know exactly how I feel.”
I swallow. My mouth is dry. My nerves spiral out of control as he dips his head to meet mine. He’s going to do it.
Holy shit! He’s going to kiss me. Something inside me freezes. I’ve forgotten how this scene plays out, how to act when a guy swoops in for a kiss. I’ve done this many times before and yet this feels different—new.
And until this moment, I’d always believed a kiss was just a kiss.
Tara Hart writes romance stories for those searching for their happily ever after. Her upcoming releases include No Angel – a new adult novel and Lost & Bound – a stand-alone read that teeters on dark romance.
Tara was born and raised in Australia. She currently spends her time traveling around Asia finding inspiration for her next story.