Nate stands near the edge of the bathroom, facing the window, head down between his shoulders, hands firmly planted on the windowsill, fingers sprawled but crooked, as if heâs trying to crack his nails against the stone. A picture I could paint in a heartbeat.
âI know youâre there,â he says, his voice gravelly, painful. As though heâs wounded and ready to lash out.
I should run and hide. Take my pride and stride while I still own it. He could strip me bare of everything I am and throw me to the masses to be ridiculed. Heâs Falcon Eliteâs star athlete; a guy with a promise of a bright future. A person with so much baggage you donât dare touch them.
But I do.
My hand has already reached for him and grazed his shoulder.
He immediately turns around.
I take a few steps back.
âAre you stalking me now?â he growls, snorting. âPathetic.â
He breathes, walks, and talks like a monster. A man obsessed with one thing and one thing only. Me.
âIâm not. You started it,â I reply, still stepping back until Iâm backed into a corner of the toilets with no escape. Heâs already blocked the door with his huge frame. The only way out is by passing him. Shit.
He leans in and traps me between him and the wall. âWhy did you follow me?â
My heart beats in my throat and I swallow away the lump in my throat.
âI â¦ wanted to know.â
âWhat? How a guy like me can stoop to that level? Why I even try? If Iâll give up?â He looks into my eyes like heâs trying to search for the truth but I donât have it for him.
âTell me,â he says.
âWhy you said you thought my painting was beautiful.â It sputters out of my mouth before I realize it.
I donât mean to be so forthcoming, but when he looks at me like that with those penetrating eyes it just happens. And something about the way he clenches his jaw and then bites his lip undoes me.
âBecause itâs the truth,â he says with such a serious face that I find it hard not to believe him.
He snorts. âBut youâll obviously think thatâs a lie.â
âNo,â I respond.
His eyes narrow. He brings one hand to his face and rubs his jaw. âLiar.â
The silence is overpowering. Seconds feel like minutes as his breath slows, but I can feel every one of them prickling on my skin.
âIs this really all about the pictures?â I ask.
He cocks his head, and leans in even further until his breath is against the side of my cheek and my whole body is covered in goose bumps. âThatâs for me to know and for you to find out.â
A gasp escapes my mouth when his lips briefly brush past my ear.
âTell me â¦ are you scared of me?â he whispers.
I want to answer, but my throat feels numb and my head dizzy.
When our eyes connect, the tension is like lightning electrifying me from the inside out. This canât be happening, it canât be that â¦ I canât want this.
A devious, sexy smirk appears on his face. âThought so.â
Then he turns around and walks out, leaving me out of breath â¦ and with my heart lost to a boy I shouldnât ever crave.
Clarissa Wild is a New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of Dark Romance and Contemporary Romance novels. She is an avid reader and writer of swoony stories about dangerous men and feisty women. Her other loves include her hilarious husband, her two crazy but cute dogs, and her ninja cat that sometimes thinks he’s a dog too. In her free time she enjoys watching all sorts of movies, playing video games, reading tons of books, and cooking her favorite meals.
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