EXCERPT: Evermore by Corinne Michaels
I was poised to become partner at my law firm even before I became secretly engaged to my boss.
After being humiliated by him on my wedding day, I can’t face working for him any longer. So I quit, waving my middle finger on my way out.
Now the only things I’m poised for are unemployment and loneliness.
When an opportunity with Cole Security arises, it seems like the perfect way to run, all the way to Virginia Beach. I wasn’t expecting my childhood sweetheart to be there. I definitely wasn’t prepared that when we saw each other again, Benjamin Pryce would be so grown-up. So gorgeous. So Navy SEAL-ish.
And still the same guy who broke my heart when I was fifteen–and could do it again.
They say if you’re fooled once, shame on them. The second time, it’s on you. The third time, it’s going to be me that runs… unless he can convince me to stay forevermore.
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“Didn’t the dipshit you were going to marry make you laugh?”
“Harold? No. Not even a little.”
His eyes harden a bit and then sadness fills them. “So you didn’t laugh, didn’t say you were happy, what else didn’t you do?”
The question stuns me. He looks at me, his eyes probing for answers that I’m not willing to give him. The truth is, we didn’t do anything. I was his dirty little secret. I lived under a cloud of lies and broken promises. He told me he loved me. He told me that all of it was necessary and I was so stupidly tied to that damn life list that I wouldn’t relinquish.
Tears fill my vision, blurring Ben, who continues to stare down at me. “Gretchen?”
“I did nothing. We didn’t date or laugh. There were no nights of him picking me up. In fact, I’ve never even been on a date. I didn’t have time for that in college and then Harold was the first guy I really dated.” I say the last word in air quotes. “Which is a far stretch because it was meeting in secret, pretending we felt nothing, and sneaking around. I was the shadow in the dark that needed to stay hidden. He never met my family. He never did anything to be a part of my life until I demanded we either get married or end things. Then, we were engaged, he promised me light and then I was stood up on the most important date of my life. So when you ask what I didn’t do...everything.”
The sadness that was in his gaze is gone, now it’s replaced with anger. “You don’t deserve to ever be in the dark. You should’ve been the one thing in the world he couldn’t wait to show off. He should’ve picked you up, planned a night you wouldn’t forget, worried whether he should kiss you or not.”
I hold my breath, waiting to wake up because no one has ever said anything like that to me. It’s always been that this was how it was. I should be grateful that he was taking a risk on his career for me. God, I was so stupid.
But Ben looks at me like I’m...special.
His eyes move to my lips, keeping his gaze there. Is he going to kiss me? My belly fills with butterflies as I now feel what he described before. Then he lifts his hand to graze my cheek.
He’s going to kiss me. He could right now and I don’t know that I’d stop him.
“Ben.” I say his name, unsure of what I want him to do.
The sound of my voice breaks the trance we were both under. He leans back with a quick shake of his head.
I feel the loss of his touch in my heart. I need a freaking therapist.
It was my wedding day a few days ago and now I’m thinking about and wanting another man to kiss me? I feel no sadness, no guilt. If anything, I feel like I want to crush my lips to his and have my way with him. There’s something wrong with me.
Meet The Author: Corinne Michaels
Corinne Michaels is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author of The Salvation Series and Say You'll Stay. She's an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. Corinne is happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife. After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness.
Both her maternal and paternal grandmothers were librarians, which only intensified her love of reading. After years of writing short stories, she couldn't ignore the call to finish her debut novel, Beloved. Her alpha heroes are broken, beautiful, and will steal your heart.