Cover by: Marisa Shor of Cover Me, Darling
Release Date: February 29, 2016
Pre-order from Amazon for only 99 Pennies: http://amzn.to/1Poe8ud
The mansion had an abandoned feel to it. If it weren’t for the furniture, I’d have doubted anyone lived there. Our shoes echoed on the marble floors given the high ceilings. While I fought an urge to explore the place, I waited for Sebastian’s lead.
“We need to hurry. I want to have the pieces picked before the movers arrive in approximately fifteen minutes. Then we’ll see how much time we have before my uncle returns.” He pointed toward the huge winding staircase.
“Is he coming back today?” Suddenly I shivered.
“Probably. He never leaves this place unattended for too long.” Sebastian laughed. “My guess is he feared I’d actually take some of what’s mine.”
At the top of the stairs, we took a right and walked down a musty smelling corridor. “Where are we going?” I glanced around at the walls covered in paintings. The place felt like a museum.
“My rooms were down here. And the room…” He stopped in the middle of the hall, turned and held my upper arms. “I lost my temper a lot after my parents died. My uncle would goad me and I’d fall for it every time. Please. I need you to understand.” His brow furrowed. I’d never seen him look so vulnerable.
Slowly, I nodded. Of course he worried I’d think he was like my father. “Don’t worry. I get it.”
With my reassurance, he released me and we walked solemnly toward a door at the very end of the hall. Opening it, he turned on the light and stared a moment before stepping aside to give me access. “You’ll find what you need in here.” He head dropped until his chin nearly touched his chest.
As soon as I moved into the room, I paused. Everywhere I looked there was broken furniture, including countless broken mirrors. Why would he keep them? There was a desk, a vanity table and stool, several bedroom suites stacked about. There was an old table, a couple of benches, and many doors that seemed to have been ripped from their hinges. I only had two questions. “Did you do all of this?” Tears formed in my eyes while glanced about.
“Yes,” he whispered. “I was sober, of course. Not sure if it makes it better or worse.”
“Better.” I nodded and sniffled. Funny how I could understand his hurt and his pain so easily, but my father…I had yet to forgive. Ready to move on, I asked my next question. “What can I take?”
Sebastian’s hand swooped to encompass all the contents of the room. “Whatever you want. You earned it. You deserve it.” His shoulders relaxed some. “I think you’re the only person who can fix it.”
“Fix the furniture?” I made a face. “Please. Anyone can fix this.”
In two steps, he was in front of me, tilting my chin until our eyes locked. “No. Fix me.”
Before I could respond his lips were on mine, not simply kissing, but possessing me. When I opened my mouth to his tongue, I could almost taste his fear, and feel his pain. Then, at the end, there was something else, some spark. Hope. Sebastian pulled me impossibly close until he very nearly lifted me off my feet. I would’ve let him too. The emotions his kiss had awakened distracted me from everything else, until his phone began to chime insistently.
Slowly, he drew back. Then with his forehead pressed against mine, he peeked at his phone, still in his hand. “The movers.” Standing upright, he answered their call and spoke to them while I marveled over the kiss. “They’ll be here in just a minute. So what would you like?”
My eyes never left his face as I responded. “Everything.” I spoke with certainty and willed him to understand. It wasn’t just the furniture I desired.