Life’s. Little. Surprises.
The last thing seven-year-old Carrigan “Ace” Casper foresaw was an eight-year-old Heath Lovelly walking into her life the day her mother died. From that moment on, Heath sticks by her side, slowly becoming her strength, her confidant, and her entire world. What she doesn’t know is, she’s his saving grace, too.
Ten years later, Ace is handed another crippling challenge that threatens everything in her almost perfect life. Only, this time, she doesn’t turn to Heath, hiding the truth instead. But Heath knows Ace too well and won’t back down easily. He’s ready to do whatever it takes and will stay by her side until she accepts that their love is the kinda love worth fighting for.
Will he be her forever triumph or her unexpected downfall?
And an unexpected journey to falling in love.
*** Follow this book’s Story board at: http://pinterest.com/pkanaparti/forev… ***
**Mature Content Warning** 17+ for language and sexual content.
GENRE: Mature YA Contemporary Romance.
Signed Paperback Directly from me –US ONLY: http://priyakanaparti.com/
I knock on Ace’s front door, but no one answers. So I search the third rose bush for the spare key and let myself in, gently closing the door behind me.
Ace lies slack on the couch, her hand hanging off the side, one knee tucked to her chest. I crouch beside her and push back the hair covering her face.
She looks so peaceful. Instead of attempting to wake her, I slide my hands under her and scoop her up, cradling her body against mine. Her arms automatically wrap around my neck, and her face snuggles into my chest. A small noise escapes her lips, like a sigh.
I set her down on her bed and roll the comforter over her. Over the past few weeks, things have been quite . . . eventful. It’s been dreadful, keeping my feelings for her bottled up. But I couldn’t say anything. Not after she found out about her mom, and then the freak accident. I can’t wait any longer, though.
The date auction is two days away, and I have a plan set in place. If it’s going to go off without a hitch, I’ll need all the pieces to align.
Ace’s warm fingers wrap around my wrists as I tuck her in. “Stay?” she asks softly.
I could never deny Ace, even when we were kids. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized I’d fallen for her all those years ago. What started as innocent feelings of friendship has grown into something much stronger. Much more intense. Something I can’t back away from, even if I wanted to.
I slide under the covers and wrap my arm around her midsection, spooning her. She wiggles back into me, closing any respectable distance between us.
I groan. The need to kiss her, to touch her is far more dangerous than the devil himself. But I can’t. I won’t break her trust that way. Pushing aside every damn thought of her soft skin pressed against me, I fall asleep.
“Don’t.” Ace’s voice startles me awake. “Heath, please don’t leave me.” Her face buries into my chest; her hands bunch my shirt in her fists.
“Never, baby,” I respond.
She doesn’t answer, mumbling incoherent words instead. Her eyes move vigorously behind her closed lids, like she’s dreaming. I watch as she breaks down into tears. Her hopeless sobs twist inside my gut. Helpless, I do the only thing I can do. I wrap my arms around her and whisper that everything will be okay, that I’ll never leave her, even if she demands me to. Her internal fight dies down a few minutes later, and her breathing settles back to normal.
I kiss her forehead one last time, waiting for her to fall back into blissful sleep before my own eyes flutter closed.
Warmth from the morning rays licks against my exposed arms. They say that sometimes, death comes easy. That, when you die, the next thing you remember is waking up in heaven, with no memory of pain, or the struggle right before your last breath. I never understood that until right now.
I’m in heaven.
Ace’s arms wind tightly around my torso and her legs tangle between mine. For a moment, I forget her nightmares from last night. She stirs, nuzzling her head into my chest. Her hand snakes up, over my shoulder, and around the back of my neck. It’s like she’s still trying to hold on, afraid of losing me.
I tighten my grip, assuring her of my promise to never leave her.
“Heath.” Her warm breath fans across my skin, and a trail of goosebumps rises in its wake. I tilt my chin down. My breath catches in my throat. This . . . I don’t even have words. Her cheeks have a hint of rosy pink, and her lips part slightly.
The urgent need to kiss her overwhelms me. Resisting the temptation, I press my mouth to her forehead and fist my hand against her back.
“Hmm . . .” Ace sighs.
“Good morning, beautiful.” My voice comes out rough, gravelly. I draw circles over her arm, wanting to keep the skin-to-skin connection. With my other hand, I push back her sexy-as-hell bed hair. “Wake up, baby.”
Her eyes flutter open, wide and dilated. She rubs the heels of her palms into them. Her pale gray eyes travel around me before settling back on my face. The mixture of confusion and intensity in her gaze is unnerving.
Like reality has finally caught up to her, she pushes herself to a sitting position, her eyes downcast. She runs her fingers through her hair as a light blush forms over her cheeks.
Cute. She’s self-conscious. But she has nothing to feel embarrassed about. She’s been through a lot. And no matter what, I want her to understand she’ll always have me. Maybe what she needs is a distraction. Something we used to love doing as kids–mostly her. “So, I was thinking we should go to the blueberry farm.”
Her head snaps to me. Her eyes seems hollow, like she hasn’t eaten or slept in days. I suck in a deep breath.
“You want to go to the blueberry farm?” she asks in a slow drawl, like I’m a foreigner.
I shrug. “Why not? Today is as good a day as any other. Besides, finals start next week and I say, we should celebrate.”
“You want to go to a farm?” she repeats.
I display a fake-as-shit grin. “Why the hell not?”
She eyes me. “Let’s get through finals first, then maybe.”
I roll off the bed and place my hands on my hips. “Nope.”
“No?” she asks, confusion crossing her words.
“Nope. We’re going. You owe it to me.”
She pauses, opens her mouth, then shuts it. “Fine, but let’s wait until the weekend. I want to keep my perfect attendance intact.” She slides off the bed, heading toward the bathroom. The sound of rushing water echoes a few seconds later, so I head out to make some breakfast for us.
About the Author:
Clara Stone lives in the beautiful city of Boise, ID. Unlike what most believe about Idaho, it’s more than a sack full of potatoes. When she’s not writing, you’ll catch Clara reading YA and NA books, mostly romance, and enjoying time with her family. She is a proud CW TV addict.
She also writes YA paranormal romance under the name Priya Kanaparti. She is published throughReuts Publications.
Get in Touch with Author Clara Stone!
pkanaparti2004 @ gmail . com
P.O Box 2652
Eagle, ID 83616
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