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My eyebrows formed a dubious curve. “I don’t know what you mean?” I shook my head and turned my attention back to my own work. I ignored the smug smile he had. It felt too easy… this whole night did.
“It’s you.” His voice was smoke and flame and my stomach flipped.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.
“Would you like to see?” he asked.
I did, but I didn’t. Declan had a way of recreating reality. He’d show you who you were, he’d give you a glimpse into his mind, he’d paint you with veracity and passion and there would be no way to deny the truth. I was terrified to see how he saw me now.
He didn’t give me a chance to say no as he turned the sketch pad toward me. I was there but I wasn’t. It was shadows and mist and my body had been stirred by the air. My profile the only strong line. My head was tipped down, my arms slightly raised as if in prayer, my silhouette lost into the gloom behind me. It was sad, and striking… it was perfect. I kneeled down in front of him and took the sketch book from his grip with trembling fingers. I stared at the girl in the picture. It was sure and clear and abstract. It was steadfast and fleeting… it was exactly how I felt. My eyes found his and I was anchored. He lifted his charcoal-stained fingers to my face. I closed my eyes and let my body incline to his. His citrus scent was mixed with earth and rain. And, as he held my cheek, I licked my lips, ready to feel his mouth on mine, ready to feel awakened, ready for him, but his hand fell, and my eyes opened as he eased the drawing from my hand.
Paige Simon was the only girl Declan ever loved. The only one capable of silencing his voices, the only person to ever have faith in who he was, until the day her faith turned to doubt and destroyed everything they’d made together.
Declan O ’Connell was the only person Paige could be herself with. The only one she could rely on, until the day she was forced to make a choice that would condemn them both.
They’ve had years apart, and second chances don’t belong to the damned. But when you come face to face with your savior, it’s almost impossible to walk away. In order to move beyond the sins of their past, and forever silence the demons in his head, they’ll have to risk it all.
But with love, there are real reasons to be afraid and, sometimes… your salvation is your damnation
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