My words were innocent, but by the way her body stiffened and the alarm flashed in her eyes, I would have thought I asked her to have wild sex all over my house. “I’m not asking you to sleep with me, Addie.” I laughed and shook my head. “Come on, I know you think more of me than that. You can have the bed, and I can sleep on the couch. Or you’re more than welcome to take the bed in the guest bedroom and Drew can bunk with me.”
She glanced down at Maddie and whispered, “How about I put her down, then maybe I should get going. It’s getting late.” Lifting her eyes to meet mine, we sat there staring at one another. After releasing her bottom lip from between her teeth, Addie stood. “Want to show me to her room?”
I stood and my hand automatically went to the small of her back. The way her body released a tiny shiver under my touch had me thinking very heavy thoughts. Testing the water, I leaned in close to her ear. “It’s the second door on your left.” Her head fell a little to the right, as if she were granting me access to that secret spot on the back of her neck.
When I pulled back, I mumbled, “Then turn right and let me remind you where you belong.”
Addie did a quick over the shoulder glance and smiled. Confirmation she didn’t hear a word I said before I turned and went to get Drew. I’d have the two siblings share the guest bedroom and hopefully continue with a little more adult conversation. I wasn’t ready for Addie to call it a night yet. If I could have my way, we’d forgive, forget, and pick up where we left off.
Drew was way heavier asleep than he was awake, and I almost misjudged the turn through the doorway. Thankfully, I didn’t bonk the little man’s head, and Addie just missed the moment that would have ended my babysitting career. She pulled back the comforter on the bed, and I laid him down, careful not to wake him. He turned on his side, snuggling into the extra pillow and Addie tucked him in tight.
“Are they going to be okay in here by themselves?” she whispered.
I leaned close to her ear, wanting her to feel the warmth of my breath on her skin. “They should be fine, but I’ll keep the door open.” I placed my hand at the small of her back again. “After you.”
Walking down the hallway, she bypassed the living room and headed straight for the front door, but I caught her hand, stopping her and turning her toward me.
Feeling bold, I tucked a strand of her soft hair behind her ear and slowly moved closer, cautiously pulling her in for a hug. Addie’s arms lay limp at her sides, and I squeezed tighter.
“Do you love him?” I held my breath, praying she said no but I had to know. There was no way she could love him like we loved each other—like we promised. Addie’s hands came to rest in fists in the center of my chest. I knew she was fighting the riptide slowly drawing us together. “Tell me, Addie Mae . . . do you? Is he enough for you?” I sighed. “I don’t even hear the smile in your voice anymore, especially at the mention of him.”
“I’m engaged, RJ.” There wasn’t even a ghost of happiness in her words.
“That’s not what I asked you.”
Tilting her head back, I saw an ocean of emotions swirling in her beautiful blue eyes. Longing, sadness, love, even regret—every emotion one person could feel was shared between the two of us in a matter of seconds. With calculated movements, I carefully lowered my lips close to hers. Close enough to feel her breath on my skin.
Her soft sigh blew against my face. “Addie.” Should I even be doing this? Could I do this to her?
Stalling in thought, I came to the conclusion—yeah I could. She had been—no, she was mine. Time and distance be damned. That temporary distraction of a fiancé meant nothing—he meant nothing. I wouldn’t make a dishonest woman of her.
A slight shift in movement caused my cheek to brush against hers. “You never answered,” I repeated softly.
She tightened her fists, gripping onto my shirt, and her forehead fell to my chest. “I thought I did . . . love him.” She stumbled through her words. “So much is happening at once, I’m not sure what to feel or what the heck is going on.”
Completely understanding and feeling confused at the same time, I ghosted my fingers up her back, ending with them spread out through her hair. Tilting her head back a little so I could see her face, I asked her once again. “Do you love him? It’s a simple yes or no answer.” I searched her eyes for what I knew was waiting for me, but her lids lowered, shutting me out.
Her body quivered under my touch, and she pulled her lower lip between her teeth—a tic she knew drove me mad. A lone tear slid down the side of her face, and all my efforts to win her over made me feel like complete shit. It was never my intention to make her cry or cause her any kind of heartache. I needed to know if we still had any kind of connection—if any of her feelings remained.
Struggling against the wave of emotion, I gently kissed the side of her eye and whispered, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to push.” When I moved to lower my hands, her delicate fingers wrapped around my wrists and held me in place.
Timidly, she shook her head. “No . . . I’m not sure what the right answer is here.”
She looked up, and although they were sad, her eyes mirrored the hope that I held out in mine. There was definitely a force we were struggling against. The push and pull was real. Breathing required a little more effort as I closed the distance and barely brushed my lips against hers. Addie’s breath hitched, and her eyes slowly opened again.
“You feel it, don’t you?” I whispered, my lips just brushing against hers as I spoke.
She didn’t answer right away, but when she did, the single word, which was barely an exhale, sounded like a gunshot. “Yes.”
He won her heart but she stole his.
Addilyn Montgomery made a promise. Even though she never intended to break it, she can't allow RJ to give up his own future to follow hers. But after shouldering its weight for seven years, she begins to wonder how much longer she can stay upright.
RJ Watson never wanted anyone other than Addilyn. He thought he could trust her word, but his broken heart is proof that she's a liar. Yet, it doesn't matter how badly she broke his heart or how much time has passed, he still loves her.
When an unexpected tragedy hits and forces Addilyn and RJ together again, will they put their differences aside and accept forgiveness?
Or will they walk away from a promise that should have never been broken?
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At an adolescent age she took a strong liking to reading and even had a pipe dream of writing her own book. Life and growing up had put reading on the far end back burner, but years later her dream finally came true when she published her very first book.
A hopeless romantic, she has a love for romance novels which she credits her late mother passing on to her and now an even stronger love to write her own stories.
Aside from writing and reading, Nicole is a diehard country music fanatic and loves to travel.
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