We are taking book requests on our companion website. You can request books here. Make sure, you are following the rules.

Skin of a Sinner: Chapter 10


Roman: 19 years old – Isabella: 17 years old.

Roman is probably kidnapping me right now. Even if it weren’t a maybe but a definitely, I probably wouldn’t put up as much of a fight as I should.

I have absolutely no idea where we’re going. It’s not like I can ask him since we’re on a motorbike. I don’t need to see the dash to know we haven’t been going anywhere near the legal speed limit for the past three hours. All I know is that my ass hurts, my hands are cold, and my back aches from gripping onto him for dear life.

We pass a series of back roads and forestry that give my stomach a run for its money, and I almost fall off once or twice.

If this is a kidnapping, I will fight him tooth and nail for the two things keeping me in place: graduation and Jeremy. Because maybe I’ll have an epiphany on what I want to do with my life once I walk onto the stage and have the certificate in my hands.

There’s not a single thing in the world that would make me leave Jeremy with those horrible people. If I could, I’d take him in and raise him myself, but what type of life would he have? Best-case scenario, I manage to convince state services to move Jeremy to a half-decent home.

I breathe a sigh of relief when we finally slow down, only to groan when he turns us down a dodgy driveway, passing through a busted gate coated in rust hidden behind excessive overgrowth. I can barely see the gravel beneath all the weeds and fallen leaves.

The ground crunches beneath the wheel, and I hold back a gag.

There are probably a bunch of animal carcasses hidden under there.


Maybe he isn’t kidnapping me, but skipping straight to murder. I probably wouldn’t be surprised if he decided to turn this into a suicide pact.

My only assurance that he will continue wreaking havoc for at least one more day is the fact that Mikhail and Maxim don’t have a single mark bestowed upon them by Roman in the name of my honor.

Or maybe it’s Mickey trying to avenge me.

Or maybe it’s his excuse to punch something. Not like he’d need to use me as an excuse. If he feels like it, he’ll just do it.

My grip around his waist grows tighter as the bike maneuvers around potholes and angry-looking bushes. I pray to God I don’t see a dead animal. That may just ruin my mood more than the twins did.

We finally come to a stop in front of a rickety old house that looks like it hasn’t seen life in years. He kills the engine and doesn’t waste any time dismounting, shucking off his helmet, and grinning at me like a kid who is proudly showing off his art project to a parent.

Hesitantly, I unclip the helmet and slide off the bike, landing on the ground with a thud. The muscles in my thighs protest, and I throw my hand back to keep balanced. Mickey has the audacity to look pleased about my suffering.


“Do you like it?” he asks in the same voice Jeremy uses when he pretends to seek your approval, but is really just fishing for compliments because he knows it’s good. Although, I don’t think that’s a word I would associate with the horror house in front of me.

Cobwebs hang across the deck like layers of chiffon, and darkness hides between the cracks of broken wooden beams, moldy and gray from neglect. Slats are nailed over windows, making the place look even more unwelcoming.

There’s no doubt in my mind that someone was murdered here. If I start digging around, I’m sure I’ll find some bodies that didn’t make it to the coroner’s office.

How the hell did Mickey find this place?

Better yet, what on earth are we doing here?

“I know what you’re thinking.” He sidles up next to me and throws his arm over my shoulder as if he were a top-shot real estate agent. “Wow, Mickey, this is amazing! I can’t believe how romantic and perfect you are.” Mimicking my voice, he places a hand over his heart. “Thank you for driving me three hours to the middle of nowhere and being so perfect.”

I glare at him and his stupidly smug face. It only seems to encourage him.

He cups my cheek and says, “Well, my sweet Bella, to that, I say you are most welcome. Anything for you.”

“Right. So are you going to kill me?” I half mutter out of unease, and half grumble out of impatience.

He pinches my cheek as I scowl at him, slapping his hand away. “Vicious princess.” Chuckling while entwining our fingers, he pulls me along behind him. “But no, not yet.”

“That doesn’t bring me any comfort.” I glower.

With a wink, he grabs a bag from inside his bike, and starts dragging me behind the house to an even freakier-looking shed. If he isn’t killing me, is he killing someone else?

God, what if he has hostages in there?

“Don’t worry, I’ll protect you,” Mickey croons, and I hit his chest lightly. The act seems playful from the outside, but my rapidly increasing heart rate is a whole other story.

“What are we doing here, Roman?” I tense, waiting for another non-answer.

He’s good at those.

“Don’t call me that.” His gaze darkens, and I almost regret saying anything. But I have a right to know what we’re doing at an abandoned house, walking toward a creepy shed when the sun is just about to set. He can get over being called something other than Mickey. “Be patient.”

Sensing my agitation, he pauses to face me. Just when I think he’s going to soothe my worries and give me the answers I so desperately want at this moment, he makes my anxieties worse. I’m not sure what I expect when he pulls something out of his pocket, but it wasn’t a black cloth that he proceeds to tie around my head to cover my eyes.

The world around me plunges into darkness, and my adrenaline kicks up a notch, making me hyper-aware of every thread of fabric touching my skin.

“Leave it,” he warns as my hands move toward my face.

“What the hell, Mickey! I can’t see anything.” He’s meant to be terrorizing everyone but me.

“That’s exactly the point.”

I growl under my breath, but bite back a smile. This time, when I touch the cloth, a steel grip clamps around my wrist, and I’m hauled toward his hard chest.

I can’t see a thing with the blindfold, but all my other senses are heightened. I can feel every one of his breaths that fans my face, the heavy beats of his heart beneath my hands, and the chill of the night air licking my neck.

Goosebumps erupt over my skin, and I shiver when the lightest touch of his lips brushes against my ear. “Are you going to be a good girl and walk with your hands at your sides, or will I need to carry you?” His voice is filled with danger, but with an edge like he’s hoping for the latter so that I can be his own rag doll for the rest of the night.

“Tell me where we’re going first.”

He pulls back as his chest beneath my hands vibrates with his silent laugh. “The shed. Obviously. Stop being difficult.”

I’m being difficult?” I all but screech. “You took me to—excuse my language—the middle of butt-fuck nowhere, and then you blindfold me and drag me to some shady barn thing?”

He nudges my side. “Have I ever done you wrong?”

I throw my arms up. “Yes. Many times.”

“Like when?” The way he says it is like I’ve accused him of committing treason.

And they say women are dramatic.

“Let’s see. How about that time you wanted to explore a lake, and it turned out to be a landmine?” I put my hands on my hips.

“It was decommissioned,” he counters.

I huff. “Or when you took me to see ‘some cool art,’ and then we had to run from the cops because you were caught tagging?”

“Wasn’t a lie. The art was cool.” I can just imagine him cocking his chin up with a prickly grin.

“What about when you fed me undercooked chicken, and I was out with food poisoning for a week?” I say pointedly.

He’s silent for one beat, then two. “But did you die?”

I gape at him. “I was so dehydrated from throwing up, I thought I saw God.”

“No, you saw me. And I’ve apologized.” His voice drops a level, and I can feel the guilt seeping out of him.

I bite the inside of my cheek, because it was a low blow. He stayed up with me the whole time, tying my hair back as I threw up my guts, brushing my teeth when I didn’t have the energy to, and then he carried me back to bed.

“Now you’re a master chef who’s taken me hostage,” I say with a joking edge.

The week after that, he began using all these cooking terminologies like sautéing and braising. Mickey refuses to admit it, but I have a hunch he started watching cooking videos. There’s no way he went from undercooking boiled chicken to making homemade empanadas without the internet.

A pause lingers between us. “Yet you haven’t attempted to take off the blindfold again.” I launch into defense mode and twist my arms out of his grip, just like he taught me. “Cut it out. That wasn’t an invitation,” he snaps, then lowers his voice and says, “But well done. Good technique.”

My skin heats from the praise. Please, Isabella, contain yourself.

“Walk or carry?”

My breath catches in my throat. “Tell me what—’


“Mickey, seriously, I—’


“Why won’t you tell—’ My words end with a shriek when strong arms move behind my knees and sweep me off my feet. As it always does when it comes to Mickey, my body betrays me, and without thought, I wrap my hands behind his neck. “No!”

He chuckles. “Too late. You’re at my mercy now.”

I dissolve into his hold. Even though layers are separating us, we may as well be skin-to-skin. I’m on fire, and the only person who can put me out is him, even though he’s what ignited me. But this is a dangerous game. Something so simple shouldn’t unwind me so much.

“Put me down right now, Roman Riviera.”

I swear I hear him growl. “Do you want to find out if I have duct tape, too?”

My mouth clamps shut.

No… he wouldn’t, would he? Surely not…

“Good girl,” he muses.

I’m about to say something else. Maybe something snarky, but I really don’t want to find out if a roll of duct tape is hidden inside his leather jacket.

That kind of kidnapping scenario would be a little too much for me.

Just a little.

Okay, a lot.

The rhythmic thump of his feet along the ground and the soft sway of his movements could lull me to sleep. I admit that I’m disappointed when he lowers me to the ground. I have to pry my fingers apart to let go of his neck, and before I let go of him fully, I miss his warmth. I didn’t exactly dress for the outdoors, so the riding jacket doesn’t do enough to stop the autumn chill from sinking into my bones.

“Stay,” he orders. I lift my hands up to the blindfold, but he slaps them away. “Don’t touch.”

“I’m not a dog,” I seethe.

“Mmhmm,” he hums.

I grumble under my breath and cross my arms to preserve warmth while a bunch of banging and grunting happens a few feet to my right.

Please don’t be a dead body.

Please don’t be a dead body.

Please don’t be a dead body.

On my next inhale, a low whine whirls at the bottom of my lungs, and I freeze.



Mickey better not have heard that.

I swallow and quietly clear my throat, even though I know it will do nothing to eliminate the wheeze. It’s still worth a try. If he hears me, he’s going to be absolutely livid. Not only did I forget to bring my inhaler, but I haven’t taken it in at least three days. Which just so happens to be the timeframe for my asthma to kick in if left unmedicated.

Of course, Mickey knows this.

He knows freaking everything there is to know about me.

I jolt when his fingers wrap around my elbow. I didn’t even hear him coming, too lost in my panicked thoughts.

“After you, Princess.”

I shuffle across the ground hesitantly, attempting to keep my breaths short so he doesn’t hear the hitch in each of them. The itch in my lungs grows, and I have to resist the urge to clear my throat every three seconds.

Mickey gently guides me a few more steps before stopping and twisting my body so he has me where he wants me. It’s quieter here, the insects’ songs dulled. My nose twitches as I try to find any answer about our whereabouts from scent alone, but all I can smell is Mickey, fresh earth, and the lingering scent of hay.

He takes his time untying the cloth around my head as I hold my breath without much thought, too scared to breathe with him so close.

My lungs scream and heave—and holy crap, it’s so itchy. They feel like they’re filled with the ticklish, crawling insects that sing outside.

There has to be a way to reach inside myself and scratch my lungs.

I blink a couple of times from the burst of sudden light. Then I blink some more to make sure I’m seeing things correctly.

I take one step forward.

And another, spinning in a slow circle to take everything in. Fairy lights twinkle, wrapped around pillars and hanging from beam to beam. Pillows are stacked on top of a thick woolen blanket laid on the concrete floor. Next to it are boxes of blankets and pillows, as well as every single one of my favorite snacks. I turn and spot a white sheet hanging on the wall, along with a projector a couple of feet in front of it.

There’s a soft whirring from somewhere—a generator, I’m guessing. It’s the only way the light bulb would work unless the abandoned horror house has electricity.

How did he get all this stuff here on his bike?

He must have spent hours here, cleaning and setting everything up. The walls are free of spider webs, and not a single strand of hay can be seen.

I completely forget I’m struggling to breathe as I gape at my surroundings. No one has ever done anything like this for me before. I turn to find Mickey leaning against the door with his hands stuffed into his pockets. “It’s so beautiful,” I gasp.

He shrugs with his typical confident attitude. “I know.”

He didn’t need to do all of this for me. This is going above and beyond my wildest dreams. I did nothing to deserve any of it. “You did all this for me?”

Easing himself from the doorway, my heart picks up as he closes the distance. I try taking smaller breaths with the purpose of making sure my static chest stays silent. I want to wrap my arms around him and press my lips to his plush ones so he knows how much I appreciate this.

So he knows I see him—all of him—even when no one else does.

I meet his intense stare as he gazes down at me, looking completely lost in whatever he must see in me. “When will you realize there is nothing I wouldn’t do for you?”

My lips part, and I swallow a cough. “I can’t believe you did all this. How much did all this even cost? How long did it take? When did you have time to do all of this?”

He leans forward and lowers his voice like he’s telling me a secret. “I’m a god.”

“You’d be a really shitty one. You’ll probably do the opposite of whatever people pray for.” He’s downplaying what he’s done, like he always does.

“Who do you pray to?”

I narrow my eyes, confused. “I don’t pray.”

“You’d get on your knees for me if I asked. Does that make me your god, Princess?”

I choke on an inhale, then the critters crawling in my lungs let loose. The first cough that rips through my throat is a sputter. The second has me hunched over, gasping for air, only to cough instead.

Each one is more painful than the last, and my stomach clenches like I’m about to vomit, but nothing comes out. Tears prick my eyes, and everything is cold but burning at the same time.

I try to slow my breathing while also trying to sit upright, but it’s all useless. Dots blur my vision, and I don’t notice the hands on me until something is shoved in my mouth. My brain picks up on what’s happening—just barely—and I close my mouth around the plastic and push down on the medication.

The puff of medicine doesn’t reach my lungs on the first try, but thankfully it does on the second. I try a third time for good measure.

My body is weightless, crumbled on the floor with a hard mass at my back while I focus on breathing.

One measured breath, then two.

Heaving is the better word. Or gasping. Rasping. All the above.

It gets easier as the seconds pass, with the help of the circles Mickey is rubbing against my back. Though his touch does nothing to take away the ache in my ribs or the claws ripping down my throat.

Leaning my head against Mickey’s shoulder, he shifts so his arms are wrapped around my waist, rocking us from side to side, murmuring something I can’t make out over the rush of adrenaline.

Minutes pass as my breathing evens out, and oxygen slowly seeps back into my brain. I almost wish it didn’t so I can escape Mickey’s questioning.

“Where’s your inhaler?”

Silence follows.

He knows the answer, and I don’t have the energy to think of an elaborate excuse for why it isn’t in my pocket or my bag like it should be.

“Where’s your inhaler, Isabella?” His voice is darker this time, and the tension returns to my tired body.


“The next words out of your mouth better not be ‘at home,’” he warns, and his arms stop giving me the comfort they did moments ago. “Jesus Christ, Bella. You can’t keep forgetting.”

I shuffle away from him so we face each other, but my attention trains on my intertwined hands. “I’m fine. It’s only mild.”

I hear his sharp intake of breath before he all but yells, “Do you realize how serious this is? What if you have an asthma attack and I’m not there, huh?” Roman moves closer, so I can’t avoid seeing his anger. “What if no one around you has an inhaler? What then? You could die.”

We’ve had this talk more times than I can count, but he’s never outright said those words. He’s always skirted around the subject so he doesn’t upset me. I can’t call this an innocent mistake anymore. I can’t call it an accident.

Mickey got me more than one inhaler. He got me a goddamn case for it so I can leave it in my bag. He even sends me text reminders to take it. I just… don’t. I have no idea why. Maybe for some semblance of control.

My eyes start to water. I’m not trying to be difficult. I want to be able to breathe. To live. I swear I do.

I think I do.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper.

God, I’m so pathetic. So this is how it is? I’m going to need a babysitter for the rest of my life? I can’t go anywhere without Mickey, just in case I accidentally kill myself, because I can’t seem to do something as basic as breathing. How could he want that? Why should he want that? He’s trying to help me, and I won’t even help myself.

He rushes to me, holding my face in the palm of his hands. “No, hey. No, I’m sorry. Breathe. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you; it’s just—I—’ He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. When he opens them, they’re softer than I’ve ever seen, yet lined with guilt, grief, and fear. “I can’t lose you. You know those cliché sayings that you’re the first thing I think about when I wake up and my last thought when I fall asleep? It’s true. You’re always on my mind. Constantly. There isn’t a minute that goes by when I’m not wondering what you’re doing, or if you’re okay, or thinking about me as much as I think about you. If you were to—’ Mickey squeezes his eyes shut again like the words physically pain him. “I need you to take care of yourself. Bring your inhaler with you. I’m sorry for raising my voice; I’m mad because I’m worried.”

Sniffling, I shake my head. “Don’t apologize. It’s not your fault. You’re right. It was stupid and reckless and idiotic and—”

“No.” His voice is stern, and he lowers himself so he’s at my eye level. “Listen to me, Bella, and listen to me well. Here’s what you’re going to do: You won’t apologize. You’re not going to cry or say shit like that about yourself. Do you know why? Because you are intelligent and brave and beautiful and kind and fucking perfect, and I don’t deserve you one bit. And I want you to see that in yourself every day, too.”

My body feels entirely too heavy for me. Too tight.

How many times has he quite literally saved me? Pulling me back when we cross the street, carrying an inhaler wherever we go, or beating up bullies for me. I can’t even count how many times he’s called the doctor’s office for me, taken me to my appointment, then picked up my prescription after.

He feathers his thumb over my cheek, wiping away a fallen tear. Leaning into his touch, I savor the feel of his rough hands.

He’ll get sick of me, eventually. It’s just a matter of when. He drops his head, pressing his forehead to mine. “You don’t take medication or eat breakfast or lunch for me or for Jeremy; you do it for you. Got it?”

All I can do is nod. It isn’t fair of me to expect Roman to slide into the role of caregiver. And it isn’t right for me to rely on him to keep me alive, fed, medicated, and financed while I sift through my paralyzing thoughts. Any money I make is from working at Greg’s store a few hours a week, but even then, he usually keeps my wage.

I have to start taking my life into my own hands and stop blaming my leaking heart for everything. I will never have a mother or father. I’ve known that for a long time, but I need to learn to accept that.

Mickey shifts his hand down my face, and I forget to stop myself from flinching when he puts pressure on my bruise.

His lips curl back into a snarl. “What did those two shitheads say to you?”

At least we aren’t talking about my asthma anymore, but this isn’t much better.

I pull back from his hold, drying my face with my sleeve. “Just leave it, Roman.” I try not to sound as exhausted as I feel, but I know he sees through my faux resolve. “I don’t want to talk about it, because it will mess up our night when you’ve put in all this effort for me.”

“Tell me.”


I raise my head in defiance. We played this game earlier this afternoon, and I lost. In all fairness, I can put on as much bravado as I want, but Roman is worse than a dog with a bone. He won’t stop unless he finds the whole carcass.

He narrows his eyes. “Tell me.”

“It’s stupid high school stuff. Nothing I haven’t heard before.” I try to feign being unconcerned, but I am very much concerned.

“I don’t give a shit if you hear it every day. They made you cry—they hurt you. They’re lucky they’re not dead yet.”

“Don’t, okay? It’s my birthday, Mickey. Aren’t you meant to do what I say?”

He leans back and eyes me like I’ve said something ridiculous. “I do whatever you ask every day of the year. I don’t need an excuse for it.”

I sigh. I’m definitely not going to win this. “And I’m asking you to forget about it.”

“Forget about it?” His thick brows drop, and the chilly air around us turns venomous. “They left a fucking mark on your face, Isabella.”

As if noticing the attention, pain radiates from my chin. I cringe back at the use of my full name in that tone. In that very, very angry, pissed-off tone.

This isn’t going to be good.

“It wasn’t really their fault.” I try to defend the twins, but the instant I see his face twist, I know I’ve just made it worse. “He was holding me up by my hair, and when he let go, I fell onto the concrete.”

I should have shut up when I could.

He says nothing for a beat.

Oh no.

The atmosphere thickens.

The muscles of his jaw flutter.

“I am going to make them wish they were dead, Bella. I’m going to do it for you.”

“Mickey, don’t let them get to you,” I attempt to soothe. “They’re just stupid kids who probably have a really messed-up home life and don’t know how to act properly. They need someone to talk to, not to get beaten up.”

They need a therapist, which won’t happen for anyone who goes to our school unless you’re in the system and you’re as problematic as Mickey. And by that time, it’s usually too late for a therapist to do anything.

If I’m being honest with myself, I couldn’t care less if the twins were scared of the sun. So, I don’t know why I’m trying so hard to defend them.

Maybe I don’t want them to take more of my joy, or maybe I’m only trying to prevent myself from having a guilty conscience.

Maybe it’s because this is what Cassie would do. Someone less defective would beg him for hours not to hurt them. Maybe I’m still talking because that’s what I should be doing.

Slowly, to leave no doubt in my mind, Mickey says, “I’m not asking for your permission, and I am not going to ask for your forgiveness after.”

I sigh, defeated. “Just… Not tonight.”

“Not tonight,” he agrees.

“It’s just you and me tonight, right?” I ask. “No Mikhail, no Maxim.” No talks about my health. “Just you and me and any food you brought, because I’m starving.”

He watches me carefully for a moment before chuckling humorlessly. “Yeah, yeah.”

“Great.” I put on my most cheerful smile and ignore my aching lungs.

Fake it until you make it, right?

Or at least lie to yourself until you start believing your own delusions to the point that they sabotage your life.

He doesn’t let on if he isn’t falling for my act, rummaging through the bag he brought with him and the box a couple of feet away from us. I still can’t believe everything he’s done for my birthday. Is this what he’s been doing at night? A daunting realization hits and settles low in my gut.

There’s so much about Roman that I don’t know.

He couldn’t have found this place by himself, and he’s never talked about anyone else other than to complain about people at work. How much of himself is he hiding from me? Have I spent all these years thinking there isn’t a side of him that I don’t know, but I’ve been fooling myself the whole time?

I don’t take my eyes off him as he lays out all the food: buns, roasted chicken, salad, chips, and fruit. It’s the biggest juxtaposition; he’s organized the cutest picnic in the creepiest shed and somehow made it romantic.

Once all the food is out on the blanket, he pulls out a little black box that he places right in front of me.

“What is it?” I ask hesitantly, picking up the velvet jewelry case.

“Open it.”

I give him one last look before flicking the lid open. I’m frozen in my spot as I stare at it. For the third time today, tears run down my cheeks. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much.

But this time is different.

This time, the tears don’t sting when they fall.

This time, when I cry, there’s a smile stretched across my lips.

“Mickey,” is all I can say.

He deserves the whole world, and I wish I could give it to him.

They’re an exact match to the pair of earrings that Mamá gave me on my fifth birthday that I lost when I was eight. Small, silver Mickey Mouse studs. I cried for weeks when I lost them. I had only two things left from Mamá: the earrings and the Mickey Mouse doll.

He looks back at me with an expression I can’t quite name. “How?” I breathe.

“I got them made.”

There’s no emotion in his voice, but I can see in his eyes that he’s battling some demons as he taps away on his leg. I want to know what he’s thinking. He usually looks pleased with himself or even excited whenever he gives me a birthday gift. He’s never so reserved.

I finally register what he said. “How—You remember what they looked like?”

He nods once. “I’ll never forget.”

We stare at each other for a long moment before I decide to break the silence. “Thank you, Roman. I love them. You have no idea how much this means to me.”

I replace the earrings I’m wearing with the new pair. The silver is heavier than the ones I was originally wearing. I can’t imagine how much it would have cost him to get them made.

“Movie or music?” He doesn’t look at me when he asks, focused on piling vegetables and chicken into a bun.

There’s something about the way he says it that makes my stomach dip uneasily. I swallow and tuck the box away into my pocket. Have I done another thing wrong? Said the wrong words or acted the wrong way?

“A true-crime podcast,” I joke, attempting to make him feel even an ounce of my elation.

It’s a terrible joke, because neither of us is that into them, but the trick works because his lips tilt up at the corner. “Are you sure you want to give me ideas after discussing the twins?”

“You’re right. Movie.” I force myself to grin, even though there’s still a sour taste in the air.

“As my lady wishes.”

I roll my eyes, and he winks.

Enough crap has gone on today, and if one more bad thing happens, I’m calling it quits.

We both get busy with our tasks, him setting up the projector, and me taking over with making the sandwiches—I make them better than he does. Roast chicken, coleslaw, bread buns, and potato chips. If there’s one thing we both learned at school, it’s that nothing beats a chip sandwich, as the Kiwi kid in my class called it.

We eat in silence as the movie starts to play, and like a typical guy, he inhales his food and manages to eat two in the time it’s taken me to eat half. He artfully organizes the pillows and blankets and drags me by the waist and into his arms the second I finish eating.

I try to focus on the movie, but I can only focus on Mickey: The way his body is perfectly molded to mine, the kisses he plants on the top of my head every so often, and how he doesn’t stop touching me. He’s constantly moving, rubbing circles with his palms and writing love letters with his fingers along my back.

He laughs at the movie on cue and blurts out whatever random thing he thinks of as he watches. With the countless layers of blankets hiding our intertwined bodies and nothing but the fairy lights and the projector to light our surroundings, I’ve never felt so content.

We’ve both lost our jackets, leaving us in our shirts and pants. He keeps running his hand up and down my arm like he can’t get enough of the feel of me. With each touch, the crappiness of everything that happened today floats away.

The credits roll, and I stretch my neck up to find he’s already looking at me. I shiver when his hand follows the curve of my waist, leaving a path of fire up along my collarbones to trace every contour of my face.

Warmth unfurls in my chest as the butterflies that have been quiet all night explode in a flurry of short breaths and fluttering lashes. Those gunmetal eyes of his pierce mine, and I can’t look away, lost in his scent and the way the shadows enhance his cheekbones and run along his nose. I could live in this moment forever and die happy, never seeing the sun again.

“You’re so fucking beautiful, Bella.”

His gaze drops to my lips, where his fingers brush them over and over. His eyelids grow heavier with each move, hiding his darkening stare. Inch by inch, his other hand crawls up the back of my thigh, slowing over the arch of my back, eliciting a deep desire in me unlike anything I’ve ever known. My core tightens as an ache forms between my legs, but I’m too scared to shift my hips in case the movement causes Roman to snap out of his trance.

My pigtails loosen as his fingers move into my hair, threading through the strands as if he owns them. He doesn’t need to ask; he can take anything he wants from me. I’m his. It’s the only thing I’m certain about in this life.

Roman’s eyes glaze over as if he’s mesmerized, but he licks his lips like a starved animal, never once moving his attention away from my mouth.

He’s looking at me as if I’m the only person in this world who matters.

Like I’m his everything.

Like he’s about to kiss me.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


not work with dark mode