Authors: Jessica Hawkins
Tags: #contemporary fiction, #debut, #romance, #contemporary romance, #Contemporary, #series, #contemporary romance series, #Adult, #drama, #new authors
|The Cityscape |
|Jessica Hawkins (2013)|
|Tags:||contemporary fiction, debut, romance, contemporary romance, Contemporary, series, contemporary romance series, Adult, drama, new authors|
“Not since Ana and Christian, have I been so invested in two characters.” - Cherryreads
"I couldn’t put it down and read it all in one go until I finished it." - ILoveRomanticFiction.com
Determined to move on with her life, Olivia Germaine has vowed to forget David Dylan. Struggling to keep her head above water, she focuses on her new promotion and refuses to drown in the memory of their night together.
But when Olivia realizes what life without David means, she must decide if she is willing to risk everything for him... and if she is ready to reopen the wounds of her past.
Can Olivia move forward with her marriage despite her feelings for David?
And can David stay away like he promised?
More Praise for Come Alive:
"Come Alive was the equivalent to riding one long-ass, angst-ridden roller coaster! My equilibrium’s still off." - Kara, NetGalley
"...it's a pleasure to read [Hawkins'] writing. It's smart and it's evocative... it's like romance for smart people." - Cristy, NetGalley
The Cityscape Series: Book Two
© 2013 Jessica Hawkins
Cityscape Series: Book Two, Come Alive
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under
the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced,
distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a
database or retrieval system without the prior written permission of the
This book is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s
imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living
or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Note to the Reader:
This is an advance,
uncorrected proof copy. Any duplication, sale or distribution is a violation of
unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute
glimpse of an eternity that we
should like to stretch out over the whole of time.”
– Albert Camus
BLINKED MY EYES OPEN and quickly squeezed them shut again. Knowing I’d been
caught, I fluttered my eyelids as though I hadn’t been about to feign sleep. My
husband stood over me, watching, but I focused on the nightstand to avoid his
“It’s nine,” he said gently. “Better get a move
I rolled over and faced the wall with a small
sigh, unable to handle his soft expression. “I’m not going.”
,” he started.
“I have to work today.”
“Things are crazy at the office.”
“It’s the weekend, and I told you about this
birthday party last month. Can’t it wait ‘til Monday?”
“No. I’m under deadline.”
“I’m sure you could spare a Saturday afternoon,”
he said wryly.
“Call Serena if you don’t believe me.”
“Of course I believe you,” he said, taken aback.
“But you’re working too much. You need to take some time off, babe. It’s been over
three months of this.”
it only been three months?
When he continued, his tone was tentative,
hedging. “I know it’s been hard, but this isn’t what
would have wanted. She would want you to move on.”
I almost laughed out loud, but I didn’t. I never
did. The mattress dipped when he sat. Hesitant fingertips touched my shoulder,
and my skin pebbled. I couldn’t remember when he’d last touched me. When he’d
stopped even trying. His caress was strange
but not unwanted. It triggered a wave of guilt that left my heart pounding.
Because of what I knew.
Because of what
Because, after three months, I still burned with desire. But
it wasn’t for him.
I braced myself as David’s image appeared. I
wished I wouldn’t think of him every morning and dream of him at night. I
wished his memory would fade, the way he had from my life.
. Three months since I had stormed from his apartment,
. My insides flurried
as I remembered, the details still fresh in my mind despite the time that had
passed. Despite the fact that every time they surfaced, I dashed them away
“Well, I have to go to the party.” Bill’s voice
cut into my thoughts. “You know how my sister can hold a grudge.”
“Of course you do, sweetie.” The endearment was
forced, unnatural, but Bill wouldn’t notice. “I wrapped Jimmy’s video game last
night; it’s on the kitchen counter.”
“Thanks. I’ll bring you back a piece of birthday
cake.” When I didn’t respond, he stood and left the room. Soon after, I heard
the front door slam. I exhaled a long breath.
Hours were slow; stretched and elongated like a
rubber band that never snapped. On the better days, I woke up numb.
Today is not one of those days
thought as I dragged myself from the bed.
Dressed in an outfit much too crisp and binding
for the weekend, I meticulously applied my makeup. Every strand of my golden
brown hair was combed into obedience. Inside, I had cracks, but I wouldn’t let
them break the surface.
I was on the train within the hour. Through the
windows, I found comfort in the way everything blurred together. A child’s
squeal had me blinking from my trance. Across from me, a young man wrangled two
toddlers as his wife cradled a baby on her lap. It was chaotic and messy, but she
watched her husband with obvious love. The woman smiled goofily as he dodged
apple juice spray. I looked away, fiddling with the clasp of my purse.
The morning after my night with David, I’d cried
my eyes raw against the brick wall by his apartment. I hadn’t known up from
down, left from right, love from despair. But I’d locked it up so tightly I
could still feel the chains digging into me with every movement. When Bill
returned from his trip that day, I mustered the biggest, most convincing
welcome I could manage. But I couldn’t look him in the eye. And I couldn’t
pretend to want his hands on me. And though Bill was never one to pick up on my
subtle cues, I had made it impossible for him not to.
Somehow, the week passed. After a late night at
work, I walked into an apartment filled with twenty of our closest friends and
family. I gritted my teeth and let them wish me a happy twenty-eighth birthday,
barely making it through the night. Not even Lucy or Gretchen, my closest
friends in the world, could scratch the surface. I could only put my energy
into acting normal. I had scoffed to myself when I’d overheard Gretchen and
Bill in the kitchen toward the end of the party.
tell, Gretchen, and it freaks me out. She won’t talk about
at all. She keeps to herself and pretends nothing is wrong.”
was like a second mother to her,” Gretchen said. “There
are times in her life when she was closer to her than to her actual mom.”
“I think that’s
why she’s taking
death especially hard. She
and her mom haven’t been getting along.”
seen her eat in days. I’d feel better if she at least cried, but she does
nothing except smile and laugh in the weirdest way.”
“She was like
this when her parents divorced. I tried to tell you. She’s hurting. She doesn’t
deal well with loss.”
know what to do.”
tried talking to her?” Gretchen asked.
There was a
pause. “She leaves the room when I do.”
“It’s still fresh.
Just give her time, Bill.”
After the last guest had left, we fought. I had
made some empty promise to come home early from work, but I’d unknowingly
missed half the party. I asked him how he could have possibly thought a party
was a good idea.
I started leaving for work early and coming home
late every day. With my recent promotion, it wasn’t hard to find projects at
the magazine. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months. And not a day went by
that I wasn’t reminded of him.
And of the irreversible thing I’d done.
As the train barreled along, I tried not to
remember. After all, the separation from David had been longer than the time
I’d known him. Surely that was enough time to move on?
But it was impossible to forget. I fought myself
as I always did when the memory threatened, but in that moment, alone on the
crowded train, I wasn’t strong enough to stop it. I remembered the pain in his hard
brown eyes when he’d demanded that I speak up. That I tell him I wanted nothing
more to do with him. I rewound through our final conversation, when he’d said
he wanted me in his life. He wanted us to be together. I remembered how he felt
pressed against me and how I’d wished he would take me again.
His hands on my hips had held me steady as he’d
mercilessly driven me to orgasm . . . twice. It was unforgettable. Haunting. Relentless.
Under his affection, under his touch, I’d come alive. And since then, I was
slowly drowning; hounded by the memory I tried to repel and weighed down by the
was alone in the
office. Maybe it wasn’t necessary for me to work on a Saturday,
but the thought of sitting through a child’s birthday party with Bill’s family
was daunting. I weaved through the empty cubicles until reaching the door to my
, it read.
I flopped into my big chair and rubbed my eyes
tensely. On the days I wasn’t numb, everything seemed sharper, more
excruciating; shame, grief, desire. It was a constant battle to swallow the
emotions that rose up my throat one after the other.
My fingers flew over the keyboard, but my mind
was occupied with other things. I owed Bill more than I gave him. He’d been
patient, and I knew he was becoming concerned. Whenever things turned intimate
between us, I pulled away without an explanation. He attributed my distance to
death, but there was more to it than that.
When my cell buzzed, I glanced at the screen and
ignored the call. Within moments, my office phone began to ring. I sighed with
defeat, knowing Gretchen wouldn’t give up.
“What’s wrong?” I asked when I picked up the receiver.
“Good afternoon to you too,
“Seriously, Gretchen. Is everything okay?”
“Yes,” she said with feigned irritation. “I’m
“Bill texted me that you were coming in today,
so I thought I’d surprise you for lunch.”
“You should have called first. I’m in the middle
“So take a break and pick it up later.”
“Later I have other things to do.”
“How? You work nonstop, and it’s
for God’s sake. What could be
so important? I haven’t talked to you in weeks.”
“My schedule has been full with this promotion.
has me under impossible deadlines. They need me.”
“I know they do, but I need you too. We need
you. Come on – lunch is on me.”
“Fine,” I said, exhaling forcefully.
There was a brief pause on the line as I saved
the document on my computer. “Fine?” she repeated after a moment. “What the
fuck is wrong with you? I made a special trip over here to take you to lunch.”
“I didn’t ask you to do that.”
“No shit. I miss you,” she said, her voice
“Look, I said I’d come. Just give me a minute.”
I hung up before she could respond and locked up the office. Downstairs, I felt
mildly better after a deep breath of fresh air. She was waiting in a sleeveless
tank top and denim cut-offs. Despite her casual outfit, her bright blonde hair
was curled into perfect ringlets as usual. I tucked some hair behind my ear as
I approached her.
“Aren’t you hot?” she asked.
I pulled my sweater closer. “I only have an
She rolled those big blue eyes of hers and
pulled on my arm. “Then you’d better get talking.”
“Yes. It’s time to have a conversation, and
that’s why I’m buying you lunch.”
“What’s the topic of this conversation? And
, because that’s all anyone ever
wants to talk about.”
“Because you won’t,” she whined. “You won’t talk
to Bill about it, you won’t talk to us and you refuse to see a shrink. Forget
about poor Mack.” She waved her hand. “He’s beside himself, and you can’t even
pick up the phone.”
My heart stopped along with my feet. “Who told
“Wow,” I said. She continued walking, so I ran
to catch up to her. “No wonder you sound exactly like him. Do you guys get
together and talk about me? Have little powwows about how to get me to spill my
guts? Well here’s a tip: get a new hobby, because there’s nothing to spill. I
, but I’ve made my peace with her
passing. Life goes on, Gretchen.”
She muttered something under her breath.
“What?” I challenged.
She sighed. “
can talk to me,” she said in an atypically delicate voice.
I glanced down at the pavement as we walked,
willing myself to stay calm. “Everything is fine. You don’t need to worry.”
“I do, though. You never talk about her, and you
haven’t seen Mack since the funeral. It’s not healthy and . . . it shows.” I
pursed my lips and rewrapped the sweater as I crossed my arms. “Lucy needs
you,” she continued. “With the wedding next weekend, she has to know she can
count on us.”
“Of course she can,” I said defensively. “I’ve
been there every step of the way – did I not host the wedding shower, and
have I not done everything she’s asked?”
“Yes, you have, it’s just obvious that your
heart isn’t in it. And it hurts her feelings.”
“She said that?”
“She doesn’t have to.”
I swallowed. “Okay, I get it.”
“Good. So let’s start with how you felt when you
heard the news. Maybe you can explain why you hid it from us that night. It’s
no wonder you got wasted and went home early. Nobody can keep something like
that inside, not even you.”
“No – what I meant was that I get it. I’ll
change. I’m not up for this random therapy session.”
“You can’t change without talking about it.”
“Again, there is nothing to talk about,” I
intoned. “People grieve in different ways, so please just drop it. As far as
the wedding, I get what you’re saying. I will try harder. For Lucy.”