Authors: Bec Botefuhr
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary
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Copyright © 2013 Bec Botefuhr
is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places and events portrayed in this book either are from the Author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, establishments, events, or location is purely coincidental and not intended by the Author. Please do not take offence to the content, as it is FICTION.
For everyone who believed in me, who knew that I could do it even when I didn’t believe it. My family, friends, co-workers and everyone who said “You can do it.” Thank you.
For my husband’s patience and love, and for not hitting me over the head for all the hours I have spent working on my novels. For my gorgeous daughters who are the best children a Mother could ask for.
For all my fans, for their encouragement and belief, for their kind words and amazing hearts. You all make this possible for me.
Books in this series
Dark Passion (Book One)
Dark Desire (Book Two)
Dark Endings (Book Three)
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Darkness in its finest form is still so much better than pain. If you asked me two months ago, I would say I choose darkness over pain. I’d lay my life down, and allow myself to be swallowed up in darkness, before I ever gave my heart over to pain. It’s a choice really, isn’t it? People know what they can live with, and what they can’t live without. I know what I can live with, and I certainly know what I can’t live without. Him. That’s what I can’t live without.
I stand in the crowded airport, reliving the night. A woman from his past was at my door and I can’t find a way to escape that. His face, his expression, everything about how he looked at her makes me want to curl up and sink into the darkness. I can’t do that though, and for the first time in my life, I give myself over to pain. I feel a touch stronger for doing that, but only a touch.
“Flight 193, boarding now.”
I pick up the small bag with the few clothes I purchased from an airport store, and walk towards the entrance of the plane. As I board, I stare out into the darkness and wonder what Jagger’s doing right now. Reuniting with an old lover? Or searching for me? Turning my head away, I stare straight ahead and board the plan. Running from my demons yet again. It’s what I do best, right?
“I’m home!” I cry, stepping through the front door.
ell, that’s a nice welcome home party. I walk into the kitchen of my apartment and it looks as though no one has been here for a few weeks. I drop my bags and make my way down the hall. I peer into Ava’s room, it’s empty. My heart thumps. Did something happen while I was away? I wouldn’t know; I left my phone here. I needed that time away after everything that happened.
Yes, some would call me weak but I had no choice. I was heartbroken after Sharleen’s return and I couldn’t deal with the
wait. Nothing is worse for one’s heart, then sitting around waiting to find out if it’s still loved or not. I just didn’t have it in me after my father’s death and my experience with psycho gangs and mysterious information.
en gone six weeks, what the hell happened in that time? I open the door to my room and stop in my tracks. On my bed are dozens and dozens of dead roses. They’ve been put there while I was away, and slowly they’ve died. Closing my eyes to regain my composure, I take a moment to breathe. Then, I open them and walk over to the flowers - all from Jagger.
I haven’t seen or spoken to Jagger since the n
ight on the sidewalk. I don’t know if he’s taken his wife back, I don’t know if he’s waiting for me; I don’t know anything. Seeing these flowers spark some hope inside me, they bring my heart back to life. It’s been dead for weeks. I’ve fought to keep it from completely taking over and ruining me. I pick up one of the cards and with a deep breath, I turn it over and read what it says.
I know how much this must hurt and for that I’m sorry. Words can’t describe how confused I am right now, but the thought of losing you hurts me more than words can say. That has to mean something. Please, talk with me about this. I don’t want this to be the end of the bond we created. Call me, please.
I swallow down my tears. I was gutted when I found out about Sharleen. While I didn’t blame Jagger, I still couldn’t move past the fact that our little love fest had been so horribly upended. How could I possibly compete with her? I could see the bond they shared; I could see the way he held her in his arms. I just can’t live up to that.
I dig through my drawers until I find my phone. I plant my ass on the bed and stare at it. I haven’t had this for six weeks,
I left my apartment with nothing and I’m glad for that. I know when I turn it on I’ll be bombarded with messages and news that I’ll either want to hear, or I won’t. I close my eyes, taking another one of those deep breaths, and then I turn it on. A moment later, I hear a chain of dings. Yep, messages.
J: Call me please.
J: Willow where r u?
J: Willow? It’s been 2
weeks, please call me.
J: Fuck Willow, I went
to your place. Where r u! Jenny and Ava are beside themselves.
J: Please, just call me.
A: WILLOW! Where r u? Oh God, we’re so worried. Ava x
A: Willow? Seriously, this isn’t fucking funny.
A: Oh my God, I just got that note you sent. You’re in Hawaii? What the hell? Whatever, I’m going to beat u when u get home.
A: Willow, I’ve got news….
A: I won’t be there when u get back, don’t freak out, I’ll explain when u finally show your face again x P.S Jenny is so fuckin pissed at u!
With a sigh, I quickly reply to Ava.
W: Hey Ava, I’m back. You’re not here? Where r u?
Then, with trembling fingers and a heavy heart, I text Jagger,
W: Hi Jagger. Sorry I haven’t responded. I went away for a while. I’m home. I hope u r well. Willow.
God, that sounded so lame. I hope you are well! He’s probably laughing his ass off right now. He’s probably moved on with Barbie and forgotten my name by now. Stop it Willow - I chastise myself - you can’t think like that. My phone beeps and I stare down at the screen. He text back; I didn’t expect him to, but he did.
J: Fuck Willow,
do u have any idea how worried I was? Ava told me you went to Hawaii. R u ok?
W: I needed time.
J: Answer my question Willow, r u ok?
J: So that’s a no. When can we talk?
W: Is Sharleen still there?
A long, long moment passes before my phone beeps again.
W: Then we’re done talking. I just wanted to let u know I was home. Bye Jagger.
J: Don’t do that, don’t turn away. We need to talk.
I don’t reply. I see a message flash on the screen from Ava.
A: Jen and I are on our way, cover your ass, it’s going to get whooped!
I smile at the text and peer down at the screen where a message has come through from a number I haven’t saved. I open it and smile. It’s Joey. I met Joey at the resort I stayed in and we formed quite a good friendship. It wasn’t anything romantic, but he lives here and we promised to meet up and stay friends when I finally decided to come home.
JOEY: Hey Girl, u home?
W: I’m home.
J: When can we catch up, I got back yesterday. I’m bummed without u.
J: Hell yeah, pizza and m
W: It’s a date.
I switch my phone off when I see Jagger trying to call. I can’t deal with everything at once. I think about Joey and how the others might see the situation. He’s a very attractive man, I mean VERY attractive. Not quite in the way Jagger is, but he turns heads all the same. He’s built similar to Jagger, with rippling muscles and perfect bronze skin. His eyes are a dark brown and his hair is blonde. I know damn well he’s gay, but they won’t know that and I might not tell them. Just yet.
I unpack my clothes while I wait for Ava and Jenny. I wonder where they
were? When I hear a car pull up, I rush out and stand by the front door. When it opens, I watch Ava and Jenny step inside. They both look well and Ava looks extra happy to see me, though she’s trying to smother it with a serious expression. When they lay their eyes on me, both widen.
“Shit Willow, is that you?”
Yes, I know I look different. My once dark red hair is now black. I wanted a change; I just needed to feel better about myself. I actually like it; I think it makes my green eyes really stand out. I know I’ve lost a little weight and I’ve completely changed my look so it’s probably a shock to them. I’m fairly sure they’ll think I’ve gone off the deep end.
“Holy shit! Your hair looks amazing! Now come here!”
I rush over and they both reach out and slap my ass so hard I squeal. Then we’re hugging and our eyes are welling with tears.
“We were so worried about you,” Jenny says, swiping her tears away.
“I’m sorry I did that to you guys, but I couldn’t deal with everything. I just needed a break.
I honestly couldn’t deal with everything at once, and I was trying to protect my mind. It’s endured enough.”
“We understand,” Ava smiles,
“how are you feeling now?”
I sigh and sit do
wn on the couch; they both fall down beside me.
sure; I guess I’m still in holiday mode.”
“Have you spoken to Jagger?”
“I text him before, he wants to talk. I know he’s still with Sharleen.”
“Who the fuck knows what’s going on there,” Ava mumbles, rolling her eyes. “The woman is a snake. I haven’t really seen them doing
anything; he’s always so quiet when we’re there. He was really upset when you left; he was beside himself.”
I blink a few times, wondering if I heard that right. When we’re there?
“What’re you two doing over there?”
They both go
pink and my eyes widen.
“Oh hell no, spit it the fuck out!”
“Well….it’s a long story. First, we kept in contact because we were all worried about you. When the shit with that gang leader was over with, Jagger and the boys decided to move back into town. They all purchased the apartment complex up the road. Paid for the whole thing and took an apartment each. We chose not to ask how they could afford that. So anyway, we started visiting more and…”
“Well, I’m kind of dating Angel,
” Ava blurts.
My mouth drops open, literally.
Ava shrugs and smiles stupidly. “Well, it just happened.”