Before, Brynn had a group of best friends, a loving boyfriend, a growing talent for pottery. She had a life. And after…she had none.
When Brynn lost the boyfriend who never loved her, the friends who feel she betrayed their trust, and the new life just beginning to grow inside her, she believes her future is as empty as her body. But then Christian, the boy next door, starts coming around. Playing his guitar and pushing her to create art once more. She meets some new friends at the local community center, plus even gets her dad to look her in the eye again…sort of.
But can Brynn open up her heart to truly find her life’s own beauty, when living for the after means letting go of the before?
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Christian looks at me. I wait for a smart-aleck reply or a smile but get neither. Just his blue eyes sucking me in like a whirlpool. “That’s what I thought you would say. So you just have to keep fighting for it. Keep fighting to get it back.”
My eyes won’t leave his and his won’t leave mine. And he’s cute. God, he’s so cute, I just want to focus on his cuteness. I want that to be all that matters. When his hand comes up and cups my cheek, I gasp. He brushes his thumb under my eye and licks his lips and I’m frozen and on fire and close to having a heart attack and anxious all at the same time.
Slowly, he leans forward and I know he’s giving me time. And my heart is leaping and I want to feel his lips. This is Christian. The boy who asked me to dance. The boy I ran to my mom about and told her that I loved. And now he’s my friend. The first person who has made me feel normal since everything happened.
But I’m so scared. Scared of messing it up. Scared he’ll decide he doesn’t want me. Scared of losing him. Of getting hurt.
He gets closer and I smell his sweet, sugary scent. See his mouth and wet lips and that hair I want to touch.
See the one person besides Emery who I have. The one person I can’t lose. “Wait,” I say and Christian stops moving. He’s still close. So very, very close that his lips are only an inch away from mine. “I’m scared,” I admit.
“I won’t hurt you.”
And I swear a part of me believes him. Maybe all of me. But how do I know if that’s the right decision or not?
He runs his hand down my face and touches my hair. Love that he’s not nervous to do it the way I am with him and I watch his fingers, brown against my red hair.
“Go out with me, Bryntastic. Let’s go do something this weekend. Don’t keep running. I won’t even try to kiss you again unless you tell me to. Or I’ll wait for you to do it. Just let go. Live.”
His words are what I want. I want them so badly and they sound so perfect that it’s hard not to just scream, “Yes!” right now. “Why?” I ask him. “Why are you so nice to me?”
I love his strength. Love that he doesn’t even hesitate before saying, “Because you were my first crush. Because I used to watch you conqueror anything and used to listen to you laugh with your friends. You were happy and I loved your smile. Because I had to work up the courage to ask you to dance and I did, and then I left and the one thing I missed was that smile. I watched my sister lose hers and watched my family fall apart and when I came back here? I wanted to see your smile again. Because you’re beautiful when you smile and you’ve lost it now. I want you to conquer this because what the hell is the purpose in it all if the first girl I ever danced with loses her smile?”
I don’t realize I’m crying until Christian wipes my tears. “You think I’m beautiful?”
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