Title: Where I End
Author: Michelle Dare
Genre: NA Romance Standalone
Editor: Karen Hrdlicka
Proofreader: Tiffany Landers
Cover Designer: Amy Queau
Hosted by: Lady Amber's Reviews & PR
Pretentious. Arrogant. Condescending. Cruel.
All words I'd used to label him. Exactly what I’d always believed he was. All that changed one spring morning when I realized I didn't know the man behind the facade at all.
Angry. Desperate. Broken. Mine.
All words I'd use to define him after I interfered. Once our eyes locked, I was all in. There was no turning back. He tried to push me away, but I refused to let him go. I was determined to save him. What I didn't expect was that he would save me, too.
I was so close to ending my misery. Mere seconds away. Then she stumbled upon our argument, and I changed my plans. She wasn't supposed to be there. She knew too much. Even with my entire world burning down around me, she wouldn't walk away.
I’ve always been on my own. No one had ever fought for me before. Why should anyone start now? But she did, no matter how much I tried to stop her. I knew I was nothing, unworthy of her, but she was persistent. Once she got under my skin, I couldn't let her go, because where I end, she begins.
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/dD9TwekXA1s
Michelle Dare is a romance author. Her stories range from sweet to sinful and from new adult to fantasy. There aren’t enough hours in the day for her to write all of the story ideas in her head. When not writing or reading, she’s a wife and mom living in eastern Pennsylvania. One day she hopes to be writing from a beach where she will never have to see snow or be cold again.
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Excerpts: (Choose One)
Excerpt One - Very Steamy
I close the distance between us but don't touch her, no matter how badly I want to. What should I do? Lead her outside to the chairs on the deck, where we can watch the sunset? Or do I drag her into my bedroom and spend the rest of the night cherishing her body?
She makes the decision for me by taking my hand in hers and walking us outside to the deck. I sit in a dark green Adirondack chair and bring her down to my lap. Her back to my chest; her head on my shoulder. The sun is lowering on the horizon. The mountain is at our back, and the dense forest is spread out before us. Pink and burnt orange hues light the sky, but all of it pales in comparison to the woman with me.
She turns her face toward mine and leans slightly away from me to allow room for my lips to press to hers. And they do. I have to grip the arms of the chair to keep my hands off her. Our tongues touch as a fire ignites in my veins, calling for me to take her—all of her—and make her mine. To claim her and let the world know she's off-limits.
She pulls back and stands, then turns around to face me. Her slender legs straddle my lap, slipping beneath the armrests as she settles on top of me. I can't resist touching her now. My hands glide up her thighs to rest on her ass, each hand palming her, pushing her into my hardening length.
Her hands find my shoulders as she tips her head back to rub her center against me.
"Fuck, baby. You have no idea what you do to me."
She leans forward, her lips hovering over mine. "I think I do," she says breathily. "When you're in front of me, it takes all my willpower not to touch you. Not to run my hands down your chest and stomach. There are so many parts of you I know nothing about. I want everything you have to give me. I want to know you on every level. I want to be the one you confide in. I want it all."
My hands work under her shirt to the soft skin of her back. "I'm yours." It's all I can say without revealing how deeply her words affect me. Everything she wants, I’ll give her. Maybe not all at once, but over time.
It's a constant struggle for me to confide in others, when for so many years, I was told I was lying. I quickly push those thoughts from my mind. Now isn't the time. Not when I have Evie like this.
My fingers make quick work of the clasp of her bra. Once it's unhooked, I skate my fingers from her back, over her ribs, to her breasts. She moans, then captures my lips with hers. I can't believe I'm finally going to have her. For years, I've thought about what it would be like. How she'd react to me. If she'd want me as badly as I want her. Her nipples pebble when my fingers gently pinch them. Our tongues are exploring one another. God, I want to sink so deep inside of her and never leave.
The feel of her fingers working open my jeans has me practically coming in anticipation of her touching me. Her hand slips inside my jeans, inside my boxers, and grips me. My hips jerk forward at her touch. She shifts back a little on my lap to make room to stroke me from base to tip. Fuck. My body tenses at her touch, trying hard not to end this before it begins. She’s my undoing. Every other woman took work for me to get off.
I need her naked. I need to taste her skin. Quickly, I break our kiss to lift her shirt and bra from her. Finding the taut peak of her breast with my lips, I suck on her, swirling my tongue along her skin. Her grip on my dick tightens, her movements faster now. I start unfastening her jeans. I can't wait anymore. I need to be inside of her.
Excerpt Two - Emotional
We finally reach her apartment after what feels like a solid hour in the truck, though it’s only been a matter of minutes. I barely have the truck in park before she's jumping out and walking to the stairs. I kill the engine and race after her, not giving any thought to what I’m going to say when I reach her. She's fast as hell. I don't catch her until she's on the second flight, almost to her door.
"Evie, wait," I say, as I grip her by the elbow to stop her.
She shakes me off. Her eyes narrow. "You don't get to chase me. Not after the way you've made it crystal clear you don't want anything to do with me."
"It's not that simple."
"No? Then explain it to me, because I'm not understanding why one minute you want me to stay with you and the next you are running out of my apartment like you can't bear to be in the same room as me."
I rake my hand through my hair. "God dammit, Evie, why can't you just leave things as they are?"
"As they are? Like how you completely stopped talking to me, then show up at dinner and expect me to be fine seeing you again?"
"It's for the best that you're not around me."
She points her finger at my chest, mere inches from touching me. "You don't get to decide what's best for me."
"I do when I’m involved."
"Seriously? What about high school? Was all that shit you put me through best for me? Were you seeking me out, day after day, only to torment me, for the best? Because, as I remember it, those were far from the best days of my life. As a matter of fact, I've been living in a perpetual hell for quite some time now."
My anger is rising to meet hers, but mixed with mine is also shame and regret for all I'd done to her in the past. "You've been living in hell? Fine. I'll take credit for everything I dragged you through in high school. I was a grade A dick. I should never have done to you what I did, and for that I will always hate myself. You didn't deserve any of it. But right now, as we stand at this moment, it's better if I leave you alone."
She throws her hands up in the air then back down to her sides. "Then why the hell did you follow me up here, Cy?"
"Because I can't fucking walk away from you! Because every waking moment of every fucking day, I think about you!" I'm breathing heavy, my chest rising and falling. I can only imagine how feral I look.
Evie stumbles back until her ass hits the railing. "What?"
All my anger slowly leaves me. She's right. I should never have followed her. I would have been better off staying in my truck. "Never mind." I turn and walk down a few steps, but then she's behind me, grabbing my arm, turning the tables.
"Oh, no you don't. You don't get to come after me, say all you did, and walk away like none of it ever happened."
"Can't you see, Evie? I'm no good for you. Every time I'm near you, shit gets out of hand. You're better off without me in your life."
"No, I'm not."
"I only bring pain with me. Nothing more. I can't offer you anything when I'm hollow inside." I rub the center of my chest, feeling the familiar ache that resides there without Evie in my life. Yet, as she stands before me, looking so fucking beautiful, the ache is still there because she isn’t mine. I can’t and shouldn’t touch her. I should turn away and leave her, but I’m frozen in place.
She lays her hand over mine on my chest and peers up into my eyes. "You're not hollow. You have good in you. If you didn't, you wouldn't be here right now. There's a part of you that wants to be near me. Just as there is a part of me that longs to be near you."
I close my eyes for only a moment before gently removing her hand from mine. It's sheer torture to do so, but I know I must. "I have to go."
"Please, don't." She doesn't understand how being this close to her is driving me crazy. I’ve got to get out of here. Distance needs to be put between us. I turn and start down the steps again.
"If you leave now, don't you dare come back," she says, causing me to stop in my tracks. "I mean it, Cy. You can't keep toying with me. I want you here. With me." I keep my back to her, unable to look into her eyes. If I do, I'll give in. "I don't care about what happened in high school," she continues. "None of it matters. Only what is happening right here, right now. Stay with me. Please." The pleading of her voice almost has me turning. Almost.
I shake my head and go down the remaining stairs; all the while telling myself it's better this way. Sure, my heart feels like it's being ripped from my chest. But she needs to find someone who will lift her up, be the man she needs. Not someone who is broken beyond repair and will only drag her down into the bleak abyss with him.
Excerpt Three - Sweet/Funny
Pulling up to the cabin, I shut my truck off and go inside. Parker is in the kitchen making himself lunch.
"Sandwich?" he asks, holding one up.
"Sure." I've only eaten half a danish in the last eighteen hours. I need food.
"You doing okay? You didn't come home last night."
I smile a huge fucking smile. "I'm doing great."
"Look at you all happy. You must have found some hot woman last night and had a hell of a time." He hands me the sandwich and starts to make another one.
I take a few bites to appease my stomach. "Hot woman, yes, and last night sucked, but this morning was great."
"Okay, I'm going to need a few more details."
"Something happened last night, and it fucked me up big time, so I left. I had to get out of here, and didn't know where I was going until I ended up there."
"Eve's." It's not a question. He knows I would go to her. There’s nowhere else. No one I’d trust outside of Parker and her.
I nod. "When I got there, she wasn't home, but I couldn't bring myself to leave. After about an hour of me sitting on the stairs in front of her door, I heard her. She wasn't alone. Her date was walking with her to her door."
He raises his eyebrows. "Her date? I didn't know she was dating anyone." Parker and Evie have been talking a lot. They've become close.
"No! Finn Fucking Bradley. I haven't seen him in months."
"Me, neither." I take another bite of the sandwich and find a glass to get some water. "Anyway, Evie trips as she's walking up the stairs and I catch her. She must have seen something on my face, because next thing I know, I'm in her apartment with the door shut while she gets rid of Finn."
"Poor Finn. He didn't stand a chance."
"You don't know that."
"C'mon, Cy. There is no competing with you. Not in Eve's eyes. It's you she wants. She’s always asking me about you, wanting to make sure you are doing okay." He never told me that.
"I didn't know."
"No, I did that on purpose. You didn't need her in your head more than she already was. After what happened that night when I was having dinner with her, and you showed up, I didn't like seeing you upset. You needed to get your head on straight after seeing her. Me talking about her all the time wouldn't have helped you.”
He smiles wide. “Look at how far you've come in six weeks. You're with Eve, for fuck's sake."
"How far I've come? I'm still a fucking mess. I could be making a huge mistake by being with her, but I can't stay away anymore. If last night taught me anything, it's that I need her. I'm done pushing her away. She knows I'm fucked up, and she still wants me. I have no fucking clue why."
"Because she cares about you, douchebag. She sees something special in you, and no matter how many times she tried to get you out of her head, she couldn't. Same with you."
"Then why the hell did she go out with Finn?"
"Six weeks, Cy. You couldn't expect her to sit around forever. She is smoking hot, even if she doesn't realize it. Someone was bound to ask her out." I give him a hard look. He holds up his hands. "I have zero interest in her, outside of being her friend. Chill, dude."
"I know." I rake my hand through my hair. "I'm sorry. I get fucking crazy where she's concerned."
He feigns shock. "No!"
"Fuck you." I throw the last bit of my sandwich across the kitchen at him.
"Okay, go back to your story. We drifted off course."
"Right, so I crashed in her bed, but nothing happened. Well, we talked, we slept, and I had a nightmare, but she was in it this time." Parker is the only other person to know of my nightmares, outside of my doctors. I normally wouldn't have told him, but he's had the unfortunate task of waking me on multiple occasions, now that I live with him.
"Shit. I'm sorry."
"Yeah, so she woke me up, and then we left. We took my truck out to the falls and sat there to talk. One thing led to another and..."
"You fucked her in the river?"
"What? No! We talked, and I’m now in a committed relationship with her."
"Get the fuck out! You have a girlfriend?" I nod. "Holy hell, I never thought I’d see the day." He walks out to the deck, leaving the door open behind him. He cups his hands around his mouth and yells, "Look out world! Cy Revere has a girlfriend! Hell has officially begun to freeze over!"
"Would you get back in here, asshole?"
He comes inside, kicking the door shut behind him. Parker's hand claps me on the shoulder. "I'm happy for you. Truly. It's time you've had some good in your life. I'm just glad it's Eve."