Hiding the scars of her past up her sleeves, Olivia transfers her enrollment from Columbia University to The College of Charleston, determined to pursue her own dreams for the first time in her life.
She intends to allow herself a bit of alone time to heal... that is, until she meets Preston.
Preston is best friends with her roommate, completely hot, and off-limits. But the chemistry between them is instantaneous—and as the pair begins to spend more time with one another, their feelings for each other build into something undeniable, something powerful enough to heal Olivia’s deepest scars.
Olivia tries to put her own past behind her and trust Preston, but she discovers that his past might be more present than she ever bargained for…
She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and a M.S. in Graphic Communication, both from Clemson University. Yeah, her blood runs orange.
Connect with Melissa at www.melissawestauthor.com or on Twitter @MB_West.
His eyes swept over my face, and I knew what was about to happen. I could see the
resolve in his face. Feel the swift change in the air as the charge between us sparked. He leaned
toward me, his eyes never leaving mine.
“I’m not going to kiss you,” I whispered.
“I didn’t ask.”
He tucked my hair behind my ear and moved still closer. “I can’t promise anything. I
have nothing in me to promise, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try.”
I swallowed, feeling the walls around me crumbling down.
“Let me be what you need.”
My breath caught, the fight in me diminishing with each spoken word. What was I so
afraid of? I reached out, gliding my fingertips over his face and into his hair. Briefly, I thought of
how often I’d dreamt of touching his hair, and then his mouth was on mine, and all thought was
gone, except him and us and this moment. His lips took control, first soft and careful, and then
full of urgency and need. Every unspoken word, every missed opportunity, was pushed into that
Preston laid me back on the sofa, his body warm and inviting. My fingers gripped his
hair, pulling him closer, and he left my lips, kissing a trail down my chin to my neck. A soft
moan of pleasure escaped my lips, and he thrust his hips against mine in answer to my ache. Our
bodies moved together, our clothes the only thing keeping us from taking this further.
I tugged his chin up so his lips were back on mine, the kiss growing to a frenzy of
passion. His hand slid under the edge of my shirt, gliding over my stomach, before finding
my breast. He groaned with pleasure, and I reached down to take his shirt off, eager to touch
his impeccably toned chest and stomach. Preston slipped his shirt off and gripped mine, his
intentions clear, when reality yanked me from pleasure and threw me into a sea of painful
thoughts. I remembered my scars, Preston’s expression when he’d gotten a glimpse of them
through my shirt at the pier. I shook my head, feeling myself tumbling deeper into sadness and
farther from the moment.
Preston glanced down at me. “We can stop.”
“Olivia, you don’t have to—”
I bit my lip, forcing myself to push away the fear and sadness and guilt that riddled my
mind and peered back at him. “I don’t want to take my shirt off.”
“Okay,” he whispered.
“And I don’t want you judging that I don’t want to take my shirt off.”
“Okay,” he repeated. I felt his heart beat against my chest, fast and sure and strong. A
part of me wanted to disappear, embarrassed and ashamed that I’d yet again shown Preston
Riggs just how crazy I was deep inside. But another part, a greater part, felt a surge of happiness
that he’d stayed. He knew that I was broken and scarred and more than a little crazy, yet still, he
didn’t run. He stayed.