To the Ends of the Earth
Publication date: November 15th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance
Another rundown apartment. Another job that pays cash. Every new city it becomes harder to hide but I can’t stop running.
There are two men after me. One wants to save my soul. The other wants to claim my body.
Part of me wants Luca to catch me, even knowing what he’s capable of. An enforcer. A fighter. The only language he speaks is violence.
How far will he go to find me?
What will he do once he does?
A wild glance over my shoulder. The shadows are moving. I’m about to find out.
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He gestures to the bed. “What do you think is going to happen tonight?”
That’s a loaded question. I don’t want to whisper my fears aloud. I’m afraid I might be right. “Whatever you want?”
My voice curls up at the end, turning it into a question.
He grunts. “Get underneath the blanket.”
This part I’m used to. It wasn’t so cold in Harmony Hills, but I know how to lie on my back, how to squeeze my eyes shut. I know how to stay completely silent no matter what he does.
There’s a soft rush of air as he lowers himself next to me. I feel his size like a looming shadow in the room, as large as a mountain. I’m a trickling valley stream, about to be crushed. Except he doesn’t lay his body over mine. He lies next to me. He pulls me close, until I’m half on top of his body, my head pillowed by his chest.
“Sleep,” he says.
My ear rests right by his heart. I can hear the steady thump thump. In contrast my heart beat’s a mile a minute. My eyes are wide open, looking at the plain white apartment wall. A wall I’ve seen a thousand times but never like this. Never cradled in the arms of a man who could crush me.
I’ve slept with a man before. The proof of that is in the bedroom.
But I’ve never slept with a man before.
I bite my lip. “How—”
“Go to sleep, little bird.”
It’s impossible. He smells like the outside, like ice and pine—with a metallic undercurrent that I think might be blood. His chest moves steadily with his breath. It’s like resting my head on the ocean.
And I never sleep well. It’s not the carpet that bothers me. It’s softer than the whitewashed wood slats in Harmony Hills. The memories haunt me most at night, when my hands aren’t busy, when my mind is still. That’s when I remember what Leader Allen did to me when everyone thought we were praying.
Luca’s hand moves over my hair, brushing softly, petting. The rhythm combines with the motion of his body, lulling me into a kind of trance. His muscles are brick hard. They shouldn’t be comfortable at all, but he’s hot. Burning.A rare comfort in a cold frontier.
I press my face into him, my very own pink and purple pillow. My stuffed unicorn in the form of a hard-muscled man. My hand clenches a fistful of T-shirt, holding him there.
“Shh,” he murmurs. “I’m watching over you. I’ll keep you safe.”
That’s the last thing I hear before the night falls away, replaced only with deep, dark waters. They swirl around me in an endless tide, back and forth, dreamless and warm.
Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance such as the Chicago Underground series. Her books have been featured in Jezebel, Buzzfeed, USA Today Happily Ever After, Glamour, and Elle Magazine. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, two sweet dogs, and one evil cat.