Excerpt (Cole is in Eden's bedroom while she's pretending to sleep):
Another pause. Another deep breath.
“I’ve been alone for a long time, and not once have I ever felt lonely. Bereft, yes. Angry, hell yes. Bitter, remorseful, hopeless, yes, but never lonely. Not until you. You changed everything. And I was so caught up in you–in the way you respond when I touch you, in the taste of your body, in the sound of your voice–that I didn’t think about tomorrow. Or even yesterday as much as I used to. Most days I’ve thought of you more than Charity. And I wasn’t prepared for that. I wasn’t prepared for you. Because of that, I’ve handled it all so, so badly.”
I hear his shaky breath. I feel his sincerity. I want it to matter. But it can’t.
“Please forgive me. I’ve hurt so many people, but I swear on my life, I never meant to hurt you. I hope you believe that.”
Another pause. Cole is quiet, his breathing heavy. I keep mine even, continuing the ruse. I can’t let him know I’m awake. I can’t have him here, in my bedroom, so close and so sincere, and expect to resist him. I need time. And distance.
I feel him lean back, pull away. I hold perfectly still.
“I’m twenty-nine years old and you changed everything for me. You made me want to laugh and love and live again. You made me feel when I didn’t think I could feel anything anymore. I just wish I could’ve been whole when we met. I wish I could’ve said the right things and done the right things. I wish I could be the type of man you deserve. I wish I could be the kind of man you could love.”
I hear him shift and then I feel the feather-light brush of his lips on my forehead, the tip of my nose, the curve of my cheek.
“I know you’re awake. And I love you,” he says quietly, his mouth near my ear.
I open my eyes and meet his. They’re dark and fathomless in the shadowy night. I say nothing. He says nothing. We just stare at one another, memorizing lines and shapes, angles and planes.
And then he stands and walks away.
My heart doesn’t start beating again until he closes and locks the door behind him.