Publication Date: 14th February 2015
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance and Young Adult
Hitchhiking is a bad idea but Caden is desperate.
When she accepts a ride from the first car to come by she meets Gabriel. He's her age, hot, and the closest thing she has to a savior. Problem is, he is a total jerk. With nowhere to go, Caden convinces Gabriel to let her stay with him for one night. He reluctantly lends a couch.
That night Caden Wakes up to strange noises. Concerned, she rushes into Gabriel's room, already anticipating his bad temper. Instead, he's kind, sweet, and suspiciously harmless - nothing like the man who gave her a ride. He seems like a different person altogether, and claims he is. By night he is Tom, and by day he is Gabriel. Caden finds herself drawn to the mysteries hidden in his eyes.
For Gabriel, Caden is an annoying mistake. One night turns into many, and despite all his anger towards her, she stays. She even seems to accept him and his flaws, but he still doesn't trust her - is she staying for him, or has she already discovered more than he's willing to share?
Gabriel tossed back the sheets on his bed and got up. Halfway down the stairs he froze. Black ribbons of hair draped of the side of his dirty party couch. It was Caden. He walked down the rest of the stairs and into the kitchen, eyeing her. The curves of her face were soft and pleasant, or something he couldn't find a word for. He quickly turned away from her sleeping form and took out the coffee maker.
It was nearly two in the afternoon.
She hadn't left.
Gabriel's chest tightened at the thought of her staying, at the thought of wanting company.
He despised the feeling. Nothing good had ever come from other people. She would use him. She already was by overstaying her welcome.
Dark liquid streamed into the glass coffee pot. The smell drifted through the air with the warmth that normally accompanied a home. A home he'd never had and didn't want.
He took down a mug, unintentionally gripping it tightly. His hand was shaking. He needed her gone. The last person he'd let into his life had made everything worse with her lies; he couldn't handle that again.
He poured himself a cup, and with a swift movement he brought the steaming mug to his lips and took a gulp of bitter liquid. The heat surprised him, and he pulled back from it as if it had bitten him. Caden wasn't even awake yet, and just being near her made him feel crazy, restless.
"I thought I told you to be gone in the morning. It's nearly two in the afternoon." He spoke loudly, not quite facing her.
Caden rotated slightly on the couch, her opening only part of the way. She look as tired as he felt.
"What?" she croaked.
"You heard me," he snarled through clenched teeth, leaning over her body. "Why are you still her?" As he'd grown up, his parents had given free rent in one of their condos to anyone who would provide childcare for him, He supposed he'd always supplied a roof to strangers in one way or another.
"You asked me to stay." Her voice echoed her helplessness and uncertainty.
"Last night," Caden said, rubbing her eyes.
Heat was rising in Gabriel. Pain and disappointment overwhelmed his senses. She was lying. Just like everyone he'd ever know. The force of his anger was like a wrecking ball in full swing.
Ceramic exploded against the wall, fragments flying across the room. He'd done that. The brown drips of coffee streaked down the white wall by the door. Gabriel looked at his empty shaking hand and clenched his fist tightly together.
"You're lying," he said as he looked down at her. this was her fault; if only she had just left like he told her to. But he didn't want her to leave; that was the worst part. The tension came back, the numbness creeping in and propelling him forward. He couldn't be near her, not now. The only thing he could do was leave. He walked briskly to the door before he changed his mind.
Caden watched the door tremble as it was slammed closed. Gabriel was gone. "You asked me to stay," she stammered the whisper, her heart pounding in her ears, but no one was there to hear it.
During the daylight hours, a book is always within reach. She spends her night reading with her husband, surrounded by towers of tomes and three furry children curled in close. If she isn't reading, she is browsing bookstores or hiking, but always awaiting her next adventure.
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