The third book in Roan Parrish’s phenomenal Riven series is releasing next week, and I’m SO excited to share a little sneak peek with you. This author’s flawless prose and meticulous character development are just two of the reasons I simply adore her slow-burning romances, and this series is a perfect starting point if you’ve never experienced the beauty that is Roan Parrish’s writing. Each book in this series can be read as a standalone.
Huey was standing outside when I got to the address. When he saw me his eyes were bright and he almost smiled, which was his version of a happy face, and the second I reached for him he drew me into his arms, like maybe—just maybe—he’d missed me too.
He always smelled aggressively clean and warm, and tonight a slight chemical smell clung to him. I buried my face in his shoulder, wondering how long I could get away with staying there. My heart pounded with relief at the feeling of his arms around me.
Huey was gruff and terse; he had no phone manner and didn’t do small talk. He seemed totally self-contained and strong enough to handle anything the world threw at him, all of which made me nervous and self-conscious . . . but, fuck, I liked him, and it would feel so good if he could comfort me.
I pressed my face tighter to him, trying to find a way of asking that didn’t sound weak. Huey’s hands were gentle on my hair.
“What’s wrong, sweetheart?”
His voice was low and gut-wrenchingly gentle on the endearment, and to my utter mortification, I started to cry. On the street. In front of what seemed to be a bar.
Huey made a low sound, and walked us away from the door and around the corner.
“Shit,” I said, wiping at my eyes. “I’m sorry.”
Huey dismissed my apology and peered at me intently.
“What’s wrong? What happened? Are you hurt?”
His hands skimmed my shoulders and ribs and landed on my hips, like he was checking me for injury.
I shook my head, trying to find the piece of my whirling thoughts that would answer his concrete question.
Sofia hardly comes home anymore. I know she’s busy and they’re getting ready for the tour. And why would she wanna come home to our shitty apartment when she could stay with Coco in her nice place? I’ve never been without her. We’ve always been a team. I’m really happy for her, I swear. But I just . . . I don’t . . .
“I don’t like being alone.” It fell out of my mouth, choked and scared, and I felt pathetic.
I couldn’t bear to look at Huey in case his face said he thought I was as pathetic as I did. I leaned against the wall, dropped my chin, and examined the dirty pavement. Someone had dropped a glitter pen and it had been stepped on, blue pearlescent ink smeared on the cement.
Huey made an unfamiliar sound of comfort and his hand slid to the back of my neck.
“Last night I woke up and . . . I couldn’t breathe and my heart was racing, and I felt like I just don’t know how to do anything if it’s not for Sof or my mom or the kids or . . . or . . . Fuck, I don’t know.”
“Sounds like you had a panic attack,” Huey said, voice matter-of-fact but fingers gentle in my hair.
“I’ve never . . . Nothing like that has ever happened to me before.”
“’S scary,” he said simply, and took my hand.
I nodded, tears running down my cheeks. It had been scary. So fucking scary, and somehow just having him acknowledge that made me feel better. I wondered if he was speaking from experience.
Huey pulled me against his broad chest.
“You’ve always taken care of your family,” he said. “Of your sister.” He ran his fingers through my hair. “Do any of them take care of you?”
He asked it so simply it broke me open.