The first book in a gripping new time travel romance duet is out now from author Elizabeth O’Roark, and I have an excerpt for you.
It hurts. All I wanted from the night was for him to notice me. I’ve got no business wanting that, but I did want it, badly, and he never gave an inch. Instead, he acted like I was a burden, and it reminds me very much of my childhood. Of feeling desperate for a single word of approval or praise or love and only getting a list of what I’d done wrong instead.
I push my door open and climb out unsteadily, leaving the crutches behind.
“Just wait,” he grumbles, turning off the car.
I ignore him, hobbling slowly toward the house over uneven ground.
“Amelie,” he shouts, “just wait. You’re not supposed to be walking out here without your crutches, especially in the dark.”
I round on him. “Don’t worry. My dress is so bright and garish and attention-grabbing I’m sure it’ll provide sufficient light.”
He walks toward me, contrition replacing some of the anger that’s been on his face since we left the dance. “I’m sorry,” he says. “Your dress wasn’t too bright. I shouldn’t have said it.”
I begin to walk away again. “Come on,” he calls. “I said I was sorry. What’s the matter?”
I take a deep breath. I refuse to cry over this. I’ve suffered far worse and I don’t need his approval. I’ve only got a few weeks left here anyway.
“When Marie asked you, not once but twice, if you thought I looked nice, all you had to say was yes,” I hiss. “Don’t worry. I’d never in a million years believe you meant it. But you couldn’t even do that much. And it wouldn’t hurt if you were an asshole to everyone, or maybe it wouldn’t hurt as much…but I saw you tonight and you’re not. You were only an asshole to me.”
He looks uncertain for the first time all night. “Of course you look nice,” he offers.
I slowly raise my eyes to his. Every hope I had for the evening is gone, and it leaves me feeling hollowed out inside, emptied. Even replying to him takes energy I no longer to seem to have. “It would already have been meaningless if you’d said it the first two times Marie asked. For you to say it now because you think I’m upset means even less. I don’t give a shit what you think anyway. It’s just time for me to go home.”
I take the crutches from him and walk inside the house, certain I’ll hear something about my unladylike mouth before I reach my door, but it doesn’t come. Instead he walks up behind me in the kitchen, where not a single light flickers, and places a hand on my shoulder.
“You’re exquisite,” he says quietly. “You’re exquisite when you’re outside feeding the chickens and when you’re in here scrubbing laundry, sweaty and annoyed with me. You took my breath away when I walked in the room tonight…something I assumed you must realize since no one at the dance could look away from you.”
I swallow and turn toward him. His dismissal tonight hurt more than I could even admit to myself until now, and my eyes threaten to well over. He places one hand on my waist and I feel like I can scarcely breathe.
“Then why didn’t you say so?” I whisper, my voice rough. “You acted like you didn’t even want me there.”
He glances between us, at his hand on my waist, at the hint of cleavage rising above the bodice of the dress, and takes a deep breath. “I didn’t want you there tonight because I knew exactly what would happen.”
“What did you think would happen?”
His lips press to the top of my head. “That everyone would discover a secret I wanted to keep to myself,” he says quietly, and then he turns and walks away.