A second chance romance with all the feels is coming next week from author Jeana E. Mann, and I have a sneak peek for you. This book was previously released as Monster Love, but this new edition contains brand new content.
One minute, we were staring at each other and the next minute, I was launching myself through the water. He grabbed the hair at the nape of my neck as my arms snaked around his shoulders. I opened my mouth, eager to feel those beautiful lips and his tongue dancing against mine. His fingers tightened in my hair. I hissed at the forcefulness of his possessive grip. Before my mouth found his, he yanked my head back, forcing my gaze upward. His eyes were dark, glittering, and threatening.
“I’m not the same guy, Stella. You don’t know who you’re messing with. You don’t know who I am now.”
“I don’t care.” I tried to break away from his hold to claim his taunting lips, but he held fast to my hair. “I know who you were an that’s all that matters.”
“You should care. The boy—the one you knew—he died in that prison cell, and he’s never coming back.”
My heart ached with a pain greater than anything I’d ever felt before. “You blame me. I get it. I blame myself. It’s okay if you hate me. I hate me too.”
“I’d do it again if it meant keeping you safe.” He released my hair, but he didn’t deny hating me. With gentle hands, he pried my arms from his neck and put distance between us. The little girl inside me folded on herself. Everyone abandoned me eventually. My parents. Michael. And now Owen. I could take rejection from anyone but him.
The water, which had been refreshing in the beginning, sucked at my legs as I sloshed toward the bank. Owen grabbed my bicep to stop my retreat. His touch seared my skin. Without looking back, I said, “If you cared so damn much, then why did you send me away when I came to see you at the prison?” I broke loose and kept wading. Part of me wanted to hear his answer, but the cowardly part feared what he might say. I’d thought I was over the hurt, but being with him had reopened the wound.
“I had to. If they thought we were together in any way, they might have come after you, and I couldn’t allow that.”
“You don’t know that.” With short, angry jerks, I stabbed my legs into my shorts and yanked the tank top over my head.
“My confession closed the door on the investigation. I took a plea deal for a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter instead of murder. They were satisfied to have a member of the Henry family in custody.” The water hissed and splashed as his footsteps followed me.
I retreated a few paces toward the house then turned back to him. The hurt and anger I’d been repressing for the past eighteen years exploded. I shoved him. Hard enough to make him stumble, but he regained his balance and held his ground. “It was a stupid thing to do. Stupid.”
“Don’t talk to me about stupid. I did what I had to do, and because of me, you’ve got a beautiful life.” His words brought me to a complete standstill. My mouth dropped open. I placed a hand on my chest, feeling like all the oxygen had been sucked out of the air. He stepped into his boxers and pulled them up to his hips before capturing my gaze. “You were always destined for greater things, and I knew that.” His voice dropped, becoming tender, underscored by sadness. “Look at you, Stell. You came from nothing, and now you’re a great photographer. You’ve circled the globe.” He took a step forward to sweep a tendril of hair from my temple. “I’m proud of what you’ve accomplished.”
The anger melted from my body. I stared at him, flexing my fingers, warring between the desire to punch him or kiss him. After a beat, I growled, releasing my frustration, and shook my head. “You broke my heart.”
“Then I guess we’re even,” he said.