A gripping, star-crossed lovers romance—a modern day Romeo and Juliet story—is out this week from K.K. Allen, and I have a sneak peek for you.
I remained at the cliff’s edge long after the sun fell below the horizon, with my legs hanging dangerously over the edge, until nothing was visible save for a perfect moon and a canopy of stars.
I felt Ridge’s presence before the beam of his flashlight presented itself. Then he sat by my side.
“I won’t tell you how dangerous it is to be out here in the dark. You already know.” He switched off his light and leaned back on his hands.
He was barely visible by the glow of the moon, but I could see him looking at me before I turned my gaze back up to the endless night.
“I never did see the stars last night.”
Silence followed, but I could almost hear his unspoken apology for hurting me before his voice broke through the invisible barrier that stretched between us. “They’re far more beautiful up here than they would have been last night, anyway.”
“I guess five hundred feet makes a big difference, huh?”
“Proximity is important, yes. Without the distractions all around us competing for our attention, everything becomes clearer. It’s like the sky is naked out here. Exposed for only those who wander to see it in all its glory.”
Something inside me stirred. “Is that a subtle reference to me exposing myself to you earlier?”
He chuckled, and my heart swelled.
“Because if so, it’s not funny.”
He looked at me then. He was just a faint outline, thanks to nature’s light, but I could have sworn I could see him clearer in that moment. “You didn’t have to show me your body for me to see you, Camila. I see you. I’ve always seen you. You’ve got to know that’s the problem. It’s why I left. It’s why I’ve stayed away. But I was weak. I wanted to see you again, even though I know I shouldn’t.”
“But why?” My voice was pleading. “Our parents, my age? None of that matters. Not when we share what we do. And don’t tell me that this is all in my head, because I saw the way you looked at me back there. You want me just as much as I want you.”
Adrenaline soared through me at my admission. My boldness had always been part of me, but I’d never begged for a man’s attention before, probably because I had never felt anything so intensely in my life.
“You’re a beautiful woman, Camila.” His voice was husky with unmistakable desire, and my heart raced because of it. “And maybe your age is no longer a factor, but there’s a lot to say about our families.”
“So what if our fathers hate each other. They’ll get over it. We’ve never done anything wrong.”
Fury swirled through me. “It wasn’t trespassing after you invited me onto your land to use as my passing route. I was your guest.”
“You know what I mean. You know it’s deeper than that. What do you think would happen if we did get together? Sneak around like we did to get to the hillside? Go on dates and pray your father isn’t waiting on the front porch with his shotgun?”
“You seem to forget I’m a risk-taker.”
Ridge blew out a breath and laughed. “Trust me, Wild One. I will never forget just how far you’ve tested me in the past. Seems nothing has changed.”
I couldn’t help my smile.
“I’m not saying your feelings are wrong.” His voice was softer. “I’m saying this isn’t our time to explore those feelings.”
Another ache penetrated my heart. “You talk as if it’s just me with these feelings.”
“It’s not. You know that.”
Disappointment and relief combined to create an elixir of confusing emotions. Not even wild horses could outrun the way my heart was galloping. Blood pumped through my veins so quickly that I had to take a deep breath to try to steady my nerves. “Tell me how you feel about me.”
“You know how I feel about you.”
“You keep telling me I know, and maybe I do, but sometimes it’s important to use your words, Ridge. Sometimes you should tell people how you feel.”
“Words mean nothing when I can’t show you.”
“Your words mean everything to me. And I want to hear you now. What would you do differently if our families weren’t at war? Would you want me then?”
“Camila,” he pleaded.
I sucked in a breath, not ready to give up. “Please, Ridge. I need to know.”
An eternity stretched between us before Ridge finally spoke. “I care about you more than I deserve.”
The shame in his tone was as crushing as it was liberating.
“More than a friend,” he continued. “More than time and distance can ever erase. If anything, seeing you again was a reminder of what I left behind. But I had to leave.”