A deeply emotional new romance is out this week from Elizabeth O’Roark, part of The Summer series, and I have a little sneak peek for you.
I go to the bathroom before we leave. Beck’s waiting in the lobby when I return, watching me cut through the bar as if I’m precious to him.
When was the last time someone worried about me? When was the last time someone watched me everywhere I went because it mattered whether or not I made it safely? Who even wants me to win aside from him? I start to smile just as a hand grabs my bicep.
I round on the owner of that hand, a spike of irritation surging through my chest. The guy is sitting on a barstool in an expensive suit and grinning as if this move is a harmless flirtation.
If I had a fork on me, I’d show him just how harmless I find it.
“You’ve got about five seconds to let go of my arm,” I warn him.
“Let me buy you a drink.”
This piece of shit deserves that fork to the hand. “I don’t want a drink. Now you have two seconds.”
“Come on,” he croons, with what I’m sure he thinks is a winning smile. “You’ve got—”
His words are cut off by a large hand wrapped around his throat.
“Touch her like that again,” Beck says, his voice quiet and lethal, “and I’ll break every fucking bone in your body.”
The violence, the suddenness of it, shocks me. But the goose bumps climbing up the back of my arms aren’t from fear and neither is that stab of want in my gut.
I’m strung too tight, an instrument that might snap with a single pluck.
Maybe it’s just been too long since I had a good pluck.
And Jesus Christ, I’d like Beck to provide one.
Beck releases him with a shove and the guy pitches backward over his seat. He’s still on the ground, shouting, when Beck begins leading me away with his hand at the small of my back.
“I wasn’t going to accept his offer,” I tell him once we get outside.
He’s got that familiar sneer on his face. It’s dead hot even during moments when I’m not already turned on. “I know you weren’t.”
“Then why didn’t you just let me—”
“Because no one touches you, Kate, without your permission. No one.” He squeezes his eyes shut and pinches the bridge of his nose. “Let’s just go, okay?”
I’m stunned into silence as we climb on the bike.
He defended me. He defended me as if his life depended on it, in a way even Caleb never did—as if I mattered to him more than anything in the world. I have no way to adequately thank him for his misguided, undeserved care, so instead I just nestle into his back more tightly.
Whoever he winds up with is the luckiest female in the fucking world. Men like him come by once in a lifetime.