Sometimes when people are in pain they push love away. Tossing the paper into the metal trashcan outside the old brick building, I think of Sebastian and how much he tried to resist.
Pain makes people go to extremes they know are wrong. Carter is proof of that. Sometimes all life will give you is only a tragedy, but if you have someone to love, someone to hold on to, like Daniel and Addison had each other, then life will go on.
We are only men. Not invincible heroes.
And Marcus is just the same.
He’s in pain like all of us. In fear like we’ve all been in. The answer to finding him, to bringing him to his knees lies in the one thing we’ve given into that he hasn’t.
The girl Officer Walsh can’t get over. The girl who ties him and Marcus together…
That girl will make Marcus fall. I know she will.
Seth will find her. He must.
“What’s wrong?” Bethany’s voice carries through the warmth of the April sunshine as her heels click on the sidewalk. Slipping her hand into the pocket of her jacket, she looks up at me and I can’t resist brushing the hair from her face to cup her chin in my hand.
Before I can lean down to kiss her, she grips my dress shirt at the buttons, fisting the fabric in her hands and bringing her lips to mine. Desire ignites and the burn from it diminishes any other thought, any other need.
That’s how it happens. It’s how love conquers. Boldly, without fear, and with a ruling flame that nothing can tame.
Her lips soften the second they meet mine. Her body presses against my own as well. With a hand on the small dip at her waist I pull her closer to me, leaving nothing between us.
It’s only when she pulls back that I even dare to breathe.
“I want to kiss you like that forever,” she whispers against my lips with her eyes still closed. When they open, she peeks up at me through her lashes and adds, “I want to take my kisses from you every damn day.”
A low groan of approval rumbles up my chest as she twines her fingers through mine.
“Now tell me what’s wrong.”
“A little demanding, aren’t you, cailín tine?” A pang of nervousness worms its way between us. Before it can do any damage, I tell her, “I’m considering Marcus’s next move.” I resist telling her the second piece, but only for a split second. With her lips parted to answer me, I cut her off with, “And ours.”
She doesn’t let go of my hands, but she takes a half step back, letting her head nod. Intensity, curiosity, even fear swirl in her gaze. All the while, I wait for what she’ll say, what she’ll do.
“If you need me I’m here,” she finally answers.
“All I need is for you to follow me,” I tell her and lower my lips to hers. Nipping her bottom lip, the small bit of tension wanes. She may not be involved in what I do, but she’ll stay with me.
I know she will. Because she loves me and she knows how deeply I love her.
Moving my hand around her waist, I’ll make sure she never forgets, never questions what I feel for her.
She won’t go a day without knowing. Her head rests against my arm as we walk, her one hand holding mine, the other on top of our clasped hands.
“It’s all going to be all right,” she tells me, although she stares ahead, noting the Rare Books sign in the window which causes her brow to furrow.
The smell of old books is unique, and it engulfs us as we walk deeper into the aisle. The full shelves of worn and previously read books make rows, but the one shelf at the very back is the one she needs to see.
“What are we doing here?” she questions and lifts her gaze to mine, but I only squeeze her hand in response.
“Jase,” Bethany pushes for more, practically hissing my name although her steps have picked up with a giddiness she can’t hide, making me chuckle at her impatience.
When I come to a stop in front of the shelves, she brushes against me and steps forward. I watch her reaction to seeing the wall of thin cream pages.
“They don’t have covers?” she whispers and reaches out, her fingers trailing down the fronts of them.
I watch as she swallows, her throat tensing and her lips turning down.
“These are the books with no covers. No titles. They’re only stories.”
Her eyes glaze over, as I’m sure the Coverless Book comes back to her, a gift from her mother and so much more. We may forget words or details, but the way we feel never leaves our memories. I know that book scarred her in a way I can’t imagine although I’m not sure why.