A stolen glance across a darkened restaurant. A kiss under the Italian moon. A proposition I never would have made in my former life. Our story began just like all fairy tales do…
Once upon a time.
Once upon a time, a mysterious, passionate man opened my eyes to things I’d been blind to, my heart to feelings I never thought imaginable, my mind to endless possibilities.
Once upon a time, I experienced something I didn’t think existed in real life.
Once upon a time, I learned how to fly.
Little did I know it was with broken wings. Ones that were irreparable after a lifetime of being caged.
How can I love a man who would lie to me so recklessly?
How can I give him my heart when experience tells me to keep it guarded?
How can we have a future when he’s still tormented by his past?
The Bible teaches us that “Love is patient. Love is kind.”
Now I know that love is a farce, a sham, the two of us merely players in its cruel pantomime. For ours isn’t a love story with a happy ending. Ours is a tragic love. The kind of love that leaves a permanent scar on your heart. The kind of love you never get over.
I shoved him over and over, banging my fists against his chest. He did nothing to discourage me. With every strike I made, he delivered a self-inflicted blow of his own.
“I deserve it! Give me your pain! Your anger! Your hate! I’ll take it all!”
Screaming in frustration, I pushed away, my chest heaving. I peered at him through bitter eyes, my fists clenched. “You screwed me.” I shook my head, my expression heavy with disgust. “We did all those things, and you were lying to me the entire time.”
“No!” he declared passionately, closing the gap between us, his face just inches from my own. I made no move to retreat, still addicted to the heat of his body so close to mine, despite his lies. “I may have left some things out, but I never lied to you.”
“Bullshit,” I spat. “All those lines about fate bringing us together—”
“I meant every word.” He clutched my face in his hands, the fire in his gaze rendering me speechless, powerless to move, to look away…to hate him, regardless of how much he hurt me. “Every. Fucking. Word.”
He crushed his lips to mine, his tongue plunging into my mouth as he pulled my body flush with his. I stilled, taken aback by his unexpected invasion. I didn’t want to feel the fluttering in my chest, the tingle on my skin, the yearning in my core. I tried to fight it, to tell my brain I didn’t want this, that I only came here to get answers, then leave. But as his lips moved against mine, his hands caressing me, his arms around my body, making me feel more cared for and desired than anything ever had, I could no longer resist the enigmatic pull Dante had on me. I cursed my traitorous body for succumbing to his touch, for being so easily manipulated by a man who lied to me.
T.K. Leigh, otherwise known as Tracy Leigh Kellam, is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Beautiful Mess series, in addition to several other works. Originally from New England, she now resides in sunny Southern California with her husband, beautiful daughter, and three cats. When she’s not planted in front of her computer, writing away, she can be found training for her next marathon (of which she has run over twenty fulls and far too many halfs to recall) or chasing her daughter around the house.
T.K. Leigh is represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret Literary Management. All publishing inquiries, including audio, foreign, and film rights, should be directed to her.