Authors: Cynthia Austin
Book 3 of The Pendant Series
Written by Cynthia Austin
Copyright © 2015 by Cynthia Austin.
All rights reserved.
First Print Edition: July 2015
Limitless Publishing, LLC
Kailua, HI 96734
Formatting: Limitless Publishing
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.
Thank you for everything
Table of Contents
I stood on his porch, drenched in rain water as I pounded on the big red door. I should have felt silly, showing up unannounced in the middle of the night, but I was too desperate to allow myself to feel anything other than the way I did.
The porch light flicked on and I saw him peek out the window at me, his eyes looked sleepy and I knew I had awoken him.
He opened the door wearing only a pair of dark gray sweat pants and I realized the instant I felt my breath catch, that it was the first time I’d ever seen him without a shirt. Although Adrian was on the thin side, he still had the toned body of an athlete.
I opened my mouth to speak. I was eager to explain my marriage proposal from Ray and I was anxious for him to give me the friendly advice that he had so often shared. Instead, I mutely stood there, staring at his six pack abs.
He looked me up and down, but instead of a smile, his eyes met mine and they held nothing but disappointment. I remained frozen in place, soaking wet, wearing the blue cocktail dress. The look in my eyes was the saddest part of my appearance.
“You went to see him.” It wasn’t a question but more of a statement. A statement which allowed me to see the feelings of hurt and betrayal written all over his face.
Since it wasn’t a question, I didn’t feel the need to answer.
He folded his arms and stood in the doorway, not inviting me inside. Instead, he used his body as a barricade and forced me to remain outside in the cold. As I shivered, he mocked my decision.
“What’d he do to you this time?”
“Nothing,” I whispered. “It was perfect
Adrian grimaced at my response and placed his hand on his hip as he shook his head. “Well, if everything was so perfect, why are you here? Shouldn’t you be living the Hollywood dream somewhere else, like say…in Hollywood?”
He started to close the door but I put my hand against the painted wood. My intentions in going to his house tonight were pure, but my actions and words deceived me. More importantly, they were deceiving Ray.
I began rethinking my decision to run to Adrian.
Why was I here?
Standing drenched, with the dress clinging to my body and my beautiful curls now clumps of tangles, I stared into Adrian’s eyes, silently begging for him to understand my presence on his porch without making me say it aloud.
He wasn’t budging and I knew my window for rebuttal was small. I needed to speak fast before he shut the door in my face forever.
“Why are you here, Sidney?” he asked again though gritted teeth.
“Because you’re my Gatsby, Adrian,” I blurted out. “I was with Ray all night and while everything was perfect, I couldn’t stop thinking about you. Because you’re my Gatsby.”
He wasn’t expecting that response. I pounced on the element of surprise, spouting off before the courage evaporated as quickly as it arrived.
“You told me you hadn’t kissed me because I hadn’t figured it out yet. Well, I have figured it out, so what’s stopping you now?”
I pressed against the door and this time Adrian allowed it to open further.
“I’ve spent every day with you these past few months. I know you feel the same way about me as I do for you. So why haven’t you kissed me?”
I took a step closer but he backed up as if I were a rabid dog.
“Don’t,” was all he said.
I crossed the threshold and entered the big white house and this time Adrian stayed in place. I gripped the hem of his sweatpants so he couldn’t get away from me and looked into his green eyes.
Those pendant eyes.
My pendant eyes.
There was a hunger inside of them but there was also a flicker of sadness he was unable to hide from me. He dropped his gaze to my necklace. Reaching his hand up and twirling the emerald stone in his fingers, he refused to look at me.
I refused to accept his diversion.
I wrapped my hand around his, forcing his attention back to me.
“You’re so busy using Ray as an excuse, but I think it’s because you’re still in love with
,” I pressed, referring to his lost love who shared the same necklace.
This time as Adrian held my gaze I refused to look away. I would rather melt into nothingness than break away from his stare.
“I see the pain in your eyes every time you look at my necklace. I won’t hurt you the way she hurt you, Adrian. I won’t leave you.”
It was as if I were possessed and the words that flowed out of my mouth were not my own. They may have been words I had always wanted to say to Adrian, but I’d never had the confidence to actually get them out.
Not a problem now.
His bare chest was so close to me, I could feel the heat radiating off of his body. I could hear his accelerated breathing. It dramatically changed when I had gotten close to him.
He gasped, “I won’t be able to stop myself.”
I was confused. “Pardon?”
“Once I kiss you, I won’t be able to stop myself,” he clarified.
I took a step closer, this time moving my hands from the waist of his sweats and brushing them across his washboard abs. He was smaller than Ray but just as muscular. I gripped the sides of his waist with both hands ensuring that he wouldn’t escape me. I closed my eyes and summoned the courage inside me to not back out now. I had wanted this for so long and now it seemed he was willing to comply. Our bodies were now touching. It wasn’t possible to get any closer than this. His breathing intensified and I could feel his hot breath on my neck. There was nothing in this world I wanted more at that moment than his lips on mine.
Finally his body responded and he gripped both of my arms and held me close to him, but it wasn’t an embrace. It was more like a warning. One last chance to flee.
“Don’t do this unless you mean it, Sidney. I don’t play games.”
My heart was on fire. “I do mean it.”
His voice was husky now. “Every time I get close to you, you run away.”
“That was the old Sidney. I’m not going to run away anymore,” I assured him.
He moved my body backwards as I retreated against the foyer wall. His right hand shot up, trapping me.
My entire being, emotionally, psychologically, and physically, was now checkmated.
He was testing me. He was making sure I had nowhere to run.
I turned my head to the side and closed my eyes. I could feel his breath on my cheek. He was that close to me.
Breathe, Sidney. Just breathe.
Then, as if he wasn’t close enough already, he took another step toward me so our bodies were intimately touching all the way down.
He needed to hear this. “I’m not fighting it anymore. I’ve wanted you since the first day we met.”
Those words were all it took to have his lips on mine.
And his lips were all I needed to make me realize what I had known all along.
I could fall deeper with Adrian than I had ever fallen with Ray. This much I knew was true, but in order to do so I had to let go of Ray, and even though I was here with Adrian, getting lost in the moment, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to do that. Even as we kissed I was conflicted between the two men; one I had always loved, and the other I was ready to love.
Ray always came back to me but Adrian had never left me to begin with. When the day ended he was still with me.
I had to choose.
Forcing the thought of Ray out of my mind, I focused only on Adrian and allowed myself to get lost in the moment I had dreamt about for months. His mouth was like a stove, and every time it touched my body it sent my blood into a boil. Somehow we bypassed the foyer and I ended up pressed against the wall at the bottom of the staircase. Adrian broke away from our kiss and gripped my face with both of his hands as he stared intently into my eyes. “Your heart may be broken now but if you let me, I’ll fix it. I’ll give you mine.”
I closed my eyes and allowed the words to sink into my brain. No one had ever been this committed to me; I felt if I let him, Adrian could be my everything.
He really was my prince.
“I have this version of you in my mind,” I began. “This version of some perfect guy who knows me better than I know myself, this man who’s incapable of hurting me. Don’t destroy my dream. Don’t let me down.”
Adrian kissed me long and hard. “As long as you stay with me you’ll have nothing to fear.”
I didn’t know if that was meant to be a threat or a reassurance of his feelings for me. Whatever it was, it sent shivers down my spine all the way to my feet.
“What song’s playing in your mind right now?” he breathed.
Without missing a beat, I replied by naming one from his very own playlist. “That Marilyn Manson song, ‘Evidence.’”
Adrian’s lips curved up into a delicious smile as he recalled that tune. “You know that song is a huge warning. It’s got nothing but red flags sounding through it.”
Still struggling to catch my breath I nodded my head in agreement, silently screaming at the room to stop spinning. “The warnings are going off in my head right now.”
Adrian held my gaze, unwavering. “What are you going to do about it?”
Refusing to look away, I promised, “Ignore them.”
“That’s probably a bad idea.”
Before I could respond, Adrian’s lips were once again on mine as he pressed me into the staircase wall with his body.
The warning bells rang out louder now.
This was all happening too fast. There’s only one thing that could happen if I stay here. I need to leave. Now!
At that point, Adrian confirmed my suspicion as he gripped the bottom of my dress and slowly began to inch it up my legs.
“What are you doing?” I gasped.
He answered with a kiss. He pressed his body firmly against me and kissed me deeper. My thoughts began to swirl as I gave in to the kiss I had been waiting for the past six months. I hadn’t realized how often I’d thought about it until it was actually happening and it far exceeded my expectations.
Breaking away and leaving us both breathless, he flashed me a sexy smile and seductively answered, “We’re both adults here. I think you know what comes next.”
And I did know. I just couldn’t believe it was happening. Things were rolling along too quickly here. I had only come here to declare my revelation concerning my feelings for him.
There was a new agenda now.
Placing his lips back on mine he slowly worked to make me lose my reserve. The voice of reason became nothing more than a muffled sound as I accepted my fate with Adrian.
My hands effortlessly swept over every inch of him, as if his body was second nature to me. All second thoughts flew out of my head as I closed my eyes and reminded myself to live for the moment.
That was what I’d been doing for the past six months. With the absence of Ray came the absence of my identity. I had spent so many years wound up in the world of
dream that I had forgotten what it was like to live for myself.
Everything was so bleak after he’d left me that looking into the future seemed to be as impossible as establishing world peace. I counted it a small victory just to get through the next 24 hours, constantly reminding myself to live only in the moment. And now that moment seemed to be making out with Adrian in the staircase of his dead relative’s house.
“Do you want to go upstairs?”
“Okay,” I meekly replied before he lifted me up and carried me up to his bedroom. We fell onto the gray satin sheets and continued where we’d left off…
Living in the moment.
And in one instant he went from being Adrian, my loyal friend who was there to piece me back together each and every time Ray destroyed me; to being Adrian, a man who was completely in control of my body and now possessed the ability to make me lose myself in him.
We made love. It was perfect.