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Authors: H.M. Ward,Stacey Mosteller

Shadows of the Past

BOOK: Shadows of the Past
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Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Title Page

PREFACE

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 6

CHAPTER 7

CHAPTER 8

CHAPTER 9

CHAPTER 10

CHAPTER 11

CHAPTER 12

CHAPTER 13

CHAPTER 14

CHAPTER 15

CHAPTER 16

CHAPTER 17

CHAPTER 18

CHAPTER 19

CHAPTER 20

CHAPTER 21

CHAPTER 22

CHAPTER 23

CHAPTER 24

CHAPTER 25

CHAPTER 26

CHAPTER 27

CHAPTER 28

CHAPTER 29

CHAPTER 30

CHAPTER 31

CHAPTER 32

CHAPTER 33

CHAPTER 34

CHAPTER 35

CHAPTER 36

CHAPTER 37

CHAPTER 38

CHAPTER 39

CHAPTER 40

CHAPTER 41

CHAPTER 42

CHAPTER 43

CHAPTER 44

CHAPTER 45

CHAPTER 46

CHAPTER 47

COMING SOON

MORE FERRO FAMILY BOOKS

MORE ROMANCE BY H.M. WARD

CAN'T WAIT FOR H.M. WARD'S NEXT STEAMY BOOK?

COVER REVEAL:

SHADOWS OF THE PAST

By:

H.M. Ward

& Stacey Mosteller

H.M. Ward Press

www.SexyAwesomeBooks.com

COPYRIGHT

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2015 by H.M. Ward

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form.

H.M. WARD PRESS

First Edition: March 2015

ISBN: 9781630350680

SHADOWS OF THE PAST

PREFACE

Coming to Europe should have changed things, but I was wrong. It didn’t ease the pain, and the distance only makes me feel alone. The woman I was four years ago doesn't exist anymore. In her place, an empty shell of who I was fakes her way through the motions of living life. Inside, I stay closed off, terrified of opening up to more pain and loss. The shadows of the past drag me under, keeping me constantly gasping for relief.

This time of year, and everything it represents, is horrible. Today is the anniversary of the day my life changed forever—again. Instead of celebrating fourth birthdays and putting ribbons in their hair, blowing out candles, and listening to their laughter, I'm stuck in an endless loop of nothing.

The alarm clock buzzes again. I smack it with my pillow and knock it on the floor where it continues to buzz. Damn. I pivot in the bed and reach down, extending my arm as far as possible. I manage to whack the button, which quickly turns it off. Once again, I’m shrouded in the silence.

After four years as a nomad, I want to forget for just a second. For those first few minutes of each day, it's as if I'm waking from a bad dream. I close my eyes and see their sweet faces, smiling. Then reality sets in and my soul feels ripped apart with grief. The weight at the center of my chest crushes me, making me fight for air.

Images, memories pour into my mind in an unrelenting wave. One thought after another. I relive the nightmare, seeing it behind my eyes every time I blink. Tears streak down my face soaking my pillow. I’m fully awake and…

I remember.

CHAPTER 1

“This is stupid,” I blurt out as I tug the hemline of my way too short dress down. Emily swats at me.

“No, it’s not. You seem out of it lately, and there’s no bloody way I’m letting you sit at home and swallow a bottle of booze. You need to choose a different bad habit before you turn into a wine-o.”

Emily is a sweet little rich girl. Her daddy bought her a flat in London a few years back, and it’s in the perfect location for me—right by Kensington Park. When I first arrived in London a few months ago, I’d wander the park for hours lost in thought.

Then I met Emily.

Now I’m wearing a slutty dress with fuck-me heels. Emily practically yanked my sweatpants off to get me to go out. Now I’m all dolled up with a plan, but my stomach is twisting in knots.

I stop abruptly. “I can’t do this.”

Emily rounds on me, taking my hands. “Yes, you can. One night will help you feel better, and get rid of that sourpuss.” She squeezes my cheeks together and smirks.

I bat her hand away. “I’m not like you. I can’t just walk up to a guy and say let’s do it.”

Emily laughs. “Don't be crass! You don’t have to say a thing; that dress says it all for you.” She arches a dark brow at me. It stands in contrast to her fair skin and pale hair.

“Compared to you, I look like a tramp.”

“You are a tramp—tonight, anyway. Then tomorrow you can go back to be the secretive, sulky flatmate who is going to let me adopt a cat.” She waggles her eyebrows at me.

“Again with the cat thing?” I fold my arms over my chest.

Emily gazes down at my neckline and smirks. “Nice cleavage, but I’m already seeing someone.” I frown and put my arms down, ready to turn back and bury myself in a mountain of blankets. Crying for hours sounds like a great way to spend the night. Okay, maybe not. I’m tired of crying. I feel so consumed by grief I can't remember who I am anymore.

Emily smiles quickly and takes my hand. She’s so touchy-feely. I'm uncomfortable, but I don’t jerk away from her because she’s just trying to help.
 

“Listen, I know today means something to you—something bad. Let’s go in and find some dashing fellow to help you forget, just for the night. And if we don't find a match who meets your standards, we'll both get smashed and wobble home together.”

“Fine, but I don’t do girls.” I’m teasing. Emily changed teams a while back and has a girlfriend.

She nods. “Yes, I know. You’ve told me. Frequently. I won’t hit on you, even though you look delicious in my dress. The last time I wore that…” she touches her fingers to her red lips and giggles. Glancing at me out of the corner of her eyes, she adds, “Well, let’s just say that dress hit the floor fast.”

There’s a chill in the night air and the familiar sounds of London evenings fill my ears. Inhaling deeply, I fall into step with Emily again, heading for the swanky new pub she’s been gushing about for weeks. These heels are much higher than I’m used to, so we walk slowly down the street. At the same time, I’m aware of male eyes sliding over my body in this tight red dress. I’m treated to several smiles and a wink.

As we get to the place, Emily grabs my hand. “Listen, tonight you’re someone else—no names, no contact, no commitment. Just fun. Got it?”

My stomach dips, but my resolve solidifies. “Got it. I’m someone else.” I can do this. I can jump into bed with a guy and roll around, have fun, and then bolt. I don’t need the rest, but something about this prospect makes me feel hollow inside.

I shrug the feeling off and look at Emily. She’s waiting for me to decide if I’m going to do it. At that moment, a man walks up behind us, cutting the entire line. His dark hair and toned body make him look like a model. His gaze is on the sidewalk, and his shoulders hunch forward. For a split second, he glances at me. Our eyes lock and hold. I feel pinned in place, breathless. Emily is still talking, but I can’t hear her. My world flips to slow motion as I remain locked in a staring contest with this sexy stranger.

The shadows under his eyes make me wonder what hell he’s been through. He doesn’t look like the kind of man to get lost in liquor. Everything about him is sleek, put together, and proper. I’m sure that’s who he is, or who he was before whatever made him upset. From the look in his eyes, the pain is raw—still fresh.

He breaks the gaze and disappears through the door. My heart is pounding in my chest, but I’m not sure why.

Emily glares at me with her huge eyes and rams my shoulder.
 

“Hello? Earth to Kayla. Are we going in or not?”

Nodding slowly, I step forward and reach for the door. “I’m in. Help me find a hook-up, wingman.”

CHAPTER 2

For a city that’s older than dirt, what the heck is the attraction to the super modern style? The inside of this place is made entirely of chrome and glass. Silver metal barstools at super sleek, skinny glass tables. There are no linens anywhere, no curtains, nothing soft or warm. The floor is white and pulses under a black light that surrounds the perimeter of the room.

The barstool is a little high for a dress this short and tight. Since the tables are transparent, there’s no place to hide. I feel exposed.

Emily turns to me, swirling the remainder of the drink in her cocktail glass.
 

“I need another. I’ll get you a refill too. Be right back.” Emily slips off the stool and walks like she’s not sloshed, over to the bar.

Music blares as people pack into the crowded space. Pubs and nightclubs seem to be London's only evening entertainment options. Everything else closes after dinner. I wish I were joking. Transitioning from the city that never sleeps to London was strange at first. The long lonely nights sucked. When I first arrived, I got stuck on the other side of town and had to ride back on the night bus. That was scarier than walking through Times Square in the middle of the night when the orange jumpsuits are cleaning up.

God, I was dumb. Speaking of dumb, I should probably call a car to take us home. Just one more drink and neither of us will be able to walk, much less call a taxi without sounding idiotic.

"Hullo." A deep voice comes from behind me.

Based on the other greetings I’ve gotten tonight, this one is tame. I turn slowly in my seat and look over my shoulder at him. It’s the guy from outside. His shoulders are straight, but he still has that kicked puppy look in his eyes.

"Hi," I say shyly, looking up at him from under my lashes.

The guy looks over at the counter and points to my table. “Share a drink with me.”

I smirk. “Since you asked so nicely…”

“You don’t want nice, not tonight. You want a fling, a meaningless sweaty night with a stranger.” The way he says it makes me freeze. “What’s the matter, love? Cat got your tongue?”

I shake off my shock. His audacity prompts a slow smile to spread across my lips.
 

“Great pick up line. Do you use it on all the girls? Or am I special?”

He smirks and slides into Emily's empty chair. Placing one hand on his knee he leans back and surveys me. Pushing his hand through his dark hair, he laughs.
 

“Tell me, American Girl, why else would you be wearing a dress that hugs that sinful body if you weren’t on the prowl this evening? Do you enjoy tormenting the opposite sex? Or are you just afraid of relinquishing control and having a good time?”

My jaw drops and I gasp. “You don’t even know me!”

He scans my body with a smug look. Leaning toward me, he whispers, “I know enough. Your thighs are pinned together as if no man could pry them apart.”

“Well, you certainly won’t.” I laugh, pushing my long dark hair over my shoulder. Then I glance around for Emily, but I don’t see her.

“No, I won’t. I don’t dip my wick in crazy.” He smirks again, showing off that lopsided, lickable smile.

“Neither do I.”

He glances down at my lap and back up to my face. “Really? I wouldn’t have taken you for a man at all. Where do you hide your dick in that dress?”

My jaw drops and I gape. Before I realize what I’m doing, I shove his arm.
 

“That’s not what I meant. You’re a jerk. Go bother someone else.” I stare pointedly ahead but from the corner of my eye, I notice a wicked grin light up his face.

BOOK: Shadows of the Past
3.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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