Title: The Long Way Home
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Re-release Date: 9-14-17
Broken. Shattered. Destroyed.
Healing seems impossible.
I can’t let go of the past. The overwhelming guilt won’t let me. I fight the pain every single day but it’s not getting any easier to carry, and there are days when I wonder if I will ever find happiness.
Or if I even deserve it.
Determined to endure my misery alone, I’ve pushed everyone out of my life, including my best friend, Linc. Now he’s back and he won’t leave without a fight. He’s tearing down my walls and forcing me to face what I’ve kept buried for so long. Because of him, I feel like I can finally breathe again, and there’s a sliver of hope weaving its way into my heart.
Will it be enough to save me from the darkness that threatens to drown me?
Love isn’t always easy.
But it’s always worth it.
Author’s note: The Long Way Home is a new edition of the previously published book titled Sylvie. With the exception of a new cover, blurb, title, and added bonus material all other content remains the same.
There, on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, with nothing more than the low beam headlights guiding our way, we dance. His arms wrap around me and so does his scent, intoxicating and new.
He pulls me closer, our cheeks touching, breaths meeting warm skin while my heart races in my chest. I want him to kiss me. He’s probably kissed tons of girls, good-looking as he is.
Girls who know how to kiss.
Girls who know how to do lots of things I don’t.
He is a man, after all. And I’ve never kissed a man before. I’ve only kissed two boys and their sloppy tongues and groping hands were nothing to write home about.
His fingers press into my lower back before his warm mouth whispers in my ear and my body tingles.
“I’m going to kiss you now, Sylvie.” A rough thumb works back and forth across my fevered skin as he pulls back to gaze down at me, my heart thunders so hard in my chest I think I might pass out. His face is but a shadow in the still of the night, however, there is no mistaking the want in his eyes.
It tugs at something inside of me, calls to me in a way that I cannot fathom.
Then his mouth descends on mine, paralyzing me. I’m not sure what to do with my hands so I let them hang loosely by my side, but the moment he backs me into the front of the truck they gain purchase, fisting in the sides of his shirt.
He tastes of smoke, fire, and desperation. It’s overwhelming, frightening, and addictive—his need for me.
The kiss begins to slow but my blood rushes faster, eager for more.
“Sylvie,” he breathes against my lips.
My panting heart grows sluggish and weak as he brushes his thumb across my swollen lips. His forehead drops to mine, his shoulders tense and tight beneath my hands. Something flickers in his eyes, something dark and mystifying, luring me in.
“You’re going to make me fall in love with you, aren’t you?” Warmth sings in my blood while resolution settles in his eyes. He breathes the words against my lips, a whisper of possibility that has me flying across the star-covered sky.
After we get back from Gwynn’s we settle on the living room couch. Me with a bottle of wine and Linc with his Lumberjacks. We spend hours talking. Sharing memory after memory until we gorge ourselves on the past. There’s something to be said about someone who knows everything about you. All of your embarrassing moments, your dark secrets, every undeniable truth.
The tension crackling between us is so potent I think I might burst into flames, seduced by every smile and word that falls from his lips.
“Remember when we were fifteen and we rolled Mr. Whitehead’s yard with toilet paper.” Linc chuckles, his green eyes sparkling with mischief.
“He was so pissed when he walked outside.”
“We almost got caught because of you,” he says.
“Because of me?”
“Yeah, you squealed like a girl when he flipped on the porch light. If I hadn’t covered your mouth and dragged you to the woods, we would’ve been busted for sure.”
“It would’ve been worth it. Mr. Whitehead was such an asshole.”
He was our high school history teacher, and I swear he had it out for Lincand me. We couldn’t even look at each other without getting into trouble.
We spent a good part of our sophomore year in the hallway.
“That was the first time I ever wanted to kiss you.”
My lips part as he slips the wine glass from my hand and sets his empty beer bottle on the coffee table next to it. He scoots in closer, bringing a new wave of heat with him. His closeness is more intoxicating than ever, more potent.
“When we were crouched down, hidden behind the trees, my heart was racing.” He gently picks my hand up from my lap and places it on his chest, feeling the thundering beat of his heart as he holds it in place. Then he brings his fingers to my cheek, grazing my skin with his knuckles. “Not because I was afraid of gettin’ caught, but because you were so scared. And all I could think about was kissing you, so you wouldn’t be afraid.”
My heart beats harder. “Why didn’t you? Kiss me, I mean?”
“I don’t know, but I regret it every goddamn day of my life.”
He drags a finger beneath my bottom lip, leaving a trail of fire in its wake.
His eyes dart to my mouth, and I watch in fascination as his body grows tense and his breathing picks up.
Beneath my hand I feel his heart gain speed, leaping with abandon toward mine.
“No more regrets, Sylvie,” he whispers just before his lips cover mine.
His kiss is full of promise and strength, unlike anything I’ve ever known. His kisses before were breathtaking, heart stopping.But they all pale in comparison to this one.
This one is built of longing and desire.
Salvation and love.
Moving one hand to the back of my head, he lowers me to the couch where he positions himself on one side. His other hand roams the outer lines of my body, skimming over the parts I desperately want him to touch. His tongue dances with mine, in a tango of heat so hot I’m certain I’ll burn up from it.
“Jesus Christ, is this really happening?”
“Yes,” I breathe.
His hand moves to my neck, angling it so he can kiss me deeper. My hands clutch his shirt as I pull one foot to dig into the couch. I feel like if I don’t ground myself I’ll float away.
“Linc,” I plead. “Touch me.”
He grins against my lips before nipping the bottom one. “I’m touchin’ you.”
I groan. “Please.”
Smiling, he pulls back to look into my eyes. “I don’t know where to start. Part of me wants to take my time, so we don’t miss a damn thing, but the other part wants to ravage you, rip your clothes off, and show you once and for all who you have always belonged to.”
“Yes, I want all of that.”
I barely get the words out of my mouth before he’s doing just that. His hands drop to the hem of my dress, pulling it up and over my head before tossing it onto the floor.
He caresses each breast, giving them a hard squeeze while placing a worshiping kiss on each swell. Dropping hot kisses down the center of my belly, my hands skate through his hair, gripping the strands to encourage his journey. His fingers hook the sides of my panties and his lips follow them all the way down my trembling legs. It’s hard to concentrate on everything at once.
Because all I can think about is how each brush of his lips and touch of his hands fills my soul with redemption.
“Breathe,” he whispers the command softly.
I release his hair along with an imprisoned breath. He rests back on his haunches, pulling his t-shirt over his head, his green eyes roaming up and down my body appreciatively. I squirm beneath his heated stare.
Now that the moment is here, I thought I would be more nervous, more…apprehensive.
But I’m not.
Nothing has ever felt more right.