Title: Heartfelt Lies (Undone #2)
Author: Kristy Love
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 8, 2015
Loving Cassie was effortless.
She was a thirst I couldn’t quench.
She was everything I needed, but nothing I deserved.
I failed her more times than I could count.
I lied relentlessly.
And she always forgave me.
Until she couldn’t.
Maybe I deserved to be left behind.
* * *
Jax swept me off my feet with his disheveled hair and his easy smile.
I loved him fiercely.
He made me believe in the fairytale.
Then the walls crumbled around me.
The lies never ended.
I left him behind. I had no choice.
I mourned the loss of him.
But I moved on.
I created a new life, Now, I was marrying someone else.
Where do we go now that he’s back?
The engraved invitation I held was heavy in both my hand and my heart, but it confirmed I had the right address. I examined the church before me with a sigh.
It all came down to this.
Cars parked and people streamed inside. I hung back, leaning against a tree. I’d hoped I would catch a glimpse of her, but she must have gone inside before I got here. Everyone was dressed in their nicest clothing and chatted amongst themselves, enjoying the day that was sure to be filled with happiness and love.
Only my heart was being slowly ripped out of my chest.
People stopped filtering into the church—there was no time like the present. I slipped inside; maybe no one would notice me.
Excitement filled the interior, creating an almost audible hum. I went down a hallway to see if I could locate her. When I spotted women dressed in dark purple dresses, my heart sank. I had found her.
As the ladies talked and giggled, I pressed myself against the wall, praying they would be too caught up in their excitement to notice me. They walked right by me as though I were a decoration. When they were out of sight, I continued down the hall until I saw the sign on the door. Bride‘s Room.
I’d known what to expect, but it didn’t help. I was devastated all over again.
This should have been our day. She should be getting ready to walk down the aisle to marry me. Not whomever had been holding her in his arms instead. If only I hadn’t been such a disaster, it could have been me.
I rapped on the door and looked up and down the hall to see if anyone would come and interrupt me.
“Come in,” she called from the other side of the door. My breath caught in my throat. It had been five years since I heard her voice. I closed my eyes and gave the knob a slow turn, opening the door just enough for me to slip inside.
My heart stopped and my lungs failed when my eyes fell on her. She was facing away from me, watching through a full length mirror. When she saw me, her eyes widened and she gasped. She wore a tiara on her head that caught the sunlight from the open window and a veil that fell down her back. Her long, red hair hung in curls. Her dress hugged her body in an amazing way and it was hard to look away. She was still as gorgeous as the day I last saw her. Her blue eyes still captivated me. It was like no time had passed and she was the same girl who stole my breath from the moment I first laid eyes on her in the diner.
If only I was strong enough back then to hold on to her.
“Jax,” she said, and turned to face me. Her hands flitted down her dress, smoothing the fabric. “What are you doing here?”
“I came for you,” I said, stepping closer to her. Her eyes filled with tears and she shook her head.
“You can’t be here. Not today.”
“Cassandra.” She winced when I said her full name. It felt wrong, too intimate to call her Cassandra after so many years apart. “Cassie, you can’t marry him.”
“You’ve been gone for years, Jax. Years. I’ve moved on.” She tried to sound convincing, but her voice wavered. That little bit of hesitance gave me the courage to tell her what I came to say.
“Please, please don’t do this.” I moved in closer until I could touch her. Running a finger down her arm, feeling her skin, the same electricity that was always between us sparked, and goose bumps popped up on her flesh. She closed her eyes as though she were in pain, yet her body swayed toward me. I took her face between my palms, running my thumbs over the soft skin of her cheeks until she looked up at me. Her eyes were full of regret and tears.
“I’m getting married today, Jax. You can’t be here.” She said the words, but her body pressed closer to mine until only a breath separated our lips. Her eyes seemed to plead for me to take her away and also to leave. She was torn, wanting me and pushing me away at the same time.
“You don’t have to get married. You could leave with me right now.”
“I can’t. My family is here and his family is here and I can’t just leave. What about Ben?”
Of course her first thought would be about her son. “We can leave through the back and I’ll call my sister. Ry won’t mind grabbing him and meeting us wherever we go.”
She closed her eyes again and tears leaked down her cheeks. I brushed them away with my thumbs. When she opened them, I could see the pain and uncertainty circling there. My eyes dropped to her lips and she parted them, pulling her full lower lip between her teeth. I met her gaze, where desire swirled with the uncertainty and pain.
That was all I needed. I closed the distance between our lips, and her eyes slid shut. A small sigh escaped her. I pressed my lips gently against hers, reveling in the warmth and the perfection of her mouth. She deepened the kiss, her tongue stroking against my lips until I opened them. Her hands slipped into my hair, holding on tightly, as though I would disappear. I held her face between my hands, not wanting to let her go, afraid of what would happen when this moment ended.
She moaned and pressed closer to me until her body was melded to mine. One of her hands dropped down and grabbed the waist of my jeans, pulling me to her. Her body still felt familiar as I slid one of my hands down her torso and gripped her waist. Our lips moved in a frenzy as we clambered to get closer to one another. The need for her was almost painful. It had been five years since I held her this way and tasted her. I wanted more. I wanted to devour her and make it so she wouldn’t want to leave. I knew, somewhere in my heart and mind, that once our lips separated, the moment would be over.
As her hands tore at my shirt, trying to get underneath it, someone knocked on the door.
“Cassie?” a woman called through the door. She pulled away from me and I felt the loss of her immediately. I wanted to pull her into my arms and convince her not to let this be the end.
It couldn’t end this way.
“Yeah?” Cassie answered, attempting to catch her breath. She took a few hesitant steps away from me, but her hands were still clenching my shirt, holding me.
“It’s time. Are you ready?”
“Yeah. Just—” she sighed, closing her eyes. “Just give me a minute, okay?”
“Sure. I’ll wait for you down the hall.”
“I’ll be there in a minute.” Cassie’s eyes were full of resignation. They locked on mine.
“Cassie, you don’t have to do this.”
“I can’t leave Nolan, Jax. I care about him.” She let go of my shirt and took a few steps away from me, then turned back to the mirror. She ran a finger under her eyes and around her lips, fixing her slightly smudged lipstick. When she was done she turned back to me and her eyes were no longer churning with emotion. She was surrounded by impenetrable walls. “You have to leave, Jax.”
Pain twisted my heart and my stomach dropped. “Please, Cassie. Just give me a chance.”
“You had your chance. You had years to come back and now it’s too late.”
I moved closer to her as pain made it hard to breathe. She held her hand up, stopping me. “I’m done, Jax. I’m getting married. You need to leave.”
“I love you,” I pleaded. I had to stop her from walking out the door and out on me. I felt her slipping through my fingers again, but this time I would fight for her. She gasped and her eyes widened briefly before she caught herself and her walls rose again.
“If you won’t leave, I will.” She walked to the door, her dress rustling with her movements. Before she opened the door, she bowed her head, her back still to me, and she rested her hand on the doorknob. “Goodbye, Jax.”
She opened the door and stepped out, leaving me behind.
I stood in the middle of the room, still feeling her skin under my fingers and her lips against mine. I replayed her voice over in my head, aching to have her come back, but I knew I had lost.
I had lost my reason.
Time lost meaning as I stood there, staring at the door and feeling the loss of her. Somehow, I found my way out of the room and then the church. Once I was in my truck, sadness overwhelmed me and I rested my head against the steering wheel. For the first time in years, I craved the oblivion alcohol gave me. Something, anything, to make this pain more bearable. But I had fought too hard for my sobriety to ruin it. Without hope, though, I wasn’t sure what the point was.
I put the car in gear and drove slowly away, but I was leaving a huge part of myself back in the church.
Author Bio: From the time she was old enough to form words into sentences, Kristy Love has been writing stories. She attended La Roche College and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Writing. When she’s not writing, Kristy can be found with her nose stuck in a book or spending time with her family and friends.
She lives with her husband and two girls in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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