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Read an Excerpt
“Tell the others we’re going.”
She nodded, then winked. I grinned back as Ethan pulled me away. We hurried through the crowd, Ethan leading the way as he gripped my hand. His long legs were striding and I struggled to keep up.
“You in a hurry?” I asked.
He turned to me but didn’t smile. Instead, he kissed me, and my toes curled.
When he closed the door, he stood in front of me and pinned me to the car with his hips as he kissed me again. I could kiss this man forever. His strong, steady rhythm was demanding, and I willingly followed his lead. I put my hands in his hair, loving the soft feel of it between my fingers. Like on the dance floor, our kiss took on a life of its own.
When he buried his face in my neck and sucked right below my ear, I wondered if I would survive. “Ethan, honey, you’re killing me. I hope you have a lot of condoms.” He chuckled at my neck. “I’ll buy a box for next time.” It took me a moment before I realised he wasn’t moving anymore. “Ethan?” I whispered.
“Do you want a next time?” His voice was rough.
He shifted to look at me, and I didn’t know if it was a trick question. “Of course.” I smiled, although the protracted silence had my stomach starting to drop.
Realization hit me like a slow-moving truck.
“I can only give you tonight.”
“Why?” I didn’t like the sound of my voice. It was small and fragile. He didn’t answer, but he looked haunted. He wasn’t going to answer me. “You only want tonight?” I still hoped I was reading this wrong.
When he nodded, I felt something break in me. Something I had pretended was strong and secure.
“I can’t do that,” I whispered. “Not with you.” My voice cracked under the weight of unshed tears. I couldn’t let it happen again. I wanted more.
“Mia…” He moved back, his hands still on my hips.
We were still close, but not.
“I don’t do well with one-night stands. There isn’t anything wrong with them, but I’m not built that way. Especially when I… care. I can’t turn my feelings off and I don’t think I should have to. I like you, Ethan, and I want to be with you like this and like we were today. I want more than sex, and I thought you wanted that, too.” By the end of my speech, any effort to hide my tears was futile.
“I can’t give you that.” He moved back, breaking our connection completely.
“You mean you won’t.”
“It isn’t like that.”
He reached for me, but I moved to the side.
“It’s exactly like that. I should’ve known better.” I righted my clothing and pushed off the car. I’d made it two steps before he grabbed my elbow and turned me around.
“Trust me. I don’t want to hurt you.” His expression was full of pain and grief.
“Too late.” I pulled out of his hold.
This time, he let me.
About the Author: As a girl growing up in Australia, Laura was lost in the world of Anne of Green Gables and Little Women. During high school, volleyball dominated her life. There had to be something positive about being 6’1” with red hair. Representing Australia from a young age she eventually took a scholarship at the University of Iowa. Living in America and being a full time athlete in a college town was an eye-opening experience and lots of fun (from what she can remember). #gohawkeyes
Returning from the States, her career took a different turn as she started working at the Red Cross and completed her Masters of Law in Human Rights. As one of the few non-lawyers in the class, her essays were far more floral than the rest, something that caused the discerning professors to shake their heads. Through working and studying, she realised there are other ways to win hearts and minds.
While she’s spent the last 14 years as an advocate against poverty and homelessness, the desire to change the world through storytelling has only got stronger. She now lives in the Alpine Valleys of North East Victoria, Australia with her husband, daughter, son, two dogs and seven chooks. When she’s not doing the whole mum thing, working at a homelessness agency, renovating her farmhouse, or trying to do laundry bleary-eyed at midnight, she is writing.
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