Author: Sunniva Dee
Publisher by: Independent
Published on: December 17, 2015
Genres: New Adult Romance, Romantic Suspense
Page Count: 312
Don’t judge me.
I am not what you see.
I am the opposite.
—Nadia’s lipstick note on Bo’s mirror.
Indie-rocker Bo Lindgren is worshiped for his looks and musical genius. It’s been lonely at the top since his ex left. Bo will never take a girlfriend again though, because he doesn’t have the chops to love. He knows he’s poison, a heartbreak waiting to happen for anyone he allows too close—like his ex. Bo screws his way through the fangirls until he’s sick of it all. Until the dark gaze of Nadia Vidal appears in the door to his dressing room.
Saved from an arranged marriage by Jude, the love of her life, Nadia eloped and got married at nineteen. But now, two years later, life is wilted, dead, and not what anyone should have to endure.
Nadia, with her secret-keeper eyes and instant understanding of who Bo is, attracts and fascinates him without even trying. The ring gleaming on her finger should keep them apart, but morals can’t always resist destiny.
When brokenhearted meets heartbreaker, whose heart is really at stake?
“Baby,” I croak before I open my eyes. I stretch beneath our sheets, writhing at the sound of the alarm clock. Awakened from dreams colored by our past, my first thought goes to my husband. “Turn it off, babe? Please,” I say.
The alarm keeps beeping, beep-beep-beeping. It’s annoying and chased by my customary just-awake confusion. “Jude, you know how much I hate that sound.”
I’m at home in our apartment in St. Aimo, Los Angeles. Slowly, it registers that the alarm is for me, not him. I turn to face him, whine softly, but he doesn’t give me the response I crave: a chuckle and a kiss while he playfully commiserates with me.
“Oh sweetie,” he usually murmurs. “I’m sorry you have to leave for school. Maybe you should play hooky and stay in bed for a rubdown? I’ll rub… all the way down.”
I always crack a smirk then, reading between the lines. He would leave us mumbling heated words and gasping for air if I surrendered.
Deep in my belly, something contracts. Something bittersweet and beautiful that hurts, because today, again, he doesn’t react.
I slide from the covers and sit on the edge of the bed. My head feels heavy. It needs support, and for a second, I’m struck by how alive my hand is when I cup my cheek with it.
Soon, I find the courage to rise.
The bathroom door is closed, but I go to it anyway. “Do you remember when you first came to our church?” I ask Jude, my words stuttering, sleep-exhausted. I exhale and lean my forehead against the door. “Your eyes were bright with fear as you entered the Heavenly Harbor between your parents. You were lanky, a gangly fourteen-year-old, a little boy big enough to have gotten yourself into trouble.”
My throat produces hard lumps so easily these days. This one I muscle down. I control the sadness accompanying it and let a small smile filter out instead. “Oh Jude baby. We didn’t know then, of all the adventures to come.
“I remember sitting in the pews between Mother and Father, head twisted at the creak of the door. You entered on a lull between psalms.
“I didn’t know. We didn’t know.”
I sniff, an attempt at stanching the tears.
The wood of the doorframe cools my cheek. Presses into it as my memories brighten. “Your skin,” I mumble. He’s quiet behind the panel. The shower has stopped—in our bathroom or in the one above us, I’m not sure. If he’s moving, he’s not making a sound. Perhaps he’s listening to me.
“Fine veins shone blue at your temple beneath your too-long hair.” I snort out a wet laugh. “And the sun reached you through the stained-glass window, spilling the rainbow over your face.”
I roll my forehead to the side against the door. “Funny how your parents picked our church because ‘Heavenly Harbor’ sounded like the right kind of place. They wanted the best haven for you.”
Not long ago, my Jude would have grinned at this. He’d pull me in, golden bangs falling over me and tickling me while he ran his nose up mine. He’d croon, “Oh and weren’t they right. I found my haven—in you.”
I’d push him good-naturedly, not allowing fear of the future to ruin our love. “But you’d be safe at home with your parents if they hadn’t crushed on the name of our church.”
He’d kiss my nose, groan, and say, “Right, and I wouldn’t have a beautiful wife.”
“A child bride,” I teased once.
“Nineteen is a fine age. Get them early.” He winked, knowing well he only held two months on me.
We were young. Married. And so on the run.