Title: Kiss Me Again
Series: Star Crossed Love #1
Author: Vivian Wood
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Once upon a time, I believed in fairy tales.
I thought he was my Prince Charming, even though Grayson was tall, brooding, and from the wrong side of the tracks...
At fifteen, he swept me off my feet.
At twenty, he shattered my heart.
When I finally dried my tears, I became a new person.
Hardened. Untouchable. Impenetrable.
Until one day, like magic, Grayson reappears. All my old scars start to ache.
Heâs different, too: haunted. Brooding. Damaged.
Weâre both scarred by our past and yearning to escape our present.
He protests my presence even as he kisses me under the starry sky, but itâs no use.
Iâm not falling for that again - not for his glances that make me weak in the knees, not for his smoldering touches that make me tingle with need.
Heâll just disappear again, leaving me broken and alone.
Thatâs why I have to guard my heart - and never, ever fall for Grayson again.
Even though heâs wildly tempting. I canât forget the way his touch felt, the heat of his lips against my skin.
And I know what we could be togetherâ¦ if he doesnât shatter my heart again.
Grayson and I are star crossed. Our lives are chartered for two separate courses.
And yet even the stars fall sometimes...
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I dip my paddle into the lake, testing out how it works.
âNo, no,â Grayson says. âYou are doing it wrong. You want to go with the water. Lookâ¦â
He picks up his own paddle and dips it in the lake, moving it smoothly. I try to copy his movement, but he just sighs loudly.
âNo.â He demonstrates again. âYou are going against the water. If you expect to get anywhereââ
âAlright!â I say through gritted teeth. âItâs my first time. Just let meââ
I stroke my paddle in the water. Grayson explodes.
âYou still arenât doing it right! How hard can it possibly be to follow instructions?â He grabs the end of my paddle, exasperated. âJustââ
âLet go!â Heâs pushing me close to the edge. I can feel my temper starting to balloon up. Gripping my paddle, I rip it from his hands.
Anger flares in his eyes. âYou are soââ
âWhat is your problem, Grayson?!â
Heâs already got a response loaded. âYou are my problem! What in the fuck are you even doing here, Rachel?â
âI could ask you the same thing, but you would probably not have an answer,â I grind out. âAgain. I generally donât like to repeat my mistakes.â
He bristles. âAre you saying that I was a mistake, then?â
I narrow my eyes. âThatâs not what I meant, butâ¦ yes. My motherâs right about you.â
As soon as the words are out of my mouth, I wish I could take them back. My mother said a lot of hideous things about him while we were together. How is he supposed to know that Iâm referencing something she said when he was already gone?
Grayson gets this wounded look in his eyes for the barest second. Watching it is like being slapped in the face.
âI didnât meanââ
âEnough.â He glares at me. âJust use your fucking paddle like a normal person, okay?â
He stands up and carefully turns around, so that heâs facing away from me. He dips his paddle in the water and starts rowing wordlessly. I mimic him and he switches to the other side of the canoe with a heavy sigh.
We actually move pretty quickly then, especially since we are not communicating. I realize that I probably should have stopped back on the shore for a sample of water, but I guess we can stop on the return journey.
I try to breathe and paddle in time with Graysonâs mighty strokes. As we leave the shore behind us, I look up at the calm blue sky overhead. Except the sky isnât blue exactly; itâs light gray now, thunderclouds gathering overhead.
Struggling to keep up with Grayson, I watch the sky darken. Itâs definitely about to rain. As soon as I can see the shore on the other side, I see raindrops begin to hit the lakeâs smooth surface.
âShit,â I hear Grayson grumble.
Digging my paddle into the water deeper doesnât help as much as I want it to. The skies open up and dump rain onto us. There is suddenly water everywhere, each raindrop seeming to bounce back up from where it falls on the lake.
When we are almost there, Grayson actually gets out of the canoe, soaking himself up though to the waist. Unsure what to do, I try to stand up. I see Grayson glance back at me and do a double take.
But itâs too late. I tip the canoe over and fall out, flailing awkwardly. The only thing that breaks my fall is the water, which is shockingly cold. Then I am submerged for several breathless seconds, underneath the lakeâs muddy waters.
I feel something move in the water beside me. My heart starts to pound.
Grayson materializes right there, grabbing me and pulling me to the surface of the lake. I gasp for breath. My arms automatically go around his neck as he pulls me toward the shore, dripping wet.
Even though Iâm half drowned, Iâm also intimately aware of how warm the hard muscle of his chest is. He holds me tight, almost uncomfortably so. If everything wasnât happening all at once, I might make some noise about it.
I try to clear my face of my own water-dampened hair. He runs up onto the shore with me in his arms, not stopping for a second. He keeps going until he trots into a little lean-to.
Only when there is something over both of our heads does he stop and breathe. His eyes dart to and fro, scanning the downpour outside. He leans forward and pulls the door closed just a little.
Something about his behavior isâ¦ off, somehow.
âGrayson,â I say, gently putting my hands on his chest. âGray?â
He looks at me as if heâs seeing me for the first time. When he speaks, his voice is oddly quiet. âHey.â
I squirm a little but he doesnât get the picture. âCan you put me down, please?â
There is a moment of hesitation there. I can see in his eyes that he wants to say no. But he lets me down.
And for just the briefest moment, soaking wet and pressed against his warm body, that I donât want him to let me go. I peer up into his eyes and wonder if he ever thinks about kissing me. And he looks right back at me, his eyes glinting blue.
Then he pushes me away. Itâs so silly to feel this way, but itâs like being rejected by him all over again. My eyes mist over and I curse myself for being so weak.
Grayson heads out into the pouring rain and I watch him go, determined not to cry.
Vivian likes to write about troubled, deeply flawed alpha males and the fiery, kick-ass women who bring them to their knees.
Vivian's lasting motto in romance is a quote from a favorite song: "Soulmates never die."
Be sure to follow Vivian through her Vivian's Vixens mailing list or Facebook group to keep up with all the awesome giveaways, author videos, ARC opportunities, and more!
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