Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤
Unveiling Ghosts releases in only three weeks!! 😮 And while that feels crazy fast as an author, I know that for a reader it can feel like years 😉 So here’s an unedited sneak peek to tide you over!
16 years old
I was finally going to kiss her. I couldn’t wait any longer. It would be physically impossible to deny myself her lips for another day.
Sherry’s warm hand was in mine and I was praying she couldn’t feel my thumping pulse. I’d buried my feelings for her for so long in the hopes they’d diminish so I could keep my best friend. But it didn’t work. They grew. And I was a fucking idiot to have thought they’d do anything else. Sherry was everything to me. There was no stopping this. Not that I really wanted to, because being in love with your best friend was good as it got.
I just had to hope she felt the same way. That was my biggest fear.
I knew she wouldn’t be cruel. And I knew I wouldn’t be embarrassed about being shut down just for the sake of being rejected. But I’d be absolutely devastated if Sherry didn’t love me as much as I loved her. I’d be crushed and lost because once I put it all out there, there would be no going back. I’d lose the love of my life and my best friend. That was the only downside of being in love with your best friend, you gave them twice as much power to destroy you.
I was more than a little relieved when I felt how slick her palm was, betraying her calm demeanor.
I’d thought about kissing her a lot over the past two years, probably even longer than that, when we were hanging out on her couch or walking down the hallway at school.
Sometimes I made a pledge with myself: YOU MUST KISS HER IN ONE MINUTE. Period.
It never worked; I always chickened out.
Because she was the girl. There was no: there are plenty of other fish in the sea. Sherry was it. There was only one fish, and it was her. And I didn’t know what I’d do if she didn’t feel the same.
I guess I’d just swim along, all by myself in the great, big empty ocean forever.
Okay, this analogy is getting weird…
The point was, I couldn’t keep being around her and not touch her in some way. I couldn’t look at her and force myself not to stare at her lips and wonder if they still tasted like strawberries, like they had two years ago.
I couldn’t pretend anymore.
We weren’t friends.
We’d never been just friends.
Even when we were kids and it was innocent, there was always something more. Not anything to do with sex, but just this general sense of rightness, of belonging to each other.
Maybe that was what a soulmate was, someone you fit with in every way possible.
Now felt like the time when we were finally able to let ourselves experience all of it, and I was done pretending.
“Where are we going?” she asked, her tone light and knowing. We always took the same path, we could probably walk there in our sleep.
“You know where.” I quickened my pace, relishing in the sound of her laughter as she sped up with me. Minutes later, we were approaching the tagged building we had come to know so well.
Sherry brought her hand up and ran it over the familiar graffiti. “I think I could draw these from memory.”
I smiled. Surely it had to be a sign if our thoughts were mirroring one another.
“Me too.” I squeezed the hand still holding mine before, regretfully, letting her go so I could jump up and pull the ladder down.
“C’mon, you go up first. I promise I won’t let you fall.” I was teasing her, but I made my gaze lock on hers for a couple seconds longer. I’d never let her fall, in any circumstance. It felt different now, like I was already begging her to give this, give us, a chance. And when she gave me a small nod and reached for the rung, my hopeful brain translated that into her understanding.
She carefully maneuvered her way up until she reached the first landing. And oh, how I wished this was a romantic comedy where she slipped on the way up and I had no choice but to steady her with my hand on her ass. Why couldn’t shit like that happen in real life?
But no, she stayed steady all the way until she reached the roof. I followed her over and watched as she wandered around. Sherry loved it up here and she was always mesmerized by our small town. Now was no different. I usually joined her in staring out over the city, but right now I could only focus on her.
She turned around, her smile wide. “Why are you staring at me?” she asked, closing the distance and standing in front of me.
“Am I?” I reached for one of her hands and entwined our fingers. We’d held hands plenty of times, but never like this. Never this intimate. I fucking loved it. Her brows furrowed as she glanced down at our hands pressed snuggly against one another.
“I’m trying to figure it out.” My voice was low and serious.
“Figure what out?” she asked, nerves heavy in her voice.
“I’m trying to figure out what’s wrong with you. I mean, there has to be something.” My tone sounded strange. I was trying to joke, take the pressure off, but I was also completely serious.
She rolled her eyes, her lips twitching, before shoving my head backward with her free hand and attempting to walk away from me. “I’m friends with you. That’s something that’s clearly wrong with me.”
“Sherry.” I tugged her arm until her body was within an inch of mine again. Her breath caught and her eyes briefly dropped to my lips. I let out a relieved breath and stood up straighter, that tiny glance giving me confidence.
“I can’t figure it out, Sherry. No one should be this perfect to another person. People think it’s impossible for a person to be perfect, even a person they love. Everyone thinks it. That even when we love a person there are still things that we just… tolerate.” My eyes slowly traced the features of her face. Her crooked nose, the scar above her right eyebrow from when she fell at the park, her lips which were always a little lopsided when she smiled, the freckles scattered across her nose, I looked at it all. I loved it all.
“I’m trying to understand what it means that I look at you and I can’t think of a single thing I’d change. There’s nothing about you I merely tolerate.” I paused, swallowing roughly. I knew I was going to do this tonight, but I hadn’t expected to do it so soon. And what started as a simple kiss was apparently turning into a huge heartfelt confession. Strangely enough, the nerves were the same.
Sherry’s expression was completely open. Her wide eyes were focused intently on mine, and her lips were parted, though no air was passing through them. She was literally holding her breath waiting for my next words.
But I couldn’t force out any more words, not when my lips were begging me to do something else, to do what I’d been wanting for two years.
“Hunter,” she whispered, her breath hitting my face and making me realize I’d inched forward. Both my hands had moved to her waist and pulled her closer. I looked up and asked her the question with my eyes, too afraid if I moved my lips even a fraction all they’d be capable of doing would be attacking her mouth.
Like always, Sherry understood. She read the question easily and gave a small nod of approval. Then she licked her lips and, like a moth to a flame, I went. She was impossible to resist. There was a good chance she’d kill me. That she’d set me on fire and I’d perish beneath her. But damn, that sounded like the best way to go.
Find out what happens next when this releases March 7! You can preorder your copy here 🙂