The Force of Gravity(144)

By: Kelly Stevenson


Anxiety shrouds my thoughts as we drive home. I do a pretty good job at maintaining normalcy, even asking her if she wants to grab dessert. She doesn’t, and I’m relieved. As we pull into the garage, she’s quiet. I hop out and meet her on the passenger side, opening her door as she slides out. I take her hand and start to lead her inside.

“Wait,” she says, pulling her hand away. I turn around and she opens the door to the backseat. She gives me a shy smile and runs her hand through her dark hair. “You promised.”

“Now?”

She ignores my hesitation and grabs my hand, pulling me into the back. She’s practically on top of me before I can even shut the door. I still can’t understand her fascination with the Tahoe. As soon as I can afford it, I’m trading it in for an Escalade.

The taste of her lips slowly withers away my stress. She unbuttons my shirt, and I slide my hands up her silky, smooth thighs.

Damn, she’s incredible.

“You feel tense, Slate,” she murmurs as her lips run down my neck.

“I’m good, baby.”

Stan is the last thing I want to discuss right now. And I don’t need her worrying about it. She’s had enough stress to deal with this year. This is my problem.

My big, huge, gigantic, worst-case-scenario problem.

Her lips return to mine as she unfastens my belt, and Stan’s hard stare dissolves in the back of my mind. This girl is worth it. And I’m not just saying that because she’s unbuttoning my pants right now. She’s the most intoxicating woman I’ve ever met without a trace of pretentiousness. She’s funny and charming and down to earth—and much more innocent than she realizes. And these lips—good God, these lips. I never want to let her go. I won’t. I can’t lose her again—no matter what happens. I scoot down on the seat and lean my head back. The tension from tonight’s disturbing dinner quickly fades into the background as I let the most beautiful woman in the world take control.





ACKNOWLEDGMENTS



First and foremost, thank you, God, for your endless amount of love and forgiveness—and for calling my bluff. Your blessings continue to amaze me.

And thank you to:

Darin, for always challenging me to be the best version of myself, for never letting me settle in life, and for never letting me give up. *LFL* You are my rock. And I am in awe of you.

Brandi, for giving me a safe place to write, the courage to dream, and for talking me off countless ledges. Thank you for encouraging me to write this story. OMS!

Brent Kobayashi, for listening to my “impossible” idea for the cover design and bringing it to life in a matter of hours. Your talent blows me away. (And thank you, Bran, for integrating the chalkboard!) You both made my dream a reality.

My wonderful editors and beta readers—Darin Stevenson, Brandi Kobayashi, Camay Rooney, Cheri Rooney, and MacKenzie Allyn. Thank you all for loving this story as much as I do.

Mary Jo Risse, the only teacher who never punished me for daydreaming. . . . Thank you for seeing in me what so many others couldn’t.

My big sister, Camay, for reading to me constantly when I was a child, for teaching me that imagination is limitless, and how even when all your toys have been shipped off to Seattle, an empty room is full of possibilities. I fell in love with stories because of you.

All my friends and family who have supported me throughout this process—you know who you are. More importantly, I know who you are. Your love and support has not gone unnoticed, I assure you. xo

And last, but far from least, a very special thank you to Arizona summers and mathematical unicorns. . . .


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