Book Blitz: Captured Love by @Juliana_Haygert! Read an #Excerpt, Check Out Some #Teasers, & Enter to #Win a Starbucks Gift Card & Two #Signed Books!
I drove to Lexington Square, the main park downtown, and the place where Ryan and I kissed for the first time. And many more times. This was the place where the magic had started, and where it ended. This is the place I last saw him before leaving town. This was the place everyone last saw me before I left.
I cut the engine of the truck in a parking space around the park.
The sun was setting. Its orange and reddish rays licked the graying sky, only a few clouds spoiling the beauty. It was a gorgeous view, which made me wonder, where was everyone? Oh yeah, at the bike show, silly me. Bike shows were always the main attraction whenever there was one.
I walked to the northern most point of the park, where a small circular plaza overlooked a fountain. I hid under the shadow of a tree around the circle and sat on the pavement, pulling my legs close.
I inhaled deeply, letting the air carry the memories to me. I needed to feel them, to see them, to swallow past them. But they hurt more than I remembered. They scorched their way into me, into my heart, and I gasped, fighting the tears.
I had been too young, too blind, too innocent. If I could, I would have skipped my teenage years. All of them. Nothing good happened until I went to live with my grandma. There, at my new high school, nobody knew me, nobody knew my past, and I was able to start over, to be someone else, someone stronger, wiser.
I wish I had been stronger and wiser before. Maybe then, things would have been different.
Did it really matter? I had already admitted to myself that I wouldn’t have done anything different, so why lie to myself? Yes, there were days I wanted to change the past, there were days I wanted to forget, but deep down I knew it didn’t matter. If I could go back in time, I would have done everything the same, down to my last mistake.
I just wished Ryan had done things differently. I wished my papa had done things differently too. Which was selfish. Ryan and Papa were guilty, but so was I.
Drowning in my thoughts, I startled when a car cut its lights in the parking spot behind the plaza. I didn’t notice it was dark already, and I didn’t even see it arriving.
Not in the mood to be found, by strangers or not, I squirmed closer to the tree, hoping the shadows would hide me.
The person skulked to the plaza, kicking some loose stones, hands buried inside jean pockets. I noticed, by the larger frame, it was a man, wearing a black baseball cap that covered his head. When he stepped into the plaza and looked at the fountain, I recognized that strong chin and that chiseled jaw.
My heart skipped a beat before hammering against my ribs.
Trying to be sneaky, I crawled backward, reaching for the tree trunk. I wanted to retreat, hide behind the tree, and tiptoe back to my car before he could even suspect he wasn’t alone in the plaza.
Instead, my foot rolled over a loose stone and I slipped, hitting my head and back hard on the cement ground. I let out a raw yelp and pressed my eyes shut as if the action would send the pain away.
“Jessica?” Ryan asked.
While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting--but equally gratifying--life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in Connecticut and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.
Co-founder and contributor at NA Alley (www.naalley.com)
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