Damaged Hearts (MF)
Gillian is a talented tattoo artist working in Miranda Harley's successful tattoo studio, Ink Addicted. She's spent the last ten years trying to forget the traumatic events that ruined her life, her marriage, and broke her heart. She knows she’ll never truly be healed, but she's managed to make a decent life for herself. However, all that is about to change when the man who broke her heart years ago, the only man she ever truly loved, walks into the studio, to start work.
Gillian never really got over Alex, and she never truly got over the night that changed their lives and sent them both on a course of loneliness and heartbreak. But maybe time has healed their damaged hearts and together they can find closure in the kind of love that comes only once in a lifetime...
“Gillian, stay with me.”
I looked up, pulled back from the place I’d been, to find Alex close to me now. I could feel the heat from his body even though we weren’t touching, we were so close. It was familiar and comforting, and I had to tell myself he wasn’t mine anymore, that ten years had passed between us. Even still, right now, it felt like it’d been only minutes.
I tilted my head back and stared up into his dark-green eyes. They’d always mesmerized me, always left me bedazzled and slightly off balance. They were like brilliant emeralds set into a tanned face. He’d aged over the years, but he’d aged in a strong, angular way, his face etched with lines, and a hardness about his jaw that hadn’t been there before. I wondered if his time in service had shown him that there were things in life worse than what we’d been through. If it’d taught him that there was greater suffering in the world, that there were others who hurt as much, if not more, if he’d found a way of moving on from the grief that had destroyed us. I hoped he’d learned all those things, and I was jealous that maybe he had, that he’d found some kind of perspective while I still lingered on the edges of our shared nightmare.
Reaching out a hand, he traced my jaw, his fingers feather-light over my skin. Closing my eyes, I gave myself in to the sensations his slight touch aroused. It was so easy, I thought to myself, as I leaned into his hand, so easy to forget and let myself be taken back to a time, a time before the horrible reality of what had happened to us ever existed.
He said my name almost as if he were in pain, and before I could react, his mouth was on mine. A thrill ran through me from head to toe and I only barely allowed myself to believe he was really here, that this wasn’t just another wishful dream.