This week on First Sight Saturday, I welcome Rebecca Paula with her New Adult romance, Everly After. Rebecca’s fun fact is that she lived in a Dutch castle for four months during college, complete with a moat and tower.
After being kidnapped while on assignment in Afghanistan and forced on sabbatical, war correspondent Beckett Reid follows his friend into a Paris apartment for a party. The noise is too much for Beckett, so he climbs up to the roof where he meets Everly, an American heiress with demons of her own.
“You want to get out of here?” I’m not sure why I bother. She doesn’t trust me enough to even share her name.
Her shoulders shake in a small shiver and her feet stop swinging. She breaks our staring match to gaze back out over the city.
Around us, life continues. Things move forward. But the two of us are suspended, waiting.
“I wonder what it would be like to fly,” she whispers. She doesn’t say any more, doesn’t answer me. She just throws out a question like that and lets it sink into the darkness between us with its uncomfortable heaviness. Her hands grip the ledge and she bends forward, her weight resting on her thin arms. She looks as if she might push off and test her question, like she believes for a minute she has wings.
“What would your last thought be if you fell?” She nods toward the street below, suggesting a fall from this building—a fatal fall.
Her face is a mask of peacefulness, but I know the truth. I’ve spent too many years reading people. Too many years deflecting other’s opinions of me and my circumstances. The boy with the sad story.
“There wouldn’t be time,” I say. “It would be over before it even began.”
“It wouldn’t have just begun.” She faces me, the corner of her mouth tipped up in a smug smile. Her fingers run through her hair, tussling it until I smell her perfume—pears and vanilla. “Sure, I’ll go for a walk.”
I don’t want to leave with her anymore but I don’t think I should leave her alone either. Her question still rings in my mind and the damnedest thing is that I can’t think of an answer.
I pull out my phone to text Ollie that I’m bailing when she grabs it away.
“What are you doing?
My hand flexes as I push down my temper. “Texting a friend.”
As I soon as I explain, she shakes her head, a dry laugh pushing over her lips. “Of course.” She waves me off, then hands it back to me. “Sorry.”
Obviously she’s a bit skittish. And untrusting. I should head out without her, but I can’t when she looks at me again. There’s too much about her I don’t know. She spins around, crouching on her haunches, nothing behind her except a yawning distance between this building and the next. And the street far below.
I wait, stuffing my hands into my pockets, fighting back the urge to hand her down from the ledge. She’s not the type to want help. I’m not the type to offer. Usually.
But when she swings her legs out to step down, her knees graze the brick. The knobby curve of one beads with blood, her skin scraped raw.
She’s quiet, staring at her knee as if she can will it from bleeding. I’m not sure why I do it or why I care, but I step forward and lift up the edge of my T-shirt and press it against her knee, soaking up the blood. She keeps her head tucked down and her hands at her side as I inch closer. My free hand settles by her hip, her hair brushes against my arm.
“What’s your name, pet?” My words are barely a whisper.
Her fingers hover above my hands on her knee. I keep my eyes anchored there as she slowly entwines them with mine. That spark people talk about when two people touch—apparently it’s not a heap of shite because it happens and I don’t know what to do when it does. I don’t know anything. Why I’m here with her. Why we’re not kissing. My name.
Buy Links: (Everly After is available for pre-order and will be released on October 21.)
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Rebecca and I look forward to your questions and comments. Come back every week for a new first meeting excerpt from a fresh author on First Sight Saturday.