EVERYTHING TO ME
To say Harlow screwed up big time is an understatement. She had been young and scared, and she let that fear get the best of her. She left the man of her dreams, the only man to ever love so passionately, so desperately, the only man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with…all because she was afraid of her father’s reaction.
Max had been one of the guest speakers for Harlow’s studies, one of her teachers. She wasn’t supposed to fall in love with him, but who can argue when fate arises?
When she had to leave quickly, Harlow was so overcome by fear that she didn’t even take a minute to think about the consequences of her actions. Not only did she break her own heart by leaving, but also his. Could Max ever be able to forgive her for that?
When he shows up unexpectedly for the big family dinner one weekend, it looks like she might get her chance to find out. Letting go of the fear of her father’s reaction is easier said than done, but if it means having a second chance with Max then surely it would all be worth it, won’t it?
What will happen when the two most important men in Harlow’s life finally come face to face?
But it’s not her father alone she has to worry about. Harlow has a secret. It’s a big secret, an important life-altering secret. If she thought Max wouldn’t forgive her before, now he’ll probably hate her for life. Even if Harlow explains, even if she apologizes, could it ever be enough?
Putting my key in the lock when I reach my apartment, I’m surprised to find the door is unlocked. Did I forget to lock it behind me before I left for my appointment?
Cautiously, I open the door little by little. Peeking my head in once the opening is wide enough, I notice the lights are on in my tiny kitchen. I know I turned those off before I left
The open concept of my apartment allows me to see my living room next.
I jump when I see a person sitting on my couch, but quickly recover as I realize who it is.
Taking a deep breath, I clutch my chest before saying, “Fuck. Dad, you’re gunna give me a heart attack.”
Walking in, I toss my keys and purse on the counter, but I don’t set the ultrasound picture down. I can’t quite let go of it yet. Then I turn my attention to my father who is currently sitting like a statue.
He’s quiet for a long minute. Just staring at me, searching my face.
Does he know? How could he? I haven’t told a soul, aside from my doctor and his staff. I haven’t even told my sister yet.
His expression seems so serious, so intense. My earlier levity evaporates as he continues to stare at me.
“Dad you’re scaring me. What’s wrong?”
Shaking his head, he laughs humorlessly. “What’s wrong? You’re asking me, what’s wrong?”
Confused, I look around the room as if the answer is written somewhere on the plain blank walls of my apartment. Bringing my gaze back to his, I wait, hoping he’ll put me out of my misery and just tell me.
When I don’t respond for another long minute, he sighs heavily. “A father knows when his baby girl is hurting.”
Looking into his eyes, really looking for the first time, I can see the pain and worry there. My minsery is clearly causing him pain.
“You haven’t been the same since you came home. It’s like someone stole all the joy from your eyes and replaced it with a storm cloud so strong it’s pulling you down and I don’t know how to help you. I’d do anything for you baby girl. You just gotta let me in. I can’t help you if you don’t let me in.” His voice cracks as he says the last sentence.
I can’t help the tears that pool in my eyes at the sound. Closing my eyes, I let the tears fall. I know I have to tell him what he doesn’t want to hear. I’m terrified of what he’ll say. What he’ll do. I can’t bear the thought of him being disappointed in me.
The moment he sees my tears, he’s off of the couch and rushing to my side. Wrapping his arms tightly around me, he rocks me back and forth saying, “Shh, I’ve got you baby girl. I’ve got you.”
The dam I had been doing such a good job of holding in place breaks as the comforting feeling of my father’s arms seeps into my cells. “It hurts so much.” I sob into his chest.
His arms tighten around me as my body shakes with each sob. Silently offering his support, he lets me cry until I have nothing left.
Several minutes later, I take a stuttering breath. Lifting my head off of his tear-soaked chest, I sniff a couple of times before looking up. “You may wanna sit down, Daddy.” I whisper before pulling away fully.
Running his thumbs gently under both eyes to clear my tears, my father nods. He grabs for my hand to lead me into the living rooms but the ultrasound picture is in the way. Lifting my hand so he can see what I have clutched so powerfully in my hand, his eyes harden and his jaw clenches as he sees what it is.
I wait as the anger flows through him. The muscles in his arms tighten and I worry he’ll start yelling before I can explain. His chest starts to rise and fall faster as his breathing accelerates. “Who?” He demands through clenched teeth.
“That’s not important.” I say shaking my head.
“The hell it’s not!” He booms.
“I broke his heart.” Taking a deep breath it feels so much more real as I say the words out loud. “I love him and I broke his heart.”
My father’s eyes soften slightly at the pain in my voice.
With the wounds open, I can’t stop the break down from coming in a second wave of agony. My father’s strong arms catch me as my knees buckle, never letting me fall. Carrying me over to the couch, he holds me as I attempt to purge myself of the pain.
Pain I caused.
Pain I’ll have to learn to live with.
When you're the only girl, growing up in a family full of soldiers, it's hard to find a date, let alone true love. Either your family scares the guy off, or the dating pool is slim pickin's because you know how a real man should act and won't settle for less.
All I wanted was to find a man I could start a family of my own with, but I never imagined how quickly I'd fall in love or how quickly I could lose it all.
Everything was going so well, until my father unwittingly lead a wolf to our door. He has dedicated his life to helping those who need it most, but sometimes, his work follows him home.
I know Maddox will search to the ends of the earth to find me...but will he still want me when he does?
I stared at that damn bathroom door until she came back out, waiting for her to walk past me again. The way she carries herself… confidence and sensuality radiates from her in the sexiest way I’ve ever seen. I’ve never been so drawn to someone, let alone someone I’ve never even met.
She’s mine and she doesn’t even know it yet.
When she finally emerges, I almost panic as she takes a different path back to her seat. Watching intently, I see her talk to the waitress before turning toward her table. Several executive type guys are clustered around the girls she came with, flirting with them as if they are God’s gift to women. What a joke. More like a waste of space. I could snap one of them in half with minimal effort and they’d never even see me coming. They wouldn’t be able to defend themselves much less protect the woman they’re with. I’ve never understood how men like that could look at themselves in the mirror every day without being completely disgusted with what they see. No way is one of these panty wasters, man enough for my woman.
As if taking my thoughts as a challenge, one of those fuckers approaches her. I’m out of my seat and walking toward them in a nanosecond, ready to beat the guy to a bloody pulp, but then I hear her beautiful voice for the first time. “Not on your life, pretty boy.” Calmly, she turns to leave as if she hasn’t just made my night.
I think I’m in love.
My feet move of their own accord. I can’t take my eyes off of her as I follow her outside. She knows I’m here, I saw her posture stiffen as she felt me watching. Her steps faltering only momentarily, but she maintains her composure, never looking in my direction. Keeping her head held high as if she owns the place, I realize, in this moment, she owns me as well. Her hips sway as she pointedly ignores me. With confident strides, she finds her car and climbs in. Not wanting to scare her, I stand by the door, just taking her in. What will she do next?
Like a slow-motion video, she raises her eyes to meet mine. My heart races and it’s hard to breathe. I know she has the most beautiful emerald green eyes, I saw them as she walked past me in the restaurant, but to see her looking directly at me, even through the glass of her windshield thirty plus feet away, they are so intense. I’m lost to her. She could ask me for anything, and I’d get it for her, I’d do anything for her.
Is it crazy? Yes.
Do I care? No.
She’s mine. Secretly I beg her to get out of her car and come and talk to me. I get the feeling that she is contemplating just that, so I wait. Hours, minutes, seconds later, she shakes herself slightly before pulling out of the lot. I let out a sigh of disappointment. Reaching for my keys, there’s no question, I have to follow her.p>