Waiting Forever: Vol 5 (The Forever Series)
By Tara Gallina
Genre: New Adult College Romance
About the Book
Life used to be fun. College, parties, close friends, girls—one in particular, who I can’t let go no matter how hard I try.
I’m not talking about my girlfriend. That relationship lost its momentum months ago. The girl who haunts my dreams and memories from my childhood hates me. I blew her off twice for her own good. Now she’s coming to live with me.
It’ll be torture having her so close and not be able to touch her. I’m supposed to protect her from guys with bad intentions, but who’s going to protect her from me?
I’ve adored Nathan my entire life. He was supposed to be my first everything, my forever. But after multiple rejections from him, those days are gone, along with my innocence.
I got myself into trouble, and now I need a safe place to stay until life calms down. Until my parents can forgive me, and I can forgive myself.
The last thing I want to do is move in with Nathan. He’s made it clear with his distance, he’s not interested in my life. But after what happened back home, he’s my only escape from the hateful rumors and betrayals of so-called friends.
As much as I don’t want Nathan to be my safe haven, everything about him still feels like home. I need to be careful, keep my distance, and never let him find out what happened to me.
We get into the next available elevator with a few other people. Two younger guys with UCF paraphernalia stand across from us. One of the guys stares at Kensington's shoes and then follows the length of her legs to her torso and chest, where his gaze lingers.
Does he not see me next to her? I glance at her chest and notice her nipples are still tight and as obvious as before. No wonder he’s staring.
Stepping in front of her, I block his view with my back and bend to her ear. “Are you wearing a bra?”
She flattens against the elevator wall and gasps. Her turquoise eyes connect with mine. Fuck, she’s beautiful.
“What kind of a question is that?” she asks offended and a little breathless.
Like that, I’m at the birthday party again, hyper-aware of her warmth, her scent, and her lips that are a breath away from mine.
“Stop,” she murmurs.
“Treating me like a child. I’m almost twenty-one, Nathan, or have you forgotten my birthday like you forgot about me?” Her lips press into a hard line. She gives her head a small shake. “Never mind.” She turns sideways and faces the door, forcing me back a step.
Why does she keep saying that? The last thing I do is look at children the way I do her. Unable to resist, I lean to her ear again. “Make no mistake, I am fully aware you are not a child. I was aware at your damn birthday party when you wore that sexy-as-hell dress, and I’m even more aware of it now that you're legally older. Understand?”
I wait for her to meet my gaze.
Her focus is on the doors like she’s ignoring me, but her faster breathing says she heard every word. She turns her head and her electric eyes find mine.
She doesn’t nod or respond. She just stares, and the emotions in her gaze are more than enough.
I’ve always been able to read Kensington like a book. She's too open for her own good. Maybe that’s how she ended up hurt or in trouble. It makes me crazy that I don’t know. But at least I can still get some answers from her eyes. Right now, I see a mix of sadness, desire, confusion, and frustration. It’s the same look she gave me at her party all those years ago when I pushed her away from me.
I thought I’d shoved it from my mind, the way I shoved her away. Now I know all I did was bury it with alcohol, partying, and a trail of endless women with Harper topping the list.
A man clears his throat. “You two getting out?” A man, at least sixty-years-old, holds the elevator doors open for us.
At once, I straighten. “Yes, sir. Sorry. Thank you for holding the door.”
He gives me and Kensi a soft grin. “No problem. If I had a beauty like her beside me, I’d get distracted, too.”
Kensi returns a sweet if not sad smile to the older man and steps out.
“Thank you.” She gives him a warm grin and reaches to take her suitcase from my grasp.
I walk past her before she can touch the handle. “Not a chance.”
“Why? I can roll my own luggage.”
“Yeah, but if I let you have it you might take off and then what would I do?”
She rolls her eyes and keeps up with my faster pace. “Are your orders to watch over me so strict you're worried, or are you afraid our dads will give you shit?”
I laugh. “Both.”
“Hmph!” She walks faster, passing me, and says over her shoulder, “Well, don’t worry. I don’t plan on interfering with your life. When we get to your house, I’ll stay out of your way and release you from any burden of watching over me. I’m a grown woman who can take care of myself, even against two—” She stops mid-sentence and turns forward in an even bigger hurry to get away.
My steps slow, my brain locked on her final words—even against two. Two what? Guys? Men? Girls? Two what?
I run after her to where she disappeared around the corner.
She stands by the elevators that lead to the parking garage.
So badly, I want to ask why she stopped talking, what was she about to say, and why won’t she fucking tell me. But that would push her further away. The once-young girl who followed me around is now running from me. Someone hurt her. Possibly two people and if I ever find out who they are, I’ll beat them with my bare hands until they can’t see, walk, or talk. I’ll break both their arms and do it with a smile on face. If my inclinations are right and two guys did something to her, I imagine her father would feel the same way. Hell, my dad would, too. So why is she here, and why did her dad leave the US to open a new branch in the UK?
The elevators open. We step inside one, just the two of us.
Kensington focuses on everything but me. Her arms are crossed protectively over her chest. Such a defensive posture from a girl who used to embrace her fears with open arms.
I’m calling my dad when we get back. I’ll make him tell me the truth, or else I’ll threaten to send her home. That should get him talking, although I have zero intention of sending her back. And zero intention of letting her out if my sight. It messes up my plans to move downtown, and Harper won’t like that I’m putting Kensington’s needs before hers. But neither of those things can stop me. Kensington was in my life long before Harper. She’s family.
My nose wrinkles with detest. I have to stop thinking about her like that. She’s far from blood-related family and far from a cousin to me.
Shit. I run a hand down my face. This is messed up.
“What’s wrong,” Kensi asks, her attention on me now. “You do that only when you’re stressed.” She gestures to the hand I ran down my face a moment ago.
I stare at her. Damn, the girl pays attention. “It’s nothing.”
She raises her brows, her message clear. She doesn't believe me.
“I have a lot on my mind. Work and…” I take a deep breath, not wanting to say Harper's name, but knowing I need to bring her up.
“And?” Kensi inches toward me, her posture softer, her voice filled with concern.
For me. Always for me. Some things haven’t changed and, man, it hits me deep. How genuine she is. How caring. She’s like her mother in that way.
“Nathan?” She moves even closer, her arms unfolding from their guarded position across her chest. “Tell me. Maybe I can help.” Her lips curl with a slight smile.
It lights up her face and eyes, reminding me the young girl I grew up with is still in there. She's just older, wiser, and hurt in a way I can’t yet understand.
The last thing I want to do is bring Harper into this moment, even if it makes me a traitor to my girlfriend. I’ll mention her later. Right now, Kensington is opening up to me in the smallest way, not like she used to, but I don’t want her closing up again.
She frowns and steps back. “I hope it’s not me being here. I don’t want to cause problems.”
“It’s not you. Okay?” I stare directly into her eyes. “It could never be you. You’re … important.”
About the Author
Tara Gallina is the author of the NA romance The Forever Series, and the YA retelling Fated To Die. She writes and reads romance in a variety of genres but has a soft spot for retellings.
She believes in fairies, true love, and happily ever after. She favors characters and/or couples who defy the odds and make a way, even when there isn't one.
She grew up in a small town by the beach but soon after moved to Orlando, Florida with her patient hubs, two older sons, and two fur-babies. With local theme parks like Disney World and Harry Potter, it’s no wonder her life is filled with fantasy and make believe.
Daily needs: sunshine, laughter, morning coffee, family.
Daily wants: castle, English accent, princess hair, anti-age venom.
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authortaragallina/
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/TaraGallina
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