“You are so f**king important.”

I wondered if he knew how he controlled my heartbeats.

A breath released from my lips. I placed my hands on his chest and laid my head against his shoulder, where I lightly kissed his neck. I felt his hands around my back pull me even closer. He rested his chin on the top of my head. His heart beats increased against me. I loved the idea that I made his heart race.

“Tell me about them, friend.”

A deep inhale was felt against him. “Mom was a music teacher. Dad was an English professor.”

“You’re a mix of both.”

“I’m a mix of both.”

“I know what happened to your father…but what happened to your mom?”

He lowered his shoulders and took a deep inhale. “She was murdered.”

I gasped. I looked up and ran my fingers through his hair, and then I stilled myself. “I’m so sorry.” I said, not knowing what else could be said.

He gave me a sad smile and shrugged. His blue eyes made love with mine and I placed my mouth against his full lips, giving him a gentle peck.

“I think you’re beautiful,” I whispered, echoing what he’d said to me in a text message many weeks back. “And I don’t mean your looks. I mean your smarts, your protectiveness, your brokenness. I think that’s beautiful.”

His hand wrapped around my neck and he pulled me closer, his taste covering my lips, his body heat warming every inch of my body. “I don’t want to be your friend,” he said. We breathed in together and exhaled in harmony. “I want to be yours, I want you to be mine, and I hate that we can’t be us. Because I think we were meant to be us.”

“How is it that we never get to spend time together, but I feel like you know me better than anyone? How is it that I keep falling for you?”

The look of wonder in his eyes was beautiful. It was as if he had been wondering the same thing about me. “I don’t know. Maybe because when hearts are set on fire, no complications can extinguish the flame.”

“It can be a secret,” I softly promised. “Our secret—one hundred percent ours.”

His lips pressed against mine, and everything in the world shut up. Everything in the universe stopped. He brought me to a place of pure emotion, lifting all sadness and replacing it with comfort.

His lips were softer than I remembered yet filled with more passion, more intensity. My hands ran across the hem of his shirt and I slid it up, feeling his tight physique under the cotton material. “Ash,” he muttered. His tongue parted my lips and began to become well acquainted with mine.

My mouth gaped opened as my breaths sped up. His mouth traveled to my neck, where he began sucking and running his tongue in a circular motion. I felt my ni**les harden under my dress as a breeze brushed across our bodies and he laid his mouth against mine again. His fingers slid to my spaghetti strap and he lowered it off my shoulder, giving me gentle kisses all the way down. I felt his hands cup my br**sts through the dress, and I moaned lightly, loving the way he held me, the way he touched me, the way he knew me.

“We shouldn’t,” he warned, but I wasn’t certain if he was warning himself or me.

I covered his lips before he could try to stop it from happening. I’d never been so sure about anything in my life. I couldn’t pinpoint why, but I’d never felt as safe as I did right there in the darkness with someone who was hurting just like me. Whenever I was near him, there was a profound sense of security and comfort. Daniel Daniels felt like home.

Chapter 15

So she kissed me with her eyes

And then with those hips.

And good God, could her hips kiss.

~ Romeo’s Quest

The next few weeks were filled with secret excitements. Daniel and I spoke mainly through text messages. In the hallways, we would accidently bump into each other—which was never accidental. He would ask me to stay back after class sometimes to steal small kisses. I liked the secretive relationship. I felt as if I were a spy trying my best not to get caught.

When I walked into class one Friday, there were three daisies sitting on my desk. Ryan walked into the room and noticed the flowers. “Are the bullies now giving you gifts?”

I grinned and held the daisies up to my nose. Breathing them in, I smiled. “You know bullies—they’re complicated.”

He laughed and slid into his seat. “Aren’t we all? Anyway, Hailey told me about this bucket list of yours.” I wasn’t surprised. He continued. “And from what I found out from snooping through your bedroom while you were in the shower…this Gabrielle girl sounded like a real babe.”

I smirked at his comment.

“I mean, if she were here, I would probably give up Tonys with a Y to have Tonis with an I.”

“You would date my sister,” I frowned jokingly, “but not me?”

“Uh, did you die and leave your twin sister letters for every occasion?”


“Then of course I wouldn’t date you. There’s something so sexy about ghosts leaving notes for their loved ones.”

Giggling, I nodded in understanding. “So you only get turned on by ghost girls, not alive girls.”

“Ohhh, I love when you say that. Say it again…”

I cocked an eyebrow. “Say what? Ghost girls?” He shivered with delight, loving the sound of it. I lowered my voice and moved in closer to him. “Ghost girls, ghost girls, ghost girls!” I whispered over and over again.

He closed his eyes and ran his hand up and down his chest as if he were extremely turned on. “Mmm! That’s how I like it.”