We all like to think we have a soulmate. Unfortunately for some of us, we miss them, passing unseen like two ships in the night. Revel and Harper were among the lucky ones, they knew without a shadow of a doubt that they were meant for one another. In a perfect world, they would’ve enjoyed a ‘happily ever after’. But this isn’t a perfect world.
Harper is haunted by her past, a past so tragic and so unthinkable that she can’t even imagine confessing it to Revel. And she knows from past experience, that when he learns the shameful truth about her – nothing will be the same. So to protect him, she walks away.
Harper underestimated Revel’s love for her. From the moment she disappeared, he set out to bring her home. Their journey to love is one fraught with ghosts from the past, both real and imagined, and a demon from their present who is intent on making sure she has no future. But those ghosts and demons have never met a hero like Revel Lee. He is determined to give Harper exactly what she needs…until Harper realizes that all she needs is him.
***CONTENT WARNING: This book contains adult language and sexual situations. It is intended for audiences 18+ ONLY***
In the dark, she’d sit out on the deck, hugging her knees, trying to make herself as small as possible. If she could have, Harper would’ve disappeared. Only the crashing of the waves brought her peace. They were predictable. Rolling in, then rolling out.
Harper craved precision and structure in her life. She felt as if her present and her future was careening down a mountainside, she had no control over anything. Nightmares of what Ajax had done to her ate at her soul. At night she tossed and turned, her fears and insecurities all bound up in the images of people who’d turned their back on her.
There was no place for her in the vanilla world, she couldn’t function. And there was no place for her in the BDSM world either. Harper didn’t go to clubs anymore. She had no desire to seek out a Dom. Harper had resigned herself to just existing. Her past and her needs made her a pariah, a perversion. There was no way she could change and no place where she felt welcome.
What Harper needed was a hero. A man who could accept her shortcomings, give her what she craved. Cherish her, protect her and love her for who she was. But there was no man like that—not anymore. She’d turned her back on the only man in the universe who fit that description. And second chances didn’t exist for someone like her.
He’d looked for her. He’d tried to get in touch with her.
Both her grandmother and her parents had let her know. Even Noah said he’d contacted Tebow Ranch. But Harper had stayed hidden, off the radar. She was an island, she touched no one and no one touched her.
As the sea roared below her, the unceasing wind blowing in her hair, the seagulls crying their mournful call—Harper began to cry. If she could just go back, try again, not ask him to do those things, not tell him…
Her heart whispered his name. Revel. Revel Lee. Burying her head in the bend of her arm, she hid, letting her thoughts sweep her to another time, another place.
“Harper, what are you doing out here in this cold, baby?”
For a moment, Harper thought she was mad. A big, mountain of a man leaned down and wrapped his arms around her, carrying her into the warmth. “Let’s get you wrapped up. Do you know how long I’ve been searching for you?”
Harper shivered so hard, her teeth were chattering. He was real! The melancholy had been so deep, she’d thought he was a dream. Running her hands down his arms, Harper marveled that he was here, he was flesh and blood. “Revel?” she whispered, her voice weak with tears. Staring into his beloved face, she asked in disbelief, “What are you doing here?”
“Why do you think I’ve come?” His smile was tender. “I’m here to take you home.”
Oh, what a temptation. She’d ached to take him up on his offer. Harper wanted to go with him more than she wanted to see tomorrow. But she couldn’t. You can’t go home again, that’s what the songs all say. And they were right. There was no place for here there.
He’d come to her, he’d begged, he’d pleaded. And she had to hurt him again to make him go.
“I’m sorry, Revel. I can’t go back. My life there is over.” Her heart was breaking. This was harder than anything she’d ever had to do. He hadn’t asked just once, he’d come again and again, begging. But she had to protect him. “Please, no. Don’t keep asking me.”
When she’d tried to shut him out, he’d pushed in, desperate. “I won’t hurt you, Harper,” he’d assured her when she backed away from him. “I’d never hurt you.”
Instead, she chose to hurt him, to deliberately twist his words. “And therein lies the problem. You know what I need. And you can’t give it to me.”
She’d watched his face as he struggled with her words. “Harper, I let you down, but I can be what you need. I know about McCoy and I know about that maniac, Ajax. Let me make it up to you.”
Harper wanted to cry, instead she laughed. She couldn’t afford to give him reason to hope. “You turned me away, Revel.”
Revel grabbed for her and she backed away. “I did not turn you away. I told you I was surprised, that’s all. If you had given me a chance, given me time, I would have learned.”
“This isn’t something you can force yourself to do, Revel.”
“Give me a chance, Harper,” he pleaded with her. “I don’t want to be alone, I don’t want you to be alone. I love you, I’ve loved you from the first moment I saw your face.”
Beautiful words. Words she’d give the sun, the moon and the stars to hear and believe. Revel meant them, but he only had part of the story. “You think you do.”
He pulled her close, crashing their lips together, not giving Harper another second to say anything else. For a few precious moments, they kissed. With his mouth, with his body, with his heart—he offered her everything he had…his life, his soul.
And as much as Harper wanted to accept what he offered, she couldn’t. It wouldn’t be right. “No.” She pushed at his chest. “I can’t do it.”
Revel bowed his head, defeated. “Why?”
Because I love you, is what she wanted to say. “It’s wrong. We’ll only end up hurting one another. You’d regret it. I can’t change.”
“Fuck!” With one powerful blow, he hit the wall above her head, splintering the wood. Harper jumped. “Don’t you understand?” Revel bellowed in his pain. “I don’t want you to change.” His face contorted with pain. “I will change. I will be what you want. I’ll be what you need.”
“No.” She looked into his beloved face. “I can’t ask that. You must go.”
“Ask anything of me, but that. I’ll give you all I am, all I have. Please don’t send me away.”
Agony like she’d never felt before ripped through her. This wasn’t the sensual pain that helped her survive, this was excruciating, soul-ripping. This wasn’t pain one survived—not more than once. And so she lied. “I don’t want you, Revel. You do nothing for me. I need a man. A real man. A man who can give me what I need and you’ll never be that man.”
“I see.” Revel felt her words slice through his heart like the sharp edge of a sword. With a sinking heart, he walked away. Giving her the only gift he could.
To be parted from him.
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