Title: BreathlessAuthor: Vanessa Marie
Release Date: Nov 11, 2014
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For once in Charlie’s life, she has something she'd never allowed herself to have before.
All because of Sam’s love.
He fought for her. No matter the cost.
He loved her even when she couldn't allow herself to feel loved.
Now, when things feel like they might go smoothly for once in her life...
The unexpected happens. Her fate. Her constant date with Death.
A reality that completely blindsides her when life once again rears it’s ugly head.
Shattering any sense of a future she ever felt she could grasp, even if only for a second.
Will she give in and surrender to her fate?
Will she retreat, pushing away everyone she loves to hold onto her secrets?
Or will she fight? Fight for Sam, fight for their love, the way he's always fought for her?
Sam made it pretty easy for a girl to fall in love with him. He massaged Charlie's legs while she lay across the couch with her feet in his lap. Both of her hands gripped her coffee cup as she took a sip. "Mmm. A girl could get used to this, ya know?"
"Huh?" He looked up at her, puzzled.
A smile pulled at her lips. He wasn't paying attention to what his hands were doing. "Nothing. Just watch the movie."
"No, I just didn't hear what you said. You mumbled it." His green eyes searched hers like he desperately wanted to know what she'd just said.
"It wasn't important. Just feels good." She nodded toward her legs.
Sam smiled and continued to run his fingers diligently up and down her long lean legs. "I like touching you. Your skin is like silk."
Every stroke he took, make her senses come alive. It didn't seem to have the same kind of effect on him that it did on her. But she was doing everything she could not to jump him. She was still recovering from their morning escapades in the kitchen.
"The movie okay? We can watch something else if you want."
She wasn't even sure what they were watching. All she could think about were his hands and trying to control her breathing. Shaking her head no, she took a sip of her coffee and set it down on the table in front of them. "No, it's fine." Charlie lay back against the plush pillows behind her and sank further into them while his touch became stronger, reaching deeper into her muscle. It felt like heaven.
"You're not going to sleep on me again, are you?" he asked and shifted under her.
"No. Just resting my eyes." She was tired, more so than usual, but didn't want to let him know that. She'd already argued with her doctor the day before and it wasn't something she wanted to argue with him about again.
"Do you want me to rub your chest?"
She opened one eye at him and watched him with suspicion. "Since when do you ask to cop a feel, Mr. Greyson?"
She regretted it the second the name left her lips.
He frowned. "First of all, don't call me that. It's not funny. Second of all, I wasn't being creepy. I know your chest aches. I wasn't talking about rubbing your boobs. Although, if my hands happen to brush against certain things, I am not to be held liable."
All she wanted to do was sink into the couch until she was invisible. Of course that's all he wanted to do. He was being thoughtful and you turn it into something sleazy. Who's the asshole here? Oh, that's right. You are.
"Yeah. Yeah. Scoot down and lay your head back."
Flipping completely around, she tossed a pillow in his lap and laid her head in his lap face up, with the rest of her body in-between his legs on the couch. She closed her eyes and let out a deep breath as his strong hands worked their way from the top of her collarbone down the front of her sternum. "Oh, God. I didn't realize how sore that was until you did that."
He let out a low chuckle. "I told you that you'd call me God."
Smiling she lifted her chin and relaxed her shoulders under his skilled hands as he worked his way around her chest. It was exactly what she needed and he know it before she did. "How do you do this?"
"Do what?" his voice was low and husky.
"Know what I need even before I do."
"Because I know you. You haven't been yourself lately no matter how much you try and hide it. I see how easily you get worn out."
"You can't blame a girl for needing a nap after kitchen sex games."
His fingers worked in strong, slow circles across the top of her chest. The way he touched her scars with ease made chills radiate through her.
"This makes nap number three today, there, sweet cheeks."
"Just resting up for what's to come." She smiled at him but he wasn't mirroring her like she thought he would. He just watched her, with worry behind his eyes.
"Don't look at me like that please. This is exactly what I didn't want to happen."
His hands stopped on her chest as his eyes found hers. "Guess what? You can't stop people from loving you. No matter how hard you try. We're going to worry when you're not feeling well. It's not like you have a cold, babe. You're in heart failure."
"You don't think I know that?"
"Well, you don't act like it. That's why everyone gets so frustrated with you. You're so hell-bent on fighting the system that you fight all of us, too."
She sat up and turned to face him. "I'm not trying to fight the system. In case you haven't noticed, the system has kind of failed me. All the things they’ve done to me that were supposed to save my life haven’t. They’ve only prolonged it. A little... until the next thing goes wrong. So, now they're saying this ICD is the way to go and I may not need the transplant. Do you understand how I can't even allow myself to begin to dream that that could be true? I can't believe things like that." She bit her bottom lip to keep it from quivering.
"Why not? I thought you were past not allowing yourself to dream?"
"Fairytales and happy endings are meant for people like Sarah and Alex. Happily ever afters aren't meant for people like me."
He ran his fingers through her hair, like he always did when they were in a heavy discussion. "I really wish you'd stop putting yourself in this box of damaged goods. You can have the fairytale and I will be your happily ever after...if you let me."
"I've read everything there is about the ICD. I researched them a long time ago when I hoped it could be an option for me or even a fix and they told me no. Now they want to do it and I want to know what's changed. Why is it okay now but it was a no before?"
"Why didn't you ask him that instead of walking out?" He pulled her back down into his lap and continued to run his fingers through her hair.
She shrugged. "I don't know. I was pissed. I know my stubbornness gets in the way a lot but I don't do things out of blind rage. All the time anyway. I usually have a pretty damn good reason behind my outbursts."
A smile spread across his face. "Maybe in your crazy own Charlie way of spinning logic, but I get it."
"No one wants to talk about the ugly truth. They all dance around it and pretend like there's not an elephant in the room." She closed her eyes as a rogue tear slipped down her cheek.
His fingers brushed the tear away just before it touched her lips. "And what truth is that?" his voice was low.
That I'm going to die young. That I can’t go to Disney with you because it might be my last trip. She exhaled slowly trying to steady her breath, knowing her voice would be shaky. "That any surgery can kill me. That I might not make it through it. That I might not live long enough to even get a transplant."
"I don't pretend to know what you're going through. I can't possibly imagine, but I have seen you on the verge of Death's door. I saw you banging on that damn door to come back. You fought for every breath. Every step. Never giving into the darkness. No matter how damaged you think you are or how long Grimm has hunted you, you’re destined for the light, Charlie."
"Only you could make this conversation sound poetic."
His fingers brushed over her lips to her cheek. "I do what I can."
A small smile played at her lips. No matter how hard she tried to keep it together, she was still on the verge of breaking. Sam was her glue as life chipped away at the glass. Constantly looking for a way to shatter her into a million broken pieces.
She sat up and crawled into his lap to straddle him. All she needed in that moment was him. The fact he wasn't afraid to talk about the things that haunted her while she slept made her want him all the more.
She ran her fingers through his disheveled hair and rested them behind his neck. "Do you love my dark clouds?"
He kissed the tip of her nose. "Yes. I even love your acid rain."
She smiled and brought her lips to his. Their kiss was easy to get lost in and it was exactly what she needed to feel whole.
Always the cause of shenanigans, Vanessa is a heavily tattooed, sarcastic motorcycle enthusiast who started her career as a Jeep tech at the age of sixteen. The happily married mother of three little monsters—oops, children—lives in Kentucky by way of Las Vegas, Nevada. Once her life took a different direction—sidelined by Heart Disease at 26 and becoming a pacemaker recipient—she decided to write as a creative outlet, and Heartless was born. She realizes life can be dark clouds and acid rain at times, but her outlook on life puts a positive and sarcastic spin on it all.