Twisted Roses

Page 111

These moments are terrifying on a deeper level—I seelovein Salvatore’s eyes, feel it in his touch.
Maybe an unconventional type of love from a man born and raised on blood and violence, but there’s no other explanation.
Our relationship has been so complicated throughout the years, I’ve never let myself go there. In the aftermath of what’s happened, as he takes me in during another hour of crisis, I can’t avoid these feelings anymore.
I’m in love with Salvatore, too. Yet the thought of telling him terrifies me. How would he receive it? How would he react if I put myself out there and told him?
“You’re awake,” he drawls, coming up to the bed. He drops a hello kiss on my brow, smelling so good, I’m tempted to reach for him and bury my face in his neck. “Bernardo had said you were taking a nap.”
I sit up in bed. “I couldn’t fall asleep. Too much on my mind.”
“Care to share?”
No. Because I’m not trying to blurt ‘I love you’ and make it awkward…
“Career stuff,” I fib. “Just thinking about the future.”
“You shouldn’t rush about it. Take time to figure it out.”
“I don’t do well with not knowing where things are headed.”
Tell me about it—in matters of my career and my love life…
Salvatore grins slightly, his hand trailing along the arc of my neck and shoulder. “You and your plans. You live by them.”
“I like structure.”
“Which is always what makes it so fun knocking it down.” He leans close and presses a kiss to the side of my neck.
I shudder, the heat of even a quick kiss of his warming me up. My body will always respond to his with instant attraction, his chemical makeup and my chemical makeup irrevocably bonded.
“Get dressed,” he says. “I have a special birthday surprise.”
My brows knit in confusion. “Birthday surprise… for who?”
“It’s another six months before my birthday.”
“I know,” he says, amused. “You always break up with me before it comes. I’m never able to get my revenge by celebrating yours.”
It occurs to me he’s right. The timing of our past breakups have prevented us from ever being together when mine rolls around. We’ve never technically celebrated one of mine…
I bite away a smile. “What did you have in mind?”
He tugs on my hand. “You’ll see. Get dressed.”
Salvatore doesn’t give much direction beyond that. When I ask him for clues so I can dress properly, he simply tells me to wear whatever I want. Puzzled, I decide I’ll go the cute and comfy route. I slip on a breezy romper and wear my curls half up, half down.
September is around the corner, but it hasn’t cooled down yet.
He grins when I emerge from the bedroom and walk down the hall. “Good pick.”
I have no clue what he means. Before I can even ask, we’re holding hands and heading to the elevator. We take Salvatore’s Mustang.
For over half of the drive, I don’t know where we’re going. Salvatore drives us to the opposite side of the city. The buildings age and the trash piles up. Before my eyes, the scenery grays and grows dingier. The streets themselves feel less safe and so do the people walking through them.
We’re in one of the worst neighborhoods of not only Old Northam, but Northam city itself.