Change of Heart, Part 2

By: Scarlett Edwards

Book Description

If you told me two weeks ago that I would fall in love with my would-be kidnapper, I would have laughed in your face.

Yet here I am today. Madly, deeply, and hopelessly in love. With Richard Blackthorne. With the man who drugged me and left me for myself... but with the same man who came back for me later.

Nobody in my life has ever given a shit. I've always been on my own—before Rich.

Now, things are different. Feelings I'd never have thought possible are rushing through me. With Rich, I feel... alive. Alive, and treasured.

Yet doubts still poison my thoughts. Can a relationship that began with a lie lead to true happiness? How will Rich and I escape our pursuers? Will Min ever be free?

As I open my heart to the man I love, our devotion to each other will be tested. In this tumultuous world, friends become enemies and enemies friends. Every choice I make leads to consequences for those around me. The secrets Rich holds spread far deeper than he ever let on. When cracks begin to show in our relationship, I'm faced with the most important question of all: Can Rich and I ever find the peace I so dearly crave?

Chapter One

I have never been in love.

Sure, I once thought I was, three years ago with my first boyfriend. But that was not love. Lust, infatuation? Maybe. But not love.

Things are changing now. Life feels different. I never realized what I was missing before. My decision to stay with Rich three days ago opened my eyes to everything I didn’t have growing up. Every morning since, I’ve woken up with an infectious energy. An undefined zest. Something so fickle I expect it to flee at any moment.

Except, it doesn’t. It’s precarious and ethereal and a little bit frightening, that feeling, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It pushes me toward happiness. I wake up feeling alive. Alive, and wanted, and needed.

Not needed in the grand sense of the word, like some famous politician or the scientist just about to cure cancer. I feel needed in a much purer, much more innocent way. I’m needed by just one person. It’s more than I’ve ever had.

I was not all right before I met Rich. I was scraping by, convincing myself that I was strong. I was determined to rely on no one but myself and to hold everybody else at bay.

Well, Rich broke through those walls.

I’ve never been in love, before now. Now, I’m hopelessly, romantically, head-over-heels in love. I’ve learned that logic is meaningless in your heart’s domain. Feelings are the only things that make sense. If you had told me, just three weeks ago, that I would fall in love with my would-be kidnapper, I’d have laughed in your face and chalked it up to Stockholm Syndrome. But, now I know otherwise. There is no way to rationalize the way I feel. I’ve already given up trying.

The way Rich looks at me lets me know he cares. The careful way he studies my face, the slow, steady way his eyes drift to my lips. I’ve never felt so needed before. I’ve never felt that blooming warmth in my chest, those special tingles through my limbs.

Nobody in my life has ever given a shit. I don’t dwell on that, because there’s too much sappy sadness there. I never wanted to be one of those girls who feel sorry for themselves and expect the world to do so, too. When I was by myself, I had to be strong. To bury my emotions deep so they could never bubble to the surface. That’s what I thought being strong was.

It’s not. Strength is finding the courage to let another person in. Strength is opening your heart to him and exposing yourself in all your vulnerabilities—no matter how terrifying that may be.

In the end, that’s all that matters.

“I love you,” I whisper.

“Hmm?” Rich stirs from his resting spot beneath a tree. We’re together in a beautiful garden, lying on the green grass. The sun is bright, and I can smell lilacs and roses in the air. The sky is cloudless. Happy birds are chirping delightful melodies from the branches above.

Rich looks at me through half-lidded, sleepy eyes. A slow smile forms on his lips. “I love you too, Penny,” he whispers back, his fingers running through the strands of my hair. “I love you more than anything else in the world. You’re my heart, my life. I would give up anything for you. I would do anything for you. I love you now and always, and far into forever. I will love you until the moon stops spinning and the sun stops rising, and longer still. Our love will transcend ages, histories, centuries, millennia. When this planet turns into a lonely block of ice drifting through space, I will love you still. Nothing can change my feelings for you. They will last forever.”

“Oh, you’re just sickly sweet this morning, aren’t you?” I tease, rolling over to my side and ducking my head in for a chaste kiss. “You’d give up anything for me? How about food?”

“I would starve for you.” Rich smiles, kissing me again.

“How about water?”

“I would die of thirst before I stop loving you.”

I smile and close my eyes, breathing in deeply through my nose. Rich’s delectable scent fills my lungs. I’ve never felt this happy, this content.

“Air?” I muse. “Would you stop breathing for me?”

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