He changed everything.
The way I breathed.
The way I thought.
The way I loved.
He brought me back to life.
He gave me strength and a safe place to land.
And then he broke me.
Finding Emilia was a chance to do something good for once in my life.
I wanted to change.
She believed I was her savior.
I ached to be.
She found her way into my heart and claimed it as her safe place.
I should be telling her the truth about me…instead I break her with lies.
This book is a New Adult Romance and contains mature subject matter. It is not intended for those under 17 years of age.
**unedited, subject to change**
“What can I do to help you, Emilia? What do you need?” I wonder what it is she truly needs, aside from the basics of shelter and food.
“Nothing. You’ve done enough for me already.”
“I haven’t done anything.”
“You’re letting me stay here, which is very kind and honestly very unsettling.” She lets out a little laugh. “I don’t know you. I know nothing about you, except your name is Alex. And quite frankly, this entire situation scares me a little bit.” It’s the first time she’s been open with me, and I want to put her fears to rest.
“What do you want to know?” I lean back against the cool brick wall and study her.
She sits cross-legged on the bed, her skirt tucked just inside her knees. “Do you always pick up girls from the side of a road and bring them home?”
“Nope. This was definitely a first.” I chuckle.
“How old are you?”
“What’s your last name?”
I hesitate, wondering what she’d find if she Googled me. “Estrada.”
“What do you do—your job?”
Shit. My family runs a fucking cartel. We smuggle drugs, people, guns—you know, living the American dream. I barely contain my cringe as I half-lie, “I own real estate and am co-owner of a transportation business.”
That wasn’t so hard.
She eyes me cautiously. “So you’re rich.” She glances out the open bedroom door into the condo that’s overbearing and way too extravagant for someone my age.
“I have money, enough of it that I’m comfortable, but I’m hardly rich.” I don’t know why I said that, but it’s true. While I have cars, a luxury condo, and more money than I can spend in my lifetime, there are so many things I’m missing. The things that truly make a person rich, I will never have—a nine to five job, a normal relationship, a family.
A spark of amusement hits her eyes. “What’s your favorite color?”
I give a small smile. “Blue.”
“Do you have any siblings?” she continues.
My brows furrow at this sudden onslaught of random questions. Before I can answer, she jumps in with the one I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to answer honestly.
“What scares you?”
I hesitate, wondering how to answer. Never show your fears. This is how I was raised. Men don’t show fear and they never talk about what scares them. “Nothing. I mean, I haven’t really thought about that.” I shrug. “Nothing scares me.” Everything scares me. My life scares me. The fact that I have to look over my shoulder every time I step out of my house scares the living shit out of me.
Pushing forward off the exposed brick wall, I come to where she sits on the bed. As I get closer, her eyes drop from mine to her hands that’re resting on the pillow in her lap. I stand over her thin body and drink in her beauty.
You scare me, Emilia. The feeling to protect and care for a beautiful stranger that I just met scares the living shit out of me.
“What scares you?” I ask her quietly.
She looks up at me, her bright hazel eyes glistening with tears. “Everything,” she whispers. “Everything scares me.”
I want to run my fingers across her cheek to wipe her tears but I hold back. “Don’t be scared. I won’t let anything hurt you."
It’s the first of many lies I’ll tell Emilia.
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Rebecca Shea is the USA Today Bestselling author of Unbreakable. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her family and her beagle, Miles. From the time Rebecca could read she has had a passion for books. Rebecca spends her days working full-time and her nights writing, bringing stories to life. Born and raised in Minnesota, Rebecca moved to Arizona in 1999 to escape the bitter winters. When not working or writing, she can be found on the sidelines of her son’s football games, or watching her daughter at ballet class. Rebecca is fueled by insane amounts of coffee, margaritas, Laffy Taffy (except the banana ones), and happily ever after’s.