Fans of Fifty Shades of Grey, Bared to You, and Release Me will be hooked on Ruined, an electrifying journey of emotional and sexual discovery that pushes two damaged souls to their breaking point—and beyond.
He’s the last man Chloe Girard should love . . . but the first she ever could.
Ethan Frost is a visionary, a genius, every woman’s deepest, darkest fantasy—even mine. And, somehow, I am his.
He stole into my life like a dream. Turned my reality upside down and made my every desire come true—especially those I never knew I had. He demanded everything I had to give and gave me everything of himself in return.
But dreams don’t last forever, and ours is no exception. Because my nightmares are darker, and my wounds deeper, than I could ever reveal. And as much as Ethan wants to protect me, the secrets we we share will only tear us apart.
I want him to hold me, to tell me that it’s okay.
That he doesn’t blame me for freaking out.
That he still wants me.
And that everything between us is somehow going to be all right.
But even as I think it, I know better. I gave up on fairy tales five long years ago, and nothing, nobody, is going to be able to change that now.
Besides, nothing is okay. How can it be when Ethan is standing in front of me, his hands out in the universal I’m-not-going-to-hurt-you position? When he’s staring at me with eyes gone dark and blank?
“I’m sorry.” I finally manage to choke the words out.
“ sorry?” He sounds so incredulous that the words hit me like a blow. It’s the last straw. “Baby, I—”
I don’t wait around for him to finish whatever he’s going to say. Instead, I push past him, make a mad dash for the uneven stone steps that lead up to his house. That lead to freedom.
“Chloe, stop!” He chases after me, which only makes me run faster. “Baby, you’re going to trip! You’re going to hurt yourself!”
I ignore the warning, keep running. It doesn’t matter. What’s the pain of a little fall when I already feel like I’ve been ripped open, my insides spilling out for everyone to see?
“Damn it, Chloe.” He’s right behind me. I can feel his breath on my neck, hear his footsteps slapping at the rock right behind me. I half expect to feel his hands on me as he yanks me to a stop. But still he doesn’t touch me. For some reason, his reticence only wounds me more.
Tears I still refuse to let fall are in my eyes, in my chest. My vision is clouded and I’m having trouble breathing. I’m strangling on my pain and the aching, painful breaths my body doesn’t quite know what to do with anymore.
I’m almost at the top when it happens. I stumble trying to climb up a particularly high step and I bang my shins, hard, on the harsh, jagged edge of the stair. My legs go out from under me and I start to fall, panic coursing through me at the thought of tumbling twenty feet off the side of the open staircase to the sand below.
Ethan does touch me then, his hands jolting out to grab me so quickly that I know he must have been waiting for this to happen all along. Then I’m in his arms, my legs draped over his arm and my side pressed against his chest as he carries me up the few remaining steps.
I wrap my arms around his neck and hold on tight, even after we get to his patio. I’m sure he wants to put me down, to show me the door as quickly as he can. But I’m not ready to let go yet, not ready to give up the strange and powerful comfort that comes from just being held in his arms.
Ethan makes no move to put me down. Instead, he crosses to one of the many long outdoor sofas that make up the different seating arrangements out here. He sinks down onto it, keeping me on his lap. In his arms. And then he starts to rock me like a child.
The dam inside me bursts, and emotions—dark, messy, devastating—come pouring out in all directions. I don’t know how to stop them. I can’t stop them, not anymore.
Unable to do anything else, I bury my face in Ethan’s chest and give in to the harsh, ugly sobs that threaten to tear me in two.
Have a great Friday everyone!