EXCERPT REVEAL - LOVESICK BY TL SMITH
Author: TL Smith
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 1
I couldn’t do broken.
Broken is what he was.
Broken is what I will always be.
To his eyes, that held so much despair, I couldn’t look for long.
To his fist, that clenched so tightly, like he was locking away the sorrow.
To his lips, that never uttered a word, from the years of heartbreak.
And despite it all, I couldn’t stay away from him.
It was like he was drowning in an ocean, and I wanted to grab his face, and whisper to his lips,
“Don’t forget to breathe.”
This was how I fell for a man. A man who was so lovesick, I was afraid he would drown me in that same ocean he was lost in.
I used to believe I was a strong woman, a good woman, a faithful woman. I had dreams, things I wanted to accomplish, places I wanted to visit. Things I wanted to do and see.
My hands rubbed softly on my upper thigh. I tried to stop the wince that accompanied that action, but escaped me anyway. My hand lifted slowly, I looked at my nails, they were chewed right down to the skin. I used to love my nails, now I looked at them and despised them as much as I despised my weaknesses—the pitiful looks that I got from others, my hair that hadn’t been colored for over a year, my dry and broken skin that felt like sandpaper, my gaunt and haggard eyes.
My mind—well, that’s beyond repair. Questions like ‘would I ever be pretty enough or smart enough’ for his love ran rampant through my mind. Instead, all I got was his fists. They loved me, he told me so.
I listened hard as his footsteps came closer. I hadn’t cooked dinner because I’d lost track of time, sitting in that bathroom, listening to my own heartbeat, reminding me that I was still alive. Reminding me I could still breathe, still function, but only barely.
His fists crashed down hard on the door rocking it on the hinges, my body pulled itself in tighter, gripping harder onto the very foundations of my sanity. It didn’t want me to move, it wanted me to stay safe, to heal.
My mind knew otherwise. It knew that if I didn’t move within the next sixty seconds, more would follow, his patience would run thin, very thin. The second wave of his fists came down on the door, this time the ferocity of the jolts moved the door back and forth. I could hear the sounds of wood cracking and splintering slightly with every impact. My arms pull tighter, my body went rigid.
I internally screamed at myself to shift—just to get up and move.
You can do it I told myself. But my body had had enough, knowing that it couldn’t take any more punishment. It plain and simply didn’t want to accept any more.
I loved him so fiercely, so blindly that I gave him my all, and in return he gave me fractions of himself then his fists. His punishments hurt, but then he would kiss me with scolding passion, telling me I was the only one for him. I wanted to believe what he told me, I wanted to believe that our love could overcome his evil actions. I wanted to believe that five years ago when he first struck me—believing it was my fault—that it would only be that one time, and that he loved me so much he would never dare hurt me on purpose again.
Pushing thirty seconds, the time had clicked away in my head slowly. Those thirty seconds felt more like a lifetime. Again I attempted to force my body to move, screaming that there was only a mere thirty seconds at the most remaining. Yet again, it chose to ignore me. It was like we had been separated, something I knew I should have done with Jamie the first time five long years ago. Love is blind.
There was three more sets of pounding and counting, his cold hard voice started to permeate through the bathroom door. He told me to open it, to get out there. I didn’t reply, afraid of how my voice would deceive me.
I tried wiggling my toes, using all my concentration to work on that tiny action. It worked, I closed my eyes and willed my legs to move.
I just need to stand, I prayed to them.
The pounding had gotten harder, the banging louder as he frantically went about his fourth attempt. His temper was now raging. If I didn’t open that door in the next ten seconds, it would be torn from its hinges, I knew it would.
My hands clenched into fists, my eyes closed, a single tear escaped my eye. I wondered why, as my hand went up to touch it. I couldn’t remember the last time I cried or the last tear I’d shed. It all stayed inside, eating and chewing away at me. A war within my body raged that I knew I couldn’t win, but chose to try.
I looked down at my wet finger, while my other eye remained dry.
How odd. A single tear? Just the one escaping and running for its freedom. I wiped it across my shirt so it couldn’t escape. If I couldn’t, it couldn’t. It was only fair.
My hand landed on the door handle just as his hammering came again, and I managed to turn and open it. He stood there, tall and expansive. Stunningly gorgeous. He’d come straight from the gym, his shirt was off, his shoulders broad. His skin glistened with sweat.
How could someone so evil look like that? His mouth was tight, his hands were opening and closing at his sides. With all the pounding he’d done on the door, there were tiny blotches of blood on his knuckles. He was attempting to release the anger he had for me through his tight-clenched fists. I didn’t even know why. His hazel eyes closed, just for a brief second, enough time for me to take a deep breath before he stepped closer and I instinctively shuffled back the smallest of steps hoping he wouldn’t notice.
His hand came up, my insides screamed, my body wanted to bolt. But it was a gentle hand that touched my face, deceiving me again. I never closed my eyes to him anymore, I wanted to see the look on his face, store it in my memory for safe keeping every time he was angry. At first, it was to collect clues, to consider what it was I was doing to make him angry, and now it was just a habit. I couldn’t close them, even when I was choking I couldn’t close them. I needed to see that demonic fire in his eyes, remember it, preserve it, use it.
“Baby,” he whispered, stepping even closer. His touch on my skin was hot, scalding, burning me with an intensity that could melt steel, while his other hand grabbed at my hip. He leaned in, his lips touched mine, just softly.
I loved him, I hated him. I couldn’t figure out between the two feelings which were worse.
“I’ve missed you.” His hands came around my hips, circling, until they reached my ass and he squeezed hard. He breathed me in when his mouth left mine. Slow and soft kisses touched my shoulders. This was the part I hated myself the most for. That no matter how much I hated him, he was the only man who knew how to touch me. To make me only see him, to only want him. I. Hated. That.
He pushed himself into the bathroom fully, shutting the door that I struggled so hard to open. Closing it like there was no effort at all involved, while I fought with every ounce of strength I could muster within me to open it. He lifted my tender body, placing me in the shower, stripping my dress, and kissed every mark that he’d marked on me. I didn’t move, and soon he was as naked as me, the cold water running down my breasts. His hands ran up and down not so tenderly this time as he lifted and slammed me against the bathroom wall. My breath hitched. My breathing became hard for two reasons, one it hurt and two he was about to make me come. Even when I knew it was wrong, even when he whispered his love in my ear, I screamed internally my body shaking.
He carried me to our room, a room that was full of everything that was his. A single drawer to my name. I didn’t have much, he didn’t allow me the pleasure of my own things.
He laid me on the bed then got on top of me, his eyes shone brightly.
“I’m leaving you.” I rush the words out.
It was my body, my mind, and it seemed to have gained some control. My insides screamed, why must you do this? His eyes went wide, my hands started to sweat. Those beautiful lips became hard to mine. His hands moved from my side, snaked up around my neck, and I took one last breath as I watched the love of my life, the only man I’d ever loved, squeeze the life right out of me.
Like it was nothing.
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T.L Smith Lover of chocolate, books, but mostly words.
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