Published by Self-Published on Date: April 25, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
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For some, it’s simply one of life’s certainties, nothing more. For others, it’s merely a fleeting thought, one often overshadowed by the reckless delusion that they have been blessed with the gift of immortality.
For Aubrey Miller, death is the definition of her very existence. Overcome with the guilt resulting from the loss of her beloved family, she alters her appearance from the once beautiful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl to that of one shrouded in complete darkness, enveloping herself in her own unbreakable fortress of solitude as a form of protection for others.
As she enters her first year of college, her goal is simple: Earn a degree with the least amount of social interaction as possible. What she never anticipates is the formation of very unlikely relationships with two people who will change her life in ways she never believed possible: Quinn Matthews, the boisterous former pageant queen, and Kaeleb McMadden, a childhood friend from her past who never really let her go.
Over the years, as their connections intertwine and grow, a seemingly indestructible bond is formed between the three…
But when death painfully reemerges, Aubrey is lost once again, burying herself deeper than ever before inside the familiar fortification of her fears.
Will the refuge of friendship, the solidarity of life-long bonds, and the power of unconditional love be enough to do the impossible?
Will they be enough to finally bring about…
The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller?
“Thank you so much, Quinn. This day has been…unbelievable. And I owe it all to you. You have no idea.” My voice trembles a bit with the admission, because she really has no idea what she’s done for me today.
I feel normal.
A normal girl, about to have a normal birthday celebration with her friends, in a normal (albeit spectacular) dress, with normal hair and make-up.
The only thing that’s missing is a pair of normal shoes.
“Shoes! I need shoes!” I exclaim.
“No, you don’t.” Quinn giggles and reaches for the knob of my bedroom door.
“What? Why wouldn’t I need shoes?”
That makes no sense.
She’s drunker than I thought.
That’s it, I’m officially hiding the champagne.
“You’ll see,” she says just as there’s a knock at the front door.
She winks. “Trust me. Just, stay in here. Don’t come out until someone comes to get you.”
After Quinn quietly shuts the door behind her, I remain seated. As the sounds of Kaeleb’s murmur filters into my room, a nervous excitement flitters through my belly and spreads into my chest. My joy takes flight and I breathe in deeply, contentment pumping enthusiastically with each thrumming heartbeat.
Damn, it feels good to be alive.
I don’t have to wait for long. After a very loud squeal from Quinn in the other room, there’s a knock at my door. My pulse kicks up and I rise from the bed, smoothing out my dress. With a glance in the mirror, I pluck a couple of sections of my new hair with my fingers and set them back into place. “Come in,” I remark, turning in the direction of the door.
The handle turns and as Kaeleb pokes his head around the corner, his eyes find mine. His eyebrows rise as his mouth falls slightly open, and he breaks my gaze as his focus shifts to take in my hair, my exposed neck and the line of my dress. He holds his stare briefly at the crystalline sash lining my waist, and then slowly drifts down to my smoothly-shaven legs and perfectly painted toenails. The left side of his mouth quirks up as he clears his throat, frozen in place. He tears his scrutiny away from my feet to fully step into the room, then turns away from me to shut the door.
I take advantage of the 1.5 seconds his back is turned, and survey him from head to toe. His light-blue button-up is folded to his elbows, displaying the prominence of the flexed muscles along his forearms. As he places both palms on the door and leans into them, his shirt rides up enough for me to see the designs on the back pockets of his dark jeans. They hug his ass perfectly, and for the first time in my life, I want to slide my hands right into those pockets just to feel the hardness of his toned body.
My fingers itch with the need to touch him, but I maintain control while Kaeleb braces against the door, inhaling and exhaling deeply. He stays planted there for a few more seconds until I suddenly begin to feel self-conscious. I run my hands over my hair and dress to make sure everything is as it should be.
Just as I start to ask him if he’s all right, he whips around with a full smile on his face. A few long strides later, and he’s standing right in front of me. Raising both hands, he traces the tips of his fingers along the sides of my cheeks, leaving a scorching trail as they run down my neck and thread themselves into the hair at my nape. With his thumbs underneath my chin, he tilts my head back and looks me directly in the eyes.
“You look amazing, Sunshine. Truly breathtaking.” His head dips slightly and he runs his lips tentatively along mine, the movement so sensual I can’t keep my hands off of him any longer. Fisting his shirt in my hands, I pull him into me and press my mouth hard against his, the need to taste him overriding my caution. A whimper rises in my throat and escapes into his mouth as his tongue slides in between my lips, slowly and deliberately, taking his time to stroke and caress mine. His hold tightens as his fingers curl deeper into my hair, the tinge of pain sending shockwaves of pleasure coursing through my body until they land right in between my legs, the throbbing sensation growing with each strike.
After another gentle sweep of his tongue, he lessens the kiss and pulls back slightly. His lips brush against mine before they slide over to the corner of my mouth, up along my cheek, and then rest them against my ear as he breathes, “Happy birthday. The dress is phenomenal.”