It's funny how a piece of paper can change your life-a diploma, a ticket . . . a plain, white envelope
For as long as I could remember, I was the girl with the plan. Good college, good medical school, good career. I would save lives instead of standing by helplessly, watching while they slipped away.
That was before my father called for the first time in fifteen years to tell me about the terminal illness stealing his life-an illness that might be stealing mine, too. It was before he gave me the name of a doctor and a plane ticket to Italy. Before I flew across an ocean. Before I realized how brilliantly bright life could be. Before I met Lucas.
He's everything I've always wanted, and the timing couldn't be worse. I can't do this to him-he deserves so much better. My head tells me I can't afford to fall in love with Lucas, but my heart won't listen. Lucas is fearless about the future, while I'm not even sure I have one. There's only one way to know what's ahead and it's waiting for me at home inside a plain, white envelope.
All I have to do, is open it . . .
Marie Meyer lives in southern Illinois with her husband, two daughters, and two spoiled rescue dogs. Once a college cheerleader, Marie now enjoys cheering for her girls’ gymnastics meets and soccer games. Marie received a Bachelors of Science in Education with a minor in music. Marie has been a Language Arts teacher for fourteen years and enjoys singing and playing the piano in her spare time. After spending her day in the classroom, when the sun goes down, Marie loves to escape into the pages of a good book—either reading one or writing one of her own. Marie loves to write heartfelt romances that will make you cry.
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Lucas slowly trailed his hand down my cheek, over my neck, and across my collarbone—the only exposed skin. But my clothing didn’t deter his southward pursuit. Even through the thin cotton of my shirt, I was hyperaware of his touch. How his fingertips grazed over the swell of my breast, lingering at the peak…teasing.
With each deliberate, enticing swirl of his thumb, my body came alive. Yet, it wasn’t his gifted hand alone that made my breath come quicker and send shivers down my spine. It was his eyes. Always his eyes.
To say they were expressive was an understatement, just the tip of the iceberg. His eyes told a story. One of happiness, desire, intrigue, sadness, warmth, love—it all radiated from their bright cerulean cores, the center and focal points that surrounded his pupils. From the day we met, I wanted to swim in that ocean, be swept away by his gaze and get lost beneath the crushing waves of his stare. To be a part of his story.
I touched his arm, my fingers disappearing under his shirtsleeve. His skin was smooth over the hard, taut muscle of his bicep. I clenched it, feeling him flex as he moved his hand lower on my belly, lifting the hem of my shirt.
The instant he made contact with my skin, I sucked in a breath. “Are my hands cold?” he asked.
I moved my head side to side. “Very much the opposite.” My voice was garbled and shallow. I attempted to clear my throat.
Feeling the branding touch of Lucas’s hand moving up my body, he shifted his weight and sat up, lifting my shirt higher. I subtly raised my shoulders and he pulled my shirt over my head, tossing it to the floor.
His eyes slowly roamed my body, landing on every hill and valley. He watched the rise and fall of my chest, not allowing himself to touch until his eyes touched first. Even though this wasn’t the first time he had seen me like this, tonight was different.
The night of his birthday, I’d wanted to give him everything I had. I was ready. I needed that last connection to him. But Lucas still thought he had to prove himself to me. He wanted me to know that every part of me was special to him, not a fleeting moment in bed.
But tonight was different. He was right here with me. There were no more secrets between us. He wasn’t chasing a ghost from his past, and for once, I wasn’t afraid of my shadowed future. I needed this. I wanted him…all of him, everything he was willing to give me. I needed to feel alive while I still had the chance.
Working my hand down to the bend of his elbow, I memorized how my fingertips flowed over his skin and how the hair on his arm bristled at my touch.