I can tell by the way that he looks that he’s either going to crush my heart or send me running, so I cut him off, rapidly leaning in and silencing him with my lips.

I gasp from the spark of our lips and then moan at the warmth of his tongue as he urges my lips open and kisses me ardently. I readily liquefy into the kisses, opening up and letting him completely in. He meticulously explores every inch of my mouth as he grips at my waist, his hands just under the hem of my shirt; flesh burning flesh.


At first the kiss is innocent, simply two confused people making out on a porch, however the longer it goes on, the more intense it becomes until something snaps in both of us and the faint sparks blaze into a scorching fire. Before I can even acknowledge what he’s doing, he scoops me up in his arms and carries me into the house. Passion and heat take over and we no longer have control, but we never really did anyway. We’ve both been helpless against our emotions, without them and with them. The drives of our lives and our decisions have solely been based on what we didn’t and did feel.

I secure my arms and legs around him as he maneuvers through the screen door and into the living room, his lips staying fastened to mine the entire time. He trips over the threshold and my back slams against the wall as his weight crashes against me. He leaves me pressed up to it for a moment, his tongue slipping deeply into my mouth, and then he moves us away. He manages to find his way to the hall without breaking the kiss and starts to head to the room we’ve been sleeping in.

“Not in there,” I murmur against his lips as I thread my fingers through his soft hair. “My mom’s in there.”

Groaning, he turns the other way and stumbles into the vacant spare room across the hall. It’s smaller than the one we’re staying in and doesn’t have a view of the ocean, but I could care less at the moment what the hell the room looks like as long as it has a bed.

He continues to kiss me as he moves for the bed and then he turns around at the last second so we collapses onto the mattress with me on top of him. I straddle him as he presses his hands to my back, enfolding me against him. We kiss recklessly through our pain and confusion and the longer our lips remain sealed together, the easier it is to forget that this all might be an deception based on stars and misguided emotions.

Alex ultimately breaks the kiss, but only to remove my shirt. It’s tight fitting, though, and has a ribbon up the front that makes it complex to get off. Finally he threads his fingers through the laces and rips the fabric in half. Then he tosses the pieces aside on the floor, his green eyes blazing with uncontrollable hunger as he reaches around my back and unclasps my bra. My breasts spring free as he discards it to the floor beside my ruined shirt, then I reach forward and grab the bottom of his shirt. He helps me take it off him, roughly tugging it over his head, and throwing it aside. I leisurely glide my fingers up his chest and defined abs before I groan at the mouthwatering hardness of his lean muscles, his skin making my skin burn. When I reach the top of his chest, I slip my hands around to his shoulders blades while his travel up my back.

Halfway up my back, he presses his hand inward, forcing my back to bow up and my breasts to move closer to him. With neediness in his eyes, he lowers his mouth to devour my nipple, sucking hard while his tongue traces eager circles. I allow my head fall back as I moan in ecstasy and my thighs tingle as my stomach coils. He keeps sucking and sucking, moving back and forth between my breasts and right when I can’t take anymore, my body about to combust from emotional overload, he pulls back.

I start to stammer a protest when he lifts me up with one hand and jerks my shorts and panties off. I fumble to undo the button of his jeans and then he slips them off and kicks them aside. When I sit back down on his lap with a leg on each side of him, his hardness presses between my legs. I wait for him to slip inside me, raggedly breathing in anticipation, but his fingers wind around the back of my neck and he entices my lips to his while his finger slips up between my legs and slides into me.

He starts moving his fingers, harder and harder, feeling me thoroughly and pushing me toward blissful elation. His tongue and fingers move rhythmically and then he sucks my bottom lip into his mouth and grazes his teeth along it. His fingers push me higher until I’m drifting away from reality, lost in the sweltering feelings I barely recognize. I finally scream out, completely letting go as I grasp forcefully onto his shoulders. I’m barely coming back down when he slips his fingers out of me and with one final kiss, he thrusts himself into me.

I cry out again as a thousand different emotions soar through me and speed up my heart rate. My pulse throbs and my body pulsates more erratically with each of his thrusts. I start to move with him, wanting more, needing him to be as close as possible so we’re linked together. My skin beads with sweat as he pushes harder, his hips meeting mine as he sinks into me, driving me farther into blissfulness. He grabs my arms, guides them behind my back, and secures my wrists together with one hand, forcing my chest outward. With each penetrating movement of his hips, my chest presses against his and it makes my nipples go hard. His lips find my neck where he kisses and licks a path down to my collarbone while his other hand grips at the flesh on my waist.

He lifts his hips higher as he holds my wrists together and leaves me vulnerable and trapped in the most insanely good way. I want to hold onto him, dig my nails in and feel his skin split open, letting out some of the overpowering passion inside me. But I can’t do anything except let the feeling build as he pushes me closer the edge of reality. I get more lost with each connection of our bodies until I feel like I’m going to explode. I scream out as I lose it completely and it feels like I’m breaking apart on the inside, crumpling, falling into the dark.

Seconds later, Alex movements slow down. He gives one last deep press into me and we both cry out in unison. His fingers press against my wrist to the point where I wonder if they’ll bruise and he pulls my waist forward so our bodies align perfectly together.

As we both gradually return to reality, we work to catch our breaths and slow our heart rates. His fingers loosen on my wrists and he finally frees me from his dominating hold. I move my arms forward and lean back, massaging my wrist with my fingers.

Alex falls back against the mattress, his chest sheen with sweat. He places a kiss on my wrist before putting his hand on my cheek. “Are you okay… I was a little rough?” he asks, tracing my cheek.

I nod as he searches my eyes. “Yeah, I’m fine… Are you okay?”

He nods then removes his hand from my face. Then he lies down and draws me down with him, pressing our foreheads together. “About what I said in The Underworld.”

I hold my breath, too afraid to speak. What if he says he didn’t mean it? Can I handle it? Can I manage it if he says he loves me? I’m not sure what I’ll do, and honestly, I wish he’d just keep his mouth shut so I can bask in the euphoric sensations he put inside me moments ago.

He takes an uneven breath and then releases it, the warmth hitting my cheeks. “I think I… we need to… Jesus, Gemma I—”

Someone bangs on the door. “Alex! Gemma!” Aislin cries from the other side of the door. “I need to talk to you.”

Shaking his head, Alex leans back and calls out, “Not now, Aislin. Go away.”

“But Laylen’s missing!” she yells. “We were talking and he was upset and then…” she starts to sob, choking on her tears and her voice is muffled. “He took off and I can’t find him anywhere. I’m worried about what he’s going to do.”

“We’ll be right there,” I call out as fear ascends in me. Laylen was already in the wrong place before, fighting his blood thirst and now he’s hurting over his past. The combination is a deadly mix and I’m worried he’s either going to hurt himself or someone else.

I instantly climb off Alex’s lap and he slips out of me. “Shit, this is bad.” I reach for my panties balled up on the floor. “He looked so upset when my mom told him he was created on purpose.”

Alex sits on the edge of the bed, watching me put my panties and shorts on. “We were all upset.”

I fasten the button on my shorts. “Yeah, but he’s been completely alone.”

Alex stands to his feet and stretches his arms above his head, like he has no intention of hurrying. “So have you.”

I pick up my bra. “Alex, aren’t you worried about him?”

He collects his boxers and jeans from the floor. “Apparently not as much as you.”

I frown as I hook my bra. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

He picks up his boxers and slips them on. “It means you’re awfully upset.”

“Are you jealous?”

“Maybe.” His blunt honesty throws me off a little.

I go to pick up my shirt and realize it’s in pieces. “Alex, if you lo… care for me at all, then you’ll help us find him.” I bite my tongue at my stupid blunder.

He slips his jeans on, studying me with an unreadable expression as he does up the button. “Okay, I’ll help you find him,” he says simply.

I’m not sure what it means exactly, yet it feels like it means something. The prickle is starting to emerge, but it quickly vanishes as Aislin bangs on the door again.

Alex tosses me his shirt. “Here, put this on.”

I catch it and tug it over my head, the smell of his cologne mixed with the calming scent of him overwhelming me. There’s so much that’s unsaid between us; so much that needs to be said. But I think we might be afraid of the truth in ourselves and each other. As he opens the door so we can walk out, I think about asking him how he feels about me, but in the end, fear owns me and my lips end up staying shut.

Chapter 33

Alex, Aislin, and I split up, Alex heading to town while Aislin and I go out onto the beach. With flashlights in our hands and cell phones in our pockets, Aislin hikes up the left side of the beach and I take the right.

“If you need anything, either scream or call me,” she says as she hurries down the shore, sweeping her flashlight across the sand.

I nod and turn away, aiming the flashlight in front of me as the waves rush over my feet. The moon is glistening down on the water, making it look oily and the stars twinkle so brightly they look like diamonds.

I walk swiftly, shouting out Laylen’s name as I leave my footprints in the sand. I check behind rocks, in the backyard of nearby houses, and I even stare at the water a few times, fearing that’s where he went. Hours go by and dawn arrives, kissing the land with shades of pink and orange, making the ocean blue again.

I’m about to head back to the house when my phone rings. I slip it out of my pocket and answer it.

“Did you find him?” I ask.

“Not yet,” Alex says. “But there are a lot of places he could still be.”

“Have you heard from Aislin?”

“No, but I’m going to call her after I get off the phone with you.”

“Okay, well, I’ll keep looking.”

“Come back to the house first,” he says as I start to head further up the shore. “I don’t like you out alone.”