Title: After Us
Series: Before and After
Author: Amber Hart
Genre: Contemporary, NA Romance
"Beautiful, lyrical writing and a dangerously suspenseful plot. . .an unforgettable novel that readers will love." --Lucy Connors, author of The Lonesome Young
Sometimes secrets kill. Maybe slowly, maybe painfully. Maybe all at once.
Melissa smiles. She flirts. She jokes. But she never shows her scars. Eight months after tragedy ripped her from her closest friend, Melissa is broken. Inside her grows a tumor, fed by grief, rage, and the painful memory of a single forbidden kiss.
Javier has scars of his own: a bullet wound, and the memory of a cousin shot in the heart. Life in the States was supposed to be a new beginning, but a boy obsessed by vengeance has no time for the American dream. To honor his familia, Javier joins the gang who set up his cousin's murder. The entrance price is blood. Death is the only escape.
These two broken souls could make each other whole again--or be shattered forever.
Our time will come. And we'll be ready.
One hour later, I’m sitting at the beach in board shorts the color of gunmetal. I’m drinking water because Melissa won’t serve me alcohol. This job is good for her and she doesn’t want to lose it, she told me.
Melissa’s sitting next to me. I’m using every ounce of my control to not stare blatantly at her suit, which is a one-piece but somehow sexier than all the bikinis around me. Maybe because it’s different from the normal attire. Or maybe because of the girl wearing it. But whatever it is, I can’t stop looking at the neon yellow-and-brown tiger-striped suit; it looks shredded because of the slits that move from the top of her ribs down to her belly button. Goes with the tiger theme. Dips low on her back. Has cutouts on the side that show her hips.
At the sight of her, I’m dying.
My body is having a hard time staying in check. It wants to respond to her wearing that. Sitting so near. Smelling sweaty, faintly like salt. Somehow sweat smells deliciously good on her.
I force my eyes to look anywhere else.
Ten minutes is the time she has to spend with me, on break.
“Do you remember?” I ask, staring at the water.
Not sure how she could forget.
“Remember what?” she asks.
Her voice commands my attention. I look up.
Melissa’s a beautiful liar because her eyes are on my lips. Her words try to block the truth. Her stare gives her thoughts away.
I grin. “The water.”
Like you don’t know.
Give her a chance to act as though she’s just now retrieving the memory.
“Oh, right.” She bites her top lip nervously. “Yeah. I mean, sure. That day.”
She’s stumbling over her words. Her tongue’s tripping over itself. I love watching her falter. Because it means something.