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Easy to Fall – Hard to Love
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From USA Today bestselling author Willow Winters comes the epic conclusion to the heart-wrenching, edge-of-your-seat gripping, romantic suspense, Hard to Love series.
With her I was always on the highest high. That’s why it was so easy to fall.
I never stood a chance without her. The two of us were made for one another. It’s as simple as that. The world could try to rip us apart, but it would fail. Until this.
She told me once, love isn’t enough. I never would have believed it … until now. Neither of us could have prepared for this.
I won’t stop fighting. Not until the very end.
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They say death feels like falling. You plummet down to the center of a large black hole, blind with nothing to touch. Only a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach and the rush of air around you makes you aware that the descent is happening. At first there’s a dip in your tummy. The same kind of dip that happens on the road when you drive as quickly as you can down a hill. Like you’re on a roller coaster. That same concoction of adrenaline and dread that forces you to either scream or smile in the face of what’s instinctively fearful. And then it’s gone and you’re simply falling. That’s what death feels like.
It’s funny how similar that description is to falling in love, isn’t it? There’s no controlling it. You can keep your eyes open or you can close them. You can scream on your way down, or you can lift your chin and wait silently for what’s about to greet you on the other side. Your death or a kiss.
Sometimes, it’s both.
One or the other just takes a bit longer to happen, but you were falling all the while.
I didn’t realize I was falling at the time, but now as I lay here, waiting for the end, I can pinpoint the exact moment when it happened years ago. I know the very moment I slipped and tumbled down.
Hindsight is twenty-twenty and all that.
I didn’t even get a kiss when I started falling. One look at Seth King and I was done for. I’ve fallen many times since then, all those little dips that made me both smile and scream. Always for Seth. I guess you could say I died for him many times. But this time… this time will be my last. I know it will.
The difference between the two, love and death, is that you can come back from love. Death isn’t as forgiving.
Ten years earlier
“You know you can sit with them if you want,” Cami tells me in between bites of her apple. It’s just us on this side of the cafeteria table although at the other end on the opposite side, two freshmen girls are currently having a heated but hushed conversation. I guess they wanted privacy for their gossip and they’ve planted themselves on the very end of our table to get it. “You don’t have to sit with me when you’re dating Seth.”
I shake my head in disagreement, my gaze moving from the brunette ponytail swishing behind one of the intruders at our table to Seth’s table. Of course it’s his. He owns it.
He smiles when he sees me. It’s slow and charming, genuine too. The kind of smile where wrinkles form around his eyes when he does it. He’s so damn handsome, it’s not fair. How could I ever not want him? There’s simply no denying it. My whole heart wants to beat with his.
That doesn’t mean we have to put a label on it. I know damn well that it will be the kiss of death if we do.
And it sure as hell doesn’t mean I can’t sit with Cami anymore.
“We aren’t dating,” I say, denying what Cami suggests, even as my heart goes pitter-patter in protest. It’s too warm in my chest, with too much commotion going on in there at the mere sight of Seth’s smile. My eyes are caught by his steely gaze. There’s a sense of tension and electricity between us. There’s no use fighting it anymore.
“You’re one of them now,” she whispers, leaning closer to me for comedic effect with no trace of malice, only humor. And it works. I laugh, this ridiculously high-pitched laugh as my cheeks burn and I turn to her.
My lips part to object as I reach forward and unscrew the cap on my iced tea, but Cami doesn’t give me a moment to form a rebuttal. “You hang out at the bar. You play pool with them. They walk with you on your way home.”
“Not the whole way and not always,” I protest.
She tilts her head and makes an expression like I’m being unreasonable denying it and maybe I am. In the last two months, I’ve spent every waking moment with Seth and his crew. And it feels like I belong there, like I was always supposed to be on that side of the room. It’s like they’re my new family. Not by blood but by choice. Cami is my family too, though. Nothing will change that. Ever. We will always be inseparable.
“Semantics,” Cami argues and takes another bite of her apple. She doesn’t bother swallowing before telling me with a nudge of her shoulder, “You should sit with your boy toy.”
“Boy toy freaked me out a little yesterday,” I say. I’m going off script, changing the subject and hiding behind huge news. I’m not sitting with Seth whether Cami’s here or not. It would make what we have more real. And if it’s real, it can be taken away from me. So my ass is staying put.