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About the author:
Anna is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author. She’s also a lover of all things dark and passionate. Living in the Southeastern United States, she enjoys antiquing, DIY thrift store finds, sedate hiking along trails, and spending time with her family and menagerie of pets. Being the only girl in a household full of men makes it hard to always be a lady, but she gives it a good old college try.
What inspired you to write your book?
Although this short can be read as a stand-alone, it takes place seven years prior to my series “Mad, Bad, & Dangerous to Love.” It was while working on the third novel that this pivotal night between Emma and Gabriel possessed me and wouldn’t let go. I had to explore how that night still affected them seven years later. It was through the writing that I received a greater appreciation for how much Emma and Gabriel truly loved each other and how destructive fear and self-doubt can be.
Here is a short sample from the book:
Gabriel had been sober the last time I saw him. “How’d you get a hold of alcohol?”
His lips curled into a kissable pout. “I’m sorry, m’dear. I didn’t think you’d want any. I really would’ve shared if I suspected my pure untouchable Emma wanted a bit of the drink.” Gabriel opened his jacket and halfway removed the silver flask from the interior pocket. “It’s all gone, my dear.”
I wanted to smack him for drinking. At prom. “What would you have done if you’d gotten caught? You know they can suspend you and keep you from walking at graduation!”
“You sound as if you care. Do you?”
My mouth snapped shut. I did care but it wasn’t my place. Gabriel and I didn’t even really qualify as friends, much less anything more. Discomfited by the reminder of how my walls were eroding, I lashed out.
“What am I talking about? You don’t have to abide by the rules. Even if you did get caught, I’m sure Daddy would bail you out and smooth over any feathers, right?”
Rage flashed in Gabriel’s expressive gaze. “You don’t know half of what you think you do, Emma.”
Mount Gabriel was getting closer to erupting. My mouth lifted into a half-smirk. “I know enough.”
Gabriel shook his head. “You can be such a…”
His gaze burned me. “A sadist.”
I didn’t expect that. “W-What? No, I’m not.”
This time it was Gabriel’s mouth that curled into a half-smirk. “Trust me. I know.” Before I could question him further, Gabriel closed the gap between us by one step. “Why wouldn’t you dance with me, Emma?”
I crossed my arms, feeling more vulnerable than I liked. “Because I didn’t want to.”
“I already answered your question.”
His relentlessness trapped me. “Because I’m not like those other girls, Gabriel!”
“I know you’re not.”
“No!” My hand cut through the air impatiently. “We both know I’m not like your spoiled princess debutantes you’re always dating. I’m talking about the others.”
“The ones who are poor like me and end up getting their hearts broken by rich boys like you. I won’t be like them.”
Gabriel dropped his head. “You always think the worst of me, Emma, and I really wished you wouldn’t but I understand why. Still I try…”
He looked up. I opened my mouth but no words came out. Longing, frustration, misery, and anger roiled about him. I was humbled.
It hurt to look at a mourning angel. Overwhelmed and feeling like I’d seen what wasn’t mine to observe, I looked down at my shoes. Gabriel instantly lifted my chin so I’d have no choice but to see him. His long fingers imprinted into my skin. I trembled in his hold. Gabriel’s touch frightened me because it felt so right.
“Why won’t you look at me, Emma? Don’t you know the only one I’ve ever really wanted the past four years is you? What can I do to get you to like me back? I’ll do anything you want…be anything you want…just say you’ll be mine, Emma.”
My legs went weak. I could barely force the muscles to contract and keep me upright. I never imagined anyone, much less Gabriel, saying that to me. I closed my eyes, body relaxing as if it had already acknowledged him as its true owner.