Home > Falling In Eden (Legends and Lovers)

Falling In Eden (Legends and Lovers)
Author: Willow Aster

 


Prologue

 

 

I hold up the silky black lingerie and sigh as I fold it and put it in my suitcase. At least Dane and I still have a sex life, albeit a sporadic one.

That’s what this trip is about—time to reconnect. And in a way beyond the fast and furious sex during the cracks of our schedule. With his hours as a defense attorney and mine as an ER nurse, time is limited.

I zip up my suitcase and make sure I haven’t forgotten anything of Dane’s either. He’d said he’d pack during my night shift, but as I was getting home this morning, he was running out the door to meet a last-minute client and asked me to get his things together.

Cue the silent boil inside my chest.

I don’t want to be this person. Constantly irritated. Bitter. And while I’m not a nag vocally, inside my brain is a running, shouting commentary aimed at Dane.

I hope this trip will be what we need.

I do a quick sweep through the brownstone, checking for anything I might be forgetting and washing the dishes Dane used last night. The kitchen clock ticks away, and my fury grows. He’s late. He knows I get anxious if we don’t get to the airport in plenty of time. I begged him not to be late as he was leaving this morning.

Stop. It’s not the end of the world if we have to rush. You’re lucky to even be going on a trip.

I lean on the kitchen counter and count backwards from thirty. I don’t want to start out our vacation already mad at him. There’s time. So we’re not there in time to get a drink, not a big deal. We will probably just have time to get through the line and get right on the plane if he doesn’t get here within the next forty-five minutes.

I put my head in my hands and think about how he was when we were first dating. I was working at the hospital when he came in one early morning. I hustled past him, and he tugged me back toward him, kissing me until I was breathless. When I pulled away, my heart pounding from the kiss and also from hoping no one I worked with saw that, he handed me a bouquet of flowers.

They made me smile, and yet I felt wistful when I looked at them. Beautiful, but the edges were wilting and brown, and when I put my nose in them to inhale the fragrance, I didn’t smell anything, but I did sneeze.

Dane and I laughed, and I thanked him for the beautiful flowers. “Dinner tonight?” he asked.

“Sure. I have a couple of hours after I wake up and before I have to be back at work.”

He drew me closer, his hands squeezing my waist. “Come on, call in sick tonight. Stay with me. I’ll make every second worth it.”

I flushed again, looking around, and the nurses behind the counter stared at Dane with swoony faces. They still look at him that way when he comes in. “Maybe I could get someone to cover for me.”

“That’s my girl,” he said, grinning. He kissed me again and backed away, smiling at me before turning when he reached the elevator.

“That man is sexy as sin,” Dottie said. She was an older woman and usually too grumpy for conversation, but she always perked up when Dane was around. Sadly, she died that same year from lung cancer.

I remember not wanting to take off work. I love my job and it helps to stay busy. I think I will always feel that way. But then, before I could talk myself out of it, I cleared my throat and asked the nurses behind the desk, “Would anyone want to cover for me tonight? I could cover for you this weekend.”

“Uh, hell yeah,” Dottie said. “I would love to have a weekend off. It’s been ages. And from what I can tell, it’s about time you get a life.”

I cringed but nodded. “Thank you.” And I turned and hurried off to see what I might have missed while Dane was here.

I didn’t bother going to my tiny apartment to sleep before our date. My whole apartment was the size of the living room where we live now. I could never fully relax there, and I guess that hasn’t changed, even in a bigger apartment. Both then and now, my mind is usually on what’s going on at the hospital, and when I stay there, if I can’t fully sleep, there’s always plenty to do.

Dane had been wanting me to stay over at his place since we’d started dating a few months before, and I’d resisted it. I just wasn’t sure what he saw in a girl like me. I still feel this way. Not because I’m not secure in who I am, but because we don’t match.

He’d seemed crazy about me from day one, but I knew he must have limits on how long he’d be patient with a workaholic nurse still neck-deep in college debt. Before that night, we hadn’t had sex yet, but he’d become more persistent. And I was tired of being lonely.

I didn’t really fit in anywhere, never have, doubtful I ever would, and it wasn’t like other guys were knocking my door down to get to know me.

Not really convincing arguments to start a relationship.

Or to stay in one.

I sigh and glance at the clock in frustration.

He comes through the door forty-one minutes later, his thick blond hair slicked back, his button-up shirt pressed, sleeves rolled up to his elbows. He’s as cool as can be, grinning when he sees my face. I swear he thrives on my rage.

“Sorry, I cut it so close,” he says, tugging me toward him and kissing my forehead. I pull away and he grins wider. “Shall we go?”

I have the suitcases and my purse near the front door, and I grab my purse and walk out the door, leaving him to take care of the luggage.

We’re off to a great start.

 

 

I’ve settled into 17A, although I’m still wishing for the luxurious seats in first class. Dane is up there. He got upgraded as we were boarding and promised he’d change seats with me as soon as we were in flight. I peeked through the curtained-off area four hours ago and he had a mask over his eyes, mouth gaping open as he slept.

Another four hours have passed at least, and I’m cursing him for talking me into this twelve and a half hour-flight to Dubai. I wanted to go somewhere closer like New Orleans…I’ve always wanted to go there and it’s not even a full three hours to fly from New York.

I shove my thoughts down and wrestle with the neck pillow. We need this trip. I repeat that to myself three times in quick succession as I turn toward the window. We need a vacation in the worst way. Both of us have been working insane hours, trying to keep up with the rat race that is New York. And we need this time together.

Sometimes I wonder why I’m still fighting so hard to stay in this relationship when I’m miserable most of the time. But he befriended me when I first arrived in New York, made me feel special. In the beginning, he wined and dined me, and I suppose knowing what he’s capable of is what makes me stay.

And then there’s the way he’s been after me to have a baby, which is something I really want to discuss on this trip. I’ve been off birth control for a long time, and I haven’t even been late once. Not a single pregnancy alarm or possibility, and I think that’s for the best. I don’t know how we could possibly consider a baby when we’re at odds with each other half the time. Most of the time.

I want to stop trying for a baby and that conversation will be a difficult one. He can be extremely tenacious when he wants something.

I finally doze off as I’m telling Dane off in a dozen different ways about his cushy first-class seat, and I have the craziest dream. The ground and water switch places, and I’m swimming in the air and flying in the water. The water—or is it the air?—shakes and I hear the glub-glub of underwater screams that sound miles away. A pain pierces my head, and I open my eyes for a second to see that I’m on a plane of chaos.

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