Title: Living Out Loud
Series: The Living Series Vol. 2
Author: Melody Dawn
Genre: NA/Contemporary Romance
Haunted by a sexual experiment that went awry in his late teens,
Connor Reece knows he isn’t safe for any woman.
For six years, he’s kept everyone at a distance, until the day his twin brother finds his soulmate.
When Connor is introduced to her best friend, Madison McKinley, she becomes the light in his dark world.
Both are attracted to each other, but neither believe in love.
Until they receive news that changes everything.
Can Connor convince Madison to take a chance on him?
Or will their trust issues deny them the chance at an epic love story?
Sitting here alone on a Friday night drinking whiskey…how times have changed. My bitter musings are interrupted by the sound of the back door opening and I look over to see Jayson and Chloe walk in. They are completely oblivious to anyone but themselves and so much in love; it’s a little ridiculous. Actually, I’m happy for them…I just don’t want to see the evidence of it tonight.
I watch as my mirror image wraps her up in his arms and kisses the hell out of her. As the kiss grows more heated, I feel sort of like a voyeur. They don’t even know I’m here and although I love to harass Chloe about being a “closet freak,” I need to get out of here before they see me, not because I’m a noble guy, but because I don’t want to answer the 2,000 questions they will throw at me.
Taking care not to disturb them, I climb the back stairs to my room and get ready for bed. Once, I’m lying down, I reach for my phone without thinking and send a text.
Connor: What are u doing?
Madison: I thought u weren’t talking 2 me.
Connor: I’m not. Never mind
Madison: U could come over. I miss u.
Connor: I’m not having this convo again. You had a choice…and you didn’t choose me.
Madison: Maybe I was wrong. Come over and let’s talk about it.
I don’t bother responding. She knows where I stand on this issue and her request to “talk about it” means she wants to distract me with sex.
With a mirthless laugh, I wonder at the absurdity of the situation. Connor Reece, Mr. Commitment-Phobe, is shutting a girl down because she won’t have a relationship outside of casual sex. I’m betting Karma is having a huge laugh at my expense for every time I was a huge asshole to the girls who wanted more from me than just fucking.
Shame fills me when I think of what a bastard I’ve been to some of the girls I hooked up with in the past. Jesus, if I had known what rejection feels like, I would have become a monk and saved everyone some grief and pain.
I always thought just being a hook-up guy was the right way to go. I got my needs met and the women stayed safe. That’s been my biggest priority: not exposing a woman to the darkness that rests inside me…the darkness I discovered at age 17.
Sure, I’ve let hints of it come out with a few partners, but I made sure to keep a tight rein on myself. Years ago, I swore I would never put myself in a vulnerable situation with a girl again. I can hear Karma laughing even louder in my head…looks like I’m the one that needed protecting…maybe not my body, but the heart I thought was on lock down…the one Madison McKinley crushed to pieces with two words, “I can’t.”
Hoping to extricate her from my mind…at least for the night, I turn over, punch my pillow, and try to sleep…waiting for the alcohol to numb my brain. Unfortunately, that’s not the case…even though sleepiness begins to overtake me, my mind is working overtime.
Soon my eyes begin to droop, but the memories push through…ones that I thought I buried years ago. Flashes from that night swoop in and my jaw clenches in reaction. The alcohol as well as the situation with Madison is just the right combination to bring back memories I would rather not have right now or any time actually. The harder I try to keep them back, the quicker they come. Finally, I give in and the last 6 years of my life play out like a movie in front of me.
Melody Dawn is an aspiring contemporary romance author residing in the southern part of the US. She started reading romance novels when she was a teenager and became addicted to Happily Ever After’s. She got her own HEA when she met her soulmate 20 years ago and they have been together ever since. They have two furbabies who think they are Kings of the Castle and require a ton of attention. When she is not reading or writing, she loves to refurbish old furniture into new pieces, scrapbook, and most of all spend time with her main guy.