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The foundation series bo.., p.40
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       The Foundation Series Box Set, p.40

           Kira Adams
 

  “I think it’s time for me to go,” Peyton says the words I’ve been dreading.

  My face falls instantly. “Really? I thought we still had a lot to talk about, don’t you?”

  Peyton musters up a fake smile. “It’s been a long time, Jace. Things have changed. I’ve changed. I’m not the same girl from a couple of years ago. I’m finally beginning to find myself, and it feels exhilarating.”

  I’m happy for her, I am, but I don’t want to exist in a world where we aren’t together. “Just give me a chance, I know that you still feel the magic when we are together.”

  Peyton sighs. “That’s the problem, the magic is still there. If anything, it’s stronger than ever.”

  “Then what’s the problem?” I press inquisitively.

  “We are both going after things that make us happy and we are passionate about. Relationships are about give and take. I’m worried that at some point, one of us is going to have to give up our dreams for the other to be successful, and that’s not what I want.” Peyton spins around, walking out of my bedroom and down the hall. “Not to mention the fact that you lied to me for so long. I don’t know how I am ever supposed to trust you again.”

  “It’s called a leap of faith,” I grasp at straws. I will do anything to change her mind. “Look, I can’t make anything right if you don’t give me the chance to fix it.”

  “When is your flight?” I ask, scrambling after her. Peyton’s travel plans only included time for her magazine interview and other press stops. I know I am running out of time.

  “Tonight at 8:15,” she answers.

  “Postpone it,” I plead. I just need twenty-four hours to make her change her mind. I’m positive.

  Peyton’s facial expression drops. “Jace.”

  “Postpone it,” I repeat, grabbing her hands in mine and squeezing them. “I love you, Peyton Lane, and I’ll be damned if I let you slip through my fingers this time. I know I made a mistake, I’m taking full responsibility, but I don’t want to be apart any longer. Too much time has already been lost. I know you still love me too. I can tell.”

  Peyton’s expression doesn’t change. “It’s too late, Jace.”

  “There is no expiration date on love. You don’t just wake up one day and stop loving someone. It takes time.” I close the distance between us, and I can feel her breath hitch. I still make her nervous. If there wasn’t hope, her body wouldn’t subconsciously react like that. My lips curl up in a small smile.

  “What?” Peyton asks, utterly dumbfounded.

  I inch closer to her and sense her body tensing up. Even better. She is backing up as I am closing in. She doesn’t even realize it yet. She’s giving herself away with the small gestures. In one small movement, I found out everything I needed to know. There is still hope for us.

  I move so close to her that her back is pressed up against the glass railing, her breathing heavy. “Are you feeling okay?” I ask playfully. “You look a little flushed.”

  She pushes at my chest, replying in fashion. “You’re such an asshole.”

  A smile spreads across my lips. I knead my fingers through her hair and watch as she loses herself in the intimate feeling. She closes her eyes, reveling in it. Hook. Line. Sinker.

  I press a kiss directly below her earlobe and I can feel her body shudder against mine. “You know, you say you’re not interested, but your body is telling me a completely different story right now.”

  Peyton sighs, seemingly frustrated. “Why do I always feel so powerless when it comes to you?”

  “It’s called love,” I answer.

  “Well it feels like I’m a prisoner.” She huffs.

  “Prisoner of Love, hey, that could be your next song title.” I chuckle. “That’s actually kind of catchy. You can thank me later.”

  “How do you do that?” Peyton asks.

  “Do what?” I inquire.

  “Make me forget all the reasoning’s behind my why’s.”

  I smile widely. “It’s a super power of mine.” I lean in, pressing my lips to hers. A small moan escapes her own and I know it won’t be long before she’s giving in to her temptations.

  I maneuver us over to a side wall which feels much safer to me than being pressed up against a glass railing. My lips are exploring her neck and collar bone, trailing over them ever so slightly. Peyton’s breathing is becoming louder, more center stage. It’s turning me on.

  “No,” she says out of breath as she pushes me away gently.

  “No?” I ask, confused. I step toward her again and take her mouth in mine, claiming it as my own. When I pull away, I decide to question her again. “Why not?”

  I see something flash behind her eyes and then she is the one kissing me. Her fingers are raking through my hair sending goosebumps throughout my body. “Alright,” she says holding me off with a hand to the chest.

  “Okay?”

  “I’ll postpone,” she says. “On one condition.”

  My victory dance is short lived. “What?”

  “I have to be your date to the Duel premiere.”

  “Done.” I don’t even think of the ramifications of simply agreeing, I just know that Peyton has allowed me another chance, and with the premiere, I feel like my chances doubled.

  “Are you sure about that? You don’t want to think about it for a second before agreeing?” Peyton asks, her forehead creasing.

  “Positive. If it were up to me, you’d be my date to the rest of the award shows for the rest of my life. That’s how serious I am about you. About us.” Peyton blushes and I nuzzle her neck. “Now come on, I’m starving.”

  Eleven: For a While there, I Had Forgotten What it Felt Like to be Looked at from those Eyes

  Breaking Free

  © 2015 DarienMae

  Set me free from my misery

  Into the night, shadows surround me

  It was worth the risk

  To break free, break free, break free

  Of your chains

  Breaking chains, set me free

  Set me free from my misery

  Breaking chains, set me free

  Set me free from my misery

  You’ve held me back for far too long

  I’m taking back my life

  To move on, move on, move on

  To better times

  I’ll never forget what I’ve been through

  To rid myself of you

  But I sure as hell ain’t looking back

  I’ve found a better view

  Breaking chains, set me free

  Set me free from my misery

  Breaking chains, set me free

  Set me free from my misery

  No looking back

  I’m getting out

  I’m breaking these chains

  No more doubt

  You can do this

  You’re stronger now

  Let your wings expand

  To fly you out

  Time for a new start

  Happy ever after

  I’ll never forget, I’ll never forgive

  What happened in your chapter

  I’ll never forget, I’ll never forgive

  Peyton

  I don’t know if I’m making a mistake, but I am trying to ignore my head and simply go with my heart. Plus, I feel kind of like a rebel missing my flight. Besides my tryst with Luis, it’s been one of the only reckless things I’ve done lately. Sometimes it feels good to let go of your inhibitions and just…live.

  Jace and I stay up talking into the wee hours of the morning, until the sun begins to rise. I fall asleep at some point or another, on one of the couches, and wake up in one of the bedrooms. I look under the covers and I am fully dressed. Not that I ever doubted Jace and his noble intentions. I can hear some commotion coming from downstairs. I wonder what he is doing down there?

  I climb out of the plush queen bed and make my way to the adjoining bathroom. There are lengthy rectangular mirrors that hang on each wall. I take in my appearan
ce. For just waking up, I don’t look half bad. I don’t have glossy eyes from heavy sleep, my crow’s feet are nearly nonexistent, and my pupils are full and round.

  Reaching into my pocket, I pull out a hair tie and pull back my loose curls into a low hanging ponytail. I rub my finger under my eye to get rid of the remnants of yesterday’s eyeliner and then pout my lips in the mirror. The butterflies are returning with a force. How he can still have such a strong effect on me is insane. I try to shake off some of the nerves before fidgeting with my clothes and heading downstairs.

  I can hear him humming softly before I ever even turn the corner. My lips curl up into an unstoppable smile. When he catches sight of me his face lights up.

  For a while there, I had forgotten what it feels like to be looked at from those eyes. To be lusted for. Wanted. It’s an intense feeling. Unmatched.

  “Good morning,” he says softly as he rounds the kitchen island to come give me a quick kiss on the cheek. “How did you sleep?”

  “Good,” I reply. “When did you move me?”

  He chuckles retreating back to his previous job at hand. He is busy making omelets, bacon and toast. It smells delectable. “Sometime after four in the morning, I woke up to get a glass of water, and you just looked like you needed more space.”

  “Well, thanks,” I say simply, taking a seat at the kitchen table.

  “Does this feel weird?” Jace asks.

  I shift my eyes to his. “Well, yeah, but what else would you expect?”

  He shrugs. “I don’t want things to be weird between us.”

  “Well, we can’t go back to the way things were, so what are you proposing?” I ask.

  “A fresh slate. At least for twenty-four hours.”

  I nod my head slowly. “What happens in twenty-four hours?”

  “I turn into a pumpkin,” he jokes, to which I smile. “Look, I know we are not going to be able to just move past everything in the matter of a couple of hours or even a couple of days, but that’s all I have right now. I am about to go into a really long filming shoot for Duel and I want to know where we stand before I go.”

  “Jace, that’s putting a heck of a lot of pressure on me,” I reply, my heartbeat steadily increasing.

  He nods. “I know, and I’m sorry for that, but Peyton, if we don’t give it another shot now, we’re done…and I’m not ready to be done yet.”

  “Me either,” I admit softly. He rushes over to me, cupping my face. “So don’t be.” He tips my chin up and presses his lips to mine gently. When he pulls away, he presses his forehead against mine. “Live in this moment with me, Peyton. Live in the now.”

  That’s what pushes me over the edge. Those are the words I need to hear. I throw my hands out, around his neck, pulling him down and into me. I kiss him slowly at first, then deliberately, taking his bottom lip in mine every so often. I can tell I’m working him up. As badly as he wants me, I want him back just as much. I can hear the food crackling, but we are too tied up in one another.

  Jace quickly clears the large kitchen table, and then lies me down flat on the cold glass. A shiver runs down my back and I don’t know if it’s from the cool surface or the anticipation of what is about to come. Jace maneuvers his mouth down my hairline, neck, collar bone, and now dangerously close to my chest.

  As much as I want Jace, and can recall just how passionate our previous times together were, this just doesn’t feel right. As soon as I hear the deafening snapping I know our hideaway has been compromised. I sit up quickly. “I thought you said no one knew about this place?”

  “No one did…” Jace replies, backing away.

  The photographers are snapping away and I know we are both about to be in big trouble with the people who run our careers and lives.

  “What now?” I ask.

  “We give them something to gossip about.” He closes the distance between us, dips me and then places a deep kiss on my lips. When he releases me, I’m dizzy. I guess that’s one way of doing it.

  * * *

  Jace’s phone has been ringing off the hook since the paparazzi photos leaked of us from his not so secret second home. “Are you going to answer that?” I ask as I glance at him from the passenger seat of his Range Rover.

  He takes a peek at the screen of the phone and then chucks his phone into the back seat. “Naw.”

  My lips curl up in a smile. “Where are we going?”

  Jace taps the steering wheel with his fingers. “Well, I figured that you might want to get out, not be cooped up.”

  I nod. “That was probably a good observation.”

  When Jace is clearly pulling up to another residence my heartbeat begins to accelerate. “Where are we?” I ask, glancing around at the gated entrance.

  “My other house,” Jace says simply.

  “What?” I cry out. “Isn’t it a bad idea bringing me here?”

  “That was before the paparazzi got wind of us together and our whereabouts…now it’s going to be like hell to get rid of them. It doesn’t matter where we go now, there isn’t going to be any privacy.”

  As the gate begins to slide open, his mansion comes into view. I’m not surprised by the size, I know how well Valor did in theatres. I can only imagine the amount of money Jace pocketed from it. His home is probably around 10,000 square feet. I’m taking it all in, my heartrate accelerating. This is the home where Jace has been spending his time. The place he has been living his life. His other place didn’t bother me as I knew it wasn’t his permanent residence, but this makes me uneasy. It feels weird that I’ve never been here before.

  “Home sweet home,” Jace says softly pulling into the multi-car garage and killing the engine. Within seconds the door leading into the house opens and a petite, short blond stands there staring at us. My heart dips into my stomach.

  “Jace?” I ask, hoping he will understand what I am getting at.

  “It’s Chenise, my assistant,” he replies unbuckling and then hopping out.

  The anxious feeling I have begins to slowly dissipate.

  Chenise watches Jace closely as he addresses her. I climb out of the car. “Chenise, this is…”

  He doesn’t even get a chance to finish as Chenise all but knocks him out of her way. “Peyton, wow, I have heard so much about you.” She reaches out her hand in an attempt to shake mine.

  I oblige. “Really?” I eye Jace wondering just how long he’s been thinking about me—talking about me.

  He flashes me a sympathetic smile and then looks back at Chenise. “Do I even want to go in there?” he asks. I’m not sure what they are talking about, but I am suddenly intrigued, my ears perking up.

  Chenise’s facial expression drops. “We’re working on it.”

  “Well, I guess I can’t stay in the dark forever,” Jace says, gliding past her and into his house. I follow Chenise in and my eyes drink in his expensive home. “Show me,” Jace says to Chenise.

  She nods and then leads the way through the large home and up the stairs. The extensive spiral staircase feels never-ending. When she leads the way into a bedroom, I can tell simply from the double doors it is the master suite—Jace’s room. I take in his unkempt bed and blush, looking away. This is his private life, without me. I don’t know how I should feel.

  I watch as the pair makes their way into the bedroom, hanging back in the hallway.

  “Holy shit,” Jace exclaims loudly. My heartbeat begins to rise and I don’t think I can be so polite anymore. I hesitantly take a few steps into his bedroom, turning the corner. There on the wall is a message for him, written in what looks like blood. Half of it has been washed, but the red liquid stains the wall.

  The only visible part of the message reads, ‘You are mine and I am yours. There will never be another. We will grow old together. I will have your children. We will start…’ And that is where it stops due to the intense clean-up.

  “Who did this?” Jace asks, clearly perplexed.

  “Her name is Tanya Duncan, she runs thre
e different Fenton fan pages,” Chenise replies timidly. “The police have her in for questioning.”

  “How did she manage to get in?” Jace asks, his eyes darting around.

  “She hopped the fence into the backyard, and one of the sliding doors had been left unlocked.”

  Jace sighs, rubbing his face.

  “And, there’s something else,” Chenise says.

  “What now?” Jace asks.

  “I found her in your bed…naked.”

  My mouth drops open without refrain.

  “Um, wha-what?” Jace fumbles over his words.

  Chenise nods her head, an ashamed look spreading across her face. “I might recommend washing your sheets if I were you.”

 
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