Vivid Lies by Alyne Roberts
Publication Date: June 6, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Two Girls. Two Boys. The math should be easy.London and Brooklyn have shared everything their whole lives. They shared a birthday, a mother they never met, and a tragic past. Their bond is unbreakable and beautiful. The sisters may look identical but they are nothing alike. Brooklyn is the wild and reckless sister. London is logical and responsible. When they leave the only home they have ever known with their best friend Miles, their bond is tested. Miles finally sees Brooklyn and London as more than the girls he grew up with. He is smart and caring, everything London should want. But it might be too late because a new stranger enters their lives, changing everything. Kane is mysterious and troubled, with commitment issues. He should to be perfect for Brooklyn and her wild side. What happens things don’t go as they should? Nothing goes as planned. Things are never as they seem. No one is who they say they are. The lies are so vivid, they are almost real.
Cold hands touch my arms and I scream, trying to scramble away.
"London? You okay?"
I look up into a dark and blurry face. Relieved that I'm no longer alone, I reach for the shadow, needing a guard against the elements outside that are tearing me apart. I clench onto to wet clothes and a warm arms wrap around me.
"Hey. It's okay. I got you," he whispers in my ear as he pulls me to him.
My vision starts to clear as the irrational phobia loosens its grip. I look up into the dark but concerned eyes of Kane. He pulls me to his chest on the floor.
"Kane? How did you get in here?"
"I picked the lock when you didn't answer my knocking."
Another crack of lightening vibrates my body. Kane tightens his grip and I bury my face in his chest. His jacket is wet but I can feel the heat of his firm chest under my cheek. It grounds me, makes me feel safe. The hallway lights up and darkens like a strobe light is on.
"Bathtub," I tell Kane, tugging on his shirt. My hands shake but I'm trying to shove down the panic bubbling inside me.
Kane helps me to my feet and takes me to the bathroom just a few feet away, using a flashlight to see his way around. I crawl into the empty tub, fully aware I look downright insane. I very well could be but I'm not in the right mindset to think about that right now. He closes the door and joins me in the tub, no questions asked.
I pull the curtain closed as Kane settles in, facing me. He looks even larger crammed in this tiny tub. His long legs are cramped up as he puts his feet on either side of my hips. I pull my knees to my chest but we are still so close.
"Is this better?" he asks quietly.
"Slightly," I admit. I can feel and hear the thunder but I can't see the flashes of light. Surrounded by the tile and Kane, I feel protected.
"Why are you here?" I ask.
"I remember Brooklyn saying you didn't like storms. I wanted to check on you when the power went out."
"So you broke in?"
"No." I am relieved to see him actually. "How do you know how to pick locks?"
"I'm a P.I. It comes in handy," he admit. "You want me to call Miles or Brooklyn?"
"No. I don't want to be a burden anymore. You can go if you want."
I swallow the lump in my throat. Without his body heat on mine and his large arms caging me in, I might freak out. I can't tell him that though.
"I don't want to go."
I give him a crocked smile as another crack of lightening comes. When I flinch, Kane grabs my legs and pulls me closer, between his legs. He wraps his arms around my shoulders. Our faces are only inches apart.
"This is so embarrassing," I mumble, looking down.
"Everyone is scared of something."
"What are you scared of?"
Kane takes his time thinking. I can't imagine him being scared of much. He always looks so confident and in charge.
"Clowns?" I pause and look up at his face. I expected to see a smile or some hint of a joke. I only see honesty.
"Yeah. Clowns scare the shit out of me."
"But, they're just people. People who are supposed to make you laugh."
"They are creepy as fuck, London," he says, shaking my shoulders like he's trying to shake some sense into me. "With those creepy fake ass smiles painted on white faces. Don't even get me started on the hair."
I can't help it. I start laughing. Kane's lips are pursed as he watches me trying to stop the laughter that's bubbling out me.
"Not funny," he grumbles.
"I know," I say, composing myself. "It does make me feel a little better though. Keep distracting me."
Kane smiles and brushes some hair off my forehead. I stop laughing at the feel of his rough fingertips on my skin. I become aware of how close we are, intertwined together in my bathtub. I'm barely dressed and practically in his lap. His fingers slowly drift down the side of my face, tickling my jaw and wrap gently around my neck.
Kane notices it too. His eyes take in my bare legs that are wrapped around his. Our chests are almost touching and even in the little light from his flashlight on the floor, I can see my nipples through the thin shirt. More of my skin is touching him than not.
His hand moves down my bare shoulder, running a soft path down my arm. His touch is so light it's almost not even there. But I know it is. There is a path of heat following his fingers. He reaches my hand, running his fingers over my palm.
The blood rushing in my ears is drowning out the distant thunder. Our breathing is echoing in the small space and I'm not longer cold. There's a static buzz in the room, in this tub. I can feel it buzzing in my veins and in the air between us. We are curtained off from the world until a crash of lightening shatters the small bubble of calm. It rattles the walls and I feel it in the floor below me. The fear is irrational and I know this but I still scream and cover my ears much like the little girl I was did so long ago.
"Hey. You're okay."
His voice is calm, cutting through my pounding heart and fading rumbles of the thunder. His arms wrap around me and I'm pulled into his chest.
"Shit. You're shaking, London."
My teeth are chattering and my whole body is practically convulsing. Kane rubs my back slowly while keeping me tight against him. Even terrified, I feel safe and protected. He doesn't let me go or make fun of me for breaking down like a child. He just whispers calming words in my hair and holds me.
My body starts to relax and soon my shaking stops. I should pull away. There is something very wrong with huddling in a bathtub with an attractive guy that has slept with your sister. Kane can only be trouble for me. He's the type of trouble Brooklyn likes. He is someone Brooklyn likes.
It's so wrong but I cling to the feeling. I need it more than I need anyone's acceptance at this moment. The right thing to do would be to ask him to leave. I can't do that. Not when he is the only thing soothing my burning soul.
I'm sick of being lonely and trying to be strong. If Kane can chase the demons away for this moment, I can't turn him away. It's selfish and probably deceitful, but that little girl inside doesn't care. She just wants to be held and know that someone is coming to save her in the storm.
So I don't pull away and neither does Kane. His fingers drift through my hair and down my back until I melt into him. I don't even feel it when I start to drift off. I don't feel it when he lifts me and carries me to my bedroom or pulls the covers over me.