by Jamie Blair
Release Date: 08/19/14
Lauren Kelling’s prom night is a memory she’ll never forget—in her nightmares. She had the dress, the hair, and romantic first time plans with her boyfriend, Kolton Seidel. But what should have been the best night of her life bleeds into terror when she’s brutally attacked.
Now, Lauren relives the events leading up to prom, unraveling the clues that should have warned her of the trauma to come. Like Kolton ’s malicious ex-girlfriend, who’ll do anything to rip them apart. Or Kolton’s mentally unstable brother.
After the tragedy, Lauren wants to hide, disfigured inside and out, while Kolton drowns in a sea of guilt. Only together can the two of them lay rest to the past and heal each other, through a love too strong to break.
I chased after him, laughter spilling from my throat. I could hear him laughing, too. I wasn’t far behind. When I got to the dune and climbed up behind him, my legs ached. He clasped his hands around my wrists and tugged me up beside him.
Two higher dunes on either side sheltered us, giving us our own private spot to sit. I rubbed my calf, trying to get a knot out of the muscle.
“Cramp?” Kolton stretched my leg across his lap and rubbed. It was a little awkward at first, but I liked him touching me. “Is that good?”
“Getting better.” My face grew hot. My hand found my cheek on instinct. The moon gave the crests of the waves silver tips. The ocean roared as it crashed onto the sand. I took a deep breath of the warm air. It smelled of seaweed and Kolton, making me shiver.
“Cold?” he asked.
“No, I’m fine.” I was more than fine. The shiver was from total relaxation, from being immersed in the moment.
His head tilted to the side, and his eyes studied mine. Then, he reached up, took my hand, and lowered it from my face. “It bothers you, doesn’t it? Your birthmark?”
I blinked a few times and focused on a patch of sea grass by my foot. “I guess.”
“It shouldn’t. It’s not like a big, hairy wart or something.” He squeezed my hand. His laugh was tender. “It’s actually cute—like a beauty mark.”
“Right.” I rolled my eyes. The last thing I could accept was compliments on my birthmark. “It’s gorgeous.”
He put my leg down and wrapped his arm around me. “Lauren?”
“I want to kiss you.”
Before I could see it happen, he’d cupped my chin, and his lips were against mine. They felt amazing, full and soft. His kisses were gentle. He didn’t overwhelm me, and I liked him even more for that.
Jamie Blair lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, their two kids and a cat that broke into their house and refused to leave. She won a young author’s contest in third grade, but it probably shouldn’t count since her mom wrote most of her entry. LEAP OF FAITH is her first novel. She promises her mom didn’t write one word of it.