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The Ghost King (Transitions #3) Stinger

Oh, it will be completely different, he says, moving on to my other shoulder strap.

So . . . he starts. Natalie and I have some news.That’s all my mom needs. That’s it. She’s crying. I don’t think she even knows why she’s crying, what she thinks Charlie is going to say, or whether she’s happy or sad.

Navy Wife (Navy #1)

Rachel looks up at Charlie as if he’s a mental patient and she’s not sure which way he’s going to veer today.Natalie is still smiling, but it’s starting to buckle at the corners.We are going to be having a baby together.

Ghost Road Blues (Pine Deep #1)

Waterfalls. My mother’s eyes are like two waterfalls. And not the kind that trickle from a little stream, either. These are the kind that gush, the kind that were I white-water rafting, I would see up ahead and go, Oh, shit.Rachel’s jaw has dropped. Bill isn’t sure which way this is all going. And then my grandmother starts clapping.

She starts clapping! And then she stands up and she walks over to Charlie and Natalie, and she gives them huge, wet kisses on their cheeks, which has to be so very weird for Natalie, and she says, Finally! Someone’s giving me a great-grandchild!

Charlie thanks her for being so great about it, but all attention is on Mom.An image of his father fills my head, and then unexpectedly, I think of my birth mother. Her face. Her laugh. How empty I felt when she died. I know exactly how Lennon feels, and that makes it all so much worse. Because I’d never in a million years want him to hurt that badly.

A strange, stifled noise fills up the space in the tent, and it takes me a moment to realize he’s crying. Lennon never cries. Never. Not as a kid, and not when we got older. The sound rips my heart to shreds.On instinct, I reach out for him. When I lay my hand on his quaking chest, he seizes it with steely fingers. I can’t tell if he’s about to push me away, and for a brief moment, we’re frozen midway between something.

Dark Queen (Jane Yellowrock #12)

A tense sort of twilight.He turns toward me, and I’m pulling him closer, and he buries his head against my neck, sobbing quietly. I feel hot tears on my skin, and my arms are circling him. The scent of him fills my nostrils, shampoo and sunniness and wood smoke, the tang of sweat and fragrant pine needles. He’s harder, stronger, and far more masculine than he was the last time I hugged him. It’s like holding a brick wall.

Gradually, the quiet crying stops, and he goes completely limp in my arms.We’re in a strange cave, slightly lost. Off plan and definitely off trail.

But for the first time since we left home, I am not anxious.We’ve been walking for several hours now, and we’ve only just made it past the valley below our cave. My back and legs hurt, despite the ibuprofen Lennon gave me at breakfast. He had it laid out for me on a bear canister when I woke up, along with one of the blue coffee cups. I’m not sure how he got out of the tent without me knowing. All I know is that every time I woke during the night, his arm was still wrapped around me. And then sometime around dawn, I was vaguely aware of being a lot colder. By the time I fully emerged from sleep, he’d already started a fire and was readying everything for our breakfast, last night’s roller-coaster emotions exchanged for the promise of hot coffee and a new day.

Not a bad way to wake up. Except that my body feels as if I’ve been hit by a truck that’s backed over me several times out of spite.It hurts even more when we crest over a steep hill. But it doesn’t matter, because I’m eager to see where we’re going. Lennon made another map. He drew it inside his journal this morning and recalculated our route while I tried not to stare at the dark stubble growing over his jaw, because it gives me inappropriate feelings about him. After taking that wrong turn yesterday inside the cave, he said we’re going to stick to a more established trail that I’ll like better: It’s marked on the official King’s Forest map and leads to not only a ranger station but something scenic along the way—only, he insists on that scenic thing being a surprise.

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