It’s the last night of Electric Daisy Carnival. And, rather than being excited, Tyler is less than thrilled. His two best girlfriends met guys they were interested in the previous nights of the carnival and arranged for everyone to hang out together, which means Tyler will be stuck with the third member of their group, a girl named Scarlett. At first he’s attracted to her sweet nature and girl-next-door good looks. But when she touches him, his mind is filled with thoughts and memories that aren’t his own, unsettling him. He’d rather not know more about her and how she’s making these things happen, but Scarlett seems to want the opposite.
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In the space of a moment, as the DJ dropped the track into a deep reverberating bass, Tyler’s entire world tilted. One second he was dancing with Scarlett, the next second she was in his arms kissing him and everything around them fell away. He felt as though he were zipping through a tunnel of space-time as colors and sounds warped, looking and sounding odd. And then, he returned to himself. Only, he wasn’t quite himself. Someone else took up a good portion of the space inside him now and that person was taking control.
“Scarlett,” he breathed, packing all the love that he felt into the syllables of her name. He brushed her blond bangs back from her face and skimmed his fingers down her smooth cheek. Suddenly, Tyler’s entire perception of Scarlett shifted and he now looked at her with new eyes. It was as if he had been near-sighted and was suddenly given glasses. Instead of the cute blond stranger he’d met, she was his entire world, his reason for living. The potent feelings of love and admiration, and memories of his intimate connection with her, flooded his mind, pushing aside all that he had known before. They were so strong the Tyler could no longer figure out who he was separate from them. He knew they were not his feelings and memories, yet he didn’t fight them. They were filled with such happiness that he was actually eager to embrace them. His mind had somehow been unlocked to allow in the cornucopia of memories of a perfect life. He didn’t question where they came from and he had no desire to shut them out. And in the process, as he filled with them, he could feel his soul begin to drift somewhere into a corner of his being.
“Nick?” Scarlett cupped his face in both hands. “Is it really you?”
This time it was not Tyler who answered. “Yes. It’s me, babe.”
Scarlett wrapped her arms around him in a bone-crushing hug, and he could feel her back heave with sobs of joy. “I can’t believe it. After all this time. How? Why? No. I don’t care. I’m just so glad you’re here. I’ve waited so long.”
Nick wrapped his arms around her, stroked her silky hair, and kissed the top of her head. Then he leaned in close to whisper in her ear the words that burned on his lips to be spoken. “I love you.”
She pulled back and looked at him with tear-filled eyes. “I love you, too!”
Restless by nature, Jewel Quinlan is an avid traveler and has visited sixteen countries so far. Lover of ice cream, dark beer, and red wine she tries to stay fit when she’s not typing madly on her computer concocting another romance novel. In her spare time, she likes to do yoga, hike, learn German, and play with her spoiled Chihuahua, Penny.
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