Breaker by Harloe Rae
“Tell me a happy something, Sutton.”
I was only seven the first time Grady Bowen whispered those words to me. Cloaked by the black sky under a blanket of stars, it was easy to get lost. He didn’t have any good memories of his own, and needed to borrow mine. I’d willingly give him anything.
Being infatuated with that boy was a beautiful curse. What could have been special didn’t get the chance to bloom. He’d never see me as more than his best friend’s kid sister. That was a hard lesson to learn, but not the most difficult.
Grady had always been struggling against the odds. Eventually he quit fighting and let his family’s reputation own him. Try as I might, those influences were beyond my reach.
He didn’t mean to break my heart. Or maybe he did. I shouldn’t have made it so easy for him. Either way, our wrongs against each other carved new lines between us.
I went four years without seeing Grady—each one more painful than the last. That distance did nothing to dull my feelings toward him. But things are different now. Most noticeably is Grady. I barely recognize this man he’s become. And that’s the way he intends to keep it. Not that it really matters.
Grady Bowen stopped being my happy something long ago.
Releasing October 24, 2019. Links will be updated when available.
Excerpt Breaker by Harloe Rae
“Why are you in my room?”
I almost wither under the intensity of Grady’s stare. His green eyes gleam in the near darkness. I imagine their emerald color luring me under an unbreakable spell. The golden specks swirling within will smolder from the effort. I clear the dryness from my throat. “I, uh, wanted to see you.”
“In the middle of the night? There better be a damn good reason.” The threat in his voice rings out, but I ignore it.
I study his stern expression, taking precious moments to peel away the hardened layers. Grady’s eyelids are heavy with the remaining threads of sleep. Thick stubble coats his sharp jaw. Dark blond hair hangs over his forehead in messy clumps. His rumpled state makes him more desirable. That’s a problem I don’t need help with. I long to feel the rasp of his calloused hands over every smooth inch of me. The slight burn would surely set me ablaze.
Doubt creeps in the longer I stall on him. This boy has been through hell. Why am I considering adding more unnecessary drama to his plate? A hollow pang in my heart answers the rhetorical question. I can count on two hands the days we’ve gone without seeing each other. Tomorrow will change all that. I’m not ready for goodbye.
After a decade, the memory of how we met is getting fuzzy. Grady stumbled onto our property late one night. He ran to our house under the midnight sky and hid from the horrors that occurred at his home. If the walls of his trailer could talk, I’m sure they’d scream. Grady is broken and battered, abandoned by those meant to love him the most. But I’ve never let him down. Maybe he’ll learn to rely on me one day.
Either way, he’s an honorary member of our family. We welcomed him with open arms and never let go. Grady and my older brother have been best friends since they were nine. He’s unknowingly been the love of my life that entire time. If only he’d admit to feeling a fraction of the same. Or I had the guts to tell him.
Grady shifts on his bed. The squeak of springs drags my attention out of our past. I need to be focusing on the future. When I lift my gaze, he’s still glaring at me. The desire to flee wobbles my knees. My courage is diminishing with each passing moment. This entire ambush will be a waste if I don’t spit my intentions out. Crossing the line is up to me. I clench my eyes shut and let the words spill free.
“I want you to take my virginity.”