He warned me. Said hawks were dangerous birds. Their majestic beauty could blind your eyes as they picked the flesh from your bones. But even hawks have enemies. And they eventually came for the Hawthorn family. Held us hostage. Demanded retribution.
But I wasn’t a Hawthorn. No, I was just the help. Caught in the turmoil of a tragic family. I worked hard for Delsey Hawthorn. Tried to earn the respect of the reigning tyrant. Assistant. Event planner. Gardner. Chauffeur. I added it all to my resume.
And then I met Javier Hawthorn. Delsey ordered me to stay away from her grandson. But like a moth to a burning flame, I gravitated toward him. He was so different than my world. Irresistible. Charming. He brought a calmness to the chaos.
But that was before the intruders came into the house. Tied us up. Hurt us. We struggled to get away. We fought to survive. But who were the men behind the masks? Did we know them? Because someone who got this close to the family at night must be even closer during the day.
Javier rested his forehead against mine. “I feel the same, Sarina.”
“You do?” The elation filled my chest and I leaned up to kiss him, but his words stopped me.
“I feel the same, but you’re not really mine. Not permanently. What right do I have to feel jealous or angry?”
“But you have every right,” I pleaded with him. “If you think we’re together.”
The emotions shifted in his eyes as he struggled with his answer. “Maybe I tried to pretend at first. That you could mean nothing. But I couldn’t. I care about you, Sarina. And in another time or place, I could see myself wanting so much more with you. But the more we feel, the harder it ends.”
“You don’t think I know that?” I whispered. “I know you will hurt me. Eventually.”
“But I don’t want to hurt you. So I have to ask you this. Do you want to stop now before this gets more serious? Before it hurts more?”
“No,” I gushed. I didn’t even hesitate. The idea of him pulling away sent a panic through me. I didn’t care about the heartbreak that would come later when he left me. I needed him in my life right now. “I don’t want to stop seeing you.”