“Being with you never felt wrong. It's the one thing I did right. You're the one thing I did right.”
“I nibbled my lower lip. "If you could see into my past just by touching my back, you'd have a hard time resisting the temptation too."
"I have a hard time keeping my hands off you without that added bonus.”
“You're mine, Angel," he murmured, brushing the words across my jawbone as I arched my neck higher, inviting him to kiss everywhere. "You have me forever.”
“I love you more than I think I should.”
“I watched him pitch the ball at a table neatly lined with six bowling pins, my stomach giving a little flutter when his T-shirt crept up in the back, revealing a stripe of skin. I knew from experience that every inch of him was hard, defined muscle. His back was smooth and perfect too, the scars from when he’d fallen once again replaced with wings—wings I, and every other human, couldn’t see.
“Five dollars says you can’t do it again,” I said, coming up behind him.
Patch looked back and grinned. “I don’t want your money, Angel.”
“Hey now, kids, let’s keep this discussion PG-rated,” Rixon said.
“All three remaining pins,” I challenged Patch.
“What kind of prize are we talking about?” he asked.
“Bloody hell,” Rixon said. “Can’t this wait until you’re alone?”
Patch gave me a secret smile, then shifted his weight back, cradling the ball into his chest. He dropped his right shoulder, brought his arm around, and sent the ball flying forward as hard as he could. There was a loud crack! and the remaining three pins scattered off the table.
“Aye, now you’re in trouble, lass,” Rixon shouted at me over the commotion caused by a pocket of onlookers, who were clapping and whistling for Patch. Patch leaned back against the booth and arched his eyebrows at me. The gesture said it all: Pay up.
“You got lucky,” I said.
“I’m about to get lucky.”
“I hung my fingertips on his waistband, tugging him closer.
Patch buried his face in the curve of my shoulder, his hands flexing over my back. He gave a low groan.
"I love you," he murmured into my hair. "I'm happier right now than I ever remember being.”
“Did I really want to stay on this road longer, knowing it was only going to end in devastation?”
“I’m going to grab a cheeseburger,” I told Patch. “Want anything?”
“Nothing on the menu.”
I smiled. “Why, Patch, are you flirting with me?”
“Patch reached for my hand and pushed my dad's ring off the tip of his finger and into my palm, curling my fingers around it. He kissed my knuckles. "I was going to give this back earlier, but it wasn't finished."
I opened my palm and held the ring up. The same heart was engraved on the underside, but now there were two names carved on either side of it: NORA and JEV.
I looked up. "Jev? That's your real name?"
"Nobody's called me that in a long time.”
“The only thing a boyfriend was good for was a shattered heart.”
“Any happiness, no matter how brief, seemed better than the long, simmering torture of waking up day after day, knowing I could never have him.”
“Whoa, who peed in your Cheerios?”
“Patch stood over me, and a drop of rain slid from his hair, landing like ice on my collarbone. I felt it slide along my skin, disappearing beneath the neckline of my shirt. His eyes followed the raindrop, and I began to quiver on the inside.”
“Patch's eyes were slate black, darker than a million secrets stacked on top of each other. He dropped his gaze to the ring in his hand, turning it over slowly.
"Swear you'll never stop loving me," I whispered.
Ever so slightly, he nodded.”
“He's got the whole bad-boy-in-need-of-redemption thing going on, but the catch is, most bad boys don't want redemption. They like being bad. They like the power they get from striking fear and panic into the hearts of mothers everywhere”
“Everything had come into sharp focus: his smooth words, his black, glinting eyes, his broad experience with lies, seduction, women. I'd fallen in love with the devil.”
“Don’t start. I saw Marcie climb inside your Jeep.”
“She needed a ride.”
I adopted a hands-on-hips pose. “What kind of ride?”
“Not that kind of ride,” he said slowly.”
“He felt warm and familiar. He felt solid and safe. I wanted to cling to his shirt, bury my face into the warm curve of his neck, and never let go.”
“I tended to be more a romantic than a realist, and chose blind faith over cold logic.”
“I couldn't stand here, hanging on, when the very thing I held disappeared more with each passing day.”
“I needed him like I'd never needed anyone.”
“He sucked some of the rain from my bottom lip, and I felt his mouth smile against mine. He swept my hair aside and kissed me just above the collarbone. He nibbled at my ear, then sank his teeth into my shoulder. I hung my fingertips on his waistband, tugging him closer. Patch buried his face in the curve of my shoulder, his hands flexing over my back. He gave a low groan.
“I love you,” he murmured into my hair. “I’m happier right now than I ever remember being.”
“I wondered why life had to suck so hard sometimes.”
“I love you, Nora. Whatever happens, promise me you'll remember that. I don't care why you came into my life, only that you did. I don't remember all the things I did wrong. I remember what I did right, I remember you. You made my life meaningful. You made my life special.”
“Just because I've gone and snagged myself a hot boyfriend doesn't mean I'm going to leave my bestfriend high and dry.”
“They said the moment I fell in love with you was the moment you'd leave.”
“But instead of taking the cue to leave, Patch crossed to Scott in three steps. He flung him around to face the wall. Scott tried to get his bearings, but Patch slammed him against the wall again, disorienting him further. “Touch her,” he said in Scott’s ear, his voice low and threatening, “and it’ll be the biggest regret of your life.”
Before leaving, Patch flicked his eyes once in my direction. “He’s not worth it.” He paused. “And neither am I.”
“Citizen's arrest," he said. "Well, that, and Patch told me to.”
“...five minutes from now, when everything else had dropped away and I realized the full impact of what I’d done, I’d feel my heart breaking.”
“There's money, and then there's class.”
“Faolan launched himself across the bridge, uttering a prayer to any deity that might be prepared to listen. "Let me reach her in time, let her keep hold, let this wretched apology for a bridge not crumble under my feet...”
“To kill deliberately is very wrong,” said Chen Gong. “I would rather betray the world than let the world betray me,” was Cao Cao’s reply. Chen Gong could say nothing.”
“Am I doing the right thing, then?' I said. 'Fighting for you.'
He circled his arms around my waist, and he was so close that I could feel his breath against my cheek. 'No,' he said, and the word made my stomach contract. But before I could panic, he continued, his voice smooth and meant only for me. 'You never had to fight for me to begin with. I am yours and have been from the moment I saw you.”
“إن المرء ليجد لذة في أدنى درجة من درجات الانخحطاط و المذلة”
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