Real Alphas Mate (The Alpha-Hole Duet 2) - Page 42

A beat of silence swept between us, and I felt heat crawling over my cheeks that I’d dared to open up. I started to get up, needing to leave before I did something crazy like start crying.

“I care a lot, maybe too much and that’s the problem,” he murmured, pausing me in my tracks as I stood several feet from him. He set the watering can back down and turned to me. “I’ve got work to get back to.”

When he started to turn away, my chest ached, and I was drowning in emotions. A breath escaped me as I stepped up behind him.

“River.” I reached a hand to his arm, and he paused.

My internal voice urged me to talk to him about this, while my heart worried I’d get rejected. “I’m confused,” I finally acknowledged. “Please, don’t push me away.”

The thumping in my chest quickened when he twisted around to face me with a frown.

“Maybe we can talk later,” he suggested in a snappy voice, which only irritated me. His eyes narrowed on my pinching lips.

“What do you want me to say? I’ve been busy,” he finally snapped.

“Don’t lie to me, River. Have the decency to be honest. Why have you been avoiding me? Did I do something wrong?”

While he didn’t respond right away, his widening eyes confirmed I’d struck a chord.

For a long pause, neither of us said a word. But his dismissive words drifted to the surface, and they haunted me while he stared at me blankly.

I was close to just storming away, refusing to push him if he had no intention to make an effort, when he said, “Okay. Come with me.” He stuck his hand out, waiting for me to accept it.

Staring up from his hand to his eyes, something had shifted behind them. Gone was the hard exterior, and instead, something painful reflected back from his blue gaze.

I gingerly took his hand. His fingers curled around mine, and a buzz of warmth from his touch shot up my arm, filling me with an excited anticipation. My relationship with River had been combustible since we first met, but when we came together, the fireworks exploded. And with the way he looked at me, the way he’d fucked me, I knew it wasn’t just one-sided. It couldn’t be.

“I want to show you something,” he said softly, and holding my hand, he walked me through the jungle. We traveled for a long while, mostly climbing upward on the ascending landscape. I kept playing with words in my mind on what to say, but kept doubting myself. I hated feeling this awkward around someone I felt so drawn toward. But I knew the reason for it…

I was terrified he’d reject me. Had I fooled myself this whole time to believe he wanted me as much as I did him?

After our hike, we emerged out onto a narrow ledge that overlooked a shore of jagged rocks. The ocean rushed up onto it, spraying water upward, a few sprinkles kissing my face.

“It’s spectacular here,” I said with a small smile, staring out at the crystal water that sparkled like a treasure in a chest. The breeze swished through my hair, tugging on my clothes, and I enjoyed its cool embrace.

“I’ve always struggled with trust,” River admitted, which surprised me. I watched him and let him speak. “I grew up believing those who loved you hurt you and that they’d abandon you. Of course, my brain was fucked up as a kid from my father, and living with my brothers has helped me heal a lot. But apparently not enough.”

He paused, and I wasn’t too sure where he was going with all of this, but I understood feeling like I could never remove all the loneliness from my heart, all the scars people left, all the desperation to escape those things that gnawed on me for years.

“When we first moved to the island, I was going through some heavy stuff. I spent many nights sitting out in this very spot alone, wondering how long before I lost my shit and just threw myself on the jagged rocks. To finally end all the fucked up hell in my head that tortured me constantly.”

My heart constricted, and I gasped as I took his hand in mine, lightly squeezing it so he knew I was here for him. “I’m glad you didn’t do anything.”

He turned to face me, his other hand sliding along my cheek, staring deep into my eyes. “I hadn’t felt that way for a long time, Syn, but when we couldn’t find you for those few months, I lost myself again. And I ended up back here during the nights. Those dark thoughts rose in my mind,” he continued, the corners of his mouth tightening. “I’m not telling you this to gain your pity, but so you understand that you mean the fucking world to me. That I never realized how much I let you crawl into my heart and bond with my wolf until you were out of reach. Not until I thought I would never see you again.”

I blinked up at him, tears pooling in my eyes at hearing the heartache in his words. To see the agony he felt at losing me left me shaken as though an avalanche of emotions had just crashed into me.

He leaned in and our lips suddenly crushed together, all the moments we’d spent together playing over my mind, how much I’d missed the way he held me, how he smelled, how he tasted. I wanted it all.

River held onto me, his kiss deep and passionate, his tongue sliding into my mouth, taking ownership. My toes curled and I knew this wasn’t just a normal kiss. It was a kiss from someone who cared about me…who might even love me.

His body shook against mine. He’d hurt a lot and still did.

“It’s okay to be afraid,” I finally whispered against his mouth. “That doesn’t mean you should stop living. We all fall apart, and I'm a complete mess most of the time. But maybe we can start from here to put each other back together again.”

“You don’t understand. I lost my mind without you, Syn. I went to a very dark place,” he muttered, still holding me possessively against him.

I grasped onto his shirt, curling my fingers around the fabric so there was no chance of him going anywhere. “I’m not going anywhere.”

We stood on the edge of that cliff, the most beautiful scenery surrounding us, but we only had eyes for each other. I let him hold and curl a hand through my hair.

“I’m sorry for being standoffish, but I was scared,” he confessed, his brow furrowing. “Shit, I’m still scared that one day you’ll be gone again. What if we don’t find you? What if…” His words faded, and I noticed the glistening in his eyes.

He lifted his head, blinking the tears away.

“It’s okay,” I said to him, nestling myself close to him. “I’m not going anywhere. But I would rather live a shorter life filled with love, than one where I wake up fearful every day.”

The smile stretching over his mouth was captivating. Warmth spread across my chest, and he pulled my mouth to his once more. That time we kissed like lovers, like each breath depended on one another.

My heart gave a jolt at the passion he showered on me. That was when I made up my mind that I never wanted to come back up for air from River’s kiss. There would only be the soft caress of his lips which would forever steal my breath. And I was perfectly fine with that.

Tags: C.R. Jane The Alpha-Hole Duet Paranormal
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