Excerpt: Steal - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Excerpt: Steal

Rachel Van Dyken has a new standalone romance in the Seaside Pictures series, and I’m thrilled to share an excerpt from the book with you today!

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About Steal

It’s easy to lose yourself in someone you love.
Easier to lose yourself in someone you hate…
I didn’t think it could get any worse than having to babysit a bunch of spoiled musicians on set — keeping them out of trouble is a cakewalk compared to seeing my ex every day.
Seaside, Oregon isn’t big enough for the both of us.
She hates me.
I loathe her.
The plan was simple — stay the hell away and make sure she gets to set on time.
What I didn’t expect was to be faced with our past in front of an audience — and be forced to face it again.
It’s torture.
The way she looks at me.
The way I try to look through her.
Words left unsaid.
The lingering aftermath still as powerful as ever.
I feed the chasm between us, for fear that she’ll make me feel again — and steal the last shred of heart I have left.
We have everything but each other.
It’s not enough.
Not when you’ve lost love.
And replaced it with the only thing left — hate.

Excerpt

“Hey.” I knocked on the wall nearest where the door would be trying to shake the horrible memory from my mind. It was no use, because whenever I saw her, I remembered that choking fear that there was finally something I couldn’t save her from.

Herself.

Ang didn’t look at me, she was sitting on her bed cross-legged staring out the open window. “You okay?”

She blinked.

It was the only way I knew she was alive, breathing.

And because I was a bastard when I walked in and she still looked comatose, I ran my hands down her arms, looking for evidence that she’d relapsed.

She let me examine every inch of each arm.

No track marks. Thank God.

I searched her nightstand.

Nothing.

And when I faced her again, tears streamed down her face. She was still staring out at the ocean.

“Angelica.” I gripped her face. “Look at me. Do you need a doctor? Are you okay? Can you at least blink?”

She blinked, more tears fell, and then she was pulling away from me and running out of the room, out of the house. I chased after her, yelling her name.

She stumbled toward the beach, then detoured to the pool in the back of the house, she jumped in with all of her clothes on.

“Shit.” I chased. Was that all I’d ever do?

I dove in after her.

She was sitting on the bottom, holding her breath, her eyes stared me down, basically saying “Leave me alone.”

At least she was finally showing something other than an emotionless state.

I gripped her by the arm and pulled her to the surface.

“I’m not high!” she yelled. “But I wish I was!”

“Okay, okay.” I pushed her against the wall of the pool. “What’s going on? I can’t help you if you don’t talk to me.”

“I’m not a child!” She shoved me. “I don’t need help! And I hate feeling this way, this sick twisted way about myself, nobody should feel that way about themselves! Nobody should be forced to face their demons in front of millions of judging people!” She splashed her hands against the water. “Why? Why did I say yes to this?”

“Money?” I offered cruelly. “You tell me?”

She shoved my chest, then pounded her fists against it over and over until she sank below the surface again only to come back up for air, more calm.

“Why did you take the job? Why did you come to me, Ang. The truth.” I asked, petrified of the answer almost as much as I was about her confession of wanting drugs to numb herself all over again.

“Because—” She sobbed. “When I started doing counseling, when I left rehab, I realized I had nobody, nothing. I had money. I didn’t really have a mother. I had my brother but he’d suddenly grown up, turned into this adult, and I was left behind, and all I kept thinking was where was I the happiest? When was I the happiest?”

She stopped talking and then turned to get out of the pool.

I grabbed her by the shirt and pulled her back. “And?”

“You were my friend before you were my everything,” she whispered. “And a part of me hoped that the Will Sutherland who used to sing me to sleep at night and chase the nightmares away still existed somewhere in that mature body of yours. A part of me believed the dream that the good ones, the really good ones, don’t change, they mature, they forgive, they move past the ugly even when it’s insurmountable. And maybe, a part of me, just needed a friend.”

I closed my eyes as every single thing I’d ever said to her, done to her, came crashing back down to earth, slamming me against the ground, stealing my breath.

“Ang.” My voice cracked. “I can’t ever be your friend.”

She hung her head. “Yeah. I know.”

“No. Not really. Because I’ve never wanted to be your friend, even when I said I did. It was all a lie.”

Her face twisted with pain. “I think I should go back inside now.”

“I would have fought for you.”

“I should have let you,” she whispered.

“Ang, there will never be a day in my life where I think I can ever be anything but your everything — and that’s the truth.”

“What?” She choked.

“I will always…” I licked my lips. “Always, want it all.”

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