by: Devon Herrera
Rule #1 Do NOT ignore the signs.
Rule #2 Pay attention.
Rule #3 The less they know about you, the harder it is for them to hurt you.
Rule #4 Comfort is dangerous. It can be taken away.
Rule #5 Need is a handicap. It can cripple you.
Rule #6 He isn’t what he seems. Don’t trust him.
Simple rules made for a simple purpose. Nina Ryan learned early on in life that if you want to avoid being hurt, you need to be proactive. If you pay attention the Universe will always steer you in the right direction. It will help keep you safe. So, she follows the rules, and she is safe. Until Connor Wright barges his way through all her carefully laid defenses and threatens to destroy the comfortable life she has created. Faithfully following her #1 rule, Nina tries to accept that the Universe has pushed Connor and her lives together for a purpose. Determined to make Nina his, Connor chips away at the walls Nina has placed around her heart and her secrets. Is Nina following the signs that will lead her down the right path, or does Connor hold secrets of his own that will ruin Nina for good? Only the Universe knows.
“This is a really, really bad idea!” I throw my hands out to the side as my feet slide forward ahead of the rest of my body. My torso wobbles back and forth for a few seconds before I finally maintain my balance. Ice-skating. How in the hell did I get talked into this? I mean really, who came up with this ridiculous concept anyway. What kind of person says, “Oh I know, let’s go put razor blades on our shoes and run on some ice!” Someone who wants Nina Ryan dead that’s who. I finally brave a glance up from my feet and see that Connor is barely suppressing a laugh at my expense. “What?!”“Nina, as entertaining as the thought is, I highly doubt ice skating was invented for the sole purpose of ending your life.” He smirks at me. Damn that smirk. And damn my stupid, rebel mouth. “I said that all out loud huh?” I sigh. “Whatever, this is a bad idea. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to take another ride to the hospital for a good long while.” Connor just laughs at me again.
“Come on Nina, you can’t avoid doing things just because you’re afraid you will get hurt.” His eyes soften a little as he says this and it’s pretty obvious that he isn’t just talking about ice skating anymore.
“Connor, you don’t understand. I’ll fall. I always fall and I don’t do it gracefully. I land hard and I usually break something. I’m a walking disaster just waiting to happen. Don’t you understand?” Well hell, maybe I’m not talking about ice skating either.
“I understand Nina, but this time it’s different.”
“Why? How could this time possibly be any different from the others?” I throw my arms up in the air in frustration and I immediately lose my balance and start to teeter on the thin edges of my blades. Just when I think I’m about to go ass over tea kettle, Connor grabs both of my arms and holds me in place, steadying me. My eyes make their way to his and he reaches one hand out to brush a stray hair from my vision and tucks it behind my ear.
“It’s different, because this time I’m here to catch you.” He whispers, sending frightening flutters to my stomach. When I don’t respond, he moves to stand next to me and we slowly begin to glide forward.
It takes me a few minutes to get the motions right, but I eventually
set a steady rhythm of one foot in front of the other and am gliding across the ice just a little unsteadily. I haven’t looked up from the ice once out of fear that I’ll lose my footing, but after the seventh lap around the rink, I feel warm fingers start to toy with my palm before threading through my own and squeezing gently. I abandon my focus to look up at Connor who is smiling at me. We move around the rink a few more times in silence and the longer he holds my hand, the more comfortable I am with it. It starts to feel necessary. I want his touch. No, I need him to touch me. And that’s precisely why I pull from his grasp and pretend to fuss with my hair before dropping my hand down to my side and ball it in a fist.
Comfort is dangerous. Need is a handicap. Once you get comfortable with something, you stop paying attention. You lose focus on the things that matter and you take things for granted. Comfort gives you a false sense of security and you start to ignore your instincts. You forget to look around you and defend yourself. Need is much more lethal though, because when you need something, you can’t live without it and nothing is forever.
“Nina…” I fake indifference when I look over at Connor so he won’t see the depth of my internal conflict. I wait for him to speak, still keeping my fingers tight against my palm. “Never mind.” He huffs. “I’m going to go get something to drink over there at the concession. Do you want anything?” I shake my head and he frowns silently at me for a few seconds before turning
and skating away. I watch his retreating form glide across the rink and step down to walk over to the concession as I resume my careful skating.
I’ve never wanted to be brave before. All those years ago the only thing I wished for was understanding and a second chance. I now understand why those things happened to me and my family, but I’m still working on the second. If I give in to these feelings, I’ll just end up right back where I was nine years ago. Curled in a ball on my bed, crying painful tears, itching with mental filth and unable to move, paralyzed with devastation. I was able to push past it and start fresh then,
but life is not a baseball game. For me, there will be no third strike. I don’t want to even chance the second. I know all of this to be true, so why do I find myself wanting to take a chance even knowing the risks. I never asked for courage, I never asked for a chance to prove myself. I just wanted to get through this life without being dealt another devastating blow. Just make it to the other side with one less scar.
Who would have thought a bus ride would change two lives forever. I did for Nina and Connor. Nina is a 26-year-old woman, emotionally walled off because her tragic past. She is determined to never let anyone in again. But the Universe has different plans for her. Any other man would have left her alone but Connor was determined to find his way into her life and into her heart.
Let me begin by saying that I love Connor. Gorgeous and romantic, endearing and protective, never afraid to show his emotions (coz real men do cry) and ever so patient with Nina. I loved that he always gave her a choice in all things. He knew that he wanted her..needed her from the very start and even if she resisted he became even more persistent. It never was about the chase to him but about his genuine feelings. He was an all around that perfect guy.
In the beginning I found Nina frustrating. Here was the perfect guy for her but she kept pushing him away. As the story goes on, I finally understand why she harbored so much animosity, why she walled herself up the way she did. It was her way of protecting herself from the pain that the universe seemed to always caused her. I loved her feistiness, her possessiveness and how she was accident prone and clumsy. It made Nina that much more real to me.
While the story was multi faceted, the author manages to keep the story flowing smoothly. Which I found to be impressive for a debut author. All the components meshed well together and it kept me captivated. I also loved that being a romance it wasn’t over saturated with sex, there was a perfect balance between that and the suspense. The supportive characters were remarkable as well. And I am happy to hear that each of the other couples will be getting their own story.
Looking for an intense, emotional yet suspenseful read? This one is for you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I am a wife of a U.S Army Soldier and mother of a beautiful little girl. I work for the Wyoming Department of Revenue in Cheyenne Wyoming, and no we don’t still ride horses out here. I’ve been in love
with reading since I first discovered the Harry Potter series in 4th grade. I don’t just read a good book I devour it. After reading hundreds of novels I finally bit the bullet and sat down to write one of my own. I had an idea in my
head and as soon as I started writing, the story seemed to play out right in front of me. Nothing has ever felt so natural. About 10 chapters into it I decided that I was going to take the plunge and get it self published as an
Ebook. “Sapphire Universe” is a Contemporary Romance novel for adults, because lets face it, I’m female. Romance is what I like to read so it’s what I’m going to write. I’ll be posting some teasers and keeping you up
to date on my progress as I finish writing and editing. Thank you so much for your support, and I can’t wait for you to read “Sapphire Universe.”
*Note that the book is only available on AMAZON. Winner must have a KINDLE*
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