It all came down to this. This one choice. Move forward or stay in the same place, maybe forever.

Ruth couldn’t move. Her brain had hijacked her nervous system, frozen her muscles. He sat close. Not too close. Just close enough to make it impossible to laugh the moment off, to move away, to put this choice off…to another day.

He was a good man. It wasn’t fear of him that was paralysing her. The past was her constant companion, filled with pockets of darkness she tried to forget. If she didn’t take a chance — just once — those shadows would keep her in the prison of her mind until she died.


Concern. That was all she could see in his face. Don’t pity me. Please.

Live in the past or just live? There would be pain. That was guaranteed. There might be…joy.

“Yes.” She got to her feet, extended her hand, heartbeat slamming in her throat when he took it and rose.

Astonished by her courage, embarrassed by her audacity, she led him to the bedroom. She was shaking, and his hand cupped her cheek, as warm as the desire in his eyes.

“You’re sure?”


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