Chasing Honey Chapter One

Chasing Honey Cover

Honey’s raw emotions didn’t care about logic or danger. Head over heels—she understood the term better as Cap knelt on one knee in the light colored color sand. The sight of him stole her sanity. Scattered rational thought to the wind.

 Her heart pounded, and each beat roared in ears, drowning out the sound of the dark, harsh waves of the ocean as they crashed onto shore.

A high-on-life euphoria made her want to dance until her shoes wore out and her feet were numb to the pain.

Cap smiled up at her. The scar on his cheek crinkled together as he pulled out a purple velvet ring box.

Their friends—no, their family stood around them, as if guarding them from tourists and other residents on the beach. Energy crackled off them, bouncing through the semi-circle. It had more power than if a bolt of lightning had struck the sand next to them and left an intricate design of glass in its wake. The air had a flavor from their excitement. Tangible on the tongue, prickling on the skin.

The sun shone brightly overhead; the heat cascading down, providing a warmth that seemed to enforce her feelings.

But thunder rumbled just offshore, reminding her what this was.

A fairy tale.

One, that in another life, she would risk anything for. But in this life…she couldn’t take that chance.

The velvet purple box—it must have been custom. Her favorite color. And jewelry stores only had the black boxes with their logo on it.

Bolts of lightning chased each other playfully in the clouds offshore.

The wind kicked up. A pink braid whipped across her cheek before flying away again.

She wanted to puke. That never happened in the fairy tales. Even if the princess ate poison, she just fell into blissful unconsciousness. Perfect makeup. Perfect hair.

She took deep, slow breaths of the warm, salty air. Letting the taste linger on her tongue and push the bile back.

This wasn’t poison, though. It was the opposite. It was love and affection, and everything she could hope for. If soulmates existed, which she believed they did, Cap was it. He was her reason to be. He made her world make sense again. They went together like chunky peanut butter and fluff. The best combination.

Waves rolled in, blanketing the sand of Las Olas Beach for a moment before receding. The bright sun offered a sticky warmth eased by an onshore breeze.

But just off the shoreline, those dark clouds lingered. They gathered and shifted, angling toward land and promising one hell of a storm.

“Marry me.” Cap made it a request, but not really a question.

Her initial compulsion was to say yes. It rolled to the tip of her tongue.

It stalled.

He thought he knew the answer.

Their friends—Sin, Hunter, Miguel, Cassidy, Noah, Luna, Jax, Jason. And Flick—the wayward girl they’d taken in. She had a small smile on her freckled face, with Swabbie, Cap’s service dog at her side…

They thought they knew the answer too. How could they not? The last year had been insane. Intense. Stalking, sabotage, kidnapping—most people would have lost their minds in the chaos.

But Cap? He’d been the fairy tale Honey had never known she’d wanted. Not a traditional story where she was some damsel in distress, and he had to save her. But an epic where they fought side by side. Where they took care of each other. Where they brought joy and passion to each other. Where love, though unexpected, had blossomed from a seed no one noticed.

Why wouldn’t they think she’d say yes? It was an answer Honey wished she could give him.

He opened the box. A diamond ring—she had no idea what kind—she’d never been interested in jewelry. Gigantic—maybe an exaggeration, but bigger than anything she’d expected to see outside of a jewelry store. Wearing it would weight down her finger. It gleamed from the sun and the water. Would probably create rainbow prisms on a wall if there’d been one nearby.

Why couldn’t it have been anything else? It couldn’t be that simple. It never was. Not for Honey.

Not for any of them.

Her thumb rubbed her ring finger. Barren of any jewelry, but the heavy weight of a phantom gold band still etched into her dark skin.

Every inch of her heart clawed at her, begged her to scream yes. The ache spread as she hesitated, because she wanted him. She wanted to utter the one word he expected. Their friends expected.

That she herself would give anything to say.

But her brain screamed emphatically not to be stupid. She had worn a ring before. She had worn a white dress before. She had said “I do” before.

It had been hell. Worse than hell. A nightmare brought to the waking world. Something that happened to other people, to other women, but not to her.

The word sat on the tip of her lips. She licked those lips, tasted the salt from the air, the acridness of it bitter, which fueled memories that pressed against what should be a wonderful, life-changing moment.

The excitement radiated on the wind, not only from their friends and family, but from him…from the world around him.

He had a way, Cap.

A way that made things better. That promised protection and possibility.

Considering what he’d been through, what he’d lost, this moment meant the whole universe to him. She didn’t have to read his mind to know. Because she knew him and knew that he wouldn’t be down on one knee unless he were absolutely sure that Honey was a woman worthy of his love.

And that made it so much worse.

Cap wasn’t her past. He brought a light into her life—one she didn’t think possible considering everything. He wasn’t the man she’d run from. But instead, the man she wanted always run to.

The waves rushed toward them as if willing her to say yes.

Despite it all. Despite the doubt, despite what she knew could happen, despite the world, she almost said yes. Was almost ready to let the world burn. Just to be with him.

But the storm…the storm was still there, looming. Waiting to get close enough. When the lightning stopped playing tag in the clouds, it would come for her—for them.

And if it did, it would be disastrous.