Novel Excerpt: Only You
She stood in the growing darkness near the edge of the canyon. It was a sheer drop to the bottom, nearly one thousand feet straight down from the spot where they stood on the South Rim. Knowing the magnificent canyon was right beside them, even when she wasn’t close to the edge, sent a thrill down her spine that was exciting and terrifying and alluring, all at the same time. Alluring because, sometimes, she wondered what it would feel like—falling into nothing.
Their trip to the Grand Canyon wasn’t going at all how she’d hoped.
She’d thought he was going to give her a bracelet, or a necklace, maybe. She thought there would be something silvery to mark the fact that they were now a couple. Until him, no boy had ever been inside her or even seen her naked. He’d said it was the same for him. He’d held her close and whispered how much he loved her, how beautiful she was, how he couldn’t think of anything or anyone else. Only her.
With a piece of jewelry around her neck—two charms, the initials of their first names secured side by side—everyone would know she belonged to him. And even more important, that he belonged to her.
Now it was all going wrong.
The words coming from that shrill voice behind them, shattering their private world, couldn’t be true. They weren’t true. She didn’t believe them. Ugly, hateful words tore at her heart, made her head spin until it felt as if she’d fallen over the edge and was flying through the air, her body spinning like a rock that had been hurled out into empty space and was now plummeting to the earth.
She began to cry, scream even, although she couldn’t be sure whether or not the scream was coming from her own throat. It was hard to tell; everything had split apart. The sun had gone down a while ago, leaving only a soft glow of light near the horizon, which would soon be gone. The darkness was descending fast, turning the air terribly cold.
The canyon spread out before them, miles of open space, rock formations and colors that shifted with the sun every moment of the day. Even now, the majesty of feeling it so close filled her with awe and, at the same time, a sense of being very, very small.
As she took a step closer to the canyon’s edge, the world froze—the night air, the breath in her lungs, the blood in her veins.
He was even closer to the edge now, so close, too close. She screamed as something flew past her, hard and heavy. It slammed into his jaw. She watched, in a dreamlike trance, unable to move. His arms thrashed at the air as if that frantic movement would prevent the inevitable.
A moment later, her blood and breath still not moving, everything was silent. There were no echoes from inside the canyon. There had been one brief scream of terror, then nothing. She hadn’t heard the thud of bone and muscle hitting rock. There was nothing but the wind blowing fiercely across the open cavity.