“You can’t erase your soulmate. The marks they leave are etched in permanent ink.”
Weston Abbott is a ghost.
I like it that way.
Floating from place to place, I slip seamlessly into other people’s lives and destroy them from the inside out.
I’m untouchable. Untraceable.
She’s in my head, under my skin. I can’t shake her — I don’t want to shake her.
She’s the best thing that ever happened to me.
And I’m her worst nightmare, come out to play.
Faith Morrissey is dead.
I killed her.
Well, that’s what it feels like.
For three years, I’ve lived as “Fae Montgomery” in a city of strangers, licking my wounds and trying to forget. It’s pointless. No matter how many times I change my name or vanish around unfamiliar street corners, I’ll never stop seeing that foolish, naive girl whenever I look in the mirror.
I know it wasn’t real — that he wasn’t real — but that doesn’t make it any easier.
I can erase myself.
I can never erase him.
“I have to get back to my life. People will be looking for me in New York.”
Shit. I hadn’t meant to tell him where I was living.
Tension saturated the room, denser than morning fog. “Who?”
My back went ramrod straight as I listened to his footsteps crossing the room back toward me.
“Who’s waiting for you, Faith?” His tone was deceptively soft, but I could hear the strain beneath his words. “A boyfriend? A husband?”
I didn’t answer, but my hands curled into fists by my sides. He had no right to know the answer to those questions — not anymore.
“Is it the man who helped you disappear? The one who turned you into Fae Montgomery? Because whoever he is, he has connections. Even I couldn’t find you. And, believe me, I looked.”
My stomach clenched at that admission.
“Someone helped you vanish off the face of the fucking earth, without a single trace. No mere name-change could’ve erased you so thoroughly.”
I bit my lip to keep from answering as Conor’s face flashed in my mind.
“Someone taught you to shoot.” His words slithered around me like a snake, moving in for the kill strike. I tried to ignore him, but the closer he moved toward me, the harder it was to remain unaffected. “Someone helped you change into this… new person.”
I spun around so fast, I nearly knocked noses with him. He edged back until our faces were a few centimeters apart, and I glared into his eyes, suddenly furious.
“You want to know who changed me?” If looks could kill, he’d be down on the floor, bleeding out. “You. You changed me.”
His jaw clenched.
“You broke me, Wes-whatever-your-real-fucking-name-is-Adams. You ripped my life to shreds and walked away.” I shoved his shoulders with both hands and screamed a little when he barely even rocked back. “You don’t get to know about my life after you wrecked it. And you certainly don’t get to judge me for how I chose to put myself back together after you shattered me.”
I shoved him again, fighting the tears that were suddenly threatening to pour, and continued to berate him.
“If you don’t like the girl you see in front of you, you have only yourself to blame. You feel like I’m a new person? Good. I don’t want to be that fool who believed your lies ever again.” Despite my efforts, I felt a tear slip out from beneath my lashes. When I shouted at him again, my voice cracked with emotion. “You don’t recognize the woman I’ve become? Perfect. Now you know what it feels like to look at someone you thought you understood, and realize you never knew them at all.”
“What do you want from me?” he growled, his dark eyes narrowed in anger. The careful restraint he always used was stripped from his voice. “Do you want me to pinky fucking promise that I’m not going to hurt you again? Because I can’t. Grow up. This is the real world, Faith. I’m not accountable for your happiness — no one on this godforsaken planet is.”
“I don’t want anything from you!” I screamed, shoving him again.
My fists pounded against his arms, his shoulders, anywhere I could reach. I was crying full-out now — a sniffing, sniveling mess — and I couldn’t stop the tears streaming down my face any more than I could stop the words flowing from my mouth.
“You’re the devil.”
My vision was blurred, my voice clogged with grief as I struck him again and again with balled fists. He didn’t move, didn’t speak; he just stood there and let me hit him.
“You’re the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
My voice broke on the last word and I felt something deep inside me break, too. Anger dissolved as quickly as it had materialized, replaced by sorrow so deep, shouldering it instantly fatigued me.
Strength sapped from my limbs, my blows subsided into feeble strikes against his chest. I thought I might collapse under the weight of my own broken heart.
“I hate you,” I whispered weakly, the heat of my anger gone. “I hate you so much.”
I’d never been a very good liar.
Julie Johnson is a twenty-something Boston native, suffering from an extreme case of Peter Pan Syndrome and an obsession with fictional characters. When she’s not writing, Julie can most often be found daydreaming, drinking too much coffee, or striving to conquer her Netflix queue. You can find Julie on Facebook or contact her on her website www.juliejohnsonbooks.com. Sometimes, when she can figure out how Twitter works, she tweets from @AuthorJulie.