Forsaking Gray (The Colloway Brothers #1)

By: K.L. Kreig

Dedication



For my children, Kaitlyn and Justin. You are the very lights of my life and I couldn’t be more proud to be your mother.





Prologue

Five years earlier…





“Do you, Peter, take this woman, Livia, to be your lawfully wedded wife? To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part?”

“I do,” he responds. Smugly.

“Do you, Livia, take this man, Peter, to be your lawfully wedded husband? To have and to hold….”

Every little girl dreams of her wedding day. That magical moment when you pledge your undying love to the man who makes your heart beat a little faster, who makes your panties a little wetter and who you think will make the most handsome salt-and-pepper-haired ninety year old ever to walk the earth. Your father will walk you down the aisle, arm in arm, in a wedding dress so beautiful, your childish vision couldn’t do it justice and he’ll struggle to hold back the tears of both happiness at giving you away and sadness that you’re no longer his little girl.

Every young woman dreams of the honeymoon that will quickly follow. Will he whisk me away to Paris, where we’ll live on wine and cheese and each other for two weeks solid? Or will we fly to a secluded island, sit on the beach, soak in the sun and drink pina coladas that our private butler delivers every hour on the hour? Or maybe we’ll decide to cruise the Mediterranean, visiting exotic stops such as Istanbul or Rome or Santorini. But at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter where you go, because you’ll be together.

And every girl, young or old, dreams of being married to a man who worships the ground she walks on, puts her on a pedestal and would give his life for hers without thought or hesitation.

I was every girl. Except, instead of the fancy wedding, complete with tears of joy, I’m standing in a courthouse in front of a justice of the peace with tears of heartbreak welling in my eyes. Instead of the elaborate gown, complete with a long, beaded train that I picked out with my sister and my best friends, I’m wearing a simple black sheath and matching pumps, which fit my somber mood perfectly. And instead of marrying the man who I love to the depths of my very soul, who will love and cherish me all the days of our lives, I’m marrying a monster…

“You may now kiss the bride.”

…who will make the next one thousand two hundred and twelve days of my existence a living nightmare from which I cannot wake.





Chapter 1





I see him across the room. I’m utterly breathless.

My heart races.

My stomach flutters.

My soul disintegrates into a pile of scattered ashes once again.

I’m a complete fucking mess. No muscle will obey my command to move, even my eyelids. They refuse to take away his image for even a second.

Why is he here?

I shouldn’t be taking this risk. I shouldn’t be openly ogling him, but I can’t look away. Holy mother of perfection…he’s everything I remember and more. As breathtaking as the very first time I laid eyes on him. He’s every woman’s fantasy, probably men too. I see other women watching him and I want to scratch their eyes out. Some blatantly stare, as I do. Some sneak sly glances so their spouses or dates won’t notice.

Foolish.

Of course their dates notice a textbook male specimen such as him in the room. All other men are busy pissing in a circle around their women to ward him away.

As if sensing my weighty stare, his eyes lock with mine. Neither of us move.

The woman dripping off his arm, hanging on his every word, seems oblivious to our connection. Every sound fades away as we stare into each other’s eyes from across the ballroom. Eyes I’m all too familiar with but haven’t seen in what seems like a lifetime. Eyes that haunt me.

God, I miss him with a raw ache that intensifies daily.

“Wow, look at that fine piece of ass. He’s fuckable,” whispers one of my best friends, Kamryn, following my stare.

The best of my life.

He starts across the room in my direction, his date all but forgotten as he leaves her in his dust. She’s calling after him, but he simply waves his hand in dismissal, not bothering to look back. His angry eyes never leave mine, his full lips drawn in a tight thin line.

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