You've Always Been Mine (You're Mine, 2)

By: Jenika Snow

You’re Mine, 2




Paige





When Erik left town, I thought my world had ended. Even at the tender age of ten I knew how hard my life would be without him. And as I grow older, as the letters between us became sparse to nonexistent, I can’t help but feel like a wall has been built around my heart.

There is only one boy for me, and I know I’ll never see him again.



Erik



She was my best friend, the only person I knew I couldn’t live without.

But we had to leave each other.

Time went on, we drifted apart, and it always felt like I’d left a piece of myself back with her. But I’m a man now, a wounded Marine, and fate brings me back to the one girl who completes me.

Paige has always been mine, and now it’s time to prove that to her.



Warning: Tighten that seat belt because you’re about to go on an over-the-top, totally unbelievable ride. Featuring a possessive and devoted hero who saved himself for that one girl, it’ll still have that sugary-sweet aftertaste you crave. Don’t forget that cold glass of water, because you’ll need it for the heat this book—and Erik—is packing.





Prologue





Erik

Ten years old and time to say good-bye




I didn’t want to leave.

I didn’t want to let go of her.

“It’s time, Erik, sweetie,” I heard my mom say, but I didn’t care.

“I’ll never forget about you,” she said softly against my ear.

I pulled away, not because I wanted to but because I wanted to look in her face, the one girl who held my heart. I saw the tears rolling down Paige’s cheeks, and a part of me wanted to lean in and kiss them away.

I reached into my pocket, grabbed the little red string I had, and started tying it around her wrist. I made a bow to finish it off, the loose strands on either side hanging from her tiny wrist.

“It’s not much, but when you look at it, you’ll know I am wearing mine.” I lifted my arm and showed her the red string tied to my wrist. “When you look at that string, you’ll know we’re connected.”

“Come on, Paige honey,” her mom said and started moving forward.

“I don’t want to go, Erik.” Paige pulled me in for another hug.

“I don’t want you to go either,” I whispered, and my heart clenched hard, painfully.

Her mom gave me this sad look, and I wanted to lash out. I wanted to scream, to hurt someone as much as I was hurting. I wanted to make a big scene because I was being forced to leave my best friend.

I gave Paige a kiss on the cheek, tasting her tears. It was a salty flavor that I knew I’d never forget.

Her mom pulled her away, and our limbs were untangled from each other. I didn’t stop staring at her as she was put in the back of the car. She placed her hand on the window, her face red, her tears falling really hard now.

My Paige.

I didn’t stop crying either.

I felt like a part of me was breaking away, and I’d never get it back.

“You’re so young. You’ll feel better as time goes on.”

I didn’t say anything after my mom spoke. I didn’t bother telling her that at ten years old I’d never forget about Paige.

“You can always write to Paige, maybe even call her from time to time.”

That wasn’t good enough. I wanted to be beside her, to hold her hand and go on walks with her to the creek like we used to.

I wanted her to tell me what made her happy.

I just wanted her near me.

“Come on, honey, we need to load up the last of the boxes and get on the road.”

I didn’t care what anyone said, didn’t even want to hear anything aside from the beating of my heart.

Because it beat for her.

Paige would always be mine.





Chapter 1





Erik

Welcome back: Twelve years later




It had been so damn long since I’d been back to this town.

Twelve years.

One hundred forty-four months.

Six hundred twenty-five weeks.

Four thousand three hundred and eighty days.

It seemed like a lifetime ago.

It was a lifetime ago.

But I never stopped thinking about her.

I stared at the sign that greeted us. Blue Springs. The town I’d moved away from all those years ago. I was a different person now, a man. I was a Marine, had seen violence, horror. I had a bad leg to show for it, scars, a memory of what I’d done in my life. My memories held darkness and pain, but it wasn’t just about getting injured while fighting that stayed with me, that coated me like this thick second skin.