The elevator doors opened and there was Reece standing in front of me. He was dressed in a black suit and blue tie. He stole my breath and brought a genuine smile to my face. He looked so beautiful and so handsome and I couldn’t take my eyes off him.
“I thought you were going to wait for me outside,” I asked, making myself breath.
“I decided that wasn’t proper.”
“I want this night to go well. Manners are very important to my mom. And had she known I was waiting for you outside instead of coming in...well, she would have slapped me in the back of my head.”
I wanted to kiss him all over.
I’ll say it again. He’s different and he has broken me.
“So you’re being a gentleman for me?”
His blue eyes fixed on me so long I thought my clothes were going to drip to the floor.
“For you, always.”
He was the prince and I was the unstable, reluctant damsel in distress who didn’t think she deserved a happily ever after ending.
“I’m a mess, I should really go home and change,” I said, trying hard to hold back how badly I wanted to run away and hide. He was perfect, and had perfect manners, and I was a misfit whose mom ate with her fingers and chewed with her mouth open and never got past the eighth grade.
I was faking it. Everything I did was fake. My past, my upbringing, my father— it was all always there reminding me I was an imposter and that soon, very soon, everyone would find out the truth about me and I’d be dragged to the center of town and stoned.
“You look beautiful.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“That’s because you don’t see yourself the way I see you.”
“And how do you see me?”
“As the most beautiful girl in the world.”
He was so wrong, so dreadfully mistaken. But, at that moment, I would not argue with him because his voice made me feel that maybe I could be his princess and he my prince. We could ride into the sunset and live happily ever after.
I looked down at myself and noticed that my shirt wasn’t tucked into my skirt anymore. I started to tuck it back in when he said, “Leave it.”
“What will your mom think? I can’t leave it the way it is.”
“She’ll think what I think. That you’re breathtaking.” He unbuttoned his jacket and pulled out his shirt from his pants. “There, now we’re both messy.” He held out his hand for me. “Shall we?”
I smiled. “Lead the way.”
Title: Something Like This
Author: Eileen Cruz Coleman
Genre: New Adult Romance
Twenty-three-year old Jadie Santiago has a secret. One morning on her way to work she stops to offer a homeless man a bottle of water. As she meets the man’s eyes, Jadie instantly recognizes they belong to her father, whom she hasn’t seen since she was sixteen. Unable to accept the truth of her encounter, Jadie flees, hoping eventually to forget the experience and continue leading a normal life.
But then she meets Reece, an aspiring writer with a mysterious past who is set on capturing Jadie’s affection. Jadie wants nothing more than to give her heart to Reece, but her broken past and crippling secret keep her from surrendering it to him fully.
Things won’t come easy to Jadie as she fights for her place in the world, but there is strength in her, and she is determined never to stop struggling for what so many others have: love, happiness, and a sense of belonging.
Eileen Cruz Coleman was born in Washington, D.C. to an immigrant El Salvadoran mother and a Puerto Rican father. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in History. Her short stories have appeared in numerous literary journals both online and in print. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two children.
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