Afraid to Love Again

Afraid to Love Again

By:  Mercie_King  Completed
Language: English
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Sophia Jones spent four long, painful months building herself up after having her heart broken. The last thing she wants is to meet a man that makes her weak in the knees. A man that calls her Beautiful as if that's her name. A man that entices her to desire more than she ever has before. She feels inexplicably drawn to this man but she is afraid. Will Sophia be able to let love into her heart again after being hurt so badly? Or will her fears hold her back from Gavin's grasp?

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91 chapters
PROLOGUE
"Sophia, look," Farah whispers from our adjoined desks, as we sit toward the back of Mr. Nelson's history class. Her hazel eyes zero in on someone across the room, her slim eyebrows raised as she cocks her head to the side in that way that tells me she's looking at a guy. And she likes what she sees."What?" I whisper, peering down at my notebook filled with the lecture notes I'm supposed to memorize by next class. My overly excited best friend doesn't stop nudging me, even as I try in vain to ignore my curiosity at whom she's staring at. The last thing I'm interested in is some jock that Farah has her sights set on, but hell, I am curious. Aggravated, I turn to where she tilts her head and follow the movement only to gasp audibly, seeing a pair of chocolate brown eyes staring at me from three desks over. I was right. He is what you'd call a jock. A Lakers cap is drawn low on his head and there are three girls surrounding him, wanting his attention while he has his sights set on
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CHAPTER ONE
I clasp the locket in the palm of my hand and take a deep cleansing breath. The dancers, young women whom I've grown attached to over these past three weeks of endless training, practicing, and obsessing in readying ourselves for this very day, glide elegantly over the wooden floors, masses of grace and beauty. I watch and hope that I'll be just as confident when I take the floor. I approach my coach, mentor, and dance partner of six years, Eli Jones, and try to cover up my trembling hands with the wrap I’m holding.I don’t know why I’m so nervous.Dancing is like walking to me. I’ve done it ever since I was old enough to put one foot in front of the other. It’s been an outlet for me through the lonely nights of middle school and the stressful exam-filled days of high school, and especially through my four years at Julliard. It’s been my relief from everyday life. But this will be the first time since my stay at the hospital four months ago that I'll dance in front of an audience. O
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CHAPTER TWO
I don’t realize that tears are falling until they sting my cheeks and chin. Kel wipes them away, her amber eyes filled with worry. I miss him so much.“It’s okay," I whisper, struggling to rein in my emotions. Kel wraps her arm around me and leads me to her car, knowing that I have to move, to do something other than relive those terrible moments. We walk across the parking lot and I spot a canary yellow sports car with a black pinstripe detailed on each side. I can tell from the make that it is a fairly new Jaguar. I don't know all that much about cars, but this has to be the coolest car I've ever laid eyes on. Every inch is sleek, painted in the lightest shade of yellow, and the designs up one side with thin lines of navy blue and black are a stark contrast to the bright yellow. The hood is up and I catch the sight of a lean pair of hips pressed against one tire while working under the hood.I lose my breath when a pair of piercing blue-gray eyes lock on mine and I swear my hear
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CHAPTER THREE
Still, I find myself nodding my head and I turn to my KIA before I say something else. My thoughts are rattled and all I can think about is how soft his lips look and how those eyes captivate mine.Suddenly, he catches my hand again and immediately my heart speeds up as the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. His touch resonates through me and when I see the sincerity in his eyes, I gasp audibly."Can I at least have your name?"This man's drawl knocks my heart into overdrive again, his eyes searching mine for long seconds. I wonder what he's thinking as he trains his eyes intently on my face. A strand of my hair flies in front of my face and he deftly lifts it away and tucks it behind my ear. When his fingers dip to my cheek where a blush has spread across my skin, fireworks spark underneath the touch.“Sophia," I whisper just loud enough for his ears, my name a whisper on my lips.He nods, his eyes heating with something I wish I had a name for as his finger grazes my cheek
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CHAPTER FOUR
As we turn the corner and near the apartment, we see Lucas, my sister’s fiance as of three days ago, leaning up against our door. With messy blond hair and a lip piercing, topaz green eyes and a lopsided smile, he’s every girl’s dream and I can see how happy she is with him. He looks up and smiles when he sees us."Hey, sweetheart." Immediately Kel steps into his arms and he kisses her forehead.“You don’t have your key?" she asks, smiling as she looks at him through her thick-lashed eyes."I do, just thought I’d wait for you. How did it go, Sophia?"Lucas wraps an arm around my sister’s shoulder and then releases her to give me one of his well-known and loved bear hugs, lifting me off my feet easily. I grin and laugh and wipe the moisture from my eyes before he sees it."It went great,” Kel says for me as Lucas takes my keys to unlock our door. The minute I make it to the couch I set my dance bag down and plop onto the love seat, where Kel joins me.“You were amazing," Kel says, ob
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CHAPTER FIVE
I take a deep breath, trying to lift my body that’s numb from the medication I must be on. Pain spears me in the chest as I remember his face, my cries for him to stop, and the pain down there and throughout my whole body. I just don't understand how I hadn't seen him for what he really was until that moment. I was so blind. I cover my face with my hands in an effort to gather my scattered thoughts.“He came home really angry...I tried to talk to him, but then he hit me and I must have blacked out because when I woke up I was in his bed. He...Oh, God..." My voice cracks as I realize the three words that I can’t seem to wrap my head around. He loved me, I know he did, but last night, God, he was just...a monster.Kel squeezes my hand and with her eyes full of sympathy and love, urges me to continue."He forced himself on me, Kel," I say in a shaky voice, grasping onto her as she wraps her arms around me and hugs me tight, allowing me to finally let go of the overwhelming emotions tha
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CHAPTER SIX
“Did you hear?" I ask, and Kel smiles that proud sister smile that I’ve only seen twice before across her face.She grabs me by the shoulders, her laughter ringing against my ear as she hugs me tight. We’re both basking in this moment. The first happy moment we’ve had in so, so long."I knew you’d get it!" Kel squeals, squeezing me once more. She lets me go and has a wide grin on her face. She’s happy for me, just like I knew she would be.Swinging her arm around me, she whispers in my ear, “He’s here, you know. He’s talking with Lucas now." A blush rushes to my cheeks in anticipation. My joy in my news is replaced by the excitement and nervousness of seeing Gavin again."Do I look okay?" I rub my hands down my lavender mid-length summer dress, biting my lip when it starts to tremble. I don’t want to mess this up. Kel is right; it’s time to live again.Kel’s hand reaches out and squeezes mine.“You’re perfect, Sophie.” She tucks my hair behind my ears and gives me a little push towar
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CHAPTER SEVEN
“What the hell, Sophia, are you okay?" Farah asks as she grabs my hand and we sit on the steps. I take a deep breath and turn to her. She’s been my rock for as long as I can remember. I don’t know what I’d do without her.“I don’t know what I’m doing, Farah. I met this guy today and he’s, God, so gorgeous. Like his eyes captivate me and when he was holding me just now, it felt so right, you know?"She grins and squeezes my hand for reassurance, her reddish-brown hair tucked behind her ears, her knowing eyes seeing right through me."Then go with it, Sophia. Don’t start over thinking it!""He called me beautiful, Farah. I mean, I don’t even know his last name! Is this crazy?"She shakes her head and looks into my eyes, forcing me to be honest.“Do you like him?" She cocks her head to the side, pinning me with her gaze."Yes.""Then stop thinking about it. I can tell he likes you." I grin at the thought and narrow my eyes at her."Really? How?"Her eyes gleam with a smile as she throws
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CHAPTER EIGHT
"Sophia," he whispers against my lips, pulling back an inch to meet my eyes, reading them for a moment before that gorgeous smile graces his mouth and he leans his forehead against mine. I let go of his shirt and wrap my hands around the back of his neck as I struggle to catch my breath."That was...wow," I whisper, smiling excitedly. His hand brushes my flushed cheek and his mouth sets in a smile that shows off his ruggedly handsome face."Amazing," he says, pressing his lips to mine softly once more before he leans back and grasps my hand, his eyes shining as he gazes down at me. "Do you want to dance, beautiful?"I grin and nod as he leads me back inside. My heart beats fast and erratically in my chest. His fingers close over mine as we walk back to the almost empty dance floor where a soft melody by Shania Twain is playing. He pulls me into him and presses a hand to my waist. He sweeps me into a slow dance that is just as graceful as before, only this time he presses his mouth
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CHAPTER NINE
"When did you start dancing?" he asks, his deep voice next to my ear."When I began preschool, my mom enrolled me in a toddler dance academy, and my love for it grew from there.""Is your mom a dancer?” Gavin’s hands skate down my arms, causing goose bumps.I giggle and press closer to him. Being in his arms feels better than I could have imagined. "That’s two questions, but no, she isn’t. She's a model and travels a lot, too." The last thing I wantto think about is my absentee mother, but he asked and, truly, I want Gavin to know me."Did I upset you?" he asks, turning me so that I’m facing him. I hastily shake my head, pressing it against his shoulder as his hand strokes up and down my back."No, she wasn’t around a lot when I was growing up, though. I actually haven’t talked to her in a long time."Deftly, Gavin lifts my face with a finger under my chin and gazes into my eyes."I understand, but if she doesn’t appreciate you then it’s her loss, Sophia, not yours." My heart skips
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