People come into our lives. Some stay, and many go. Some build us up, while most tear us down. They become our friends, our enemies, our lovers, our tormentors.
Christian Davison came into mine, and I knew I’d never be the same.
To Elizabeth Ayers, New York City had always been a dream. She’s worked her entire young life to make it here.
Groomed to one day take over his father’s law firm, attending Columbia University was Christian Davison’s only option.
Neither wanted anything more until they sat across from each other at a café table after being paired as study partners.
Christian wants her, but Elizabeth knows better than to give into their intense attraction. Yet there is little she can do to stay away.
Lost to You, the prequel to the bestselling romance, Take This Regret. A New Adult novella, recommended for readers 17+. It’s unnecessary to have read Take This Regret to enjoy Lost to You.
“So how’s your math class going?” Christian wiped a napkin over his mouth, sat back in his chair with a satisfied sigh as he pushed his plate away. Completely casual, he appeared to be unaware of the chaos he created in me.
“Okay, thanks to you.”
A smirk pulled at his mouth. “What would you do without me, Elizabeth?”
“Oh, I don’t know, find another cute boy to help me with math,” I said, anticipating his reaction if I teased him a little.
For a flash, his eyes narrowed, then a dangerous grin spread across his face. “So I’m just dispensable, huh? Easily replaced?” He hunched and lowered, pressed his chest into the table to meet me at eye level, this slow playfulness coming across him. “How about I let you fail next time?”
“Well how about I feed you the wrong answers when we study for our next government test?” I countered.
He faked a disbelieving laugh, a gentle ribbing that twisted its way straight to my heart. He was so cute like this, like a harmless boy and not the man who made me fearful, not the one who urged me to hold onto my affections, careful not to let them go.
“You’re going to feed me the wrong answers, huh? You?” he challenged.
The entire meal I’d felt his leg stretched under the table, reaching, giving in to casual brushes, then receding as if they hadn’t happened.
Now Christian abruptly extended his leg, wove it between my legs, direct and bold. My breath caught. It was the closest we’d ever come to an embrace.
I averted my gaze, but couldn’t for long because I could feel him staring at me.
His voice dropped. “You, sweet Elizabeth, the most innocent girl I know, is going to feed me the wrong answers? I bet you’ve never even told a lie.”
Heat flooded my face.
He was taunting me, prodding. Is that what he really thought of me? Innocent? But honestly, I guess I was. Well maybe not innocent. . .just inexperienced. I had no idea how to play Christian’s games, no idea of what the girls he surrounded himself with were like, although I could only imagine. It had to be my greatest disadvantage. Vulnerability oozed from my consciousness, and I shifted in discomfort.
Christian could devour me whole.
His expression shifted as he edged even closer, his voice a whisper, “Just how innocent are you, Elizabeth?”
There are some mistakes we make that we will regret for the rest of our lives. For Christian Davison, it was the day he betrayed Elizabeth Ayers. For five years, Christian has regretted the day he walked away from his family and will do anything to win them back. Can Elizabeth forgive someone who has committed the unforgivable? Or are there some wounds that go so deep they can never heal?
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Christian froze when he realized he was too late; he’d done too much harm. He stood silently and watched the man who was only supposed to be her friend sit in the spot where he should have been. He watched Matthew adoring the girl who deserved every touch and embrace, the girl who deserved a man better than he knew himself to be. She deserved a man like Matthew who had stepped up and filled the place Christian should never have stepped away from.
He allowed the pain to well up in his chest, and he said a silent goodbye to the girl he would always love. He stepped back and let the door close between them. As he escaped down the hall, he trained his attention on the floor, not allowing himself to look through the large glass window where he knew his child slept. He knew if he saw, he would never be able to walk away.
After all, it was for the best.
Christian Davison’s life is complete. With a ring on Elizabeth’s finger and his daughter at his side, he’s ready to run headlong into their future.
Elizabeth Ayers never believed she would again find this kind of joy—the joy of a family and the wholeness found in the touch of the man she’s always loved.
Their love is intense and their passion only grows as they set out to rediscover each other.
But life is never easy.
Rocked by the unforeseen, Christian and Elizabeth will find themselves fighting for the one thing they hold most important—family.
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I pushed her up against the window. Elizabeth grunted. She sagged against the expansive sheet of glass, the perfect lines of her body silhouetted against the backdrop of the city that seemed to echo my past, the memories so thick, they seemed almost alive.
I took a step back and let my eyes wander over the one who inhabited them all.
Gradually the lines of that beautiful face came into focus, and for a moment, my gaze got lost in the amber warmth of her soft brown eyes. Devotion pumped steadily through my veins. I loved her. Loved her with everything, with my life, with my soul.
And I was going to spend my entire life proving it to her.
My actions were slow and deliberate as I knelt down in front of her, watching the way her lips parted when I did. I slipped my hands under the hem of her dress, ran them up the softness of her thighs and around to cup her perfect, round bottom, my fingers brushing lace and satin. Her dress was all bunched up on my forearms as I hiked it around her hips. The long length of her toned legs were exposed as she stood there trembling in her boots.
“You have the sweetest ass, Elizabeth,” I whispered as I burrowed my fingers into the delicate flesh. There was no stopping the overwhelming rush of need that burned through my system when I touched her this way. Flames licked at my skin and pulsed heat into my veins.
Every single inch of my body hardened.
“You always have,” I said as I stared up at her. “Do you know that? The first time I saw you ten years ago in that little cafe, all I could think about was finding out what you had hidden underneath your clothes. And it’s perfection, Elizabeth. Every inch of you is perfection.”
Elizabeth watched down on me with dark, hungry eyes. Deliberately my hand slid around to her front. My tongue darted out to wet my lips as I nudged her legs farther apart. I ran my knuckles over the scrap of dampened lace between her thighs.
Vibrations shook her, and she grasped my shoulders for support. “Christian,” pushed from her lungs in a quiet plea, her fingers desperate as they curled in my shirt.
My name on her tongue sounded like heaven.
I suppressed a pained groan and let my hands trail back down her legs to the top of her boots. I sat back a little, one knee on the floor and the other bent with my foot planted in front of me. I brought her foot up to rest on my knee. “I want you to remember this night, Elizabeth.” Slowly I dragged the zipper down the inside of her leg to her ankle. The distinct sound infiltrating the hush of the room slammed me with a shot of lust, curled as the tightest knot in the pit of my stomach. I had to will myself to keep it under control, to go slow, because I wanted to savor this night. “I want you to forever remember the first time I make love to you in the city where we started all those years ago.”
A.L. Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of Take This Regret and Lost to You, as well as other contemporary romance titles, including Come to Me Quietly, Come to Me Softly, Pulled, When We Collide, and If Forever Comes.
She first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student. She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.
Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.
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