After that evening, I hadn’t heard back from him for a few days.
Then, one night, a text came in from the same phone number I recognized as Landon’s. It was the first time he’d texted me.
I looked down to find he’d sent a photo.
It was a heavily tatted man set against the backdrop of the ocean at sunset. Oh, my. It was him—a selfie.
Fuck. Me. He was beautiful.
I wouldn’t have even known it was Landon were it not for the blue eyes I recognized instantly. The shaggy, caramel hair I remembered from the past was now a darker shade of brown and shorter, cropped closer to his head. His arms and his chest were inked, his body so perfect that if I squinted, it almost resembled carved stone.
I couldn’t stop looking at him. My eyes wanted nothing more than to explore the ridges and valleys of his stunning body.
Was this a cruel joke?
This was not Landon!
But, it was.
With my thumb and middle finger, I kept zooming in and out, examining the details of the ink across his chest and on his arms. There was really nothing sexier than a guy with perfect arms and a full sleeve tattoo.
Even though his lips seemed fuller than I recalled, they still curved into a familiar grin that oozed confidence. The eyes and that smile were the only traces of the boy I remembered. I wished I could’ve leapt through the screen to smell him, touch him.
“Hi, Landon,” I whispered, for a brief moment talking to the boy inside, not the man in front of me.
This Landon was the polar opposite of the Ivy League yuppie image previously in my head. The only thing the man pictured might have majored in was badassery. He looked like a rockstar, a rule breaker, displaying a sense of arousing danger—someone who must have had women from all walks of life drooling over him for the sheer fact that either they couldn’t have him or shouldn’t have him. It suddenly became clear why, as he’d alluded to, a woman might have been begging him for sex. That made me wonder if he had any secret tattoos in spots I wasn’t allowed to see.
A fire was burning inside of me, and I knew it was my crush exploding into a full-blown obsession.
A self-conscious feeling came over me. If I was scared to show him a picture of myself before, now I was really hesitant.
The message that went along with the photo simply read:
Now show me you.
About Penelope Ward:
Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author of thirteen novels. With over a million books sold, her titles have placed on the New York Times Bestseller list fifteen times. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 12-year-old girl with autism (the inspiration for the character Callie in Gemini) and a 10-year-old boy. Penelope, her husband, and kids reside in Rhode Island.