Home > Fallen Crest Forever (Fallen Crest High #7)

Fallen Crest Forever (Fallen Crest High #7)
Author: Tijans Books

“Will you marry me?”

I didn’t know what to say.

I was Samantha Strattan. I’d been a nobody for so long, until Mason and Logan came into my life. Then I was Mason Kade’s girlfriend, or Logan Kade’s stepsister. I was theirs. It took a totally fucked-up summer for me to realize I lost who Samantha Strattan was somewhere along the way, and now my soul mate—the guy who was the air for my lungs—was asking me the question I recently realized was my nightmare.

“Mason.” No other words would come out of my throat. “I . . .”

I couldn’t breathe.

I couldn’t move.

I couldn’t look at him.

I couldn’t look away from him.

He wasn’t the nightmare. He was the dream.

The nightmare was my mother’s marriage. It was Mason’s parents’ marriage. It was all the cheating, lying, and bitterness. I would die if that happened to Mason and me.

What the fuck? What the effing fuck? Oh my God. Those words were on repeat in my head. I was in a horror movie.

I watched in slow motion as Mason’s eyebrows dipped when he realized I wasn’t saying anything. Then he realized I really wasn’t saying anything, and that said everything.

I felt myself falling backward, like someone pushed me off a cliff I didn’t know was behind me. I was falling . . . falling . . . I reached out, trying to get ahold of something—anything to stop this fall. All I could find was air, and I was going to land soon.

I saw the wall first.

It slammed down behind his eyes, and he donned an unreadable mask. His jaw clenched, and he shifted backward on his knees until he could stand. Once he was up, he began turning off the tea lights that surrounded us, making the clearing twinkle. I could feel the physical and emotional distance between us.

Smack!

I hit rock bottom.

“Mason.”

“No.” He shook his head. He was so cold now. “Let’s go.” He gathered up the blanket and headed back for the Escalade. He was almost there. He reached for the door handle—

“Yes.”

It came out as a whisper. I shocked myself.

Marriage: that word terrified me. But cheating wasn’t me. It wasn’t Mason. We wouldn’t be liars. The bitterness would never come. I looked at him, watched as he froze and turned back to me. His back had been so rigid. He was still tense, but his eyes locked on mine.

I nodded, to him and for myself. Yes, I would marry him. Yes, I would love him forever. Yes, I would never let us be them.

“Sam?”

“Yes.” My voice was coming back to me. I nodded again. “Yes! I’ll marry you.”

He started for me. “Are you sure?” His head dipped down, still holding my gaze.

I nodded. I was. I really was. I lifted my arms as he met me, then swept me up in a hug.

“Yes,” I whispered again, burying my head in his shoulder.

He wasn’t James. I wasn’t Analise. We weren’t going to repeat what we’d seen growing up.

I lifted my head to find his lips. “I love you.” I kissed him with everything I had. I knew my hesitation had hurt him, and I needed to erase that. “Yes, I’ll be your wife.”

He held me tighter for a moment, then set me back on my feet. His hands fell to my waist, and he leaned back.

“Why the pause?” he asked.

He deserved the truth.

“Because I’m scared shitless about what our parents did. I’m scared of marriage. A part of me thinks it’s a crock of shit, after seeing what my mom did to David and hearing what James did to your mom.”

His face walled off again. My hands went to the tops of his arms, and I gripped tightly. I held him when he wanted to pull back. “But that’s not you and me. I’m scared—I have to be honest—but we can change the cycle. We won’t do what they did. What we will have, and do have, is already so much more sacred than what they thought they had.”

Understanding edged out some of the guarded expression on his face. He nodded, just once, just slightly. “Are you sure, Sam? I’ve always thought we’d get married, but I wasn’t planning on asking this early. It’s just . . . seeing your mom coming down that aisle, I wanted it to be you.”

Everything melted inside me.

My insecurities.

My worries.

My heart.

I was so humbled at that moment and wound my arms around him. What had I done to deserve this? Deserve him?

“I love you,” I whispered, my lips pressing against his skin. “So goddamn much.”

His hand came to the back of my head. “So goddamn much,” he repeated.

His phone rang, and Mason groaned against my skin.

“Fucking hell,” he cursed as he slipped his hand into his pocket.

When the phone appeared, we both glanced down. It was Logan, and we shared a look. He’d already called about the footage of the fight being leaked to Mason’s football coach. If he was calling again so soon, it wasn’t good news.

Mason hit the Accept button and put the phone to his ear. “Yeah?”

I started to untangle myself, but his arm just tightened around my back. He didn’t want to let go and, falling a little more in love (if that was even possible), I relaxed against him. My head rested on his chest.

“Are you coming back to Cain tonight?” Logan asked through the phone. He sounded tense.

I frowned, but didn’t lift my head. It felt too right to move.

“Uh . . .”

I looked up.

Mason lifted an eyebrow, wanting to know what I wanted to do.

We just got engaged. Time alone would be nice, though there was a huge crisis hanging over us. I wanted to stay in Fallen Crest, but I said, “We should go back. We won’t relax otherwise.”

He nodded, saying into the phone, “We’re coming back.”

“Good.” Logan sounded relieved. “I know you’re in deep shit because of the fighting, but I might need help with these guys that roughed up Taylor’s friend.”

“The same guy that we had to deal with a crime lord about?” Mason rolled his eyes.

“They beat the shit out of him because he’s gay. They deserve something worse happening to them,” Logan clipped out. “We can be inventive if you don’t want to do a beatdown with me.”

Mason’s voice was strained. “Start brainstorming, because I can’t do anything violent unless it’s on the football field. They’re going to watch me like a damned hawk, and that’s if I’m still allowed to play.”

“You’ll be fine, but yeah, Nate and I will put our thinking hats on. See you when you get here.”

“Yeah.”

Logan suddenly called out, “Hi, Sam!”

I moved closer to the phone. “Don’t get Mason in trouble, please.”

He groaned. “I might start trouble, but he always delivers the knockout punch. There’s a reason we work as brothers.”

Anger glinted in Mason’s eyes. His lips pressed together. “Okay. Be there in a few hours.”

He hung up and looked down at me. “You didn’t say anything.”

“Neither did you.”

“I was letting you make the decision.”

I pressed a hand against his chest, feeling his heart beat just on the other side. “I know. Let’s keep our engagement between us for a minute. Once we tell, it’s no longer ours. It’s everyone’s to talk about—and give their opinions about everything.” I tilted back to look up at him. “You know what I mean?”

His eyes darkened. I saw the love there. “I do.” He cupped the back of my neck. “I love you.” His lips found mine.

I closed my eyes, savoring this.

My man.

My other half.

My future husband.

So much lies ahead of us, but he was mine, completely mine, in this moment. My lips moved against his, deepening the kiss, and he tightened his hold on me.

Mason was driving, and I couldn’t stop from looking over and studying him. He wasn’t a boy anymore, not that he’d ever seemed like one. He was a man, and he was going to be my husband. It left me in awe. Forever. Though when had that word not been used to describe Mason and me? Never. But there was still a little voice in the back of my head that worried about repeating our parents’ actions.

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