A hard knot had settled in the back of my throat as I walked away. The taste of the smoothie had turned bitter in my mouth, and I swallowed convulsively. I wasn’t even sure if I felt anger or relief at this point. Somewhere along the way, something had broken deep inside of this man, and I didn’t have the faintest idea how to fix it. I didn’t even know what it was. Just that it had left behind a caustic personality I couldn’t get around. Not for any length of time that mattered.
I thought again of the feel of our hands intertwined, the dry brush of skin and warm fingers locked through mine. But it wasn’t enough. That flash of electricity, the thrill when I won a grin, wasn’t worth the harsh words and stormy silences.
In the past, women used arsenic to make themselves beautiful. It would brighten their features and make them more alluring. A spark of beauty and light. Of course, then it killed them. Beautiful poison was still just that. And Connor Moore was the worst type, it seemed. He was the kind of poison who drew you in and got you addicted before you ever realized it was harmful.
We made it back to the car and threaded our way through downtown traffic. The ride was silent. No radio, no chatter. Only the quiet whine of wheels on pavement. I stared out of the window as we passed field after field on our way home. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched Connor’s hands flex repeatedly on the steering wheel, and when he hit it with the palm of his hand, I didn’t even flinch.
He pulled off to the shoulder of the old, two-lane highway before he unclipped his seatbelt and twisted to face me. “Sammi,” he said with a helpless look. “I can’t… I don’t…” His groan was harsh and guttural, and he leaned forward, cupped his hand behind my head, and kissed me.
The contact was like a spark. His lips to mine fanned a flame I hadn’t even recognized was burning. It stole my breath. I’d been waiting for this kiss for a long time. So long, that it was almost physically painful to pull away. But I did. Poison, my mind whispered. Danger.