Exclusive Excerpt: To The Stars by Molly McAdams

to the stars BANNER

Molly McAdams delivers perhaps her best written story to date with To The Stars—a poignant narrative about love, fear, resilience and second chances. The topics broached are heavy and hard to read as we witness the harrowing truths of an abusive relationship. We experience just how tightly fear can burrow inside and how the crushing of one’s spirit is often times more hurtful than the pounding of one’s flesh.  And while with Harlow’s story McAdams unflinchingly approaches the reality of domestic violence, she also shows the strength love renders when hope seems vanquished.

“To the moon?… The moon isn’t that far, Harlow.”

“Isn’t it?”

“No. Not far enough…  I want to love you to the stars.”

… “Then to the stars.”

I’m excited to bring you the second part of a two-part excerpt, the first which you can read on USA Today HEA, the second which you can read below.

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Synopsis

Feb-09In the second standalone book in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Molly McAdams’ Thatch series, Knox Alexander must convince his long-time love Harlow Evans that they’re meant to be together.

He promised to wait for her.
She told him he was wasting his time.
Not waiting for him ended up being the biggest mistake of her life.

When they were younger, Knox Alexander swore to Harlow Evans that he would wait for her to turn eighteen so they could be together. But that was two and a half years away, and Harlow couldn’t ask him to give up all the fun and thrills of going away to college for her. As the years passed, Knox remained a constant in her life but when her eighteenth birthday came around, Harlow’s heart belonged to someone else.

Every day for the last four years, Harlow has been haunted by that fateful choice. And though he may appear unaffected by what happened in their past, Knox has always tried to fill the void Harlow left. But when he comes stumbling back into her life and refuses to leave, will Harlow finally let him into her heart…?

Excerpt

We both held our breath as we watched the person put pressure against the door a few more times before giving up, but that didn’t ease my fear.

“I need to go back out there.”

“Let me take you away from all this,” he pleaded.

“You can’t.” My voice was hoarse as I pulled out of his arms. “I’m sorry, I know you don’t understand, but you can’t. I swear to you I’m much safer staying with him than if I were to leave.”

“Harlow,” he groaned. His shoulders sagged in defeat as he ran his hands over his head. “I can’t make you leave your husband. If you think you and your family are in danger, I won’t go to the police until you give me the okay. But I’m here. After all these years I’m still here. If it ever gets to be too much, if you ever can’t handle it anymore, if you ever need someone to get you away from him, then call me and I’ll be there.”

I hesitated before nodding.

Knox’s too-perceptive eyes narrowed. “What? Do you not have my number anymore?”

I shrugged and quickly shook my head; the action contradicted my next words. “I remember it.”

There was a brief pause before he asked, “Then what, Low? Are you changing your mind? Do you want to get out n—”

“No!” I said on a rush. “No, I just … I won’t be able to call you. He looks for things that I don’t even have, Knox. He searches the house and my car. He goes through my phone.”

“What the hell?” Knox mumbled as I continued.

“I wouldn’t put it past him to check the phone bills to see if I’m hiding something. I can’t risk contacting you.”

Knox looked lost, like he didn’t know what to do with what he knew. His head shook absentmindedly, and he blinked slowly as he stumbled over his next words. “T-then you ne—we’ll—I’ll think of something,” he promised. “I don’t know what, but I’ll think of something. Jesus,” he whispered, and I knew he was still trying to wrap his head around it all.

“It’s not worth it.” I appreciated what Knox wanted to do, but he still didn’t understand what Collin was capable of.

“You, and knowing that you’re ali—okay will always be worth it.” He looked around the room then nodded toward the bathroom. “I’ll hide out in there for a few minutes just in case. If anyone sees me leave, I’ll take care of it. But I don’t want to risk it for you if he’s standing out there right now.”

“Thank you.”

Grabbing my hand, he turned me around and cupped my cheek as he had so many times before. “Please keep yourself safe,” he ground out. Just when I thought he was about to release me, he dipped his head down and pressed his lips to mine.

The kiss started off innocent, but built slowly until he was pressing my back against the wall and I was gripping at his clothes and pulling his body closer to mine. There were three times in the years before I met Collin that Knox kissed me. The first was a promise; the last two—just weeks before I met Collin—were frenzied and unpreventable because of the chemistry that had been surging between us for years. While this one closely resembled the last two, it was so different than any of the ones before.

It was a claiming on both our parts. I was his and he was mine. The passion that rolled between us was something I’d only imagined sharing with someone. My head dropped back when his lips moved across my jaw and down my throat, and he moved his body between my legs. My body arched off the wall, and a breathy moan escaped my lips when he moved his hand up my leg under my dress to hitch it around his hip, and I brought his head up to claim his lips again.

Still fully-clothed. Only kissing. I was getting more of a rush from this than I’d ever gotten from sex with Collin.

“I love you,” I breathed, unable to stop the words from leaving my lips that time.

He inhaled quickly at my confession, and his mouth curved up momentarily. “To the stars, Harlow,” he whispered against my lips. “Always to the stars.”

We froze with our arms still wrapped around each other when someone tried the door again. Our eyes stayed locked on one another … our lips brushed with each ragged breath.

“You’re mine,” he said softly.

I smiled weakly and brushed the tips of my fingers along his jaw. “I’ve al—” I cut myself off, but my mind screamed, I’ve always belonged to you.

His eyes pleaded with me to continue, but I couldn’t—I’d already said too much.

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