“I’m really sorry, Levi. Please don’t be mad at me. I know how much you and Gunner have done for me. I wasn’t trying to disrespect either one of you. I swear. It’s just, in the last week and a half, I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster.” Taya stopped talking, hoping he would respond.
He didn’t say a word. Not even the slightest reaction to give her hope. Nothing. Instead, Levi turned up the radio. Big mistake. The silence was better than the song. Each word was an attack on their circumstances. “Not Easy” by Alex Da Kid, featuring X Ambassadors, Elle King, and Wiz Khalifa was tormenting the duo.
Life hadn’t been easy for Taya, but Levi had always tried to make sure she always had someone in her court. From day one, he had been the one person who she could always count on. Now, as she sat there in silence, she realized she might have finally pushed him too far. Levi really did have a breaking point, and he had clearly reached it.
Taya started to tear up, her eyes filling to capacity.
Levi had always loved her unconditionally, even with all her faults and weaknesses. It was one of the reasons she wanted him to find someone else, and the reason she had stayed in Toronto. Levi deserved a woman who could love unconditionally, just like him. He deserved a woman who was strong in body and mind. Taya knew she was only strong in body. Her mind was damaged. Even after seventeen years, she still woke up screaming with nightmares.
How many men wanted to make love to a misfit with a haphephobia?
Taya hated that Levi knew the term. Not many people did. But Levi knew it meant she had a rare phobia of touch or being touched that was associated with her PTSD.
Yeah, Levi had respected all her boundaries when they’d had sex in the past, but no man should have to follow such bizarre rules. It was beyond embarrassing and humiliating. She would rather use a vibrator for the rest of her life than condemn him to that kind of relationship.
In sexual relationships, if there was no emotional connection, a man could at least expect a good roll in the sack. Taya couldn’t even offer him that.
As the first of her indignant tears fell, adding to her self-loathing, she lowered her head in shame. She hated to cry. It was a sign of weakness.
Levi watched Taya in the rear-view mirror as the oncoming lights lit up her face and allowed him to see all the emotions play across it. She was breaking his heart, but if he was going to succeed with his plan, he had to learn to suppress his reaction to seeing her hurt.
He stayed strong until he saw her lower her head and a big, fat tear rolled down her cheek. Then his willpower started crumbling.
He chanted to himself to stay strong and keep his eyes on the road, not the rear-view mirror. This was for her own good. He had to face the fact that there were going to be more tears before he could get her to admit the truth.
Levi questioned for the millionth time why she couldn’t show her emotions. He had to get her to open up and share what had happened all those years ago. He had to understand the depth of her captivity.
Anne Marie Citro grew born and raised in the greater Toronto area of Ontario, Canada. She grew up in a large, loving family. Anne Marie is married to a very patient man. He is the love of her life. They have four very cool sons, and the girls they brought into their family that have become daughters of her heart. She has been blessed enough to finally have a beautiful granddaughter after four sons. She has her own personal gaggle of girlfriends, who enrich her life on a daily basis and make her laugh. Caesar Friday is her favourite day of the week. Caesars with the girls and date night with her hubby. She works with special-needs teenagers, that have taught her how to appreciate life and see it through gentler eyes. Anne Marie was encouraged by her husband to follow her lifelong dream to write. She loves the characters that take over imagination and haunts her dreams. She loves the arts and she has tried her hand at painting, wood sculpting, chainsaw carving, wood burning, metal and wire sculptures. Yes, her husband is a very patient man! Anne Marie is an avid reader and enjoys about three books per week. But nothing makes her happier then riding on the back of her husband’s Harley and throwing her arms out and feeling the wind race by. Anne Marie and her husband take a few weeks every year to travel to spectacular destination around the world. Anne Marie is excited and can’t wait to see what the next chapter holds for her life.