Beneath the Stars (Falling Stars #4) - A.L. Jackson Page 0,1

who had no fuckin’ clue just how dangerous she could be.

She kept staring at me like she actually wanted the answer to the question she’d asked.

“I think you should do anything and everything that brings you joy,” I finally answered, straight-up honest. I took a swig from my bottle, watching her over the top.

The way those eyes traced my movements.

Like maybe she wanted to memorize them.

Maybe become a part of them.

“What if I’m just figuring out what that might mean?” she asked.

“Then you have to trust yourself to make a few mistakes along the way.”

My stomach twisted in a knot of need that I refused to acknowledge. I sure as fuck wasn’t gonna be one of them.

Truth be told?

Tonight’s mission was all kinds of covert and most definitely unauthorized.

Just because the concert was dubbed 18+ didn’t mean this little excursion wasn’t one-hundred-percent illicit. No question in my mind that Royce would have my ass if he found out where I’d taken his baby sister.

His baby sister who was twenty.

His baby sister who was twelve years younger than me.

His baby sister who, since the second she’d come into town to help prepare for Royce’s wedding to the lead singer of my band, had captured me in a way that I couldn’t let her.

“Not sure how I let you talk me into this,” I grumbled the tease.

Her brows lifted in the cutest way. Dark, dark eyes flashed something so sweet that it panged through the middle of me. “What, you don’t want to make a few of those mistakes with me? And here I thought we were friends,” she razzed.

That was exactly how she talked me into this.

That smile that took up the entirety of her sweet face, the one tool in this world that held the power to put a chink in my armor.

Right that second, I knew any ass-kickin’ comin’ my way would be a small price to pay to get to see her expression shine like that.

“Yeah, Mags, we are definitely friends.”

She stretched her margarita glass across the table and clinked it against my bottle. “To making a few mistakes,” she murmured.

Energy zinged through the air. A bolt of lightning. Same feeling she exuded every time she got into my space.

Girl was a jolt of electricity that both soothed and sparked.

Shadows from the bar played across her face. She smiled beneath the flashin’ lights, making that dimple dance and play.


I wanted to reach out and touch it.

Taste it.

Gave myself a harsh shake of the head to break me out of the trance that this girl lulled me into with a glance.

Might already be on my way to Hell, but touching her? That would earn me a first-class ticket on a direct flight.

Being around her felt like balancing on a high-wire without a net underneath to catch me when I slipped.

Exhilarating and dangerous.

So forbidden I might as well have been watching her through bulletproof glass.

She sucked at that straw, and for a moment, her eyes flashed their sorrow.

Danced their demons.

I got the distinct sense that she had an unobstructed view of mine, too. Like she could see straight into me and find all the things I couldn’t allow her to see.

“How are you doin’, Mags?” She’d been through some shit.

Crazy shit. The culmination going down just this last week that had sent us all reeling. Maybe that was part of the reason I’d brought her here. Feeling like maybe I could step in and be something for her. A reprieve. A distraction.

Maggie pulled back from the straw, and her teeth clamped down on her bottom lip as her head pitched to the side, taken by a swell of grief.

“You want to know how I really feel, Rhys?”

I swallowed the lump that grew in my throat. “Yeah. Think I do.”

She glanced away before she was staring me down with those charcoal eyes. “I feel broken. I feel freed. I feel this huge amount of relief that the chains are actually gone and now I can finally live, and at the same time, terrified that I don’t know how. But I’m ready to try.” She kept her gaze locked on me.

So real. So genuine. So different.

There was no missing the agony that burned from her spirit or the hope that shined from her eyes.

“I’m sorry, Maggie,” I told her. “So fuckin’ sorry.”

Her brow pinched just a fraction. “Don’t be because I’m not.”

“You’re kinda amazing, you know?”

Shyness crept over her face, and she fiddled with her empty glass. “You don’t even know me.”