The Only Man
(From Connemara With Love, #4)
Publication date: March 21st 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
I was a different man, once.
I was a man with only one woman on my mind – the only woman I wanted to hold in my arms.
I was her man.
But things change. Life changes you. Choices, mistakes, resentment: they all change you.
So do unkept promises.
We hurt each other. We loved each other, then hated each other, then missed each other, then grew apart.
One day, we found each other again.
At the wrong time, in the wrong place.
Because the two of us are wrong together – we’re too far apart, too incompatible.
We’re the main characters of a story that doesn’t belong to us.
But I still keep loving her, even though she hates me.
And she keeps hating herself, because she can’t help but love me.
And we keep searching for each other, even though we’re destined to lose each other.
I wish I could be a different man, just once.
I wish I could be the kind of man who’s ready to give everything for the woman he loves.
Someone who was ready to let her go.
Because I want her to be happy more than I want her to be mine.
“I hope, Darcy,” I tell her, honestly, “that you do forget about me, one day. I don’t want you to, but I hope you do.”
“That’ll never happen.” Her fingers slide into my hair and her red lips move close to mine. “I couldn’t forget you when I hated you,” she says, her voice trembling. I can hear it, even beneath the music. “So there’s no way I’d be able to forget you now.”
“Why not?” I ask, pain hammering in my chest, climbing up my throat and seeping into my temples.
“I think you know why.”
I don’t want to hear her say it, but I need to hear it. I need to remind myself what happens when you stop believing in the only thing you should believe in.
“It’s too painful.”
“For me? Or for you?”
She smiles sadly. “Both.”
“Then don’t say it.” I rest my thumb on her lips, and Darcy parts them, sending a shiver through every vein in my body. “This is enough. You’re enough. Tonight is enough.” I’m lying, but I try, anyway. “Just tonight.”
“And then?” Her lips move against my thumb.
And then I’ll keep loving you from here, from afar, at the safe distance we have to put between ourselves so that at least one of us can have a chance. And it has to be you.
I didn’t do all this so that, one day, you’ll come back to me.
I didn’t give up on us to watch you give up on yourself.
“There is no ‘then’. And there’s no ‘tomorrow’.”
I drop my hand, and she looks at me, pity in her eyes.
“There’s no future for us.”
She rests her forehead against mine and lets herself go; my arms are holding her tightly, rocking her gently. We’re not dancing. We’re not following the music, or paying any attention to the world around us.
All we have is tonight, a handful of hours to breathe in. Nothing else has ever mattered compared to this moment.
A. S. Kelly writes Rom-Com, Romantic Fiction and Family Saga.
Avid reader, hopeless romantic, lover of yoga, knitting and home baking.
She was born in Italy but lives in Ireland with her husband, two children and a cat named Oscar.
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