Kiss Me in the Dark Anthology - Monica James

Day 1

“Don’t drop me.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it…wife.”

“Say it again.”

“Wife…wife…wife.” Squealing like a love-struck teenager, I kick my legs high in the air as my husband of two days carries me over the threshold.

This ritual holds much significance, and to most, it’s probably absurd, but to me, it’s absolutely perfect because I just married the most wonderful man. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think little ole me, Willow Shaw, would marry millionaire Drew Gibbs.

But the thing about Drew is that he doesn’t flash his wealth. He doesn’t drive an expensive car, nor does he deck himself out in designer threads and flashy gold. He is humble and kind, and when we first locked eyes across that runway, I knew I was done for.

“Welcome home, babe,” he says with his boyish, playful charm. “Well, our home away from home for the next two weeks.”

Still reeling from the fact I’m on my honeymoon, I gape around in awe at our secluded villa in one of the less populated areas of the Greek Islands. Our wedding at Los Angeles’s City Hall was a quick affair, which seems to be the theme for my entire relationship with Drew.

Call me crazy because it’s not like I haven’t heard it before, but Drew and I met six weeks ago while I was modeling for a local designer in LA. When I stepped out onto that runway and saw Drew sitting in the front row, I just knew our paths had crossed for a reason.

After the show, all the girls were gossiping about a tall, dark, and handsome millionaire, but when that stranger came my way, they could see he only had eyes for me. He asked me out for a drink, and the rest is history.

We spent every waking minute together getting to know one another, and by week two, I was in love. I know what you’re thinking, but with a past like mine, you come to learn that time is precious, and when the heavens present you with a gift, you take it.

I was born and bred in a small town in Texas. My father was the local Baptist pastor, and our family was well respected in our community. My parents were high school sweethearts, and together, they shined. But when fate intervened and took my dad away when I was twelve, my mother’s light faded.

Dad died of a heart attack. There was nothing the hospital could do. But my mom saw my father’s death as a betrayal from the big guy upstairs. She had put her faith in God her whole life, and in return, He took away the love of her life.

My mother changed, turning her back on the church and her friends. Liquor became her new salvation and so did seeking solace in the random men she would bring home late at night from whatever bar she frequented.

I had no one to talk to. I was an only child, and my grandparents lived out of state. The woman passed out on the recliner with a bottle of whiskey dangling from her limp fingers as she mumbled my father’s name was someone I no longer recognized.

When I turned thirteen, I began to develop in ways I didn’t understand, and things just got worse. As I came from a strict, religious family, my parents never explained what happened when your body changed. I grew tall, lost the baby fat, and my breasts doubled in size.

I hated it because I was no longer daddy’s little girl.

Girls at school picked on me, calling me a slut, while the boys suddenly showed interest, wondering if my nickname of “Satan’s Whore” was, in fact, true. All in all, I was miserable. And the only person I could talk to seemed to hate the sight of me.

I was the spitting image of my father, a fact my mom once loved, but now, it was a reminder of everything she had lost.

I kept to myself, hoping things would change, and they did when I was fifteen—when my mom moved her new boyfriend, Kenny, into our home. I didn’t know what miserable was until I met Kenny Smith.

My mom and I barely spoke as she was too strung out to even notice I was there half the time, but when Kenny arrived, it was like she wanted to have the perfect family once again. But what she didn’t know was that Kenny was a predator, a monster lurking in the dark.

At first, he was nice and attentive, showing