Sever (The Ever Series Book 3)(4)

By: C. J. Valles

Actually, I’m sure Ever knew about my mom’s brunch plans before I did. Because, unlike me, she can’t shield her thoughts from him. And, thinking about it, suddenly I’m a little annoyed that he didn’t clue me in—until I remember that he doesn’t like spoiling surprises for me, no matter how many times I tell him that I hate surprises.

“And you guys don’t want to ride with me, I take it?” she says with a wry smile as we approach the front door.

I smirk as I think of Ever crammed into my mom’s aging copper coupe.

“That’s okay.”

Seeing Ever’s tall frame and golden halo of hair through the glass, I speed up and beat my mom to the front door. As soon as I swing open the door, he smiles, which makes my heart race just like it did the first time I saw him. He’s wearing jeans and a black shirt, but he still looks like he just stepped out of the pages of a fashion magazine. He is unreasonably perfect. Staring up at him, I have to restrain myself from jumping into his arms, and his preternaturally green eyes gleam with amusement as my mom picks up her car keys.

“How are classes, Ever?”

Now that Ever, Audra, and Chasen have “graduated” from high school, Ever is “attending” Reed College in Portland proper.

“Same as they were yesterday when you asked him. Right, Ever?” I smile.

My mom blushes a little. It freaks her out that I’m dating a college guy, but I assume she’d be even more freaked out if she knew that my boyfriend was actually an inter-dimensional immortal.

“The place is on 23rd. You guys can find it?” she asks.

I nod. I can get lost just about anywhere; it’s Ever I have complete faith in.

“And Ever? You’re okay with Wren here commandeering your weekend?”

“Perfectly,” he smiles.

With a stern look, I point my mom toward the door.

“Go. We’ll meet you there.”

“You’re not leaving now?” she frets.

“We’ll be right behind you, Mom,” I sigh in exasperation. “I’ve gotta grab my jacket and put on shoes.”

I point to my socks, and she nods before finally stepping outside. Shutting the door, I turn back to Ever.

“Mothers! It shouldn’t be that much work getting them out the door in the morning!” I say in mock frustration.

Ever smiles again as he reaches out and pulls me closer, causing my feet to slide along the hardwood floor until I’m pressed against him. My breath catches as his fingers brush my cheek, and I shiver from the heat of his touch. I stare up at him breathlessly as he pulls me effortlessly toward the loveseat. Then, with more grace than any human is capable of, he sits and, in the same motion, draws me into his lap so that my legs are on either side of his. My breathing hiccups as his hands slide slowly down to my waist.

“It’s been too long since I’ve held you,” he whispers.

I smile crookedly.

“It was just last night,” I murmur.

Yeah. I say this, but I know exactly how he feels. He smiles and brings up one hand to trace the curve of my neck.

“As I said: too long.”

We’ve been treading a fine line for the past year, both of us getting edgier as my birthday approaches. Physically, Ever has been … careful. Careful enough to drive me crazy. When his hand travels to the back of my neck, my eyes close. He pauses, and I savor the unnatural heat of his skin and the perfect, indefinable scent of him before his lips touch my jaw. He pulls back slightly, and my eyes snap open.

“Your birthday,” he says pointedly. “You’ve been avoiding talking about it, thinking about it—”

“Yeah, yeah. What’s the big deal? Another year closer to being ancient like you.”

I still feel like my seventeenth birthday last year was a miracle—so much so that I let it pass without making a big deal about it. My superstitious side had been convinced that making a big deal of it would have been tempting fate. And now that my eighteenth birthday is on top of me, I’ve become ridiculously superstitious. Part of me thinks that if I even dare to think about my birthday, it will bring destruction raining down on us.

“Wren, for my sake, please believe that this birthday is something to celebrate, not fear.”

Also By C. J. Valles

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