The feeling was beyond words. Beyond colors and lights. It was the sky. The universe.

A pure and exquisite slice of heaven.

“Fuck, Ella.” He became still, watching me. Waiting. Marveling.

And then he drove himself fully inside of me, deep and solid.

As solid as my bones. As liquid as my veins.

To the very depths of my core. And maybe even my soul.

His release came in a breathy and curse-laden chorus.

He collapsed on top of me and kissed my neck and ear and jaw all while whispering unintelligible words. Tangled together in a sheen of sweat—we lay panting and recovering.

“You’re so beautiful, Ella,” he said, before gathering me in his arms and kissing me tenderly. “I’ve never had this. . . .” The words escaped him, his throat clogging with emotion.

As the first tear spilled from my eye, I said, “Me neither.”

His thumb came up and swiped my cheek. Then he pulled me tightly again him, my back to his front. Our breaths were soft and steady against the stillness of the night.

“I guess this means you’re all mine,” he breathed against my ear.

“For as long as you’ll have me,” I mumbled, in the haze of sleep.

And just as we drifted off into the land of bliss, I heard him whisper, “Forever works for me.”

Despite this book being a work of fiction, suicide is a very real epidemic in our country. If you need to talk to someone, if only to hear an empathic voice, please consider calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.