Spotlight: Solitude by A.K. Evans
Lorenzo De Luca’s troubled past has left him a shell of a man. The blood that runs through his veins feels toxic. Determined to not let history repeat itself, Lorenzo vows to protect others from the violence that lives inside him.
But when Jolie Moore literally stumbles into his arms and his life, Lorenzo finds himself captivated by her larger-than-life personality. Jolie’s pull is strong, making it difficult for him to keep his promise. It’s hard to resist the urge to connect with the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve, but Lorenzo knows he needs to lock his heart away to keep her safe.
Because his legacy has the power to destroy.
Jolie’s never been one to back down from a challenge, and her resolve to help him heal is strong. Lorenzo is wary, already content having found peace in solitude. But it isn’t long before Jolie shows him that he’s shielded others from a man who only has the capacity to love.
“Thanks again for making sure I didn’t completely embarrass myself earlier,” I broke the silence between us.
“You’re welcome. Are you always so clumsy?”
My eyes widened. “What?”
“That’s the second time I’ve saved you from getting your face busted open,” he clarified. “I’m just wondering if that’s a normal thing for you.”
I shook my head. “No, it seems to only happen around you.”
He offered one slow nod but said nothing in response. His eyes left mine and he scanned the room.
“Lorenzo?” I called.
He dropped his stare to me and answered, “Yeah?”
He pulled his brows together. “Come again?”
“It’s just...” I stammered. “I feel like there’s something more going on here between us.”
“Fuck,” he muttered quietly, looking away from me. He took several moments to live inside his own head. When he looked at me again, his eyes were haunted. “Do you want this one day?” he asked.
“A wedding? Marriage? Commitment?”
I felt my body get tight. “Sure, yeah, I mean, one day I want to get married. But not now.”
“Right. Then you need to understand now that I’m not that man and I never will be,” he stated firmly.
“Okay,” I replied, stretching out the word hoping to indicate my confusion at his statement.
He didn’t offer an explanation, but I was still curious. Was he saying that he was okay with a one-night fling, but nothing long-term?
“So, if I had said that I was just looking for a hookup, would you have had a different response?” I wondered.
His eyes flared. “Is that your thing? Having a random hookup?”
I shook my head slowly. “No, but that doesn’t answer my question.”
He shrugged his shoulders. “If you were anyone else, sure. But you’re not just anyone else. And that means nothing will ever happen between us. Ever,” he stated firmly and with such conviction.
My whole body went rigid as my eyes darted back and forth trying to figure out how I could have so easily mistaken the glances from him and the attraction I thought was mutual.
“I don’t understand. Are you not attracted to me?”
Something flashed in his eyes. Regret maybe? Frustration perhaps? I couldn’t tell, but it didn’t matter because he answered, “Doesn’t matter, you and I won’t ever happen, Jolie.”
Thankfully, at that moment, the song ended.
I pulled out of his hold and walked away. I went to the bathroom so I could pull myself together. When I stepped out a few minutes later and returned to the reception hall for the dinner, I stopped at the bar and grabbed myself a drink.
If Lorenzo didn’t want me, that was his loss. Clearly, he believed I wasn’t good enough for him. That was fine; I was going to enjoy myself tonight. I kept my attention focused on anyone and anything other than Lorenzo. As the night went on, I had more drinks and did a lot of dancing.
Putting him out of my mind, or at least telling myself that that is what I was doing, was the best decision I could have made. Because if I hadn’t, I would have realized that he spent the rest of the night with his eyes on me.
About the Author
A.K. Evans is a married mother of two boys residing in a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. After graduating from Lafayette College in 2004 with two degrees (one in English and one in Economics & Business), she pursued a career in the insurance and financial services industry. Not long after, Evans realized the career was not for her. She went on to manage her husband’s performance automotive business and drive the shop race cars for the next thirteen years. While the business afforded her freedoms she wouldn’t necessarily have had in a typical 9-5 job, after eleven years she was no longer receiving personal fulfillment from her chosen career path. Following many discussions, lots of thought, and tons of encouragement, Andrea decided to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.
Between her day job, writing, and homeschooling her two boys, Evans is left with very little free time. When she finds scraps of spare time, Evans enjoys reading, doing yoga, watching NY Rangers hockey, dancing, and vacationing with her family. Andrea, her husband, and her children are currently working on taking road trips to visit all 50 states (though, Alaska and Hawaii might require flights).