(Flynn and Mia’s Story)
Book #2 from the Perfect Little Pieces series
For the first time in her life, Mia Horton isn’t afraid of the future. Equipped with a new major, a new internship, and a new life, she is finally able to put the past behind her—that is, until she meets Flynn McKenna. Flynn’s boyish charm and rugged good looks make her feel things she doesn’t want to feel, and shakes the foundations of her carefully constructed world. With Flynn, Mia craves things she knows she can never have, and wonders if she’ll ever be rid of the silent curse that seems to plague all of the women in her family.
Well on his way to being the youngest mixed martial arts champion in the world, Flynn uses fighting to provide for his impoverished family. Then, one day, an accident forces him to the sidelines. His failure to achieve success devastates his parents and starts a downward spiral of guilt and self-loathing that lands him at Newton Heights Mental Hospital. He has all but given up on life, until a gorgeous young intern makes him see that there is more to him than winning titles, and that love is the most valuable prize of all.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Can I ask you a question?” Flynn asked as we approached the reception desk.
“Sure.” I stopped and turned to face him. Big mistake. While not classically handsome, there was something about his rugged features that was alluring. He was a fighter, if his crooked nose was any indication. His face was thin, his muscles lean. There wasn’t an ounce of fat on him, I realized.
While all of this was intriguing, it was his eyes that most attracted me. They were constantly changing, from the clear sky-blue when he first walked into my office, to the stormy gray they were now.
“Why are you here?” he asked.
“For an internship, like Dr. Polanski said. I’m working toward my doctorate in clinical psychology.”
“Yeah, that’s not what I mean.” He scratched his head, shaking loose some auburn strands from his bandanna. My fingers itched to tug that ridiculous piece of fabric away and let his locks tumble into place. I bet the man would be stunning if he just cleaned up a little bit.
“What do you mean?” I asked as I tore my gaze away from his hair and back down to his face.
“I mean, why mental patients?”
I chuckled and shook my head. “You know, you’re the second person who asked me that.”
“Dr. Polanski wanted to know why I wanted this internship, too.”
“So,” he asked. “Why us?”
I considered him for a moment before responding. “Why not you?”
He grinned, which softened his hard features. “I’m serious.”
“I am, too.” I shifted my briefcase from one hand to the other and adjusted the heavy tote on my shoulder. “Why do you think I wouldn’t want to be here?”
He shrugged and shoved his hands in his pockets. “We’re all lost causes.” He averted his gaze, but not before I saw the hurt in his eyes. I wondered who had called him a lost cause, and why. Part of me wanted to find that person and shake some sense into him.
“You’re not a lost cause.” I touched his arm, drawing his gaze back to me.
He glanced down to where I touched him and eased back. “No, I’m the biggest lost cause of them all.”
“Why do you say that?”
He looked up and met my eyes. “Look at you.” He waved his hand in front of me.
“I can’t—there’s no mirror.”
He snorted, then his features turned serious. He brushed back a stray hair that had fallen from my bun. “You have the perfect hair.” He slid his finger over my temple and cheek. “The perfect pink cheeks.”
I started to protest, but then he focused on my lips and the hunger I saw there caused heat to burn in my lower abdomen.
Slowly, he slid his finger over my lips. “The perfect mouth,” he murmured.
My breath hitched. Was he going to kiss me? He looked like he wanted to, and heaven help me, I wanted that, too, but I could never become involved with a patient. Not here. Not anywhere, really. There were rules and boundaries. I was here to fix his life, not make mine more complicated.
He must have seen the panic in my eyes because he cleared his throat and backed away. It was a good thing he did. Despite my convictions, it had been a hell of a long time since I had been with anyone romantically. I wasn’t entirely sure I would have had the strength to stop him.
He stuffed his hands back into his pockets and glanced down at my clothes. “You have the perfect outfit—well, except the coffee stains. You might want to try to get those out.” I grimaced. “You belong out there, with the other perfect people.” He waved his hand at the elevators. “Not with the misfits and losers like us.”
“And which are you, Flynn?” I stepped closer. “Are you a misfit, or a loser?”
“Both.” He took a step away. “You should go home, Mia. Go back to your ivory tower and your perfect life. You don’t belong here.”
“You don’t belong here, either.”
He let out a short, quick exhale. “You’re wrong. I belong here more than anyone.”
“You wouldn’t understand.” He shoved his hands deeper into his pockets and shuffled his feet.
“Make me understand, Flynn.” I took a step closer as I thought of the long list of mood-altering medications I had seen in his file. Mood swings, seizures. I wanted to know how he got to this point in his life. What happened to him to make him realize that he needed help and couldn’t continue to do things by himself? “I want to help you.”
“You just can’t.” He took another couple of steps away from me, but not before I noticed the light dusting of freckles on his skin, faded from the lack of sunlight. It made him more boyish and vulnerable in my eyes, which only strengthened my decision to help.
“Why not?” I closed the distance until only a sliver of air was between us.
Pain flashed through his features. “You are so damn innocent, Mia.” He cupped my face with his large palm and touched his forehead to mine. “You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1) Katy Perry – Roar
2) Howie Day – Collide
3) Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball
4) Lifehouse – Falling In
5) Pitbull ft. Ke$ha – Timber
6) Mat Kearny – Where We Gonna Go From Here
7) Joshua Radin – One of those Days
8) Five for Fighting – The Riddle
9) Nora Jones – Come Away with Me
10) Sara Bareilles – Brave
11) Timbaland ft. OneRepublic – Apologize
12) Jasmine Thompson – Almost Lover
13) Muse – Feeling Good