Author: Melissa Brown
Series: The Compound #1.5
Release Date: March 29, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
More Info: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon US
Purchase: Amazon UK
I didn’t think I’d ever want to devote my life to someone. That is, until Brin.
I was twenty-six years old the day she entered my life, just when I’d given up hope, just when I’d given up completely on having any shred of happiness in my pathetic excuse for a life. After years of indecision, self-destruction and soul-searching, she found me.
Brinley challenged everything I thought I knew. She proved that goodness could still come from that hellish compound. Goodness, bravery and love. She changed everything the moment she knocked on the door of my apartment, acting as brave as a lion, even though she was shaking like a terrified mouse stuck in my trap.
And now, three years later, I want her as my wife. My only wife. Till death do us part.
And I’ve never wanted anything more.
Our first summer living together in Porter’s house, he introduced me to drive-in movies. Well, he introduced me to a bunch of things I’d never experienced before: movie theaters, miniature golf, rock climbing, fast food drive-throughs. and picnics in the field near our house. But my favorite, by far, was the drive-in movie theater.
I’ll never forget that first night when Porter introduced me to the concept. I was new to living in the outside world. Movies and television, on the whole, were still new to me, but the idea of watching a movie outside was almost impossible to imagine.
When we’d first arrived, I hadn’t been sure what to expect. The drive-in was out in the middle of nowhere, next to a shallow canyon. Dust flew inside the cab of Porter’s truck as we approached the ticket taker. The booth was rusted and painted an odd pistachio green. I eyed Porter, wondering just how long the drive-in had been in business. If the dilapidated state of the booth was any indication, it had been quite a while.
“It’s vintage.” He laughed as he pulled the truck away from the booth and approached the enormous movie screen.
“Kinda like me?” I teased, looking down at my modest outfit. Until recently, I’d only worn old-fashioned clothes and my hair in a long blond braid down my back.
“Nah, you’re classic, Brin. Classic.”
They were playing a marathon of old movies, the black-and-white kind. Honestly, I didn’t really understand the difference all that much until Porter explained that Clark Gable’s expressions and slang in It Happened One Night no longer translated in the modern world. I was captivated by the actor’s handsome, debonair onscreen persona. And I was equally fascinated by the hairstyles and costumes of his leading lady—the glamour of the actress, her perfectly made-up face and flawless skin. But most of all, I was entranced by the entire experience of watching a movie on a larger-than-life screen all from the bed of Porter’s truck, salt and butter from the freshly made popcorn lingering on my fingers.
The stars were bright above us as we lay in the bed of the truck. Fleece blankets softened the unyielding metal beneath us, and pillows cradled us comfortably as we lounged. Candy of all kinds and giant convenience-store sodas kept our bellies full and satisfied as we snuggled up together, my legs draped over his, and his arm resting comfortably beneath the small of my back.
In a word, it was heavenly. And I don’t take that word lightly.
“That was romantic,” I said with a yawn on our drive back to the house.
Porter laughed. “You think so? Even though the place is falling apart?”
The wind blew through my hair and I nodded. “Yes. Thank you for taking me.” I slid closer to him and he wrapped his arm around me, placing a kiss on the top of my head.
“I love introducing you to stuff like this. Your expressions make it totally worth it.”
That comment made me self-conscious, knowing that in the grand scheme of things, I was still quite a fish out of water. I fidgeted with my hair and shifted in my seat. “I must look ridiculous.”
“Never,” he insisted, his voice serious. “It’s sweet. It’s like this look of wonder, ya know? You’re experiencing so many things for the first time, and I get to be there for it. Makes me feel really lucky.”
My nose had wrinkled in disbelief. “Really? Lucky?”
Porter had kissed my head again. “Every single day.”
It’s amazing that you can live somewhere for twenty-two years and never feel like you fit in, like you’re home. That night in his truck, I’d known I was finally home. Porter was the home I’d dreamed about for years.
Lipstick. Bright, red lipstick. Nothing but lipstick.
Even though it’s against our faith to wear a color that screams of sexual promiscuity and deviant behavior, I’m not allowed to protest.
But, I want to.
You see, there’s more to me than the braid that spills down my back.
More to me than the layers of heavy fabric that maintain my modesty.
And so much more than the oppressive wedding band that adorns my finger–the same band that each of my sister wives wear.
So much more.
To protest would be sinful.
I must keep sweet, that is my duty.
So I’ll wear the lipstick. I’ll do as I’m told.
And I’ll do my best to silence the resistance within me, to push him from my mind.
If only my heart would do the same.