Jake Mathews messed up yet again— but this time his misstep lands him in the hospital. He wakes up to find the girl of his dreams and the memory of having his deepest secret revealed.
Emily Taylor needs a break. She’s been working double shifts as a nurse just to pay the bills while trying to heal a broken heart. The last thing she needs is to fall for a patient.
Strapped with community service and the knowledge that he’s disappointed everyone in his life, Jake is determined not to let Emily slip through his fingers. Emily wants Jake, but can she really open herself up to heartache again?
As the speedometer hit seventy, I knew I had to go faster. Nothing could be fast enough to get away from the night I’d had. In the course of a few minutes, I’d probably lost my brother’s trust forever—and I deserved it.
I should have expected Daniela would be trouble when she cornered me at a barbeque in her brother Tom’s backyard. She had that gleam in her eyes and a drink in her cup that was probably a hell of a lot stronger than the beer I was holding. I tried to shrug her off, but she wasn’t having any of it. She followed me around like a lost puppy all night.
I finished off my beer and headed back onto the deck so I could get another. I took a seat, trying to ignore the conversations around me.
“Do you want to get out of here?” Daniela came up behind me, putting her arms around my neck.
I turned in my seat, pushing her off me in the process. “Is that a joke?”
“Why not? We used to have fun, didn’t we?” She smiled at me in a way that used to work. It didn’t anymore.
Our hook ups in high school weren’t something I was proud of. “Fun? I’d call it self- destruction. I think I’m okay.”
“Doesn’t it bother you?” She took a seat next to me and scooted her chair as close to mine as she could.
I leaned away from her. “Doesn’t what bother me?”
“That Molly is having Ben’s baby.” Daniela nodded toward where Molly laughed with her friend a few feet away. My brother, Ben, was looking at her out of the corner of his eye. He was so in love with Molly it was hard to watch sometimes.
“She’s his wife. It’s kind of expected she’d have his kids.” I ripped the label off my beer. I needed to make my exit.
“Come on. You know it bugs you.” She ran her nails across the back of my neck.
I shrugged her off again. “What the fuck is your point, Daniela? She’s my sister-in-law. She’s pregnant with my niece or nephew.”
“He still doesn’t know, does he?”
“Don’t go there.” I tried to think of a way to get Daniela out of there before she said something really dumb.
“I know it bothers you just as much as it bothers me.”
I looked her straight in the eye. “It doesn’t. I’m happy for them.” I was. Ben had been miserable without Molly. He didn’t even act like himself. It was nice to have him back.
“Please. You couldn’t have changed that much.”
“I have. I got over it a long time ago. I had a stupid crush. You were obsessed.” It still seemed insane I’d liked Molly at all. We couldn’t go ten minutes in the same room without fighting.
“Bullshit.” She got that excited look again. With Daniela, that always meant something bad.
“What are you thinking?”
“If you’re over it, you wouldn’t mind me telling Ben and Molly, would you?” She put a hand on my leg. She needed to stop touching me already.
“You wouldn’t dare.” I ran a hand through my hair nervously.
“Don’t be an idiot, Daniela.” She was always a mean drunk.
“Don’t be an idiot?” She got out of her chair. “You mean don’t tell Ben how you wanted Molly in high school?” She raised her voice loudly enough to get everyone’s attention.
“Daniela, shut up.”
“Or wait. Maybe you don’t want them to know how you had me try to seduce Ben so he’d cheat on Molly. Oops… I wasn’t supposed to tell him that, was I?” She put a hand in front of her mouth like the words had just fallen out or something. I was ready to kill her.
I dared to glance at Ben, who was shooting me daggers, while walking over to Molly.
“What is she talking about?” Molly took a few steps toward me.
I played with the keys inside the pocket of my shorts. I needed to get out of there. “It’s nothing. She’s just drunk.”
Daniela laughed. “It’s true, Molly. Jake wanted to break you guys up.”
Molly turned to Ben. “Is she telling the truth?”
“I never slept with her!” He put an arm around Molly. “I remember a night during senior year when she, uh, offered, but I said no.”
Daniela sneered. “He did say no. He didn’t want anyone but his precious Molly.”
“Okay, you need to go sober up.” Tom grabbed his sister’s arm and dragged her inside.
Ben looked like he was ready to kill me. I knew I deserved it. “Did you try to set me up?”
I made a decision in that moment. Maybe it was a dumb one—but I decided to be honest. “Yes.”
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Alyssa Rose Ivy is a Young Adult and New Adult author who loves to weave stories with romance and a southern setting. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college. After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children, and she can usually be found with a cup of coffee in her hand.