Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: July 26th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Graham Nichols’s main goal in life is to forget. Getting high, completely wasted, and running through a string of sexy blonds daily helps him achieve this task. But one night of partying lands him in a heap of trouble and sent back to the confinements of his hometown. Things can’t possibly get worse, right?
Sarah Morris can’t seem to run fast enough away from her past. She’s spent months trying to amend her ways, and is doing a pretty good job. She’s getting good grades, isn’t acting like a spoiled brat, and even works at the local grocery store. The last thing she needs is a distraction.
Enter Graham Nichols, the one mistake Sarah can’t escape.
I look about the room again, and my attention falls right back on Graham. He runs his hand through his brown hair, which appears disheveled. But Graham himself looks calm and a little frightening. I’m so caught up in staring at him, I forget to drop my gaze or hide behind my menu when his eyes travel the room.
When his gaze locks with mine, a warm swell of feelings bubbles through me. My face heats as his eyes narrow slightly. I need to break contact. A blond waitress stops at his table, and I watch as he flirts with the girl. Laughing and touching her hand.
I think I’m going to be sick. He hates me. He really hates me. This is just a game to get back at me for what I did. I know, because I’ve played this same game with all sorts of people who did me wrong. Let me correct myself: the old me did.
“Sarah, do you have an idea of what you might like?” my uncle asks, causing me to blink and exhale loudly.
I glance down at the menu and then back at my uncle Paul. He’s smiling as if he knows I want something that isn’t on the menu. Of course, this only makes my face heat more. “I … um …”
“Excuse me,” a deep voice breaks into our conversation. “Evening, Mr. and Mrs. Issac, may I have a word with Sarah?”
My uncle Paul nods. My auntie Heather smiles. “Hello, Graham. How have you been, hon?”
“I’ve been good.”
Auntie Heather waves me off. “Go on, dear.”
I glance up at Graham and push away from the table. He helps me out of my chair, which surprises me, but it also makes me melt. Just a little.
This isn’t good for me. I will not get caught up in the game. I will not fall harder for Graham than is necessary. I need to let these feelings I have for him go. Get some closure and be done.
He guides me out into the garden area, where blue and white flowers cascade around us and twinkly lights weave overhead. It makes me think of the perfect place to have a wedding. “It seems we’re going to keep running into each other,” Graham says in an irritated tone.
I flinch. “I suppose so. Wait, why? Aren’t you returning to school? Oh God, is your mom sick or something?”
Graham glares at me. “No, my mom is perfectly fine. I’m just not returning to school right now. I’ve got some things I have to take care of, which is none of your concern. Figured the decent thing to do was to warn you. So we might as well get used to this. Us seeing each other. We can pretend we don’t know one another. So I won’t say your name or hello. You can do the same.”
I drop my gaze to my feet and sigh. “Okay. If that’s what you want I understand.”
“Jesus, Sarah, you ripped my heart out and handed it back to me mangled. What did you expect here?”
I shake my head. “Nothing. I know what I did was wrong. Hurting you will be one of my many big regrets, but I can’t focus on that. So, for what it’s worth, I’m sorry.” I feel the hot sting of tears sliding down my face. I will not look Graham in the eye so he can see the effect he has on me. So I swipe my hands against my cheeks and pretend I’m just brushing my own hair out of my face. Then I head off to the restroom.
Trust me, I want to get a glance of his face the moment I confess that hurting him was a huge mistake. But I can’t. Doing so would leave me more open to his wounding words than ever. What if he said something cruel like, “Good, that’s what you get.” Believe me, I know it’s all on me, but to know that I’d ruined any shot with him forever? To confirm how much he hates me? It would probably kill me. What’s worse, I feel like he was the only one here who got closure. How the hell can I possibly move on while I feel like my heart was thrown in a blender and then served right back to me? Heart à la mode, anyone?
Natalie Decker is the author of the bestselling YA series RIVAL LOVE. She loves oceans, sunsets, sand between her toes, and carefree days. Her imagination is always going, which some find odd. But she believes in seeing the world in a different light at all times. Her first passion for writing started at age twelve when she had to write a poem for English class. However, seventh grade wasn’t her favorite time and books were her source of comfort. She took all college prep classes in High school, and attended the University of Akron. Although she studied Mathematics she never lost her passion for writing or her comfort in books. She’s a huge Denver Broncos fan, loves football, a mean cook in the kitchen, loves her family and friends and misses her dog infinity times infinity. If she’s not writing, reading, traveling, hanging out with her family and friends, then she’s off having an adventure. Because Natalie believes in a saying: Your life is your own journey, so make it amazing!
- $5 Amazon gift card + ebook copy of Graham