Reagan Landry is months away from college graduation, but instead of excitement, she’s frozen by the fear of letting go — of her ex-boyfriend, of the comfortable life she created for herself in Portland, of the years-long search for her older sister who abandoned her as a homeless teen. When she’s finally forced to decide what’s next, Reagan is met with another complication — her ex’s best friend, Noah Burke, who seems determined that she embraces what could be instead of what has been.
Drunkenly hooking up with his best friend’s ex, Reagan, is a mistake, but being secretly in love with her is so much worse when things seem one-sided. A disenchanted frat boy about to fail out of college, Noah has been living out someone else’s dream after a horrible accident five years earlier. Just when he thinks he’s lost any chance he has with Reagan, she surprises him by agreeing to spend the summer together at his family’s ranch in Montana.
And suddenly what started out as a complication between them becomes serious...until the past starts ripping apart their future.
Dusk settles over us, and inky light veils Reagan’s tanned body. She smiles back at me over her shoulder, her hand clutched tightly in mine as she leads us through the cool grass of the field. I study the line of her back from her cropped top and those denim shorts of hers. She’s curves and soft sweeping lines, no angles tonight. I’m convinced her barefoot on a summer night might be the sexiest thing yet.
“Are you sure you want to go back?” she asks. Maybe she asks twice because she stops and tugs me closer. “Noah?”
I brush the back of my hand against my forehead, my skin sticky from working on the house all day. My body feels stretched and alive after the work, like a good runner’s high except this is bone deep. I want to kiss her so badly. Instead I take her hand and twirl her in a slow circle so her hair fans out and brushes over her sun-kissed shoulders.
If I could keep her, if we could have more than this moment, I think everything in life would work out finally. Realistically, I know we can’t have anything more than now. And I plan to make the most of it.
Reagan shimmies her hips, her hands up in the air as she lets go and dances. Fireflies flicker around her, the moon is finally up in the sky, and the Montana night has fully settled in. Between crickets and my heart beat, it’s just her softly humming to herself as she dances for me.
I reach out and hook my fingers inside the waist of her shorts and drag her against me. She gazes up dreamily, still humming, her eyes wide and sleepy.
“I love you,” I whisper. The words fall out and as soon I as hear them leave my mouth, I stiffen.
Her hand skirts up my bare chest and curls around the back of my neck. “What a perfectly dumb thing to say about a girl like me.”
I smile because she’s not backing away. Judging by her smile, she’s teasing, so I take my chances and press on. “I think it’s a perfectly true thing to say to you.”
“Tell me, Noah, how does a girl like me respond to that? From a boy like you?” She pushes up to the balls of her feet and kisses my chin, scratching her nails along the back of my neck, and I’m so instantly turned on. Completely. Her lips spread into a smile over my jaw as she feels me hard against her middle.
“I want today to last forever,” she says, her breath warm over my skin. She slides her body closer, her hands growing greedy. “Tell me we have a thousand more days like today.”
I could lie. Holy hell, do I want to lie, but my lips meet hers instead and I kiss her until the truth is there, until we both know we can’t because her life is going one way and mine another, if at all. We have tonight and another week and maybe emails or texts later. We don’t have anything permanent and maybe that’s why I told her what I did. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t run away.
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Rebecca writes smart, emotional New Adult and historical romances featuring flawed characters struggling to find their place in the world, from Paris to Portland. She’s a lover of rainy days, an unabashed anglophile, and a devote Earl Grey tea drinker. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and their very spoiled cat, Bella. A wanderlust connoisseur, Rebecca can be caught daydreaming about her next travel adventure when not writing.
She is the author of EVERLY AFTER, BETWEEN EVERYTHING AND US, and the upcoming releases ETIQUETTE WITH THE DEVIL, A PROPER SCANDAL, and ANYTHING MORE THAN NOW.
Rebecca loves hearing from readers and writers. You can follow her on Twitter @beckapaula or find out more about her and her books at www.rebeccapaula.com.
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