ABOUT THE BOOK
“Tell me a happy something, Sutton.”
I was only seven the first time Grady Bowen whispered those words to me. Cloaked by the black sky under a blanket of stars, it was easy to get lost. He didn’t have any good memories of his own, and needed to borrow mine. I’d willingly give him anything.
Being infatuated with that boy was a beautiful curse. What could have been special didn’t get the chance to bloom. He’d never see me as more than his best friend’s kid sister. That was a hard lesson to learn, but not the most difficult.
Grady had always been struggling against the odds. Eventually he quit fighting and let his family’s reputation own him. Try as I might, those influences were beyond my reach.
He didn’t mean to break my heart. Or maybe he did. I shouldn’t have made it so easy for him. Either way, our wrongs against each other carved new lines between us.
I went four years without seeing Grady—each one more painful than the last. That distance did nothing to dull my feelings toward him. But things are different now. Most noticeably is Grady. I barely recognize this man he’s become. And that’s the way he intends to keep it. Not that it really matters.
Grady Bowen stopped being my happy something long ago.
“Why are you in my room?”
I almost wither under the intensity of Grady’s stare. His green eyes gleam in the near darkness. I imagine their emerald color luring me under an unbreakable spell. The golden specks swirling within will smolder from the effort. I clear the dryness from my throat. “I, uh, wanted to see you.”
“In the middle of the night? There better be a damn good reason.” The threat in his voice rings out, but I ignore it.
I study his stern expression, taking precious moments to peel away the hardened layers. Grady’s eyelids are heavy with the remaining threads of sleep. Thick stubble coats his sharp jaw. Dark blond hair hangs over his forehead in messy clumps. His rumpled state makes him more desirable. That’s a problem I don’t need help with. I long to feel the rasp of his calloused hands over every smooth inch of me. The slight burn would surely set me ablaze.
Doubt creeps in the longer I stall on him. This boy has been through hell. Why am I considering adding more unnecessary drama to his plate? A hollow pang in my heart answers the rhetorical question. I can count on two hands the days we’ve gone without seeing each other. Tomorrow will change all that. I’m not ready for goodbye.
After a decade, the memory of how we met is getting fuzzy. Grady stumbled onto our property late one night. He ran to our house under the midnight sky and hid from the horrors that occurred at his home. If the walls of his trailer could talk, I’m sure they’d scream. Grady is broken and battered, abandoned by those meant to love him the most. But I’ve never let him down. Maybe he’ll learn to rely on me one day.
Either way, he’s an honorary member of our family. We welcomed him with open arms and never let go. Grady and my older brother have been best friends since they were nine. He’s unknowingly been the love of my life that entire time. If only he’d admit to feeling a fraction of the same. Or I had the guts to tell him.
Grady shifts on his bed. The squeak of springs drags my attention out of our past. I need to be focusing on the future. When I lift my gaze, he’s still glaring at me. The desire to flee wobbles my knees. My courage is diminishing with each passing moment. This entire ambush will be a waste if I don’t spit my intentions out. Crossing the line is up to me. I clench my eyes shut and let the words spill free.
“I want you to take my virginity.”
I’m on a roll with forbidden love and friends-to-lovers stories and this one is no exception. It is a moving story that broke my heart and gave me hope all in the same breath.
She’s capable of healing the hurt, being my one and only happy something. We would be whole, at least for a bit. But eventually she’d start resenting me.
Grady is a man who grew up with no love and no future until Sutton’s family welcomed him into their lives as a young boy. Jace was like a brother to him, so his feelings for Sutton were off limits. After that fateful night he rejected her on the eve of her leaving for college, he escaped into his own bad memories and turned his back on her family for four long years. But now she’s back and his efforts to convince her he is no good for her are futile.
I rip my gaze off his retreating form. Grady Bowen means nothing to me. But my lonely heart bleeds the truth. This man is bound to ruin me all over again. Will I let him?
Sutton has loved Grady since they were kids and when he rejected her four years ago, she tried to hate him, but after returning home and seeing how closed off and how hard he had become, she wanted him even more.
I fell in love with Ms. Rae’s characters. Grady and Sutton just can’t catch a break, but their determination to work through the bad times is affirmation of true love. I also loved Sutton’s parents and Sutton’s brother, Jace, who believed in Grady and supported him as family should through good and bad.
Ms. Rae has been on my radar for a long time and now that I have had a chance to finally read one of her books, I’m hooked and can’t wait to read more. Recommend highly!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Harloe Rae is a USA Today & Amazon Top 10 bestselling author. Her passion for writing and reading has taken on a whole new meaning. Each day is an unforgettable adventure.
Harloe is a Minnesota gal with a serious addiction to romance. She’s always chasing an epic happily ever after. When she’s not buried in the writing cave, Harloe can be found hanging with her hubby and son. If the weather permits, she loves being lakeside or out in the country with her horses.
Harloe is the author of Redefining Us, Forget You Not, Watch Me Follow, GENT, MISS, LASS, and Ask Me Why. These titles are available on Amazon.