Arrogant. Egotistical. Playboy.
Three words that perfectly describe Atlas Keaton.
My twin brother’s best friend.
The absolute bane of my existence.
And my new college roommate.
It wasn’t by choice of course.
The last thing I wanted was to be forced to endure a full semester living under the same roof as him and my brother.
But when a housing mix-up leaves me three thousand miles away from home with nowhere else to turn, I don’t really have another option.
It’s only four months, how hard could it be, right?
Because when you’re dealing with a man like Atlas Keaton, nothing is off limits.
All That We Are
They say everything happens for a reason- that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. For the longest time I didn’t think that was true. I had stumbled around in the dark for so many years that I didn’t think I would ever find my way out. But when I finally did, it came in the most unexpected way.
Miles Hollins had been my brother’s best friend for as long as I could remember. We didn’t like each other much growing up. Or rather, we couldn’t stand each other. But after ten years of being gone, a lot had changed.
He wasn’t the same boy I remembered. I wasn’t the same girl either. So much had happened.
I moved away and got married.
Miles joined the military.
We both returned home broken in our own way.
I struggled to find my place in my new life. Miles struggled just to get through the day. But together we slowly began to heal. I quieted his demons and he gave me a sense of belonging. For a while that was enough.
But this is real life, and in real life nothing stays perfect forever. In real life not every story ends with a happily ever after. Sometimes the scars we carry are just too deep.
I promised him I would fight.
He promised me I would lose.
I’ll do everything in my power to prove him wrong. Because it’s when you find the one thing you can’t live without, that you truly find yourself.
Arrogant. Egotistical. Playboy.
You never get over your first love. It’s something I’ve heard countless times. Like someone has to point out that your pain will never go away. That your shattered heart will never mend.
Because that’s exactly what my heart did the day I watched Asher Evans board that train- it shattered, splintering into a million tiny fragments that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to piece back together. He was the boy I had loved since I understood what loving someone meant. The one who knew me inside and out. The one who swore he’d never let me go. It’s been six years since that day and even now the memory haunts me like it was yesterday.
I’ve done my best to move on, to rebuild, and for the most part I’ve done pretty well. But all of that comes crashing down when Asher strolls back into town like he never left.
I don’t want to want him. I certainly don’t want to need him. But that doesn’t stop me from doing it anyway. Only things are different now. I’m different. I’m not the girl he left behind all those years ago. I may have been foolish enough to give him my heart once but I won’t make that mistake a second time. Or at least that’s what I tell myself until I’m standing face to face with the one man who has the power to break me all over again.
The one word that describes my entire life.
They didn’t want me to know my true identity.
Now, I know why…
Held against my will.
I’ve become a bargaining chip in a blood feud that spans decades.
Mateo Rivera is the one calling the shots.
His father’s death put him in charge.
Now he holds all the power.
I should have known that he would ruin me the moment I laid eyes on him.
And he did.
He introduced me to a whole new world.
One filled with danger and desire.
I wasn’t just his prisoner.
I was his prize.
But as the saying goes, if you lie with the devil, you’ll wake in hell.
And now all that’s left is for me to burn.
For years I’ve been planning my escape.
Preparing for the day when I could leave home and never look back.
But when the moment came, it didn’t happen like I had planned.
I didn’t pack up my car and drive away, watching my old life disappear in the rearview mirror like I had always envisioned I would.
Instead, I ran—quite literally—as fast and far as my feet would take me.
I didn’t know where I was going, only that I had to get away.
And that’s when he found me…
He was unlike anyone I had ever met before.
A man who lived by his own code. Who answered to no one but himself.
He didn’t care where I came from or why I was running.
He didn’t care that my father was a powerful politician that would stop at nothing to bring me home.
Once he had me, I was his.
Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Forget everything good you’ve been told about love, because none of it’s true.
You don’t agree?
Spend a day in my shoes and you’d curse love too.
My name’s Blue.
Yes, you read that right. Blue Daniels.
And I hate love.
I despise every single thing about it.
In my thirty-two years on this earth it has brought me nothing but heartbreak and disappointment.
Love is a void. Something we’re taught we need if we want to live a happy and fulfilled life.
Well I disagree.
Some say I’m a cynic. Other’s call me the smartest woman they’ve ever met.
But no matter what anyone says, I know what I need. And love is not it.
Enter Harris Avery.
A man who thinks he can have anyone he wants, including me.
A man who reminds me daily why I swore off love in the first place.
He walks around the office like he owns the place, throwing that sexy smirk of his at every female he passes. He thinks no one is immune to his charm.
But poor Mr. Avery has never met a girl like me before.
I’m more likely to throw myself off a bridge than at his feet.
There’s just one problem…
He’s decided to make it his mission to prove me wrong.
To that I say, let the games begin…
I used to believe in fairy tales.
But then I grew up and I realized that life isn’t like the books I once loved so much.
There are no princes riding in on their white horses.
No magic wands or fairy god mothers.
And no happily ever afters.
Ryland Thorpe taught me the hard way that good doesn’t always win and sometimes the people we trust the most are the ones that can hurt us the deepest.
At fifteen, my world began and ended with him.
He was my older brother’s best friend.
He was my protector.
He was the boy I had loved since I was old enough to understand what loving someone meant.
And he was a liar…
It’s been five years since I’ve seen him.
Five long years and the memory of him still haunts me like it was yesterday.
Only he’s not just a memory anymore.
Prison has hardened him, changed him, altered him in ways I never expected. But beneath it all I can still see a glimmer of the boy I used to love.
When lies are exposed and secrets are revealed, I find myself questioning everything I thought I knew.
They say the first cut is the deepest.
They were wrong…