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.
He was the one.
From the first moment I saw him, I knew.
I had never been more certain of anything in my sixteen years on this earth.
But Alec didn’t notice me. At least not in the way that I wanted him to.
He noticed my best friend instead.
I stood by and watched their relationship blossom.
An outsider looking in, wishing things were different.
Torn between my loyalty to my best friend and the boy who had unknowingly stolen my heart.
Weighted by feelings I could never express out loud, I wrote them all down.
Every thought. Every feeling.
I poured them all into a letter.
A letter he was never meant to read.
Only that’s exactly what he did.
He read it.
Every single word.
But by then it was too late.
Even if he was no longer dating my best friend.
Even if I was more in love with him than ever.
He was leaving.
I was leaving.
And there was nothing either of us could do to change it.
Alec Murray was my almost fairytale.
The happy ending I swore I’d never get.
But our story is far from over…
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.
It’s funny how differently we view life when we’re young.
Everything feels possible- limitless.
If only things could stay that way forever.
Then maybe life wouldn’t be so complicated.
Maybe Jace would still be the same ten-year-old boy I fell in love with.
Maybe I’d still be that same girl too.
The girl who believed that there wasn’t anything we couldn’t overcome.
But I’m not that girl anymore.
Time has beaten me down, broken me, taken everything from me.
And it’s taken even more from Jace.
I naively believed that I could save him…
From his dad. From his anger. From his addiction.
And I nearly died trying.
It’s taken me four years to rebuild my life.
To piece my shattered heart back together.
But it all goes up in flames the moment I find myself face to face with the one person I never thought I’d see again.
He’s determined to prove he’s changed.
I’m terrified to let him try.
Because no matter how sweet it tastes, with Jace Matthews you never truly know if what you’re drinking is poison or wine, until it’s already too late.
Life is full of choices- of chances- of moments.
Chances we regret not taking. Choices we wish we could change.
And then there are the moments that define us.
Kam was my choice…
The one who stole my heart instantly.
Kane was my chance…
The one who set me ablaze with just one look.
They were my moment…
Two brothers that both owned a part of me.
Two brothers that I loved in different ways for different reasons.
One brother shattered my heart.
The other put it back together.
Both changed me forever.
Revenge is not the answer.
There is no peace in vengeance.
These are the things my mother taught me as a child.
I used to believe she was right.
I used to believe a lot of things…
I swore one day he would pay.
One day he would understand what it feels like to lose everything.
But just when I think I understand the rules, the game changes…
Now my very life hangs in the balance and there’s only one person that can save me.
But first he has to learn the truth about who I really am…
My name is Samantha Cole and this is my story.
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…