Published by: Shiloh Walker
Release Date: March 2021
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Play | Smashwords
I was seventeen when I met Drake Gallagher. Seventeen, naive, foolish…and in love.
Or so I thought.
That summer, and the months that followed, set the course of my life.
Ten years later, I'm still struggling to put the pieces of me back together. It's time to stop struggling. It's time to take control…and maybe, it's time for a little revenge. He doesn't have time for naive little virgins? Well, I'm not naive anymore.
They say revenge is a dish best served cold. Maybe that's why my plans didn't work out.
Cold could never describe what I feel for Drake Gallagher.
Still, after ten years of bitterness, ten years of hiding in the shadows, I'm not sure there's any way to bridge the distance between us. Especially now.
Running away seemed to be the best answer.
So what am I supposed to do now that he's found me again?
Is it time to open up and tell him…everything? The safest thing to do would be push him away. But safety is an illusion. Nobody knows that better than me.
“You left,” he muttered. That was all he said before his mouth came crashing down on mine.
I sucked in a breath. To scream, to snarl, to tell him to stop. Something. He couldn’t do this. Not here. Not when my father lay under six feet of cold dirt just a few yards away. But then, the kiss softened. One hand came up to cradle my cheek and he lifted his head, a harsh rasp of air escaping him as he mumbled against my mouth, “Shan, damn it. Why did you leave me?”
There was something so confused, almost desperate in his voice.
I had him.
The knowledge bloomed inside me and I knew I’d done what I set out to do. I’d wanted him to suffer, as I had.
I’d hurt so badly after he left me, that foolish, naïve girl that I’d been. I’d set my hopes on a dream and it had smashed, but it was more than just the dream I’d lost. It was everything that happened after.
I had him.
The very thing I’d set out to do. And it hurt me more than I could even begin to describe. It made me feel dirty, small and evil. The thought of making him feel the way I’d felt was enough to make me want to vomit.
Swallowing back the nasty, bitter taste that rose in the back of my throat, I shook my head and disengaged myself from his arms. “Let me go,” I said, forcing the words out. I had to get away from here.
I had to get away from him.
Had to think.
“Damn it, Shan. We’re going to talk,” he said, taking a step and advancing on me.
“Not here.” I shook my head, looking around, my gaze bouncing off the headstones, the grave markers. Some of them were so old, they were starting to crumble. Slate didn’t hold up to the elements very well. Those older ones had stood here in the cemetery for hundreds of years and you couldn’t even read them anymore. One held a grinning skull and I stared at its morbid face, hunching my shoulders. “We can’t talk here.”
“Then where?” he snapped and the heat of his gaze all but scorched me. “In case you haven’t noticed, you aren’t exactly taking my calls. And you left. Is that how seriously you take a job? You just up and leave?”
A job. I wanted to laugh, but the jab had its effect. It was a slap to my pride and he likely knew it. “I left a list of qualified applicants with Mr. Coltrane,” I said woodenly. “As you probably know, that’s not the sort of job I’m cut out for. That fact was driven home once you left and I had time to think. I figured a clean break was best, and Mr. Coltrane had his own administrative assistant.”
He scoffed. “Tally doesn’t know my company. You do. It took nearly three weeks to get things back to where we needed and Mai had to help out. If your intention was to fuck with me, congratulations, you succeeded.”
I slid him a look, refused to let him see that his comment had been a direct hit. “Oh, I’m sorry. Did I cost Gallagher Enterprises some money? How thoughtless of me.”
“Is that what this is about? You want to get back at me for how I handled everything before? Fine. You did. Slate is clean and we can start over.”
I fought the urge to look back over my shoulder. Slate is clean? Instead of glancing toward my father’s resting place, I shrugged. “If you want to call the slate clean, then we can do that. As to the rest of it?” I shook my head. I couldn’t even begin to think about the rest of that now. Not here, of all places.
The thought of starting over with Drake—even for the brief seconds I let myself consider it, had something fluttering to life inside me. It might have been hope, but I crushed it before it could start to grow.
“If you’ll excuse me, I have to go.”
He blocked my way, his hand coming up to touch my cheek. I averted my face and his hand fell away.
“No starting over?” he said, his voice quiet. “So what was going on between us in Philadelphia?”
“Drake, Philadelphia was…” I didn’t know how to answer that. I had to answer him, and if I was wise, if I had any sense of responsibility, I’d give him a real answer. But how did I explain that?