Ross Black is a failure.
He failed to protect is little brother from their past.
He failed to keep him out of trouble.
And now he’s having trouble holding onto the one girl who gets him. The one who makes him want to act like more like a man and less of an asshole. But he has a choice to make--take care of his brother or take care his heart. It's not an easy decision especially considering he's finally done something he never thought was possible--Fall in love.
Sheila Carlson is a lost cause.
She lost her sister.
She lost her dream.
And now she’s about to lose the one person she can count on. The one who makes her forget the worst parts of her life. When she learns a truth about her sister, she must decide what's more important, doing what’s right or what feels good.
Despite their issues, Sheila and Ross have something. It’s real. It’s raw. And it’s probably wrong. But despite the pain and disappointment, they’re determined to hold on for as long as they can. Especially if it means letting go of the things they’d rather forget.
“Okay, for today’s exercise we’re telling secrets,” Rowan calls out. “Think about when you were a kid. How you felt when someone told you something no one else knew. That feeling of empowerment or…privilege…control. We all love that feeling. And being in control of your emotions or your day-to-day life is an important step in the healing process. I want you to tell your partner something that’s a secret. Something your lost loved one shared with you and no one else. And I know what your thinking,” he adds. “But we’re all strangers here. And you don’t have to give a name, just a secret.”
“Well that’s quite the assumption,” I say.
Dave chuckles. “You must have a ton of material to work with.”
I smile. “Yeah. I do.”
“We don’t have to—“
“When you left. She was devastated.”
Dave’s eyes widen for a moment before he looks away. “I…”
“I wasn’t trying to…” I suddenly feel like an ass. “Sorry.”
“No,” Dave clears his throat. “It’s fine. I deserved that.”
“I wasn’t trying to hurt you Dave. I swear.”
“When you say devastated…”
“It changed her.” I chance a glance in his direction. “She became this different person. For the first few weeks she barely spoke. She just kind of hung around the house. Skipped all the post grad parties. Ditched her friends every day. Then when she started college she started dressing like a grandma in those turtle necks and slacks.” I laugh at the memory. “She didn’t date…like, at all. Until Luke. She loved you Dave and when you left, after what you two did, it really hurt her.”
He covers his face with his hands and I clamp my mouth shut. When his shoulders begin to shake I touch his arm. “Dave?”
He takes a deep shuddering breath, shrugs his shoulders and rubs his eyes. “I’m okay. I’m sorry. I’m fine.”
“I just wanted you to know…I mean, I know she chose Luke in the end. But she loved you once. She really did. I know it.”
He clears his throat again. “Thanks.”
For several minutes we sit there, watching the others in the room. Some laughing, some swooning, some crying.
“What about you?” I ask. “There must be something she told her high school sweetheart that she refused to tell her baby sister.”
Dave laughs. “I don’t think so.”
“What about when I was away. With the band. She didn’t tell you anything then? For a while there we weren’t speaking. You were her go-to guy. What did she come to you with?”
“You expect me to believe that?”
He pauses, searching my face, his gaze tentative. “Well, there is…something I’ve been meaning to share. Your parents already know, so it’s not really a secret. But—.”
“What?” I move to the edge of my chair.
“It’s big. And, to be honest, I’m not even sure I should say anything…yet.”
“What? What is it?”
“It’s about Shannon.”
“Well, isn’t that the point of all this? Of course it’s about her. What is it Dave?”
“Before she died, she told me something. And even though I don’t think you’re ready, Sheila…I think you should know.”
F.X. Scully loves romance, but she doesn't write your typical Happily Ever After. Because let's face it, in the real world, it can sometimes take a lot of angst and pain before you get there. And some of us never do. But since most of us pick up books to escape the real world, her stories don't lack hot boyfriends and sexy encounters. Neither will she leave you completely heart broken, sobbing into a tub of ice cream. Rest assured you'll be on a roller coaster, but you'll be glad you went along for the ride.
F.X. is the author of TWO THOUSAND 3 (November 2013), BECAUSE OF LUKE (February 2014) and BLACKOUT (April 2014).
You can read her extended bio here!