MATT REED IS HIDING…
…from his fans
…from his past
…from a failure too painful to contemplate
Most of all, Matt is hiding from himself.
VIVIENNE FORRESTER IS A WOMAN WHO GIVES HER ALL…
…to her friends and family
…to her online food blog
…to the man she loves
Vivienne will try anything and everything to coax Matt out of his self-imposed exile. But for this to work, Matt is going to have to meet her halfway…
Matt continued to silently stare at her.
“Please say something,” she prompted nervously, chewing on her bottom lip.
“I…I don’t know if I can do that.”
A nervous chuckle came out before she could stop it. “What – you mean you don’t know if you can say anything?”
He shook his head. “I don’t know if I can start over.”
Vivienne was completely confused. “Why not? I think it would be a good thing. For both of us.”
“I disagree,” he said, resting his elbows on the table so he could lean his cheek in the palm of his hand.
“I don’t understand why…”
“I kind of like where we are right now. I don’t want to pretend the past didn’t happen. I’m enjoying the banter we have and the way I find it so easy to talk to you. I think if we ignore that night – that kiss – then we’re both denying a part of who we are.”
Well damn. That was a pretty powerful declaration, she thought. “But…it wasn’t me that night,” she argued. “I honestly don’t know why I did any of it. This is who I am,” she said, patting herself on the chest. “I’m an introvert who likes things neat and orderly. I hate chaos, and I plan out everything. I hate leaving anything to chance, and I rarely take risks. I like my world to be predictable and organized. I make lists, and I like to check things off. The person you’re remembering, doesn’t really exist.”
“Again, I disagree.”
“Ugh,” she groaned and stood to clear the table. “Do you deliberately go out of your way to make things difficult all the damn time?”
Matt stood and helped her with the dishes. “Viv, I’m not trying to make anything difficult. If anything, I’m simplifying things. You came to see me. We kissed. We didn’t see each other for a while. Now we’re both here and we kissed again.” He placed the dishes in the dishwasher before turning and looking at her again. “And – if we’re completely honest for the sake of keeping things simple – we’re both still attracted to one another.”
Great. She wanted to stamp her foot and tell him to leave, but she would only be proving his point. So now what?
“I…I don’t know what it is you want me to say to that,” she admitted. And if she wasn’t mistaken, he almost looked pleased.
“What I want is for you to tell me I’m not wrong. That this isn’t all completely one-sided.” Before she could answer, however, he started speaking again. “But I’ll understand if you’re not ready to yet. I can be patient, Vivienne, and I believe you’re worth waiting for.”
And then, in a move that took her totally by surprise, Matt leaned down and placed a whisper-soft kiss on her cheek before stepping back. “I know you have some shopping to do and errands to run. I’m going to go back over to Aaron’s and relax and maybe watch a little TV. When you’re ready to start working on dinner, let me know, and I’ll come over and help.”
All Vivienne could do was nod and watch him walk out the door.
Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Since then, she has published twenty more titles and has become a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She lives with her husband of twenty-five years and their two sons in Wake Forest, North Carolina.