by Jane Lark
(Starting Out #3)
Published by: Harper Impulse
Publication date: October 23rd 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Guilt can eat away at you, but love can cut like a knife…
Wanting after his best friend’s girlfriend is a cliché Billy knows well – it’s the tightrope he’s walked for years.
But now Jason and Lindy have broken up and Billy can’t help but be there for the girl he’s loved from afar for so long. She’s hurting.
Fighting to find a road to the future, Lindy’s heart hurts. She’s trying to escape the truth, but Billy keeps making her face it – and it’s ugly. How can she keep living when everything is made of glass and it keeps shattering?
Her one constant is Billy. Only, rebound isn’t his style and when Lindy starts to see him in a different light, he just can’t trust her. He’s no one’s second best.
My finger kept hovering over Billy’s name in the contacts list on my cell. I’d seen the psychiatrist and she’d told me I had to start seeing her regularly, to talk out all the stuff going on in my life––and in my head. Then I’d come home and all the stuff going on in my life had hit me in the face. There was an atmosphere in the house. Fear. Loneliness. Pain. Because Mom was sick––she couldn’t help being sick––but I had to watch her wither away. It was too hard––I didn’t want to let her go.
My head, belly and heart ached. Life had been hard and cruel for too long. That’s why I’d tried to end it––I’d just been selfish for a moment. I’d tried to escape everything; Mom and Jason. His baby had been the thing that slid me over the Niagara Falls of despair, though.
But I wouldn’t do it again. I’d learned my lesson. Guilt was heavy. Mom had looked hurt and disappointed and Dad hadn’t been able to hide how bad he’d have felt if I’d succeeded.
If I was meant to die I’d have died. I was meant to face up to all this bullshit and keep going.
Now I could see all the stuff I’d been blind to.
I felt lousy, not because I’d swallowed a massive dose of happy pills, but because I’d hurt my parents.
Mom had every reason to bow out, and she didn’t––I’d tried.
I needed someone to hold me. I felt sore inside.
I touched the screen. Billy’s picture and details came up. He smiled at me out of the cell, with those warm dark-blue eyes of his. My thumb hovered over his number.
We hadn’t spoken since just after New Year, until I’d called him the other day. But I had no one else. He’d been the closest person to me other than Jason for years.
I wished what had happened, hadn’t…
I shut my eyes––I wish, I wish, I wish. If I had shiny red shoes on and clicked my heels, I wondered if I could go back in time, to when everything was right, then I could make sure everything stayed right.
That’s what my life had become––wishes that things had not happened, wishes that they wouldn’t, wishes that people would stay in my life.
I’d lost my friends. I’d given them up in favor of Jason, and look how that had ended. He’d moved on and left me behind. The only friend I’d had left was his best friend, until I’d messed that up too.
I was super-good at messing things up.
I sighed. Courage. I wasn’t going to fix things with the only possible friend I had left unless I made the move. He’d taken the first step the other day when he’d texted me––now it was my turn. I just had to do it.
I tapped the icon.
“Hi.” He answered, right off. My heart pounded.
“Yeah. I’m at home now. Dad picked me up at seven last night and brought me back. I appreciate you helping me out. I’m sorry you had to see me like that. I’m––”
“It’s okay, Lind. I’m glad you’re home. How did you get on with the shrink?”
When Jason had gone to New York, Billy had become my best friend, as well as Jason’s. But then he’d ended up in the middle of everything when Jason had deserted me.
“Okay, I have to see someone regularly.”
“Well that’s probably a good thing isn’t it?”
“How are you today?”
“Down.” I sighed. The psychiatrist had told me to be honest rather than keep things trapped inside. “Jason having the baby makes me feel like crap still. Is that a bad thing to admit? Only the woman at the hospital told me I should admit how I feel.”
“Lind, if it’s how you feel, it’s how you feel, it just is. I know all this stuff is hard on you. I’m not judging you. Like I said the other day, I feel like I’ve let you down… Do you want me come around so we can talk?”
“Yeah.” God the thought of having someone to talk to outside of my house, and everything weighing down the atmosphere in here, was wonderful. Like an oasis in a desert.
“I’ll come over now then…”
When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write.
Now Jane is writing a Regency series as well as contemporary, new adult, stories and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations at last.
You might think that Jane was inspired to write by Jane Austen, especially as she lives near Bath in the United Kingdom, but you would be wrong. Jane’s favourite author is Anya Seton, and the book which drew her into the bliss of falling into historical imagination was ‘Katherine’ a story crafted from reality.
Jane has drawn on this inspiration to discover other real-life love stories, reading memoirs and letters to capture elements of the past, and she uses these to create more realistic plots.
‘Basically I love history and I am sucker for a love story. I love the feeling of falling in love; it’s wonderful being able to do it time and time again in fiction.’
Jane is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development in the United Kingdom, and uses this specialist understanding of people to bring her characters to life.