Series: Love Unexpectedly, #3
on February 14th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon
Over the course of one wild road trip, feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love in this charming rom-comÔÇöa standalone novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Good Girl.
Me. ┬áMy Ex.┬á2 weeks. 1 car.
shouldn't be a problem ...
When Lucy Hawkins receives a job offer in San Francisco, she canÔÇÖt wait to spread her wings and leave her small Virginia hometown behind. Her close-knit family supports her as best they can, by handing over the keys to a station wagon thatÔÇÖs seen better days. The catch? The cross-country trip comes with a traveling companion: her older brotherÔÇÖs best friend, aka the guy who took LucyÔÇÖs virginity hours before breaking her heart.
After spending the past four years and every last dime caring for his sick father, Reece Sullivan will do just about anything to break free of the painful memoriesÔÇöeven if it means a two-week road trip with the one girl whoÔÇÖs ever made it past his carefully guarded exterior. But after long days of bickering in the car turn into steamy nights in secluded motel rooms, Reece learns that, when it comes to Lucy, their story is far from over. And this time, they just might have a shot at a happy ending.
ÔÇ£Spock, weÔÇÖre giving you Horny!ÔÇØ my mom blurts out, apparently fed up with my denseness.
Her utterance is too much for my siblings to handle and they both burst out laughing, retreating into the kitchen to rejoin the party where thereÔÇÖs wine.
Oh what I wouldnÔÇÖt give for wine right now.
ÔÇ£I, um . . . youÔÇÖre giving me the car?ÔÇØ I ask.
ÔÇ£Because yours broke down,ÔÇØ my dad explains, walking forward to thump HornyÔÇÖs dented hood.
ÔÇ£And this oneÔÇÖs . . . not broken down?ÔÇØ I ask skeptically.
Look, itÔÇÖs not that IÔÇÖm not grateful. My parents are trying to give me a car, I appreciate the sweetness of the gesture, itÔÇÖs just . . .
HereÔÇÖs the thing about Horny: he barely got us three kids through high school. I mean, Horny is the car that sputtered and shook making it the 3.2 miles to Jefferson High, no matter who was behind the wheel.
IÔÇÖm even going to come all the way clean here and say that early on in my freshmen year, I was embarrassed showing up in Horny. Then I realized I was lucky to have a car at all, and well . . . I dunno, I guess Horny became a part of us Hawkins kidsÔÇÖ charm, because the station wagon was practically an institution from CraigÔÇÖs high school reign all the way through BrandiÔÇÖs.
But poor Horny quit working years ago. Much to BrandiÔÇÖs chagrin, he gave up the ghost a mere two months before her high school graduation, and I spent the last bit of her senior year being picked up by my parents.
ÔÇ£HeÔÇÖs going to take you to California,ÔÇØ Dad says, giving the car another thump.
ÔÇ£Really?ÔÇØ I step forward and run a tentative finger along the familiar panel. HeÔÇÖs had a bath, so at least thatÔÇÖs something. ÔÇ£Because last I knew, he wouldnÔÇÖt even make it out of the garage.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Yeah, well, we neglected him for a while, but heÔÇÖs right as rain now,ÔÇØ Dad says, puffing out his chest as though HornyÔÇÖs a fourth child.
ÔÇ£Like, as in he actually starts?ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Purrs like a kitten,ÔÇØ my mom says with an emphatic nod, even though I know she doesnÔÇÖt even like cats. ÔÇ£We didnÔÇÖt believe it, but we took him to church on Sunday and there were no issues.ÔÇØ
I literally bite my tongue to keep from pointing out that this is hardly a feat. Sacred Presbyterian is 0.8 miles away from the house.
ÔÇ£You took Horny into a shop?ÔÇØ I ask, starting to warm to the idea of having a car again. IÔÇÖm a little touched, actually. Money is tight for my parents. DadÔÇÖs a PE teacher, and Mom gives a mean winery tour, but the gigÔÇÖs never paid much.
ÔÇ£Not exactly, it was more of a bartering situation,ÔÇØ Mom says.
ÔÇ£Yeah?ÔÇØ I say, going around to the driverÔÇÖs seat, already giddy with the prospect of telling Oscar IÔÇÖll be able to come see him in Miami after all, even if I wonÔÇÖt exactly be riding in style.
ÔÇ£Reece agreed to fix him up.ÔÇØ
IÔÇÖm lowering myself into the car as my dad says this, but I reverse so quickly I hit my head. My skull doesnÔÇÖt even register the pain, because IÔÇÖm too busy registering the hurt in my heart at the familiar name. ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm sorry, what?ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Reece,ÔÇØ my mom says, giving me a bemused look. ÔÇ£HeÔÇÖs always been handy with cars.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£He fixed up the car in exchange for what?ÔÇØ
And then I feelÔÇöI actually feelÔÇöthe air change around me as the side door to the garage opens, and a new presence sucks all the air out of the space.
I donÔÇÖt turn around. I donÔÇÖt move. But I feel his eyes on me. Over me.
ÔÇ£Reece is headed out to California too,ÔÇØ my oblivious mother chatters on. ÔÇ£It worked out perfectly actually. Now you two can ride together, and your dad and I donÔÇÖt have to worry about you alone in the middle of nowhere with a twenty-something-year-old car.
They think the car is going to be the problem here? ItÔÇÖs not the car thatÔÇÖs toxic to me. ItÔÇÖs him.
Reece Sullivan. My brotherÔÇÖs best friend. My parentsÔÇÖ ÔÇ£other son.ÔÇØ
Slowly I force myself to turn, and even though IÔÇÖm prepped, the force of that ice-blue gaze still does something dangerous to me.
He winks, quick and cocky, and I suck in a breath, and I have to wonder . . .
I wonder if my parents would feel differently about their little plan if they knew that their makeshift mechanic is the same guy that popped my cherry six years earlier under their very roof.
And then broke my heart twenty-four hours later.
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