#1Click Jessica’s newest Contemporary Romance today and watch Ethan & Eliza come full circle.
She knew what it was like to feel unwanted.
At an early age Eliza Anderson learned a very hard lesson. Sometimes the people who are supposed to love you the most are the ones that cause you the most pain. She learned to guard herself, hesitating to let anyone close for fear of feeling that rejection all over again. Then Ethan came into her life, and what had started as a simple childhood crush morphed into a friendship she eventually came to cherish above all else. He was her safe place. Her rock. A shoulder she could lean on. Until he ripped it all away.
He knew what it was like to feel like an outsider.
Ethan Prewitt grew up learning that you couldn’t always trust the people you loved the most to be there. That sense of security he craved had always alluded him, leaving him to feel like an interloper in his own home. He dreamed of escaping the small town of Pembrooke and building a life where he didn’t have to depend on anyone but himself. What he never expected was for his friendship with Eliza to grow into something that meant everything to him.
Mistakes were made. Hearts were broken. But now Ethan’s home and he’s determined to make it right. It was time for their relationship to come full circle.
Because what they had was once in a lifetime.
***This is Book 2 in the Pembrooke series, a spin-off of Wildflower. They are interconnected standalones.***
My cellphone rang just as I popped a couple ibuprofen and downed then with the cold beer in my hand. Duke had left an hour ago, but because he was a sadist, my knee was throbbing like hell, which did nothing to help improve my earlier mood.
I reached into the pocket of my sweats and pulled the phone out, not bothering to look at the display as I answered with a curt, “What?”
“Holy shit!” a familiar voice cried from the other end. “He actually answered the phone! Noah! Quick! Look out the window and tell me if the world’s on fire. This has to be the sign of the apocalypse.”
“You’re fucking hysterical, Low-Low,” I deadpanned. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“What? Can’t a sister call her baby brother and give him shit for being an asshole who never comes to see her or her family and barely has the time to talk on the phone anymore?”
My head dropped down as I rested a hand on the dark granite of the kitchen island and leaned forward. With a sigh, I told her, “I’m really not in the mood for this right now, Harlow.”
“I don’t give two shits what you’re in the mood for Ethan. Last I heard from you, you were about to have surgery to repair the tear to your ACL. That was eight days ago! I had to hear from your agent that you were doing well and at home recuperating. You haven’t answered a single call, you won’t return any of my messages, and Noah said you’ve been ignoring him too. What the hell, man?”
Doing what she always did and ignoring the warning in my tone, she pushed forward. “Lucy’s been worried about you, and Evan’s been beside himself since he saw you take that hit. Do you have any idea how hard it is to try and console a six-year-old when he thinks his favorite uncle just got his guts stomped on the field?”
“I’m his only uncle,” I replied, but she wasn’t finished.
“I’ll tell you. It’s really freaking hard, Ethan. You’re his idol for Christ’s sake. Lucy and Evan adore you. But you can’t even bother with more than one or two goddamned phone calls to let us know you’re okay and still alive?!”
By the end of her rant Harlow’s voice got so high pitched, I started to worry for the dogs in their neighborhood. But she made her point.
“I’m sorry,” I muttered through the line.
“Sorry, what was that? Couldn’t hear you since you were mumbling. Try repeating it, and this time try and talk like a grownup.”
Just like Harlow to give me shit, even when I was trying to apologize. She had never been one to just accept an apology. Oh no, she made you bust your ass to earn her forgiveness. No one knew that better than me and her husband Noah. She’d practically made the man jump through flaming hoops to win her back after breaking her heart when they were teenagers.
“I said, ‘I’m sorry,’” I repeated, making sure to enunciate. “You’re right. I’ve been a prick.”
She was quiet for a few seconds before stating, “Yes. You have.”
“I’m really sorry, Low-Low,” I said softly, using the nickname I’d given her when I was little, hoping it would help to butter her up. “I’ll make it up to you guys. I promise.”
“Good. Because I’ve already told the kids Uncle Ethan’s coming for an extended visit starting next week.”
“And don’t worry. I’ve already cleared it with your agent and, lucky you, Fletch is a licensed physical therapist! What a coincidence, huh?”
It was bullshit was what it was. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Harlow had this whole thing planned out, including having Noah’s assistant coach Fletcher getting certified as a PT. “You’re kidding, right? I can’t just pick up and leave. I’ve got shit to do here, Harlow.”
“Like what? You’re out for the rest of the season and on limited activity until your knee’s healed up, so don’t give me that. It’s been way too long since you’ve been back home—”
“That’s not my home anymore, that’s your home. Denver’s my home.”
“Call it whatever you want, but pack your shit. Duke said you can’t fly just yet, so Noah and I are driving up to get you next Saturday. We’ll crash at your place for the night and head back early Sunday morning.”
“You talked to Duke too?” I asked incredulously.
“What can I say? Everyone around you, except you, thinks your family is freaking awesome. Now pack. I’m done playing this game with you. It’s time I had my little brother back.”
She hung up before I could say anything.
“Shit,” I breathed as I dropped my phone on the counter, suddenly feeling more exhausted than I had before the phone call.
There was no way I was going to be able to talk myself out of this one. I was going back to Pembrooke.
Whether I liked it or not.
Meet Ethan & Eliza in