Exclusive Excerpt: 1001 Dark Nights: The Only One
The last restaurant with an opening is called Gabriel’s.
I startle as I read the name and, unexpectedly, my breath catches.
I freeze, one hand on the mascara wand, the other holding my phone. Even now, years after my valiant attempt to erase that man from my history, his name alone does something to me.
I’ve dated since him. I’ve had a few serious boyfriends. But there’s still just something about that man. Maybe that’s the curse of experiencing the best sex of your life at age twenty-one. At the time, I figured that sex with Gabriel was so great because I didn’t know better. Now, I’ve learned that sleeping with him was mind-blowing because…sleeping with him was mind-blowing.
Those three nights in Spain were magical, passionate, and beyond sensual. I’ve tried to implement Gabriel amnesia, but he still lingers in the corners of my mind. Letting go of the mascara tube, I take a breath and tell myself a name is just a name. It’s a mere coincidence that this eatery on my list shares the same name.
Except…my Gabriel was a cook. A struggling line cook in a small bistro in Barcelona that summer, planning to move to Manhattan for a job here.
I drop my forehead into my hand as a fresh wave of foolishness crashes over me. What if he’s been here all these years? What if he came to New York and simply didn’t want to see me?
What if we’ve been sharing the same island for the last decade? What if he was married when we were together? What if he went home to his wife, his girlfriend, his lover?
I forced myself to stop playing this what if game ten years ago when he didn’t show for our rendezvous. I booted him from my brain and refused to linger on him, and especially on all the possible reasons why he left me alone.
Now, he’s all I can think about. I need to know if this Gabriel is my Gabriel.
When I google the restaurant, I let out an audible groan.
Try to still my shaking fingers.
He’s here. He’s in Manhattan. After a decade, I’m going to come face-to-face with the man who stole my heart and my body.
I set down my phone and scoop up my dog. “Can I send Lacey instead?”
She licks my cheek in reply.
“Is that a yes, Shortcake? As in, you think I should play hooky and spend the day with you and make Lacey do my dirty work?”
This time she administers a longer tongue-lashing.
“Most of the time I’m completely content with the fact that you don’t talk,” I tell her. “But today is not one of those days.”
The mere possibility of seeing him again sets off a storm of warring emotions and confusion inside me. I don’t know what to do about this meeting, what to say to him, how I should act.
The one thing I’m certain of is that I need a two-way conversation, so I call my friend Delaney as I pace around my small living room.
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Since self-publishing her debut romance novel CAUGHT UP IN US over three years ago, Lauren Blakely has sold more than 1.5 million books. She is known for her sexy contemporary romance style that's full of heat, heart and humor. A devout fan of cake and canines, Lauren has plotted entire novels while walking her four-legged friends. She lives in California with her family. With twelve New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than seventy times. Her bestselling series include Sinful Nights, Seductive Nights, No Regrets, Caught Up in Love, and Fighting Fire as well as standalone hit romances like BIG ROCK, MISTER O, WELL HUNG, and THE SEXY ONE which were all instant New York Times Bestsellers. In January she'll release FULL PACKAGE, a standalone romantic comedy. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter.
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