Life is about choices, but sometimes those choices aren't ours to make.
This is what happens when life takes a break,
love steps in and fate decides for you. Find out how in a #SneakPeek of
Between Him and Us by Nicole Richard.
$0.25 of each ebook sale generated from release day through December 30, 2017 will be donated to
Folds of Honor.
In a matter of weeks, Easton and I had gone from acquaintances to something I had no idea how to put a label on. Being in his space made the world around me simply melt away, but back in my own home—alone—I was at a loss, and Tyler was all I could think about.
My mind began questioning my heart, wanting to know if there was room enough for both Tyler and Easton. Then I asked myself if it was too soon to even be having those kinds of thoughts, let alone feelings.
When I heard him whisper that I would never have another, initially it left me puzzled. Easton’s a nice guy and there was a good chance he said it only to make me feel better after having sex with him.
“Ughh!” I kicked off my blanket and threw a light sweater on before heading to the kitchen. Navigating my way through the dark, I made it through the house without incident and in one piece. Pulling the refrigerator door open, I squinted, letting my eyes adjust to the tiny bright light before grabbing the first thing my eyes landed on—wine. With the bottle in one hand, I swiped my phone from the counter and made my way out back. As I stood on the back porch, staring off into the distance, I let my mind drift.
Before I realized what I was doing, I had already began wandering the massive open space of the property, scuffing my flip flops against the blades of grass in hopes of clearing my mind, even if it was only for a minute or two. I didn’t want to think. When the leaves rustled and the smell of honeysuckle filled my nose, I took a deep breath and looked to the heavens.
The stars were sprinkled at least a mile wide and in my attempt to think of anything other than Tyler and Easton, I walked and counted the twinkling little lights, all while using the moon to guide my way. Little did I think the bright beam would guide me all the way to the dock. The one place I hadn’t visited since Tyler left.
Standing at the edge of the wooden plank, I allowed myself to get lost in the calm of the water and the stillness around me. It wasn’t until my eyes sought out the overgrown Yellowwood tree that flashbacks of the two of us hit me hard. All the nights we hung out there parked in his truck, planning and mapping out our lives—together. All the stupid things we did, drunk and sober. To some of the worst arguments that led to the best make-up sex. A tear slipped and that was when the weight of it all had me questioning if I had any strength left.
Was it wrong to have just spent the night with one man and the next night be consumed with the memory of another?
I slipped out of my flip flops and sat on the edge, dangling my legs just above the water, letting my toes skim the lukewarm surface. I looked around, thinking how this place had a long list of memories—too many to sort through and way too painful to reminisce. Abandoning my heavy thoughts, I let my head fall back, huffing out a frustrated sigh toward the twinkling night sky.
“I like him.” Another tear slid down my cheek, and I didn’t bother wiping it away. “Is it wrong? Are you upset?” I waited like I always did, hoping he would somehow answer me. “Did you send him? Are you trying to play matchmaker from up there?” Something in my heart confirmed he was.
Easton had so many similarities to Tyler that it could very well be true. Easton and I shared an instant connection—or so I thought. And there was no way Tyler would easily agree to my being with another man and not have any say in it. He had to have had a hand in it. Right?
“Was it your intention to make my dreams come true, then rip them right from under me?” My face felt hot. There I went, switching between happy and pissed off. “Do you really think another man would stick by my side, knowing I was carrying another man’s child? A dead man’s child?” I wanted to scream. To punch the air in front of me—but I didn’t. “Why! Why would you do this to me, Tyler?” My anger didn’t last too long before the guilt found a way to snake through and suffocate me.
I let my head fall to the side and stared at the glistening water below me. The reflection of a star twinkling from above had me looking up in time to see it give one final glimmer then sputtered out. I gripped the wooden planks at my side and a sob broke through my chest. “I love you, Tyler, but I don’t want to be alone.”
I sat there in a mess of tears, thinking of all I had lost and all that still remained. Going back and forth between missing him and learning about Easton. I told myself, I had to give this an honest chance. I would probably stumble along the way, but I had to try.
My phone buzzed beside me, and I wondered who could be texting me in the middle of the night.
Easton: are you awake?
Unmoving, I sat there staring at his name on the screen. Was he thinking about me? Did he miss me? This had to be another sign, right? There was only one way to find out.
Me: I’m awake. What are you doing up so late?
His reply was immediate.
Easton: I can’t stop thinking about you. Can I call you?
Within seconds, my phone rang. “Hey, what are you doing?”
“Can’t sleep.” He paused. “These sheets, they smell like you.” His voice was low and husky, and my heart fluttered at his admission. “What are you doing up so late? Couldn’t sleep, either?”
“Something like that.”
“Where are you right now?”
“Outside. Staring up at the stars,” I replied honestly.
“Wish I was there with you.” He cleared his throat. “Lilly . . .”
“I’m glad you decided to give me a chance. I know you miss him, but I’m here for you, anything you need.”
Hmm. I liked his answer. Considering it was a lot to take in, I was probably going to mull over his words and make myself bat shit crazy.
Thank you.” I paused, needing to get my words straight. “What are we?”
“Cut right to the chase why don’t you?”
“It’s just . . . I thought I heard you say something last night that hasn’t left my mind, and I want to make sure we’re on the same page.”
“Lilly, when I said you’d never have another, I meant it. I’m not the kind of guy who needs to keep his options open. You’re my only option.”
This is what happens when life takes a break, love steps in and fate decides for you.
A year ago when tragedy stole her heart and soul, Lilly Crenshaw-Gibson was left weary and alone with a future full of nothing but uncertainty.
Now, she’s back in Savannah, and despite her sister’s constant support and encouragement, she still doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t want to let go. She doesn’t want to move on when it’s easier to simply exist in a world that keeps spinning around her.
Her plan to live a secluded life is threatened by one powerful glance. The perfect stranger and an unexpected run-in stir emotions Lilly would rather never feel again.
When she’s taunted by what could have been and tempted by what could be will she be able to make the choice between the man who holds her heart and the man who could heal it?
At an adolescent age she took a strong liking to reading and even had a pipe dream of writing her own book. Life and growing up had put reading on the far end back burner, but years later her dream finally came true when she published her very first book.
A hopeless romantic, she has a love for romance novels which she credits her late mother passing on to her and now an even stronger love to write her own stories.
Aside from writing and reading, Nicole is a diehard country music fanatic and loves to travel.
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