Today Ashley Erin is stopping by to share her contemporary romance, WHY NOT ME. Check out this fantastic new release and grab your copy today!
Title: Why Not Me
Author: Ashley Erin
Genre: Contemporary Romance
He didn’t choose me, and now he wants his second chance.
Allie Vincent has a good life. All of her boxes are checked off.
Sweet boyfriend? Check.
Awesome job? Check.
Great friends? Check.
Life is going according to plan. That is until the man who broke her heart seven years ago comes crashing back into her life.
Suddenly those checked boxes no longer seem important.
Her once neat life is now in turmoil as she’s caught between a past love and a current one.
A choice between two men.
One is her best friend and partner for the past six years.
The other makes her heart race, but he left her shattered.
One is safe, secure.
The other is a risk she doesn’t know if she’s willing to take . . . again.
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Waking up after an awful night’s sleep, I drag myself out of bed toward the bathroom. Glancing behind me to a sleeping Brendan, his curly hair sticking out all over the place makes me smile. The hole in my heart that was reopened yesterday afternoon has a Band-Aid over it. The safe comfort of Brendan’s arms preventing me from leaping into a black hole of memories.
The same arms that put me back together, protecting the cracks from breaking even further all those years ago, held me together once again last night. It kept that question that taunted me for years, why not me, from resurfacing.
Brushing my teeth, I avoid looking in the mirror. I’m mad at myself. I’m angry that I’m so weak a person that someone from my past still has so much power over my emotions. That he still holds a large piece of my heart, even after he stomped on it. That even now, I’m still wondering why not me, even though I shouldn’t be.
After seven years, I should be able to look at him and be angry that he ended things over the phone, or better yet, not feel anything at all.
I should be able to look at the man who has loved me for six years and realize I have what I need. Yet, I can’t shut off the way he still permeates my thoughts on a regular basis. I’ve tried. I’ve tried every single day since that night.
Yanking a brush through my hair, I relish in the pain I deserve as it rips through the tangles.
He chose someone else. Someone he said I didn’t need to worry about. He picked her, not me. Brendan picked me. He loves me, every part of me. With him, I’ll never need to wonder or doubt his feelings. He is safe, he loves me, he makes me laugh, and we have a wonderful life together.
“Good morning.” Brendan walks into the bathroom, stretching his arms above his head before wrapping them around me. Looking up, I’m surprised to see he looks sad. His voice is muffled as he speaks into my hair. “You didn’t sleep well last night.”
Closing my eyes, I breathe in his comforting scent. “I had a nasty headache from the accident. I’m going to see a physical therapist this morning.”
Angling my head when he leans down to kiss my neck, I smile into the mirror as our eyes meet and ignore the wrenching guilt about not telling him the full story behind the accident.
“Do you want me to come with you?” He turns me to face him, lifting me onto the counter so he can step between my legs.
Panic fills me at the idea of Brendan seeing me near Landon. He knows me too well, he’ll know something’s up. Clasping his shoulders, I lean forward to kiss his cheek. “Nah, enjoy your morning. I don’t know how long I’ll be.”
He smiles as he kisses me once more before turning to switch on the shower, the warm steam doing nothing for the chills running through my body.
I finish getting ready for the day, tying my hair into a messy bun before throwing on sweats and a hoodie. It’s tempting to dress up, but I won’t give in. I shouldn’t need to impress him.
Maybe there’s a silver lining to this weird and uncomfortable situation. This will give me an opportunity to finally have closure on the Landon issue. That’s what I’ve needed all these years. A chance for the door that was left slightly ajar in my mind to finally shut. Not that I would ask him why he picked her instead of me, but an opening to say a real goodbye, not a heartless sever over the phone.
Two hours later I’m parked outside of Landon’s clinic, Freedom Physical Therapy, trying to find the strength I need to go in, get evaluated by Landon, and get out unscathed and hopefully ready to finally let go.
Slinging my purse over my shoulder, I take a few calming breaths before leaving my car and entering the building. No one is at the front desk, in fact the entire open space is empty. This is my opportunity to leave, to walk out and not look back. I start to turn, but before I can take a step Landon comes out of an office I didn’t notice in my cursory glance.
“Allie, I’m glad you made it.” His eyes scan over me, a trail of heat following the path of his gaze. He steps in close, pressing his thumb into the tender skin around the large bruise on my forehead. Before I can think about what I’m doing, I’m leaning into his touch, my eyes drifting shut.
There is something unique about the way his hand feels on my skin. The connection is powerful, the draw instant, and I find myself falling into another memory.
Landon is kissing my neck, specifically the spot that instantly makes me moan in need. The palms of his hands rub my back, before pressing into my lower back to pull me into his arms. It’s a stolen moment, one we shouldn’t be taking, but all common sense and morality flies out the window when we’re together.
“Allie . . .” His words are tortured. He needs this as much as I do, but his guilt is starting to eat at him. He needs to make a choice.
With a sharp breath, I jump back as I think about the consequences of what’s happening. He probably hasn’t thought about me since that night, or if he has they’ve been fleeting thoughts that don’t matter. He let go of us. Unlike me, I’ve never quite let go. Tears fill my eyes as pain shoots through my neck, but the pain in my heart is even worse.
“Oh—shit—ow.” The words are a low groan, the pain in them a mixture of physical and emotional.
“I hit you pretty hard yesterday. Hang your coat over there and then sit on that exam table over there.” The gravelly tone of his voice reminds me of every time we were together. It’s the first indication that he might be as impacted by my presence as I am his.
I hang my coat, the burn of his eyes as they track me feels familiar. When I turn around, I let myself meet his gaze straight on. He’s intent, his blue eyes darkening as we stare at each other. I examine every feature, every twitch. And I see it. He feels everything I feel.
Ashley Erin lives in Alberta, Canada where winter and summer compete to take over. She wears flip flops as soon as it’s above freezing, because her hatred of socks outweighs her dislike of snow. Her boyfriend stays with her despite a penchant for adopting rescued cats and dogs without permission. Their two dogs and four cats are spoiled rotten. When Ashley isn’t writing, she is reading or working with horses.
Ashley is a self-published author of contemporary and new adult romance. Follow her on Facebook to keep up with her current and upcoming releases.
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