Never Say Never
Author: Emily Goodwin
Genre: Full length, stand-alone contemporary romance
Release Date: September 28, 2015
My life was full of nevers.
It was never supposed to go this way. I was never supposed to lose Mom so soon. I was never supposed to worry about making ends meet, to worry about losing the farm. I never thought I’d be working a job I hate, with a boss who was more interested in what was under my shirt than in my head. Saving neglected and abused horses had been my whole life. It was my reprieve, my sanity, my last saving grace in a cruel world. I never thought I’d grow to resent it, but I guess there is a first for everything.
Then I met him.
The Hollywood playboy. The entitled, cocky asshole that I can’t get out of my head. I never thought there could be more to him than sex appeal and an infamous reputation of loving and leaving. I never thought I’d fall for him, put my heart on the line, and risk letting him completely destroy me.
But you know what they tell you…never say never.
The pain. The sorrow. Her loss. The darkness I try to hard to keep out, that I fight tooth and nail but can never fully avoid. I hold her and feel it all. It swarms around me, filling me, hurting me, opening my eyes. I realize everything I’ve done to desperately hold it together slowly chipped away at me until there was nothing left, nothing but a shell of a man with an empty heart that I never though was capable of feeling anything but hurt. A heart I thought was never worthy of a second chance, was never capable of redemption.
It’s then that I realize I never, ever want to let her go.
And it’s crazy, because I don’t know her—really know her—but there is something so intimate about holding someone as they cry. It exposes so much, and you can’t hold back as the tears fall and the sadness comes out in waves. I feel my own eyes mist over. I close them and cradle Haley close to me.
“There’s nothing wrong with you,” I tell her. “I promise you that.”
“Look at me,” she repeats. “Have you ever had a date end this way?”
“Our date didn’t even start,” I say. “And hey, you didn’t go crazy and shave your head, so I say you’re doing all right.”
She laughs, and her arms slowly wrap around me. Something inside me relaxes. I sit and pull her onto my lap and we stay there in silence for a few minutes. Gently, I push her hair out of her face. “Want that drink now?” She laughs again and nods.
“I need that drink now.” She stands up and wipes her eyes, smearing her makeup across her cheeks. “And really, I won’t hold it against you or call the tabloids on you if you drop me off at home and call it a night.”
Tabloids? The word is jarring. For a few minutes I was the real Aiden again…and I didn’t mind. “It’s up to you, Haley. I’m not mad or upset, so don’t worry. I don’t like seeing you sad, and if you’d like, I want to try and cheer you up.”
“I’d like that.”
I stand and drape my arm around her. “Are you hungry? I can go get the food.”
“I am. And thanks, Aiden. I…I don’t know.”
“What?” I probe.
“I’m surprised by your kindness.”
“Ouch,” I say with a chuckle. “Thanks?”
She smiles and takes a step toward the restaurant. “Hey, you can’t really blame me, can you?”
I can’t, because I’ve fooled the world—and at times, myself—about who I really am. The partying, the women, the excessive spending, and run-ins with the American law…okay, so maybe I had a reputation. “No, I can’t. But I’m glad I surprised you.”
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