“I’m sad tonight,” he agreed. “I’m sad every night. Alyssa, I never meant to hurt you by not returning your calls.”

“It doesn’t matter. It was a long time ago. We were kids.”

“I’m not that same boy anymore, Alyssa. I swear I’m not.”

I nodded. “I know, and I’m not that same girl anymore." But a part of my soul remembered our yesterdays. A part of my soul still felt the fire that Logan and I started to build many years before. And sometimes, in the quiet moments between daylight and night, I swore I still felt its warmth. “That’s why I want you to come inside tonight. Because I’m sad, too. No commitment. No promises. Just a few moments to forget, together.”

His fingers started lifting my T-shirt, and my eyes closed from the pleasure that simple act brought me. A small moan escaped me as his thumb rolled against the fabric of my panties, and then he pressed harder, sliding his thumb up and down. His tongue danced against my earlobe before he sucked it hard. His right hand gripped my ass as his left moved my panties to the side, allowing him to slide a finger deep inside of me.

One finger.

Two fingers.

Three fingers…

My pants were heavy, my needs even stronger. My hips arched in his direction, wanting his hardness inside of me. I grinded against his fingers, begging for the touch that I missed so much.

“Come inside,” I said, quietly moaning, pulling him closer, needing him closer.

“Don’t invite me inside.”

His fingers deepened. My heartbeats heightened. I felt everything in those moments. Every fear, every want, every need…




Oh my God, Logan…

“Come inside,” I ordered, wrapping one leg around his waist.

“No, High.”

“Yes, Lo.”

“If I come inside, I won’t be gentle,” he swore. “If I come inside, we don’t talk about anything. We don’t mention the past, we don’t discuss the present, and we don’t talk about the tomorrows. If I come inside, I fuck you. I fuck you hard. I fuck you wild. I fuck you to shut off my brain, and you fuck me to quiet yours. And then I leave.”





I blinked once, and when I reopened my eyes, I promised myself not to look away from him again. “Come inside.”


We didn’t make it past the piano in the living room. As his mouth found my lips he kissed me like I’d never been kissed before. It was hard, rough, ugly, and sad. So fucking sad. The fire in my chest was burning hot as I kissed him back harder, wanting him more than he could’ve ever wanted me. We tore off each other’s clothing, knowing that this was a life timeout. This was a chance to silence our minds and screw the hurt out of one another. He wrapped his arms around me and lifted me up, placing my back against the piano.

He took my hand and slid it over his hardness. I stroked him as his fingered me, our stare never faltering from one another.





Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a condom and slid it on before spreading my knees wider. As he slid into me, I cried out in bliss, in pleasure, in the deepest kinds of ache. His fingers dug into my skin as mine clutched onto his back. My arms gripped him tight as he thrust deep into me, making my body tremble beneath his body weight. We rocked against the piano keys, the sounds matching our wants, our needs, our confusion, our fears. He rolled in and out of me, and I begged him not to let go. We were so broken. We were so worn out from the lives that we lived. But tonight we made love with the broken pieces.

It was intense, it was sacred, it was heartbreaking.

It had its lows, it had its highs.

Oh God. It felt so wrong, yet always right.

I missed him.

I missed us.

I missed us so much.

When he left, he didn’t say a single word.

When he left, I hoped he’d come back tomorrow.

Chapter Twenty-Nine


I’d been cooking since the age of five. Ma used to leave me at home with nothing but a can of soup, so I had to learn how to use a can opener and the stove to heat it up all on my own. When I turned nine, I was making personal-sized pizzas with homemade dough, using ketchup and Kraft cheese slices as toppings. By the time I was thirteen, I knew how to stuff and roast a whole chicken.

So the fact that Jacob sat frowning across from me was troubling. We sat at a booth in Bro’s Bar & Grill as I placed my dish of mushroom and sausage risotto in front of him. The restaurant was still closed, and it was the second time he’d made me sit across from him with an entrée.

“Hmm…” he murmured, taking his spoon and scooping up a large bite of risotto. I watched him chew really slowly, not showing any emotion in his face as he debated his opinion, as if my food was good enough to allow me to work in his kitchen.

“No,” he flatly said. “This isn’t it.”

“Are you kidding me?” I asked, baffled and insulted. “That dish got me through culinary school. It was my final meal.”

“Well, your teachers failed you then. I don’t know how they do things in Iowa, but here in Wisconsin, we like food that actually tastes good.”

“Screw you, Jacob.”

He smiled. “Bring me another dish next week. We’ll see how that goes.”

“I’m not going to keep bringing you dishes for you to keep shooting down. This is ridiculous. I can make the food on your menu. Just give me the job.”

“Logan. I love you. I really do. But no. I need you to cook with heart!”

“I cook with my hands!”

“But not with any heart. Come back when you find it.”

I flipped him off. He laughed again. “And don’t forget, you still owe me that hair mask recipe!”


“How are things going so far, being back in town?” Kellan asked me as we sat in the clinic where he was getting his third round of chemotherapy. I hated the place, because it made his cancer seem more real than I was ready for, but I tried my best to hide my fears. He needed me to be his brother who stood by him, not the weak guy that I felt like becoming.

Watching the nurses hook all types of IVs into his arms was hard for me. Seeing how he winced sometimes in pain, was almost the death of me. But still, I tried to act normal.