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“No.” I smiled. “Not this time.”

He pulled out a chair for me at one of the room’s tables. “I’ll get you some coffee. Three sugars, hazelnut shots, right?”

“You remembered?”

“Not at all.” He kissed my forehead before stepping away.

All of a sudden a loud applause filled the room and I joined in, standing with the rest of the room as a woman in a red dress took the short stage at the front of the room.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” she said. “Thank you so much for joining us today at Hatchard’s! We’re honored to bring our guest of the month here. Please welcome, World-renowned and bestselling author of Mile High Club Unveiled and New York, New York, Brooke Clarkson!”

My hands immediately stopped clapping and my heart sank ten levels as my past collided with my present.

The author, dressed in a beautiful black dress with her famous million-dollar smile, waved at the audience as she took her seat.

“Hi!” She said, still looking as perfect as she did years ago, when my “run-in” with her got me fired. “It’s so nice to be here today!”

The audience giggled and said “Squee!” like little schoolgirls while my previous career played in front of me, while all the pain and anger that landed me in my current life ran on repeat.

“I want to start with a question and answer session before I start today,” she said, and I slowly stood up, ready to get the hell out of here.

I rushed out of the room, nearly running into Jake and he followed me toward the doors—grabbing my wrist before I could leave. Noticing the look on my face, he pulled me toward the back of the store and pressed me against a bookcase.

“What’s wrong with you, Gillian?” He held my face, looking concerned.

I shook my head.

“Another long story?”

“Yes, but...I don’t want to tell this one.”

“Then don’t.” He set my coffee on the shelf. “But we’re not wasting the rest of this date.”

“This is a date?” I smiled. “I thought you didn’t do those.”

“I thought I didn’t either.” He pushed me against the bookshelf and pressed his mouth against mine, making me quickly forget everything else. But only for a few hours...

Four hours later, in the middle of the night, I woke up to the sound of his voice on the balcony. He was shouting at someone, throwing glass onto the floor.

“You wait until now to tell me this shit?” He snarled. “Do you have any idea how long I’ve been—” He threw another glass. “Fuck you. Fuck. You. I’m on my way.”

I sat up in the bed, watching him open the sliding doors. He stormed into the room, glanced at me and shook his head. He tossed back one of the half-full shots from last night and grabbed his pants.

“We need to go,” he said.


“Right now.”


“No.” He dialed a number on his phone and held it up to his ear. “Yes. I need a first class ticket to New York for someone. No, the airline doesn’t matter, but departure is today, within the next three hours preferably. I prefer JFK over LaGuardia airport. Yes...Yes, thank you.”

My phone suddenly vibrated with an email.

Subject: Flight Confirmation.

Thank you for flying with Delta Airways. We look forward to serving you aboard our first class cabin. Please click the attachment to view your itinerary.


I watched as Jake redressed without another word, as he gestured for me to do the same. He didn’t speak to me as we left the hotel together, didn’t even look my way as he registered for a cheap rental car and drove us to the airport.

“You got my hopes up again, Jake,” I said softly. “You got my fucking hopes up again and you just stomped all over them for no reason. No explanation.”

“I can’t give you an explanation right now, Gillian,” he said. “I honestly can’t. We’re not there yet.”

“Then I don’t think we ever will be...” I didn’t say anything else for the remainder of the drive.

When he pulled in front of the Delta departure stop, he simply held the door open for me and only said, “Have a safe flight.”

“I thought you were going to tell me what was going on with you. Does it have something to do with why you’re acting this way right now?”

“Get out of the car, Gillian.”

Shaking my head, I grabbed my bag and stepped out—ignoring the agonizing ache in my chest.

“Thank you for not fighting with me on this,” he said, leaning forward to kiss my forehead but I stepped back.

“You know how you previously said that you would need a real reason for us to come to an end?”

“Don’t do this right now, Gillian. You have no idea what’s going on.”

“I know,” I stepped onto the sidewalk. “That’s the point. This is the end for me, Jake. Goodbye.”

I walked away for the final time.



London (HTW)—>Newark (EWR)

I didn’t have time to think about Gillian’s feelings right now. I only received these phone calls or voicemails every so often and I needed to act quickly each time they came.

The second I landed in Newark, I took a cab straight to a secluded black cove in the middle of the suburbs. Rushing inside the lone building that sat in the center of the cove, I signed my name at the desk and hoped I wasn’t too late this time.