Sometimes your first love deserves a second chance.
He was my first crush, my first kiss, my first everything.
But I"m not a lovesick teenager anymore, and I"d never let that cocky troublemaker break my heart again.
So when he shows up out of the blue asking me to have dinner with him "for old time"s sake," I say I will. After all, it"s been twelve years, and I"m stronger and smarter than I was back then.
Except"he still does something to me. He"s got those eyes that make me weak, those hands that drive me wild, and a body I can"t resist"especially once I see the tattoos. It doesn"t take long for our trip down memory lane to go from sweet to sizzling.
We"re just as good together as we were back then"better, even"and I"m willing to give the only man I"ve ever loved another chance.
But he"s got to tell me the truth.
* * *
All I wanted was to see her again. Tell her I"m sorry. Make her smile.
Okay, that"s a lie. I wanted to do more than that"a lot more. But I know she"s better off without me, and I promised myself I"d behave.
Except I"ve never been much good at keeping promises"or my hands to myself when I"m around her.
I can make her laugh, I can make her cry, I can make her body surrender to mine in ways that neither of us could have imagined back then. I can"and I do"love her more than she"ll ever know.
But I can"t tell her the real reason why I"m here.
And I can"t stay.Books in Series:One and Only Series by Melanie HarlowBooks by Author:Melanie Harlow Books
Soft female voices drifted through the haze.
"Is she breathing""
"Are you sure" Because she looks dead."
"Aren"t you supposed to look dead doing Corpse Pose""
"Not that dead."
"Mildred Peacock kicked the bucket during yoga at the center last year, remember""
"That"s right. She was wearing those awful purple leggings."
"And that rubbish pink lipstick."
"I don"t think the teacher"s dead. I think she just fell asleep."
I opened my eyes and saw the nine students from my Friday morning Yoga for Seniors class standing above me. I was lying flat on my back, legs extended, arms at my sides, palms up.
"Oh my God." I sat up. "Oh my God, I"m so sorry, ladies. I must have dozed off. This has never happened to me before."
"We thought you were dead," said one white-haired woman wearing a T-shirt that said "My Grandma is a Hooker" above a picture of a crochet hook and a ball of yarn.
"You looked good dead." Another old lady nodded enthusiastically. "Much better than Mildred Peacock."
Embarrassed, I scrambled to my feet. "Forgive me, please. I haven"t been sleeping well, and it"s catching up with me." For weeks now, I"d been having this recurring nightmare about being locked in a room with a big snake. I"d tried everything I could think of to ease my subconscious mind"meditated, detoxed, cleared my chakras"but nothing had worked.
"That"s all right." The Hooker patted my shoulder. "Happens to everyone. Try some warm milk."
"Put some whiskey in it," suggested a salt-and-pepper-haired woman with a smoker"s voice.
"Thanks, I"ll try that." I glanced at the clock and saw that I"d been out for the entire last ten minutes of class. "The bus is probably here to take you back to the senior center, ladies. I"ll see you next week. Thanks for coming."
Several of them told me to get some rest before shuffling out of the studio, toting their rolled-up mats and water bottles. Over in the corner of the room, I turned off the music and looked at my reflection in the mirror. Bags under my bloodshot eyes. Paler-than-usual skin, especially for July. Worry lines creasing my forehead. I tried to relax my face, but the lines didn"t disappear.
Great, now that stupid nightmare was giving me wrinkles. Pretty soon I would look just like those old ladies in my class. I had to get some sleep.
Allegra, the instructor for the next class and an old friend from ballet school, came into the room. "Hey, Maren. How"s it going""
"Other than the fact that I just dozed off while I was teaching""
Her jaw dropped, then she smiled. "You did not."
"I did. They thought I might be dead."
She laughed and rubbed my upper arm. "You poor thing. Still not sleeping at night"" Allegra knew about the nightmare.
"No," I said. "And I have no idea what to do."
"You need to take some time off, Maren. A few days for mental health."
She was probably right, but it was hard for me to take days off. I owned the studio, taught several classes a day, and often worked the desk, too. "I"ll think about it."
"I can help cover for you. Just say the word."
I gave her a grateful smile. "Thanks. The room"s all yours."
Grabbing my water bottle and mat, I headed for the lobby and went behind the desk. I tucked my mat out of sight, checked email and phone messages, and put a load of towels in the laundry. Then I texted my sisters, Emme and Stella.
Me: You will not believe what I did this morning.
Me: I fell asleep while teaching Yoga for Seniors.
Me: They thought I was DEAD.
Emme: OMG that"s even funnier!
A moment later, my phone rang, Emme Devine flashing on the screen.
"I"m driving now so I had to call you," she said, laughing. "But that"s hilarious."
"It wasn"t hilarious, it was mortifying," I whispered, smiling at a few women who passed by the front desk on their way to the dressing room. "I"m the teacher. I"m supposed to set a good example."
"I bet those blue-hairs didn"t even notice. Half of them were probably asleep too. For Christ"s sake, I struggle to stay awake during yoga."
I sighed, tipping my forehead onto my fingertips. "It"s that stupid nightmare, Em. I"m not getting any sleep."
"You"re still having it""
"The same one" About the giant snake and the door with no handle""
"You need to google that shit, Maren. Figure out what it means."
"No. I told you, I don"t believe in seeking wisdom on the Internet. Google doesn"t have any insight into my consciousness. I have to find the answers within." I looked up and saw new faces heading for the desk. "I gotta go. I"ll see you tomorrow."
I"m in a room full of people, but they can"t see me.
I keep trying to talk to them, but I can"t speak. I can"t even open my mouth.
I look down and notice I"m naked.
That"s when I see the snake.