Standalone, new-adult romance about mistakes, acceptance and forgiveness. NOW LIVE!
There are certain things that are unforgivable"
Falling for your brother"s best friend is one of them.
That isn"t the worst thing I"ve ever done, though.
Not even close.
Shame and guilt follow me everywhere.
Except when I"m with him.
With him, I can breathe again.
Smile again. Love again.
But he doesn’t know what I’ve done…Books by Author:Isabel Love Books
Anna (Twenty-Six Years Old)
I"m with my family for Sunday dinner, trying to pay attention to the conversation. We"re at Green Briars to celebrate Wes"s new job. My mom and dad are droning on about what they"re going to order. My brother, John, sits across from me. Two years my senior, he"s the dutiful son, commenting with interesting remarks, making everyone laugh, and updating my parents on his job. His girlfriend, Reanell, is next to him, hanging on his every word, a perma-smile in place due to her utter happiness. I forget what it feels like to be that happy.
The stiff cushion of the chair digs into my back, and I shift, trying to get comfortable. You"d think, for the price of belonging to this country club, that Green Briars would at least have plush seats in the dining room.
"This seat is killing me," the voice to my right whispers to me.
Wesley Scott is my brother"s best friend and practically a member of my family. I look over at him and find him also shifting in his seat. Blue-gray eyes meet mine, his perfect lips curved in a crooked grin. His facial features aren"t symmetrical, with his nose tilting just slightly to the right from being broken years ago, and the right side of his mouth stretching just a bit further than the left when he smiles. His brown hair is cropped short, and the light from the window picks up shades of honey gold mixed in with darker brown. If you look at all the pieces of him separately, they"re a bit rugged with hard angles and lines"not handsome or pretty. But put them together, and the combination makes him so good-looking, it hurts.
What did he just say" Right, the chairs.
"You"re telling me," I agree.
It"s when I glance over at Wes that it happens. A familiar face catches my attention over his shoulder, and I freeze.
Charlie Nelson is here, sitting in the center table with his family. My heart rate accelerates to race-car speed, and I"m feeling a bit light-headed. I can"t believe my eyes. I blink a couple of times"convinced that I"m hallucinating"but he"s still there.
What are the odds" I"ve avoided coming to this country club with my parents for years on the off chance that I"d bump into him. Yet John reassured me that he"d never seen Charlie here. It figures, the one time I cave and let my mom talk me into coming is the one time he decides to join his family, too.
It"s been eight years since I last saw him"when we graduated from high school. But, by then, we hadn"t spoken for almost two years. If you had asked me when I was sixteen what my life would be like today, Charlie Nelson would have been the biggest part of it. I would"ve laughed in the face of anyone who predicted we"d break up. We had a plan. We were going to get married and have four kids. I"d be a doctor, and he"d be a photographer. And we"d have an amazing house with a hot tub in the backyard.
Unfortunately, only one of those things is true; Charlie is a talented and successful photographer.
We broke up. We don"t have kids. I"m not a doctor. There"s no amazing house with a hot tub in the backyard.
All because of me. I made a choice, and Charlie"s love for me turned into hate.
"What about you, Anna" How"s work"" Wes"s voice jolts me out of my thoughts.
I appreciate the fact that he always tries to bring me into the conversation. He"s the only one who treats me like I"m normal. My family always walks on eggshells around me, handling me with kid gloves, afraid to upset me. But, right now, even he can"t divert my thoughts away from Charlie.
"It"s okay," I reply automatically.
I"m fine. Work"s good. It"s okay. Everything"s okay. The responses are programmed empty words. No one wants to hear the truth. What would they do if I responded with the truth" Nothing"s okay. I"m broken. I hate myself. My mom and dad would worry again. They"d try to convince me to move back in with them. My brother would start calling me every day. Everyone would go into let"s babysit Anna mode, and I don"t want to go back to that.
Conversation has moved on to Wes"s job, and I relax, not having the energy it takes to fake being normal right now. My eyes flit back to Charlie without my permission. No one at my table has noticed he"s here or else they"d initiate let"s distract Anna mode. I take him in while I can. He looks so good, so grown-up. He"s a man now. I always thought he was gorgeous, but sixteen-year-old Charlie has nothing on twenty-six-year-old Charlie. His eyes are still ocean blue, his hair still dirty-blond, his smile still breathtaking"complete with those playful dimples.