My life was set.
In five months I would be engaged to a man I didn"t love.
In fifteen months I would marry someone who didn"t love me.
It was a carefully calculated script thought out by those who had the most to gain. The same people who thought happiness came from money.
Everything was going according to plan until I met Hayden Foster. Now, I have to find a way to escape this life"my prison.Books by Author:Kristin Mayer Books
The lightning startled me as I sat in the car, watching the house glow white from the light. It was a large house in a pretty upscale neighborhood, and for the tenth time, I questioned my presence there.
Should I be here"
For what seemed like forever, I looked at the house, wondering if I"d made the right choice. Another streak of light raced across the sky. Is she home" For the last twenty minutes, I"d wrestled with the idea of cranking the car around and heading back home. I reached for the key but froze when the light in the front of the house flipped on. A shadow moved in front of the window.
My heart beat faster, and I gripped the door handle before reminding myself to stay in the car.
I knew it was her. Every molecule in my body came to attention as I watched the shadow move across the window.
Should I be here"
It was a tough question. But as I watched her stop in front of the window, I knew the answer.
Yes, I should.
There was no way I could walk away knowing she was so close. I wanted what my brother had"pure fucking happiness. And Kory was the only woman who"d ever had me wanting more.
Last night, while having dinner with our family, my brother Drake had announced his engagement to his girlfriend, Alexa. And for some reason, the advice he had given me about not waiting until it was too late clicked. If I never tried to figure out what had happened with Kory, I would spend the rest of my life regretting it.
Drake"s world began and ended with Alexa. I envied that with every ounce of my being.
I want what he has.
The blonde beauty I"d met this summer in Ketchikan had been on my mind nearly every second of every day since she ended things between us.
I shook my head, trying to figure out what I should do. I knew what I wanted to do, but I also feared being rejected. I"d never put myself out there like this before. What if she doesn"t want to give us a try" I had no answer for this.
Stalling, I pulled out my phone and texted my brother. He was the only person I"d told about my plans to come to Washington.
Me: I"m here.
Drake: What did she say"
Me: I"m still in the car.
Drake: Dude, stop stalling. It"s worth the risk, Hayden. I know I sound like a sap, but when you find the person you think could be the one, don"t let her go.
Drake"s words helped. Either way, I would know where we stood. Five minutes. I just needed five minutes, and then I would force myself to get out of the car. First, I had to get my thoughts straightened out before I rang the doorbell. My palms were sweating, so I rubbed them against my jeans. I had never done anything like this before in my life.
But everything changed the last time we made love"something" happened. We"d connected in a way I never thought possible. The intensity had been off the charts.
And it had scared me shitless.
It must have scared her, too. After that night, when I"d flown home to Skagway, communication between us had been minimal at best.
Falling for each other had never been part of the plan. When we started seeing each other, it had been clear from both sides it was just for fun"no strings, no attachments. But that hadn"t happened. At all. No, the exact opposite had happened, and I started to care.
And then she"d left.
Her only message" A three-word text.
Heading home. Good-bye.
I hadn"t seen the text from Kory for nearly a full day. I"d been in the woods with my other brother, Kane, and there had been exactly zero cell phone service. When I"d tried to call back, the number had been disconnected. A little lost and a lot confused, I"d sat on my ass for nearly three weeks, deciding what to do.
I huffed out a breath that fogged up the lower part of the driver"s side window.
Getting her forwarding address from the little restaurant where Kory had worked in Ketchikan had been a miracle. If it hadn"t been for the fact that Maggie, the owner, knew me, I wouldn"t have known where to find her. But Maggie had taken pity on me, leaving the room to "help a customer" with Kory"s forwarding address on top of her desk.
I blew out another long breath, which fogged up the window all over again. The rain was coming down harder. There were no other lights on or shadows appearing in the window. It looked like Kory was home alone.
Hell, I hoped she was.
If another man answered the door, I wasn"t sure what I"d do. At times, I"d sensed something weighed heavily on Kory"s mind, but then she"d smile and return to her normal, happy self. The last time we"d been together, I felt like we"d seen the depths of each other"s souls. Hell, I sounded like a pussy. If Kane knew, he"d give me hell about it like he had Drake.