Forgotten Promises Excerpt!

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You may or may not remember this one, guys, but once upon a time (last January), I wrote a super angst-filled standalone story for Random House (Loveswept) about a man who'd just returned from prison to confront his abusive father and ended up ... kidnapping his high school crush.

I know, right?! This is the total opposite direction than my upcoming romantic comedy filled with hijinks and hilarity. But if you're anything like me, you're not one note. You like your dramas as well as your comedies.

You're in luck if you missed this one because my publisher marked Forgotten Promises down to just 99ยข for a limited time. It's available wherever e-books are sold, so get your hands on Tucker and Morgan and ... maybe grab a box of tissues while you're at it.


Chapter 1

Happy Freaking Birthday


Iโ€™m still gaping at my boyfriend from across the table at Pinkyโ€™s taco-slash-karaoke bar, and, if he doesnโ€™t proceed very carefully, his final resting place.

Drew has an exaggerated look of remorse on his face I just know is manufactured.

โ€œWe didnโ€™t plan to, Mo,โ€ he tells me.

โ€œDonโ€™t call me that,โ€ I manage and itโ€™s the first words Iโ€™m capable of since he and Shayna dropped the bomb that they were doing the nasty. An accurate description, I think, mind still buzzing from either the tequila shots or the new information stinging my brain like a horde of angry bees.

โ€œYouโ€™re disgusting.โ€ I shoot daggers from my eyes at Shayna, who sits across the table from me and does her best kicked-puppy impression. Screwed over by my best friend. Correction: exโ€“best friend.

My accusation shifts her face from guilt-ridden bestie to offended bitch in such a short time frame, itโ€™s almost laughable. โ€œDrew has needs.โ€

She seriously did not just say that. I blink, stunned, and turn to face Drew, who is having a staring contest with his beer.

โ€œIโ€™m sorry?โ€ I say to him, not the least bit sorry. โ€œYou have needs involving your penis in Shaynaโ€™s vagina?โ€

โ€œIn my mouth, actually,โ€ she interjects, and itโ€™s such a skanky thing to say I feel my mouth drop open. How was this my best friend? What the hell sort of circumstances led to my linking myself to the girl who one by one alienated our combined group of friends. And Drew! I glare at him.

โ€œThis breakup is about blowjobs?โ€ I say a little too loudly.

โ€œSeveral,โ€ Shayna says with a smirk.

Every inch of me wants to tear her dark hair out by the roots. But Iโ€™ve seen enough daytime TV to know not to be the girl who yells at the other girl while the man in the room sits smugly and watches them fight over him.

The swine.

A rendition of โ€œBefore He Cheatsโ€ by Carrie Underwood (being sung by a very drunk blonde in a very tight dress) plays from the stage behind me as I stand from my seat. Neither of my exes seems to notice the blatant appropriateness of the song, but I do. And while I donโ€™t possess a Louisville Slugger, and Drew doesnโ€™t have a four-wheel-drive truck, I feel inspired.

โ€œAny reason you waited until tonight to share this with me?โ€ I ask.

My father had offered to take me to a nice restaurant, give me my gifts there, treat me like a princess. But no. I turned him down. Told him Drew had โ€œspecial plansโ€ to take me out and surprise me.

In Drewโ€™s defense, I am surprised.

โ€œThis was your epic plan for my birthday?โ€ I ask.

โ€œNo.โ€ He makes a sharp hand gesture and looks almost excited to have found some ground to stand on thatโ€™s not mired in quicksand and R.O.U.S.'s. โ€œThis was never the plan. Michaela and Jon and Bethany were planning on coming, too.โ€

His friends more than mine. Mine have absconded to college where they made college friends, went to college parties, and in general left those of us in Baybrook to our simple lives. Right now, I envy them.

โ€œWe were supposed to start here and finish at Milsonโ€™s summer party,โ€ he adds.

Oh, my bad. The โ€œbig planโ€ for the night was a crappy karaoke bar followed by a party not thrown for me. What a jerk. I down my last tequila shot, and then, what the hell, Shaynaโ€™s tequila shot. I donโ€™t need it, but I earned it.

โ€œIโ€™m going to have to get tested for skank diseases.โ€ I curl my lip at Shayna. She sputters and crosses her arms but, wisely, says nothing. Maybe because Drew has put a hand on her arm communicating that her input would not be welcome at this juncture.

I decide, while watching him stroke her arm tenderly, that Iโ€™m not nearly drunk enough to handle my current sitch. Iโ€™ll buy a bottle of wine on the way home and drink it in the comfort of my plush bedroom. Surrounded by teddy bears from my youth under my canopy bed. Maybe Iโ€™ll even dig out my old diary and write down how much I hate the two people I loved just four and a half minutes ago.

โ€œAnd where are Michaela and Jon and Bethany? Did everyone just . . . cancel?โ€ I gesture around me, aware Iโ€™m standing and talking loudly and drawing the attention from the girl yowling on stage. Sheโ€™s trying. She really is.

โ€œI texted everyone and told them to go to Milsonโ€™s. I said we were skipping Pinkyโ€™s,โ€ Shayna explains. โ€œI didnโ€™t think youโ€™d want them here.โ€

โ€œWe were trying to save you the embarrassment,โ€ Drewโ€™s cheeks turn a ruddy shade. As if my embarrassment is the issue?

โ€œGod. You are an idiot,โ€ I say, but the anger is starting to burn off, leaving something ugly behind. Regret. And the kind of palpable sadness that cannot be soothed by Ben & Jerryโ€™s and a Twilight marathon. Loss pings in my ribcage  when my thoughts turn to the friends who left me behind. If I had gone to law school like my father had encouraged, how different would my life be?

I canโ€™t do this right now. I cannot have a breakdown in the middle of Pinkyโ€™s, for Godโ€™s sake. Ire is my only ally.

โ€œWe thought it was only fair to tell you before things between us went further.โ€ Shaynaโ€™s gaze slides to one side where a pink cosmopolitan in a fancy glass rests by her manicured nails. โ€œWell, that was the plan. We almost made it but couldnโ€™t resist. . . .โ€

An evil smile twists her lips as she twines those talons around Drewโ€™s hand.

โ€œYou had sex with her on my birthday?โ€ I shriek, my temper hitting apocalyptic levels.

The room stills. The girl on stage stops her warbling. All thatโ€™s left is the canned background vocals on the track and someone behind me whispering โ€œWow.โ€

Through my fuzzy vision and heartbeat sloshing in my ears, I straighten my shoulders and mutter, โ€œYou two deserve each other.โ€

Grabbing Shaynaโ€™s drink, I dump it over Drewโ€™s head and leave her to clean up her new bed buddy. As for me, I snatch my new Kate Spade (gift from my father), flip my freshly blown-out and highlighted hair (gift from my stepmother), and march out of Pinkyโ€™s without a single glance over my shoulder.