by: Kelsey Kingsley
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy
Release Date: August 1, 2017
31-year-old HOLLY HUGHES is happy with her life. She’s a moderately successful teen advice columnist living in a tiny studio apartment on the Upper East Side with her boyfriend STEPHEN and their cat CAMILLE. She has grand plans of marrying Stephen and having his babies, until Stephen announces that he is in fact gay and in love with someone else, his boss ANTHONY. This twist of fate is the beginning of a slew of life-changing events in poor Holly’s life. Her boss fires her from the magazine for being too old, leaving her unemployed and unable to keep her apartment.
With nowhere else to go, Holly moves back to Long Island to live with her younger sister LIZ and 3-year-old niece ANNA, and takes over as Anna’s babysitter until she can find the confidence to get herself back on her feet.
As a part of her babysitting routine, Holly takes Anna on bi-weekly trips to the local bookstore, where they attend Story Time. On one occasion, Anna just so happens to run face-first into 36-year-old BRANDON DAVIS, a tall, handsome man who just so happens to be an international best-selling author of a fantasy book series. Holly is unaware of this bit of information, and remains oblivious as their friendship and love for each other grows.
When Brandon faces his personal qualms toward his career and confesses who he is to her, Holly is left to face her own issues with inadequacy.
The story deals with acceptance for one’s position in life, forgiveness, and overcoming the feeling of simply not being good enough.
I caught myself staring at her with her stray hairs fanned out against my plaid thighs. She gazed beyond me towards the ceiling as she spoke, her eyes misting with the influence of her night of solo drinking. Her skin was porcelain perfect in the dim glow of the television, not a blemish or bump to be seen, and I found myself reminiscing to the first time I had laid eyes on her. That faraway moment when I didn’t know her and she didn’t know me, and I wanted her more than I needed her. I never would have expected to find myself there on her sister’s couch, watching over her in her drunken state, and still wanting her more than I needed her.
But then again, I needed her more than anything.
“Hey Brandon?” she asked, pulling me from my thoughts. Her eyes focused back on me, the pain in her eyes making itself known.
“Yeah?” I asked, wishing I could have pulled that pain out of her soul and carried it with me instead.
“Do you think I’ll ever get married?” she asked me, her chin quivering just a bit. The hand belonging to the arm she clung to came up to rest against her cheek.
“Of course I think you’ll get married,” I insisted. My opposite elbow found a comfortable spot on the armrest of the couch and I rested my cheek against my fist. “Why do you ask?”
She shrugged. “Why don’t I want to marry Ben?”
“Does Ben want to marry you?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.
“No, but I knew right away that I wanted Stephen. Ben … No. But I like Ben. Ben is good at buying san-sandwiches, and he’s sort of good at sex.” I bit my lower lip to keep from snickering at the comment. “But I don’t want to marry him. You don’t marry because of sandwiches and sex. I wanted to marry Stephen, and he never wanted sex ever because I don’t have a dick. Do you think if I had a dick, Stephen would’ve wanted to marry me?”
I glanced down to my arm, resting between her sweatshirt-covered breasts, and—shame on me—I momentarily wondered what they looked like outside of their usual garments. I let the image of possibly exaggerated perfection, remain in focus for two blips before pushing it away and looking back at her face. It was impossible to ignore the tear that trickled towards the flannel of my pants and I felt my heart twist in a way that could only be described as torture.
“Holly.” I sighed, turning away from her moist eyes to look at the hands that gripped my arm to her chest. “Stephen didn’t want to marry you because he knew you were wrong for him. He knew that somewhere out there, some guy was wandering around, wondering where the hell his damsel in distress was. He had to let you go, and you had to come here, just so that guy could find you.”
She smiled, dreamily looking up at me from her spot on my lap. “Not Ben, though, right?”
My thumb betrayed my original intent of behaving myself and boldly caressed the curve of her lower lip. “Not Ben.”
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Kelsey Kingsley grew up in the great state of New York, and still lives there with her family and a cat named Ethel. When she isn’t writing her fingers to the bone, she enjoys a good (or bad) book, reruns of Frasier, ruining the lives of her Sims, and singing and dancing in the kitchen. She somehow survives off a diet of tea, doughnuts, and French fries. However, she hates cheese and listening to people chew. You’ve been warned.
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