Series: The Hennington Brothers #1
It was all he had to do. Instead, he got on that bus and took my heart with him.
That was seventeen years ago.
I moved on. Marriage. Kids. White picket fence. Everything I ever wanted, but my husband betrayed me and I was left once again.
Alone, penniless, and with two boys, I had no choice but to return to Tennessee. He wasn’t supposed to be there. I should’ve been safe. However, fate has a way of stepping in.
This time around, the tables are turned. It’s my decision. Second chances do exist, but I don’t know if we can repair what’s already been broken…
I put my dark brown hair in a side braid, put my boots on, and head downstairs. Wyatt sits at the table with my parents. “Damn, I was hoping I was going to have to drag you out.”
I roll my eyes. “I’m so sorry to disappoint you.”
“There’s always next time.”
“Presley!” my mother gasps. “I raised you better than that.”
If she knew the language that we all used as kids, she’d fall over. “Sorry.”
“You should be.” Wyatt smirks at me. “I’m so disappointed that the city has ruined my sweet friend.”
Now I want to choke him. “Let’s go before I change my mind.”
He laughs and throws his arm over my shoulder. “You can’t say no to me. I know all your games.”
After we have driven a few miles, I realize I have no idea where we’re going. Wyatt doesn’t inform me either, which is typical. I’ve never been good with this, and he damn well knows it. I swear these boys love to torture me—always have. Zach and Trent would thrive on scaring the shit out of me. Wyatt never did that. Instead, he would give me the silent treatment when I wanted to know something, which was equally frustrating.
He turns into the local bar and every part of me locks. “No way!” I yell and try to figure a way out of this. “No. I’m not going in there. You knew. You knew this is the last place in this damn town I would want to be.”
“Rip the Band-Aid off.”
“I’m gonna rip something off!” I glare at him.
He shrugs. “Would you rather it be now so they can all stop their bullshit speculating or wait for it to get worse?”
Like I give a shit what they all think. I ball my hands and ignore him.
“We can sit out here and let people talk too. I’m all for steaming up the windows. I have a rep to protect.” Wyatt leans back in the seat and puts his hat over his face.
If I weren’t me and he weren’t him, I wouldn’t mind that either. To let myself get lost in the arms of another for just a moment. To feel not so completely alone. Wyatt always has been hot, and when he flashes that smile, girls fawn over him. But Zach was always where my heart was. We had it all, or so I thought. Zach would walk in a room and every part of me would awaken. He was everything, and I was everything to him. Our souls touched when we were around each other. I couldn’t see anything but him, which put a damper on any chance Wyatt ever had.
“Fine,” I finally say as the windows start to fog. “Let’s go.”
He grabs my hand. “I’m with you the whole time. But I think you’ll be fine.”
“Who’s going to be here?”
“Just invited some friends.” He winks and opens the door.
The entire damn town is here. When I walk in, there are hoots and hollers all around the bar. I smile and duck my head at the unwanted attention. Nothing like being famous in this place. I glare at Wyatt. He’s dead meat.
People approach me with arms open as we all reunite. I can’t stop smiling at the first to reach me. “If it isn’t the town troublemaker!” Trent Hennington jerks me into his arms and spins me around.
“I’m still in shock they let you have a gun,” I say, laughing.
He puts me down and cups my face. “You should be scared.”
“Oh, I am.”
We both grin. Trent is two years older than Zach. He was always that annoying older brother who thrived on making my life hell. He would sneak in on me and Zach and mess with us. It was his mission to embarrass me, and he often succeeded.
“I won’t monopolize you, darlin’. You better stop by this week so you can test out my cuffs.”
I snort. “You’re still a moron.”
“One you love.”
“You damn Henningtons need to learn humility,” I say. Trent and Wyatt are so full of themselves. It’s a wonder anyone talks to them. “Married?”
“Hell no, woman. Chicks dig a badge.”
I start to reply but my best friend from high school squeals and looks like she’s going to cry. Trent steps back at the sound. “You didn’t call!” Grace says as she rushes forward. “I didn’t know you were back until Cooper said something.” She pulls me close, squeezing as she continues on. “I’ve missed you so much. It was like you disappeared.”
I lean back and smile. “I did. I needed to. I’m sorry though, I should’ve kept in touch.”
“Honey, if I could’ve done it . . . I would’ve. But you know how it goes for most of us.” I do know. There’s safety in staying, and sometimes people can’t cut the cord that’s holding them. “Tell me why in the hell you came back.”
Before I can respond my eyes look toward the bar. Everything stops. My heart. My breathing. My entire world stands still. Zachary Hennington stands there staring at me. He doesn’t move and neither do I. A tsunami of memories floods the room. Our first kiss, the first time we made love, the promises, the proposal, the love that filled our lives, and the pain when he left me. Not a muscle on him moves as he looks at me. I can see the questions pass between us.
Is that really you?
How are you?
Why are you here?
Why didn’t you call?
Why did you leave me?
Why didn’t you come with me?
Where have you been?
Do you feel this?
What does it mean?
Grace shakes my arm, and I want to scream. She must see the panic in my eyes and realizes what’s holding my attention. “Did you know?” she asks.
“That he lives here?”
My head is light as I try to comprehend her words. “What do you mean?”
She turns me so I can’t see him and loops her arm around mine. “He’s been back here for a while now. Probably about eight years or so. He took over his family’s business.”
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This book deals with suicide & grief.