What if love can’t heal all wounds?
Second Chances, Book 1
After too many years of secretly loving her best friend, Zoey realizes she’s been shortchanging herself. It’s time to take action. This New Year’s Eve heralds the year she’s going to tell Rob the truth. Even if he is on the road, reaching for musical stardom with his band.
Her plan is derailed when she discovers a lump in her breast—and it’s not “nothing to worry about”. How can she ask Rob to take a chance on love when her future is so uncertain?
Rob has spent his entire life chasing his dream, but the moment he hears Zoey’s voice on the phone, he realizes he’s been running the wrong race. Zoey never sounds like she’s been crying. Ever. Without a second thought, he books a flight for home, determined to give her everything she needs. A shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold…and nights of intensely emotional, passionate sex.
His biggest challenge, though, is convincing his best friend that he’s in it for the long haul. Because he finally knows what he wants, and it’s not fame and fortune. It’s her—and her love.
Warning: This book runs the emotional gamut between scorching-hot passion and the pain and fear associated with cancer. Keep a box of tissues next to your glass of ice water.
Rob stared down at Zoey’s face as she slept. Her eyes were still puffy from last night’s tears. Neither of them had moved from the couch. Instead, he’d lain down next to her and held her as she silently wept. Pinpricks attacked the arm he’d wrapped around her, his hand numb from lying in the same position for so long. He didn’t bother to move. It felt too good holding her like this.
Some truths were crashing down on him. He’d been an ass, living his life like he had all the time in the world. Their time on this planet was far from infinite, and yet he’d squandered years of it, working on his career, focusing solely on making it big.
For what? Fame? Money? Why the hell did he need that shit?
He’d always taken it for granted that Zoey would be here for him. How the fuck was he supposed to go on without her? The moment she’d told him about the cancer, the light had gone on.
I’m in love with her. Christ. I’ve been in love with her since the first day I laid eyes on her.
Zoey stirred. Rob’s heart began to race as her eyes opened slowly. He wasn’t wasting a second more. He couldn’t. He just couldn’t.
She was disoriented for a moment before she lifted her gaze and smiled.
With his free hand, he stroked her face softly. “Zoey.” Her name fell from his lips on a hushed whisper, his chest constricting under the weight of every emotion under the sun—love, fear, happiness, panic, a raging case of nervousness.
What if she didn’t feel the same way?
He took a deep breath. Fear wasn’t going to hold him back another second longer. “I’m going to break my promise.”
He didn’t respond. Instead, he bent his head and kissed her. Time froze as their lips met. Rob was transported back to that day in the park, to the truth that should have been obvious all those years ago. He’d been a blind, inexperienced boy back then, but now…his eyes were wide open.
It was her. Zoey. For him, it had always been her.
The kiss was a gentle touch at first, but when Zoey’s lips softened and accepted his, he deepened it. Her small hand cupped his cheek, exploring his face hesitantly before growing bolder, stroking it.
The smell of cinnamon enveloped them, her candle still burning from the night before. He knew in his heart that from now on, that scent would always make him think of her. Of this moment.
His heart lodged in his throat when he realized the magnitude of what was happening, of what he wanted to happen next. He was kissing his best friend. And she was kissing him back.
Encouraged, he opened his mouth, stroking his tongue against hers. The kiss grew harder, hungrier. For several minutes—hell, it could have been hours for all Rob knew—they simply kissed, learning each other’s taste, texture. Her skin was soft beneath his fingers as he caressed her delicate cheek. Her breathing grew heavier, the heat of it warm against his skin.
When he finally moved away, she was there, looking at him, studying his face. Hers was the picture of confusion, wariness…and desire. He latched onto the last like a dying man clinging to life. She wanted him.
“Still weird?” He needed the joke, needed to get his bearings. His emotions were too raw, too new, too close to the surface.
She shook her head slowly. “No. Not even close.”
“Good. I’ve been practicing.”
She laughed uneasily. “You’re insane. What the hell prompted that?”
He knew her. Knew she’d try to twist this into something innocent, funny. He wouldn’t let her. He ran his hand through her dark hair, overwhelmed by the need to touch her. “Just figured it was past time. You mind if we talk about this after?”
He let his body answer the question. Turning so they lay face to face on the couch, he placed his lips back on hers. He didn’t want to push her. After all, she’d just received life-altering, horrible news. He’d keep things easy, let her set the pace.
She didn’t resist his kisses. Her hand traveled along his shoulders and down his arm before landing on his chest. Her lips pressed against his harder. Then she moved away, an infinitesimal distance.
“Touch me,” she whispered, her hand fisting in the cotton of his shirt.
He didn’t need to be told twice. His hands roamed along her sides, drifted beneath her T-shirt.
She shivered when he caressed the bare skin of her waist. He stoked her arousal, kissing her harder as he explored every bit of bare flesh he could reach beneath her shirt. He forced air into his lungs, fought to keep his hands steady as he touched her.
The slight tremor in his hands seemed to distract her. She was the first to pull back. “Robbie, are you sure—?”
“After,” he repeated. He gripped her hip, dragging her closer. There was no way she could misconstrue how far he’d go if she was willing. His cock was hard, ready.
She bit her lip and he could sense she was struggling to make a decision. He wouldn’t force her into anything she wasn’t ready for. Hell, he’d be perfectly content to spend the next dozen years or so simply kissing her. Making up for so many wasted years. “Zoey—”
She shook her head and closed her eyes, but not before he read the hungry need there. Then she lifted one leg and wrapped it around his thigh. She thrust closer. It was an outright invitation. “After,” she whispered, her voice steadier than he expected.