Conner Burke never expected Sofie Callahan to come back.
Where she’s been for the last two and half years is a mystery, and so is the reason she left in the first place. Now, though, she’s back in their hometown of Shelton Bay, South Carolina, at the same time Conner’s band Dirty B is home on a tour break.
Sofie Callahan has spent the months since her father’s death avoiding anything to do with her home town. But with her brother in Afghanistan, she has no choice but to return and sort out her father’s house, even if it means facing the boy she fell in love with and revealing the reason she left.
Conner has questions, and when his broken heart and her guilty one collide, Sofie has to start answering them. Their present is rocky, their future unknown. Only one thing is certain:
Sofie’s daughter will change everything.
That kid that could be mine.
I get up and let the empty bottle drop to the floor. The woods are eerily quiet, as if it can sense my anger. As if it knows the bitterness that lingers in my veins, as if it knows the burn of not knowing anything.
Like the woods, I’m left in the dark. Completely.
Branches and twigs crunch under my feet as I increase my pace to a gentle jog. And again, to a slow run. Then to a sprint.
The need to know increases with every footstep, as evenly paced as the ticking of the clock. It doesn’t matter that I’ve probably drunk too much beer to be here or that we’ve only been back for a matter of days.
I can’t be in this shithole full of memories without knowing. I can’t move on until I know. I can’t forgive her for a single fucking thing until I know—and even then, maybe I won’t be able to.
Maybe she’s unforgivable.
Instead of knocking on the back door like I did yesterday, I round the side of the house to the front door. The front room light glows softly through the curtains, but the rest of the house is dark.
My chest heaves with the exertion of my run here and I grab the doorframe to balance myself. I’m definitely too fucking drunk for this conversation, but what the hell.
I bang on the door, once, twice, again and again and again. “Sofie! Open the fuckin’ door!”
“Shut up!” she hisses, yanking it open. “The hell’re you doing here?”
I smirk, leaning against the wall. “Shouldn’t I be askin’ you that, princess?”
“Are you drunk?” Her voice rises a little at the end, and her eyes widen.
Those eyes. Fuck, those baby blues that have always undone me.
“Drunk? No. If I was drunk I’d be sitting at home like a miserable bastard and not here facing the cause of my misery.”
“You’re being an asshole. I don’t have to listen to this.”
She pushes on the door, but I wedge my foot in front of it. I let go of the wall and grab the edge of the door.
“Actually, you do.”
She can’t overpower me, and she knows it, because she lets up and the door swings open. “Why are you here, Conner?”
“You have a kid.”
She smacks her lips together. “Yep.”
“When? When did you have her?”
Sofie takes a deep breath in and presses her hands to her stomach. They’re shaking, even as she links her fingers to hide it. I can see that fucking tremble.
She whispers something but I’m too pre-occupied by her hands to hear it.
“August last year,” she repeats, still a whisper.
August. Last year. My stomach clenches as I meet her eyes. “When? When in fuckin’ August, Sofie?”
“August fifteenth.” Her voice hitches halfway through the ‘fifteenth.’
Almost seven months to the day she walked out on me and the rest of Shelton Bay.
Adrenaline hums through my body, and I stare at her. At the tears building in her eyes, the quiver of her lips, the bob of her throat as she swallows harshly.
It’s no different from the burn in my chest, the twisting of my stomach.
“Is she mine?”
She shudders and a tear drips from her eye.
“Sofie. Is. She. Mine?!”
She likes to be busy – unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.
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