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Eight years ago, Cole Van Buren left me at the altar without a single explanation. My heart’s been at a standstill ever since, the anger keeping me from moving on. Keeping me from seeing the man who’s been right in front of me all this time…

Andrew’s been the friend I needed, the one constant through the hardest times of my life. But one night, the lines blur and we’re tipped into something more. Just when I’m ready to explore what we could be…

My ex comes back.

Cole says he didn’t come to get me back, but I should know better. The answers he dangles overhead are the ones I need to finally let go.

Except there’s no such thing as closure, only a past that wants to pull you backward.


Veronica Larsen

1 August 2017

A brand new sexy standalone romance is coming on 1 Aug 2017 from author Veronica Larsen, and I have a sneak peek for you!

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The energy in the room elevates mine like a hit of adrenaline. The walls are speckled in bright Caribbean hues and resemble the canvases of expressionist paintings. Andrew takes my hand and we follow our hostess between loud, crowded tables to sit at the edge of a dance floor. Our table is flush against a wall with a mural of people donning hats and playing music on a beach.

Andrew sits beside me, the way he always does when we are at a table for two. I’m starting to wonder if he’s always opted for noisy places to justify our proximity.

The energy of the place is infectious, the music stirring my instincts to move. Several people are already on the dance floor, moving with exceptional rhythm. We watch them as we eat tapas and sip our drinks.

I lean into Andrew and ask, “Are you really going to dance with me, or are we just here to watch?”

I love dancing but as I’ve gotten older the opportunities to dance have dwindled down to private sessions in my living room.

“Why is it so hard to believe?” He leans in closer. “You don’t think I can dance? I’ll have you know, I’m pretty damn good.”

I shrug and pick up the cocktail the server set down moments ago. Most men I know don’t know how to move their bodies. The Hispanic men here, though, make it tough competition for Andrew.

He waits for my answer, his beautiful blue eyes narrowed and a playful smirk on his lips.

“You just don’t look very coordinated,” I say. “Look at your arms.”

My gaze moves over the sleeves of his navy blue button-down shirt, which hug his large arms. Those firm, masculine curves are erotic in an almost confusing way. Biceps should not have so much power.

“What about my arms?”

“How do you even move them?” I mimic stiff, robotic arm movements.

“You’ve got jokes, Mila. How about I just show you?”

He gets to his feet and stands in front of me. For a moment, I just stare. He’s so handsome. The color of his shirt makes his eyes glow in the dim lighting. His wide shoulders give me the urge to be between them and feel his arms wrap around me.

“Are you going to take off your shoes?” he asks.

“One more comment about my shoes and I’m going to stab you in the eye with them.”

“Quit talking dirty to me, woman. You know I like it when you’re angry.”

He extends a hand and I take it, smiling despite myself. We head to the dance floor, squeezing past sets of couples that weave in and out of the way without disrupting their dance steps.

Andrew brings me out to the center of the dance floor, where we are cocooned between dozens of other dancers, moving at an intimidating pace around us. They don’t pay us any mind, though, as we take our time positioning our bodies in front of each other.

He grabs one of my hands in his and settles his other at my waist. The very next thing I know, Andrew is moving to the music, guiding me along with him. My jaw drops as I struggle at first to match his pace.

“Holy crap, Drew. You really can salsa.” Still not quite believing it, I add, “How did I not know this about you?”

“There’s a lot you don’t know about me, Mila.”

He tugs me close then releases me for a spin, before reeling me back into him again. My head swirls in delightful bliss at the way my body moves at his command. The way he leads, the effortless yet masculine way he moves is sexy beyond belief.

“Clearly.” I set a hand on his chest to steady myself and I find his muscles firm under my fingers. I enjoy them for only a second before he has my hand in his again.

“I grew up in the Bronx,” he says, “I chased Latinas most of my life. Of course I can dance salsa.”

He extends his arm. Holding out the hand clutching mine, he steps back while continuing to dance. His gaze travels down my body in a bold and unapologetic way I’ve never seen. And the look in his eyes when they slide back up to mine? It sends a rush through me.

“You’re doing great,” he says. “I can’t believe how you dance in those heels. It’s such a fucking turn on.”

He spins me around and presses me to him, swaying for a few beats as his hand crawls over my stomach, before spinning me back to face him again.

“My heels turn you on? I thought you hated them.”

“Are you fucking kidding? I only hated how much they turned me on.”

He pulls me close again, and our bodies become as flush as our movements allow. His lips are by my ear.

“One day,” he says, “I’m going to fuck you with your stilettos on.”

His words hit me in the knees, weakening me. Lord, help me. That day could be right this second as far as my lady parts are concerned. He slows our movements down, despite the music being the same. He sets his forehead on mine and sways us nice and slow, his hands holding me tight.

How can this feel so new, so exciting, when we’ve known each other for so long? The Andrew in front of me is the same man I’ve known and yet, completely different. There’s a look in his eyes now, a door that opened when I kissed him. Possibility lingers between us, anticipation for the things to come.

Strange how he’s been in front of me and yet I feel like I’ve been missing him all this time. I didn’t allow myself to see him clearly. To see us clearly. He’s right. There’s something here. We make so much fucking sense.

We forget the people surrounding us and dance like the floor belongs to us. We laugh and when I stumble, he catches me with ease. We enjoy a moment that stretches seamlessly to the next and is everything I want it to be. The songs blend together, and the steady flow of people around us grows and ebbs away in waves. Every time he spins me, he brings me back even closer and it stirs a flurry of butterflies in my stomach. For a time I cannot grasp, everything I’ve been carrying around for the past few weeks drifts far off into the distance. I know, with the clarity that comes from pure giddiness, this is what I want.

Andrew slows down our dancing again, bringing my hands up around his neck. His hands glide down my arms, eliciting shivers throughout my body. He sways us back and forth, ignoring the urgency of the song and creating our own. I’m glad because the soles of my feet are beginning to ache, but I’ll drop dead before I complain to Andrew about my heels.

“I’m having a great time,” I say.

“I am, too. I like to see you like this. Letting go and enjoying yourself.”

“It’s you. You bring this out of me. You make me…you make me happy.”

“For a minute there, I thought you were going to say I make you horny.”

I throw my head back and laugh, louder than necessary. Because loud laughter blends into the sounds around us and we’ve been laughing with ease all night at even the slightest amusement. And you know what? It feels damn good.

I’ve barely had anything to drink all night and I’m buzzed, feeling lighter than I have in months. It’s not just my feet aching, it’s my face, too.

Andrew takes my hand and leads me off the dance floor to the bar. I slide onto a stool and catch our reflection on the mirrored pane behind the shelf of alcohol.

“We look good together,” Andrew says over my shoulder.

I bite my lip, resisting the urge to tell him I was just thinking the same thing.

He slips his hands around my middle and lowers his face to the crook of my neck. I stare at our reflection and a sudden worry clouds my happiness.

Every single man I’ve dated since Cole has faded with time. I’ve got so much baggage to let go of before I can even think of getting into a real relationship.

Cole is a shadow, approaching from the horizon.

The offer of answers hangs over my head, tantalizing and elusive. Years and years have passed since Cole left, and the one thing I’ve been unable to shake is the desire to have the final piece of the puzzle. The one that will help everything click into place and finally set me free.

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