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The beginning of any love story starts with the meet.

I’ve known Garrett Hollis since before I can remember, and I’ve loved him just as long. I loved him while he loved someone else. I loved him when he had a baby with her. I loved him when she left him.

The greatest of love stories is that between a dad and his daughter. I should know. I’ve had a front row seat. First steps, first words, all the big moments.

Garrett was just a teenager when Mia was born. I’ve watched him braid his daughter’s hair, hold her hand crossing the street, seen her asleep on his chest. I’m the best friend, the one they can count on for everything from dance lessons to motherly advice, anything they need. I’m their go-to girl.

The best part of any love story is the happily ever after.

But what if the happily ever after doesn’t include you?

All my life, that’s how long I’ve loved him.

Of course, he’s clueless.


Prescott Lane

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I snatch her panties out of her hand. “Nope.”

Her laugh fills the room. “I’m not sleeping naked.”

“Who said anything about sleeping?” I say, holding them over my head.

“Give me my panties,” she says, smiling and reaching for them, but I capture her in my arms. Her body is still warm from our shower together, her hair still pinned to the top of her head. “I need those.”

“No, you don’t.”

“Yeah, I do. What if there’s a bug or a spider or something? It could bite me or crawl up in there and make a home in my vagina.”

I just stare at her. She has the craziest mind in the history of women. Who the hell thinks of these things?

“Besides, I could get cold,” she says, yanking the panties from me.

I snatch them back. “Is your story that you have an arachnophobic vagina or a hypothermic vagina?”

She’s laughing and shaking her head at me, and there is nothing better than this. Nothing better than being with her. “Today’s been the best day,” she giggles out.

Anyone else looking in would think we didn’t do anything special today, besides all the sex. We watched a movie together, cooked together, showered together—all the things that other couples probably take for granted. It’s business as usual for them to crawl into bed together, and I hope to God I never feel that way about sharing a bed with Devlyn.

Grinning, I hand her panties back to her. She slips them on then pulls the sheets back on her bed, holding them up for me. I slip in beside her. She lays her head on my chest, her hair fanning out, and I wrap her in my arms. You always see couples in movies sleeping like this, and I’ve always thought it was ridiculous. Who can sleep all tangled up with someone else? Sleep or not, I’m not letting go of her. I can go without sleep if it means she’s in my arms.

“Garrett,” she whispers, and I hear her voice crack.

Moving her hair, I look down at her face, a few silent tears glistening in the moonlight. “Baby, what is it?”

“It’s . . .” she stammers. I sit up, pulling her with me, getting concerned now. Devlyn Drake is seldom without a witty comeback. “I’m having a hard time believing this is real.”

“I wouldn’t play with you.”

“I know that. It’s just . . .” She shakes her head. “I gave up on you, on us, a long time ago.”

Having your woman cry is the worst. As much as I want it to stop, I know she’s got years of shit she needs to get off her chest. “Don’t give up on me again,” I say. “No matter what stupid shit I do.”

She giggles through her tears. “I’m being silly.”

“You don’t cry for silly reasons,” I say. “You have some things you need to say?” She nods. “And you’re scared to say them?” She nods again. I give her a little kiss on the forehead. “We’ve had non-stop sex with the promise of more. Aside from the panties you insisted on wearing, you’re naked in bed with me. There couldn’t be a better time to lay some deep shit on me. I’m liable to give you anything you want.”

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