An all-new standalone contemporary romance is coming from L.J. Shen in November and I have a sneak peek for you. Second chances, star-crossed lovers, lots of angst—I’m so ready for another wild ride from this awesome author!
Everyone calls me Rory, but Whitney calls me Aurora. I made the mistake of expressing my dislike for my name once during a pop star’s photo shoot she attended with Ryner. Since then, I’ve been Aurora to her. If I told her I was allergic to money, she’d immediately wire the company’s entire budget into my bank account.
There’s an idea.
“Whit.” I pop the last piece of breadstick into my mouth, not bothering to meet her eyes.
“Mr. Ryner would like to have a word with you on the balcony.” She glances at me under pinched eyebrows. I swear Whitney takes orgasmic pleasure in clearing her throat and adding suggestively, “Alone.”
Squeezing my shoulder blades together and tilting my chin up, I head toward the VIP area’s terrace, knocking back my third glass of wine for liquid courage. Ryner is always two hundred pounds of sexual harassment, but especially when he is high and drunk. Which he definitely is right now. I tuck the napkin with the hotel logo into the pocket of my dress. Glancing back, I see Whitney sliding into my seat and casing her red-nailed claws on Callum’s shoulder, shooting him a sugary smile. Whitney would love nothing more than to prove she’s better than me. And she certainly is, if the criteria is best Desperate Housewives imposter from a plastic suburban neighborhood.
The last thing I catch is her whispering something intimate to Callum. He frowns and shakes his head, no. Whatever she told him, he seems upset by the suggestion.
Walking through the double doors, I find the balcony completely empty. It’s colder than my mother’s heart in here. I rub my arms, cursing myself for leaving my coat inside, and gait to the railing, admiring the view.
Not only is it freezing, but I’m always cold. Ever since I was born, ever since I can remember, I wear sweaters and fluffy jackets everywhere. It’s like there’s an invisible layer of ice coating my skin at all times.
I look up, blinking back at the stars, admiring their beauty even in this weather.
Approaching footsteps clack on the floor behind me. Something heavy falls on my shoulders. A rich wool coat, still warm from body heat. It smells masculine and expensive: clean earth, pine, smoke, and the type of cologne that’s too pricey for mass retail. A shadow looms by my side. He puts a glass of whiskey on the wide marble bannister, his elbow next to mine, almost touching, but not quite.
I twist my head, expecting to see Ryner, and come face to face with…Mal.
My Mal. It is him after all.
Malachy Doherty, with the lilac eyes. With the hypnotic smile. With the contract I signed on the napkin.
With the piece of my heart he never gave back.
Only he is not smiling anymore. It doesn’t look like he’s happy to see me.
He said if we ever met again, he’d marry me, no matter what. But that was almost a decade ago—under the influence of alcohol and lust and youth. Of possibility.
Mal opens his mouth. “Hello, darlin’.”
At his rough Irish accent, my knees buckle, and I find myself grasping the bannister.
The first flakes of snow fall around us. On my nose. Eyelashes. Shoulders. A storm is brewing inside my snow globe.