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A story of love, betrayal and heartbreak as a young lady returns to the small town she once dreamed of leaving behind, and never to return, ready for a new life. Destiny on the other hand might have made up other plans for her as she runs into the first boy she thought she'd spend forever with as soon as she gets back into town. The first boy to break her heart. Colton has no intention of letting anyone else in. He's been through enough gut wrenching pain and he's unwilling to open himself up to more hurt. After all, you can't an't get hurt if you don't let anyone in, right?
“Len, baby, come on. It was an accident.”
I clenched my eyes shut and pinched the bridge of my nose between my thumb and index finger. “No, Brad, forgetting to pay the cable bill is an accident. Impregnating my best friend is a string of definite choices.”
“What am I supposed to do, Lennie?! I can’t handle this rent by myself! You know that! You wanted this place!”
“Maybe you should’ve thought of that before YOUR DICK ENTERED MY BEST FRIEND!” Shout out to the old lady across the street who definitely heard me. Not a good first day back home, Len. Not a good first day.
“I can’t believe you just left, after all we’ve been through...”
“I didn’t just LEAVE, Brad. I told you I was helping Maggie with the bed and breakfast this summer, just like I always do. Then I found you in bed with Ellie... so I moved out. Do you perhaps see the correlation there?”
“Brad, I have to go. I have...” Quick, Lennie! Think of something! “a job interview...”
“What happened to the bed and breakfast? Why would you need another job?”
“None of your business. Goodbye, Brad, good luck with the baby and... all that shit.”
“Lenore, don’t hang up on me.”
“What? Sorry, can’t hear you. Cutting out. Damn small town. Byeeeeeee!”
Okay, so maybe I didn’t have a job interview, but my ex didn’t need to know that. I, Lennie Tyler, was officially single and ready to... go into the nearest country bar and drown my sorrows in a bucket of whiskey.
Weird part? I wasn’t even that sad about Brad. More annoyed than anything else. The rose-colored glasses of dumb love had come off a long time ago. Bradley Richards was not my forever. I knew it, he knew it. If I’m honest, we moved in together more out of convenience than anything else. We'd been ‘together’ five years. I was thirty-three. Not like I was getting any younger so... might as well try, right? Wrong. So very wrong. Ladies, if you’re reading this: don’t push these things. It’s not worth it. You’]l end up miserable and then come home from a songwriting session to find him in bed with your so-called best friend and all those little moments your brain told you he wasn’t the one will become foghorns in your head. Honestly, the only reason he was upset was because it meant paying rent on the new two-bedroom, ritzy apartment in Nashville that we literally just re-signed the lease on. Oh shit. That was under my name. Mental note to call my lawyer ASAP.
Don’t worry. I wasn’t the girl who ran back home because her ex is a cheating douchebag. It actually was a happy accident. My aunt Maggie was the woman in charge of our families long running bed and breakfast here in Snyder, Georgia. Snyder wasn’t a tiny town, but it wasn’t real big either. We were large enough for stoplights and a few restaurants and of course some hole in the wall country bars, and we were just close enough to the bigger Georgia cities, that the bed and breakfast had been a lucrative family business for years. My parents ran it for a while, before opening their own place in some Florida retirement town. My aunt Maggie was my mother’s littlest sister, a good twenty years younger. She was the “Oops!” baby of my grandparents and was a mere twelve years older than I was. She was more of my older sister than my aunt and every summer I came back to help out during the busy seasons, plus it was a great excuse to leave city life and be home for a while. I might’ve moved, but I’d always be the small-town Georgia girl at heart. Her daughter, my cousin Makayla, had just graduated high school and was gearing up to move to Nashville like I had done over fifteen years ago now, so it seemed like an even better idea to be here this summer. Hopefully, I could help Makayla make a few less mistakes than I had.
I moved to the country music capital of the world with big dreams, and no real idea how to accomplish them. I knew! wanted to sing. I knew I wanted to write songs and I knew Nashville was the best place for me to do so. I got a job as a waitress at the infamous Bluebird café, stood onstage and played my little heart out one open mic night and no less than three weeks later, had a songwriting deal at a major label. I had hit songs all over country radio for the last ten years, won myself a few awards, and made a pretty penny doing it. My personal band, The Chasers, had never really made it big. We did a few tours as opening acts, had a few mild hits, but mostly we just played in Nashville and the surrounding towns. It was fine. I wasn’t necessarily sad about it. I realized after signing my writing deal that writing was where I really stood out anyway. And the best part was I could write from anywhere, even a little bed and breakfast in Snyder, Georgia.
This afternoon I was meeting my childhood best friend, Cora, at Snyder’s most popular bar: Culprit’s. Her family owned it and, even when we were kids, it was where we hung out. It was exactly the dirty kind of hole in the wall that you're imagining and that was part of its appeal. They hosted karaoke at least two nights a week and you could by a bucket of Bud Light for ten dollars. Pretty sure every small town had a Culprit’s.
As I reached out for the door handle, it swung open, nearly knocking me flat on my ass into the dirt. I waited for impact, but instead felt a tight grasp on my forearm.
“Shit, I’m sorry.”
I opened my eyes to find the most darkly handsome man I had ever seen: 6’2”, dark brown, shaggy hair, eyes almost black, and a well kept dark beard covering what I could only assume was the most chiseled jawline Snyder had ever seen.
I snapped out of my appreciative daze and looked at his hand still around my arm. His arms were covered in tattoos, giant silver rings on two of his fingers. “Um, yeah. Guess I wasn’t paying attention.”
“No, it’s my fault. Leaving in a bit of a rush,” he stated simply. He had the deepest, sexiest timber of a voice I had ever heard. I bet this man could sing. “Sure you're okay?”
“Didn’t even hit the ground,” I stated, flashing my best, brightest grin. “You're a real prince.” He scoffed and shook his head. “Well, I gotta run. Have a nice afternoon, ma’am.”
He didn’t wait for a response, just tipped his chin and walked away, his black jeans tight on what was one phenomenal ass. The kind you sort of wanted to use as a pillow... or, maybe that was just me. Well, damn, Snyder. You’re pulling out all the welcoming stops. I laughed to myself and opened the door safely this time.
I barely made it inside before I hea
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