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Say I’m Yours (Return to Me #3)
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From New York Times Bestseller, Corinne Michaels, comes a new second chance standalone romance.
I spent twenty years waiting for Trent Hennington to open his eyes and see me. But it was all for nothing. He chose to keep himself guarded and let me walk away, proving that my time and efforts were wasted.
I’m done being invisible.
A single dance sets my new reality into motion, and I welcome it. After all, Cooper Townsend is perfect. He’s kind, sexy, and attentive—everything a girl could want.
I thought I got it right this time.
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“You’re a place in my heart that no one else could have.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Don’t walk away from me!” Trent calls out as I move forward. “Grace!”
My stride falters. We’ve done this dance a hundred times. I know the steps—two steps forward, ten steps back. We circle the floor and can never quite find our rhythm.
“I’m done,” I say with my back turned. “I’m done only being good enough when it’s convenient for you. I’m done being the girl who’s waitin’ around, hoping you’ll finally admit that you love her. I can’t do it anymore. You’re killing me.”
The sound of his approach causes my heart to race. If there’s one thing I can’t resist in my life, it’s him. He knows what he’s doing, and always has. Trent is the one thing I can’t quit. My heart has always belonged to him. Each time I walk away, I find myself running right back.
Stupid, I know.
It’s hard loving a man who will never love me back, though, and I’ve spent almost twenty years waiting for Trent Hennington to give me his heart. I’ve learned now that it’s never going to happen. I’m finally done trying to force a square peg in a round hole.
“Please.” His voice cracks on the single word. “Just don’t walk away. Not this time. I’m trying, darlin’. I’m workin’ so hard to get my shit straight.”
His words cause my stomach to clench. The only difference between this time and when we ended things three months ago is that, unlike last time, I won’t be going back. His hands grip my shoulders as he pulls me against him and drops his lips to my hair. His breath is warm, and I close my eyes. This right here, the feeling of longing and desire, is why I always go back. The way he touches me and makes my body want to melt into his and wakes every nerve in my body gives me hope. But I know that hope is a fable, fiction written to replace the reality I wasn’t ready to face.
I have to walk away.
I need to let him go. Not because I don’t love him, but because this won’t ever change.
I need change.
“When you finally do, I hope you’ll be happy.” I turn to face him, making sure he hears the sincerity in my words. “I hope you find the girl that’s worth all of your heart, but I’m not her. I’ve tried to be.” A tear falls, and I let it. “Lord knows I have. I’ve given you everything I could while you haven’t given me anything but scraps. It’s wrecked me, and I can’t let you break me again. I love you. I’ve always loved you. You’re the only man I’ve ever pictured a life with.” I was done with going hungry, and now I wanted the whole darn feast.
“Grace,” Trent says as he takes a step forward.
“No.” I mirror him, moving a step backward, and put my hand up, reiterating, “I refuse to be that girl anymore. It hurts too much. I told you last week it was over, but then you show up last night, and I find myself right back here again. Where you’re all sweet and loving and then you pull the rug out from under me. You can’t do this to me anymore. If you ever loved me, even a little bit, you’ll let me go.”
Trent Hennington will obliterate me if I stay any longer.
“You are that girl! You’ve always been that girl!” He comes closer. “You’re who I want, Gracie.”
“No, I’m not.” I rush out of the small room he cornered me in.
“I need you,” Trent calls out. “I want you.”
I halt and say the words from over my shoulder. “Please, I’m beggin’ you not to do this.”
I don’t wait for his response, I move quickly.
Once I enter the wedding reception of my best friend, Presley, I stop.
The music plays loudly, but all I hear is the echo of his words. My feet won’t move forward as I stare at my friends enjoying the party. Presley and her husband, Zachary Hennington, are holding each other and you can see the joy radiating off them. This moment should’ve happened for them a long time ago, but here they are now. They’ve fought for their happiness, never taking it for granted. Of course, Presley was married before and has almost teenage boys, but they found their way. Then there’s Trent’s youngest brother Wyatt with his new wife, Angie. All of them are happy, while I feel like I’m shattering.
Lucky for me, my heart found the one Hennington that won’t ever wise up—not.
“Don’t give up, Gracie. Don’t walk away from me.” I hear Trent’s deep voice in my ear and let out a shallow breath through my nose.
“I want that,” I say, looking out at the scene before me. “I want the wedding and happily ever after. I want a love like your brothers have. I want you to love me, but you don’t. You won’t give me your heart.”