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1942832036 (ISBN13: 9781942832034)
An all new second chance love story by the New York Times Bestselling author of the Driven series.
It all started with the invitation. To my ex-fiance’s new wedding.
I should have ignored it.Thrown it away. Set it afire. But I didn’t. I replied.
With a plus one.
And then my assistant accidentally mailed it.
Enter Hayes Whitley. Mega-movie star. The man who has captured the hearts of millions. But I gave him mine years ago. He was my first love. He was my everything. Right until he up and left to chase his dreams without so much as a simple goodbye.
When he showed up out of the blue ten years later, I should have known to steer clear. I should have rejected his offer to take me to my ex’s wedding. I should have never let him kiss me.
But I didn’t.
And now we’re left wondering if the pieces of the life we once shared still fit together somehow. First loves are hard to forget. The question is, do we want to forget? Or do we risk the chance and see what happens next?
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This has to be a joke.
It’s my only thought as I stare at the square invitation in my hands and take in the uncanny similarities.
A scroll pattern embellishment.
Cream-colored linen cardstock.
The words, the physical layout of them on the paper, and every other detail I can discern. . Double .
How is it possible that the invitation in my hand looks exactly like the one I’d spent hours obsessing over when deciding the particulars for my own wedding invitations?
I rub the expensive paper between my fingers as if I need to make sure it’s real. Finally convinced it is, I scrutinize the details all over again.
It looks like my wedding invitation all right. Same groom—Mitch Layton. Same ceremony time. Same destination: the tropical paradise of Turks and Caicos.
Everything is identical except the bride’s name and the date. Because this invitation says Sarah Taylor.
And that’s not me.
In fact, the only place it says Saylor Rodgers is on the outside of the envelope where it sits discarded on my desk. I double-check the address one more time. Yep, it was definitely sent to me. On purpose.
I’m an invited guest? Seriously?
Surely the man I left high and dry the week before our wedding wouldn’t invite me to his wedding—to someone else—a mere six months after I called ours off.
But there it is. My name. My address.
Sweet Cheeks CupCakery
Attn: Ms. Saylor Rodgers
1313 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Definitely not a mistake because that’s me, and this is where he knows to find me.
The irony. It’s been six months, and not once has Mitch sought me out to ask for a more detailed explanation other than “because I just can’t do this anymore” as to why I left.
And his first attempt at communication is like this? Inviting me to his wedding in what I can only assume is an obvious attempt to show me how easily I could be replaced? To try to make me feel inadequate while boosting that bruised ego of his?
Such a classic Mitch Layton move; passive-aggression at its finest.
My temper fires but I don’t understand why I’m angry. This doesn’t matter. He doesn’t matter. But if I don’t care about him in the least, why does the sight of this invitation make my stomach churn?
And even more importantly, why am I setting down the RSVP card, picking up a pen, and opting for the filet mignon rather than the macadamia nut encrusted halibut as my entrée selection when I have no intention of going?
Making a selection is just my crazy talking.
So even stranger, why am I placing an X next to the “plus-one” for a guest when there is no plus-one in my life?
I stare at where I wrote my name on the RSVP card, think about everything I’ve been through over the past six months, and know the answer: because it makes me feel good to do it. To know that Mitch can’t affect me anymore. He wanted to upset me with the invitation, and hell yes, for a minute I was just that, angry and hurt. Wouldn’t anyone be when they find out their ex-fiancé has moved on so quickly? But when all is said and done, he accomplished nothing more than making me grateful I’m not the one marrying him. I chalk it up to Mitch being Mitch. Egotistical, arrogant, and childish.
So I stuff the RSVP card inside the little self-addressed stamped return envelope.
All the while imagining the look on Mitch’s face when he opens it and finds my name written on the card inside.
I run my tongue over the adhesive on the flap.
Envision his surprise when he sees I’m bringing a date. You’re not the only one who has found someone to make them happy, Mitch.
Close the flap and press it so it sticks. Picture the look on Rebound Sarah’s face when he hands it to her and tells her to add two more to her headcount. Does she sneer? Does it cause a fight? Or do they snicker over it until they sit back and wonder if I’m really going to show up.
And then worry that I am.
Even if I’m the only one who’ll ever know it, there’s an oddly therapeutic sense of satisfaction holding the sealed envelope in my hand. In knowing his plan has backfired.
God, I’m being ridiculous.
I roll my eyes and toss the sealed envelope on my desk with no intention of ever thinking about it again. I shouldn’t have wasted my time filling it out in the first place because I don’t care. Not one bit. Not about him or what the future Mrs. Layton looks like or his childish need to get the last word in about our relationship by sending me this.
In fact, leaving him was the best thing I’ve ever done.
I’m happier now.
Without a doubt.
My brother grumbles my name for what feels like the tenth time in as many minutes. I ignore him and keep my focus on the elaborate design I’m perfecting on the cupcake in front of me instead.