Authors: Callie Anderson
opyright © 2016 Callie Anderson
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
: Kari March Design
Content Editor: Jennifer Roberts-Hall, Indie After Hours
Line Editor: Brenda Letendre. Write Girl Editing Services
Proofreader: Shawna Gavas, Behind the Writer
To my mother.
Thank you for teaching me to be so strong. I love you.
One touch changed it all.
I would love her for the rest of my life.
Emilia was my first love.
My only love.
She said love was fatal. She wasn’t lying. Our love was a disaster. But never experiencing a love like ours would have been a tragedy. Our love was the purest venom. It seeped through my veins and embedded deep within my soul. Though it nearly killed me, I had to let her go.
She was my muse. She was the rhythm that flowed through my music. She was the beat of my heart. I knew from the beginning that our story would be larger than life.
Our story had always been fucked up.
It was beautifully broken, filled with lies, egos, and years of pain. She lied to me about my daughter, Lyra. My pride refused to forgive her.
Our worlds crashed into one another, and in the blink of an eye, everything was clear.
She was my world, my heart, and my soul. I swore she would be mine. I swore we would grow old together.
But I lost her to him. I finally accepted that.
I could never have expected what the universe was about to throw our way.
hen I lost her
The day sucked more than any other day before it.
I ran my fingers across my scalp, my shoulders tensed with anger, and sighed remembering the day.
Emilia was getting married.
Though most of my friends were celebrating a wedding, a union of love, I planned to attend my own heart's funeral.
I was shoving clothes into my suitcase, ready to check out of the Ritz Carlton when my phone began to ring on the half–made king–size bed. “What do you want now, Axel?” I yelled at my phone that I refused to answer.
Exhaling my rage, I continued to pack. I’d lived out of this hotel room since coming back to LA from London. It had become my new home, but I needed to get my life organized now that I was a father. Lyra became my priority, before the music or anything else in my life. I had lost four years of her life and I planned to spend every possible chance making it up to her.
I was also packing my shit so I could move in with Chelsea. I’d left her to win Emilia back only to find out she was expecting a child. It killed me that she lost the baby, and I carried that guilt everywhere I went. I promised her we would make things work. I gave her my word. The doctors said it was a normal miscarriage—whatever the fuck that meant—and that there was nothing we could have done. In my heart, I knew the pain I caused her by leaving was what made her lose the baby. This time around it would be different. I would stay by Chelsea’s side.
The screen began to light up again. I scoffed and threw my toothbrush into the suitcase. Reaching across the bed, I snatched my phone. “Hello?”
“Bro, you can't let this happen today,” Axel spit out impatiently.
“What are you talking about?” I searched the room, looking for something to distract me as I pretended I had no recollection of what he was referring to. My gaze landed on the dark gray drapes that kept the sun out. I knew what day it was. I’d marked it on my calendar, hoping the day would never arrive.
“You know what the fuck I'm talking about. You can't let her marry this fool!” He shouted the last part.
“Ax, man, it is what it is.” I pinched the bridge of my nose, not wanting to listen to him, to what he was trying to dig out of me.
She was fucking getting married.
My heart had yet to accept this.
Under his breath, I heard him say a few more choice words. “That's fucking bullshit.”
“Listen…” I paused, digging my fingernails into the back of my neck. “At the end of the day we don't all get what we want, but let me let you go. I have to check out of this hotel soon.” I didn’t want to drag out the conversation any longer.
I didn’t wait for him to say good–bye.
I tossed my phone on the bed and went back to what I was doing. I refused to let my mind wander back to Emilia.
milia’s best friend
, Leslie, called me an hour later.
“Hello?” I answered, already frustrated. What did they want me to do?
“This is your last chance to stop this from happening.”
Her low voice piqued my interest. “Why are you whispering? Where are you, Leslie?”
“Em is getting her makeup done in the other room, so I have to make this fast—”
“No, you don’t,” I interjected. I wondered if Leslie had ever told Emilia that she was the one who called me on Emilia’s birthday and insisted I go see her at work. Because of Leslie, I’d found out about Lyra. “I'm not stopping this wedding. She said yes to him before I came back into her life.”
“Weston, you’re the one she should be with. You
knows this. Hell, everyone who knows you two, knows this,” she said in a low, composed voice. “You two have a kid together, for crying out loud.”
A small grin grew on my face at the mention of Lyra. Emilia had given me the world when she decided to have Lyra. “It's not that easy, Les.” I sighed and closed my eyes. My free hand pinched the bridge of my nose as my mind waged battle between what my heart wanted and what was the right thing to do.
“Yes, it is,” she replied sharply. “You're mad that she lied about Lyra. I get it. I would be too. But she did it because she was trying to protect Lyra. And can you really be mad at a woman who was doing everything she could to protect her child? Even though it was selfish. And say what you want, you're still Emilia and Weston. You two were destined to be together.”
I sat on the bed and lowered my head. “I'm moving in with Chelsea.”
“Chelsea, Shmelsea, you know damn well that's not going to work. Just like we all know Emilia will never love Jeremy the way she loves you. This wedding is her running from the reality that has become her life.”
“Leslie, I have to go.”
“She asked you to tell her not to do it. She told me. You still have a chance, but this is your
chance, Weston. The church is Glory Calvary in Pasadena. If you leave now, you can still make it.”
I hung up the phone with Leslie and tossed it on the oversize bed for the second time. I wouldn’t stop the wedding. There was no point. Emilia and I had been through hell, and we could never work things out.
That was a fucking lie.
Somewhere through the lies, we’d found our way. Because that’s what our love was like. It was worth fighting for.
I remembered the first time we met. How one touch changed it all. How she blushed when she looked up at me, and the way
. There was something about her that grasped my interest.
Her auburn hair was tossed up, and her skin shone from the sun. She was perfection, a true beauty, and instantly I wanted to know everything about her. I wanted to know what made her smile, what her lips tasted like. I wanted to know what her body felt like under my skin.
I craved her.
Emilia was the girl who walked into my life and changed it forever.
Mama always said love would smack me upside the head when I least expected it.
Emilia was my love.
The mother of my sweet little princess.
I didn't know if it was the trip down memory lane or the fear of losing Emilia forever, but without a second thought, I tossed my bag over my shoulder, grabbed my keys off the table and rushed out of my hotel room.
On the drive up to Pasadena, my mind replayed all the time we had spent together, and any reservations about us not being together diminished. The anger dissipated and all I wanted was a life with Emilia.
I pulled up to the church and I saw her dressed in white. I stared at her dress, her hair, the flowers in her hand…
She looked breathtaking.
She was pure perfection,
queen. But the longer I stared at her dress, her hair, the flowers in her hand…
That should have been us.
was supposed to be the guy waiting for her inside the church. I had given her my word when I gave her that ring. It was a promise I’d planned on honoring. The anger and sadness kept snowballing.
My hatred for her was back.
She kept me in the dark about Lyra. She knew I wanted kids. She knew that I would never abandon a child. Emilia had stolen years with Lyra away from me and now she was marrying someone else.
My gaze locked with hers and I saw hope in them. Hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for a future together.
But I couldn't give her that.
She had owned my soul and then shredded it to pieces.
Revving the car, I passed the front of the church, our gazes never pulling apart. There had been too much damage done to our relationship.
Our love had to live in the past.
I blinked, securing her beauty in my mind one last time before I drove off. Turning on the first street, I coiled my fist and punched the steering wheel. What the fuck was I thinking?
Frustrated, I ran my fingers through my hair. She had already made her decision and I had made mine. Chelsea and I were a better match. There weren’t years of lies between us. I headed back toward the freeway and drove directly towards Chelsea's home.
* * *
Chelsea lived in a small townhouse complex in Culver City. Shifting my car into park, I ran up the sidewalk toward her door and knocked. My knuckles ached from tapping repeatedly. She pulled open the door, and her green eyes scanned mine for answers.
“Hey, what’s with all the banging? I wasn’t expecting you for a few hours.” She moved to look behind me. “Where’s your stuff?”
I met Chelsea during my last month in London. She was at a pub with her girlfriends and my ears instantly perked at her cute American accent. She was the first girl who caught my attention after Emilia. Though I’d had plenty of casual hookups while in London, no one had ever caught my interest until Chelsea. She wasn't needy like most girls, and she didn't want to call me repeatedly to see what I was doing. We clicked. She was a breath of fresh air in a cloud of smoke. Her laughter was infectious, she was caring and loving, and me being a musician didn't bother her.
The opposite of Emilia…
I cupped her face and kissed her repeatedly, my mind trying to push away the look in Emilia’s eyes.
Chelsea’s soft hands pressed on my chest and pushed me back. “We can’t christen the house yet,” she teased. “I wasn't expecting you for a few more hours, and I haven’t cleaned up your side of the closet.” She giggled and wrapped her small hands around my body, yanking me into a hug.
A few weeks back, I broke things off with Chelsea. I told her our relationship just wasn't what I was looking for, and that I had a lot going on with my music. It was unfair for me to string her along. In reality, I just wanted to fight for Emilia one more time. And I almost had her. She came back to me, and then Chelsea told me she was pregnant and everything changed. I let Emilia go, and I came back to Chelsea, ready to be by her side, but unfortunately, we lost the baby.
“Let's get married.” I brushed my lips against hers.
Her laughter faded away. “Weston…”
My breath came out in spurts and the realization began to set in. “Let's drive off to Vegas and elope.”
“You sound insane.” Chelsea slapped my rapidly beating chest and turned to walk away.
Locking my fingers around her arm, I twirled her around. “I sound like a man who’s determined to make you his wife now.” I dropped down on one knee. “Chelsea, will you marry me?”
She gasped for air and brought her hands to her face. She waited a few seconds, and I knew she was looking at me for a change of heart. “Of course!”
As far as I was concerned I wasn’t changing my mind. Standing, I pulled her close to me and framed her face with my hands. “Pack a bag.”
She pressed her soft lips to mine. The grin grew sideways on her heart shaped face as the seconds passed. “Now?”
“Yes, right now.”
“Okay.” She beamed up at me and placed one last kiss on my lips before she turned and ran toward her bedroom.
This was it. I was getting married today, too. I ignored all sense of logic. I mentally told myself that I wasn’t doing this out of spite, that I truly loved Chelsea and that she would make me her husband today. She’d be the one to sing the song my heart needed to hear today.
She’d never be that girl.