My name is Amanda Conrad and I. Am. A doctor. When my cousin Liv whisked me away to South Africa to be maid of honor in her super-secret celebrity wedding, I was about to begin a five-year residency at NYU and was on my way to becoming a plastic surgeon. My plans definitely did not include a rock-star best man sweeping me off my feet.
But what happened in South Africa needed to stay there—he’d return to his touring and I’d start my residency, with our fond memories of a whirlwind, fairy-tale week. But now nothing feels right—I’m questioning my once solid plans, and I can’t stop thinking about him. Our lives are so different… Am I ready to risk everything I’ve worked for since I was thirteen—and put my heart on the line? To dream bigger than I ever thought possible? To believe I can have it all? That’s the thing about growing up…sometimes you have to be brave enough to redefine happily ever after.
“Nothing like facing death to make you appreciate life,” he says, tucking a blanket around my shoulders and drawing me to his side.
“Thank you for looking out for us. I’m glad we had you and your stately sword standing guard.” I wave the stick I’m still carrying.
He laughs, and I feel him shift next to me. Suddenly his face is close enough to mine that I can see his eyes sparkling in the dark.
My stomach drops.
“I wouldn’t have let anything happen to you, you know. I would have saved you first.” His voice is rough, surprisingly serious, and his fingers tickle the back of my neck, making my insides tighten. He doesn’t give me time to respond—or to think. Caught in the gravity of his gaze, I’m vaguely aware of his hands cupping my jaw, and then he presses his lips to mine and all my nerve endings explode in a blinding white light. Urging my mouth open, he plunges deeper, and it is as if the earth tilts, forcing me to slide against him, pinning us together as one. I forget where we are or who may be looking; not that they could see us in the dark anyway. All I know is him—the pressure of his lips, the strength of his chest against mine—and hot longing pulsates deep inside me.
The Land Rover lurches forward, yanking us apart and wedging the cold wind between us. Shocked by the abrupt interruption, I fumble for him in the night as we pick up speed, once again sailing over the plains.
“I’m sorry.” His voice arrives on the wind, barely audible over the whir of the tires. Finding me, he once again wraps me in his warmth, holding my back to his chest and resting his chin on top of my head. “I couldn’t help myself.”
I can feel his heart pounding through our shirts, and mine matches his pace. Overwhelmed with a sense of connectedness, oneness both with him and the earth, I twist to look up at him, admiring the outline of his jaw silhouetted against the starry sky. “Don’t be sorry. I’m not.”
My words evaporate on the breeze, but he squeezes me in response, sending a hot thrill down my spine, and I settle back, unable to get close enough to him. Basking in the security of his arms as we bob and dip over the terrain, I wish I could bottle the fizzy joy bubbling in my veins that is making me believe I’m limitless, that we are invincible.
About the Author
Katie is a fashion designer turned novelist. She graduated with a BA in Communication Studies from UCLA and a Professional Designation in Fashion Design from FIDM. It never occurred to her that she was a writer until an economic crisis induced career shift from lingerie designer to ecommerce webmistress led her to start the company blog. Not being an expert in lingerie, she decided to write the blog as a fictional serial starring a girl named Olivia Bloom who worked for the lingerie line. And that’s when Katie fell in love with storytelling. She hasn’t looked back since. Katie lives in Los Angeles with her husband.