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Excerpt: After Loving You by Ashelyn Drake

When Mia Thompson and Jared Grande break up before college, they think that’s the end for them. 
But two years later, Mia is stalking Jared’s Facebook page and he’s contacting her every chance he gets. Even though they’re both seeing other people, they can’t seem to say good-bye to the past they shared. 
One way or another, they’ll have to figure out how to love again. Is it time to get back together or time to move on? 


“Mark, I really like you,” I say, feeling the need to reassure him of my feelings.

“But . . . ”

This can’t wait. I have to tell him now or he’ll be in agony until we see each other. “Something happened. Something I’m not proud of.”

“The guy from back home.” He says it so matter-of-factly.

“We sort of kissed, but it doesn’t mean anything. Nothing’s changed. It was a huge mistake and I came right home.”

“So this happened today, then?”

“Not exactly. I came back last night.”

He doesn’t respond. I wait, giving him time to process this. I can’t push him or I might lose him. “Why did you wait until now to tell me?”

“Things with Jared didn’t end well, and I needed to make sure I knew what that meant for both Jared and me and us.”

“Is there an us?” I hear Sammy yapping in the background and then what sounds like a refrigerator door slamming shut.

“I hope there can be.”

He swallows three times in short succession.

“Rehydrating?” I ask, unable to keep the awkwardness from my voice.

“Beer doesn’t really rehydrate you,” he answers. Wonderful, I’ve driven him to drink.

“I know it doesn’t help, but I’m sorry.”

“Whatever. We just met, right? I guess I don’t really have a right to be angry. You told me about Jared before you left. I should have seen this coming. I shouldn’t be surprised at all. But I am. I’m so fucking mad right now, Mia.” He’s not yelling, and that makes it worse because each word is laced with pain.

“You have every right to be mad at me.”

“But that’s just it. I don’t have a right to be mad. You love him. You told me as much. How can I compete with that?”

My head lowers and my gaze falls on my hand. For the first time I wish I had a burn. I want some sort of memory of Mark and me before everything went to hell. “What I feel for him doesn’t change what I feel for you.”

“And what is that? What do you feel for me, Mia?”

I take a deep breath and grab my coat and keys. “Can I come over so we can talk in person?”

“I’m sweaty and disgusting.”

That’s the lamest excuse ever. “I don’t care, but if you don’t want to see me, say that, Mark. Don’t hide behind a little sweat.”

“Fine. You want the truth? Here’s the truth.” He lets out a long breath before continuing. “If you come over here, I’m going to forgive you and tell you we can start over. I’m going to give you a second chance, and I’m going to be so damn happy about it, which will make me hate myself because I’ll be the biggest pussy in the world.” His rambling only makes me want to see him more. He really cares about me, and I can’t let him go.

“I’m on my way.” I hang up before he can tell me not to come.

About the Author

Ashelyn Drake is a New Adult and Young Adult contemporary romance author. While it’s rare for her not to have either a book in hand or her fingers flying across a laptop, she also enjoys spending time with her family. She believes you are never too old to enjoy a good swing set and there’s never a bad time for some dark chocolate. She also writes speculative fiction under the name Kelly Hashway.

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