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From USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Sucevic comes a new, sexy standalone novel.
*Heartless is a New Adult novel intended for mature audiences*
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“Y ay! The bitches are back together again and tonight we ride!” Lanie wraps her arms around me and squeezes tight. “It’s been too long, girl! Way too long!”
A reluctant smile curves my lips. “I know. It’s good to be back.” The circumstances surrounding my return are less than ideal, but I’m happy to see Lanie again. She’s been my best friend since middle school, and I’ve missed her. Facetime and texting are nice but it’s not the same as talking in person. She links her arm through mine as we walk across the open field.
I glance at the cute cowboy boots that adorn her feet. When she told me that we were going to a field in the middle of nowhere, I didn’t believe her.
That was my first mistake.
Not going with sturdier footwear.
Instead, I’m wearing a pair of flimsy sandals. They’re cute as hell but that’s not going to do me a whole lot of good across this terrain.
Lanie insisted we celebrate my return by dragging me to a bonfire in a farmer’s field. Already the place is crawling with drunk-off-their-asses, barely legal adults. Shouting and raucous laughter fills the balmy night air.
Even though I know it won’t do me any good, my gaze coasts anxiously over the ever-swelling crowd. Nerves dance across my spine as I silently pray Hunter will be absent from the revelry. Or, if he is here, we’ll somehow be able to avoid one another.
If I know Lanie—and I do—she’ll be up my ass to cut loose and have fun. How can I do that when Hunter and I now attend the same college? At any given moment I could turn a corner and smack right into him.
The thought of that happening makes me nauseous.
As much as I want to play it cool and act like my ex-boyfriend doesn’t matter, the words slip from my mouth before I can stop them. “You don’t think he’ll be here, do you?” I shoot her a look that’s rife with concern.
Lanie doesn’t bother to ask who I’m referring to. She doesn’t have to. She’s all too aware of my past. She had a front-row seat to our relationship. And its demise.
“I don’t know,” she pauses and pops her shoulders into a careless shrug, “maybe.”
“What?” My feet grind to a halt as my mouth dries, turning cottony. I’m barely aware of the blades of straw poking my feet through the leather sandals. “But you said—”
Her expression hardens, transforming into one of impatience. “Even if he is here, the chances of you running into him are slim.” She waves an arm toward the massive group of students who have gathered to mourn the end of summer by drinking themselves into a stupor. “Look around. Half the university is here. There’s no way you’re going to see him, Skye, so stop worrying about it and live a little.”
My teeth sink into my lower lip before I suck the fullness into my mouth. No matter what Lanie says, I’m going to worry.
When I remain silent, my best friend plants her hands on her hips and glares. Here comes Lanie’s version of tough love.
“Would you rather sit home by yourself on a Saturday night because you’re too chickenshit to show your face? Afraid that you might run into Hunter Price?”
I’m sorry, is that really a question?
From the annoyed expression that flickers across Lanie’s face, I decide to keep those thoughts to myself.
“Skye Elizabeth Sinclair!”
I wince as my full name cracks through the air. It brings an unpleasant image of my mother to mind. This is what I get for living with someone who isn’t afraid to call me out on my bullshit. Maybe I should have taken Dad up on the offer to live with him.
I decide to go with something close to the truth. “I was hoping to avoid him for a while,” I mutter. “That’s all.”
And when I say awhile, what I really mean is forever.
Is that really too much to ask?
Lanie sighs as her expression softens. Marginally. “I know, but you’re going to run into him on campus or at a party eventually. It’s inevitable. Accept it and move on.”
Easy for her to say. Lanie doesn’t have any ghosts from her past that are ready to jump out and scare her.
I have a carefully constructed plan in place for the year. It involves laying low and flying under the radar, so Hunter doesn’t even know I’m here. “Yeah, I guess…”
Unwilling to let me backslide, Lanie loops her arm through mine and pulls me toward the growing group of partiers. “It’ll be fine. I promise.”
Unfortunately, my bestie isn’t in a position to guarantee me anything and we both know it.
The closer we get to the party, the more my anxiety ratchets up. At least night has fallen. The only light that emanates is from the bonfire that flickers in the distance and the stars that twinkle across the dark velvety sky.