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More Than Anything (Broken Pieces #1)
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Two lovers strive to trade a grim past for a bright future in this story of bittersweet yearning.
Tina Jenson belongs to the same social stratum as Harris Chapman, but he’s out of her league—at least that’s what she thinks before they jump in bed together. It’s the perfect night, but when she overhears crude, hurtful comments the next morning, she can’t get away fast enough.
Ten years later, Tina’s life is a mess. That night with Harris didn’t just hurt her feelings; it started a cascade of disappointment and heartbreak. Every time she bumps into Harris, her heart twists inside out. She still wants him, but she’s harboring a painful secret from their night together that she’s not ready to reveal.
Crossed signals, high-society whispers, and shame have kept Tina and Harris apart for years, but deep down, they’re hungry for each other and eager to write their own rules. Can they let go of the past and find their way back to each other, or are the barriers between them too high and too strong?
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Ten Years Ago
“I look like a heifer,” Tina Jenson lamented, staring at her reflection in utter dismay. She turned to the side to assess her body in profile. Ugh, why did her butt have to be so huge? Why did her everything have to be so huge? She caught Libby’s gaze in the mirror.
“You do not. You look like a movie star.” The naked admiration mixed with a dash of hero worship glowing in her best friend’s eyes made Tina uncomfortable. Libby had the unnerving habit of seeing a version of her that Tina wasn’t sure actually existed.
“You’re so pretty,” Libby said, sounding a little awestruck.
“Do you really think so?” Tina wanted to believe her, but—her eyes flickered back to the mirror—she felt self-conscious with so much of her flesh on display.
“Yes,” Libby replied, her voice still tinged with reverence.
Tina smiled in response to the absolute certainty in Libby’s voice. Her hypercritical gaze remained glued to her own reflection. Maybe the dress wasn’t as tight and short as she thought. It was red; her mother always said that redheads should never wear red. But Tina thought that the deep-ruby color contrasted nicely with her too-pale skin. If Libby’s reaction was anything to go by, maybe Tina’s instinct hadn’t failed her after all.
Libby was so lucky—she was tall, and she had a lean athlete’s body. And while the sixteen-year-old often lamented her lack in the boob department, Tina would have given anything to have a body like her best friend’s. By comparison, Tina thought she looked like a baby whale. Her boobs were too big, for one thing, and there was definitely nothing athletic about her.
She had tried school netball a few years ago—figuring maybe team sports would be a fun way to get fit and fit in—but that decision had proven to be a colossal failure when none of her reluctant teammates had even acknowledged her presence during the only match she had ever played. She had stood on the court like an idiot, frantically waving her arms to indicate that she was open, while the rest of the team deliberately and maliciously ignored her. Seriously, the girls at her school had been such jerks. Tina, who had graduated from high school just a month ago, was so happy she no longer had to see those awful people on a daily basis.
That was why she and Libby got along so well: they were both social outcasts. One was a “fatty” who didn’t fit in with the popular crowd, and the other came from a humble working-class family. And, of course, they had also bonded because they both seriously crushed on the Chapman twins. Tina had a thing for Harrison, and Libby used to follow Greyson around like a lost little puppy. Even though the twins were identical in appearance, their personalities were so distinct that it was pretty easy to differentiate between them. Well, it was for Libby and Tina. Everybody else always got them confused, and it made both girls feel special, knowing they were among the very few people who could tell the guys apart.
“My bum doesn’t look too big in this, right?” Tina asked, pensively eyeing the body part in question.
“You have an awesome ass,” Libby said, always loyal to a fault.
Not in the least bit comforted by Libby’s words, Tina still worried that the dress clung to parts of her that she would much rather have kept hidden. But when they heard cars squealing up the drive seconds later, Tina determinedly set aside her anxiety, and both girls bounced, excited about the evening to come.
“I wish I could go to the party,” Libby said, her words accompanied by a sigh.
“Me too.” Tina nodded, trying to prevent melancholy from creeping into her voice. “I could use a friend. None of those girls ever talk to me.”
“You’re going to have a fabulous time. Take tons of pics, and remember every detail; you have to tell me everything later.”
“Of course,” Tina promised. The twins were celebrating their twentieth birthday today, and they were having a massive party at their huge family home in the affluent suburb of Constantia in Cape Town. Despite living in the same house as the twins, Libby hadn’t been invited. She was too young and, because her parents worked for the Chapmans, was never really included in their group’s social events. Eighteen-year-old Tina had received an invitation, as had her brother Smith, who was the same age as the twins. Tina knew she’d only been invited because the Jenson and Chapman families were close. Harris and Smith were best friends, and Tina had often tagged along with the twins and her brother when she was a kid. That was before the boys had hit puberty and got too cool to hang out with her, of course. Tina knew that she only got invited to the twins’ events these days out of obligation.