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** I suggest reading blind if you want all the feels! **
The people we love are thieves.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
They say you never forget your first time.
He was my first love. And fourteen years later, I still can’t get him out of my head.
He broke all my rules.
I watched him climb to stardom, cheering him on from afar.
Like a tornado, he spiraled, leaving a path of destruction in his wake.
But love conquers all, right? It has to. Because here I stand, ravaged and ruined, needing it to be true.
You can’t go back, but I want to. Back to the bridge. Back to when he sang only for me. Before he was famous. Before he shattered my heart.
I thought I knew everything about him.
He promised me every tomorrow. And here I am, waiting.
**there is no cliffhanger and no cheating in this book
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A menu sails across my desk and knocks over my paperclip holder.
“Earth to Piper Karel,” my co-worker Melissa says, ignoring the destruction she just caused. “How interesting can reception work really be? I’ve said your name like three times! I’m calling in a lunch order soon and going to pick it up. Do you want anything?”
It’s 10:30 a.m. and I’m still nursing the tea I made earlier this morning. I’ve been too buried sorting out my inbox to even touch my granola bar, let alone to think about what I want for lunch. I wonder what’s going on in Melissa’s inbox that lunch is her priority.
I hand the checkered menu back to her and return my paperclips back to their little rectangular magnetic house. “No, thank you. I’m good.”
“Maybe if you ate lunch once in a while you wouldn’t be such a stick, Piper.”
“I do eat lunch, Melissa. I just like to eat at the park and get some fresh air instead of being in this office for nine hours straight every day.”
“You miss all the fun leaving the office for lunch every day. All the good stuff happens in the lunch room in this place.”
Ah, yes. The office gossip. Just last week I missed some drama. If I’m ever up for a promotion, I can guarantee I wouldn’t congratulate my competitor by dumping my salad into her lap.
“I just like some quiet time to myself sometimes,” I reply.
“Right. Enjoy your quiet lunch then. All by yourself. As usual.” She tosses her hair and flounces away with the menu tucked under her arm.
At twenty-one, I’m the youngest person in the office. I work for a small fashion design firm. Our activewear line is really popular nationwide and two seasons ago we partnered with a celebrity designer on a pair of yoga pants that put the company on the map. I started working here as a receptionist and general office assistant part-time my senior year of high school and was brought on full-time after I graduated. Answering phone calls and typing letters isn’t exactly my idea of a career, but it pays the bills. The company is growing steadily and there are always openings for new positions. I’m just waiting for the right one to pique my interest, hopefully in marketing or product development. For now, I’m happy learning as much about the products and the company as I can.
When I took this job, I hoped it would be a new start for me across the board. I was looking forward to being around people who didn’t know how awkward I had always been, and I thought I’d make new friends.
I was the girl who puked on the first day of first grade and who tripped wearing black pumps and a mini skirt on the first day of high school. I fell like a baby deer, legs sprawled, and flashed my panties with little kittens on them to half the school. They never forgot I was the puker, and they sure as hell didn’t forget I was the one with the kitten panties. The boys purred and meowed at me for months, and the girls nicknamed me Pussypuker.
I had such high hopes for joining the working world—a real professional atmosphere. I didn’t expect to be surrounded by married men who flirted with all the women. Or stressed-out coffee addicts who screamed about their spreadsheets. Or women who gossiped and stirred drama like they were paid to.
Welcome to adulthood.
And I certainly wasn’t expecting Melissa, who graduated from high school the year before me, to start working here a few months ago. She was one of the elite popular girls in school. She had the nicest clothes, the nicest car, friends who hung on her every word, and all the most attractive guys panting after her. My awkwardness and random mishaps were a great source of amusement for her back then. She’s much more subtle about mocking me now, but she’s still just as annoying.
Just before noon, I take two steps into the courtyard of the office building when something smashes into the side of my head. Hard, soft, and…flapping? I reach up and touch a small sore spot above my temple. A small blue bird flutters haphazardly on the ground next to my feet before it flies off into a nearby tree.
What the heck? I scrunch my eyes against a dull pain in my temple, wondering what it says about me that a bird flew into my head.
Laughter erupts from my right. Melissa and a woman from accounting are smoking and shaking their heads at me. I’m pretty sure I heard the word birdbrain thrown in my direction.
Shaking off my embarrassment, I retrieve a compact mirror from my purse. The quiet park is just a few blocks away, but I want to make sure I don’t have a gash on my head, which would only renew my humiliation. What I assume was the point of beak impact hurts, but after inspection, I see no blood—only faint redness… and a tiny blue feather stuck to my forehead.