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The Vow (North Woods University #4)
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After tragedy struck, I vowed never to fall in love again.
Then she walked in…
She’s here to study, and I’m the newly appointed Dean.
I shouldn’t be tempted by a student, especially one who’s ten years younger than me.
And I definitely shouldn’t be having feelings for her.
But I am…
Because as badly as I don’t want to admit it Lily might just be the one person to make me fall in love again.
That is, if I can let go of the hold her dead sisters memory has, on my heart.
**This is book four in the North Woods University Series. It can be read as a complete standalone and contains NO cliffhanger, NO cheating, and a HEA. Please be advised this series contains material not suitable for all readers. This is NOT a YA series.**
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Sitting at the large desk in my brand-new office, I sign the last stack of papers for the day. It’s still weird to write my name on the line above Dean of North Woods University, but I’m slowly getting used to it. It’s not like I never thought I would make it here. I just didn’t think it would happen so fast.
Thanks to the old dean’s sudden early retirement, my career got fast-tracked exponentially. Not that I’m complaining at all. This is a great job, my dream job, to be honest.
My stomach growls just as I sign the last dotted line, reminding me that lunch was a long time ago and that I stayed late yet another day to get shit done. Shoving the papers in an envelope, I move to get up, grabbing my jacket from the chair behind me when a soft knock on the door fills the room.
“Come in,” I call as I slip into my coat. It’s probably just a student needing assistance with something. The door opens, and I look up to see a woman hovering in the doorway.
My heart stops beating in my chest. All the air leaves my lungs, and every thought evades my mind. All I can do is stare at the small woman standing in my office.
Shoulder-length blonde hair, a heart-shaped face with a small button nose in the middle, two large blue eyes the color of the summer sky, and pink pillowy full lips just begging to be kissed. Her skin is the same pale shade of ivory I remember, everything about her is just like I remember… my Amy.
“I wasn’t sure if you would even remember me, but the look on your face tells me you do.” Her voice fills the room, and like a needle popping a balloon, I deflate. It’s the voice that does it because it’s not Amy’s voice, it’s not her soft sing-song voice I hear and how could it be… Amy is dead.
“I’m sorry, I…” I trail off, still staring at the woman like an idiot. I know it’s not Amy, deep down I do, but the woman before me looks so much like her, and then it hits me like a pile of bricks falling from a tall building.
She just said that she wasn’t sure I’d remember her. Which means I do know her, and if I know her, and she looks like Amy…
“Lily?” Her name slowly falls from my lips.
A smile spreads across her beautiful face, and again I’m rendered speechless. The similarities are too much. My heart aches just looking at her, and it’s a stark reminder of everything I’ve lost. Of everything that I’ll never be able to get back. Still, I can’t stop myself from looking at her. My eyes are glued to her face, taking in every breathtaking inch of her.
“I just wanted to come, say hi,” she explains sadness seeping into her eyes. “I’m a new student here. I just moved into the dorms.” She takes a step forward, closer to me, and I can’t handle it. Glancing away from her face, I drink in her body.
The last time I saw her, she was only a child. Amy’s little sister, with pigtails in her hair and barbie dolls in her small hands. She was mourning the loss of her big sister, of her parents, while I was mourning the loss of my world.
She’s not a child anymore. She is all woman now, her hips swaying from side to side as she steps closer. I swallow hard as she gets close enough for me to catch a whiff of her. Coconuts and jasmine; exotic and forbidden. I force myself to look back up and into her eyes. She might be all grown up now, but in my eyes, she’ll always be Amy’s little sister.
“You’re a student here?” I ask, trying to keep my voice even.
“Yes, starting classes next week,” she beams at me.
“Wow, that’s crazy… I mean… You’re all grown up, going to college… here. That’s great,” I say, stumbling over my own words trying to catch my footing before I stick my foot in my mouth and say something stupid.
“Yeah, I can’t really believe it myself. But I’m glad it’s happening, I’m glad to finally be out on my own. I didn’t think it would happen, but I ended up getting a scholarship. The dorms are really nice, by the way, and I like my roommate.”
“That’s amazing. I’m glad you like it here. North Woods is a great school… and the new dean is amazing, so I’ve heard.” At my joke, she starts giggling softly, the sound vibrating through me, and I don’t understand what it does to me. It stirs something inside me, something I haven’t felt in so long that I don’t remember what it is. Shoving that feeling down, I try to compose myself, standing up a little straighter.