Title: The Best Mistakes
Series: The Amherst Sinners #3
Author: Elena Monroe
Genre: Bully Romance
Release Date: October 31, 2019
Tall, dangerous, and handsome. Times two.
Five years. One month. And three days after the bonfire from hell.
Post college bliss was actually hell.
I wasn’t using my degree.
I was so lonely I looked for his face in crowded places.
I didn’t have anything figured out, let alone my feelings.
I was stuck between two tall, dangerous, and handsome men – times two.
One showed me how to survive trauma, proved things aren’t what they appear, and no matter how much I didn’t fall head over heels he was always there for me.
The other taught me how live.
But I taught myself how to love.
No one was going to be able to take away my growth, my bravery, or my comfort again. Oliver or not – I was standing on my own.
I couldn’t wait to leave Amherst, to only return a few years later as a professor at my Alma Mater.
The barn fire from hell acted like a bomb, detonating and throwing us all different directions.
Pro baseball player.
Book store manager.
Soon to be wife.
We were all struggling to find our way back to each other while juggling life, love, sex, hardship.
I’m sober, a dad, but something was missing - Layla.
She kicked started my heart when we first met in college, lighting it on fire and branding her name until she run away when things got messy. My son, Arsen, stoked the fire in her absence.
She was always mine and it was time to prove it.
Third time is a charm.
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This was why I always ran away from everything when he showed up. We couldn’t be in the same room without one of us being crushed under the pressure.
She whispered, “Don’t freak out.”
Hunter swatted her away with a rude hand gesture, taking her place in front me, blocking out most of the room in my vision.
“Maddison is just being overly dramatic. Relax. Hey… hey, look at me.”
I turned, looking into Hunter’s deep, dark eyes that were engulfing me. His hand was on my hip, pulling me into him and making the whole room disappear with one kiss—one simple kiss. His soft lips pressed against mine for only a minute before he pulled away, while his hand still cradled my cheek.
I closed my eyes, moved my face closer into his palm, and took a deep breath, as he said to me, “Be brave, Layla.”
Hunter leaned against the railing, pulling me into him again. I looked up, trying to look anywhere else, but I saw Caden’s arms wrap around Oliver, squeezing him. It was like he hadn’t even seen his best friend in a while. I wondered if I wasn’t the only one that Oliver had ghosted.
Jade trailed behind him in a dress that showed the world she was proud of her sexuality and not scared of it—a floral print, short, tight number, paired with heels. Her body still hid the secret of being a mom. The teal ends of her hair still enacted. Her hand dropped to her side like their hug stole away her favorite accessory: Oliver’s hand on her. I looked away to roll my eyes, not one insecurity to focus on.
I sipped the rest of my drink, putting the empty glass down on the table next to me. Without permission, my eyes stole another look at Oliver… except, this time, he was headed straight towards me.
I could have jumped out of my skin with all the anxiety and nerves pounding through my veins, but Hunter’s arm around me kept me still. Too bad he couldn’t provide oxygen with his stability.
“Layla…” was all I heard his voice say.
Hunter pushed his chin up in a silent acknowledgment of his presence.
“Still into being second best, huh?” Oliver growled at him.
Hunter stood up straighter; his face was casually morphing into pissed off. He leaned into Oliver’s space, just to rub Oliver wrong the same wrong way. “I fucked your baby mom in college and now Layla, bro. Who’s second?”
He was pleased with himself, leaning back again, smirking wildly in his triumph.
I excused myself promptly, feeling too overwhelmed. Too many feelings I kept locked up were flooding back. “I’m gonna get another drink.”
Oliver followed me, keeping up with the biggest strides I could take in the ridiculous heels I had chosen to wear.
“Are you just gonna run away every time I’m in the room?”
Infuriated by all the words he let leave his mouth, I spun around on my heel. “Yes, Oliver, I am. Why do you care?” I cursed myself for the lack of gusto in my jab.
Elena Monroe grew up in Florida scribbling down stories from a very young age. These stories were really just wavy lines filling the paper, but she knew each word, each emotion, each character's name, and there was no tricking her into forgetting what each line signified. Just like her unconventional way of writing as a toddler Elena is setting her own rules and just telling stories.
Much like her debut novel, The Best Years, life certainly imitated art. Transplanting from the South to the East Coast, Elena currently lives in Connecticut with her soon to be husband, reformed bad boy.
Find her on her social media through Twitter at @elenamonroe, Instagram at @elenamonroewrites, Facebook at @elenamonroewrites, and more!