It’s been six months since Willow left Kate Bergman’s college dorm room to go for an evening run…and never came back.
Everybody else who loved Willow is ready for closure, but something deep inside Kate says that her dearest childhood friend is somehow still alive. And that obstinate conviction is alienating all the people Kate loves most.
Even River McEwan is upset with her, and that’s the deepest blow of all. River was Willow’s boyfriend, but the three of them—Kate, Willow, and River—have been friends since childhood.
When a professor assigns Kate and River to be partners in a joint research project, Kate hopes it’s a chance to tear down the barrier between them, but instead faces an even bigger challenge. As she and River meet over the school project, their renewed friendship flares into something more.
Soon River is enticing Kate to do things she’s never dreamed of. But while she can’t imagine giving up River, Kate doesn’t know whether she can—or even should—stop wondering whether Willow will ever come home….
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Emma was raised in upstate NY. Being an only child, she spent a great deal of time alone dreaming up characters that would keep her company on long family road trips. Putting her writing on the back burner, she went to college and became a chiropractor. After spending 14 years healing patients, Emma decided—with the help of her amazingly supportive husband—to use the creative side of her brain and let her characters come to the page.
If she’s not writing, Emma can be found at the gym, one of her kids sporting events, Starbucks, or at a live music event.
A perfect day for Emma would be spent at her lake house with her husband, two ginger-haired children, and Vizsla, reading a book and drinking a large cup of coffee (or wine) with music playing in the background.
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“Do you have any idea in that gorgeous head of yours how difficult it’s going to be for us to just be friends?” River pushes a stray hair from my face, looking directly in my eyes.
He walks up to me and stands entirely too close.
I can smell him and feel his warm breath against my face
River’s voice gets low, and he wipes at my eyes with the pads of his fingers. “I keep trying to force myself to have feelings for Willow, but I think it’s impossible.”
“Why?” I ask between sobs.
“Do you really want to know why, Kate?”
“Yes, tell me.”
River presses the hard lines of his body into mine and puts his hands on my face. “It’s really simple. It’s because she isn’t you.” River stares into my eyes and slowly inches his lips to mine. There’s so much want behind it, deep and powerful, as if he’s trying to possess me—own me. It’s like this every time River kisses me.
Before I know it. River’s face is in my hair as he whispers in my ear. “I want to touch you so bad.” I shiver at the feel of his warm breath smelling of soda and River.
“You can’t,” I say under my breath. “Please stop. They’re going to see.”
“You’re so close to me. I miss you.” His hand moves back up my leg.
My heart melts. I miss him too, and all I want to do is be close to him. I can’t let him know I agree, though. “I’m sorry,” I whisper, and I shift my legs so they are on top of Lane’s.
Before I can say anything, he puts his arms around me, planting his lips so harshly to mine I can barely register what’s happening.
The kiss is powerful. Filled with urgency and desire.
Far be it for me to stop him now, because I’m hungry for it. I want this closeness with him, and all of the resolve I’ve had built up is suddenly knocked down with one kiss. Lips to lips, tongue to tongue, all I can breathe is River.