So I've been working like crazy to get book 3 finished and I did last night - Yay!! So to celebrate I'm going to give everyone a sneak peek at chapter 1 in Jane's story. Sorry I can't show you my cover yet but my cover artist is working on it right this second. I'll post it as soon as I can. Oops - almost forgot. So when I see Tate in my mind, I'm picturing Ezra Taylor a Rugby player for New Zealand. Haven't heard of him? You poor thing. Here's a pic for you:
Would it be fair to post a pic of Tate and not Jane? Probably not. So I will go ahead and admit that if my books were ever made into movies, I would have to cast someone who looked a lot like Jennifer Garner to play Jane. What do you think?
Jane waved good bye to Layla and Michael as they drove away in Michael’s car. She grinned as the strings of cans made a horrendous sound on the pavement. She might have over done it on the whip cream and toilet paper but it was her big sister’s wedding. How could she hold back?
“I swear Jane if you destroy Hunter’s car at our wedding I’m going to get revenge.”
Jane glanced over her shoulder at her other sister Kit and stuck out her tongue. “You’re no fun now that you’re engaged. Hunter won’t mind. I was planning on decorating his car with cinnamon buns to remind him of your princess Leia hair the day he proposed.”
Kit grinned and shrugged. “That’s kind of cute. I’ll consider it.”
Jane rolled her eyes and turned around to survey the last of the wedding guests making their way to the parking lot. “She did it. She really went and got married on us. Now what?”
Kit put her arm around her little sister’s shoulders as they walked back toward the crowd. “As Hunter always says, we move on to the next level. There’s no going back Jane. And I don’t want to,” she said softly, staring at her fiancé as he walked toward her with a half-smile on his face.
Jane sighed as she watched Kit move seamlessly into Hunter’s arms. Hunter dipped Kit low over his arm and kissed her before picking her up in his arms, making her sister laugh like a sixteen year old. She smiled as they walked away in their own world and realized how alone she was. Layla was gone now. Married and on her way to a two week honeymoon. Kit was engaged and would be married in two months. And her? She was all by herself.
Jane let out a small sigh and plastered on a stiff smile. She needed to go say her good byes to everyone before heading back home. She found Michael’s mom and dad and gave them both brief hugs and then leaned down to say good bye to Stella her new niece.
Stella looked a little left out too. Jane grinned, knowing exactly how she felt. “How would you like to come by the bakery for a couple hours on Monday? Since your mom is gone on her honeymoon, we’re going to be shorthanded,” she said, watching the little girl’s face turn from pouty to excited. They weren’t really going to be shorthanded since Hunter’s mom had agreed to come in and bake pies for them for two weeks, but everyone needed to feel needed.
Stella clapped her hands and jumped up and down. “Can I wear an apron and a hat like last time?” she asked, her little face beaming.
Jane laughed and reached down to run a hand down Stella’s soft pale brown hair. “You better believe it,” she said and grinned at her niece.
She said good bye to a few more friends and acquaintances and then headed for the parking lot.
“Jane! Wait up a second.”
Jane inwardly cringed and turned around, recognizing the voice immediately. Garrett, her ex-boyfriend. She watched him walk towards her and she smiled politely. He was so gorgeous and tall and strong and good. She didn’t know what was wrong with her that she couldn’t fall for him.
“Hey Garrett. Did you enjoy the reception?” she asked as he fell in step with her.
Garrett put an arm around her shoulders as they walked and Jane bit her lip as she fought the urge to step out and away from him.
“Yeah, it was great. Michael’s like a brother to me. Seeing him happy at last with your sister does my heart good. What about you? Having fun?” he asked, looking down at her curiously. “I didn’t see you dancing.”
Jane looked up and smiled quickly. “Are you kidding? I loved every moment! Layla was so beautiful. I know they’re going to be happy. And now they’re on their way to Paris. Can you believe it?” she said with a soft smile on her face.
Garrett smiled and tightened his grip on her, pulling her closer. “I can believe it. A man in love will do anything for the right woman.”
Jane winced and paused to get her keys out of her purse. She needed to change the subject. Fast.
“So how’s everything going with Alex Foster? I heard he dropped the charges against you. How did that happen?” she asked, her smile turning into a worried frown.
Garrett let his arm drop as she moved to open her car door. “I think he just realized what an idiot he was being. That and my lawyer is a shark. Plus, I don’t think Alex wants any more bad press. His reputation has been a little battered since his wife left him. If the press found out why I punched him, it could hurt business.”
Jane bit her lip and nodded. “Well, I’m glad you don’t have to deal with that anymore. Now you can just go back to your normal life and not have to worry about trials and lawyers. It must be a relief to have that over,” she said, leaning up against the side of her car.
Garrett moved in closer and nodded, his slightly wavy brown hair turning gold under the soft fairy lights strung throughout the parking lot. His eyes turned dark and intense as he reached over and grabbed her hand in his.
“It is over. I know that seeing me hit that idiot upset you. I know you hate violence and you broke up with me because you were horrified at what I’d done. But it’s over now Jane. I’m getting help and I see a therapist every week. You don’t have to worry about me ever losing it again. I want you back. I want us to be together,” he said softly, moving in closer.
Jane’s eyes went big and she looked away. Oh crud.
“Garrett . . .” she started, but was stopped when Garrett swooped in and began kissing her.
She put her hands on his shoulders and gently pushed him away. Garrett stepped back with a frown, his eyes hurt and confused.
“I didn’t break up with you because you hit Alex, Garrett. I broke up with you because things started going too fast between us and I realized that I didn’t have the same feelings for you that you had for me. You’re so amazing. You’re the most gorgeous, incredible man I’ve ever dated to be honest. But I didn’t want to lead you on. I’m sorry,” she said softly, hating that she was hurting him. Again.
Garrett stared at her silently for a moment and stepped back, giving her space. His eyes turned shuttered and hard and he looked away stonily. “It’s not you, it’s me is what you’re saying? Seriously Jane? That’s such crap. You’re not even willing to give you and me a chance?” he said staring at her with a shake of his head and then he stopped and stared at her in surprise.
“There’s someone else, isn’t there? You dumped me because you have feelings for someone else? I’m right, aren’t I?” he demanded staring at her angrily.
Jane sighed and looked away, feeling even worse now and very vulnerable. “Garrett, I didn’t realize how strong my feelings were until I began dating you and realized that no matter how amazing you were, I couldn’t fall in love with you because I already was . . . in love, I mean,” she whispered.
Garrett sighed and ran his hands through his hair. “Well, that sucks. Because when I look at you, I see the girl of my dreams,” he said, his voice laced with pain. “Call me sometime if you ever get over this guy,” he said and then turned and walked away from her without another word and without looking back.
Jane watched him disappear into the shadows and knew she was crying. Garrett was beautiful, strong and amazing. And she was letting him walk away because she was in love with a man who had made it abundantly clear that he wasn’t interested in her.
She was an idiot.
Jane drove home and changed into a pair of sweats and an old WSU t-shirt. She flopped on the couch and leaned her head back. What now? Kit had talked about new levels, but she was still stuck on level one with no hope of ever seeing level two. No progression. No nothing. Crap that was depressing.
She heard a car pull up to the bakery and she walked over to Layla’s room and looked out the window. It was Hunter dropping Kit off, but every time she moved toward the door, he pulled her back to talk or to hug her or kiss her as if he couldn’t bear to let her go. Jane leaned her forehead against the cool glass and closed her eyes. It was too painful to watch.
She sighed loudly and turned to walk back to the little family room. She was so hung up over Tate Matafeo it was pathetic. If she could just stop loving him, then she could maybe be open to someone else. Someone who would love her back the way Michael loved Layla and the way that Hunter adored Kit. How stupid was it to love someone who didn’t love you back?
She walked over to the counter and grabbed the laptop. She Googled How to Fall Out of Love and was surprised when there were a lot of articles on it. She clicked on the first one and grinned. Perfect. Ten easy steps. This she could do. She read the first item on the list, Make a list of all the reasons it wasn't meant to be.
Jane frowned and looked at the wall. There was only one reason. Tate didn’t want to be with her. She winced and moved on to step number two. Step one was brutal.
See their faults. Huh. Did Tate have any? Jane tapped her fingers on her thigh and sighed. She couldn’t think of any except he had a huge uncontrollable sweet tooth. The man was addicted to chocolate and there was no denying it. But then who wasn’t?
Step three, Think of what you want from a significant other that you didn't get from this person. Jane bit her lip. The list of what she didn’t get from Tate. Easy. Love. She wanted him to love her so much that he’d crawl on his hands and knees through a desert to get to her. Was that really asking so much?
Step four, Ask yourself if it was really true love you were feeling for this person. Jane closed her eyes and concentrated. Could it just be lust? She blushed as she had to admit how attracted she was to Tate. He was tall, incredibly strong and had the most beautiful face she’d ever seen. He was half Samoan and so his skin was an amazing light brown color and the planes of his face made him look like some warrior out of a history book. Yikes. Maybe she was in lust. Or maybe it was just infatuation. But if it had just been lust or infatuation, then being with Garrett for even five minutes would have bulldozed through her feelings for Tate. But her heart hadn’t budged. Nope, it was official. She was head over heels for the man. Dang.
Moving on. Step Five, Remove as many traces of their presence from your life as you can. Jane pursed her mouth and knew that wasn’t going to happen. She was part owner of a bakery he couldn’t stay away from. He came in at least once or twice a week. Unless she put out a sign that said No Police Officers Allowed on the Premises, she was stuck seeing his gorgeous face. Okay, next step.
Step Six, Distance yourself. Jane glared at her computer screen. Whoever had written these steps just didn’t understand her life at all. She was stuck seeing the man for the rest of her life. She’d tried distancing herself from him by dating Garrett and that had just ended up hurting a good man. Ugh!
Step Seven, Practice thought stopping, a technique that helps you to become more mindful and in control of what you think (or don't want to think about, as the case may be). Jane’s eyes went wide in wonder. She could be the master of her thoughts. She could control what she thought about. She put her laptop down and hurried to their Junk door. She pulled it open and grabbed a rubber band and slipped it over her wrist. Every time she thought about Tate, she’d pull on the rubber band and let it go. She’d heard about this. Addicts used this exercise sometimes. Fine, she was addicted to Tate. She’d just get un-addicted.
Step Eight, Do all the things you've ever wanted to do, that you wouldn't have done if you were still with this person. Jane groaned and moved on. How lame was it that she was head over heels in love with a man and they’d never even been on one date.
Step Nine, Mingle. Jane sighed stared at the screen urging it to say something else. She didn’t want to mingle. She didn’t want to get out and make new friends. She wanted to hang out with her sisters and wait for the moment when Tate walked through her door. Pitiful. And now her sisters were going off and getting married and she was going to be left on her own. Maybe she did need to get out and meet new people. Or in other words, get a life. So rude!
Step Ten, Understand that your feelings may never fade completely. Jane stared at the screen angrily. What? She might have to feel like this the rest of her life? Aching, lonely and miserable? Oh no. She refused. She narrowed her eyes at the list and then flicked her wrist with the rubber band for good measure. She was going to dang well get over Tate Matafeo if it killed her.
She put the laptop down and stood up. She refused to Google if anyone had ever died of a broken heart. She didn’t want to know.