THE SUMMER I LOVED YOU
by J.L. Lora
Publication Date: July 24, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Second Chance, Standalone
He swore to never come back. She promised to hold him to his word.
After years of living the life his oppressive parents wanted for him, Cameron Blake is ready to pursue his dreams of being a reclusive artist. Pleasing the faithful baseball fans of the New York Emperors has been rewarding, but now all he wants is peace and quiet. That and an irreversible vasectomy. Because there’s no way he’s passing on the heavy burden of the Blake genes to an innocent child. But Cameron never gets what he wants. Ever.
The last thing Adrianna Arenas needs is for her ex to slide back into her life. Not when she can throw a nine-year-old curve ball that will change his game. Not when his father could tear her world apart with a simple phone call. Especially not when, despite everything that stands between them, her insides go wild when Cameron walks into a room. But Adri never gets to keep things the way she needs them. Ever.
After ten years, fate brings Cameron face-to-face with Adrianna, the woman he never forgot, and the little girl that ties them forever.
It all goes back to the secrets, jealousy, and heartache that destroyed the magical summer when they loved each other madly, broke each other’s hearts, and changed each other’s lives.
Read this second chance romance and find out if Adri and Cam’s story goes on the win column for love.
Adrianna added another pink tulip to the bouquet for better balance, placed the candle holders on each side of it, and stepped back. She smiled. Every table was set with just a small variation on the centerpieces, to make them look unique but cohesive. Everything was as it should be, the walls and tablecloths pristine white, and the accent brick wall gave it a pop of color that made it chic, lived-in, and very Baltimore.
After five years, she still set the tables every day for opening. It was a pleasure, an indulgence, and it saved her money. She didn’t need the staff as early. The only time she loved doing this more was during the weekends, when Bron was around to help her. Her daughter’s artistic eye showed in her suggestions, and the customers got a kick out of their arrangements. She made a mental note of picking orange and purple flowers for the weekend. In the summer, there would be ranunculus and hydrangeas. Let’s see what Bron does with those.
Adrianna went around the room, checking for garbage or dust hiding in the corners. Mi Tesoro, named after her greatest treasure—her daughter —was ready for the lunch crowd.
She peeked out through the glass panel. Canton Square was still pretty much empty, except for the late morning dwellers and the familiar figure sashaying down the block. She unlocked the door and her best friend, Lauren, walked right in. Ripped skinny jeans, sky-high stilettos and a white tank top with the words Adios to the B. S. clung to her skin. The shades, the shirt, the hand she held up, Lauren was in a mood.
“Don’t say anything, I’m not human yet.” Her friend strolled past her and made her way to the kitchen.
“Fine by me. I’ll be in the office,” she called out.
She’d barely made it through the office door when her phone rang. She placed it in her ear and began to riffle through her to-do tray.
“This is Loraine Walker, from La Salle Academy.”
Her hands stilled. Why was her daughter’s school director calling? “Did something happen to Bron?”
“Ma’am, please stay calm. I want you to know that we have dispatched a car there and called the police—”
“The police. What the hell are you talking about? Where is my daughter?”
“She left the premises. One of her friends says she went to a gallery in D.C. for some exhibit. This has never happened before. We don’t know how she was able to sneak out.”
“Are you telling me that my daughter bailed on school to go to some art exhibit? And you didn’t know she left? Where were her teachers? Where was your security? And who did she supposedly go see…” It was on her desk, front page of the Baltimore Galaxy. Maryland Son Returns Triumphantly.
The blood drained from her head and the phone slipped from her hand, landing on the glass-topped desk. She had to find Bron. “Oh God.”
She grabbed her purse and ran out of the office, heading toward the door, but it swung open and her daughter walked in.
Adrianna dropped her purse and ran to hug her. “You are so grounded, for like ever. I can’t believe you left school like that. What were you thinking, Bronwyn Alyxandra? You’re not ever going anywhere, not school dances, not even to the bathroom by yourself. You’ll stay in your room forever with your books, where I know where you are at all times.”
“Mom, you’re suffocating me.” Bronwyn tried to pull away from her.
“I’m so angry with you right now. Your friend told the teacher you left to go to an art exhibit. Where was Miss Winter? How did you get here?”
She couldn’t make her hands stop roaming over Bron’s face and body.
“Miss Winter got sick earlier and she had to go home. I would have asked her to take me, but this was my only chance to meet him.” Her eyes drifted up and her head tilted back toward someone behind her.
It was then that Adrianna became aware that there was someone standing by the door. The looming shadow, the prickling on the back of her neck, the way her breath lodged in her throat. Oh God. Her head came up and face to face with the past. Summer days at the state park, kisses under the falls, posing for him by the lake, his body over hers, screaming fights…and heartbreak. Month after month of teary heartbreak.
Her lips parted but not even air came out. His green gaze cut through her and it was like time never moved. Except, his shoulders had almost doubled in size, filling his six-foot-three frame. His face no longer softened by boyish features. He was older, manlier.
“Cam.” His name whooshed out of her lips.
“He gave me a ride here, Mom. He has a limo with a driver! It’s nicer than Uncle Nathan’s panty dropper.”
Heat exploded all over her face. She looked down at the floor, urging the earth to swallow her. He was going to think she was a bad mother. “Language! What have I told you?”
Bron lowered her head. “I’m not supposed to repeat the things I hear Aunt Lo say because she’s an adult and I’m not.”
Adrianna ran her hand through her hair and looked at him again. Thanks to the scare, she probably looked a hot mess. “Thank you for bringing her. Would you like to sit down?”
He nodded, his gaze shifting between her and Bron. Adrianna’s mouth grew more and more dry by the second.
She knew one day he’d find out and he’d come. She’d waited for this moment and tried to prepare for it. No, she wasn’t ready.
“I’ll get you some cake!” Bronwyn offered cheerfully. “Would you like coffee? I’ll bring it!”
If she weren’t dying inside, Adrianna would have smiled. Bronwyn didn’t even give Cam a chance to answer and left him staring after her. Her daughter was like a tornado at times. “Sit down, please.”
He turned to her and she almost staggered back at the intensity of his gaze. Adrianna’s knees turned into jelly. She hurried to take the chair across from the one she was offering him.
His head tilted toward Bron. “She’s amazing, smart, and so much like you. I can’t believe how much she knows about art, brush strokes, and baseball. She told me she plays with her school.”
Those were his first words and spoken with so much emotion the pressure in her chest built. She swallowed. “I wrote you. I wanted to tell…”
“My father told me.” Cameron’s voice turned into ice. “I guess Tommy is a great husband and father. You look more beautiful than ever and she’s…everything.”
“Tommy?” she asked. What about her old high school boyfriend?
“Yes, Walter said you called to tell him that you and Tommy were getting married and having a baby and that you expected me to keep my promise to stay away from you…”
Her stomach rolled, much like the last time they’d been together. She smoothed a hand over it and shook her head. “Oh God, no. I’ve only seen Tommy once since the day after I last saw you.” She stood up. “Cam, listen, there’s something you need to know.”
“I have cake for you,” Bronwyn announced, placing a thick, glazed slice in front of each of them and then addressing Cam. “What kind of coffee would you like? We have a lot of different kinds. Colombian, French Roast, Hazelnut, Ugandan—which everyone swears by and we highly recommend.”
“Ugandan. Do you have milk and sugar?” Cam asked her.
She formed her lips into a pout and pressed her index finger to her mouth as if thinking hard and then pointed at him. “Yes!” She walked away giggling.
His mouth drifted open a little and he grabbed the corner of the table with one hand. He turned widened eyes on Adrianna. It was all written there.
ABOUT J.L. LORA
J. L. Lora is a Dominican-American author. Her stories explore the dark side of good characters, people living in the gray areas of life while playing the cards life has dealt them. She loves strong heroines and their equally powerful Men. She currently lives in Maryland, pursuing her dream of writing compelling, sexy, can’t-put-down stories about empowered, badass alpha heroines and take-your-breath-away alpha heroes
If you wish to know more information about J. L. Lora, you can visit her website: http://www.JLLora.com.
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