Rose: Run into any nice girls at the supermarket today?
Liam: No. And I went back the last couple of days in the hopes of seeing you again.
Rose: Ugh, we’ll have to start comparing shopping schedules then.
Liam: Definitely. How was your day?
Rose: Good. Long.
Liam: Same. Had to put a cat down today.
Rose: I’m sorry. That has to suck.
Liam: It does. I mean, I know it’s for the best, but I don’t like watching the goodbyes.
Rose: No, I wouldn’t either.
Rose: Want me to tell you a joke to cheer you up?
Liam: I’d rather come over there and see you, but…
Liam: Okay. Since you’re offering.
Rose: Knock knock.
The knocking on his front door came at the same moment as Rose’s text, and he couldn’t help the surge of excitement that jolted through him. It’s her.
He didn’t know how he knew, or why he was so certain, given that she didn’t know his address, and yet . . . he knew.
Liam: Someone’s at the door. Hold on.
Rose: Um, that’s not how the joke goes.
Rose: You’re supposed to say who’s there.
He smiled at her faux-indignation evidenced by the GIF of a woman dramatically slamming her hands on her hips. Thought they’d only know each other a short while, he could hear her voice—that accent—in his mind, telling him he was ruining her joke. And moreover, he liked it.
He liked her being the voice in his head.
The knocking at the front door sounded again, a little more impatient, and he wondered if she was rolling her eyes at him. Probably. He’d noticed that she had a tendency to do that.
“Hey,” he greeted her as he opened the door, reaching out to grab her into a hug immediately.
She came willingly, wrapping her arms around him, a smile on her face. Except she didn’t settle into him. No, she pulled her head and narrowed her pretty eyes at him. “How did you know it was me?”
“Seriously?” She looked skeptical, and rightly so.
Except . . . it was true. “I just had a feeling, is all. That and I wanted it to be you.” He shrugged. “Isn’t that the secret? If you want something badly enough, you make it happen?”
Shaking her head, she replied, “No, I don’t think so.”
“Well, it’s my secret, how about that?”
“That’s your secret?”
“Sure, why not?”
“I thought for sure you’d have something darker, way more sinister for a secret.”
“Oh, well, yeah. Obviously I have a dark, terrifying secret, too. But this is my other secret. You know, the one I let you find out early into the relationship, so I can fool you into trusting me.”
“Did it work?”
She smiled up at him, then leaned in for a brief kiss. It was just a press of lips, no longer than a half-second, and yet, Liam felt it with his whole being. “It definitely did.”
He planted another kiss on her, this one slightly longer, before nodding. “Excellent. My plan to corrupt you remains on track.”
B. Cranford is a proud Australian living in the USA, a lover of books, breadsticks and bed, and the mother of two children who are far too similar to their father for her liking. A lifelong reader, she dove into the romance genre on the recommendation of her best friend and hasn’t looked back since. After three years as a blogger, she decided it was high time she finally finished one of the 12,002 books she’d started writing, and the end result was her debut novel, The Brightest Star.