by Jude Ouvrard
Love can be stronger than friendship, but what happens when love takes an unpredictable turn?
Valerie Lee has left Seattle, including everyone she knows and loves, to join long-time boyfriend John Maverick at the University of Boston. Fast forward a year later to graduation. Val is excited about heading back to her hometown, but John wants to stay and climb his way to the top in Boston. She doesn’t agree with the change of plans so takes matters into her own hands. When she leaves like a thief in the night, there will be a lot to explain.
The night before her big future-changing step, she meets country singer Miles Kent. Worried about her state of being for his own personal reasons, he extracts a promise from Val to keep in touch until she arrives at her destination.
Jobless and homeless, Val arrives unprepared to face her friends and family, so spends her first night in a cheap hotel. It doesn’t take long for word to spread that she’s back in town. A call to her old friend Nix, and things don’t seem quite so impossible anymore. Will her friends support her decision? Will she regret leaving John and their life in Boston? Or will her hometown, and new adventures, bring her the happiness she’s hoped for?
A few days ago John and me graduated from Boston University, at long last, and I couldn’t be happier. We’d finished school, there would be no more homework, and soon, we’d be done with Boston, too. All I had left to do before we left was get this tattoo done.
Jenson, my tattoo artist, always pulled off perfection in his work. The mix of colors and shapes he’d inked into my skin over the past months were capturing what I’d envisioned when we’d started working on my creation. The man had been able to take all of my own drawings and fit them into a masterpiece on my arm. This was the third sitting, but my three-quarter sleeve would be complete after tonight. John wasn’t a fan of my growing tattoo collection, or its increasing visibility, but he didn’t stop me from going to get them.
“And your tattoo is done, Miss Valerie.”
“About time. It was starting to hurt.” I chuckled and went over to the mirror. My smile wouldn’t go, I loved it. “You’re the best. You met my every expectation.”
“We had a good time, didn’t we?” I nodded, and he asked, “What are you doing tonight? You want to grab a beer or something?”
Is he asking me on a date? Oh my god. “I’m sorry, Jenson. I’m going to dinner with my boyfriend, and then we’re supposed to go out after. I could call you, if you want to meet up later?” And that made the situation even more awkward. Great.
“That’s okay. You two enjoy your night.”
After giving Jenson a hug, I made my final payment. The thought didn’t escape me that I’d have given him a chance if I wasn’t with John. Jenson was cute, that was for sure, with amazing ink on his arms, fingers, and neck. Plus, he had a smirk which made me blush. Maybe I just had a thing for bad boys.
Walking outside, the burning from the fresh ink grew more intense with every step. I knew the pain would ease after a while, but it’d have been great to get some ice on it right then.
Before leaving Seattle, getting the small star on my ankle had scared me. Now, I had plenty of tattoos, and couldn’t seem to stop myself from planning the next one, and the next. John and I’d gotten matching tattoos a couple of weeks ago. It had been his second piece, but they were always covered because his future didn’t allow for ink, or so he said. John felt his aspirations to be a respectable businessman meant no ink should show, that people couldn’t know he was marked. I didn’t like his prejudice. We often debated over this, but had never come to an agreement. Back in Seattle, Nix’s boyfriend Levi was covered in them, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t a respected businessman. He and his partner Kyle owned Ink Me, the tattoo shop where I’d gotten that star.
Tonight, at dinner, I planned on asking John when we were headed home. Boston wasn’t my home, never would be. I missed Seattle, my friends, and my family way too much. With a number of cheap flights leaving almost every day, all we had to do was to pack our things and go.
We were getting ready to go out for dinner. I was taking care of my tattoo, which I couldn’t stop staring at, when John asked, “Hey, sweet pea. Tonight is country night at the pub, are you up for going after dinner?”
“Country, really? Do we need to wear cowboy hats?” I laughed.
“No, that won’t be necessary. Wear your jeans, nothing fancy.”
I nodded; I had no problem with that. John watched me get dressed, and I could see desire in his eyes. These past few weeks we’d both been under a lot of stress with our finals. There’d been a couple of fights, I’d cried, and had even thought we’d never get over it. In the end, we reconciled, but I was having trouble shaking the feeling that things had changed forever between us.
“You know you’re beautiful, right?”
I blushed. “So are you.” John was easy on the eye. He had perfect white teeth, slick hair, and a casual chic style which fit him well.
Approaching me and wrapping his arms around my waist, he said, “I think we’re going to be fine now. We’ll enjoy our summer and get good jobs. Maybe look into a bigger apartment?”
“I can’t wait to be home again.”
“Home? You mean here, right? In Boston?”
What? No… no… no. “I’m not staying in Boston, John. I want to go back to Seattle. That is home for me, and it always will be. That’s always been the plan…”
His arms loosened and he leaned back to look at me. “I– I don’t know what to say, Val. I thought we were staying here. I have a good chance of getting in with a really good firm downtown.”
“You don’t want to go back home?”
Shaking his head, his next words gutted me. “I’m sorry, but, no, I don’t want to. This city adopted me, and I love it here.”
I was going to start crying any second, I knew it.
“Look, can we enjoy our date tonight, then talk about this later?”
When he kissed my lips it felt disconnected. A tall, thick wall had risen between us. I accepted his offer to placate him, for the moment, but I would never agree to stay here.
Phoenix Silverstone more commonly known as Nix, is a twenty-one year old that has finally discovered her freedom. After living under the strict rules and protection of her mother, Nix moved out with her two best friends in a quaint little Seattle apartment. For the first time Nix is finally able to spread her wings and breathe. Together, they get a job working at a bar and for the first time everything is perfect.
Freedom, friendships, a great job and fantastic man on the verge of becoming hers. Tristan is the suave, intelligent, not to mention gorgeous law student that Nix has her eyes and heart set on. For the first time, she has her life together; that is, until her path crosses with Levi. The charming, tattooed and downright sexy bad boy that Nix knows she needs to avoid.
But when one of her friends moves out she is shocked to find that her new roommate is none other than Levi. Flirting. Desire. Undeniable temptations. Nix can’t deny the chemistry surging between them but she can’t forget her mother’s extreme hate towards bad boys.
Will Nix have the strength to listen to her heart? Or will her mother’s rules cost her everything?
Levi Munroe’s life consists of his friends Tyler and Kyle, a lot of ink and having a good time, but most importantly, his heart only has one reason to beat, Nix.
Phoenix Silverstone came into his life and put him through an emotional roller coaster. No one knows what they sign up for when they fall in love, and Levi is no exception. Dealing with his girlfriend’s negligent biological father, and her old demons returning to tempt her, Levi has way more on his plate than he bargained for. It can break them or make them stronger.
Both getting to know each other more, they fall deeper in love and are ready to take on the next step. With their wedding approaching, Levi wants what is best for her. A time apart turns out to be exactly what Nix needs but in Levi’s world, it means moping around missing the girl of his dreams.
More love, more ink, more Kyle and definitely a whole lot more of Levi. Can Nix and Levi survive the reality of their life together or will it break them apart?
Jude Ouvrard is an author who writes from the heart, and reads with passion and devotion. Jude enjoys stories of drama, true love, tattoos, and everything in between. While writing is her therapy, reading is her solace. Life doesn't get better than books and chocolate, and maybe a little bit of shopping.
A romance lover, Jude writes about love, pain, heartbreak and matters that will challenge your heart. A book can tell an unexpected story, no matter which directions it takes. Jude embraces words that have haunted her for years.
Jude is a working mom who dedicates her time to a law firm and writing books. She has an energetic superhero son, and a supportive boyfriend of many years. Her family is her rock; she could not survive without them. Born a country girl, she transformed into a city woman who now lives in Montreal, Canada. Although French is her first language, Jude decided to write in English because she liked the challenge.