~~ A sweet, fun romance about how love heals.~~
“He jests at scars that never felt a wound.”
― William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
A new job, new city, and new friends seem like the perfect solutions for healing Zack’s broken heart. A fiery red-head, with passion for all of his favorite activities couldn’t hurt either. She seems perfect for him, and he’s immediately drawn in. The romance blossoms, but Zack is side-swiped when he learns she’s hiding things. Is the relationship worth salvaging or do her scars run too deep? Don’t miss Zack’s story in this Being Me series stand-alone companion novel!
“So, we didn’t get to catch up today. How was your Fourth?” Mitchell asks as I slide my backpack over my shoulders.
“I was working.” We walk out of the physical therapy room, dodging incoming patients.
“Did you even get to see fireworks?”
“No, we had a couple injuries, so I was there till late.” I find my keys and sunglasses in a side pocket of my bag.
“You’ve got to get a better job, so you can have a social life.” Mitchell shakes his head.
“Are you kidding? I’m living the dream. Fame and fortune.”
“Right, well”—he offers his palm out to me—“I’ll catch you next time.”
“Yep.” I shake his hand and slide my sunglasses on. Stepping through the sliding doors the sun sears my skin, and I wonder if I’ll ever get used to it. Heat rises off the pavement, and hot wind engulfs me as I cross the parking lot. A volleyball rolls out from between two cars. I dip and scoop it up with one palm. Scanning the rows, I spot an open trunk and jog to it. I stop a couple feet from a girl rummaging in the back of a small SUV. “You lose this?” I hold the ball at arm’s length.
She glances at me and then back to her open car. “I’d lose my head right now if it weren’t attached.” Her accent is melodic, almost twangy, and I note her New Jersey license plate. Running her hand through her thick red hair, she turns to face me. “Thanks.”
“No problem.” Ball extended, I take a step closer to her. “You play?”
Her eyes land on mine and then cut to my chest where my ID card hangs. Grabbing the sphere with both hands, she tosses it into her SUV. “Yeah.” Shaking her head, she fishes in the closest bag.
“Me too. There’s a league at the JCC if you’re interested. That’s the—”
“I know what the JCC is.” She spins to face me.
I take a step back. “Okay, I wasn’t… I just thought—”
“What? Since I have out-of-state plates, I’m fresh meat? A new chick to take out once and never call again?”
“Whoa.” I raise my palms. “I was just returning the ball.” Shaking my head, I turn and walk away. I should have known. She’s the redhead I saw with Lydia and Rose in the cafeteria. They hate me. Why? I have no clue. I accepted an invite to hang out with them my first week on the job. We’d spent three hours at a bar, them spouting off all the hospital gossip. Drama isn’t my thing. I’d been nice about it, nodding and agreeing where appropriate. The next time they asked me to join them, I had volleyball, fortunately for me, as I am horrible at lying. The third and fourth times, I had a string of twelve-hour shifts and declined them again. They have been shooting daggers and giving me the cold shoulder ever since. I’m not sure what to do about their hostility. Mitchell said to ignore them, but now they’re bad-mouthing me? I’m barely at the hospital two days a week, and they think they know me?
“Hey.” I hear her call out and turn around. “I’m sorry about that. Thanks for saving my ball. This is my first day at work, I moved here two days ago, and everything is out of control. Lydia and Rose said that you…” Shedding her sunglasses, her eyes cut to the pavement and back to my face.
I shake my head and shrug. “That I did what exactly? Did they mention how long they’d known me? I moved here a month ago and only hung out with them once.”
“Oh.” She looks to a passing truck and then back up at me. “They were trying to help, I think.”
The sun has my skin flaming. “We good?”
“Yeah, thanks again.”
“No problem.” I resume my path, hoping my reply wasn’t too rude. She lashed out at me first though. Plus, with the twelve-hour shift and heat, I was done.
“Zack, my man!” Rabbi John greets me by gripping my hand and bumping his shoulder to mine the next night at the JCC gym. “Wasn’t sure you were going to make it.”
“Traffic was bad. How’s the count?” I ask as I secure my laces.
“Good, Kara from team two is sick, but Liz showed up, so we’re good to go.”
“Redhead, said you invited her?” His eyes grow large as if to urge me to remember.
“Long red hair?”
“Yeah, red, it’s back, so maybe? You want to switch to be on her team?”
I shake my head.
“Okay, well I won’t ask about that then.” He looks back to his clipboard.
“Yeah, you don’t want to know.” I pat him on the back and, eyes focused on the floor, make my way to our court.
Jeff approaches. “Who’s the chick?”
“Redhead. John said you invited her.”
“Don’t know her.” I throw my bag on the stands and retrieve my ball. “Let’s warm up.”
Copyright 2018 Tricia Copeland All Rights Reserved
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IS THIS ME? (Being Me Book 1 –Free on all platforms)
Tricia Copeland grew up in Georgia and now lives in sunny Colorado with her family. Her novels include the award nominated contemporary romance series, Being Me, Best Book Award finalist urban fantasy series, The Kingdom Journals, Lovelock Ones, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller, and Drops of Sunshine, a YA paranormal novella. Find Tricia and her books at www.triciacopeland.com or on your favorite social media.
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