The Fear of Falling
Publication date: October 8th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
When Ella Jones’ twenty-first birthday ends with a bang – literally – she never imagined it would be with her best friend since freshman year, Ryan Owen.
A year later, after their so called “mistake”, they’re still best friends and about to rock their Senior year at the University of San Francisco. But when Ryan returns from spending a summer in Australia and brings back a friend, Liam George, who takes an immediate liking to Ella, Ryan starts to question the Aussie’s intentions with his best friend. The trouble is, Ryan has a girlfriend of his own, and Ella and Ryan swore they would never cross that line again – until they do.
They try not to let their second slip up affect their friendship, but when Spring Break forces them to vacation under the same roof; and Ryan’s ex walks back into his life, Ella is shocked by a fierce stab of possessiveness. And when Ella continues to see Liam, Ryan finds himself plagued by unfamiliar jealousy. With their friendship strained for the first time, Ella and Ryan face an alarming truth: Maybe they can’t be just friends. Maybe they are falling faster than expected. And maybe, deep down, they want to.
Around two in the afternoon, I finally start to get ready for the wedding. Ryan must still be on the golf course because he hasn’t come knocking on my door. The ceremony starts at four o’clock down in the courtyard. He better be ready on time. I pin my hair into a boho-chic inspired updo – loose and lofty with a braid wrapping around the back of my head. I put on makeup and a dark red lipstick to contrast my black pleated tulle maxi dress.
A swift knock pulls me away from the mirror and several seconds later I pull open my hotel room door to see Ryan on the other side, looking hot as ever.
His six foot, two inches of pure muscle frames the doorway of my hotel room. I try to covertly check him out as his eyes trail up from my toes all the way to my eyes.
He’s wearing a suit I’ve never seen on him, smoke gray – a perfect fit across his shoulders and torso. The dress shirt he’s wearing underneath is black and accented with a skinny red tie. His dress pants fit him perfectly; there is a touch of stubble lining his jaw and his hair seems more slick than normal, swept to the side ever so gracefully. I actually have to look away to catch my breath.
“Hey,” he breathes, his eyes twinkling.
You look amazing, I want to say. But I instead I stand still, and don’t say a word hoping he will be the one to lead how this night is supposed to go. Are we back to an easy friendship where we relentlessly tease each other or have we shifted into a couple of weirdos who can’t get past how they’ve slept together and now find it necessary to compliment one another.
“You look beautiful,” he says quietly, desire darkening his expression. My heart flutters unexpectedly when he says this. I guess we’ve shifted into a couple of weirdos then.
“Thanks,” I answer with a smile. “You don’t look too shabby yourself.”
He takes a deep breath before relaxing his shoulders, and his lips curl into an amused grin.
“Yeah well…I guess I have always cleaned up quite nice,” he teases and then shifts almost uncomfortably. He leans closer, dropping his voice when he says, “and I mean you look beautiful in the most platonic way possible. I’m not secretly hoping you rip off your panties because I complimented you.”
“Good,” I say and smile. “Because I’m not wearing any.”
His eyes widen and he makes a show of looking me up and down appreciably.
“I assure you I am not.”
He bites down on his bottom lip and tilts his head to the side studying me, eyes narrowed.
“Jesus,” he growls. He’s completely unashamed by the way he scans my body, gaze lingering at my hips. “You know how much it’s killing me not asking you to prove it?”
“I bet,” I say finally, slowly moving past him and down the hallway. “Although I’m a little offended you doubt my honesty…” I glance over my shoulder to see his stare zeroed in on my backside. I leave the electricity sizzling palpably between us, and we continue to size one another up in the silence of the hallway, the elevator door pinging open in the distance. “Now do me a favor and stop ogling at my backside, and start behaving like a proper wedding date.”
His eyes flicker up to my mouth before blinking up to meet my eyes again. “So this a date then, huh?” He presses his warm hand to the small of my back as he leads us into the elevator.
I roll my eyes. “Pfft. You wish.”
Amanda Cowen can be found eating cupcakes, singing off-key, or watching a good RomCom when she isn’t trapped on her computer writing stories. She is an “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” fanatic, a hater of roller-coasters and a country music junkie. She lives in Thunder Bay, ON where the summers are short and the winters are long.
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