She was it. His one. His only. Then he made the mistake of letting her go.
After fighting his way into Harlow Manning’s heart—and revealing a side of himself no one had ever seen before—Grant Carter destroyed his own heart by giving in to his greatest fears and doubts. Months later, he’s stuck in a miserable routine. Work relentlessly. Beg his best friend Rush for news about Harlow. Avoid all other friends. Leave nightly voicemails for Harlow, pleading with her to come back to Rosemary Beach. Fall asleep alone. Repeat.
Miles away, on her brother’s Texas ranch, Harlow can’t bring herself to listen to Grant’s voicemails. Though she wants to be with him, and knows he regrets letting her go, she doesn’t know if she can trust him. When he discovered the truth behind her sheltered upbringing, it shattered their relationship, but the secret she carries now has far greater consequences. Can she risk giving Grant one more chance, or will the gamble ultimately destroy her?
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One More Chance
“It’s me, but then you know that. This is the forty-eighth message . . . which means I haven’t seen your face in forty-eight days. I haven’t held you. I haven’t seen your smile. I don’t know where you are, Harlow. I’ve looked, baby. God, I’ve done everything I could. Where are you? Are you even listening to these messages? Your voice-mail box is all I have left of you. I fucked up. I fucked up so bad. Just call me or answer my calls or send me a text. No, call me. Don’t just text me. I need to hear your voice. I just . . . I need to see you, Harlow. I can’t make this right if I can’t hold you—”
Another message cut off. Damn voice mail never let me finish. But then I wasn’t sure she was even listening to her voice mail. I’d been calling every damn night since the moment she walked out my door, and still nothing. I had gone to her dad’s house in Los Angeles, and no one had been there, though I hadn’t been able to see for myself—I wasn’t even allowed past the gate. Security threatened to call the police.
Rush assured me she wasn’t in Beverly Hills. But he knew where she was. She had told him where she was going the day she left my house for the last time, but he wouldn’t tell me. He said she needed time, and I had to give it to her. The night he told me he couldn’t tell me where she was, I had planted my fist in his face for the first time since we’d known each other. He’d taken the hit and shaken it off like the badass he was. Then he’d warned me that was my only shot. He understood, but the next time, he would be fighting back.
I had felt like a shithead for hitting him. He was protecting Harlow, and she needed someone to protect her. I just couldn’t stand not being able to hold her. Not explaining why I had acted like a jackass.
Blaire had just started talking to me again. She’d been so mad at me when she’d seen the bruise on Rush’s face and his bloody nose. She’d refused to speak to me for almost a month.
I couldn’t talk to anyone but Harlow’s voice mail.
I would wake up in the morning and go to work doing manual labor for one of my construction jobs. I needed the physical abuse in order to sleep at night. Once the sun set and I couldn’t work anymore, I would come home, eat, take a bath, call Harlow’s voice mail, and go to bed. Then I would do it all over again the next day.
Nannette had stopped trying to contact me. After I kept refusing to answer her calls or the door when she came over, she got the hint and left me alone. Seeing her only brought back all the pain I’d caused Harlow, and I hated seeing Nan’s face. I didn’t need any more reminders of all I had done to hurt Harlow.
Was it possible to hate yourself? Because I was pretty damn sure I did. Why hadn’t I controlled the shit pouring out of my mouth the last time I’d seen Harlow? I’d ruined it. I’d hurt her. Remembering her face as I’d ranted about her not telling me about her illness made it impossible for me to look in the mirror. She had been scared, and I had been worried about me and my fucking fears. How had I become so selfish? I had been terrified of losing her, but all I’d done was send her running.
I was a bastard, a heartless bastard. I didn’t deserve her, but I wanted her more than I wanted to breathe.
I was losing precious time with her. I wanted to make sure she was safe and protected. I wanted to be there to take care of her and make sure she was healthy. Make sure her heart was OK. I didn’t trust anyone else to keep her alive. Fuck! The idea of her being anything other than alive ripped open my chest, and I had to double over to breathe.
“You gotta call me, baby. I can’t live like this. I have to be with you,” I cried out into the empty room.