Authors: Chantal Fernando
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Published January 2014
Cover design © Ari at Cover It! Designs
Editing by Hot Tree Editing
This Time Around is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places and events portrayed in this book either are from the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, establishments, events, or locations is purely coincidental and not intended by the authors.
Trademarks: This book identifies product names and services known to be trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of their respective holders. The authors acknowledge the trademarked status in this work of fiction. The publication and use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
Copyright © 2014
All rights reserved.
Time Will Tell
Destroyed by Pepper Winters
In our arms for a little while, in our hearts forever.
Love you always, angel.
As always, I’d like to thank
from Cover It Designs for her amazing work, her advice and her friendship. Thank you for putting up with me! You are the best. No, really.
Thank you to my beta readers-
Kara Brown, Stephanie Knowles, Aileen Day and Claudia Juarez
. I am so grateful for your help.
Thank you to
, who is an amazing friend and always there when I need to chat or ven
Thank you to
Becky at Hot Tree Editing
Thank you to all the blogs that promote me, I appreciate everything you do!
And of course to my readers… I can’t explain how it makes me feel when I get messages from you all, telling me how much you loved my books.
There are no words.
I love each and every one of you.
Thank you so much and I hope you love Ryan as much as I do!
After all he’s put me through…
I stomp my foot and grit my teeth. I didn’t think returning to Perth would be like this. I didn’t think I’d run into Ryan only a few days after my return, but I did. Lucky me.
I push off my car where I’ve been standing for the last ten minutes, parked in front of Ryan’s bar. Knox Tavern. The place looks different since the last time I saw it. I walk in and my eyes immediately zoom in on him. I don’t see anyone else in that room except him. I ignore the way my heart races at just the sight of him, the way my body responds. I storm towards him, needing to give him a piece of my mind. How dare he see me for the first time in a year, and ignore me.
He took one look at me, surprise etched all over his face. I saw a myriad of emotions flash
before he concealed them and noticed someone standing next to me. Scott is just a friend of mine, and Ryan had no right to lay a hand on him. Ryan has no right to me at all anymore. He lost that privilege.
If only someone would tell my heart that…
But sorry, heart, my head is winning this one.
When she walks in, I’m surprised. No, I’m shocked. I never thought I’d see the day that she walked back into this bar, but here she is. Her curly brown hair frames her round face, and her blazing green eyes are narrowed in anger. Even angry, she is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever been in the presence of. My gaze can’t help but wander down her shapely body. She’s stacked in all the right places, and I should know, I’ve tasted every inch of her body many times over. She steps in front of me and purses her lips.
“You had no right, Ryan,” she seethes, her voice low and shaking.
“I had every right,” I reply calmly, trying to pretend this woman has no effect
on me. When in truth, she owns me, body and soul.
Only she doesn’t
“I’m not yours anymore,” she says, her voice losing its edge. She sounds resigned, tired. I don’t like it one bit. I prefer her anger.
“You will always be mine,” I say with a shrug.
Ryan, I’m serious. You can’t do this to me,” she says with a shake of her head.
I lean in a little closer so I can smell her familiar scent. “Tell him to leave you alone then
“So you get to fuck anything with a skirt
, but a good man can’t even look my way?” she asks, gritting her teeth.
“Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.”
I wasn’t expecting the slap. But I should have. Taiya always did have a fiery temper on her.
, Ryan. Stay out of my life,” she spits out before storming off.
I watch her walk away from me.
I should be used to it by now, but it still hurts.
It always hurts.
And this is why I’m moving out.
A moan pierces the air, and I cringe, not wanting to hear Summer’s cries of pleasure. Summer is like a sister to me, and to hear her making sounds like that… with my twin brother, let’s just say there are a million places I’d rather be right now. I put my iPod on, blocking out their sex sounds. Summer and Reid didn’t want me to move out, but I know for a fact that they need their privacy. So we compromised. I’m moving to another apartment. It’s on the floor below, but on the opposite side of the building. That way, I can still see them every day, but we each get our own space and privacy. As unlikely as it is, I got the apartment with Taiya in mind. The image of her brings up mixed emotions.
I try to ignore the last one, but whenever
Taiya comes to mind, the lingering emotion is always present. She is the only woman in the world with the power to hurt me, and that’s exactly what she did.
Even if it wasn’t her fault, or her intention
, she did it nonetheless. I shove my face into my pillow, trying to block out how it felt seeing her again after all this time.
I hadn’t laid eyes on my own damn wife in a year. I’m a fuck up. I know it; she knows it. But that doesn’t make me stop wanting her. I don’t think
could make me stop wanting and loving Taiya. Maybe that’s my penance for my past mistakes. I can actually hear Reid talking in my head, telling me not to think like that, nothing was my fault. Although I can hear the words, it doesn’t mean they penetrate, or that I actually believe them. Nothing he says could make me believe them. I try to bury those thoughts, letting the music lull me to sleep.
“I love it, Ryan!” Summer states, looking around. She is wearing a huge smile, her brown hair falling like a curtain around her face. I watch as she sits down on my new leather couch and shifts to get comfortable.
“Make yourself at home,” I tease, shaking my head at her as she puts her bare feet up. She’s wearing shorts and a ratty looking T-shirt
, which looks like an old one of Reid’s. Or it could even be one of mine.
She shrugs at me. “My home, yours, what’s the difference?” she says flippantly, reaching for the remote and putting on the TV. She speaks the truth. My home
her home, and vice versa. Her phone beeps and I know it must be Reid. He is so whipped it’s not even funny. I give him shit about it sometimes, but we all know I’m thrilled for the two of them. Reid couldn’t have dreamed up a better woman, and I’m happy that he found her.
Summer changes the channel and then starts singing along to some ridiculous song.
“When’s Reid done?” I ask, sitting on the chair next to her.
“He usually w
orks out for an hour after work,” she says.
“I know,” I reply. I know my twin
’s habits better than my own.
“Should be home in about two hours then,” she answers.
Summer drums her fingers along her thigh, in beat with the music. I lift my foot up on the arm of the couch, where the back of her head is, and put my toe in her hair.
“Ryan!” she yells
, sitting up and narrowing her eyes at me. She picks up my new cushion and throws it at my head. I dodge it, but only just.
“What?” I ask. I love annoying this girl. She’s like a sister and best friend combined into one.
“You’re so immature,” she says, no bite in her tone. She turns back to the TV, her hair flying everywhere as she turns her head.
“Never claimed maturity,” I instantly reply. We’ve had this same conversation many times over.
A new song plays and she actually squeals. “This is my favourite song right now!”
“What is it?” I ask, slightly curious.
“‘Gangsta’ by Kat Dahlia,” she says, putting the song full volume and ignoring me. When she starts rapping, I start laughing so hard my sides start to hurt. She is such a weirdo. I instantly recognise the song as the one she has as her ring tone. When it finishes, she presses the mute button and turns to face me. “You gonna tell me what’s been up with you lately?” she says with the lift of an eyebrow.
“What do you mean?” I say, wanting to buy myself some time.
“You’ve been acting…off for the last two weeks. If this is about you moving, I told you I didn’t want you to leave,” she says, frowning.
“It’s not that. You remember the woman who came into the bar and slapped me?”