Savannah takes a sip of her wine and nods. I have a feeling it’s not her first glass either. She looks up at me, regret and sadness on her face. “I have a confession to make, Hayden.”

Not being able to take it any longer, I take her face in my palms and tell her with my eyes exactly what I’m about to do. Removing the distance between us, our lips crash together in a heated war. Savannah moves closer to me, and our tongues mingle and mix. The kiss deepens, and I feel as if we’re teenagers again, completely and utterly crazy for one another. The feelings I’ve felt for her have never faded, and as we break apart, we’re both breathless and smiling.

I pull her bottom lip into my mouth and tug. She sighs, and I paint my mouth against hers again. She’s as desperate for me as I am for her. She runs her fingers through my hair as things intensify, but then she pulls back and her eyes flutter open.

“I have a secret,” she whispers.

I smile wide at her honesty. “I already know your secret, Sav.”

Chapter Nine


My emotions are everywhere, overwhelmed from the way Hayden’s kissing me right now. The truth about Veronica shocked the shit out of me. In a blink, things went from horribly awful to freaking perfect. I shouldn’t have doubted him, but a part of me feels like it would’ve been karma for what I did to him. Self-sabotage is something I’ve been known to do, always having to fight for what I want but not feeling worthy of it. Having his mouth back on mine after all this time has me feeling overwhelmed and vulnerable, though I can’t say I mind. At least when it comes to him.

Hayden presses our lips together, and I easily melt into him, feeling like it did all those years ago. Except now he tastes like whiskey and smells like cologne. He’s all man, and I want to know what he’d taste like even lower. Years may have passed, but right now it feels like we’re back in high school, and everything is so right.

“I have a secret,” I whisper, needing to tell him the truth. I can’t hold this in anymore.

“I already know your secret, Sav.” He smiles against me then pulls back. Hayden studies my gaze and brushes a hand to my face before tucking a piece of loose hair behind my ear.

How could he possibly know? I know I’ve been drinking, but I’m pretty certain I heard him correctly.

“Is it that I’m not wearing any panties?” I offer with a cheeky smirk. “Because if that’s it, you’d be right.”

I swear I see him blush, but he plays it off and shakes his head at me with an amused grin. “No, but that’s really good to know.”

Chuckling, I take a sip of my wine and study him over the glass. “Okay, then what’s my secret?”

“You lied to me, Sav.”

Setting my drink down, I furrow my brows and gaze at him. When I don’t respond, he continues.

“When you broke up with me,” he clarifies. “You said it was over because you met someone new and that we would never work out being long distance. You told me it was over and to forget you ever existed—which, of course, is fucking impossible—but that’s the story you stood by.” His tone is steady and serious, and I’m scared to ask what else he knows.

Blinking, I swallow, then take a deep breath. I’ve imagined this very conversation so many times that I can’t believe it’s finally happening. A weight I’ve been holding on my shoulders for ten long years is slowly lifting, and I can only hope it doesn’t all come crashing down.

“But that was a lie, wasn’t it?” he asks, not taking his eyes off me.

I look down and nod. “It was.”

“Tell me, Sav.” He tilts my chin up so I’m forced to look at him. “I need you to say it.”

“I had to lie, Hayden,” I choke out. “I’m sorry. I know I hurt you. I was hurting too,” I admit. I remember those months after the breakup and how miserable I was. School kept me busy, but it didn’t dull the ache in my chest. I missed him, wanted to reach out to him so many times, but I knew I couldn’t. “I was trying to protect you.”

“Tell me,” he demands. “I want to hear you tell me.”

“Wait.” I pause. “How did you know? When did you know?” I ask, confused considering I never told anyone except… “Donny?”

He lowers his eyes a bit, which tells me everything I need to know. That little snitch.

“If you knew…why didn’t you reach out to me?” I hesitantly ask.

“I found out a few years after. I didn’t want to interrupt your life, knowing you were going to school and following your dreams. After that, I just lost the courage. Figured by then you’d moved on. I had even convinced myself you’d never come back.”

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