When a vicious attack leaves 25-year-old Clementine Johns with no memory, she’s forced to start over.
Now she has figure out who she was and why she made the choices she did – which includes leaving the supposed love of her life, tattoo artist Ed Larsen, only a month before.
Ed can hardly believe it when his ex shows up at his tattoo parlor with no memory of their past, asking about the breakup that nearly destroyed him. The last thing he needs is more heartache, but he can’t seem to let her go again.
Should they walk away for good, or does their love deserve a repeat performance?
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Pavement turns into cobblestones and there’s a more touristy feel to the shops in Old Port. Lots of beautiful, over-a-century-old brick buildings. I’m almost tempted by a waterfront lobster place, but continue on, looking for Vito’s—the Italian restaurant Ed recommended I try.
And I’m glad I did. It smells amazing and has heavy wooden tables and dark red napkins, silver cutlery glinting in the low light. There are plenty of shadowy nooks and atmosphere aplenty, despite the crowd.
Just when I think I’m going to get turned away, the maître d’ smiles, obviously recognizing me on sight, and leads me to the only available table.
I feel comfortable here. Maybe it’s the warm welcome. Or maybe some part of me deep down recognizes this place. Unlike the froufrou clothing, Vito’s still fits. Though I should probably dress up more next time. Black yoga pants and a T-shirt is a bit slummy.
“Clem?” asks a familiar deep voice.
I raise my eyes from the menu to find Ed staring down at me. He looks good. But then, he always does. More dressed up than normal in gray slacks and a white button-down shirt with his hair slicked back. God, he’s so handsome and smooth looking, like a movie star out of an old black and white movie. Just behind him is a woman with wavy shoulder-length dark hair. She’s beautiful too. Of course she is. They make a great looking couple, dammit.
Meanwhile, the maître d’ stands nearby, visibly flustered. “I’m so sorry. I just assumed . . . ”
“Shit,” I say, realization dawning. “This is your table.”
Ed clears his throat. “Yeah.”
“Awkward. Okay.” I slide out of the chair, grabbing my usual bag with money, cell, and book inside. God. The brunette is dressed in a sexy off-the-shoulder number and I look like crap. “What a coincidence, huh? Enjoy your meal.”
And I’m out of there, pronto. Not even the cooler air outside can take the heat out of my face. It’s just as well that I’m wearing sneakers and not heels. Otherwise, there would be no chance of moving fast on the cobblestone streets. The usual ache/awkwardness caused by the thought of Ed escalates into an agonizing kind of pain. I think I’m having a heart attack. Or maybe my heart just hurts. Which makes no sense at all because he’s not mine. Not in any way, shape, or form. The man doesn’t even like me. And I definitely don’t enjoy the riot of feelings he inspires.
“Clem, wait!” Ed runs after me, his expression tense. “Are you all right?”
“Sure. Why wouldn’t I be?”
He just looks at me.
“That was unfortunate, them thinking we were still together and meeting for dinner. I mean, what were the chances of me turning up here tonight?” I babble, staring at his shoes. Much easier than meeting his face.
“Random,” he says.
“It’s just that you told me to try this restaurant and I was in the area, so . . . ”
“Yeah? What were you doing?”
“Taking a self-defense class.”
“Good. That’s good.”
I cross my arms over my chest. Only it feels defensive, best to just let them hang at my sides. He’s freshly shaved, the strong line of his jaw dramatic in the low lighting. All of the planes and angles of his face are so perfect. Also, he smells incredibly good. Probably some expensive cologne or just his general coolness leaking from his pores. I don’t know. But at such a close distance, I can almost believe the emotion in his eyes is something other than annoyance or pity.
“Anyway,” I say, taking a deep breath. “You should get back. I guess I’ll try the place another time. Make my own reservation next time.”
“It was always your favorite.”
That stops me. “You’re taking your date to my favorite restaurant?”
“I happen to like the place too.” Lines crease his brow. “What, we need to divvy up the town now?”
“No, just . . . my favorite? Really? Isn’t it weird, going somewhere we made memories?” I raise the corner of my lips in distaste. “Obviously not, or you wouldn’t be here with her and this wouldn’t have just happened. Never mind.”
Now the lines have spread to beside his beautiful eyes.
“Though maybe that’s the point, you want to overwrite everything we did together. Make newer and better memories.”
“You know, maybe I do.”
“Fantastic. Awesome. Best of luck with that.” My voice rises in volume. “I hope she’s everything for you that I never could be. A paragon of female worthiness. A lady on the streets, a wildcat between the sheets, and all that shit.”
A couple passes by, darting looks at us. Fair enough.
“And I’m yelling at you on street corners now like a deranged person. Great.”
“Please continue, Clem,” he bites out. “I for one am enjoying the hell out of all this honesty for once.”
“Oh, fuck off back to your date, Ed.”
His shoulders rise on an exceptionally heavy sigh and honest to God, I feel exactly the same way. Apparently this city isn’t big enough for both my ex and me. Not tonight, at least. I might have forgotten the initial breakup. But we were sure making up for the loss of those memories now. And I barely even know the guy. It shouldn’t have mattered where he went, let alone with whom. It shouldn’t hurt. Empty was so much safer.
“I don’t want to yell at you. I don’t want to be this person. Give my love to Gordon,” I say, sounding much calmer than I feel. “Hope you have a nice night.”
“Clem . . . ”
I don’t stop walking and I don’t turn back.
Meet The Author: Kylie Scott
Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.
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