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Sixteen years is a long time to wait for your true love to reappear, and, anyway, Nicki Johnson couldn’t wait for the impossible to happen. Hard life lessons have taught her that fairy tales are children’s stories, and fate is cruel. Burying her hopes, she’s spent the last sixteen years focused and driven toward her career, and it’s landed her with a job at the White House with a gem of a boyfriend. But when her high school love, Adam Kincaid, walks into the White House as a BBC reporter, Nicki’s world is thrown into turmoil as she relives their past. Adam has come back for her, but has he arrived too late?
caught my eye and grinned. “Hi, Nicole. It’s good to see you. Are we being too
No one has complained.” I smiled at the group. “But you do seem to be having a
good time? What’sgoing
a little impromptu party.” Lydia gestured to Dan Roark, who stood hunched over
the back of a seat, holding a glass of beer. “Dan has us playing games that are
making us laugh.”
games?” I asked Dan.
More like truth or dare, but without the dare.”
dear,” I said in a playful tone.
sidled up to me and said, “Well, it’sa
I ask what ‘truth’ everyone is revealing?”
sharing wherewe lostour virginity
andtowhom,” she said. “It’s
froze my smile. Holy shit.
to me,Dan asked,“Wannaplay,Nicole?”
“Nah,I don’tthinkso.” I played it cool,
hoping I could end it all sooner that way.
he said. “Myhighschoolgirlfriend, CharlotteClark,in my Mustang.How’sthat?
shook my head.
Dan took a step toward me and pointed to Adam. “Even Kincaidplayed.Right,
turnedtosee Adam’sresponse. I could’ve
played the game for him. I knew whom he’d lost his virginity to and where. It
wasn’t me but his old girlfriend—the girl he’d cheated on me with. Adam’s eyes
met mine for a brief second, but they were blank. He silently waved his hand asif brushing
rolled his eyes. “So now he won’t play.
Whatever, Kincaid.” He then turned to me. “Kincaid’sgirlwasnamedKate.They diditinhischildhoodbed.
knew Adam and Dan didn’t like each other. If Dan’s reporter sixth sense had
picked up on something in Adam’s past to exploit, I was sure the comment had
been a dig at Adam, not me. But now I was the collateral damage, and it was
worse than a blow to the gut. It was a rapid-fire machine gun, leaving multiple
and increasingly severe wounds.
girl”—a girl other than me. “Kate”—the name I’d hated for years. “They did
it”—yes, they had, many times. And finally, the worst part—“in his childhood
bed”—their history and family connection was part of what had driven Adam to
her after I’d rejected him.
As nauseated as I was at hearing about Kate
and Adam having sex and then my name thrown in, I was sure Adam was even less
comfortable at that moment. In the end, he’d been hurt just as much as me, both
today and back then. I even felt a little sorry for him.
heard Lydia say, “Please, Nicole. It’s not like we know the guy. It’s just for
bet Adam was truly mortified by that one, and it actually made me crack a
smile. I decided to give them a tidbit. “At the beach,” I said curtly.
sweet,” said Lydia. Other female
reporters chimed in with “sexy” and “romantic.”
the tidbit wasn’t enough for Dan. It only egged him on. “So howwasit? Wereyouin highschool?Wasit any good?”
on, Johnson,” he said. “‘At the beach’ tells us almost nothing. We’re
reporters. You know you’ve got to give us something more than that.”
shook my head, mainly at myself. I shouldn’t have ever opened up the topic; it
was my own fault. “Fine,” I said, crossing my arms. “I was seventeen. It was
Valentine’s Day. That’s all—”
you in love?” asked Lydia.
I could’ve balked at the question, but I didn’t.
Answering it felt as easy as saying the sky was blue. “Yes.”
Even before she graduated from law school, Mary Whitney knew she wasn’t cut out to be a real lawyer. Drawn to politics, she’s spent her career as an organizer, lobbyist, and nonprofit executive. Nothing piques her interest more than a good political scandal or romance, and when she stumbled upon writing, she put the two together. A born Midwesterner, naturalized Texan, and transient resident of Washington, D.C., Mary now lives in Northern California with her two daughters and real lawyer husband.