Today we have the blog tour for SUNSETS AND SOMEDAYS, a 425 Madison Ave book! Check it out and be sure to grab your copy today!
I know why I lost her. I was too serious. I was too practical. I was grounded when I should’ve been dreaming about forever with Jess.
Over time, this wore on her, all her big exciting ideas and all the ways I shut them down. No wonder she handed me my ring back and left town. No wonder she hadn’t been back in ten years. No wonder she’d married someone else, leaving me with memories of sunsets at the beach and the somedays we planned for the future we’d never live.
So, I built a lift without her. My father and I opened the second division of Sunset Builders in New York, and to my surprise, I stayed busy, almost busy enough not to notice the loneliness.
While I was on a job site, my little sister booked an appointment with a woman who lived on Madison Avenue. A quick bathroom and kitchen remodel, she’d said. I should have asked more questions because when I arrived and the door opened memories came flooding back.
Jessica had returned. If I’d learned anything in her absence it was that anything worth doing was worth being done well, and anything worth having was worth fighting for. Maybe by the time the condo was done, Jessica would give me a second chance.
All those years ago, Ben had been right to try to keep me grounded. I should’ve listened. The falls didn’t hurt as bad that way.
Instead, I wanted a bigger life in a bigger place and I never appreciated the beauty of living in a small town with a huge support system. So, I left town without so much as a goodbye chasing a silly dream. I alienated myself, moved to a strange city where I knew no one, and chased after something that took me down a dark path.
I married the man who promised me the sun, moon, and stars, but delivered blinding blows. Sometimes, I thought I’d die before I escaped the nightmare. I knew my only way out would be to run…again. This took more years than I could count. Years of me squirreling away money, and years of me hiding in the dark so that no one would see my bruised face in the light of day.
Then my grandfather died. He left me money and a gorgeous condo in New York. While my husband was away on a month-long trip, my best friend drove me to New York. My plan: to upgrade the condo, sell it, and leave my current life behind.
Little did I know when I had called contractors to get some quotes that Ben would show up on my doorstep. He swore we could make more dreams real, but this time I was the grounded one. This time, I could only see how it would never work. I’d made too many mistakes. Love was terrifying. And I never wanted to tie myself to anyone ever again.
After all, 425 Madison is the perfect place to fall in love.
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My stomach flipped as I stared at the ring that sat in the palm of my hand, memories flooding back to me. I dropped down to my knees, unpinning the object from the jeans, still studying it. I couldn’t believe that he had been carrying this ring around with him all these years. I glanced over to Ben and back to the ring in my hand and almost instantly I felt my stomach start to roll. Did he still love me?
“What are you sitting like that for? Did you lose something?” a groggy sleep-filled voice asked.
I could barely tear my eyes away from the ring I held in my hand, but I did, and I was faced with Ben. A boy I had once loved who now had turned into a man. The second our eyes met, I could tell from the look in his eyes that he still had feelings for me. I doubted that they had ever left.
“What is this?”
“What?” he asked, rolling over onto his back and placing his hands behind his head.
“This?” I demanded, holding the ring between my fingers and shoving it into his face.
He swallowed hard, a hesitant look all over his face. Our eyes met, and I knew I was never supposed to have found it. He swallowed hard, his face going red. “Where did you find that?”
“Where did I find it? Are you serious? It was tied to a string, pinned into your pants pocket!” I bit out. “Were you planning on getting down on one knee this morning? Planning to confess your love for me?”
“Jess, calm down,” Ben said, throwing the covers off his naked body and reaching for his jeans that lay on the floor where I’d left them.
“Don’t tell me to calm down, Ben. What the hell are you still doing with this? You think things have changed suddenly? That I am going to run back to you with open arms?”
“I don’t think that at all,” he said, slipping into his jeans and looking around the room for his shirt.
“Then why do you still have it?”
He stood staring at me, looking from me to the ring and back again. It was almost as if the words were caught in his throat. He wanted me back, and he had taken this opportunity, a moment of weakness, to sneak in and pray upon me. A moment where my life had been turned upside down to take advantage.
I glanced at him. I could see the struggle in his mind and on his lips.
“Look, nothing has changed. I have plans, Ben, and they don’t include running off into the sunset with you. It doesn’t involve me staying here with you.”
“Jess, that wasn’t my intention. What happened—”
I held out my hand. I didn’t want to hear anymore of his excuses. “I do have a life, Ben. I have plans. My friend, Kate, has a job lined up for me once I return to LA. So, as soon as this project is finished, this place will be on the market and I will be gone.”
“So once again, you are going to run, just like last time.”
“This isn’t like the last time.”
“Sure it is. Look what happened all those years ago—a stupid idea of a wild promise and you took off. You are making the same mistake all over again. Just like last time, you are still the one dying to leave.”
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author S.L. Sterling was born and raised in southern Ontario. She now lives in Northern Ontario Canada with her two dogs, and is married to her best friend and soul mate.
An avid reader all her life, S.L. Sterling dreamed of becoming an author. She decided to give writing a try after one of her favorite authors launched a course on how to write your novel. This course gave her the push she needed to put pen to paper and her debut novel “It Was Always You” was born.
When S.L. Sterling isn’t writing or plotting her next novel she can be found curled up with a cup of coffee, blanket and the newest romance novel from one of her favorite authors.
In her spare time, she enjoys camping, hiking, sunny destinations, spending quality time with family and friends and of course reading.