He turned the conversation to her. “Last I knew you were studying speech language pathology. Is that still the plan?”
“Yes. I’m working on my master’s at Buff State. I want to get into a hospital or clinical setting.”
“I see. Well, I know whatever you do, you’ll be a success, Kelsey.”
His assurance sent a quiver through her. He’d always been on her side, had faith in her when she doubted herself.
Not hard to doubt herself when she came from working-class people who distrusted “eggheads.” They had never understood her desire for a college education, and put down her aspirations as “getting snooty” and “thinking you’re better than us.” Instead of showing pride in her accomplishments, they mocked her.
Easy to take that message to heart and echo their gibes: What makes you think you can do this? Think you’re special or something?
But Luke had given her the support she needed. “Don’t listen to them,” he’d told her more than once. “You can do this. You are doing it. You will succeed.”
Right. He’d built her up just to knock her down again, taking her to bed and then ghosting without so much as a good-bye. She’d felt safe in his friendship, confident he’d always have her back. How could she have been so wrong?
“Kelsey.” He pinned her with his gaze. “About the way I left…I want to explain…”
Damn it, no. The time to explain would have been a year ago. Too late now. She didn’t want to hear any excuses. Didn’t want him thinking she cared at all. “What the hell. It’s all water under the bridge, isn’t it?” She slugged down what was left of her drink.
“Is it?” he asked. His intense stare sent another quiver through her. Crap. She clenched her teeth as her body betrayed her.
The music and chatter dulled to a buzz in her ears. The dancers out on the floor, the people huddled around the bar blurred into smears of color. Kelsey’s heart thumped in her throat. Luke was speaking—she knew that because his mouth was moving—but she couldn’t hear a damn word. All she could focus on was that juicy lower lip of his. She wanted to sink her teeth into it, make him yelp. She wanted to fall on top of him, kiss him until neither one of them could breathe. Then rip off his clothes and claw away her own.
Oh God. She was fucked.
Not the Hot Guy:A Companion to the Not the Hot Chick Series
He may have changed…but her feelings for him are still the same.
Kelsey Marek and Luke Reid were unlikely friends. She was the pretty girl who had no trouble attracting guys. He was the studious, chubby type too shy to approach women. But they were both misfits and with each other found safety and support. Sharing their deepest secrets and darkest fears, they had each other's back. They were best friends—until one night, when they became much more.
Then Luke disappeared without a word of explanation or goodbye. After more than a year, he's back in touch. Kelsey's determined not to let him know how much he hurt her. She'll need to keep up the pretense in spite of all the ways Luke has changed…and the realization that her love for him is still the same.
Note: This is a standalone tale. Though it features a supporting character from the Not the Hot Chick series, one need not read the series to enjoy the story.