Today we welcome Isabelle Drake and
She ran away from the town that wouldn’t forget, to a city that doesn’t forgive, right into the arms of the guy who insists she set things right.
Less than a year ago, Hayley Jones made a scandalous decision that sent her packing. She left her country hometown, moved to the city and made a new life for herself. But it’s hard being someone else when the real you has some unfinished business. Hayley knows taking care of the unresolved piece of her past could stir up more trouble and humiliation, so she dodges the truth and puts her energy into her new friends and job. That strategy works for a short while but people from her past start showing up in her present.
Life gets even more complicated when she realizes she’s falling for Nick Noel, a guy who knows she’s running from something, and continually challenges her to be herself. But Hayley is afraid of what will happen if Nick finds out who she really is and what she did back home.
Seven things a city girl should know before she dates a guy from the country.
1. He's not a hipster (...yet).
The first time you met him he was drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon and wearing a flannel shirt, a Carhartt beanie, and a pair of Red Wing boots. It was only until you got close enough to hear what he was saying that you realized he was talking about how he was all-conference middle line-backer his senior year, and not discussing how Paul Thomas Anderson is America's "most important" filmmaker.
2. He won't get your Mean Girls quotes.
The cable company didn't have service all the way out where he lived. In fact he barely got enough reception with the comically-sized rabbit ears bolted to the side of his house to watch the State game on Saturdays. The closest cinema was thirty miles from his house so he's only ever seen three movies: The Notebook, Forest Gump, and Remember the Titans.
3. His Confederate Flag belt buckle doesn't make him a racist (probably).
That's not actually even the confederate flag. That's the battle flag of the army of north Virginia and the only reason he's wearing it is because of that show Dukes of Hazzard. To him the red, white and blue reminds of home cooked meals and good ol' boys. That being said, if he tells you that the south will rise again, you might want to move on. Maybe not. Just ‘sayin.
4. No, he doesn't like to dance.
Or any kind of Dance. His eyes still tear up when he remembers his middle school wrestling coaching telling him he was "lead footed". He would be much happier lying on a picnic blanket in the bed of his truck than being bumped into by sweaty twenty-year-olds years in a sketchy club with the latest Diplo/Tiesto collab track blaring in his ears.
5. Only having 80 Facebook friends doesn’t mean he's a serial killer.
His high school graduating class was only 30 people and his principal was his best friend's grandpa. And his history teacher. And the football coach. His social circle is tiny and he probably likes it that way.
6. Don't visit his hometown.
To you it sounds quaint and cute. You imagine big bright red barns and sprawling pastures filled with galloping horses and grazing cows. The reality is a run-down gas station and a diner whose only patron is a ninety-year-old man who only stops wheezing long enough to leer at what you and mutter to himself about "girls these days".
7. Your romantic past is longer than his.
You might’ve had thirty new matches on Tinder every day for the last few years, but he only ever had one girlfriend before you and it was the town scandal when the two of them didn't get married the summer after they graduated high school.
This last one applies to guys who date girls from the country too.
I scoot into Nick’s truck and wiggle to the middle where I always sit. Riana crawls in after me.
Nick glances at me after he pulls out onto Seven Mile Road but he doesn’t say anything.
I rest my head on his shoulder, and Riana rests her head on mine. The lights of Woodward flash past as Nick drives south, toward Palmer Park. He’s a good driver, Nick is. He’s good at everything. Good, solid, Nick. Always there. Ever since he started coming into the bakery where I worked when I first got to the city.
Thinking about Nick makes me so happy I laugh. He was so cute with his coffee and notebooks and old school nerdy stuff.
He glances away from the road to me. “What?”
“Do you still do those calculator puzzles?”
He gives me a wry look. “Yes, I do. It’s why I get the scholarships.”
I stop giggling and look him over. He sees my scrutiny and turns his face back to the road but I can still feel his attention on me. And I remember the way it felt when he put his hand on my leg. I start wondering, when will he do it again?
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About the author:
Thrill-seeking risk takers, heroes with the dark past, sexy locales, untamed women! Isabelle Drake writes stories featuring men and women who aren't afraid to go after what they want. An avid traveller, she'll go just about anywhere—at least once—to meet people and get story ideas.
Promotional post. Materials provided by the publisher, Totally Bound.