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November 9(12)
Author: Colleen Hoover

She met my father when she was sixteen and left him when she was twenty-three, so I’m thinking her age range restrictions have a little to do with personal experience. But considering I’m only eighteen and have no plans to settle down anytime soon, I figure it’s easy to follow her advice and allow her to take the credit. It’s the least I could do.

I do find humor in the fact that she thinks there’s this all-magical age when a woman finally has all her shit figured out. But I will admit that one of my favorite quotes is actually one she made up.

“You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else.”

My mother isn’t famous. She doesn’t have an incredible career. She isn’t even married to the love of her life. But there’s one thing she’s always been . . .


And that’s why, until I find reason otherwise, I’ll listen to every word she says, however absurd it might seem. I’ve never once known her to give me bad advice, so despite the fact that Benton James Kessler could have walked right off the pages of one of the many romance novels I keep stocked on my bedroom shelf—the guy doesn’t have a chance in hell with me for at least five more years.

But that’s not to say I didn’t want to crawl on his lap and straddle him right there on that park bench while I shoved my tongue down his throat. Because it was really hard to hold myself back after he admitted he thought I was beautiful.

No, wait.

Fucking beautiful were the exact words he used.

And while he does seem a little too good to be true, and he’s probably full of flaws and annoying little habits, I’m still just greedy enough to want to spend the rest of the day with him. Because who knows? Even though I’m moving to New York, I might still straddle him tonight and stick my tongue down his throat.

When I woke up this morning, I thought today was going to be one of the toughest days I’ve had in two years. Who knew the anniversary of the worst day of my life might possibly end on a good note?

“Twelve, thirty-five, pound,” I say to Ben, giving him the gate code to my apartment. He rolls down his window and punches in the code. I took a cab to meet my father at the restaurant this morning, so Ben offered to drive me back home.

I point out an empty parking spot, so he turns in that direction and pulls in next to my roommate’s car. We both climb out and meet at the front of his car.

“I feel like I should caution you before we walk inside,” I say.

He glances at the apartment building and then looks back at me with unease. “You don’t live with a real-life boyfriend, do you?”

I laugh. “No, not even close. My roommate’s name is Amber, and she’s probably going to bombard you with a million questions, considering I’ve never stepped foot through my front door with a guy before.” I don’t know why it doesn’t bother me at all to admit that to him.

He casually drapes his arm around my shoulders and begins walking toward the building with me. “If you’re asking me to pretend we’re just friends, that’s not gonna happen. I’m not downplaying our relationship for your roommate’s sake.”

I laugh and lead him to the front door of my apartment. I catch myself lifting my hand to knock but turn the doorknob instead. This is still my home for at least ten more hours, so I shouldn’t feel the need to knock.

Ben’s arm leaves my shoulders in order for me to walk through the door first. I look across the living room to find Amber standing at the kitchen counter with her boyfriend. She and Glenn have been dating for over a year now, and neither of them have come out and said it, but I’m pretty sure he’s moving in the second I move out tonight.

She glances up, and her eyes immediately grow wide the second she notices Ben filing in behind me.

“Hey,” I say cheerfully, as if there’s nothing unusual about me bringing home a very good-looking guy whom I’ve never once mentioned before.

We make our way across the living room and Amber’s eyes never leave Ben the entire time. “Hi,” she finally says, still staring at him. “Who are you?” She looks at me and points to Ben. “Who is he?”

Ben steps forward and reaches out his hand. “Benton Kessler,” he says, shaking her hand. He reaches over and shakes Glenn’s hand next. “Just call me Ben, though.” His arm drapes over my shoulders again. “I’m Fallon’s boyfriend.”

I laugh, but I’m the only one who laughs. Glenn eyes him up and down. “Boyfriend?” he asks, moving his attention back to me. “Does he know you’re moving to New York?”

I nod. “He’s known since the second we met.”

Amber arches an eyebrow. “Which was . . . when?”

She’s confused, because she knows I tell her everything. And having a boyfriend is definitely considered a part of everything.

“Oh, man,” Ben says, looking down at me. “How long has it been now, babe? One . . . two hours?”

“Two at the most.”

Amber narrows her eyes in my direction. She already wants to know all the details, and she hates that she has to wait until Ben leaves before she gets them.

“We’ll be in my room,” I say casually.

Ben gives them a quick wave and then removes his arm from around my shoulders, sliding his fingers through mine. “Nice to meet you both.” He points down the hall. “I’m gonna follow Fallon to her room now so I can see what kind of panties she has on.”

Amber’s mouth falls open and Glenn laughs. I push Ben’s arm, shocked he took the joke that far. “No, you’re following me to my room to help me pack.”

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