Your own two feet are all you have when you've been left.
A naive Baylee loves Colt, her boyfriend of four years, more than she ever thought possible. After a little snooping, she's convinced she's well on her way toward hearing an once-in-a-lifetime proposal and starring in the wedding-of-the-year event. Instead, she's blindsided by a very public breakup and the crushing news that Colt is marrying someone else… someone more befitting him and the role his father expects him to take in his law firm.
Baylee may have spent years resenting Ariana, her mother, and her suicide, an intolerable show of weakness in Baylee's opinion, but after Colt leaves her just short of the altar, Baylee sees the world through her mother's eyes. She sympathizes with Ariana's actions and realizes that some things—soul-deep aches—can irreparably damage you and make moving on nearly impossible.
At least that's how she feels until she meets Ryker. With his help, Baylee discovers there is life after Colt, and she prepares to move on by pulling herself up by the bootstraps, holding her head high, and standing on her own two feet. Unfortunately, a new jealous and hateful Colt has his own plans for her, and they are plans no one—especially Baylee—ever saw coming.
Title: Left (Still Standing #1)
Author: T.R. Graves
Release Date: September 1, 2013
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"Babe. I didn't expect you to be here," Colt says, coming toward me.
The way he looks at me—sad and ashamed—tells me there's more to this lunch than he wants me to know. My heart is racing, and I've lost the ability to speak.
When Colt reaches out to touch me, I casually slip back and away from him. He knows me too well for me to hide my feelings.
We'll talk tonight. Not here. Not now.
I don't want anyone else to know I'm hurt to the core—and angry—so I put on my fake grin and stare at Eden's hand until she releases Colt's elbow.
She, too, has the good sense to look ashamed of herself.
"Sabrina and I were just having lunch," I say and realize speaking around the lump that has formed in my throat is more difficult that I'd expected.
When I glance over to Sabrina and see a new round of pity in her face, I feel the moisture seeping into my eyes. All I can do is pray I don't turn into a sniveling ball of tears here in the middle of this restaurant.
"Sabrina, do you mind getting the car? I have a meeting I can't be late for. I'll be out in a few minutes," I say, calmly... carefully.
She nods. "Sure. Colt, it was nice seeing you again."
Ever polite and not sure what else to do or say, Colt agrees. "Same here, Sabrina."
After Sabrina leaves, Colt turns to Eden and says, "Why don't you get a table for four? Dad and James will be here shortly."
I notice how Colt makes a point of letting me know he's not having lunch with Eden by himself. Little does he know I'm not upset by the lunch. It was the intimacy of what I just witnessed.
"Sure. It was nice seeing you again, Baylee," Eden—beautiful, successful, smart Eden—says to me, and it's all I can do not to slap her across her face for driving this wedge between Colt and me.
Even my green-eyed monster has to admit the blond, buxom beauty is stunning. She's the whole package all the way down to her bloodline. It seems her father, James, and Wyatt have been friends their entire lives. Both driven. Both successful.
According to Colt, Wyatt insisted that Eden join his firm as soon as she passed the bar. Within one year, she'd been made partner. Wyatt still hasn't made his own son—who joined the same year—a partner, and I happen to know for a fact that Colt is brilliant. I can only imagine what Eden brings to the table, considering Wyatt's expectations.
I glare at Eden as she walks away from us. There's a natural swag to her hips as she strolls away. It's as if she's practiced in a mirror her entire life so men—every man in the room—will watch her ass while she walks away.
"Babe, I have a meeting in a few minutes. Do you want me to walk you out to Sabrina's car?" Colt asks, grabbing my elbow before leaning over and kissing me on the cheek, breaking my heart further.
Going out of my way to avoid a scene, I slip away from Colt. "No, thank you. I made it into the restaurant myself, and I can make it out just fine."
He can tell by my whispered tone that he's done—said—the wrong thing.
"What's wrong, Bay? All I'm doing is having a business lunch. Why are you acting like you've just caught me cheating?"
I glance up. Colt looks as torn as he did last week in his study. He's as hurt as I am. My distrust is painful for him. Instantly, I soften.
Unconditional trust. That's what you committed to last week.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
T. R. Graves, the author of The Warrior Series and The Secrets Series and The Underwater Series, is a 2012 NaNoWriMo Winner.
She lives along the Texas coast with her husband. Together, they raise T. R.'s beta reading daughter and their football-loving son. Besides being blessed with a supportive family, she counts her career as a registered nurse in not-for-profit hospitals high on her list of fulfilling accomplishments.
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