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BE MY DOWNFALL Synopsis:
Toby Wright has always prided himself on being one of the most normal guys at Whitman University. He loves his parents, has a great job lined up after graduation, and with the exception of attempting to cross the unbalanced Sebastian Blair sophomore year, has kept his nose pretty clean.
But the rich never have empty closets, and memories long stashed away come spilling free when notorious party girl Kennedy Gilbert almost dies in his bathroom.
Nobody really knows how Kennedy manages to stay in good standing at Whitman–she never goes to class, doesn’t pretend to care about her future, and as far as people can tell, is never sober. This isn’t her first meeting with a stomach pump, but it is the first time she’s woken up to Toby’s concerned brown eyes. Despite the fact that she prefers life without friends, he gets under her skin with his insistence on playing her guardian angel.
No one knows better than Toby that people can only be saved if they want to be, but the realization that she has no one else draws him back into the shadows of Kennedy’s life–and eventually into her bed. But she long ago came to terms with a truth that Toby refuses to accept: she doesn’t want to be rescued, she only wants to forget.
Unwilling to give up on her, Toby’s dragged under by this broken girl and her dark, twisted Whitman University he never guessed existed. If he struggles to the surface, he’ll abandon someone he loves for the second time in his life. If he doesn’t, it won’t be long until they both drown.
There was no way I could safely drive a car back to the SEA house, but luckily, the Rowland beach house had more spare rooms than Buckingham Palace. The after-party was quieter than the pre-party, and when our limo pulled up, only about ten people scattered on the back deck.
Quinn and Emilie had, not shockingly, retired as soon as they returned and Blair and Audra had disappeared, too. I didn’t know the remaining guys all that well, and since Sebastian reminded me of many, many things I’d rather forget, I steered Kennedy up the stairs instead.
“Taking charge, are we, Wright? I like it.”
I led her to the last room on the right, which I knew had a nice balcony, and pushed open the door. It was empty, and I suspected most of the house would be the same by the morning. The Rowlands’ decorator had done every room in the same beach motif and colors—not terribly original, but serviceable. The comforter was a sandy color with cream-colored trim, carpet, and pale green drapes. The balcony doors stood open, letting a cool, salty breeze into the space.
Kennedy turned and reached for me. It had been weeks since I’d been to bed with anyone, but even though my body was raring to go, my mind insisted we make sure she wasn’t going to wake up tomorrow confused about what went down tonight. I held her at arms length.
“Can you touch your nose with your fingertip? One at a time?”
“Ooh, are we going to play officer friendly and the poor, unsuspecting woman he pulls over? I like that game. Want me to spread ’em?”
I rolled my eyes and shifted, trying to hide the growing tightness in the front of my black dress pants. Everything she’d said for the last two hours had been suggestive in some way, and if Kennedy failed any of my tests, I’d have to take care of things myself in the bathroom. “Just do it, smartass.”
She straightened her back and rearranged her features into the kind of serious expression I’d started to think she only showed by accident, then gently touched the tip of her nose with each index finger. I noticed she hadn’t removed her nail polish since we’d met in St. Moritz and the chipped, glossy pink had shrunk to little circles in the center of her nails.
“Well, that makes two of us.”
“Indulge me another couple of minutes and walk a straight line over to the windows.”
“If I refuse, will you handcuff me?”
“We’ll see how cooperative you are, ma’am,” I replied in a gruff voice, playing along.
Kennedy had a knack for making the weirdest conversations seem completely normal. I’d had a few wild nights with girls before, but typically not a first time. Those were for fumbling and awkward silence, but something told me this would be different.
“In that case.” She turned and put one foot in front of the other, wobbling just a little bit on her way to the window and back, before stopping way too close to me. “Do I pass?”
“What’s your name?”
“Kennedy Anne Gilbert.”
“What’s my name?”
“Toby Pain-In-My-Ass Wright.”
“Hey, how did you kn—”
She cut me off with a kiss, her lips landing hard on mine. They parted in an instant, her tongue searching for mine as her nimble fingers unknotted my tie and went for the buttons on my shirt. The fact that I was attracted to her, along with the fact that it had been weeks since I’d gotten laid, melted away the last of my worries over her sobriety. I hadn’t seen her take a drink in a couple hours and she seemed fine.
One and done. We’d get this spark of whatever it was out of our systems and move on, because that was how we both operated. No more lying awake thinking about what it would be like.
I’ve long had a love of stories. A few years ago decided to put them down on the page, and even though I have a degree in film and television, novels were the creative outlet where I found a home. I’ve published Young Adult under a different name, but when I got the idea for Broken at Love (my first New Adult title), I couldn’t wait to try something new – and I’m hooked. In my spare time I watch a ton of tennis (no surprise, there), play a ton of tennis, and dedicate a good portion of brain power to dreaming up the next fictitious bad boy we’d all love to meet in real life.
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