Hurt Me

Hurt Me

Release Date: September 18th

First Chapter Preview Below

After Eden Monroe’s ex dumps her, she decides not to cancel the romantic getaway they booked, wanting to waste his money like he wasted two years of her life. She never expects to go, but when he gets engaged to someone else, she packs her bags and boards the plane in need of an escape.

Except she’s not the only one.

Becker Donovan needs to lie low for a while. The farther away from his life, the better. So, after catching wind of an abandoned week at a luxury resort in paradise, he decides to claim it as his own. All he has to do is convince everyone he’s a rich douche for a few days. Easy enough.

Until the princess from the airport shows up to find out he conned his way into her hotel suite.

He should leave, but then Eden’s brother offers him a reason to stay.

Five days. Ten thousand dollars. All Beck has to do is keep the guys away from Eden.

Only when she needs him to play boyfriend, the guy who ends up with his hands all over her is him. It’s all pretend between them until it’s not. They fall hard and fast—completely.

But the problem with finding each other when taking a break from the real world is they eventually have to return to it. And once reality crashes back in, Eden and Beck realize they don’t exactly live in the same one. Not even close.

CHAPTER ONE

EDEN

Everyone has their breaking point. The one thing that can catapult them from a completely rational human being to whatever the hell I am right now. A spiteful ex, a woman scorned, someone who’s about to commit fraud. Light fraud. Daddy was a lawyer back in the day, and I’m sure he’d want that distinction made right from the start.

I found my breaking point after a drunken journey that started and ended in my bathroom. The twelve hours between are rewinding in my head like jumpy and grainy, black and white, security footage while I’m curbside in front of the airport. Only the classiest moments stand out. And, holy hell, are those in technicolor.

I fidget, waiting for the driver to gather my bags from the trunk and doing everything I can to avoid my tinted reflection in the window. The over-size sunglasses are necessary since I’m on the verge of a devastating hangover. But when combined with the large-brimmed hat, I look guilty. And I haven’t even set foot in the airport yet. I haven’t flown on the plane ticket or checked in under a reservation I should have canceled months ago.

But I’m about to do both, and I’ll have the time of my life.

Even if it kills me.

In my defense, when I was getting ready to go out last night, I expected to spend today doing anything but what I’m doing. I envisioned sleeping late and then shopping. Maybe grabbing lunch with a friend if any dragged themselves out of bed early enough.

I hadn’t even thought about the trip in weeks. The romantic escape I’d planned every perfect minute of only for my boyfriend to have the audacity to ask me to cancel.

Seconds after dumping me.

I was still shaking my head, shell-shocked from having two years ripped from under me when Ashton curled his fingers under my chin and tipped my face up.

“Will you be a sweetie and cancel the Bahamas for me? You’ve always been better at that stuff.”

Then he tapped me on the nose and left me standing in his living room.

Well, I wasn’t a sweetie. I wanted him to pay for plane tickets that went unused and be charged by the hotel even though no one showed. Not that he’d notice either way. In the entire time I’d known him, he never once glanced at a bank statement.

Regardless, wasted tickets and an unclaimed getaway—that was the plan. Only now I’m checking luggage and hauling my carry-on through the terminal. Still bordering on tipsy, if I’m being honest.

Once I pass security, I slip my phone out of the side pocket of my bag, only to shove it right back in. If I call before I land, Eli will find a way to stop the plane. My big brother hasn’t laid off the over-protective routine in twenty-one years. I wouldn’t put it past him to make a suspicious call or tell security a mentally unstable woman is loose in their terminal. He and his latest girlfriend were still asleep when the town car picked me up. I wouldn’t have made it out of our apartment otherwise.

I collapse in an empty row of seats outside the gate, bypassing the first class lounge out of principle. They don’t recycle the hundreds of plastic water bottles they dole out daily, and I refuse to help them suffocate our planet. Plus, I prefer the people on this side of the doors.

They trickle in, filling the waiting area around me. Stressed out mothers herd children plugged into devices while the fathers participate in various capacities. All the voices and movement distract from the steady pulse of heartache recently reawakened. For a short time anyway.

I really thought my heart had healed. That the scar tissue Ashton left behind would act as a barrier against future breaks. Then my friends who pre-date our cotillion days buzzed my damn phone off the bathroom counter last night and proved me oh-so-very wrong.

I fish out my phone again and scroll up through the group chat, past the So sorry huns and Complete prick—you’re better offs until I reach the first of many OMFGs. All caps and the fuck are reserved for true emergencies. Not unfortunate hair cuts or gossip from the previous night’s party. Real. Shit.

The words didn’t make sense the first time I read them. Ashton, proposed, engaged. I dropped my mascara wand and backed to my clawfoot tub. My stomach sank at the same speed as I did, lowering onto the ledge while the screenshots flooded in. All I could do was stare at the screen, each message numbing me more.

I’d picked the ring last year. A pear-shaped diamond with a double pavé band that gave me actual chills the first time I saw it. I told him I wanted white rose petals and a rooftop dinner and him on both knees instead of just one. He did everything down to the tiniest detail. All of it. For someone else. And in under two months.

I was still sitting there when the cavalry rode in shortly after. My friends were dressed to kill and determined to help me forget that I’d just been filleted, my bones still on the tile. We spent the night bouncing between clubs, sweaty men, and open drink tabs. I usually shepherd them around and hold back hair, but I danced until I couldn’t breathe and drained every drink they slid my way.

At no point did it enter my sloshed brain that today was the day Ashton and I would have left on our trip. Until around four am when one of my friends shouted a reminder in the back of an Uber. The music in the SUV was so loud, she had to scream it a second time.

You should go,” she yelled, to which my wasted ass replied, “Hell yeah, I should!

I remember the exchange clearly because I then proceeded to puke into my handbag.

Classy.

Everything blurs again after that, but I woke up in my tub. I was clutching an empty bottle of Vodka with my bags packed and waiting by the door. I also found a note on the mirror, telling me to grow a pair and act like the badass bitch I am. It said Ashton owed me this trip, and I needed to screw every guy on the island while I was there. It was signed Drunk (AND SO FUCKING RIGHT) Eden with black smudges all over the page. I rolled my eyes, unimpressed with myself. But then I noticed the mascara wand in the sink where it landed after falling from my hand. Black streaked down the white porcelain from its slide to the bottom of the basin. I looked into the mirror, no longer blocked by the paper. My hair was a knotted mess, my makeup smeared, and I had similar black streaks down my cheeks. I remembered writing the note then. The tears he never deserved had been streaming down my red and puffy face, no matter how fast I had tried to swipe them away. Then I’d crawled into the tub with my security vodka.

Everyone has a breaking point. That douche canoe brought me to mine.

After another chest-compressing glance around the bathroom, I washed my face, perfected a look to shimmer under Caribbean sun, and was out the door in under twenty minutes. Woman. Fucking. Scorned.

As the terminal further crowds, I throw my phone to the floor, not coming close to hitting my bag. Sighing, I bend forward and grab it off the carpet. Before I put it away, I mute my messages, sign off social media, and otherwise drop myself off the grid for the next week.

A worn green duffle bag lands in the row facing mine. The owner drops into the seat beside it a second later, attention fixed on his phone. He extends long legs in front of him, holding his head up with an index finger pressed to his temple. I’ve just settled back when he looks up. Tan skin sets off steel blue eyes, the contrast disarming even from ten feet away. I offer a small smile before his gaze lowers. It sweeps all the way down to the red bottom heels on my feet and back up, his voice bored when he says, “Not my type, princess.”

Thank God his eyes are already back on his phone because my mouth actually falls open. Neck tats, a lip ring, grungy jeans, and a generic black tee that stretches over even more ink on his biceps. He’s not my type.

By the time he checks to see what damage he caused my ego, I’ve recovered enough to force out a cold laugh.

“Don’t flatter yourself.”

He lowers his phone when I match his stare from across the aisle, unwilling to give him a win by looking away first. But even though the outside locks down the bitch act, his disinterest struck dead center of that ache in my chest and it wrenches tighter.

They announce first class boarding mid-stare down. As much as I want to continue a scowl

“Figures,” he mumbles, shaking his head.

I shoot him one last glare on my way past before flipping the expression to friendly for the woman at the gate. While she checks my boarding pass, a little boy darts by us. His dad swoops him up, throwing him over a shoulder, and the candy wrapper in his hand flutters to the floor. Father and son keep going, so I pick it up and toss it in the wastebasket behind the attendant.

“Thank you,” she says, sounding surprised. She smiles, handing back my ticket. “Enjoy your flight, Miss Monroe.”

I nod and head down the tunnel, already focused on what happens when the plane lands. Getting on a flight using a ticket with my name on it was the easy part. Checking into a resort under a reservation held with someone else’s credit card … now that will take some serious finesse.

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