Saturday, November 8, 2014

Letting Go by Molly McAdams

Letting Go by Molly McAdams

The New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author returns with a sizzling novel of love, loss, guilt, and forgiveness.
Grey and Ben fell in love at thirteen and believed they’d be together forever. But three days before their wedding, the twenty-year-old groom-to-be suddenly died from an unknown heart condition, destroying his would-be-bride’s world. If it hadn’t been for their best friend, Jagger, Grey never would have made it through those last two years to graduation. He’s the only one who understands her pain, the only one who knows what it’s like to force yourself to keep moving when your dreams are shattered. Jagger swears he’ll always be there for her, but no one has ever been able to hold on to him. He’s not the kind of guy to settle down.
It’s true that no one has ever been able to keep Jagger—because he’s only ever belonged to Grey. While everyone else worries over Grey’s fragility, he’s the only one who sees her strength. Yet as much as he wants Grey, he knows her heart will always be with Ben. Still they can’t deny the heat that is growing between them—a passion that soon becomes too hot to handle. But admitting their feelings for each other means they’ve got to face the past. Is being together what Ben would have wanted . . . or a betrayal of his memory that will eventually destroy them both?


Grey May 10, 2012

“Then over there is where the girls and I will be waiting before the 

ceremony starts,” I said, pointing to the all-seasons tent just off to 

the side. “I think the coordinator said she’d get us in there when 

the photographer is taking pictures of Ben and the boys on the 

other side house, so he won’t see me.”

I glanced to my mom and soon-to-be mother-in-law talking about 

the gazebo behind me, and what it would look like with the 

greenery and flowers, and I smiled to myself. They’d been going 

back and forth on whether we should keep the gazebo as it was or 

decorate it ever since Ben and I had decided on The Lake House as 

our wedding and reception site. And from the few words I was 

hearing now, they were still undecided. I honestly didn’t care how 

it was decorated. I wanted to be married to Ben, and in three days, 

I would be.

“Grey, this place is freaking gorgeous. I can’t believe you were 

able to get it on such short notice,” my maid-of-honor and best 

friend, Janie, said in awe.

“I know, but it’s perfect, right?”

“Absolutely perfect.”

I grabbed her hand and rested my head on her shoulder as I stared 

at the part of the property where the reception would be. Ben and I 

had promised our families that we wouldn’t get married until we’d 

graduated from college, but that had been a much harder promise 

to keep than we’d thought it would be. School let out for summer a 

few days ago, and we wanted to move off campus for our junior 

year … together. That hadn’t exactly gone over well with my 

parents. They didn’t want us living together until we were married. 

I think in my dad’s mind it helped him continue to believe I was 

his innocent little girl.

I’d been dating Ben since I was thirteen years old; the innocent 

part flew out the window over three years ago. Not that he needed 

to know that. After a long talk with both our parents, they agreed 

to let us get married now instead of two years from now.

That was seven weeks ago. Even though Ben had asked me to 

marry him last Christmas, we’d officially gotten engaged once 

we’d received the okay from our parents, and had started planning 

our wedding immediately. Seven weeks of being engaged. Seven 

years of being together. And in three days I would finally be Mrs. 

Benjamin Craft.

With how the last few weeks had dragged by, it felt like our day 

would never get here.

My phone rang and I pulled it out of my pocket. My lips tilted up 

when I saw Jagger’s name and face on the screen, but I ignored the 

call. Putting my phone back in my pocket, I kept my other hand 

firmly wrapped around Janie’s and walked over to where the rest 

of the bridesmaids were. My aunts and grandma had gathered 

around the gazebo-debating duo, and were helping them with the 

pros and cons.

“So what are we going to do tonight?” I asked, hoping to get some 

kind of information about the bachelorette party.

“Nice try.” Janie snorted. She started saying something else, but 

my phone rang again.

Glancing down and seeing Jagger again, I thought about answering 

it for a few seconds before huffing out a soft laugh and ignoring 

the call a second time. I knew why he was calling. He was bored 

out of his mind and wanted me to save him from the golf day Ben 

and all the guys were having before the bachelor party. Normally I 

would have saved him from the torture of golfing, but today was 

about Ben. If he wanted to go golfing with all his guys, then Jagger 

just had to suck it up for his best friend.

Almost immediately after ignoring the call, I got a text from him.

Jagger: Answer the goddamn phone Grey!

My head jerked back when the phone in my hand began 

ringing just as soon as I’d read the message, and all I could do was 

stare at it for a few seconds. A feeling of dread and unease formed 

in my chest, quickly unfurling and spreading through my arms and 


Some part of my mind registered two other ringtones, but I 

couldn’t focus on them, or make myself look away from Jagger’s 

lopsided smile on my screen. With a shaky finger, I pressed on the 

green button, and brought the phone up to my ear.

Before I could say anything, his panicked voice filled the 

“Grey? Grey! Are you there? Fuck, Grey, say something so 

I know you’re there!”

There was a siren and yelling in the background, and the 

feeling that had spread through my body now felt like it was 

choking me. I didn’t know what was happening, but somehow … 

somehow I knew my entire world was about to change. My legs 

started shaking and my breaths came out in hard rushes.

“I—what’s happ—” I cut off quickly and turned to look at 

my mom and Ben’s. Both had phones to their ears. Ben’s mom was 

screaming with tears falling down her cheeks; my mom looked like 

the ground had just been ripped out from underneath her.

Jagger was talking, I knew his voice was loud and frantic, 

but I was having trouble focusing on the words. It sounded like he 

was yelling at me from miles away.

“What?” I whispered.

Everyone around me was freaking out, trying to figure out 

what was going on. One of my friends was asking who I was 

talking to, but I couldn’t even turn to look at her, or be sure who it 

was that had asked. I couldn’t take my eyes off the only other 

women currently talking on a phone.

“Grey! Tell me where you are, I’m coming to get you!”

I blinked a few times and looked down at my lap. I was 

sitting on the ground. When had I sat down?

Janie squatted in front of me and grabbed my shoulders to 

shake me before grabbing my cheeks so I would look at her instead 

of where my mom and Ben’s were clinging to each other.

“What?” I repeated, my voice barely audible.

Just before Janie took the phone from me, I heard a noise 

that sounded weighted and pained. A choking sound I’d never 

heard from Jagger in the eleven years we’d been friends. The grief 

in it was enough to force a sharp cry from my own chest, and I 

didn’t even struggle against Janie when she took the phone from 

I didn’t understand anything that was happening around 

me, but somehow I knew everything. A part of me had heard 

Jagger’s words. A part of me understood what the horrified cries 

meant that quickly spread throughout every one of my friends. My 

family. Ben’s family. A part of me acknowledged the sense of loss 

that had added to the dread, unease, and grief—and knew why it 

was there.

A part of me knew the wedding I’d just been envisioning 

would never happen.

Chapter 1

Two years later…

I dressed in a fog and sat down on the side of my bed when I was 

done. Grabbing the hard top of the graduation cap, I looked down 

at it in my hands until the tears filling my eyes made it impossible 

to see anything other than blurred shapes. I knew I had to leave, 

but at that moment I didn’t care.

I didn’t care that I’d done my make up for the first time in two 

years and I was ruining it. I didn’t care that I was graduating from 

college. I didn’t care that I had already been running twenty 

minutes late before I’d sat down.

I just didn’t care.

Falling to my side, I grabbed the necklace that hadn’t left my neck 

once in the last couple years, and pulled it out from under my shirt 

until I was gripping the wedding band I’d bought for Ben. The one 

he should be wearing, but I hadn’t been able to part with—almost 

like I’d needed to keep some part of him with me.

The last year had been easier to get through than the one before it. 

I hadn’t needed my friends constantly trying to get me to do my 

schoolwork. I hadn’t needed Janie pulling me out of bed every 

Grey May 10, 2014

morning, forcing me to shower and dress for the day. I’d even 

taken off my engagement ring and put it away a few months ago. 

But exactly two years ago today, I’d been showing off the place 

where I was going to marry Ben. Completely oblivious to anything 

bad in the world. And Ben had died.

At twenty years old, his heart had failed and he’d died before he’d 

even dropped to the ground on the golf course. He’d always 

seemed so active and healthy; nothing had ever picked up on the 

rare heart condition that had taken him too early. Doctors said it 

wasn’t something they could test for. I didn’t believe them then, 

and even though I’d read news articles of similar deaths in young 

people, I wasn’t sure if I did now. All I knew was that he was 

Heavy footsteps echoed through the hall of my apartment seconds 

before Jagger was standing in the doorway of my bedroom, a 

somber look on his face.

“How did I know you wouldn’t have made it out of here?” One 

corner of his mouth twitched up before falling again.

“I can’t do it,” I choked out, and tightened my hold on the ring. 

“How am I supposed to celebrate anything on a day that brought so 

much pain?”

Jagger took in a deep breath through his nose before releasing it 

and pushing away from the doorframe. Taking the few steps over 

to the bed, he sat down by my feet and stared straight ahead as 

silence filled the room.

“I honestly don’t know, Grey,” he finally said with a small shrug. 

“The only way I made it to my car and your apartment was 

because I knew Ben wanted this, and would still want it for us.”

“He was supposed to be here,” I mumbled.

“I know.”

“Our two-year anniversary would have been in a few days.”

There was a long pause before Jagger breathed, “I know.”

I stopped myself before I could go on. Nothing I would say right 

now would help either of us, not when all I wanted to do was curl 

up in a ball on the bed that was supposed to be our bed, and give 

into the grief. I had to remember that today wasn’t hard for only 

me. I hadn’t been the only one to lose him. Ben and Jagger had 

grown up together; they’d been best friends since they were six. 

And two years ago they’d been in the middle of a conversation 

when Jagger had looked over at Ben because he hadn’t answered, 

and watched as he fell.

“Jag?” I whispered.

“Yeah, Grey?”

“How do we do it?”

The bed shifted as he leaned forward to rest his forearms on his 

legs, turning his head so he could look at me. “Do what?”

“Keep moving on. I thought this year was easier, I thought I was 

doing better until this last week. And then today…” I drifted off, 

letting the words hang in the air for a few seconds before saying, 

“It’s like no time has passed. It’s like I’m right back where I was 

when you picked me up and took me to the hospital. I feel like my 

world has ended all over again. There are still some days where I 

don’t want to get out of bed, but not like this.”

“There isn’t an answer to that. Even if there were, it would be 

different for you, for me, for anyone else who’d ever been in this 

situation. I get up and keep going because I know I have something 

to live for, and I know it’s what he would want. I can’t think about 

how I’ll deal with the next day, I just take each day as it comes. 

There will always be hard days, Grey, always. We just need to take 

them with the good days, and keep living.”

“I feel like it’s cruel to his memory to move on,” I admitted softly 

a few minutes later.

“No one ever said we had to move on, we just need to keep 


I met his gaze and held it as he stood up and turned, holding a hand 

out to me.

“You ready to move?” he asked, and the meaning in his question 

was clear.

“No,” I replied, but still held my hand out. Slipping my hand into 

his, I let him pull me off the bed, and wrapped my arms around his 

waist, dropping my head onto his chest.

Jagger folded his arms around me, and brought his head down near 

mine to speak softly in my ear. “Don’t think about next week, or 

tomorrow, or even tonight. Just focus on your right now. Right 

now we have to go to our graduation. Right now Ben would be 

flipping out because you would be making both of you late.”

I choked out a laugh, and a deep laugh rumbled in his chest.

“And you would tell him?” His question drifted off, waiting for my 


“To get over it and bet him twenty bucks that we would still beat 

you there.”

This time his laugh was fuller, and he rubbed his hands over my 

back before stepping away from me. “Exactly. Then he would put 

an extra twenty on it, saying I would show up with fresh charcoal 

on my hands.”

“And face,” I added.

Jagger rolled his eyes. “That was one time.”

“It was to your mom’s wedding.”

“I didn’t like the guy anyway.” I smiled and his eyes darted over 

my face before he held his hands up. “No fresh charcoal, and we’ll 

show up at the same time. So no one wins today.”

I took a deep breath in and out, and nodded my head. “I think I’m 

ready to move now.”

“All right.” He bent forward and grabbed my cap and gown off the 

bed before turning to leave the room.

I followed him down the hall and into the living room, pausing in 

the entryway only long enough to look in the mirror and wipe 

away the streaked make up. Once we were in his car, I touched his 

forearm and waited for him to look over at me.

“Thanks, Jagger. For coming for me, for talking to me—just … 

thank you.” He had no idea how thankful I was for him, and I 

wouldn’t have known how to explain it if I tried. He was just 

always there to make things better, always there to help me … 

always there to be everything I needed.

He shook his head slowly once, and his green eyes stayed locked 

on mine. “Sometimes I need motivation to keep moving too. You 

don’t need to thank me, just let me know when you have to talk 

about him, okay?”

“Yeah.” Letting go of his arm, I sat back in the seat and grabbed 

the long chain holding Ben’s wedding band on it. Taking comfort 

in the feel of it in my palm, and the knowledge that he would be 

proud of Jagger and me right now.

I made it through the graduation without crying again, but I never 

felt like I was happy that it was happening. Even though Jagger 

had gotten me to a point where I’d been smiling and laughing, the 

second he’d left my side when we’d arrived, I’d fallen back into a 

state where I was constantly on the verge of crumbling from the 

grief of what today was. Only to be made worse when Janie had 

hugged me longer than normal, and then I’d seen my parents and 

older brother, and none of them had been able to force anything 

more than a strained smile and “congratulations.”

Lunch afterward didn’t prove to be much easier for anyone. One of 

my uncles mentioned the date and asked how I was dealing with it, 

and it had turned into some awkward hush-fest where everyone 

started kicking the other under the table, and giving them 

meaningful looks as if to say: shut the fuck up! For the next forty-

five minutes, no one said a word. Not even a thank you to the 

waitress when she’d brought the food.

As much as I hated it, and as much as I loved my family, I was 

relieved when we’d said our goodbyes and my brother had driven 

me back to my apartment.

“You doing okay, kid?” he asked when he pulled into a parking 

“Some days.”

“But not today.” It wasn’t a question, he knew.

“Yeah … not today,” I said softly.

“Do you want me to come up? I can hang out, crash here for the 

night, and head back tomorrow.”

“No, it’s fine. I didn’t really sleep last night, so I’ll probably go to 

bed when I get in there.”

“Grey, it’s four in the afternoon.” He looked at me with either pity 

or sympathy, neither I wanted to see.

“Today was kind of rough, it felt like three smashed into one, and 

like I said, I didn’t really sleep last night. I’m tired.”

He was silent for a minute before he twisted in his seat to face me. 

“I’m worried about you.”

I gritted my teeth and took calming breaths before saying, “You 

shouldn’t be. It’s been two years, I’m getting better.”

“Are you?” he asked on a laugh, but there was no humor in his 

tone. “I knew today would be hard for you, there’s no way for it 

not to be. But, shit, how much do you weigh?”

I jerked my head back. “What? I don’t know.”

“Do you look at yourself in the mirror? Do you see how you look 

in your clothes? You look like you’re wearing someone else’s 

clothes, and they’re a size or two too big.”

Glancing down at my shirt and skirt, I shook my head. “No 

they—well, I’m eating! You saw me at lunch, I ate half that 


“No, Grey. I ate half your burger. You picked it up and put it down 

at least a dozen times before cutting it in half, and then picking up 

one of the halves only to put it back down. I watched you. You ate 

two fries. Nothing else.”

I tried to think back to the restaurant, but I couldn’t even remember 

ordering the burger, let alone cutting it. I just remembered half of it 

was gone when the waitress asked if I wanted a box. I’d said no. 

As for the clothes, today was the first time I’d actually done my 

hair or make-up in years. I usually just put on clothes and left, not 

caring to see how I looked.

“Well, what do you want me to say, Graham? I’m trying. You have 

no idea how hard it is to lose someone who has been a huge part of 

your world for over half your life. Who has owned your heart for 

most of that. Who you were supposed to marry days before they 

passed! You don’t understand what I’ve been through,” I seethed, 

and wiped at my wet cheeks. “I finished school, I’m living, what 

more do you want?”

“I want you to live, Grey.”

“I just said—”

“You’re existing,” he barked, cutting me off. “You’re existing, not 

living. You’re going through the motions you’re supposed to 

without realizing that you’re doing them, or why.”

“That’s not true!” I screamed. “You can’t judge me based on what 

you’ve seen of half a day. A day that is a horrible reminder of what 


He grabbed my hand and squeezed, and when he spoke again, his 

voice was calm. “Kid, I’m not saying any of this only based off of 

what I’ve seen today. Janie’s worried about you—”

“Janie? Janie?! You’re having my friends keep tabs on me, 



“How often do they check in with you? Huh? Do they only see me 

now so they can tell you how I’m doing? Because I don’t see them 

very much, but, then again, who the hell would want to be around 

someone who is just existing.”

“Grey!” he snapped when I opened the passenger door and jumped 

out of his truck.

“Screw you and your existing bullshit, Graham! I’m fine! I’m 

dealing the only way I know how, and I. Am. Fine.”

I didn’t care that I had tears streaming down my cheeks. I didn’t 

care that I was overreacting. I was overreacting because I was 

terrified he was right, and I didn’t want him to be. I was tired of 

everyone looking at me with sympathy or pity. I was tired of 

rooms getting quiet when I walked into them … still. I was tired of 

the way everyone seemed to walk on eggshells around me. And I 

was tired of feeling like I was giving them a reason to.

I took off for my building, ignoring Graham’s voice as he followed 

me from his truck. Grabbing my keys from my purse as I ran 

toward my apartment, I fumbled to find the right key so I could get 

in there before he could catch up with me. The keys slipped from 

my hand, and I reached out for them at the same time I tripped out 

of my sandals and hit the concrete on my hands and knees.

Ignoring the spilled contents of my purse, I rocked back so I was 

sitting on my heels, and let my head hang as hard sobs worked 

their way through my body.

Two large hands grabbed at my upper arms to help me up, and I 

swatted at him. “Leave me alone, Graham!” I cried.

“Shh. It’s okay,” a deep voice crooned. I lifted my head enough to 

see Jagger before letting him pull me into his arms. “It’s okay.”

I pressed my forehead into his chest, and shook my head back and 

forth. “It’s not. This day won’t end, and the way everyone is 

looking at me or talking to me is making me feel like I’m failing.”

“Failing?” he asked and tipped my head back, a soft smirk playing 

at his lips. “Hardly, Grey. I told you, you just gotta keep moving, 

and you are. You have been. You’re strong, not everyone sees that 

because they’re waiting for you to break. Just because they’re 

expecting you to not be handling this doesn’t mean you’re failing.”

“But they won’t talk about him, they won’t talk about what 

happened. Graham said I’m not eating, and I’m losing weight. He 

said Janie’s telling him that she’s worried about me. He said I’m 

just existing and going through the motions.”

“Fuck Graham. He’s wrong. He’s not with you every day to see 

how you’re improving.” Jagger’s green eyes bore into mine. “Your 

family hasn’t seen you much this year while you’ve been getting 

better, so they don’t know how to handle the situation—especially 

because of what today is and the fact that you are upset. He’s your 

brother, he’s going to be worried about you; but, Grey, don’t let 

him make you feel like you’re not doing better than you should be. 

Today is an exception. And he just happened to see you on an 

exception, all right?” His arms tightened around me, and he leaned 

back until he was pressed up against the wall. “You’re doing fine, I 


He held me until I stopped crying, and released me when I pulled 

“See? Fine.”

Today was making me question everything; I didn’t think I could 

agree with him on that. “What are you even doing here?”

“I thought you could use some company since it’s an exception 

day, but I’m gonna go so you can spend time with your brother,” 

he said, jerking his head at something behind me.

I looked over my shoulder to see Graham standing against the wall 

opposite us, his arms crossed over his chest, a strange look on his 

face. “How long has he been there?” I whispered to Jagger when I 

turned to face him again.

“The whole time.”

“So he heard you…” I had the sudden urge to stand up for Jagger. 

Graham had hated him ever since we’d become friends when we 

were nine. But, then again, he hadn’t really ever liked Ben until 

right before the wedding was supposed to happen, so it could have 

been an overprotective big brother thing.

“Yeah, but he knows I’m right.” Jagger’s eyes moved to look 

behind me, and one eyebrow rose in silent challenge, but Graham 

never said anything. “Go hang out with—”

“I don’t want to,” I said quickly, cutting him off. “I need to either 

be alone, or be with someone who knows what it’s like to force 

yourself to keep moving.”

He looked down at me for a few seconds before nodding. “Okay, 

let’s go.”

“We’re not staying here?” I asked when he bent down and started 

shoving things back into my purse.

“No. You want to keep moving, Grey. We can’t do that if we sit in 

that apartment all night.”

I took my purse from his hand, and turned to follow him out of the 

breezeway, Graham behind us the whole time. Jagger opened the 

passenger door of his car and shut it behind me after I’d slid in, 

and I met Graham’s stare from where he stood a few feet from the 

front of the car.

Graham’s hand shot out, gripping Jagger’s arm as he went to pass 

him, and I opened the door—ready for who knows what. It’s not 

like I could stop them if they went at it.

“Make sure she’s okay,” Graham demanded, his gaze hardening 

when Jagger ripped his arm free.

“What do you think I’ve been doing for the past two years?” he 

hissed. “She is okay, she’s better than okay. Today sucks for her, 

but you can’t treat her like she’s made of porcelain because it’s a 

bad fucking day. She needs to talk about him; she needs to talk 

about what happened. She doesn’t need the way you all stood there 

at the graduation staring at her like you had no idea who she was.”

“Do you see her?” Graham asked, getting closer. “Do you see how 

thin she is?”

“Yeah, I see her. I see her every day. She lost a lot of weight; she’s 

also put on weight in the last few months. Give her some fucking 

credit, Graham. Don’t just take Janie’s word for it—Janie isn’t 

around enough to give you updates on her. You want to know how 

your sister is doing, ask her yourself. Don’t tell her how she is.” 

Jagger didn’t wait for him to say anything else; he stalked around 

the hood of the car and slid in to the driver’s seat.

Graham looked like he couldn’t decide if he wanted to stop me 

from leaving with Jagger, or if he was relieved I was leaving. 

When I shut my door, he put a hand over his chest in our silent I 

love you, and kept his eyes trained on mine until I put my hand 

over my chest as well; nodding once as Jagger backed out of the 

Jagger May 10, 2014

I let my phone fall to the table, and sighed loudly as I rubbed my 

hands over my face. After driving around with the music blasting 

and windows down for a few hours, we’d come to one of the 

places we used to always go to before Ben died. They had live 

music on the weekends, and the best diner food in the area.

“Graham?” Grey guessed, and I grunted in confirmation.

“He just wanted to make sure you were okay.”

“You haven’t,” she began, but paused for a few seconds. “Have 

you been giving him updates too?”

“Seriously, Grey? Your brother hates me; I didn’t even know he 

had my number until a few minutes ago. Besides, if I had, he 

probably wouldn’t have said all that shit to you, and your family 

wouldn’t have acted like statues at the graduation.”

“I heard you say something about that to him before we left. So 

you noticed it too, huh?”

“Wasn’t hard to. My sister wanted to see you, but after we found 

you and saw the way they were all just staring at you, she was 

afraid to say anything.”

“Charlie was there? Were your mom and brother there, too?”

I stopped myself from rolling my eyes, and just shook my head 

instead. “No. Mom was probably busy with her new boyfriend or 


Grey rolled her eyes at the mention of my mom’s boyfriends, and 

her lips tilted up in a soft smile. “I doubt that was the reason she 

didn’t show. But I wish Charlie had said something. I’ll have to 

call her this summer, or something. I haven’t seen her in forever.” 

Her mouth fell into a frown for a second before she turned to look 

at the stage when everyone clapped.

I hadn’t set foot in here in two years, and it felt strange, but good, 

to be in here again. Almost like I could see Ben sitting on the 

opposite side of the booth, right next to Grey. But just as soon as 

the memory hit me, it was gone. “Do you ever feel like he’s 

disappearing?” I asked suddenly.

Grey’s head shot up, her eyes wide as she took in my words. 


“Ben. Do you feel like his memory is disappearing? Everywhere, 

all around us.”

“All the time,” she murmured and nodded absentmindedly for a 

few moments. “I forced myself to stop buying his cologne, and 

there are times I don’t remember what he smelled like. When I 

realize that, I panic. I’m afraid I’ll forget forever, and I want to go 

buy another bottle. But I know I can’t, I know it’ll just make it 

harder to move on. I don’t—” She cut off on a quiet sob, and 

covered her mouth with her hand as tears filled her eyes. “I don’t 

remember what his laugh sounded like. I don’t remember the way 

it felt when he held me. I’m afraid to go back to Thatch, Jag.”

“What? Why?”

“I don’t want to see his parents’ house and know that Ben’s been 

completely erased from it.”

I sagged into the booth and blew out a heavy breath. “Yeah, I’d 

forgotten about that.”

Six months after Ben died, his parents had moved. Not just to 

another house, not just out of town. They’d moved across the 

country to get away. They hadn’t been able to handle all the 

memories of Ben when their only child was now gone. And in a 

town the size of Thatch, there were memories everywhere.

I’d felt the same, but now I was in the same spot as Grey. I was 

terrified of forgetting him, and now I wondered if his parents 

regretted leaving.

“So what are you going to do?”

She blinked a few times, like I’d just pulled her from somewhere 

else, and after a few seconds she shrugged. “I’m still going back. 

The apartment here isn’t much better. He’s the one who picked it 

out, and all I ever think about when I’m in there is that he’s 

supposed to be in there too. It’ll be hard at first, but I need to go 

home. What about you?” Grey’s lips curved up in a rare smile, and 

I felt myself smiling back at her until she spoke. “I always pictured 

you just taking off. No one has ever been able to hold onto you, 

and I feel like towns and cities are no different. I don’t see you 

ever finding a place where you’ll want to settle down forever.”

Of course you don’t. My eyebrows pinched together, and I 

looked down so she wouldn’t see anything she wasn’t supposed to. 

There was truth to her words, and at the same time, she was so 

wrong. No one had ever been able to keep me because I’d only 

ever belonged to her. I’d dated a handful of girls in the first two 

years after leaving Thatch … if you could call it “dating”, and had 

only ever had one girlfriend back home—and that had been in 

hopes that it would get a reaction out of Grey as much as it had 

been a distraction for me from the constant in-my-face relationship 

of Ben and Grey. If Ben hadn’t died, and if they’d gotten married, 

leaving is exactly what I would’ve done. It was one thing to stay 

back, not saying anything to her, hoping one day she would see in 

me what I’ve seen in her since we were kids. It was another when I 

had to finally acknowledge she would never be mine.

But even though I wasn’t sure she would ever get to a point 

in her life where she was ready to move on, there was no way I 

could leave her now. She wasn’t mine, but she needed me. And I 

would be there for her as long as she did.

“So where do you think you’ll go?” she asked, and I looked 

back up at her.

“Thatch,” I said, my voice low and gravelly. “I belong in Thatch.”

3.5 Stars

Days before their wedding Ben died leaving his childhood sweetheart all alone. Except Grey was never really alone because Jagger had always been there for her, taking care of her. Two years later after finishing college both come back to their small town to live their lives.

Jagger has loved Grey since she was nine years old, a secret everyone seemed to know except her, but once she finds out she was to decide if she can move on from her first love. Jagger would do anything for her go at any pace she wants even if things never moved forward, because that's how much he cares, but once he gets her he knows he'll never let her go.

This story was interesting, but as it unfolded I became more and more confused. Two characters so obviously meant for each other and no one cared enough to tell Grey the truth about Jagger or his feelings, including... well I guess this is the part where I try to leave out the spoilers. Sufficed to say that over all by the end of the book things turned out for the best for Grey and Jagger, while shattering the positive views I had of many of the other characters.

Jagger is the perfect guy and he was definitely my favorite although I did feel for him that he never told her the truth about his feelings before she accidentally discovered them herself.

Grey...well there's a whole host of things to say about her, but I will say that at least she figured things out and realized she had a good thing right in front of her. One of my bigger points of contention about her was actually something some might think of as stupid, but Grey worked so hard to graduate from college and the story never told what she went to college for or what her aspirations were and then she just ended up working a a coffee shop. Here she is paying off student loans just to be a barista? The story was so focused of her relationships that it left her character beyond that seriously lacking.

Overall there was enough to the story to make it interesting there were just several points in the book that left me wishing for more.

About the Author:
Molly McAdams grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband and furry daughter. Her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling and long walks on the beach, which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes. When she's not at work, she can be found hiding out in her bedroom surrounded by her laptop, cell, Kindle and fighting over the TV remote. She has a weakness for crude-humored movies, fried pickles and loves curling up in a fluffy comforter during a thunderstorm...or under one in a bathtub if there are tornados. That way she can pretend they aren't really happening.

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