"There are very few stories I've read in recent years that hit me as emotionally as this book did. [...] This is a brilliant, brilliant book, and I can't wait to see and read what this writing duo comes out with next." Rebecca H., Goodreads (#1)
When Vanessa loses Sebastian to rehab once again, she finds passion in the most unexpected person.
Vanessa and Sebastian have been best friends forever, but they're not just friends, they're friends with benefits. This arrangement has never been a problem, but Vanessa starts to long for more. How much longer can she stand the empty bed and a note on the bedside table the morning after?
When Sebastian, a sexy drummer with a bad boy attitude, falls back into his bad habits, Vanessa watches him go to rehab with a broken heart, again. But the lead singer of Sebastian's band, Jessie, is ready to cheer her up. Vanessa needed a shoulder to cry on; instead, she found a dom she can't help but want to please. Jessie ignites her body in ways she's never imagined and slowly inches his way into her heart.
Vanessa didn't want to fall in love, especially with a man so different from Sebastian, but sometimes the heart wants what it wants.
The only problem is, Jessie is Sebastian's younger brother.
Vanessa drags herself out of bed, leaving her blanket behind and scooping up the leather jacket he left behind off the floor instead, wrapping herself in his scent as she makes her way downstairs to make coffee. While she’s waiting for the coffee to brew, she checks her phone, clearing messages and emails. On a whim, she clicks into the camera and poses, shuffling the jacket off one shoulder and positioning the leather to cover her nipples, letting her messy hair fall over her shoulder. “Nothing I love more than coffee and leather,” she captions the photo, sending it to him.
Jessie happens to be scrolling through an article on Sebastian’s cell when the text comes through from Vanessa. “Fuck! How did you... she... fuck. Can I have her for just one night?” Jessie teases, waving the photo in front of Sebastian's face.
“Give me that!” Sebastian hurriedly orders, reaching for his phone. Jessie holds his arm out, refusing to allow Sebastian to reach. Jessie forwards the photo to himself to use later while keeping his brother at bay. “Don't look at her like that. You know she's off-limits.”
“Off limits,” Jessie mocks Sebastian. “She's not your property. You can't just order every man that looks at her away. Eventually, one isn't going to listen to you.”
“I’ll deal with that if it ever happens. In the meantime, back off,” Sebastian mutters.
“She deserves better. Give it to her or walk away,” Jessie insists seriously.
“You think I don’t know she deserves better?” Sebastian shouts, his anger rising.
“Do you love her?” Jessie asks, a little taken aback by Sebastian’s response.
“I always have,” Sebastian answer honestly. “It’s just not enough.”
“What do you mean it's not enough?” Jessie asks, tracking Sebastian’s movements as he paces the room. “She's not exactly a high maintenance type of girl, and she loves you.”“Maybe I’m the high maintenance one,” Sebastian muses.
Jessie and Vanessa are happy and in love. Finally, she's with the brother that is ready to commit, or so she thinks.
Sebastian is back from rehab and although he wants Vanessa to be happy, it's hard to be just a friend while his brother steals her heart. Regrets follow him daily; but if he reveals his true feelings now, he won't only lose a brother, he might lose Vanessa for good.
An awkward situation becomes impossible when Jessie asks Vanessa the unthinkable.
Faced with a life or death decision while Jessie is already running for the hills, she turns to the one friend who has always been there for her, Sebastian.
The rift between Jessie and Vanessa puts Sebastian in the middle; a hard place to be when you're trying to balance on a thin line between a devastated brother and the girl you've always loved.
Will Jessie realize what he's giving up? Can Sebastian finally be the man Vanessa needs him to be? How will Vanessa choose and will it be the right choice?
Jessie looks remorseful for the first time in the conversation, but a cloud of anger comes over his face only a moment later. “You put these ideas in her head about marriage and kids and all along you knew there’d be no way out for me.”
“I may have had a moment of weakness after Anna, but not Nessa. She was certain you would give her everything. She slapped me so hard for telling her that you wouldn’t. She had absolute faith in you. There was nothing I could have said to change her mind,” Sebastian explains plaintively. “She was absolutely certain you wouldn’t ask her to go through that again.”
“Why didn’t you ever tell me? Why hasn’t she told me? We tell each other everything,” Jessie rambles.
“I didn’t tell you because I was ashamed and after a while, she wanted to block it out. We vowed to never discuss it, pretend it didn’t happen. I pushed her away, and she pushed me but neither of us wanted to break our promise, so we just pretended; we were just friends. The jealousy, the nights together followed by me sabotaging any chance we may have had together with the other girls... It all stems from my absolute certainty that I didn’t deserve her love because of what I asked her to do. She absolutely refuses to discuss it... or she did, until recently. It’s a very difficult topic for her. We managed for a long while, but it was always hanging over our heads in the background.”
“She forgave you,” Jessie mutters, the reality of the situation starting to sink in.
“She always said there was nothing to forgive. We were young and stupid, and we agreed, and it still crushed her,” Sebastian clarifies.
“She’s not going to forgive me for this, is she?” Jessie asks, looking to his big brother for assurance.
“Are you going to change your mind?” Sebastian asks with a pleading tone.
Jessie takes a moment to try to reconsider it. In the silence, tears fall down his cheeks, and he knows he can’t give Sebastian the answer he wants. “I’m not.”
“Well then, no, I don’t think she will,” Sebastian tells him point-blank. “How can you let her go so easily?”
“Does this look easy to you? But I can’t, Seb. I don’t know how. I just can’t.”
For the Locke brothers loving the same woman has always been a challenge, but nothing compared to the challenge they're yet to face…
Finally able to pursue her happily ever after with Sebastian, Vanessa is overwhelmed and excited for the future. With Jessie's blessing, they move from dating to being engaged in a matter of weeks. She can't wait to spend the rest of her life with Sebastian and doesn't want to waste another second.
But something is lurking in the background, something neither the brothers nor Vanessa could see coming. Something more dangerous than love, more threatening than heartache. When the news strikes, the turbulent love triangle is shaken to the core.
Out of desperation to change her story, Vanessa, who was ready to say I do to one brother, ends up proposing to the other. The Locke brothers are at a crossroads. Faced with impossible decisions, heart-wrenching revelations and a love strong enough to tear them all apart. They both know that in the end, they'll do anything to please the woman they love.
Love, heartache, regret, and passion all converge in this final novel of the Locke Brothers Series. Twi J. Bryant turns this love triangle on its head but in the end only one thing matters; their memories of her.
“I never stopped loving you, not for one moment. I said things to you and to my brother, things I didn’t mean, just to hurt you, to try to make myself feel better for how I was treating you. I’m so sorry. If I could take it all back, I would. I don’t expect you to forgive me for that, Nessa, and I need you to know that I’m thankful every single day that you were stronger than I was,” Jessie pours his heart out to her.
“I do forgive you,” Vanessa tells him, bringing her hands around his neck. “I asked you to walk with me so I could tell you that. You weren’t supposed to make me cry,” Vanessa says, wiping his tears from his cheeks and looking into his eyes.
Jessie leans into Vanessa, pressing his lips gently to hers. “Sorry I made you cry, but you made me cry, so we’re even,” he teases, hovering there, their eyes locked on each other. Vanessa stands on her toes and pulls him closer, pressing her lips against his gently. Jessie is quick to respond, pulling her tightly against his body, his arms holding her close as their tongues dance.
For a moment, they’re reminded of what was, the love they shared, flashes of their memories together overwhelming them until they pull away, breathless. Jessie’s hand holds hers, fiddling with the ring on her finger. “I’m sorry. I know your heart belongs to Sebastian. We’re alone, and I just wanted to taste your lips one more time. I promise I’ll never do that in front of Sebastian.” Vanessa tries to speak but is unable to form a single sound, much less a sentence and settles for a nod of her head. “You okay?” Jessie asks, not quite ready to release her from his grip. Again, Vanessa nods. “You ready to go home?” he asks but this time, Vanessa shakes her head no.
Finding her voice, she clears her throat and takes a breath. “Can we watch the sun set, please? Like we used to?”
Jessie smiles, placing one of their kisses on her forehead and leads her to a boulder where they used to sit. He climbs up and helps her up. They sit in the exact position they used to, her back against his chest, her head on his shoulder, with his arms wrapped around her. When the sun dips out of sight and the stars appear Jessie breaks the silence. “I love you, Nessa. I always will.”
“How come the sky never looks as beautiful as it does from right here?” Vanessa asks him quietly, not ready to leave this spot.
“Are you asking me that?” Jessie asks, leaning back on his hands to see it better. “I think it’s because this is our sky. This rock is our rock. All those nights we spent here, it’s familiar, and it’s where I fell in love with you.”
“Bring Violet here one day, when she’s old enough to appreciate the view. Promise me,” she says, tilting her head back to look up at him.
“I will,” he vows, leaning down for a last kiss on her lips before they break the spell and head home.
About the authors:
This is actually two authors writing together!
J. Bryant lives in a zoo. Not really, but come over at dinner time and you'll think you've stepped right into one between the teenagers and twins. She started writing as a creative way of getting her frustrations out and never expected anyone to read the madness that she jotted down. Then she partnered with Twi, who encouraged her to start a tumblr account and post the stories she'd written. HUGE MISTAKE! Now, we're sitting by the phone waiting on Ellen's call to invite us on her show. In the meantime she'll be cheering on her beloved Saints (ehhhm. Ellen, we're practically family) football team from where she resides in Louisiana!
Twi is a devoted mother and wife who wasn't that good at cooking to begin with so she doesn't feel guilty when she orders dinner in so she has time to write. Her love of sticky notes and all office supplies keeps her organized while her house slowly dissolves into madness during writing jags with her lobster, J. Bryant. (It's a Friends reference. Look it up.) She lives in Phoenix, AZ, where it is too hot to do anything outside, so she spends most of her free time on her computer or playing Destiny 2 with friends. Writing is her favorite creative outlet.