This is actually two chapters that I pulled from what could have been the start to Playing At Love. I cut them so that I could get more quickly to the crux of Conor's journey of trying to find some way to repair his relationship with Gavin, the friend he betrayed. But I still enjoy looking back at these scenes where Conor rushes blindly down the wrong road, stubbornly trying to convince himself that Colette is the one he should be with, the one who will help him fix his mistakes. It also illuminates how it is that he backed into a second engagement with Colette. Hope you enjoy this extra bit from the Rogue Series Novels!
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The thrust of it was out there now. Conor Quinn, book smart but love dumb had made his confession to his ex, certain on the surface of things that it was the way to start anew. It would take him longer than he’d like to admit to realize the whole exercise had been a continuation of what he had done all his life: let his reckless heart lead the way.
When Colette’s lack of a response stretched out, he rushed to sum up. “So, it happened once,” he said. “Just once. And there’s nothing more there.”
Then he dropped his eyes from hers and looked down at his hands. The irritation on the thumb of his fret hand was beginning to turn into a callous. With the band on indefinite hiatus, there wasn’t much else to do besides work on new music by himself.
“I don’t think I understand,” she said slowly. “How did this happen? When?”
Conor took a deep breath and held it as he watched a pigeon flit by outside the living room window. The bird held its own as it trailed a bicyclist down Barrow Street. He watched both until they slid by and out of sight. The afternoon light had faded into twilight and shadows blanketed the room, but she hadn’t made a move to turn on a lamp.
Finally, he let out his breath and answered, “A couple months ago, after we broke up—”
“You mean, after you ended our engagement.”
“I, em . . . yeah.”
She nodded sharply at the validation. “Go ahead. Explain.”
He nodded, opened his mouth, and then shut it. After two months of stewing over the mess he had made of things, he had concocted this grand gesture of showing up unannounced at Colette’s New York City apartment to win her back.
“Well? Speak. That’s what you came here for, right?”
He forced himself to meet her eyes. “Yes. So, the explanation is this: I stopped by to see Gavin but he was in LA and Sophie was at a loss for what to do about their marriage, what with him lost to cocaine and MIA in general. We . . . it just happened.”
Colette narrowed her eyes at him. “Why are you telling me?”
Because it’s gonna come out one way or another. Because I need you on my side as I try to fix all this. And I don’t want to lose you for not saying anything at the start.
“Listen,” he said instead. He pulled his sunglasses off his head and shifted in his seat on the red fabric sofa they shared. “I want you back. I want to make a real go of it, with nothing in our way this time. You always thought Sophie and I had a history. I thought you deserved to know all that it amounted to. It was a one-time thing that is one hundred percent over and will never happen again.”
“Because?” When he hesitated too long, she added, “Here’s where you say because you love me, not her.”
Fuck. This wasn’t going exactly as he’d envisioned . . . read more