An army brat, Riley Jackson was forced from one country to another; Military base to Military base. Her father is then stationed in South Korean and once again Riley prepared herself for being alone and miserable. Then she meets Seungo Ji and life becomes better. Only, he's much, much older. Her father freaks and ships her back to Canada to get her away from Seungo. Years later, after her latest boyfriend turns into a toad, her best friend dies without leaving a will sending Riley into a custody battle with his parents, she heads to Seoul to see if there's still some feelings there between her and Seungo while she waits for a judge's decision.
Seungo Ji has just returned from his mandatory two year military training. All he wants to do is see his brother, see his mother and make sure his brother didn't burn down his Entertainment business while he was away. But when he gets home, and there's a knock on the door, the last person he expects to be there, is Riley. Old feelings come rushing back and he has no idea how to deal with them. To make matters worse, now he's in a battle with Riley's hectic life, her father and both their hearts,
“Oh please,” Jinks said. “Don’t compare yourself with that toad. You never cheated on him. You never left him for a bimbo from the stupid side of town. Look, are you busy tonight? I want to talk to you about something that you might be against but who knows? And besides, we haven’t had a real girls’ night in, like forever so it’s past due.”
“What do you want to talk to me about?”
“Just…I’m coming over tonight, okay?”
Riley moaned. “All right. But gimme some time to stop for groceries, get home and shower.”
“You got yourself a deal, lil lay-deh!” Jinks slipped into a really bad Texan accent.
Riley giggled. “You suck at that and not the good kind.”
“I know, but practice, as they say, makes perfect! Any-who, I’ll talk to you later doll.”
The call ended on a lighter note and Riley pulled into the parking lot of the grocery store close to her house. Sure it was a drive from the highway, but they had her favorite ice cream—rum and raisin. For a moment, she sat in the car staring out, pulling her emotions together. When she decided she was going to be happy and not let Martin and his bimbo ruin a wonderful year, she grabbed her purse and pushed from the car. With happiness pouring through her veins at seeing her best friend and her favorite ice cream, she hummed Hell on Heels as she grabbed a cart. But her merriness didn’t last. Her mind quickly went back to the nineteen year old she’d fallen for at fifteen. Sure, she could see if her father had said Seungo was too old for her, but that wasn’t his problem. His problem was Seungo’s heritage, his culture—him.
But to her, Seungo, was perfect.
He held her when she cried and dried her tears with a finger. He would kiss her head, stroke her hair, and never once asked for anything more. He laughed at her stupid jokes—and they were some really idiotic ones—he showed her how to use chopsticks and how to play the Ajaeng. He was gentle as she sat between his legs with her back against his chest. His arms were wrapped around her holding the instrument in her lap and his chin rested against the side of her head. Suddenly he’d kissed her head and without a word, she felt so loved and cherished. How could a fifteen year old feel so strongly about a boy? Was she allowed to feel so much for a boy?
Go—that was her nickname for him—was her prince and since leaving him, she judged every man by his standard. Riley pushed the cart to the cashier and after she paid for everything and it was bagged, she pushed the cart out to her car. Soon, she was on her way once more, just as the first drizzle of rain fell to her car. She groaned and pressed her foot down against the gas. She blew by a speed limit sign and slipped her foot off the gas. She was going too fast for that area. But she made it home and unpacked the car before the rain really came down. By then she was in the shower, lifting her face to the water and arching her back to get it massaged by the downpour.
After showering, she got dressed in a pair of white track pants with a blue graphic t-shirt that said MBLAQ: Music Boys Live in Absolute Quality on the front, with a picture of the band on the back. She had gotten it a year before at their concert. Next on her list of things to do was making some dinner for herself and Jinks. The front door opened in the midst of her cooking and she looked up when Jinks, soaking wet, waddled into the kitchen with a frown on her face.
“Can you believe this weather?” Jinks asked. “All this water is from running from the damn curb to your door.”
“You look like a drowned rat!” Riley laughed. “Go upstairs and change. My clothes won’t fit you very well, but at least you’ll be dry while we toss your clothes in the dryer.”
Jinks shook her head and exited again. Riley chuckled and dumped a handful of scallions along with some crushed garlic into her pasta sauce, stirred it and covered it to boil a little. While she waited for that to happen, she poured some hot water over two peppermint tea bags and sipped from one. When Jinks returned, she wore one of Riley’s t-shirts. Riley handed her the cup and Jinks moaned with a grin. Riley waited until after friend had taken a sip before speaking. “Did you want some dinner? I’m making pasta.”
“You know I never eat when I’m coming over here,” Jinks replied, curling into one of the kitchen chairs. “Come sit for a sec. I wanna get this out of the way.”
Riley felt as if she was walking toward her doom as she moved to sit across from her friend. She placed the mug on the table and wrapped her fingers around its warmth.
“I know this probably isn’t what you want to hear right now but what kind of a friend would I be if I didn’t suggest it?”
“It’s about Seungo. I was heading to Seoul and if you want, you can come with me and go look for Seungo. See if he will talk to you and just…”
Riley rose and went to stir the sauce. She didn’t expect that to come from Jinks. Taking a breath, she sat again and picked up her mug. “Go wouldn’t like me now, Jinks.”
“Girl, please. He loved you then.”
“He was being nice.”
“Ry…no man, no matter how old or young they are would treat a woman the way he did you and not feel something for her. Besides, he was old enough to know better then. He was nineteen. And what do you mean he was being nice and he wouldn’t like you now?”
“I’m not the same little girl he told his deepest secrets to as we tossed rocks into the Seolmacheon. I’ve changed. I’ve gotten…” she trailed off and spread her arms. “…bigger.”