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Forty Candles (MF)

Evernight Publishing

Heat Rating: SCORCHING
Word Count: 28,435
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Chloe Walker did everything right. She went to college, got a good job, dated the right men—everything. Peering at forty from a bit too close, she realizes she can be miserable that she didn’t end up happily married to the handsome prince…or she can count her lucky stars. She tries to go with stars, but the universe seems to have other plans.

Jack Leonard has loved Chloe since they were kids. He’s stood by her through all life’s little messes, been her shoulder to cry on, and figured one day they’d wind up together. He figures he’s just waiting her out. When her life goes swirly, he’s got to convince her that some men are worth risking it all for.

Can Jack make Chloe rethink her birthday wish or will she get just what she asked for when she blows out Forty Candles?

This is a previously published work. It has been revised and edited for Evernight Publishing.

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The snicker on the other end of the line pulled him firmly into the present and shook loose the last dregs of the past weighing him down. His youngest sister, Ellie, could easily claim she was his favorite sibling. “I heard you got a dog.”

“You mean to say you heard I dropped a dog off over at the vet’s office.”

“No, I heard you got a dog. Ever heard of big black dog syndrome? You’re stuck with him. I have some gift cards left over from my last birthday, so I ordered you some supplies—dog bed, bowls, stuff like that, and—”

“I hate to interrupt you, Sis, but—”

“If you hated to interrupt me, you wouldn’t have just done it.” Ellie went silent and he counted to ten, knowing she’d feel the need to talk again if he didn’t answer. The best part of having sisters was knowing he didn’t have to talk. Women, in his experience, were happy to fill silences with words.

Well, except Chloe. But he wouldn’t let memories drag him back down that slippery slope.

As expected, Ellie broke the silence. “Anyway, so I got things for your dog, and I can’t help but notice that in a town with three vet offices, you chose to visit the one where Chloe is finishing off her internship.”

Jack closed his eyes and leaned back. He couldn’t answer that one without giving too much away. Better not to answer at all.

His sister wasn’t having it. “Jack Reginald Sparks, don’t you dare go all silent on me. You and I both know you’ve had a thing for her since high school. Don’t play dumb.”

Again, Jack decided silence was his best option. Besides, he’d liked Chloe before high school.

“Ma! Jack has something he wants to tell you!”

“That is low, El.”

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