Sixteen years is a long time to wait for your true love to reappear, and, anyway, Nicki Johnson couldn’t wait for the impossible to happen. Hard life lessons have taught her that fairy tales are children’s stories, and fate is cruel. Burying her hopes, she’s spent the last sixteen years focused and driven toward her career, and it’s landed her with a job at the White House with a gem of a boyfriend. But when her high school love, Adam Kincaid, walks into the White House as a BBC reporter, Nicki’s world is thrown into turmoil as she relives their past. Adam has come back for her, but has he arrived too late?
“I’m very sorry. I need to get back to the office. Something’s happened.”
“Anything I might find interesting?” He smiled reassuringly. “That was a joke. I don’t want it to be like that between us. You don’t have to tell me anything if it will make you uncomfortable.”
I snorted at that.
“What? What did I say?” he asked.
I shook my head. “Like some of the conversation today hasn’t already been uncomfortable.”
“I’m sorry.” He laughed, seeming to genuinely appreciate my candor. “That wasn’t my intention.”
“I know, and I don’t want it that way either.” I wasn’t sure what way I wanted it, but any more of this awkwardness would kill me. I grabbed my purse from the back of my chair. “Sorry. This isn’t the best time for me to leave, but I’ve got to get back.”
“Nicki, before you do, I need to know something. Please. It’s important.”
“Well, when I took this assignment, I told my boss in London we were once school chums. I left it at that, though. If I told them anything else, I might not have been allowed to take the position. So I need to know…what have you said?”
So he’d called us “school chums.” How quaint. How British. How amazingly inaccurate! I’d lost my virginity to him. We’d fucked around like only horny, angst-ridden, lovesick teenagers could do. We’d once pledged our undying love to each other. School chums? Even my half-ass disclosures were better than that. And wasn’t “chum” the name of some kind of nasty fish? So I was a chum to him?
Bastard, I nearly muttered out loud, but I shrugged it off. “I told Matt I knew you in high school and that we went out. Juan Carlos knows as well. I agree it’s not something we need gossip about.”
I stared him down as the same question reverberated inside me, wanting to get out: Why? Why had he taken the job—practically lying in order to do it? I understood why the BBC likewise wouldn’t want a White House correspondent who’d ever been romantically involved with a presidential press secretary. He could go soft on the administration or let something slip. So why had he risked his job? Was it just to take a choice assignment at the White House?
Whatever the answer, I wasn’t going to find out that afternoon. His eyes gave nothing away, and my phone buzzed again.
“Thanks for lunch,” I said, seizing my escape. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Yes. Tomorrow,” he said with a smile.
Even before she graduated from law school, Mary Whitney knew she wasn’t cut out to be a real lawyer. Drawn to politics, she’s spent her career as an organizer, lobbyist, and nonprofit executive. Nothing piques her interest more than a good political scandal or romance, and when she stumbled upon writing, she put the two together. A born Midwesterner, naturalized Texan, and transient resident of Washington, D.C., Mary now lives in Northern California with her two daughters and real lawyer husband.