Three years after her childhood sweetheart left her for his Hollywood dream, can a celebrity romance with British heartthrob Ashe Hunter get Riley Eames' life moving again?
A booty call. A stuck elevator. A chance to move on.
When Riley Eames agrees to meet her ex-boyfriend in his hotel room âjust to talk,â she knows it could only mean one thing â a booty call.
But three years after he left her to pursue his Hollywood dream, sheâs determined to get answers to the questions only he can answer â until she finds herself trapped in the elevator with charming British actor, Ashe Hunter, whoâs in town to promote his latest movie.
But a celebrity romance may not be enough to get Rileyâs life moving again, not when the answers long kept hidden from her are finally revealed, and letting go just might be the last thing she can ever do.
Though Liz studied journalism in college, she discovered that she preferred writing romantic fiction over news and ad copy. She lives in Southern California with her family where she spends her days writing, chasing after her 6-year old, and stepping over Legos.
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âTwenty questions,â Ashe said softly as Riley snuggled against him, both of them facing the window. More than twenty-four hours since they both stumbled into her apartment after a beautiful night out on the town, it was drizzling. Water trails made their way down the window panes, casting shadows across their bodies lying on the bed.
Riley didnât have to glance at the clock to know that dawn was approaching. Theyâd fallen asleep after the third time making loveâthe third time of crying out his name as she came, her voice growing hoarser with each gasp, each moan, each breath that left her lips. Her body was spent, though her spirits soared every time he touched her, kissed her, and pulled her towards him. She loved the way he looked at her when he made love to her, the way he buried his face in her hair, his fingers interlaced with hers that told Riley he was really there, and he was really seeing her.
He was baring her.
âCan we just start with five?â Riley asked. âIâm usually the one who asks the questions.â
âWhy are you afraid of being asked similar questions you had no problems asking me?â
âI just prefer to ask them.â
âDonât you think thatâs unfair?â His voice grew lower, teasing.
âYes, it is.â
âI donât understand.â
âBecause Iâve made my mistakes, and I donât want to be judged because of them.â
âDo you believe falling in love is a mistake?â he asked.
âOnly when thereâs no guarantee that itâll last forever.â
âNothing last forever, Riley. But would you have wanted the lastâ¦relationship to last forever?â
She sighed. âYou ask hard questions, Ashe.â
âPlease answer the question, Riley. Would you prefer thatrelationship to last forever? Gareth?â
âIn hindsight, no,â she replied. âHe would have betrayed me anyway. If not in L.A., then right here in New York. Or anywhere for that matter.â
âYouâre uncomfortable,â Ashe said. âWould you want me to stop asking questions?â
Riley turned to face him, marveling at the color of his eyes. So blue, darkening whenever he frowned. She shook her head. âItâs only fair that you get to ask the questions.â
âEven if it makes you uncomfortable?â
âMaybe itâs time for me to stop feeling too comfortable,â Riley replied as she turned to lay on her back. Ashe still had his arm around her, his other hand supporting his head. âIâve been hiding from the truth for so long. If not drugs, then I did it by working too much. And I still do.â
âWhat are you afraid of?â
âThe truthâthe awful, ugly truth that people hide behind their lies, their smiles,â she replied. âSo sometimes I donât even try asking the questions that need to be asked. Iâm afraid that Iâd find out the truth and itâll hurt. And Iâm afraid of being alone.â
âBut youâre not alone. So many people love you.â
âThen why do I feel lonely?â
âAre you feeling lonely now?â Ashe asked, frowning.
Riley shook her head, forcing a smile before sighing. This was exactly what she feared. The truth. But she might as well say it for in the morning, heâd be gone, and heâd probably forget all about her.
âNo, right now Iâm fine. But when you goâand you will goâthen I will feel lonely. But Iâll be okay,â she said, looking up at him, serious now. âAny more questions?â
Ashe frowned. He was studying her face as if he was taking in every curve of her cheek, every line that would have told him she really laughed more than she cried. She was a barista after all. And baristas needed to be happy.
âAsk me if I ever feel lonely,â Ashe whispered. âGo on.â
âDo you ever feel lonely?â
âSometimes,â he replied. âAnd I never felt as lonely as I did when I first met you in that elevator. Two people standing in a box, yet so distant. So alone, and so apart from each other. You on your way to something that would connect you with your pastââ
âI had changed my mind then.â
ââand me walking away from people who wanted me only according to what I could do for them,â he said, smiling drily.
Riley turned to look at him. Before this, theyâd lain on the bed on their sides, still facing the window with her back to him. But she needed to see him now, to see his face, his eyes.
âIs that why you started talking to me?â Riley asked. âTo make a connection to something else? Something more real?â
âSomeone, Riley. Not something. And youâre more than real. Youâre the real thing,â Ashe said, kissing her forehead. âYou made me smile my first real smile that day.â
âWell, I can be comedy relief,â she said softly though Riley didnât laugh. There was something in his words that tugged at her.
âWell, thereâs that,â Ashe chuckled, rolling onto his back as Riley turned to face him, half on her side and half leaning against him. His fingers played with her hair, pushing a lock away from her face or twirling it around his long fingers. âYouâre a very beautiful woman, Riley. Never forget that.â