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Author's Chapter Notes:
Thank you so much for the wonderful reviews! I hope I didn't make you wait too long. Hehe, hope you enjoy and can't wait to see what all you wonderful people think! I know there are some Andrew haters out there, this one should be interesting for you. LOL. Enjoy!


It was raining the following morning when Alex dropped me back at my parents’ house. He kissed me in the car and told me to call him once I had smoothed everything over. It sounded simple enough and I was determined to do it. I promised I would then, after a few more steamy kisses, I finally climbed from the vehicle and darted up the walk to the safe haven of the porch. I was just slightly damp, dressed in a pair of Alex’s black track like pants and one of his white tees, my dress folded neatly and tucked under my arm. The clothing smelled like him and I had the passing thought to never return it and just pull it out when I wanted to be reminded of his scent.

I had just pulled the screen door open and was reaching for the handle to the front door when it was yanked open and Gina greeted me, obvious excitement and curiosity spilling from her eyes.

“Morgan!” She threw the front door open farther and stepped out on the porch, peering around me to the driveway where Alex was backing from. “Is that AJ? Oh my God, how do you know him? Are you two dating? I thought you were with Andrew! What happened? What’s going on? How long have you known him?”

Her questions continued to assault me as I slipped past her and into the foyer, brushing some raindrops from my arms. “Gina-”

“Your parents are so confused and your dad was pretty mad that you just took off on Andrew like you did,” She interrupted me before I could get two words out. Then tilting her head, her eyes raked over my body and grew even wider than the saucer sizes they already were. “Ooh, Morgan! Are those AJ’s clothes?!” She reached for the shirt and I moved out of her reach.

“Chill out.”

Her green eyes blinked and she took a step back.

I laughed low. “You are bouncing around so much I think I can see three of you.”

A small blush tinged her cheeks and she reached for her hair, twisting her fingers into it. “Sorry, I just…they are like my favorite group and I’ve loved them since I was like…12.”

“It’s okay, I just…you’re overwhelming me.”

Gina smoothed her shirt and then clasped her hands behind her back. “Sorry. I got a little carried away. I just never expected you to know AJ McLean!”

I slipped out of my sandals and peered towards the living room, wondering where my parents were. “Um…well I do.”

“Yeah, and that’s so cool!”

I chuckled and met my cousin’s eyes again. “Where is everyone?”

“Oh,” Gina glanced towards the hall that would lead into the kitchen. “Your mom is in the kitchen with Mimi and your dad took Andrew and my dad out golfing.”

I gave an inward groan and leaned to peer outside one of the tall windows that lined the front door. “Yuck, they’ll probably get rained out and then come back here.” At that thought I pressed a hand to my stomach, trying to squelch the nerves that were creeping in.

“Probably. Your dad wasn’t happy with you last night.”

I contained an eye roll and started for the stairs. “Well, if anyone asks, I’ll be upstairs. I’m gonna take a shower and get changed.”

“Hey,” She called out after me.

I paused and looked over the banister at her.

“Is AJ going to be coming ‘round again, by chance?”

Those green eyes of hers looked so ardent; I didn’t have the heart to tell her no. “He might be.”

A smile graced her face at my words. “If he does… maybe I could… meet him. I mean, I kind of met him last night, but …we really didn’t get to talk or anything.”

I chuckled then gave a little nod and continued on my way up the steps. “You probably could.”

That seemed to satisfy her and I heard her scurry off probably to tell my mom I had made it home.

Once in the safety of my room, I quickly gathered a fresh change of clothes and headed into the bathroom. Stripping out of Alex’s clothing, I folded them and set them on the sink then started the shower, letting it grow warm as the steam began to fill the bathroom. Then I slipped into the stall and closed the door, moving to stand under the hot stream of water and let it run over my skin.

As I began to sud up my loofah and wash my body, I thought back to the previous night and smiled at the thought of Alex. After we had made it back to the hotel, we’d spent the next few hours defiling the suite on every spot that had been mentioned and then some. Then afterward, we laid together in the bed talking and kissing and just being. It had been nice and when he’d finally drifted off to sleep, I’d stayed awake a little bit longer and just watched him. He truly was an angel, one that had been sent to me for a specific purpose and I knew there was no way I could ever let him go.

Strange, how just in a few short months my life had taken a completely different turn and things were now for the better. I never thought I’d find love again after Hugh, I never thought I’d get over that pain and be able to be happy and in love. But how wrong I was. I was on the mend and in love with someone new, someone who needed me as much as I needed them. And just thinking about him made me smile. It was like the light at the end of the tunnel had finally opened up to a huge field of flowers with the sun beating down and filling every space.

That thought made me hum a little and I washed my hair then face and finally slipped from the shower, wrapping in a towel and going about my after-shower routine. After blow drying and styling my hair then getting dressed and fixing my makeup, I cleaned my belongings up and made my way back to the bedroom.

My mother was waiting for me inside and she didn’t look too pleased.

“Hey,” I greeted her as I took Alex’s clothes and set them atop the dresser.

“Hello.” She was watching me with a wary eye.

“Did Gina tell you I got home?”

“She mentioned it.”

I nodded and took the dress I’d worn just yesterday, hanging it on a hanger and hooking it over the top of the closet door.

“Where’d you go last night, Morgan? What was that all about?”

Straightening my shirt, I slowly turned to face my mom, watching her a moment before speaking, “Um….there’s something you need to know…”

“What’s that?”

I sighed and moved to the bed, slipping up on it next to her. “Andrew and I are not ….together.”

Her brows furrowed slightly. “You broke up? When? You haven’t seen him since you ran off last night.”

“No,” I shook my head and fiddled with the bedspread, “we were never together.”

“I… I don’t understand.” She frowned a bit.

“Andrew and I are just friends. He… is interested in me, but I…” I wet my bottom lip, “I’m seeing someone else.”

My mother’s eyes widened in surprise. “You are? I don’t understand.”

“Yesterday, Lindsay was asking if I was seeing anyone,” I began to explain the whole situation. “And she wouldn’t let up until I admitted that I kind of was. And then…when Andrew showed up at the funeral home, she just assumed he was the person I had been talking about.”

“But he wasn’t,” my mother finished for me.

“Right.” I nodded and watched her face closely. “It’s someone else. And now…the whole thing has escalated and I’m in a real mess.”

My mother gave a little sigh and I could tell she was thinking it all over. “Poor Andrew.”

“I know,” my shoulders slumped, “he’s done nothing but be a friend and now I have to like…hurt and embarrass him.”

“And your father loves him.”

“So does Mimi.”

“That she does.” She paused a moment. “Well, you really have no choice. I mean, if Andrew still wants to stay out here a few days he’s more than welcome to.”

“Yeah, but I don’t see him wanting to. Everyone’s going to know and I don’t see him sticking around to look the fool.”

“He’s not a fool.”

“I know,” I rubbed my head, “this is just a horrible situation. I should have said something much earlier, but it was like every time I tried, something came up and interrupted me.”

“Maybe there was a reason for that.”

My eyes shifted back to her. “What would that be?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” she smoothed a hand over the comforter on the bed, “maybe that was fate’s way of trying to intervene and tell you it was supposed to happen.”

“What?” I frowned a little at what it seemed like she was implying. “That Andrew and I are supposed to happen?”

“Well, maybe. I mean, every time you tried to speak up something interrupted you, he showed up here out of the blue, your family adores him and he adores you. He’s a good man with a good job and he’s got excellent manners and you two must be a good match if Dianna thought you would be.”

I couldn’t believe I was hearing this from my own mother. “Are you… wanting me with Andrew?”

She sighed and rubbed the back of her neck. “I just want you happy, baby. These last couple years have been horrible for you and you’ve gone through things no one should have to. I just want you to find that happiness again.” A shrug. “I think Andrew could do that for you.”

“Mom,” I rubbed my face with both hands trying to figure how to word this, “I know that you care about me and worry about me and want the best for me. I know that, I really do. But….Andrew isn’t it.”

Her crisp blue eyes watched me. “How do you know? Have you given it a chance?”

I wet my bottom lip. “Because, I’ve already found that in someone else.”

Something flickered in her eyes. “Who?”

“Um….his name is Alex.”

“Alex?” Her brows drew together. “Who…was that young man from last night? The one you ran off with?”

I thought I detected irritation in her last statement and tucked some hair behind my ears. “Um…that was him.”

“But…Gina said his name was…was,” she seemed to be racking her brain for his name, “A…AP? AD?”


“Yes! She said his name was AJ and he…was a celebrity.” One brow rose at that.

I fiddled with the hem of my shirt. “He…is a celebrity. He’s in a group… The Backstreet Boys. And he’s known as AJ, but his name is actually Alexander, or Alex for short.”

“Alex..he…” she didn’t seem like she knew what to think or say.

“He’s wonderful, Mom. You’ll really like him.”

“But he has all those tattoos.” Her nose wrinkled.

“I know, but he’s nothing like he comes across. Appearances are really deceiving in his case.”

“Morgan, I…” she trailed off.

“Mom, please don’t do this.” I shook my head some. “You don’t even know him. You didn’t know Andrew either. Alex isn’t some …biker tough rocker dude. He’s genuine and earnest and he really, truly cares about me. He’s…” I wet my bottom lip and thought back over our time together, “he’s helped me with a lot of stuff and if it weren’t for him…who knows where I’d be right now in my life.”

“What are you saying?” Her eyes searched my face.

Oh boy, here it comes. “I’m saying,” my fingers were twisting in the bottom of my shirt, “that I love him. And he loves me.”

“How long have you been seeing this man?”

“That has nothing to do with it. The things that Alex has helped me through…what he’s made me realize and how he’s helped me overcome my issues is what it is.”

She sighed and pushed some of her blonde hair from her face. “What has he helped you with?”

“Everything, Mom.” I reached and took her hand with mine. “He has done so much for me… he’s made me realize that there is life out there and love for me still. He’s been patient and let me take my time in realizing these things, and he hasn’t pressured me into anything, or forced me or tried to hurry me along. He’s let me come to him.”

She studied me and I saw her gaze soften some. Reaching her free hand out, she stroked my cheek. “And you really love him? Really, truly… like you loved Hugh?”

“No,” I shook my head, “not like I loved Hugh. I was in a different place than I am now. I have all these experiences and life lessons that I’m taking into this relationship with Alex and it makes the love different. Hugh was so special to me, Mama, and I’m always going to love him and have a place for him, but I can’t live in the past. He’s not coming back,” I felt a few tears glisten in my eyes at that thought, “and I have to move on with my life.”

“I understand, baby.” She pulled me into a hug, holding me close and kissing the top of my head. “We all want you to move on with your life and find that love and happiness again.”

“No matter who it’s with?” I peeked up to her face.

She kissed my temple and hugged me a little tighter. “No matter who it’s with, baby. Just long as you’re happy and he treats you right.”

I had to smile. “He does and I am, Mom. I really, truly am.”

“Thank God.” She released me, but not before kissing my forehead. “We needed a little bit of sunshine through all the rain and I’m so glad it’s you bringing it to us.”

I smiled at that and pushed some hair over my shoulder. “I’m doing what I can.”

She nodded then sat up straighter and watched me with a concerned motherly expression. “So, when do we get to officially meet this Alex?”


“Hey,” Andrew greeted me an hour later as he appeared in the doorway to my bedroom.

I looked up from the book I was reading. “Hey.”

He motioned his hand towards the doorway. “Can I come in?”

“Yeah, of course.” I untucked myself from where I had been curled up on the window seat and stretched my legs out. “Your golf game got rained out, huh?”

“Yeah,” he chuckled and sauntered into the room, “we didn’t make it past the ninth hole.”

“That’s too bad.”

“Totally, but we’re gonna try to go again maybe tomorrow morning.” He sank down next to me. “Though, I think it’ll just be me and your dad, your uncle Spencer didn’t seem too interested in a rematch when he discovered he was losing so badly.”

I chuckled low and tucked a bookmark into my book then set it aside. “He’s not a very good loser.”

“Not at all.” He reached up and ran his hand through his freshly showered hair. “So, what’s up? What have you been doing?”

I gave a simple shrug. “Not much, just doing some reading while I waited for you men folk to return.”

“Ahh, well here I am.” He flashed a warm grin and touched my leg.

I chuckled and gave a little nod. “Yes, here you are.” I really had no idea how to start with what I needed to tell him.

“So, um…it may not be my place, but can I ask what happened to you last night?” Maybe I wouldn’t need to.

“Um, actually, Andrew, I wanted to talk to you about that.” I tucked some hair behind my ear.

“Of course. What’s up?”

I wet my bottom lip and smoothed my shirt. “Andrew,” I began slowly, trying to piece together my words before speaking them. “I really appreciate that you came out here. It’s…been a really tough time and knowing that I have people that care about me and want to help me out, means a lot.”

“Well, of course.” He smiled and touched my cheek. “I’m just doing what I can. Though, I have to admit…I was rather surprised that you’d told your family about me and…that you’re interested.”

Oh boy, here it was. “Andrew…” I really didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but I had to tell him. “Um…listen, there’s something I need to tell you.”

“What’s that?”

Reaching up, I fiddled with the silver chain that hung around my neck. “Things… um… they’ve kind of been misconstrued.”

“What do you mean?” His brows furrowed.

I sighed and rubbed the back of my neck in a nervous gesture. “Um… yesterday, I uh… told my aunt that I was seeing someone…” I watched confusion flicker in his eyes, but continued, “And when you showed up at the funeral home…she thought you were who I had been talking about.”

“It…wasn’t me?”

I shook my head, my shoulders slumping some.

“Then who?”

“A…a guy I’ve been seeing for a little while now.”

“But,” his brow darkened, “you said you weren’t ready to date anyone. Or were you lying to me?”

“No!” I shook my head vehemently. “I never lied to you, Andrew. I didn’t want to date anyone, I wasn’t ready to date anyone…but this just sort of happened.”

He gave a snort. “You expect me to believe that? You told me quite a few times you weren’t ready and now you’re seeing someone else.”

“Because I wasn’t ready!” I stressed the words. “But…this just… it just happened.”

“It just happened?” He shook his head some. “That’s total bullshit. Things don’t just happen.”

Now it was my turn to frown. “Yes, they do!”

“Then you should have told me!” He rose to his feet, towering over my petite frame. “You shouldn’t have let me carry on and insist on still dating you! And you sure as hell shouldn’t have let it come to this!” He waved an arm around the room, his voice full of anger.

I winced at his tone and shrunk back some in the seat. “I didn’t mean to, okay? I tried to say something when …when all the confusion started, but it just …it snowballed.”

“Yeah, it snowballed.” He frowned more. “After you let me meet your family, after you invited me to stay in your home… after I went fucken golfing with your dad. They’re going to think I’m a fucken moron!”

“No…no they’re not.” I eased myself off the window seat. “I explained things to my mom and she understands…and I’m sure my dad will too.”

He glared at me, his hands balled into tight fists, his chest giving those angry heaves.

I wet my bottom lip. “Look, Andrew, I really am sorry that it happened this way. I… never expected you to show up at the funeral home and I never expected my family to invite you over to the house. I didn’t want you to be embarrassed, so I was going to wait until you were leaving and explain things to you. But then they asked you to stay and Alex showed up-”

“Was that him?” He interrupted my explanation.

I blinked. “Um…”

“That punk that showed up last night is the guy you’re seeing?” He shook his head again, his jaw clenched tight. “What does that prick have that I don’t?”

“He is not a prick!” I could feel my own anger starting to come to the surface.

“That’s your type, huh? Tattoos and that ‘bad boy’ personality?”

My eyes narrowed. “You know nothing about him!”

“I can be a bad boy if that’s what gets you hot.” He took a step towards me.

I blinked at his innuendo and moved back from him, the back of my legs hitting the window seat.

“You wanna see how bad I can get, Morgan?” His eyes burned into mine and he moved even closer.

I had a feeling something terrible was about to happen. “N…no…”

“Oh, I think you do.” He reached for my arms, but I batted his hands away.

“Stop it.”

“Is that what you tell him?” He grabbed for me again.

“Get away!” I shoved hard at his chest causing him to stumble back a few steps. “Don’t you ever touch me!” I could feel the anger radiating off my body causing it to tremble.

He caught his balance and smoothed his shirt, regaining his composure. “I… shit, I’m sorry, Morgan.”

“No,” I shook my head, putting even more space between us, “please leave, I … I don’t want to talk to you anymore.”

Andrew ran a hand through his hair. “Morgan, just let me explain.”

“No, Andrew!” I frowned at him. “You need to leave; I think you’ve explained enough.”

He gave a heavy sigh and his shoulders dropped. “I’m sorry, okay?”

I wanted to turn my back on him, but I didn’t trust him enough to do that. “Just go.”

“Okay,” he took a step towards me, “but when you get back to California, we’ll need to talk.”

“I’m done talking to you.”

“No, you’re not, sweetheart.” He winked at me and then sauntered from the room.

I watched him go then gave a frown and grabbed up one of the decorative pillows on the window seat, flinging it angrily across the room. The gall of that man! He had infuriated me to no end; insulting Alex, accusing me of lying and then trying to manhandle me. I knew he was going to be angry, but I hadn’t expected that childish behavior to set in. And what the hell did he mean we weren’t done talking? There was no way I was going to have anything to do with Andrew Holden again. Period.