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No Love Lost

No Love Lost

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No Love Lost

Bewertungen:
4.5/5 (9 Bewertungen)
Länge:
169 Seiten
2 Stunden
Freigegeben:
Mar 29, 2021
ISBN:
9781094417394
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

Six years ago, Taryn’s best friend moved to London without so much as a goodbye, and she hasn’t spoken to him since. Now, after a failed marriage and career, Will is back in St. Agnes, a Cornish coastal town rife with memories of their childhood together — and Taryn, stubborn and jilted, no longer wants anything to do with him. Desperate to get close to her again and give her the explanation she deserves, Will isn’t prepared to stay away from her, so after he manages to get his old job back at the St. Agnes Gazette, he chooses to report on the local environment — and in doing so, seeks help from the best conservationist he knows: Taryn.

With their lives and loved ones still connected by past and present, they soon remember just how strong their friendship had once been, and Taryn finds herself unable to resist falling back into old habits with the man who broke her heart. However, finally confronted with the truth, she realises that there was more to Will’s abandonment than she ever knew: he was in love with her and still is. Afraid of complicating their once steadfast friendship and losing Taryn for good, he made the mistake of running away — a mistake that he ever refuses to repeat. Whether as friends or more, Will is desperate to rekindle a connection with the woman he loves, but with Taryn’s new relationship, a fiercely disapproving sister, and a job opportunity in Spain, will they ever find the right time to finally give into their feelings, or are they destined always to be separated by their careers and fears?

This best friends to lovers romance tells the story of unbreakable lifelong connections and the unwavering hope of second chances.

Freigegeben:
Mar 29, 2021
ISBN:
9781094417394
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor

Rachel Bowdler is a freelance writer, editor, and sometimes photographer from the UK. She spends most of her time away with the faeries. When she is not putting off writing by scrolling through Twitter and binge-watching sitcoms, you can find her walking her dog, painting, and passionately crying about her favourite fictional characters. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @rach_bowdler.


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No Love Lost - Rachel Bowdler

Cover Image for No Love Lost by Rachel Bowdler

No Love Lost

by Rachel Bowdler

BRYANT STREET SHORTS

Copyright © 2021 Bryant Street Publishing

All rights reserved

Cover design by Kateryna Dronova

ISBN: 9781094417394

First e-book edition: March 2021

Bryant Street Publishing

San Francisco, California

This story is brought to you by Bryant Street Shorts, a new publisher dedicated to genre fiction by emergent writers. We’re passionate about immersive works that represent our readers, reflect a wide range of experiences, and celebrate our fandoms.

Join our community of readers and writers by following Bryant Street Publishing:

Chapter One

St Agnes Bakery was always crammed on a Friday afternoon. A crowd of customers had already clustered into a queue that tapered off through the door, into the courtyard. Without hesitation, Taryn tagged onto the end, behind a woman wrestling with two hyperactive toddlers. Vera’s special Friday flapjacks were worth the extra wait.

She passed the time by pulling her planner from her bag — loose Post-it Notes slipping from the scribble-filled pages — and ticked off her to-do list for the day. The two nature reserves scheduled had already been surveyed this morning, and that left only a visit to Perranporth Beach this afternoon, where a whale had been found beached on the sand. She shuffled into the bakery this way, in gradual steps that did not require lifting her focus from the pencil scratching against yellow paper.

It was why her heart dropped from her chest when she reached the counter a few moments later and was greeted by a low voice that definitely did not belong to Vera.

She lifted her gaze and was met with a face she had not seen in five — no, six — years now. A face that had once felt like home. She had once known every freckle, line, dimple of it, had studied it like a map every day.

Will.

She did not realize she had said his name aloud until it echoed in her ears for seconds, minutes, afterward, joining the ebbing din of customers eating behind her. His own expression reflected her shock, his lips parted slightly and blue eyes wide. He had always been her mirror — until the glass had shattered.

Taryn.

Her name on his tongue, though spoken softly, was enough to make her recoil. She took a stumbling step back, bumping into another customer and mumbling out an apology. And then the anger came, hot and pulsating through every inch of her. He had some nerve showing up here. He had some nerve coming back after all this time.

She eyed his white, frilly apron, once belonging to Vera, with his name tag on it. Why hadn’t she warned her? Vera was Will’s grandmother, but it had never changed her friendship with Taryn. She knew what had transpired between them, knew how Will had hurt her, and she hadn’t thought to—

Are you going to serve my customers, love, or are you going to stand there and catch flies all day while the queues build up? Vera emerged from a shimmering curtain of beads that cordoned off the kitchen, wiping her hands down on her own gingham apron and then patting Will’s shoulder. She was almost half his height. Taryn had forgotten just how tall he was. He seemed to take up half the bakery, seemed to have to crouch not to bang his head on the ceiling.

When Vera saw Taryn standing with her planner still suspended above her bag, she stopped dead in her tracks. Oh, Taryn. You’re later than usual today. Still saving the world?

Taryn swallowed down her bile, forcing out a small smile. One day at a time, was her reply — the same one she had been giving for the past seven years. Vera had always treated her like a superhero for her line of work, though surveying beaches, taking soil samples, and freeing crabs of plastic waste didn’t often feel glamorous. I… you didn’t tell me that Will was back in town. She barely glanced at him; didn’t dare to, lest she fall apart or otherwise turn red with fury.

Well, it was all very last minute, wasn’t it, Will?

Very. Will’s eyes were searing into her, pleading with her to look at him. She wouldn’t, instead eyeing the cake counter to see what was on offer, though she had decided what she wanted long before coming in. How have you been, Tar?

Tar. She glowered at the use of that nickname. He had been the one to start calling her that when she was ten and had complained that everybody called him Will instead of William but nobody ever shortened her name. Did he think he could just come back in here and return to old habits?

"Fine, William, she bit back quickly. I’ll have a coffee, a BLT, and a flapjack, please. To go."

You used to drink tea, Will mumbled as he scribbled down her order.

I used to do a lot of things, she snapped despite herself. Trust you, for example.

Will’s throat bobbed, and he pushed his glasses up his nose before handing the order to Vera. After paying with trembling hands that she tried to hide, she slithered away from the counter, trying to quiet the pounding in her ears by focusing on the cheerful melody floating through the old radio by the door.

It didn’t work. The song was an instrumental version of "I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside," and it only reminded Taryn of her childhood friendship with Will, when her mother had driven them along coastal headlands while they sat together in the backseat, laughing and singing and wrestling with their seatbelts, her older sister pouting beside them. Because it was just them and their impenetrable bond, and nobody else could fit into it. Because—

No. Her heart wrenched, and Taryn shut her eyes against it, opening them only when her name was called. Will stood at the edge of the counter, holding out a brown paper bag and her coffee. She took them and left wordlessly, scuttling away from the bakery without so much as a goodbye for Vera.

It took all of five seconds before he shouted her name again. She ignored it, quickening her pace and almost spilling her coffee across her scarf in the process.

Taryn! Will bellowed, closer and breathless as he jogged to catch up with her. Please.

He staggered to a stop in front of her, his hands raised in surrender. Taryn halted only because she had to and could do nothing but glare at the man who had once been the most important person in her world. She barely recognized him anymore; his once-wavy hair was straight and slicked back, stubble neatly trimmed rather than left to grow straggly, and his old, threadbare sweaters and denim jeans had been swapped for a white shirt and navy chinos. Even his glasses were different, with thin, black, rectangular frames rather than the thick brown ones he’d been wearing since the age of twelve.

It made it a little bit easier to hate him, even if he was wearing a frilly apron that had unraveled around his waist.

What?

Will’s brows furrowed, tongue slipping out to run across his bottom lip. Shouldn’t we talk about this?

About what? Taryn feigned obliviousness, blinking blankly up at him.

I… he stuttered hesitantly. Are we really going to pretend like we’re strangers?

I’m not pretending anything.

Tar… His mouth opened. Shut. Opened again. A writer who still hadn’t quite found his way with words. You have every right to be angry with m—

How long have you been back? Taryn couldn’t help but ask. She felt blindsided — by him, by Vera, by everybody. Not even her sister, Thea, had mentioned seeing him about town while Taryn had been working on the other side of the coast for the past two weeks.

A week. His voice was softer, cautious, now.

A week? Taryn repeated incredulously. And you didn’t think to warn me?

It was all very last minute. Believe me, I didn’t expect to be back here, either.

Yes, you must be positively squirming in your Armani shirt, being back in little old St Agnes. Bitterness soured her words, but she couldn’t stop. Everything that had been simmering in her for the last six years, every pang of nostalgia and slice of fury, had bubbled to the surface, summoned by his return. Then again, since you didn’t tell me that you were leaving in the first place, I shouldn’t have expected anything less.

Tar, please, Will pleaded hopelessly. He went to touch her wrist, and she withdrew instinctively.

Don’t. Just… just stay away from me, alright? Her voice cracked, and she hated herself for it. You do your thing, and I’ll do mine. There’s no reason we need to talk. I think you made everything clear enough when you left.

Will sighed, and Taryn snatched the opportunity to veer past him toward her car. She was aware of eyes on them both, and it set her cheeks blazing. Everybody in this town knew them. Everybody had seen them grow up together. Attached at the hip, Vera had always said.

Now, they might as well have been on opposite ends of the earth.

This time, Will didn’t try to get her back — but she could still feel the weight of his gaze as she unlocked the car door, put her keys in the ignition, and sped away without a second look back.

Section Break

Hordes of tourists and reporters had flooded Perranporth Beach by the time that Taryn got there after lunch. With summer on its way, they would no doubt make her job infinitely harder these next few months, with their littering and disruption to wildlife.

And posing for photographs of themselves standing beside a decomposing whale, apparently.

It wasn’t the first time Taryn had seen it, but it never got any easier anyway. Sand sprayed up to her shins as she marched across the beach with a fierce scowl, seaweed tangling beneath her boots. Between this and finding out that Will was back, her patience was running thin.

Sadie stood out like a sore thumb among the rest of them, with her yellow beanie plonked lopsidedly on a choppy, flame-red head of hair. Taryn made her way over to her, tying her black curls up before they could whip across her face with the wind. Already, they were balmy with the sea breeze, and she longed to soak in her tiny bathtub for an hour or two to wash away the grime and the aches.

But she had work to do.

Even meters away, she could scent the whale rotting. How others could manage to get so close to it, she didn’t know. It was one of the smaller ones she’d seen, perhaps still a calf, its gray flubber dehydrating and caked in sand and its fin sprawled out as though reaching still for the water.

Here she is, Sadie commented with a sunny smile. I thought you’d be first on the scene.

I had a few other jobs this morning. Taryn shoved her hands into her fleecy pockets. Despite the mild weather today, the wind still blew in cold. Do they know the cause of death yet?

At this point, it looks like a navigation error. It’s only a calf as well, bless its cotton socks. She sipped the contents of her flask, the ends of her hair curling up beneath the hem of her hat. There’s not much we can do here, to be honest. The coast guards are already sorting it all out.

A wasted trip, then. Taryn only nodded, spying a man wearing a luminous, yellow hi-vis jacket cordoning off the whale with tape. Good. That was something, at least. The cameras followed him while stuffy news broadcasters provided their commentary. A group of teenagers clowned behind one of them, flashing vulgar gestures and stupid faces in their second-long claim to fame. Taryn could only shake her head in disgust.

Are you alright? asked Sadie. Taryn turned her attention back to her and found she was being scrutinized. You’re quiet.

It’s been a weird day, Taryn brushed off distractedly, narrowing her eyes out to the horizon. The sky was cloaked in thick, pale clouds that turned the sea a dull green. If not for the whale, the beaches would have been much quieter today.

Not Benny, is it?

No, no. Benny

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  • (4/5)
    Awesome novel. I love it. You can join in NovelStar writing contest with a theme "WEREWOLVES" Prices are amazing! https://author.starlight.ink/essay/index.html (PC) http://app.novelstar.top/index/index/special/id/87 or email any of the following editors; hardy@novelstar.top joye@novelstar.top lena@novelstar.top app.novelstar.top
  • (4/5)

    Not just a love story, but a falling-in-love story. Loved it! If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on Novel Star, just submit your story to hardy@novelstar.top or joye@novelstar.top