Authors: Renea Porter
A Promises Novella #1
Copyright © Renea Porter 2016
Copyright © 2016 Renea Porter, Fiction
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Cover design by Shari Ryan @MadHat Covers
Editing by Genevieve Scholl
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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The most sacred, serious vow anyone can ever swear to. If broken, you must suffer some serious consequences. These promises come straight from the heart and are sworn to value. Remember the code! –Urban Dictionary
Table of Contents
“How was your date with Mr. What’s His Face?” Jace, who is my best friend, asks as we find a booth at a local pizzeria.
“You mean Jonathan,” I correct. “Well, that was a total disaster. You know what? I think I’m done with men altogether for a while. I’m not ready to date after all.”
“Maybe you should be single for a while, and hang out with me more often.”
Reaching over, I pinch his cheek. “Awe. Are you jealous?”
He scrunches his face. “Ow. Stop that. I need to tell you something.”
My cell buzzes on the table as we sit.
“It’s just Mom. I can call her back. What did you want to tell me?”
“Might as well answer that, because she’ll just keep calling until you do.”
Huffing, I pick up the phone. “Hi, Mom.”
“Simone, sweetie. Have you checked your mail? James is getting married.”
I pretend not to be shocked by hearing that my ex is getting hitched. And I wonder why Jace, my supposed best friend, hasn’t told me.
“Good for him. What does that have to do with the mail?” I question.
“Because I just got the invite, and I’m sure you have one, too. Besides, he’s a friend of the family so we will go and show our support.”
My eyes widen. “I’m sorry. We?” I’d rather stick toothpicks in my eyes than go to that wedding.
“Yes. We will go and support James and his new wife Jennifer.”
Silently, I mock the way she says Jennifer’s name. I hate Jennifer. And I haven’t even met her. And I sure as hell don’t want to meet her. I’m twenty five years old, and Mom still thinks she can rule my life.
“I’ll think about it. Good talk, Mom.” I hang up the phone before giving her a chance to speak. And I look to Jace. “When were you planning to tell me your brother was getting married?” I cross my arms over my chest.
Jace and I have been best friends since we were six. We’re practically attached at the hip. Where you find him, you find me. Where you find me, you find him.
Jace’s face twists. “I’m sorry, Simone. I’ve been wanting to tell you. But you know my brother. I never thought it would last this long.”
Uncrossing my arms, I fidget with the napkin. “Well, according to Mom, the invites have been sent. And she’s insisting on me going. I am not going to that wedding. No. No. No.”
Do not cry. Do not cry. Do not cry.
I have shed enough tears over that cheating asshole.
Jace places his hand on my arm. “You don’t have to go. However, he is my brother so I have to. I’m the best man. I was going to tell you, but the phone interrupted.”
“Okay. Enough talk about James. I thought we came to get pizza and beer.” I force a smile.
“I already ordered the pizza while you were on the phone, and beers are on the way.”
Jace, on the other hand, has been a constant in my life. Many of my boyfriends felt threatened by our friendship, even though our friendship has always been strictly a friendship. We never even kissed to test the waters. That would be weird.
James was four years older than me so it never felt weird with him for some reason. But Jace, I love like a brother. We are close in age, and have been besties for nearly twenty years.
As we sip on our beers, the pizza arrives soon after.
“Please tell me you aren’t thinking about James,” Jace says.
“James and I had been together for three years so it’s hard to grasp he’s marrying so soon.” I put my hands up “We came to stuff our faces with pizza and to get a buzz and that’s what we shall do.”
Jace chuckles as we dig into the pizza. I can say things like stuffing my face, because, to Jace, I’m just one of the guys. Only I have a vagina.
“So what are we doing this weekend?” Jace asks, before taking a swig of his beer.
“I don’t know. All I have lined up is a catering gig tomorrow afternoon. Then going to Mom’s for dinner on Sunday.”
“I was thinking about trying that rock climbing place that just opened up. You game?”
Shrugging my shoulders, I say, “Sure. Sounds fun.”
“Tomorrow, after your gig, then.”
Jace and I continue devouring the pizza, and my second beer is now empty. “I need another. It’s your turn to buy,” I state, then follow that with a burp. “I bought the last round.”
“Maybe you should…”
I interrupt Jace, holding up my finger. “Just one more. I’ll bring you coffee in the morning to make it even.”
“You bring me coffee every morning anyhow.”
A giggle escapes my lips. “Oh yeah.”
Jace disappears for a moment then returns. “Here. That’s your last one.” He shoves the beer at me.
I down it like it’s a shot.
“Come on. Let’s get you home.” My head wobbles a little when he pulls the truck door open for me. Hoisting me up into the seat, I reach for the seatbelt. Jace takes it and clicks it for me and my breath hitches. It must be the alcohol talking. I watch as he makes his way over to the driver’s side.
I live alone, in my own little apartment, and it’s convenient that Jace lives right next door. See, attached at the hip. And he is your typical clean cut guy, with hypnotic blue eyes. His brown hair is a nice dark coffee color. And his build is just above average. Any girl that can see notices how attractive he is.
Country music plays low on the drive home.
I stumble as I dig my key out of my handbag. Jace takes it from me and unlocks the door. Inside he drops the key on the side table by the door.
“What are you doing?” I ask.
“I’ve known you for nearly twenty years. You think I don’t know when you need me?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I move to grab water from the fridge.
“The only time you drink like that is when something is bothering you. So I’m here if you need me,” Jace says as he heads to my room. Pulling the blankets down, he gets in my bed. I stare at him dumbly. “Now go put on those cute pajama shorts and tank, and come to bed.”
In the bathroom, I change into my pajamas, still not sure this is a good idea. Getting in bed with Jace. But with my pajamas covering me, I slide into bed. “So, you think my pajamas are cute?” I ask with a grin, and face the opposite direction.
“Go to sleep, Simone.”
I lie in bed a little longer than necessary because Simone is just so fun to mess with. When she wakes up, I smile brightly at her. The look on her face almost makes me laugh.
“We totally did. You don’t remember?” I question, and arch my eyebrow.
She pulls the sheets up and looks under, discovering she is fully clothed. “Jace!” She flings the pillow at me.
Stumbling out of bed, laughing hysterically, I make a quick escape to the kitchen. Coffee is brewing, the alluring aroma filling the air, and I tap my fingers on the counter as I wait for it to finish. Caffeine in the form of coffee is a must for me to start my day. I can’t go a day without it. Luckily, Simone always keeps it stocked.
“Don’t you have some tail to catch?” Simone says, laughing as she enters the kitchen.
Reaching for two coffee mugs, I pour us each some coffee before answering her. “The only tail I’ve been chasing is yours for the last twenty some years.” Passing her a mug, I sip from my own.
“Ow, my head.” Simone reaches up to her head and holds it in despair.
“You drank too much last night.”
“I only had, like, three beers,” she counters.
I chuckle. “You had five or six.”
“Shit.” She groans while looking in her cupboard for aspirin.
Simone is one of a kind. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a girl quite like her. We get along so well that I could never tell her how I really feel. One thing I don’t want to ruin is our friendship, practically twenty years’ worth. Plus, she dated my brother for three years. Isn’t there a bro code of some sort? She looks at me with her big blue eyes and grins. “I’m so going to kick your ass at rock climbing later.”
“We’ll see about that,” I tell her.
Simone has always been competitive. When she puts her mind to something, she succeeds at it. Even when she competes with the boys. It’s both astounding and impressive. I don’t know if she tries to prove she can run with the boys, or what. I’m sure luck has nothing to do with it. That’s how good she is.
Running her fingers through her blonde hair, I get a whiff of her floral shampoo.
“You better nurse that hangover if you think you are going to beat me.” I place my empty mug in the sink and turn to leave. “You better shower before work. You reek,” I joke.
“You’re an ass, Jace Prescott.”
Grinning, I pull the door open to leave.
Back at my apartment I call Tar Rock Climbing and make an appointment for Simone and I. In the twenty some odd years we have been friends, we’ve done a lot of things together. Now we are adding rock climbing to the everlasting list. More times than not, she’s game for anything. I love that about her.
But with my bad track record and having a cheating brother, my odds of getting with Simone are slim to none. My brother never deserved a girl as good as Simone. I thought maybe James would change, but they say a zebra can’t change his stripes.
Now, me, on the other hand, I never keep a girl long enough for her to expect more. But Simone…I could see a future with us. It just might take some convincing.