Authors: Ophelia London
Tags: #Colleen Hoover, #second chance romance, #Someday Maybe, #Definitely Maybe in Love, #Cora Carmack, #Jane Austen, #Ophelia London, #Tammara Webber, #Romance, #Embrace, #entangled, #college, #New Adult, #Abbi Glines, #Definitely Maybe
Some guys are impossible to forget.
Rachel Daughtry has a 10-year plan that leaves no room for mistakes. Or not-so-serious boys—including Oliver Wentworth, the freshman boyfriend she’s never forgotten. Now she’s back in San Franciso with an awesome-slash-scary new job. Unfortunately, The Plan doesn’t cover things like meeting her best friend’s new “secret” guy...Oliver.
Fortunately, no one knows that Rachel and Oliver were ever together, and endless bikini wax torture couldn’t make Rachel hurt her friend. But it’s killing Rachel. She’s not over him. Not even a little. And as her 10-year-plan crumbles around her, Rachel realizes that maybe—just maybe—Oliver feels the same way.
Now Rachel is on the verge of losing all control. And her best friend. And the love of her life...
a Definitely Maybe novel
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Copyright © 2014 by Mary Smith. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.
Entangled Publishing, LLC
2614 South Timberline Road
Fort Collins, CO 80525
Visit our website at
Embrace is an imprint of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
Edited by Stacy Abrams
Cover design by Jessica Cantor
Manufactured in the United States of America
First Edition October 2014
To Jane Austen. Again. Girl, you have me excessively diverted.
“All the privilege I claim for my own sex…is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone.”
~Jane Austen’s PERSUASION
September, Freshman Year
I blew a bubble and leaned on the doorjamb of Roger’s office. Although you could hardly call it an office. It was smaller than an IKEA closet and didn’t have a door that shut or a light switch.
“Hey, Trouble,” Rog said, grinning at me over his laptop.
“Hey, Double.” I returned my brother’s grin. “They’re finally gone.”
“Yeah? How bad did Dad cry?”
I laughed. “More than when the Dodgers lost but less than when he watches
. And Mom was doing that hovering thing. It got so bad, I had to kick them out of my dorm room.” I collapsed into a folding chair on the other side of his desk.
Rog chuckled, clicked his mouse, shut his computer, then set his full attention on me. School hadn’t started yet, and I knew he was already crazy busy, but my
important big brother was making time for me.
“She’s always been great at the hovering thing,” Rog said. “But I’m thinking you should be grateful they drove you all the way up here; they didn’t do that for me freshman year.”
“I guess,” I said, propping my red Chuck Taylors on the stack of posters from last year’s University of San Francisco student body president elections.
“And of course they got weepy,” Rog said. “They might be gone a long time.”
“Hallelujah. No more hovering.”
“Rachel.” He shot me his serious brotherly expression. “Mom’s worried.” His words held his serious, brotherly tone. “She doesn’t like leaving you alone.”
“Alone.” I snorted. “I’m with ten thousand other students.”
“I’m worried about you, too. Are you still dead set on carrying eighteen credits? That’s a really heavy load for a freshman. I’ve been there.”
I nodded and picked at a nail. I’d just gone over this with Dad. Why did no one think I could handle it?
“If your GPA drops below a three-five, you’ll lose the scholarship, right?”
“I know, I know.” I rolled my eyes. “Dad just gave me his final lecture. It was a doozy.”
Rog grinned and rubbed his chin. “Did it include the pie chart?”
“How did you know?”
“I told you, I’ve been there.” Roger’s cell beeped, but he silenced it and slid it in a desk drawer. “Look, Rach, they put me in charge of you, and I’m sorry but I’m taking that seriously. I even warned my roommates not to mess with you.” He walked around to the front of his desk and sat. “Remember all those Jackie Chan movies I used to watch?” Rog formed his hands into a kung-fu position. “If I catch any lameass, starry-eyed jocks hanging around you, I’ll unleash the big guns.” He karate-chopped the air along with the appropriate
I couldn’t help laughing. “Scary, Rog.” It was easy to mock the sternness of my brother; he was the most easygoing guy I knew. “I shall do my best to be a model student while under your stewardship.”
He sighed at my smartassness and rubbed the back of his neck, taking on the familiar gestures of our dad more and more every day.
Yes, I was being a pain, but I knew the deal. Just because our parents would be overseas for months at a time didn’t give me carte blanche to screw off. I understood the gravity of being at USF on scholarship more than anyone. And anyway, eighteen credits was nothing if you had an implacable plan like mine. You might say I was kind of a control freak when it came to school. Okay, I was a
control freak about school. But there was no other choice.
In the years before I’d started junior high, our family didn’t worry about my college fund. Mom and Dad were both lecturing professors, we had vacation homes, and Dad had lots of investments. But like fifty percent of the country, he wasn’t prepared for the bottom of the economy to drop out.
“And it just so happens, I’m taking my education seriously without your help,” I said. “But I
going to spend one last day as a teenager in college before classes start tomorrow.”
He blew out an exaggerated breath and gave me his indulgent grin. “I guess that sounds okay.”
“I marvel at your generosity.”
He laughed, and when I stood to leave, he added, “Hey, don’t forget Sunday brunch at my place. You can give me a full rundown of your first week.”
Dude, I was so over the hovering. Wasn’t one mother enough?
“Come on, it’ll be our tradition. If we Skype with the ‘rents every week, they’ll be less prone to worry. And if you play your cards right, I bet the dean will score me tickets to a Giants game. You’ve never been to AT&T Park.”
Ooh. My brother was playing dirty. Bay Area professional sports made me want to relinquish my SoCal birthright and pledge my devotion to the 49ers.
“Sound like a plan, Trouble?”
I groaned, trying to sound all blasé and teenagerly. “Sounds like a plan, Double.”
It took me ten minutes to walk back to Phelan Hall. Within that short time, Rog sent me five texts. In the abstract, it was cool that he worried about me, but in reality, he had nothing to worry about. My ten-year plan was already in motion.
To enjoy my last evening of teenaged freedom, I met my new dormmate and a group of other girls at a campus cafeteria. After that, we’d be hitting Greek Row. At dinner, we were just getting into the “Justin Bieber: old-hair-or-new-hair” debate when a figure standing at my right pulled my attention. I glanced up.
It was a guy. Dark hair. Cute. “Hi,” I said.
“Hey.” He blinked and tilted his head. “Don’t I know you?”
He was tall and kind of lanky, broad shoulders under a yellow T-shirt with the Partridge Family logo on the front. Nice face, though I didn’t recognize him in the slightest. “I don’t think so,” I said. A second later, whoever was next to me kicked my leg under the table.
“Hmm, that’s funny.” He shrugged those broad shoulders. “My mistake.” Then he pulled back a slow, adorable boy smile.
I instantly regretted my standoffishness, because, wow…he was more than cute. Although he’d made the tragic mistake of wearing a backward baseball cap, I could see his hair was curly and dark, a richer brown than mine. He had big, lightish-gray eyes, long lashes, and that smile…it made my stomach go melty.
“Maybe it wasn’t a mistake.” I straightened my posture and pushed my hair over one shoulder. “You probably recognize me from all those TV ads when I was running for Congress.”
If I had one of those sci-fi machines that rolled back time to retract stupid jokes, I would’ve used it right then.
He stared at me for a moment, then burst into laughter—cute laugh, too. Deep like a man, but…silly. I’d never heard anything so carefree. “Wasn’t it the Senate?” He slid his hands into his back pockets, taking on a posture of ease.
Damn, he was self-confident, too. Major turn-on.
“It was both,” I replied, enjoying his flirty game. “But I don’t like to brag.”
When he laughed again, I noticed a dimple in his cheek.
. He took ahold of the end of the table and crouched down so we were the same eye level, giving me a lovely whiff of his delicious boy smell. “So look,” he said, his voice lower because we were so close now, his pretty gray eyes looking right into me. “I know how exhausting the campaign trail must be. I was just about to grab a bite. Want to join me,” he tipped his head to the side, “over there?”
The control freak in me was about to reply that I already had plans for dinner—obviously, since I was currently eating—and that I had other plans with my friends the rest of the evening. But when he graced me with another smile, this one touched with the slightest hint of vulnerability, it wasn’t even a choice.
We rose to stand at the same time. He picked up my tray with the half-eaten burger and untouched green salad.
“I’m Oliver,” he said as we walked toward a corner table.
“I know who you are, Rachel.” He glanced at me out of the corners of those silvery eyes and cocked a sexy half grin. “I’ve seen you around.” A botanical garden’s worth of butterflies flew loose in my stomach.
We sat, neither of us touching the food on the table between us. He told me about his three roommates who were all cousins from New Jersey, then I told him about my first night in the dorms. His story was better. Sometimes, he rubbed a knuckle under his chin when he spoke. And when he wasn’t looking straight at me, he looked down. It was cute, catching those moments of vulnerability.
His fingers brushed against mine when he passed me his phone to show me a picture of his dog back home. The tiny touch shot a tingle up my arm, making my heart stutter. When our eyes met, I could’ve sworn he’d felt the same thing.
Before I knew it, the janitors were mopping the floor around us and the lights were switching off.
“What do you think they’re trying to tell us?” Oliver asked. He had this nervous habit of pushing up his sleeves. He was doing it now.
was making a hot guy nervous. Unprecedented.
“That time flies when you’re having fun?” I replied, feeling its truthfulness through the cliché. I’d been having more fun talking to him in the cafeteria than I’d had at my senior prom.
We stood to leave, ignoring the glares of the janitorial staff as our sneakers squeaked across the wet floors.
“This was only
for you?” He held open the exit. “Damn. I was going for mind-blowing. I have my pride.”
The golden sun floated at the horizon as he walked me home. My stomach actually ached from laughing, while my brain was massively preoccupied by how much I wanted him to kiss me. I’d been subtly staring at his mouth for the past three hours, could almost taste the sweetness on this boy’s happy-go-lucky lips.
We stopped in front of the glass doors of Phelan Hall. My most recent “first kiss” had been so uneventful that I could hardly remember it. As I gazed up at Oliver, at the bluey twilight sky behind him, I wondered if ours would be a gentle kiss or if he would grab me in a rush of passion like I’d always daydreamed. I was so caught up in my anticipation that I almost missed his words.
“Well, it was nice to meet you, Rachel. Good luck with classes tomorrow.” And without so much as a friendly hug, or a stupid fist bump, he turned and walked away.
My mouth fell open. He seemed so…unaffected, so completely oblivious.
Baffled, I remained statue-still and watched him leave, regretting it more and more when I noted his long legs and confident stride…the way his butt in his jeans was the most perfect boy butt I’d ever seen.
The moment he was out of sight, I blew through the glass double doors, stomped up the stairs, and slammed my door, declining any and all end-of-summer parties. Instead, I sat on the end of my bed and dissected every word Oliver and I had exchanged. What the hell had I done wrong?
It took me ages to fall asleep, and the few winks I did manage to catch were filled with dreams of the grinning face of a cheerful, sexy boy with metallic gray eyes who hadn’t asked for my number. In my dream, though, he didn’t need my number, because the moment of our good-night had gone much differently with my creative subconscious in charge.
Unable to get that fantasy out of my mind, I rolled out of bed the next morning—three hours before my first class—pulled on my running clothes, and walked down the stairs, in desperate need to clear my head before officially starting my college career, Day One of the ten-year plan.
Apparently, I’d had my last-day-of-freedom fling, after all. Though now it seemed rather anticlimactic after the super-sexy make-out session I’d dreamed about last night. Probably for the best that nothing really happened—I’d never been particularly coordinated at balancing school and boys. And now was not the time to screw up.
The second I stepped out the front door, I spotted Oliver on a bench, monitoring the entrance. Seeing him made my heart beat fast, like I’d just finished running wind sprints. He’d been writing in a notebook, which he slid into his backpack when he saw me.
“Good morning, Rachel.” He strolled over, hands in his back pockets. His entire frame screamed totally relaxed and confident.
“Hey. What are you doing here?” I asked, self-consciously playing with the end of my ponytail. He looked hot, while
only managed to make sure I’d brushed my teeth before I’d left.
“Waiting for you,” he said. That same smile that had kick-started my heart yesterday stretched across his face. He ran a hand through his dark, baseball cap-free hair. It was chestnut with glints of auburn under the early morning sun.
“It’s six a.m.” I was queen of pointing out the obvious when confused.
“I know, but I forgot to do something last night.”
He cocked an eyebrow. “Blow your mind.”
With no fear, no thought of rejection, Oliver stepped up to me, slid a hand around the back of my neck, and pulled me in, that perfect mouth crashing over mine. My head buzzed with the dizzying sensation of wonder mixed with relief and raging bliss—wiping out everything else.
The kiss was better than I imagined, better than I’d dreamed last night. His arms were suddenly around me. Had they always been there, holding me up? As the kiss deepened, he tasted sweet like berries and something rich like dark chocolate. I never wanted that taste to leave my mouth.
“Whoa.” I swayed back, grateful for the support of his arms. “Oliver, you—”
“Still able to speak, huh?” He shut his eyes and kissed me again, tilting me into an almost-dip. I was panting for breath when we finally broke apart.
“Whaa…,” I wheezed, my entire respiratory system working overtime just to pump oxygen to my brain.
After a long moment with only the sound of our mutually heavy, labored breathing, he grinned and whispered, “Finally.” His eyes closed as he rested his forehead against mine. “Now that your mind is sufficiently blown, how about breakfast before school?”
a tiny corner of my mind repeated as I stood on my toes to kiss him back.
I have no idea what that is.