Ashly Roberts and Jake Connors are barely twenty when they decide to take the proverbial plunge and walk down the aisle to exchange vows in front of the dearly beloved. Basking in bridal bliss, Ashly feels she is living the perfect fairytale, until she’s faced with a runaway groom, dumped at the altar by bad-boy fiancé, Jake Connors.
Five years later, Jake steps back into her life, realizing that being a no-show for their nuptials was the worst mistake of his life. A little older and slightly more mature, he is ready to fight for Ashly’s love once again. When Ashly sees him, she can’t deny the attraction she feels, but her hormones are overruled by the horror of what he did to her in the past. Nevertheless, Jake’s most potent weapon, those dazzling baby blues, ignites a spark in Ashly, no matter how angry she wants to be. She cannot deny the spark, and she only hopes the inferno it ignites will not consume her heart again.
According to the terms of her mother’s will, Ashly cannot cash in on her inheritance until she and Jake travel to nearly a dozen locations around the globe. The thought of pairing up with her old flame makes her blood boil, but she has little choice other than to put up with her despicable ex.
Can Ashly put up with Jake through her globe-hopping scavenger hunt to get her family fortune? Will she ever be able to forget or forgive being dumped on her wedding day? When wounds run so deep, is forgiveness even possible between old lovers? Or is it, “Goodbye!” all over again, after everything is said and done?
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I truly believe that love can conquer all obstacles.
Who are your favorite authors?
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I’ve always loved fashion so I thought up Ashly and created her character. I love brainstorming and playing around with characters.
I was born and raised in New York City. Every day, I’m amazed by the breathtaking landscape and awe-inspiring skyline. The Big Apple is, truly, a city that never sleeps. Bright lights, honking taxicabs, and noise are present twenty-four/seven, but somehow, in the midst of all that hustle and bustle and crowded chaos, I found my soulmate. Gazing down at my glittering diamond engagement ring, I couldn’t stop smiling.
Jake Connors lived in the Bronx, the son of a housekeeper who worked for a multimillionaire business tycoon. His mother’s boss used his personal connections and whipped out his checkbook to help Jake enroll at the same elite private school where I was a student. Jake was smart, but he still had T-R-O-U-B-L-E written all over him. In school, he was reprimanded numerous times and even suspended twice. If it wasn’t for his benefactor’s connections, he would have been thrown out right on his naughty butt.
Bad boys are irresistible (as any private school girl, teacher’s pet, or preacher’s daughter will tell you), so of course it wasn’t long before Jake and I fell madly in love against my parents’ wishes, and the rest is history.
At the ripe old age of twenty, I was about to begin my life as Mrs. Jake Connors. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach, and excitement and nerves washed through me like a tidal wave. Matchbox Twenty’s “Overjoyed” played softly in the background, one of the songs on the playlist I’d put together just for that morning. I loved the way the beading from my wedding gown sparkled under the bright lights of the church.
I pulled the lace material down over my shoulders and turned to gaze at Nadia, my best friend since childhood. Her long blonde hair was twisted and woven into an elegant and elaborate up-do, and her sapphire-blue silk dress and matching heels was a stunning ensemble.
A tear rolled down her face as she adjusted my veil and diamond tiara. “There. You look perfect, just like Cinderella,” she said, wiping her eyes. “I know I promised I wouldn’t cry, but I’m so happy that your fairytale is finally coming true.”
I gushed with emotion. “I’ve dreamt about this moment my entire life.”
Her brown eyes gleamed. “I know. You’re gonna be Mrs. Ashly Connors!” she squealed, clapping her perfectly manicured hands together.
I couldn’t stop grinning. “I’ve never loved anyone the way I love Jake.”
“And you’re putting all those doubters to rest.”
“I know. Everyone swore we’d never make it, yet here we are, about to walk down the aisle!” Tears welled up, and I started fanning my face. “This is the happiest day of my life.”
She reached for a tissue. “Don’t cry. You’ll ruin your makeup that I spent so long trying to get just right.”
“I-I can’t help it,” I said, sniffling and in a trembling voice. “I’ve never ever been this happy and excited.”
“This is just the beginning,” Nadia said. “You two are going to have a fabulous life together.”
I smiled. “We are, aren’t we?”
“Definitely!” she said, squeezing my hands in reassurance.
Grinning, my cousin walked in with a dozen red roses. “Looks like somebody sent the bride flowers.”
I lit up. “They’re beautiful,” I said, taking the bouquet to read the card.
“Well? Who sent them?” Nadia asked curiously.
I shot her the widest grin. “Who else? They’re from Jake. The card says he’s dreamt of this day forever, and that he can’t wait for our lives to begin together as husband and wife.”
“Aw!” Nadia said. “That’s so sweet.”
A tear rolled down my cheek. “Is he here yet? I have to go thank him.”
“No way, young lady!” Nadia scolded. “As your maid of honor, it is my duty to make sure he doesn’t see you before the ceremony. It’s bad luck, and we can’t have that.”
“Then have him come to the door, and I’ll open it just a crack.”
“He’s not here yet,” my cousin informed me.
“What!?” My jaw dropped. “He was supposed to be here an hour ago. I just assumed he was with all the groomsmen, because the photographer said he was heading that way to get some pictures. Where do you think—”
“I’m sure he’ll be here any minute,” my cousin said, cutting me off before I went off into a full-blown panic. “I’ll go look for him and tell him his beautiful bride is waiting.”
I plastered on a fake smile as she turned around and left. “Hey, Nadia, can you do me a huge favor?” I asked. “Can you tell Jim I need to talk to him?”
She lightly patted my shoulder. “Harassing the best man isn’t gonna get your groom here any quicker.”
“I know, but…I just know Jake would never be late—not for this. Where’s my cell phone?” I asked, frantically digging through my purse. I looked back up at Nadia. “Do you think anything happened, that something came up or—”
“Calm down, Ashly,” she said in a soft tone. “I’m sure he’s fine. He’s probably planning some kind of romantic last-minute surprise.”
“You’re right. I need to calm down,” I said, taking deep breaths, “but I can’t. Where the heck is my phone anyway?” I asked, anxiously darting my eyes all around the room. I set the flowers down and smiled when my cell phone rang.
Nadia picked it up from the table. “Here. It was right where you left it.”
“I’m such a scatterbrain.”
“Well, it’s excusable today. You’re a bride with a million things running through that pretty little head of yours.” She glanced down with a huge smile. “Put all your worries to rest. It’s Jake.”
“Oh, thank goodness.” I breathed a sigh of relief as I reached for the phone. “Jake!” I squealed in excitement. “I got the flowers! They’re just gorgeous.”
When he didn’t say anything, I felt a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.
“Why aren’t you here yet? And where the heck are you? The ceremony starts in less than thirty minutes.”
“Ashly, uh…there’s something I need to tell you,” as he awkwardly said the words no woman would want to hear on her wedding day.
I clenched my hands into tight fists; something in his voice made me really nervous. “Jake, what’s wrong?”
“I’m so sorry, but…look, I-I just can’t do this.”
Confusion and shock overwhelmed me. Through the fog in my mind, it took me a minute to realize what he was actually saying. “What do you mean?”
“I can’t make it,” he said in a grim tone.
I tried to process his words, but everything had begun to spin around me, as if I was caught in some nightmarish hurricane. “What do you mean you can’t make it? And why are you so nonchalant? This isn’t just some Superbowl get-together with your buddies, Jake! It’s our wedding!”
Silence was his only response.
“Babe, are you just getting cold feet or what?” I asked in a panicked voice. “Tell me you aren’t seriously considering backing out and leaving me at the alt—”
“Ashly, I’m not ready to get married. I’ve been thinking about it hard. I’m only twenty years old, and I’m not sure if I’m ready for all of this—for any of it, really.”
Shock flooded over me, and every square inch of me, inside and out, seemed to crumble, as if I’d been hit by a Mack truck. “So you tell me thirty minutes before you’re supposed to walk down the aisle? What am I supposed to tell everyone?”
“I love you, Jake. I love you so much. Please don’t do this.”
He didn’t even bother returning those three precious words.
My hand trembled as I held the phone. “We need to talk face to face. I at least deserve that, don’t you think?”
“I’ve gotta go,” he whispered.
“Baby, please don’t! Jake!” I begged.
My heart lurched. I frantically called him back, but it just rang and rang. “C’mon, Jakey. Please pick up!” I shouted. A second later, my panic had turned to anger. “Pick up the damn phone.” With shaky fingers, I texted him: “U have 2 talk 2 me!”
“It’s over. I’m sorry. I think it’s best if U never call this # again.”
As I gazed down at the heartless, dismissive text, I screamed. The thought of never talking to him again, of never seeing him again, of him not sliding that ring on my finger tore me in two.
“What’s wrong?” Nadia asked.
Overcome with a rollercoaster of emotions, I threw my cell phone, shattering it against the wall. “He’s backing out. Jake’s not coming.”
“What?” she questioned in complete disbelief. “Where is he?”
My breath hitched in my throat.
“I-I don’t know.” My heart was beating a million times a minute. “He’s not coming,” I repeated, my voice barely able to tremble out the words.
She gripped my shaking hands. “What do you mean?”
“He’s pulling the plug on our wonderful life,” I barely choked out, “and he just told me to never contact him again.”
“That’s crazy,” she retorted. “Why?”
“He says he can’t…that he’s not ready,” I gasped between sobs. “I feel like I’ve just been hit by a semi, and I didn’t even see it coming!”
“He’s despicable!” Nadia shouted, pulling me into a close embrace.
Emotion flooded through me, more like a monsoon this time, and I let out a sob so loud I was sure the entire church had heard it. I’d never felt pain and grief rip through me like that. How could he dump me at the altar? He couldn’t have told me this last night, before all the guests came, before I got all dressed up like some stupid fairytale princess in this ridiculous dress? Who needs all these beads and lace anyway?
I shouted. I cursed. I cried. He was everything I wanted and more, and now I’d never have him.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no! Brides are supposed to run away, not grooms! Didn’t he ever see that Julia Roberts movie?
I couldn’t breathe.
I fell into a pit of despair as my world crashed down around me. I couldn’t help wondering what the heck had happened. We’d seen each other the night before, and everything had seemed fine, perfect as always. As usual, we couldn’t stop staring into each other’s eyes. When we talked about the wedding, he’d seemed more excited than me. As a matter of fact, it was all he talked about, and he said more than once that he couldn’t wait to see me in my wedding dress. I thought we shared such a deep connection, that we’d forever be madly in love. Why would he just throw it all away? For what? Why? And why won’t he even talk to me about it?
“Nadia,” I said, sniffling.
“Yeah? What is it, sweetie?”
“I’ve changed my mind. This is the absolute worst day of my life.”
* * *
Weeks passed, and I continued to mourn my loss of Jake. Every breath and movement took effort. Some days, the pain was so overwhelming that I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, couldn’t function, and couldn’t control the tears. No one understood what I was going through, but everyone tried to be of some comfort on the rough days, and I appreciated that. On other days, I felt like I could manage. I hardly ate and woke up in cold sweats left over from my nightmares. I knew I’d never get over the loss of Jake dumping me, and I’d learned the hard lesson that in the blink of an eye, one’s whole world could take a swan dive; the elevator from heaven to hell was a fast-moving one. One minute, my life had been perfect. I’d been a princess with her Prince Charming. Then, in the next, I was a damsel in distress all over again. How will I ever move forward? I wondered. My heart was torn.
Sometimes the grief was so paralyzing that I had to remind myself to breathe. I knew there was no roadmap to get me through the throes of pain, but I hated that it hurt so damn much and for so damn long.
“I love you, Jake…and I miss you,” I whispered. “Not a minute goes by when I don’t think about you,” I muttered, recalling his beautiful face, those captivating features that I missed so much.
Everyone told me it would get easier in time, but it hadn’t—not after all those weeks. Knowing I’d never feel Jake’s touch, see his beaming smile, or hear his laugh again was almost unbearable. I missed the way he said my name, and it pained me that I wouldn’t feel his hand in mine. I’d never be able to look into his beautiful blue eyes again. There would be no more romantic dinners under the stars, no more slow dances, no more romantic birthday celebrations. All of that had been stolen away from me, leaving a giant, gaping hole in my heart.
I could still hear his voice in my head, could still feel his touch. It was something like that old country song I’d heard on the radio somewhere: I couldn’t stop loving him. I simply didn’t have the strength. As I went through his clothes, I could still smell him. All of my senses told me that he was right there in that room with me, that nothing had changed, but it had. It had all changed for the worst.
Sierra Rose is a stay at home mom and writer. With the support from her husband, friends, and family, she finally decided to write her first romance novel, My Despicable Ex, followed by the second book in the series. She hopes to write more romance books in the future. Sierra is a dreamer, a hopeless romantic, and believes fairy tales can come true. She enjoys spending time with her husband of ten years and her wonderful children, ages 9 – 12. She has two cats and one dog. Sierra enjoys going to book clubs, camping, hiking, reading, jogging, and swimming.
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