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– A fake relationship? √
Fun, light & sexy as sin, this STANDALONE contemporary romance from the NYT and USA Today bestselling author of The Pact and Before I Ever Met You, will make you laugh, blush and swoon your heart out.
Emmett Hill is the perfect gentleman.
At least that’s what his PR team wants the world to think.
Tall, handsome, and wickedly charming, Emmett is in the midst of a career comeback, having landed the role of a villain in a popular TV show. The only problem is, Emmett has come a long way from the “nice guy” characters he used to play and his old squeaky clean image is quickly being tarnished by bar fights, womanizing and bad boy behaviour. Considering he’s two years shy of forty, it’s an act he needs to drop. And fast.
Enter Alyssa Martin.
At twenty-eight, Alyssa is tired and ready for a change. Her job as office manager has grown stagnant and unfulfilling, while she’s become continuously frustrated with Vancouver’s lackluster dating scene, always searching for Mr. Right in a city of Mr. Wrongs.
When Emmett and Alyssa’s paths cross at a mutual friend’s wedding, their chemistry is off-the-charts hot, culminating in a steamy one-night stand.
What neither expected was for the media catch wind of their coupling – and run with it.
Now Emmett has to convince Alyssa to date him for the sake of his image. Her curvy, cute and “normal” persona is just the ticket to smoothing out his reputation, while Emmett provides Alyssa with the excitement and change her life has been lacking.
The only problem is, the two fight like cats and dogs outside of the bedroom.
And considering their arrangement is just for show, they shouldn’t be in the bedroom with each other anyway.
Try telling them that.
Note: After All is a spinoff of Before I Ever Met You, however it is a complete standalone novel. You do not need to read Before I Ever Met You to enjoy After All as it follows different characters.
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Emmett Hill had just turned ten years old a week before everything changed.
He wasn’t a happy kid by any means. But the life that he had was the only life that he knew. And even though he often dreamed of the better life he’d glimpse on the right side of town, it seemed like a fairy tale to him. Something he knew would never happen, something to tuck away in his dreams. Life outside the dirty, mean streets of east Vancouver was all a movie, a film, a play on a stage. He was stuck behind the scenes.
But, like most kids, he was resilient. And being stuck was a way of life. Every day was exactly the same, which made all the hardships that much easier to take.
He’d wake up in the mornings in the tiny one-bedroom apartment he shared with his mother and she’d bring him breakfast in bed, delivered with thin and shaky hands. Usually it was just sugary cereal with water instead of milk, but sugary cereal was like having candy in the morning so he didn’t care.
Then he’d get ready for school. His closet was full of clothes that were either too big or too small, clothes that had the names of other kids written into the collar, but at least he had variety. His school kept an eye on him and were always the first to give him, and other kids in slightly-too-big shoes, clothing that was donated. His mother was always looking for clean clothes for him too, when she wasn’t trying to get her medicine.
His mother would usually walk him the ten blocks over to his school, though sometimes it was his mother’s friend, Jimmy, and Emmett always likened that walk to being in a teleporter or a bridge through time. He read books all the time and one of his favorites was A Wrinkle in Time and sometimes he thought the way to school passed through a tesseract. They would leave the depravity of Hastings and Main and the other streets where lawlessness ruled and hope was squashed, and travel through Chinatown, where the vendors were always up bright and early, putting their colorful displays out, the air filled with the smell of hot meat and spices. Then Chinatown would give way to small row houses where Emmett assumed rich people lived, people who could afford an actual house and had tiny slices of a yard, the grass usually waist-high, rusted toys out front.
Of course, these weren’t rich people houses at all but anything other than Emmett’s apartment (where there were always a few people sleeping in the hall outside his door, some who used the stairwell as a toilet), seemed like it belonged to royalty.
Once at school, his mom would go off to her job as a waitress at a local diner, and he would disappear into the building to learn and play with his friends. Putting on plays during recess–where he was always the hero–was one of his favorite things to do. At some point during the day, usually just after lunch where he scarfed down his usual granola bar, one of the teachers would pull him aside. They’d ask him how he was today, how his mother was, if there had been any problems. Then they’d give him a piece of fruit, sometimes a sandwich (once, his teacher Mrs. Marsden, brought him a Happy Meal from McDonalds down the street–he never forgot that day).
He never really knew why the teachers doted on him but they’d often call him handsome and smart and tell him he had a bright future, so he thought maybe he was just special. He liked feeling special.
Then school would end and he’d always be a bit sad. Everything was so bright and cheery and fun and even learning the crappy subjects like math didn’t seem so bad.
But his mother, or Jimmy, would be around the corner waiting. Neither of them liked to go right up to the school to get him and when he asked why he got two different answers. Jimmy said “it would look bad, they don’t know I’m your friend,” and his mother said, “there are too many people.” She said this as if she didn’t like crowds when their whole life was so darn crowded with people always in their apartment, on the street, everywhere.
But they were their kind of people.
The junkies. The addicts. The thieves. The homeless, the hopeless.
Those were the people who surrounded them every day.
And Emmett wasn’t an idiot. Even though he grew up in that crappy apartment and saw the same scenes day in and day out, he eventually realized that the medicine his mother took, that everyone else took, was heroin and other drugs.
But even so, even as his mother stopped going to her job, even as she was flopped out on the couch more and more, even as the people who came over got dirtier, scarier, he figured everything in his life would be okay in the end.