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“I had one weekend left to make you love me.”

I gape in horror. “You didn’t tell them that.”

“Yes. You should have seen Jeanette’s face.”

“Pretty big gamble, Josh. Hell in a handbasket.”

“It paid off, thankfully.”

He’s pressing his mouth to my skin and sighing, breathing, like I’m a dream he never wants to wake from. He’s breathing me in like he’s a filthy addict.

“Can you be sure that you won’t resent me one day? You’ve given up a big chance, Josh.”

“I’ll be buried in numbers all day long. I can continue my crusade to save one publishing house from financial ruin at a time.”

“Please try not to make people cry anymore. It’s time for you to be your true self. You’re a Mr. Nice Guy.”

“I make no guarantees. But for me, this role at Sanderson is honestly a better fit. The best part is, it means I’ll be coming home to you on my couch every night. I couldn’t have gotten this decision more right if I tried.”

“Every night? Well, I can’t on the long weekend. I’m going to Sky Diamonds for the week. I don’t suppose you’re busy then.”

“Take me with you,” he says in between kisses on my shoulders. “I know the way. I’ve mapped the journey. Flights and hire cars. I’ll grovel to your dad. I know exactly what I’ll say.”

“I don’t get it with you and that place.”

“I need to go there so I can start at the beginning. So that I can know everything about you.”

“You sure do love strawberries.”

“I love you, Lucy Hutton. So much, you have no idea. Please be my best friend.”

I’m so ridiculously in love. I decide to try it out loud. “I’m in love with Joshua Templeman.”

His reply is a whisper in my ear. “Finally.”

I pull back. “I’m going to have to change my computer password.”

“Oh yeah? To what?”


“4 eva,” he replies.

“You cracked my password?”

He rolls me onto my back and smiles down at me with eyes bright with mischief.

There’s nothing else I can do. When the white flag of his sheets settles on my skin, the Hating Game is over. It’s primal. It’s a miracle. And it’s forever.

“Yeah, all right. Forever. What game should we play now?” I look up at him and we play the Staring Game until his eyes spark in memory.

“The Or Something Game really intrigued me. Can you show me how it works?”

He tosses the blankets over us, blocking out the entire world. He’s laughing, my favorite sound in the world.

Then there’s nothing but silence. His mouth touches my skin.

Let the real games begin.