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Rushed (Adventures in Love #1)
Author:Aurora Rose Reynolds

Rushed (Adventures in Love #1)

Aurora Rose Reynolds

Chapter 1


I enter Stone’s bar and head toward the back, scanning the space for Jade and trying to ignore the stares and whispers even as my cheeks warm with humiliation. When I see her wave from across the room, the tension in my shoulders loosens slightly, and I quicken my steps.

“Are you okay?” she asks carefully as I slide into the booth, take off my wide-brimmed floppy hat, and place it on the seat next to my suede bag.

“This is the first time I’ve been here since . . .” My words trail off, and understanding fills her eyes before she looks around. When her brows drag together and her full lips form a frown, I know everyone is now watching us.

“What the hell is wrong with people?” she asks a little too loudly, making me cringe.

“It’s fine. It’s just going to take some time before I’m old news,” I whisper, grabbing her hand to gain her attention.

“It’s ridiculous that your broken engagement is the only thing people have to talk about,” she grumbles, and I press my lips together. She’s not wrong, but then again, I’ve lived in this town my entire life. When my mom passed away, the people here looked out for me. They watched me grow up, knew when I fell in love, cheered me on when I got engaged to my high school sweetheart, and were planning on attending my wedding in just a couple of months.

Maybe not all of them, but a lot of them.

“Once they see I’m okay, things will go back to normal,” I assure her and maybe myself.

“It would be easier for everyone to see that you’re okay if you weren’t hiding away in your shop all the damn time.”

“I’m not hiding; I’m working,” I say with a sigh.

Okay, I’ve also been hiding, but who can blame me for needing some time? One minute I was laying out seating arrangements for my wedding dinner, and the next, Galvin, my now-ex-fiancé, was telling me that he didn’t want to get married anymore. Worse, he didn’t even have a reason. The only thing he kept saying was, “It’s not you; it’s me.” I still don’t know what the hell that even means.

I shake away those thoughts and the reminder of him. “With my trip to Montana tomorrow, I needed to get all my orders ready and shipped out.”

“A trip you didn’t even want.” She shakes her head. “I still think you should tell Galvin that he needs to pay you back, at least for his half.”

“It was a gift.” I let out a breath and fiddle with my napkin, wondering if he knew he wanted to end things four months ago, when he started talking about us going on a couples retreat to strengthen our relationship. I thought we were solid but figured two weeks in Montana with just the two of us wouldn’t hurt, so I booked us a long trip with Live Life Adventures. I even added a few extra days to the end to just relax and take in some of the sights between Oregon and Montana.

“It’s also ridiculous that you can’t get a refund, given that you’re no longer actually going on a couples retreat.”

“It’s nonrefundable. I knew that when I signed the contracts.”

“Whatever.” She rolls her eyes.

“It will be fine, and honestly, I’m looking forward to the time away.”

“Camping and hiking?” She raises a brow.

“Okay, so neither of those things are exactly my idea of a good time, but who knows—maybe I’ll end up loving them. And really, I just need to get out of town for a while. I want to go somewhere people don’t know my sob story.”

“I wish I didn’t have to work so I could go with you.”

“I know, but I get that you can’t just close down your store for two weeks,” I tell her as I tip my head back to look at Connie, the owner of Stone’s, when she stops at the edge of our table.

“Jade,” she says; then her eyes come to me and fill with pity as her voice drops to just above a whisper. “Cybil, you doing okay, honey?”

“I’m good, Connie. Thank you.” I smile, which makes her look even more concerned. Wanting the awkwardness to be over, I pick up the menu and scan it quickly. “I think I’ll have the french onion soup and a Diet Coke.”

“I’ll have the same and two lemon drops, please.”

“Sure.” She looks like she wants to say more but thinks better of it. “I’ll be right back with your drinks.” She walks off, jotting down our order on her notepad.

“Two lemon drops?” I raise a brow at my best friend.

“What? We deserve a fucking drink.” She rolls her eyes, then adds, “Or at least you deserve a drink.”

“Right.” I shake my head. “I’m only having one drink. Tomorrow I have a fourteen-hour drive, and I don’t want to be hungover.”

“Mom and Dad are flipping out that you’re driving alone.”

“Believe me, they have both shared that they are not happy with me.” I roll my eyes. Maisie and Bernard, Jade’s parents, were two of my mom’s closest friends when she was alive. When she was diagnosed with cancer, they were there every step of the way. Then, when she passed, they took me in and loved me like their own. I love them to the bottom of my soul, but they really frustrate me when they treat me like a kid instead of a twenty-six-year-old woman.

“I’m also worried about it.”

“I’ll be fine.” I give her a reassuring smile. “I promise I’ll be safe, and I already loaded up on car snacks and drinks, so I won’t have to stop too often.”

“Just promise me that you won’t stop at sketchy rest stops when you have to use the restroom.”

“Promise,” I agree easily, then lean back when our drinks arrive.

When she picks up her lemon drop and holds it up, I do the same. “To new starts.”

“To new starts.” I clink my glass with hers, then shoot back the sweet-and-sour liquid that warms my stomach and relaxes me for the rest of dinner. When we finish eating and pay our tab, we head outside to the parking lot, stopping at my car since it’s closer.

“I’m going to miss you.” She pulls me in for a hug, and I hold her tightly, unsure where I would be without her support these last few weeks. Really these last few years.

“I’ll be back in two weeks.”

Keeping hold of my arms, she leans back and locks her eyes with mine. “I can’t wait to hear every detail when you get home, but promise you’ll call.”

“I’ll call you every chance I get.” My throat gets tight as I fight back tears. “I love you.”

She pulls me in for another hug. “I love you too. Try to have fun.”

“I’ll try,” I agree as she lets me go, wiping her eyes as she steps away.

“Just don’t do anything wild like fall in love with one of those Montana guys.”