Right Next Door - A.J. Pryor

Wall of Trust

The Perfect Wave

Right Next Door

My fiancé is officially a married man. The only problem is that he isn’t married to me. . .

Addison Peacock has been stuck in the same seaside town her entire life. When her college boyfriend proposes the night before graduation, she can finally see the future she’d always dreamt about. But the sudden illness of her father causes her to put that future on hold, and her soon-to-be husband leaves, with nothing but a promise that one day he’ll return.

Now, five years later, he’s kept that promise. There’s only one problem . . . he’s already married. Crushed twice by the same man, Addison needs a distraction, someone to get her back on her feet and mend her broken heart. As luck would have it, Damian Walker has just moved in next door.

Having rebuilt his own life after a drunk driver stole his career, his heart . . . everything, Damian knows what it’s going to take to get Addison’s life back on track. But he’s not going to be anyone’s rebound. His life is complicated . . . there’s no room for one-night stands. Until Addison knows what she’s looking for, neighbors are all they’ll ever be.

One shared wall, two sun-kissed balconies, and a chance at love...a twist of fate. Could the possibility of a future be right next door?

It’s official. I hate his guts. Not only the black heart residing inside his magnificent chest, but his dark blue eyes, every piece of perfectly styled brown hair, down to his clean-shaven face and expensive aftershave. I should have known when he showed up with evenly clipped and buffed nails that he was no longer the same man who swept me off my feet nine years ago. A man who promises you the world one minute, then quietly disappears out of your life the next, never looking back, is far from decent.

It’s been five years since he left me. Five years of silence, five years of waiting for a man who was gone, living his life, while I was stuck here trying to piece mine back together.

Fumbling my phone out of the tiny black clutch I’ve been carrying for over twelve hours, I scan the driveway for the nearest cab. As one approaches, I lower my head trying to avoid any familiar eyes. Growing up in a small town, you’re bound to run into someone you know at every turn. Getting caught sneaking out of the Four Seasons Hotel at eight on a Saturday morning wearing last night’s clothes is not something I need advertised in the Santa Barbara News-Press.

Spotting a black Prius with a yellow taxi sign on top, I step off the curb and wave my hand, thanking whatever god is on my side this morning as it pulls to a stop beside me. Glancing in the window before I open the door, I catch a quick look at the mess of dark brown hair spilling around my face, and cringe at the sight of my wrinkled shirt. I never thought I’d get caught doing the Walk of Shame at twenty-seven-years-old, but life clearly has other plans for me.

As I quickly slip inside and relay my address to the driver, my ringtone blares. “I was just about to call you, Paige,” I say. Taking a steadying deep breath, I drop the nuclear bomb. “The fucker’s married.”

“Holy shit Addison, like married, married?”

“As far as I know, Paige, marriage has only one definition.”

She huffs on the other end of the line, and I feel as dirty as this taxicab’s cloth seats. “I knew it! I knew that asshole was up to no good! You never should have left with him last night, Addison.”

We had been at Joe’s, a 50’s style bar that’s been in existence since before my grandmother was born, watching all the people who had returned for UCSB alumni weekend, when Matt walked right up to our table.

“Addison? Is that you?”

I sat there wide-eyed, my jaw stretching to the floor as the man who had successfully ripped my heart in two stood in front of us.

“You’re back,” I’d whispered, wondering if my eyes were playing tricks on me. After five years of trying to forget about him, five years of attempting to mend my broken heart, he’d finally returned. When he held out his hand, I took it, when he led me to the exit, I followed, when he hailed a cab, I let him open the door for me. After years of