by Jacqueline Simon Gunn
Everyone has wondered “what if?” But how many get a chance to live it?
Seventeen years ago, Olivia Watson’s world was turned upside down when she discovered Justin, her high-school sweetheart turned fiance, having sex with her best friend, Petal. Unable to muster up any forgiveness, she turns her back on him and every friend connected to that part of her life, leaving many questions about the details of the betrayal unanswered.
When Olivia receives an invitation for her twenty-year high school reunion, she decides that she’s been avoiding the past for too long. It’s time to go back and revisit that part of her life, her old friends, and the betrayal that created the wedge between them.
As soon as she and Justin lay eyes on each other at the reunion, they immediately sense the vibrant remains of their unbreakable connection. The spark between them never faded. However, Justin is now married to Petal and Olivia is involved with Adam, her handsome, best-selling-author boyfriend. But is healing old wounds enough for Olivia and Justin to move forward together, or will it help them make peace with the new lives they have chosen?
Each of the four main characters remain bound to their past by unresolved issues, demonstrating that sometimes we can’t find our future until we settle our past. But, most importantly, Olivia learns that forever isn’t time eternal; rather, forever is a place we share with the people we love the most - even when they’re gone.
“Have you thought of me at all? Was there ever a time when you wondered ‘what if?’ I have been driving myself nuts thinking what if.”
“There was never a ‘what if’ for me. You slept with my best friend. I’m not upset about it anymore, but it’s the reality. I did think about you. I missed you, but I wouldn’t let myself feel it, not deeply at least. The pain. When it came on, I pushed it aside. Then ten years passed. And I find out you married her. Married. If there had ever been a ‘what if’ it was taken away when I found out that you were married.” She put her hand over her mouth. That last sentence spilled out. She didn’t even know that she thought it until it slipped past her lips. Would there have been a second chance if he hadn’t married Petal?
And for the first time, she admitted to herself, perhaps, yes.
Now she looked at him and felt the what if washing over her. The desire to touch him, to remember how his lips felt kissing her mouth, her skin, her hair, felt irresistible. She gulped.
He stared into her eyes and she felt a kiss coming. Their faces hovered in an awkward dance as their mouths drew closer. She could feel the warmth of his breath against her lips. My gosh, she shivered, leaned in, then quickly pulled back. She broke the eye contact. Trying to shake the sensation, she gulped down some wine. “Justin. We can’t.”
“I know.” He responded. But she could see the longing in his eyes. And the love, she could feel it, enveloping, like she was immersed in a deep sea surrounded by Justin’s feelings. She ached for him to touch her. As much as her words said we can’t, and as much as she was saying no in her head, her heart was saying please kiss me.
Please just grab me and kiss me before I can say no.
Jacqueline Simon Gunn is a Manhattan-based clinical psychologist and writer. She has authored two non-fiction books, and co-authored two others. She has published many articles, both scholarly and mainstream, and currently works as a freelance writer. With her academic and clinical experience in psychology, Gunn is now writing psychological fiction. Her Close Enough to Kill series, explores the delicate line between passion and obsession, love and hate, and offers readers an elaborate look into the mind of a murderer.
In addition to her clinical work and writing, Gunn is an avid runner and reader. She is currently working on multiple writing projects, including two romance novels.
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