Home > Dare Me (The Donovans #1)(2)

Dare Me (The Donovans #1)(2)
Author: Samantha Chase

They each took their phones and were soon at the gate waiting to deplane. “I hate that I have to run—literally—from here,” he said gruffly. “I wish it didn’t have to be like this.”

“I know, Will. Me too,” she whispered. “I need you to do one last thing for me.”

“What’s that?”

“Kiss me.”

Reaching up, he cupped her cheek and rested his forehead against hers. “You didn’t say truth or dare,” he teased, even though there was nothing funny about this situation.

“Will…”

He closed the distance between them and kissed her, and she felt everything he was—the passion, the happiness, the sadness, the frustration—everything.

This was it.

This was their goodbye.

When he broke the kiss, he breathlessly looked at her. “Take care of yourself, Arianna,” he said. “And thank you for two of the best days of my life.”

She looked at him oddly. “Will…we’re going to talk later. And you can call me anytime. You sound as if…”

All around them, people got to their feet and began collecting their carry-ons. “I need to go,” he told her as he carefully got to his feet. Beside him, she did the same and stepped out into the aisle to give him room. He took one step before turning and kissing her again. This time it was brutal and she clung to him for dear life.

This time when he broke the kiss, he didn’t stop and look at her or say a word.

And he never looked back.

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

Present Day…

 

 

It sucked sleeping on a bouncy house.

Technically it was just the crappy mattress in her brother’s guest room, but to Arianna Donovan, that’s what it felt like.

“Ugh…”

She tossed and turned and bounced, all the while cursing the fact that she now had to sleep in the guest room after a year of having the main bedroom to herself. But Liam was finally coming home for good—his contract with the US Marine Corps was over—and that meant he was going to want to sleep in his own bed. And really, she couldn’t blame him. It was glorious—king sized, memory foam with cooling gel. Seriously, it was perfect.

This coiled twenty-year-old nightmare of a mattress? Not so much.

With a huff, she flipped onto her back and stared up at the ceiling. Liam wouldn’t be home for another few days, so…technically…she could still sleep in the main bedroom. She had thought transitioning to the guest room would be a good thing and hoped if she were settled in there, that her brother wouldn’t be too eager for her to move out. But if the choice came down to having to move back in with their parents and sleeping on their couch or sleeping on this thing, she would almost rather move back in with her folks.

Liar.

Okay, yeah, it was the last thing she wanted to do.

When she came home from her internship in San Francisco a year ago, she had figured she’d be sleeping in her old room and it would be a temporary thing.

But they’d turned it into a home gym.

After that, she’d crashed on her sister Ryleigh’s couch, but that couldn’t work long-term, and her other two brothers never offered her a place to sleep, so…she’d decided to crash at Liam’s. It was sitting there empty. Well…not right away. Her brother had let a friend of his stay there after his time in the Marines was up but as soon as he moved out, Arianna had moved in.

And when Liam got home, she’d be sure to thank him.

Technically, he had no idea she was staying there, but she knew he wouldn’t mind. After all, she was his favorite. There were five Donovan children—Liam, Patrick, Ryleigh, Jamie, and Arianna—but she knew Liam loved her the most. As the baby of the family, how could he not?

Rolling onto her side, she punched the pillow with a loud sigh and was almost comfortable when her phone chimed with an incoming text. Groaning, she snatched it off the bedside table and tapped the screen.

Mark: Had a really great time tonight. Hope we can get together next weekend.

She contemplated replying, but…didn’t.

Mark was a really nice guy, but there were no sparks there. Just like there weren’t any with John, Eric, Matt, and Greg. They were all great guys and they were perfectly fine to go out with. Once. Arianna knew exactly what she was looking for in a man. Hell, she’d even found the perfect man.

Sadly, he’d completely ghosted her a year ago and she’d been in a dating funk ever since.

And, because she was clearly a glutton for punishment and her phone was in her hands, she tapped on her photos app and scrolled to her San Francisco album. Dozens of photos of her and Will popped up. She looked at his handsome face, his incredible smile, and wondered how he couldn’t have felt the same way she did.

Although, to be fair, they’d only had one day together.

One glorious day.

Sighing, she slowly scrolled through the pictures. There was a time when looking at them made her cry, but…she’d gotten past that stage.

Almost.

Her friends had dared her to introduce herself to him after their last brunch together. She was flying home the next day and they encouraged her to have a fling before coming back to Laurel Bay. So, being the sassy, confident woman she was, Arianna had walked right over to Will as he was eating alone, introduced herself, and joined him. Brunch had turned to walking all over San Francisco together, going on a sunset cruise around the Bay, dinner in Chinatown, and then staying up all night up on Twin Peaks and watching the sunrise. They had kissed until they were breathless, but Will had been a total gentleman and told her he wouldn’t sleep with her, knowing that was their only night together.

Plus, they were in the middle of a public park, so…

She was devastated when he dropped her off at her apartment the next morning, but then she thought fate had lent them a hand when they ended up on the same flight to Atlanta.

Even that had been perfect. They’d talked and kissed and napped together and she was certain they were going to try having a long-distance relationship. After exchanging phone numbers, Will had left to catch his flight to D.C. and Arianna had gone to her gate for her flight to Wilmington, North Carolina. He’d promised to text her when he got on the plane.

But he didn’t.

He’d promised to keep in touch.

But he hadn’t.

For weeks she’d tried reaching out to him but never got a response and there had been no listing for a Will Jameson in Washington D.C.

Or anywhere.

At least, not her Will.

Chasing after a guy who clearly didn’t want her wasn’t her thing, but every now and again, she wondered just what had gone wrong. How could someone fake that kind of connection?

Why didn’t he want me?

Yeah, that question had been messing with her the most. If it weren’t for her family—minus Liam—Arianna didn’t know how she would have gotten through the last year.

True, no one knew about Will—except her sister—and there was no way she was going to share with anyone that she’d met this great guy who just disappeared off the face of the planet after spending twenty-four hours with her.

Being part of a large Irish-Catholic family meant that you were supposed to find someone to love and marry and have a bunch of kids with. For most of her life, Arianna had gotten around anyone pushing that tradition on her. She’d gone away to college and then took an internship on the other side of the country and thoroughly enjoyed having her privacy and independence. But ever since she’d come home to Laurel Bay? The hints and not-so-gentle nudges for her to find a nice guy to settle down with had been constant.

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