Houston music critic Alvin Zak becomes smitten with violinist Madeline Deever from the first moment she lays her bow to her violin to perform a concerto. Sent to review the orchestra, Alvin becomes so enraptured by Madeline that he asks her if he can do a feature on her. The polite, yet elusive Madeline agrees to think it over while declining Alvin’s invitation for coffee. Alvin does not understand Madeline’s abrupt refusal to his invite and it makes him even more interested in getting close to her.
The last thing Madeline is looking for is love since she is harboring a secret that has the power to ruin any potential relationship. Convinced no man would love her enough to accept her situation, she fights off Alvin’s advances, but begins to fall in love with him.
Can Alvin convince Madeline to trust him and give into her feelings or is Madeline destined to spend her life alone?
Madeline ran out the door and hurried down the sidewalk toward her dark-blue Mazda.
She dug in her purse for her keys.
The last thing I need is anyone asking questions.
“Madeline?” Alvin busted out the door. “Madeline?” He ran up behind her. “Wait!”
She stopped and sighed.
What do I say if he asks why I’m here? Of course, I can tell him to fuck off but then what? I wake up and the next thing I know another feature of me will be in the magazine?
She turned around.
Hold on. Why the hell is he here?
“Hey.” He squinted. “You okay?”
“Why?” She held the prescription note behind her back. “Why wouldn’t I be okay?” She raised an eyebrow. “You saying I don’t look okay?”
“You look beautiful actually.”
She brushed her hair behind her ear.
I do like the way I feel when he looks at me. But, I can’t trust this man. He did a feature on me without my permission. Who does that?
She tilted her head.
I can’t lie and say I’m not a tiny bit attracted to him. Why does he like me though? Is he really interested in me or just my music?
“What are you doing here?” She avoided meeting his gaze.
“I’m here for my yearly checkup.” He swung his arms. “I gotta get my blood pressure medicine refilled.”
“You have high blood pressure?”
He rolled his eyes. “No, I just take the medicine because I like it.”
She grinned. “I guess your job can get stressful, huh? I’ve seen how some react when you give them bad reviews. I saw what that musician did to you on Twitter last year. I couldn’t deal with stuff like that.”
“No one likes a critic.” He clasped his hands in front of him. “That’s the nature of the job, but I love what I do. I love music, so that’s why I like to judge it and study it.” He gestured to her. “Why are you here?”
“I had to see my doctor.”
“Dr. Fox too?”
“No.” She crumpled up the prescription note. “It’s another doctor.”
“Oh.” He nodded. “Who?”
“Who?” She exhaled. “Is that really your business?”
He shrugged. “No, but I told you the name of my doctor.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t ask did I?”
His smile faded.
I hate being a bitch to him. He seems to be a nice guy but I can’t give him an inkling something can be between us when I know it’s impossible. Better to reject him now than hurt him later.
“Alvin, I told you I didn’t wanna see you again.”
“You don’t wanna see me because of the feature or something else? I’m sorry if doing the story hurt you. It wasn’t my intent.”
“Do you realize how many emails I’ve been getting since you wrote about me?” She touched her hair. “I mean…they’re nice and stuff but I didn’t want this to happen. You should’ve given me the choice.”
“I apologize, but I thought you’d be happy once you saw it.”
“Well, I wasn’t.” She held her arms to her sides. “I wasn’t.”
“I don’t know how to be with you.” He ran his fingers through his hair. “Things that I thought would impress women don’t work on you.”
“I don’t like games or tricks. I’d rather know off the bat what you want. No bullshitting.”
“Okay.” He swallowed. “I wanna go out with you, and I wanna know more about your music.”
“How about I give you a chance to tell your own story this time?” He touched her arm. “I really am sorry if the piece offended you.”
“It didn’t offend me. It was a very flattering feature but—”
“You didn’t want it?”
She nodded. “I don’t like people doing things behind my back.”
“You might be glad to know it’s gotten a lot of attention. I got people calling me asking me more about you and how to reach you.”
“I don’t want anyone to reach me.”
“Why, Madeline?” He moved closer. “You’ve got a wonderful gift that you share with the world, but you don’t wanna share yourself?”
“I can’t.” She closed her eyes. “I can’t share myself with anyone else again.”
She looked into his eyes. “Especially you.”
“Would you at least let me make things up to you? Can I take you out for that coffee?”
He pointed down the sidewalk. “There’s a Starbucks a few blocks away.” He poked her arm. “I can tell you wanna go.”
I do wanna go but I can’t go. I won’t set myself up for heartbreak and I won’t let you fall in love knowing you won’t wanna commit to someone like me. Not in a million years.
“I can’t go.” She shook her head. “I…no.”
“What about dinner tonight?”
“We can go anywhere you like. It’ll be my treat.”
“Just stop it okay?” She backed away from him. “Stop pushing. I can’t breathe.”
His eyebrows furrowed. “I’m not trying to push you, but I really wanna get to know you better.”
“That wouldn’t be smart.”
“Madeline, for God’s sake.” He leaned to the side. “What’s going on with you? I feel like you like me, but then you keep pushing me away. That’s…that’s not normal, Madeline.”
“You’re right.” She lifted her head. “It’s not normal but it’s how I have to be.” She turned to leave.
“Wait, please.” He grabbed her hand.
She dropped the prescription note.
He picked it up and looked at it. “Atrip—”
“Give me that!” She snatched it. “How dare you?”
“What kind of medicine is that? What is that for?”
“None of your business!” She stuffed the note into her purse. “How dare you read my prescription?”
“I only saw part of it but judging by your reaction there’s definitely more to the story. Are you okay?” He rubbed her arm. “Are you?”
She knocked his hand away. “Just leave me alone.”
A woman stared at them as she left the clinic.
“I don’t want anything from you, Alvin.” She went to her car. “The best thing to do is if we both act like we never met.”
“I can’t do that.” He remained on the sidewalk in front of her car. “I know we don’t know each other well but I care already.”
“I don’t want you to care! I don’t want anyone to care! I just want you to leave me alone! Please.”
“Just tell me you’re all right. What’s the medicine for?”
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Elle Baron is a young widow trying to adjust to life as a single mother in Sunset, Texas. She’s thrown for a loop when she sees, Harper Sobieski, her ex-boyfriend and childhood friend, standing in her garden.
Harper works as a technical marketing engineer for a company in Munich, Germany and Elle has never forgiven him for moving away twelve years earlier. Despite Harper’s visits throughout the years, Elle still harbors hard feelings while fighting her lifelong attraction for him.
She gets the shock of her life when Harper proposes marriage. Even though Elle has wanted nothing more than to be Harper’s one-and-only, she can’t shake the feeling that Harper’s sudden desire to get married is uncharacteristic and there might be more to the story.
During the weekend, Harper and Elle realize that their love shines brighter than ever, but before Harper goes back to Germany, Elle must choose between marrying Harper and the possibility of never seeing him again.