Title: Plan B
Author: CL Stacey
Genre: Contemporary Romance
About Plan B:
Every tick of the clock takes something away.
Aryn Andrews is a single father doing the best he can under the circumstances.
When you meet the one you love, you plan for everything but the end—especially an end that comes too soon. After losing his wife during childbirth, Aryn vowed to be the kind of father that his daughter, Ayli, could be proud of. Every decision he makes is to ensure her happiness.
Bethany Michaelson is a victim of life.
Multiple hardships endured, Bethany never fails to find the silver lining in everything. Gracious, loyal, obedient, but above all, she is strong. All she wants is to change her inevitable fate, but in order to do that she has to be the one thing she isn’t. Brave.
Aryn has learned to accept his loss.
Bethany mourns hers every day.
How do you start over with someone who fears a new beginning?
It’s the weirdest thing to see Bethany this upset.
I wouldn’t say that she’s the happiest person in the world, but right now, she looks the saddest. I’ve seen her happy, irritated, and sympathetic, but never sad.
I haven’t had the pleasure of knowing her long, but I’ve seen how dedicated and committed she is to that job. I can’t believe that Caleb would just fire her. There’s something else going on there.
Bethany re-enters the living space with a bottle of Johnnie in one hand and a couple of shooters in her other.
Sweet Lord, this woman’s about to start shooting whiskey.
“You don’t have to drink, but don’t sit there and try to tell me not to. I will hit you with this bottle,” she warns. I step off.
She leaves the room again and comes back with a box of chocolates and a bag of chips. What the hell?
“Can you talk to me?”
“Sure. But first, whiskey.” She unscrews the top and pours some into her glass but not into mine. “You want some?” she asks me first.
“Why not.” I take my glass after she’s filled it up. I don’t even get the chance to clink hers before she swallows the whole thing without flinching, or gagging. “All right.” I take mine.
Pulling the top off the box of chocolates, Bethany tosses the lid aside and dives right in. Taking a bite into one, she drops it back into the box to pour us another shot. I follow her lead when she shoots it, then she reaches back into the box… and grabs a different piece of chocolate.
“What’s your favorite color?”
Making a face at the sound of my odd question, Bethany finally turns to look me in the eyes. “What?”
“You said we could talk after whiskey. We’ve had two shots, now answer my question.”
Huffing out a laugh, she answers, “Orange.”
“Orange?” I repeat, surprised by the unusual choice. It isn’t one I’m used to, I expected to receive a more standard response: pink or purple, yellow, maybe blue. But orange?
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but… why orange?”
Bethany shrugs. “People forget about orange. I like it because the color radiates warmth. Like the sun.”
“The sun is yellow.”
“Oh, have you been to the sun?” she smarts.
“Yellow already has a purpose. Yellow represents happiness. Everyone likes yellow. I don’t want to be like everyone else.”
She gives what can almost pass as a smile, but then she rolls her eyes. “Anyways, blue seems chilly, pink seems typical, brown is poopy, black is too dark, and I was terrified of Barney when I was younger, so I was never fond of purple. I was a huge Nick Carter fan as a kid, and I read somewhere that his favorite color was green, so I tried liking green for a while, but it felt dishonest. And it represents envy. Envy is ugly.”
Rendered speechless by her wonderful weirdness, I remain silent, but I can’t help the grin that spans widely across my face. I like her honesty; it’s so rare nowadays. How refreshing.
Irked by my smile, she narrows her eyes at me. “What?”
“Weird, I know.” She sighs.
“No.” I shake my head. “Well, yes… but not in a bad way.”
“Awesome.” She grabs the bottle again and refills our glasses. We both take it.
Grabbing yet another different piece of chocolate, she bites into it and tosses it right back.
Gesturing toward the box, I ask (because I can’t watch her do the same thing again without knowing why), “Why do you keep doing that?”
“How else will I know which one I like if I don’t try them all?”
We take another shot, making this our fourth one.
“Do you have a favorite movie?”
“The Princess Bride is the greatest movie ever made.”
That can’t be true. There are so many great films to choose from. “Oh, I don’t know… I’d say that’s debatable.”
“Really? Of all the movies ever made, The Princess Bride is the one you’re going with? You’re committing to that answer?”
“Married to it.”
“Have you even seen it?”
“Don’t have to.”
“I’m sorry, was that a no? Are you nuts?”
“I guess so.”
“You know, Aryn…” She shakes her head. “I really want to like you… but you make it so very hard.”
“Because I’ve never seen your favorite movie?”
“Okay, let’s watch it, then.”
“Right now, let’s go. Turn it on, we’re about to Netflix and chill.” Wait…
“No, that didn’t come out right.”
Questions, so many of them fill her eyes, but she giggles instead. Finding my moment of panic hilarious. I’m rid of any embarrassment I may have felt the moment I hear it. At least I made her laugh.
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About CL Stacey:
CL Stacey is a Florida native, born and raised. She still resides in the Sunshine State with her husband and daughter. Relaxing with any good love story she can get her hands on is her favorite way to end the day.
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