The 2015 Birthday Teasers Event continues, and today, I am sharing with you a never seen before excerpt from the upcoming standalone novel by the extraordinary Colleen Hoover. A story “about risking everything for love, and finding your heart somewhere between the truth and lies”, Confess is expected on 10 March 2015. ♥
At age twenty-one, Auburn Reed has already lost everything important to her. In her fight to rebuild her shattered life, she has her goals in sight and there is no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.
For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is keeping a major secret from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.
To save their relationship, all Owen needs to do is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin.
“There’s someone here who belongs to you.”
It takes me a few seconds to adjust to the middle-of-the-night phone call. I sit up in bed and rub my eyes. “Harrison?”
“You’re asleep?” He sounds shocked. “It’s not even one in the morning.”
I swing my legs to the side of the bed and press my palm to my forehead. “Been a rough week. Haven’t slept much.” I stand up and look for my jeans. “Why are you calling?”
There’s a pause and I hear a clatter come from his end of the line. “No! You can’t touch that! Sit down!”
I pull the phone away from my ear to salvage my eardrum. “Owen, you better get your ass over here. I close in fifteen minutes and she doesn’t take last call well.”
“What are you talking about? Who are you talking about?”
And then it hits me.
“Shit. I’ll be right there.”
Harrison hangs up without saying good-bye and and I’m pulling a T-shirt over my head as I make my way downstairs.
Why are you there, Auburn? And why are you there alone?
I make it to the front door and kick a few of the confessions that have piled in front of it out of the way. I average about ten most weekdays, but the downtown traffic triples the number on Saturdays. I usually throw them all in a pile until I’m ready to begin a new painting before I read them, but one of the confessions on the floor catches my eye. I notice it because it has my name on it, so I pick it up.
I met this really great guy three weeks ago. He taught me how to dance, reminded me of what it feels like to flirt, walked me home, made me smile, and then YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE, OWEN!
PS: Your initials are so stupid.
The confessions are supposed to be anonymous, Auburn. This isn’t anonymous. As much as I want to laugh, her confession also reminds me of how much I let her down and how I’m probably the last person she wants to see come rescue her from a bar.
I walk across the street anyway and open the door, immediately searching for her. Harrison notices me approaching and nods his head toward the restroom. “She’s hiding from you.”
I grip the back of my neck and look in the direction of the restrooms. “What’s she doing here?”
Harrison lifts his shoulders in a shrug. “Celebrating her birthday, I guess.”
You’ve got to be kidding me. Could I feel any more like shit? “It’s her birthday?” I begin making my way toward the bathroom. “Why didn’t you call me sooner?”
“She made me swear I wouldn’t.”
I knock on the restroom door but get no response. I slowly push it open and immediately see her feet protruding from the last stall.
I rush to where she is but stop just as fast when I see she isn’t passed out. In fact, she’s wide awake. She looks a little too comfortable for someone sprawled out in a bar bathroom. She’s resting her head against the wall of the stall, looking up at me.
I’m not surprised by the anger in her eyes. I probably wouldn’t want to speak to me right now, either. In fact, I’m not even going to make her speak to me. I’ll just take a seat right here on the floor with her.
She watches me as I walk into the stall and take a seat directly in front of her. I pull my knees up and wrap my arms around them and then lean my head back against the stall.
She doesn’t look away from me, she doesn’t speak, she doesn’t smile. She just inhales a slow breath and gives her head the slightest disappointed shake.
“You look like shit, Owen.”
I smile, because she doesn’t sound as drunk as I thought she might be. But she’s probably right. I haven’t looked in a mirror in over three days. That happens when I get caught up in my work. I haven’t shaved, so I more than likely have a good case of stubble going on.
She doesn’t look like shit, though, and I should probably say that out loud. She looks sad and a little bit drunk, but for a girl sprawled out on a bathroom floor, she looks pretty damn hot.
I know I should apologize to her for what I did. I know that’s the only thing that should be coming out of my mouth right now, but I’m scared if I apologize, then she’ll start asking questions, and I don’t want to have to tell her the truth. I would rather she be disappointed that I stood her up than know the truth about why I stood her up.
“Are you okay?”
She rolls her eyes and focuses on the ceiling and I can see her attempt to blink back her tears. She brings her hands up to her face and rubs them up and down in an attempt to sober herself up, or maybe because she’s frustrated that I’m here. Probably a little of both.
“I got stood up tonight.”
She continues to stare up at the ceiling. I’m not sure how to feel about this confession of hers, because my first reaction is jealousy and I know that isn’t fair. I just don’t like the thought of her being so upset over someone who isn’t me, when really it’s none of my business.
“You get stood up by a guy so you spend the rest of the night drinking in a bar? That doesn’t sound like you.”
Her chin immediately drops to her chest and she looks up at me through her lashes. “I didn’t get stood up by a guy, Owen. That’s very presumptuous of you. And for your information, I happen to like drinking. I just didn’t like your drink.”
I shouldn’t be focusing on that one word in her sentence, but…
“You got stood up by a girl?”
I have nothing against lesbians, but please don’t be one. That’s not how I envision this ending between us.
“Not by a girl, either,” she says. “I got stood up by a bitch. A big, mean, selfish bitch.”
Her words make me smile even though I don’t mean for them to. There’s nothing about her situation worth smiling over, but the way her nose crinkled up when she insulted whoever stood her up was really cute.
I straighten my legs out, placing them on the outsides of her legs. She looks as defeated as I feel.
What a pair we make.
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