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NAME: Andra Brynn
BOOK: Where I End and You Begin
In Japan, they say there's a red thread of fate that binds people who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. It may tangle, it may knot, it may stretch or fray, but it will never break. It is a future as indelible as the past.
I hope that isn't true. I pity anyone destined to meet me.
For Bianca Ray, the past is always catching up, one way or another. Now in her third semester at college, it's doing it again. Too much drinking has led to plummeting grades and rising absences, putting her scholarships in peril. When she makes it clear that she needs help--all over the floor of her history class--she's given one last chance to shape up: seek therapy and bring her grades up by the end of the semester, or she's out.
Enter Catholic seminarian Daniel McGuire. The last thing Bianca wants is an aspiring priest to counsel her on how to live her life, but the handsome graduate student is different from the holy rollers she fled from at home. Gentle and unobtrusive, he helps her pick up the pieces and find a new way to live: not running from the past, but facing it head on.
But opening up her heart to release the pain means that something else can come in. As Bianca and Daniel grow closer, their relationship moves onto dangerous ground. When they finally cross the line, the fragile courage Bianca has built up threatens to fail her. Can she exorcise the ghosts of her past, or will they catch hold and drag her down where not even Daniel can reach her?
I blink. That is Daniel’s voice. Frowning, I turn and see Daniel jogging toward me.
He’s dressed in a suit with a fine tan trench coat flying around him as he pulls up. His breath comes fast, and I watch it curl in the frosty air with fascination. “Hey,” I say. “What are you doing here?”
He raises a brow at me. “Well, let’s see, there’s a Catholic church on campus, where my adviser and mentor holds Mass, and I still have this crazy notion that I might want to be a priest some day. What do you think I’m doing here?”
I shake my head. “You have no idea how to take a good opening for a joke,” I tell him.
He frowns. “Like what?”
“You could say, ‘I’m here to try out for the cheerleading squad,’ or ‘I was meeting a secret lover,’ or something like that. Anything. Anything but telling me you were at church.” I can’t keep the scowl off my face when I say it, and immediately I see his eyes soften.
“Hey,” he says. “It’s okay. I keep forgetting how bad your experience has been. I need to remember not to mention it.” He purses his lips as though trying to figure out how to do this.
I shake my head again. “No, forget it. I just have to get over it. It’s a part of you.”
“I suppose it is,” he says. But the troubled look on his face doesn’t go away. Then he shakes himself. “So what are you doing out here? Coming back from lunch?”
“I haven’t even had breakfast yet.”
“Bianca!” he says, his voice reproving. “It’s almost two in the afternoon.”
“You need to take better care of yourself.”
“That’s what Tanya says.”
I roll my eyes. “Well, if you want to come back to the dorm and make me something to eat from the peanut butter, salami, and left-over Indian food I have to my name, you are welcome to do so. I can’t be bothered. Eating is a chore.”
“I will,” he says. “But what are you doing out here? Did you just get up?”
We turn toward Marchand, and I try to think of how to reply to him. Should I tell him the truth?
...I should. For some reason I don’t want to lie to Daniel any more than I already do. He’s too good for that.
“Well, I was supposed to go over to a guy’s room that I kind of know, get drunk and sleep with him, but I decided not to,” I say.
He’s quiet. “Oh?” he says after a moment.
I look at him from the corner of my eye. “Yup,” I say.
“Any particular reason you decided not to do it?” he asks.
I give him a sharp look, but he’s all innocence and I shrug. “I decided I wanted to spend the day at home with people who actually like me instead of with people who want to use me.”
“That’s a pretty good decision.”
“I’m really bad at making good decisions,” I say. “Watch. I made this decision, and now the house will burn down. I bring disaster and destruction wherever I go.” Though, to be fair, most of it is entirely internal, but I don’t say that out loud.
“Perhaps I should hang out and make sure that doesn’t happen,” he says.
“Are you inviting yourself over?” I can’t quite hide my smile.
“Yes,” he replies. “I want to make sure you’re okay.” I narrow my eyes at him, and he looks taken aback. “What?”
I sigh. “You’re kind,” I tell him. “Someone is going to hurt you really badly some day.”
Andra Brynn writes books. Obsessively. She lives in Texas and when she is not writing books, thinking about writing books, wishing she were writing books, anxious about not writing books, or passed out from writing books, she spends time with her husband, son, dog, and garden.
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