Ben Williams is the mistake I will always regret, but will never stop making.
He and I have a long and storied history. We were the kind of tumultuous romance that makes for one hell of a cautionary tale. Together, we had a cyclical thing, and the cycle always begins something like this:
When I’m emotionally vulnerable, Ben shows up looking like sex on a stick, acting like I always hoped that he would. Caring, like he actually gives a shit about what’s going on in my life. Loving, like he wants the two of us to be happy this time around.
I’m at a low point right now, so of course he knocks on my door out of the blue. This is the way things work between us. Or, it’s the way things worked between us. I haven’t seen Ben in nearly five years.
When I see him standing on the front porch of my brownstone, the surprise is overtaken by a quick wave of familiar desire. He’s dressed casually, like he came over here on a whim. Low-slung jeans, a dark shirt, his hair tousled and messy, like he’s been running his fingers through it all day. God, he looks good, and that is absolutely terrible news for me and my willpower.
Ever since Ben and I met, I’ve been attracted to him on a cellular level. I’m fine as long as we’re apart, but the second we’re in the same vicinity, every fiber of my being is drawn to him. Even now—even though we haven’t spoken since I broke up with him for the last, devastating time—I feel the pull.
It’s that pull that makes me open the door, even though I know I shouldn’t.
I can’t resist him. I’ve tried – it’s impossible.
“Marisa,” he breathes on an inhale, looking at me like he’s surprised I’m standing right in front of him. Like I might not be real, like maybe he dreamed me up. “How are you?” His blue eyes are dark, and he speaks so softly, like he’s worried he’s going to scare me away. I haven’t been a part of a gentle, kind conversation in a long time. It’s that gentleness in his voice that makes me want to cry, and I’ve done such a good job of avoiding that lately. I’m certainly not going to allow myself to do it around him.
I’ve managed to keep it together for the most part since my family fell apart in the most scandalous, public way possible. We’re tabloid fodder; papers with our names and faces on them are everywhere. The destruction and downfall of the Blake dynasty is impossible to miss in this city. Some people are delighting in it, and I don’t blame them.
Turns out that my mother and father—the illustrious Gloria and James—aren’t the people that my sister and I thought they were. They’re exactly who the Feds thought they were, though, given the incredibly damning case they’ve built up against Mom and Dad, details of which are all over the evening news these days.
That’s why Ben is here, I’m sure of it. This is what he does: he shows up when I’m feeling low, and somehow manages to leave me feeling even lower. Still, he’s one of a very few friends—past or present—who has contacted me since this scandal broke, so I’m reluctant to send him away.
Plus, that whole can’t-resist-him thing is still in play here.
So, Ben wants to know how I’m doing? “Not well,” I tell him.
He holds out a bottle of my favorite wine and says, “I was going to wait until the Murphy benefit to talk to you, but I read something this morning that made me think that I shouldn’t wait.”
I let out a short little sigh of relief, glad that he decided not to rehash whatever terrible thing he read about my family this morning that made him think that he needed to check in on me. The very last thing I want to hear about tonight is my parents. At this point, I feel like I could do without hearing about them ever again.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Ben asks.
I shake my head. I don’t want to talk about it, especially not with him. Besides, talking? That’s not what Ben and I do. We fuck, and then I try to turn that into some kind of a relationship. I give it my all, but he inevitably cheats on me, and breaks my heart. Then he begs me for forgiveness, and asks for another chance. Like a fool, I always give him one.
Always gave him one.
I’ve learned my lesson, and now I’m smart enough to know that I can only rely on Ben for mind-blowing orgasms. He’s amazing in bed. Out of it? Not so much. Whenever I expect or hope for anything more from him, I get my heart broken, and I can’t handle any more heartbreak right now. His body was the only thing that he ever freely gave to me, and sex with him had been almost…transcendent. Ben always used sex to make me feel better, so there’s no doubt in my mind that’s what he’s here for tonight.
There’s no use in trying for anything more when that only ever ends badly for me.
So, I decide to take the few hours of bliss that Ben is offering to me, and leave it at that.
I invite him inside, push myself up onto my tiptoes, and kiss him.
Ben and Marisa have a history between them. When it was good it was hot. When it was bad, the lies and deceit threatened to hurt them beyond repair. Now five years later, a second chance has arrived.
Ben Williams is a handsome, smart, sexy billionaire who has realized what he really wants in life and sets out to go get it. The only he wants more than anything else – is Marisa. He has caused so much pain for her he is not sure she will give him a chance.
Marisa has already been through so much lately that one more crack may cause a flood. Her parents have been stealing from others to cover their debts, she is being blackmailed to protect her sister, and the only man to have access to cause pain to her heart has walked back into her life. Can she even breathe at the end of the day?
Together, they are stronger and may even find a solution to all Marisa has been scared over. The attraction still pulls them like magnets. Ben is proving he can step up. Now all they need is a little faith, a little love, and some time.
I felt so much with this book! The story takes you through some dark places and shows you the tunnel. I thought the characters were so sweet and enduring. I loved the honesty and second chances are really what love is about.