Cover Design: Raglan Designs
was all wrong. Wrong age. Wrong education. Wrong job. Wrong everything. She had
a hard enough time convincing her parents that New York really is the right
place for their nineteen-year-old daughter without telling them she’s got a
thing for the FedEx guy at her new part-time job. Too bad the second she saw
him, Layla Barros no longer cared about right and wrong.
Raised with three siblings in Hell’s Kitchen by a single-mom, half
Puerto-Rican, half Italian Nico Soltero is a quintessential New York mutt who’s
always had to shoulder the burdens of his family. Burdens which have cost him
almost all of his dreams, like going to college or becoming an FDNY firefighter.
Now, at twenty-six, he’s finally getting the chance to leave the place that’s
always felt more like a dead weight than the center of the universe. Too bad
the city of his birth has one last hard knock to deal: the girl of his dreams,
sitting right in the middle of his delivery route, three months before his
plane is supposed to take off.
As Layla and Nico find out, love isn’t always convenient, and it never happens
how they planned. The choices that Nico and Layla make now will affect their
lives forever. Will they make them together or apart?
weird. But all of sudden, that’s all I can think about doing after this shitty,
but I can tell she’s glad I’m here. She knows it, and I know it. The excitement
is written all over both our faces.
teasing than mad. “A menace, that’s what you are.”
her, that’s all. Nothing inappropriate. Nothing “improper.” Today, I
just need to be next to this girl who fucking lights up whenever she see me.
squatting next to her. I grab another napkin off the desktop, and she stares,
mouth slightly open, as I dab at the water drops on her collarbone. There’s
barely anything, really.
definition of improper. But I can’t stop dabbing, can’t stop pressing the
napkin over her dewy skin, wishing to God that it was my fingers or my mouth
together, and now that I’m near enough to smell her, I realize this was a
really bad idea. She smells like coconuts and flowers, some exotic mix that
goes straight to my head and other parts lower down.
been out all day, and I slap on whatever deodorant I bought on sale last time I
was at the drugstore. All of a sudden, I glance down, conscious of the way
Layla’s nipples have hardened through her thin black sweater, conscious of the
way my pants are suddenly very tight. She inhales sharply, and
I’m extremely aware of the fact that I have been heaving boxes around this city
all damn day.
desk to start unloading and scanning packages. This day. This god damn day.
If I just ruined my chances with this girl, I’m going to break my own arm off.
Layla. I want to go on a date with her. I want to take her out to dinner and
hold her hand while we walk around the city. I want to know what kinds of
sounds she makes when I kiss her, or maybe even when I do other things to her
can’t do this right now.
doubt. “Got big plans this weekend?”
desk. I exhale. No, I really can’t do this with her. So even though I’m dying
to make her laugh again, I just shrug and set one of the packages down with a
Take it easy on Sunday, maybe go see some art or something.”
her. These rich girls––all the goddamn same. They only see the uniform, the
scuffed shoes, the brown skin. They see me and think the only thing I’m good
for is watching sports and drinking beer. Don’t get me wrong, I like sports and
I like beer. But can’t I have other interests too?
package. “Why does that surprise you? You think the FedEx means Philistine?”
smirk. That’s right, baby. I can use big words too.
Springsteen fanatic, hopeless romantic, and complete and total bookworm. When
not writing or teaching about writing, she is hanging out with her family,
playing soccer with the rest of the thirty-plus crowd in Seattle, or going on
dates with her husband. In her spare time, she likes to go running with her dog,
Greta, or practice the piano, but never seems to do either one of these things
as much as she should.