Author: Victoria Ellis
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 10, 2020
Ava Keyes found love in her favorite record store at just seventeen years old.
Or rather, it found her—in the form of River Jacobs.
While they may have stumbled upon their beginning in The Vinyl Kitty, they
never quite discovered an end. A certain Chicago rooftop had everything to do
The unforgettable nights of their youth were hard to let go of. So, Ava kept
them, turning what started as a diary into her very own success story. River
wouldn’t relinquish the memories, either. Only he strummed them out, into
melodies he hoped she could hear.
When River drifts back into Ava’s life, she’s faced with the music of her first
heartbreak—while still recovering from her last.
Ava Keyes lost her first love to California dreams at seventeen years old.
Or rather, she thought she had.
suddenly that Hailee runs into the back of me and pushes me straight into his
chest. I breathe him in before quickly stumbling my drunk ass backward. He
smells like he always has— woodsy, spicy, home. I am devastated and elated all
at once. Every single ounce of air inside my lungs suddenly evaporates and I’m
left breathless, like I’ve seen a ghost. How is he here?
heartbreak. My ﬁrst everything.
I remember. The way he says my name brings every single emotion I’ve ever felt
for him surging back, making me lightheaded. I allow my eyes to pan up to his,
a green emerald forest I have no problem getting lost in.
tastes good on my tongue, sweet and sultry. I gulp it down. “How are you here?”
I’m not subtle, and I suppose I have the wine and two vodka shots to thank for
that. I hope I don’t look as messy on the outside as I feel on the inside.
his crooked, perfect smile, I melt into myself. I know that smile so well and
God, I’ve missed it. I’ve tried to convince myself I don’t but, the truth is,
I’ve never been able to get him out of my head. He’s always been there, far,
but his lasting impact remained relentless. “Don’t look so surprised, Ave.” He
chuckles. It’s a deep, throaty laugh and I’m reminded of yet another thing I’ve
missed inﬁnitely. “I’m back visiting my sister, trying to sort things out. Long
story.” He runs his ﬁngers through his hair and sighs.
at the table with the three men, and I signal to River that we should go
outside. It’s loud as hell in this place. I don’t want to have an awkward I
haven’t seen you in ﬁve years conversation over Bon Jovi’s screeching. So, when
he nods, I reach for his hand and lead him out of the bar. The alcohol swimming
inside me gives me the conﬁdence to take the lead, even after all this time. I
glance back at Hailee, giving her a look so she knows I’ll be close by if she
needs me, and she grins back at me.
outside, River says, “I’ve missed you, Ava.” The gaze he’s holding and the
honesty in his voice, mixes with my buzz, making everything in this moment blur
together. I look at him, really look at him, for the ﬁrst time in over ﬁve
years. His emerald eyes glisten in the dark as headlights roll over his face,
cars whooshing past us. I want to tell him I’ve missed him, but something stops
me. My pride? My new jaded self? “I’m so surprised to see you.” I glance away
from his face because it’s too perfect, even after all this time, and I’m
suddenly shy in his presence. So much has changed. There’s been so much time
and distance and hurt packed into these years, but now he’s too close to me and
all I can think about is getting my hands on him and letting them speak the
words that I can’t right now. “But you did tell me you’d ﬁnd me again someday,”
I say, remembering it as I smile up at him.
stopped taking my calls. That hurt.” He looks away from me for a moment and
then turns back toward me. “I mean, I understand why. I really do. It was hard,
though. I get that it was my choice to leave but that didn’t mean I wanted to
lose you. I just—”
up to you tonight,” I interrupt him. With us, it was never just about the sex,
but it had been a beautiful bonus. I’d be lying to myself if I said I hadn’t
thought about it multiple times over the years. Seeing him now makes me feel
like I’m seventeen again, and the rush is more intoxicating than alcohol could
get out of here?” he asks, as we stand on the sidewalk outside the bar. My eyes
widen at his question and he quickly says, “That wasn’t supposed to sound like
a lame attempt to take you home with me.” An uncomfortable laugh escapes his
lips. I boldly reach out to cup his face in my hands, bringing my mouth to his
to allow my actions to do what words can’t, losing myself in the moment as I
taste the nostalgia on his lips.
care about consequences.
about the mess this might make for us in the morning.
him in his entirety. “Who says I want you to take me home, River Jacobs?”
out writing primarily thrillers but slowly transitioned into both poetry and
contemporary romance. Now, she is a multi-genre author that publishes
Psychological Thrillers, Suspense, and Romance novels. She is also the author
of two poetry collections.
founder of Cruel Ink Publishing, LLC.
Chicago, Illinois with her husband, newborn daughter, and an abundance of