So I just HAD to share this with all you lovely readers.
Cos of the REALLY cute cover.
And the book looks like a MUST read.
College sophomore Emily Dilbert has been best friends with Dylan Chamberlain since they were kids. All she wants is for him to be happy and she knows him better than anyone. That’s why when she finds an engagement ring in his backpack she has to stop him from marrying the wrong girl.
Dylan Chamberlain has been in love with his brother’s girlfriend, Emily, since the second grade. When his brother asks for help planning a surprise proposal, Dylan knows it’s time to bury his feelings and finally let Emily go. Too bad his heart refuses to cooperate.
All of Emily’s attempts to lure Dylan away from his girlfriend fail, forcing her to turn up the heat on their friendship. Will Dylan reveal his long-buried secret and tell Emily how he feels? Or will Emily be forced to use any means necessary to show him the error of his ways?
Dylan Chamberlain strode across the campus of Addison State University with a backpack slung over one shoulder and a chip sitting solidly on the other. Tiny beads of sweat formed on his brow thanks to the south Georgia humidity and mid-September temperatures hovering near ninety. His older brother, Zach, had demanded Dylan meet him in the student center, summoning him like the starting quarterback Zach had become. The last thing Dylan wanted was to hear about Zach’s weekend with Emily.
“Hey, dipshit.” Zach pushed off a wall looking unruffled and well-rested as usual. He’d gelled his blond hair to perfection, and his cologne smelled as if he’d blended mint leaves with gin and tonic. “Took you long enough.”
“I was studying. What do you want?”
“I need to talk to you,” Zach explained and held open the door to the two-story building that was nearly abandoned on a Sundayafternoon.
The blast of air conditioning kissed Dylan’s overheated skin, and he followed Zach to a row of well-worn leather couches lining the perimeter of the main floor. He slung his backpack onto the ground before spreading his six-foot-three-inch body onto a love seat. Dylan had Zach by one inch, a fact he never failed to mention during their varied athletic competitions with their younger brother, Nick.
“So, what’s up?” Dylan asked. “Don’t you have to get back to SE State?”
Zach nodded, dropped his weekend duffle bag next to Dylan’s backpack, and sat down. “I need a favor.”
Didn’t he always? “What now?”
“It’s about Emily.”
Of course it was about Emily. Everything was about Emily. If it weren’t for Emily, Zach would never visit ASU or summon his little brother for a face-to-face chat, and he certainly wouldn’t do either in the middle of football season. “What about Emily?”
“Coach has been talking to the seniors about the future. He’s making sure we keep our heads in the game, but he wants us to make plans for our real lives too. He’s got me thinking.”
Coach had performed a minor miracle getting Zach to think about anything other than football. “Is there a point in here somewhere?”
“I’m not good enough to play pro ball. I could probably get on a team and ride the pine every week, but to start…” His startling blue eyes drifted heavenward as if trying to picture himself as second string. The tightening of his jaw said the picture wasn’t pretty. “Everything I’ve done up to this point has been about the game, and it suddenly hit me that I don’t have a plan.”
“You’re getting a business degree. Doesn’t that qualify as a plan?”
“Yeah, it helps, but it’s never really been my focus.”
“What does this have to do with Emily?” Dylan asked as his phone vibrated in the pocket of his cargo shorts. He fished it out and felt ambivalent about seeing Denise’s name. He’d mentioned something to her about getting together, but he didn’t feel up to it, not with whatever Zach was about to drop in his lap.
“She’s my future.”
Dylan fought the ugly green monster that reared its ugly head whenever he thought of Zach and Emily. “And?”
Zach reached into the duffle bag and pulled out a tiny square box. He tossed it between his hands and looked Dylan in the eye. “I bought Em a ring.”
Dylan tried to swallow. The air conditioning had cooled his sweat into shards of broken glass and they were stabbing into his flesh, leaving raw, gaping wounds. Breathe, he told himself, gritting his teeth against the bile. “An engagement ring?”
“Shhhh.” Zach glanced around to see if anyone was listening. “Keep your voice down. I haven’t asked her yet.”
With his head shoved under a guillotine, he choked, “When are you going to ask her?”
“I don’t know. It needs to be an event, don’t you think? Women expect the ask to be something memorable. Something to tell the kids and grandkids about.” He rubbed his temple, and Dylan noticed Zach’s perpetually tanned face seemed a little pale. “After the season, for sure. I can’t concentrate on asking her while I’m playing, but when everything has died down and I’m gearing up for graduation… She has another two years of school, but I don’t see any reason to wait.”
“What’s the hurry?” Dylan tried to blink the panic from his eyes. “Besides, I think your coach was talking about your career future. If you’re not playing in the pros, you need to plan for your career.”
“I’ll get a job.” Zach waved away the whole process of finding a job with an impatient shake of his head, as if the unemployment rate among “the lost generation” wasn’t the lowest it had ever been. “I’m not worried about a job.” Of course he wasn’t worried. Who wouldn’t want to hire Southeastern State’s golden boy? “Em’s my rock,” Zach continued. “I can’t think of the future without her. I need to lock this down.”
Lock this down? “She’s a person, not a prison break.” Dylan knew that spending her life with Zach meant a lifetime sentence of stroking his fragile ego while simultaneously living in his shadow. Hadn’t Dylan spent his whole life doing the same? “So what do you want me to do?” Other than choke on the knowledge that the only girl he’d ever wanted was going to marry his brother and seal the greatest torture of his life into a permanent, lifelong affliction.
“I want you to keep the ring for me. Hide it in your apartment.”
Dylan’s back slammed against the couch as if Zach had tried to hand him a stick of dynamite with a flickering wick. “Why can’t you hide it in yours? Do you think someone’s going to steal it?”
“I don’t want my roommate to find it and hassle me, or Em snooping around my place and discovering it on her own.”
“Does she normally snoop around your apartment?”
“No, but you know how women are. I don’t want her rifling through my things in search of a T-shirt or something and have her find the ring before I’ve got something planned.”
As if an impromptu, unplanned engagement would be the worst thing that had ever happened in his life. Oh, wait. For Zach, it probably would be the worst.
“What if I lose it?” Holding onto Zach’s engagement ring was tantamount to holding a live grenade. Dylan was more worried about flushing it down the toilet or dropping it off the side of a bridge than forgetting where he’d put it.
“Just hide it in a drawer or something, some place no one would think to look, and then forget about it until I’m ready to ask her.”
Right. He’d hide the ring—Emily’s engagement ring—and forget that his brother was about to make Emily his wife. Forever. Until death. Freaking awesome. “I don’t want to be responsible for this.”
Zach rolled his eyes and tapped his foot on the tile floor. “Come on, Dylan. I’d do it for you. What’s the big deal?”
Zach would never understand. He couldn’t possibly look beyond the blinding scope of his own existence and understand how much he was hurting Dylan by asking him to play any part in their engagement. “I really don’t want the responsibility.”
“I don’t trust anyone on the team to keep it hidden or to keep it a secret from Em. I just need a few months, and then I’ll ask her and we can all laugh about how you kept it for me.” He leaned over and slapped Dylan’s shoulder. “Come on, man, it’d be a great story.”
Dylan imagined the tale: Hey, kids, gather around. Let me tell you about how your daddy drove a stake right through your Uncle Dylan’s heart.