Ugly Love: A Novel

Ugly Love: A Novel

Paperback | August 5, 2014

byColleen Hoover

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#1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with a new heart-wrenching love story.

When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she doesn''t think it''s love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

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Ugly Love: A Novel

Paperback | August 5, 2014
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$15.18 online $22.00 (save 31%)

From the Publisher

#1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with a new heart-wrenching love story.When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she doesn't think it's love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they hav...

Colleen Hoover is the author of six New York Times bestselling novels. The Slammed series, which includes Slammed, Point of Retreat and This Girl. The Hopeless series, which includes Hopeless, Losing Hope and the free novella FINDING CINDERELLA. The most recent release is the NYT's bestseller, Maybe Someday, which includes links to an original soundtrack by musician Griffin Peterson.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8.25 × 5.31 × 0.9 inPublished:August 5, 2014Publisher:Atria BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1476753180

ISBN - 13:9781476753188

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another Great Collen Hoover Novel! I am a huge fan of Colleen Hoover's writing style and character development. This novel did not disappoint! It's steamy, but has more depth than a 50 Shades book. I would definitely recommend this
Date published: 2016-04-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A different one from Hoover Let me start by saying that I love Colleen Hoover! This was a key reason that I even picked up and read this book, and the book was really good. I loved the characters – I found they were different from characters that you usually find in books, with the main female and male character being in their early 20's and having unique professions (nurse and pilot respectively). I loved the set up – which consisted of a time change between the past and present. And, I found the development and climactic ‘reveal’ to be really good. As well, the poetic element of the novel made it unique and more 'literary' - something that I was hesitant about at first, but quickly grew on me as the novel developed. However, in comparison to some of Hoover’s other novels, this one fell just short. There was something missing from the characters that made me care just a little less, and made me feel just a little less dedicated to the story. This was not something I never felt in Hoover’s other novels. I think the time change set up was a main factor in affecting this, as the book ends up telling two love stories at once – but the male in both the past and present is the same. This left me feeling conflicted over who I wanted Miles (the male lead character) to be with, and therefore the ‘pull’ I usually feel between two characters I want together, was lacking. However, this is not to say that this wasn't a great book, because it was. And I did really enjoy it. Read more of my reviews at: http://bookfanatic-reviews.blogspot.ca
Date published: 2016-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from captivating This book was super interesting. I was hooked right away by the authors choice of words. Both characters in the novel have a great chemistry that comes across in Colleen Hoovers writing. I would highly recommend anyone who wants to read a love story to pick this book up. Its a great book to read overall and will be great to watch it play out in the movie soon to come.
Date published: 2016-02-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Obsessive, addiction and it's called love? Um no There's one thing I don't understand with romance novels.. When the characters and plot doesn't actually remind me of a love story. This is pure lust and obsession. There's a trope that everyone is familiar with: the man who doesn't want to commit and the woman who wants to change him for the better. It's not new, it's not exciting, it's just boring. This one had it all and I was terribly not impressed. Sprinkle that with sex scenes and this is what you get. I was more interested in Miles' past and I had many theories, but I wasn't truly accepting of him being super in love with a girl he laid his eyes on for 5 minutes. He literally falls in love at first sight. But if you read it, it's more like an obsession. “She's in everything. Every single thing has just become Rachel. It's consuming me. My new favourite flavor is Rachel. My new favourite thing is Rachel.” I was expecting a shrine dedicated to her. I couldn't stop rolling my eyes.. Not only is Miles the wounded hero with the tortured past, he was also just blah. This man had no expression and I get he had an invisible wall but still.. I just couldn't find his character attractive. Tate is also just as bad in my opinion. She will literally talk about how his hand is touching her or his foot or knee and I could not keep my eyes from rolling. Please just stop Tate. You are attracted to his body. You barely know a thing about him and you say it's love? This isn't love. It's lust with a little bit of like. You like him because he's mysterious and I applaud you for not giving up on him but really??? A relationship hardly starts with just sex involved. More quotes from Tate: “I'm not Tate when I'm near Miles. I'm liquid, and liquid doesn't know how to be firm or stand up for itself. Liquid flows. ” Tate is literally obsessed with Miles. Miles used to be obsessed with someone else. Definitely not a love story I would enjoy. I'm upset I didn't like this more but the characters were all tprtured and obsessive and addicted to one another. We all know that is not remotely healthy at all. I just also didn't care about them. It was all lust and sex. Where was the romance?? And that ending????? WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT? After 6 months??? Ugh I did not find it entertaining at all. I was bored and pretty much sped read through most of the sex scenes. First time reading Hoover's work and I had such high expectations, maybe I should have started with another of her books because I'm seriously disappointed.
Date published: 2015-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review from This is the Story of My(Reading) Life I bow down to you, Colleen Hoover. See that? My nose is touching the floor. You are the queen. I would read the phone book if you wrote it. Honestly, do you know how to write a story that won't tear my heart out? Something that isn't spectacular? Even when it's a story that's been done before. Your writing, characters and take on the story stand out above all others. Bravo. Tate is just moving to San Francisco to live with her brother well she gets herself situated with school and her job as a nurse at the hospital. Right away she has a less than desirable encounter with Miles. Miles turns out to be her brother's across the hall neighbour, co-worker and friend. That's like a triple whammy for Tate. Right away she's attracted to Miles but he's a total mystery and sending her these weird signals. That is until Thanksgiving at her parents house where their intense attraction to each other is revealed. Also Miles lets it be known that he hasn't had sex in six years, he doesn't do relationships and he doesn't do love. Tate is a little thrown but she's not looking for a relationship either. Just sex sounds great to her. And they were hardly friends to start with, so what could go wrong? Miles just has a few rules; Never ask about the past and don't expect a future. Easy enough. That is until Tate quickly realizes that she wants to break both of those rules. Like Hoover's previous novels, this is a romance. But there's also so much more to it. It's almost like there's two stories within the book. Ugly Love is told in alternating chapters. Tate's chapters are the present. Well Miles chapters are from when he was eighteen. You know there's a reason why Miles thinks he can't love someone. Why he doesn't do relationships. And as you read through his past you know it's going to be devastating(it was). Through Tate's eyes you get this intense and hot sexual relationship she's experiencing with Miles. Pretty quickly she realizes she might not be able to handle the rules he set down. It's weird to have no emotional connection beyond the sex with him. They're done and clothes are put back on. The end. The thing is, Tate isn't stupid. She knows she's going to get hurt. But she can't seem to give Miles up. It's a constant emotional internal battle. And it doesn't help that Miles is sending her mix feelings. Eventually she can't keep her mouth shut much longer and everything explodes. Miles past eventually catches up to his present and he has to actually come to terms with it. The amount of times I wanted to punch Miles in the face and be like, "dude, open your bloody eyes!" "Stop being such a pratt!" "Open up to Tate already!" It was super frustrating. Sure I sympathized with Miles and can understand why he feels like love is better left out of his life. But when you find the person who can change that all for you, than let them in. Stop being scared and life your life. Like Hoover so rightly named this book, love can get ugly. Both Tate and Miles experience just how ugly it can get. Ugly Love feels more mature than Hoover's previous novels. Maybe that's because there's a lot more sex scenes. But that fits with Tate's and Mile's relationship and the story of the book. Maybe it's because Hoover's writing has more prose to it. I felt it was a little reminiscent of Tahereh Mafi(no strike outs thank God). Either way Hoover still knows how to shatter my heart. My feelings weren't as messed up as Maybe Someday left me but it's still taken me about two weeks to try and write a somewhat coherent review. I still feel like I can never do a Hoover book justice. They're something you have to read yourself to understand the emotions she packs into them. She is a word wizard that I kind of wish was a robot so she could release a new book for me every week. That would be a perfect life. On a side note, I've also now realize how hot pilots are and am going to start hanging out at the airport. ;)
Date published: 2015-08-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intense NA Romance Colleen Hoover's Ugly Love hits you with the emotional intensity of a wrecking ball. I don't think there was anything I could have done to mentally prepare myself for this novel and all the overwhelming feelings it left me. Colleen Hoover continues her streak of writing memorable romances that completely tear your heart apart before slowly piecing the parts back together again. What seemed like a simple sexual arrangement at first between Tate Collins and Miles Archer becomes very complicated all too soon. Miles warns Tate from the very beginning not to talk about the past and not to expect a future, but she can't help falling in love with Miles the more time she spends around him. Tate secretly hopes he will one day change his mind, especially in those rare moments when Miles lets his guard down, but her actions also leave her very vulnerable and give him the power to incredibly hurt her. The book alternates between the present, told from Tate's perspective, and the past, told from Miles's point of view. Normally, I don't mind this kind of narration, but these chapters are written in such different tones that it was sometimes difficult to put myself in the right frame of mind immediately. Tate's chapters are all-consuming and intense as she continues to fall for a man who is emotionally unavailable, but the Miles we get to know in the past is practically another man, one who was happier and optimistic. I absolutely dreaded learning what kind of life-changing, traumatic event could so alter and haunt a man. The chemistry between Tate and Miles practically sparks right off the page, but there's also always an underlying tension that leaves you wary of being completely burned if you get too close. There were times when I was so focused on the story that I forgot to breathe. You'll be hard-pressed to find another New Adult contemporary romance like Colleen Hoover's Ugly Love.
Date published: 2015-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nice and entertaining I really like the way the author writes, especially when the female character is on. She's very funny and engaging. It's a romantic story for the ages.
Date published: 2015-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover Amazing!!! I loved it...I always know when I read a book written by Colleen Hoover it's going to be exactly what I expect and I can't put it down. Loved it! :-)
Date published: 2015-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ugly love a noval Omg I couldnt put this book down. What a great story line, I hope there would be part 2. This is thr first time a read a book from this author she is great.
Date published: 2015-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Impossibly Good & Impossible to Forget! 4.5-5 Stars | Hot Steam UGLY LOVE should come with the following warning: “Loss of sleep, inconsolable crying, heavy heart and the shredding of one’s soul have been reported by readers of this book. Suggested: Read within close proximity of someone nonjudgemental who can hold you for at least 15 minutes following its completion. *Not suggested to be read when vulnerable or prior to bedtime.*" I loved this extraordinary novel. Miles and Tate’s layered and luminous journey is impossibly good and impossible to forget. It destroyed me and flooded me with sunshine simultaneously. Beautiful, intensely complicated, enviously steamy and emotionally overpowering, I adored every sublimely shattering and sizzling word. Bottom Line: Believe the hype. Read this book!
Date published: 2015-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! Amazing read, didn't want to put this one down. Heartbreaking story that made me fall in love with this author!
Date published: 2015-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Awesome read!! Didn't want to put it down!!!! Coleen Hoover is my new favorite author! Love everything I read by her!
Date published: 2014-12-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! Wow! I wish I could rate 500 stars!! Beautiful story, beautiful cover, beautifully written. I loved it just like I knew I would. “I didn’t fall in love with you… I flew.”
Date published: 2014-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book consumed me. I weep for Miles. Absolutely in love with this book.
Date published: 2014-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ugly love Wow !!! Incredible love story :-)
Date published: 2014-10-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyed As this being my first ever Colleen Hoover book I highly enjoyed it, I thought the story was great if a bit frustrating at times but that was more the characters then anything, the story was full of emotion and I feel like it was written really well, The characters were great I really liked Tate and Miles as a couple even though they really weren't a couple. Overall this was a really good book and I will be picking up more books by Colleen Hoover. :0)
Date published: 2014-10-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Ugly Love I didn't like it as much as I loved Hopeless and Maybe Someday. It was still a good read tho. I loved Corbin. Very female needs an older brother. What went on between Miles and Rachael, not sure I could it, even if we did love each other!
Date published: 2014-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Woowwe Amazing. Read it in one night. Couldn't sleep til I finished it, left me in tears. No better feeling.
Date published: 2014-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You got this! What an axing story! The relationship between Tate and Miles is sizzling! They have crazy amount of hotness between the two of them! It was such a emotional read.. And my heart just ached for Miles and the amount of guilt and heartache he carried for 6 yrs was rough! What a amazing story!!! Love Colleen to death!
Date published: 2014-08-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Tate and Miles I thought about this story when I was away from it, great job.
Date published: 2014-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Colleen Hoover's Best Yet!! Love This Book! I devoured this book is one day! Started last night and stayed up till 3am then finished it up this morning. I think this is another favorite added to my list because Colleen Hoover is a beautiful writer that will guarantee to make you cry (which I did through most of it). I loved the story of Tate and Miles. This book is definitely one to pick up! From beginning to end I knew that it would most likely bring me to tears since Colleen Hoover is good at playing with emotions. This is definitely different than anything she has written. Her stories are definitely powerful at the ways she makes the connections with her characters. Ugly Love was HOT, Heart-Wrentching and it was unique. It is not like any other story I have read and after I finished reading, I just wanted to re-read it. From the beginning I fell in love with the story and connected with it. The plot was very steady and its was easy to breeze through since it was addicting and made me not want to go to bed it was definitely an emotional rollercoaster. When we first meet Tate, she just arrives to move in with her brother to start school and get her masters degree, when she meets airline pilot Miles Archer (LOVE HIM) as he is passed out near her brothers apartment. She then learns a different side of him by the way he shows his pain and sadness. While she isn't looking for a serious relationship and Miles wants nothing to do with love, they do have a strong attraction that is too hot to handle. They are drawn together to form a friends with benefits situation following Miles' two rules and keep distance between them. It became more complicated between their friendship and love began to seep in. Tate's flashbacks brought on what happened to him and in the present got to see him fall in love, but the pain of the past still haunts him and he forces himself that he does not deserve to love again. I really liked Miles as a character because he is smart, sexy, and a mystery that Tate has to put the puzzle pieces together. From his pain and not wanting to move on but he was struggling with his attachment to Tate. It felt read and I just feel like hugging him throughout the book, especially his point of view. It was told from both Miles and Tate's POVs from the beginning of Tate to Mile's flashbacks six years earlier. It felt like two different stories and it joined near the end perfectly, while we got to see Mile's grow and his behaviour reflects both his past and future. While the author does not writes pages and pages of sex, her sex scenes and words keep the reader keep reading. The bold letters are very important during these scenes. It was also very steamy that were very consistent and the entire scenes were very intimate as well. (18 for these scenes) It does reflect their complex love story. There was painful scenes and ugly times during their relationship but love is what brings people together and to heal. It was emotional and I still feel happy and satisfied with the entire book. Overall this has to be one of the best books Colleen Hoover has written since I was so immersed into the story and Ugly Love really lives up to its name. I totally wish I could give it more stars because it deserves it! The story is powerful and breathtaking. Thank you Colleen Hoover for this amazing book and the words were beautiful Lyrical! It will make you feel what they are feeling. It was a very emotional journey of this love story. Super excited to read the next book book!! *Hugs book*
Date published: 2014-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great heart wrenching book. I cried, laughed, and believed in there love!!!
Date published: 2014-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome So well written I cried multiple times...New favorite author!!!!
Date published: 2014-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So Butterflyin Awesome I think I built up unrealistic expectations after Maybe Someday and with the hype surrounding it's release. I love me a HEA, and Colleen didn't disappoint in that respect, but sometimes I love not knowing the whoooole end story. Leaving a little mystery as to how they end up (not they get married and have babies, the end). Regardless, I loved this book, like love loved, I think her formatting she used telling Miles perspective was intriguing and it reminded me of Slammed. Colleen is one of my favourite authors and I will read anything she releases (including her grocery lists). Thank you Colleen for another awesome read!!!
Date published: 2014-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from wow!! what an amazing beautiful story!! couldn't put it down till it was finished!!
Date published: 2014-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow!!!!! OMG!! One word. Phenomenal. Loved it from the first chapter!!
Date published: 2014-08-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from TOO MANY COMPLICATED EMOTIONS ACTUAL RATING: 3.5 I love Colleen Hoover. I love this book. I want to stop there, just let myself feel the love, and give it five whole stars, because so much of this book is amazing. Especially the writing and the emotions and how, even though there are definitely faults, this book is such an incredible, moving one that's real and raw. But I can't, because the critic in me says otherwise. So, on with the review, the truth about my view on this book... In a lot of Hoover's books, the lead female narrator can often come across as a b****, not just in her books but in many YA and NA novels. With Tate, although she had her moments, always came back to realize her reactions and, if they were unjust, she may not have had a huge lifechanging revelation but she always had some sort of recognition if she did something wrong. There was self-pitying, which i hate, but she went back to it and realized it was misplaced. I liked her, for the most part, and I felt as if she had a lot of weird moments, which made me like her more. She was honest, and I liked that. Miles? Confusion hits me when I think about him. Every second chapter is in his POV in the past, and those chapters kill me because they bring light to his past self, and his present self and everything in between. We get to know a lot, not just about his past but about HIM, and I liked that. Those last few chapters in his POV in the present day were great, definitely necessary for readers. But he did, even in his POV present day, come off as a bit self-important...? Maybe it was just me... He had his moments where he seemed controlling, or almost threatening, and even by the end of the book I wasn't sure if I really understood who he was, or got the opportunity to. Okay, no, that's a lie. It's just... when I think of him, I don't know what or who to picture. His emotions and reactions could differ so much; one moment he could be happy and the next he could be really, really scary. Even by the end, I don't think this ever went away... which unnerved me a bit. I thought that it ended too quickly. By the time Miles became more honest with himself and with Tate; the book ended pretty soon afterwards, and I wished we got a chance to really see what HE was like, his personality, not just his past. I can't complain, because we did get a lot of that from the chapters in his past, but I didn't feel as if I SAW him, you know? Maybe a few extra chapters, before it skips ahead a few months, could've added more. But he was great. I cried SO HARD, it hurt to think about his past and how he deals with it. It still does. The characters were part of the reason why my view of this book was lower than I hoped, I guess, but the major thing was this: no matter how emotional this book gets, no matter how hard I cried, no matter how much I felt for the characters throughout everything... I wanted something more between Tate and Miles. More of a relationship. More moments where they just talk. More of a connection. As you know from the synopsis, they arrange a situation where they hookup, and that's cool, whatever. But I felt that not everything had to be based around that. Obviously, things got complicated and feelings got involved, but I never FELT the feelings, the emotions. A lot of it was just lust. I hate to say this, because I know Hoover is amazing and she put so many emotions into this book, but I just couldn't stop myself from thinking that there should be more of a romantic connection. I honestly didn't see much of that. They had sex a lot and had some moments during it all where things got real and deep and emotions were involved that didn't have anything to do with sex - but. it. did. Their "real" connection and feelings towards each other? Yeah, I get how some of it could be there, but to such a deep degree? They had opportunities to explore their relationship more, but Hoover didn't expand on them enough to make it believable. It felt real, whatever it was, but what was it? It felt played up, false, and i felt like it all came back to the sex, to looks and attraction. They didn't know enough about each other, they didn't spend enough time together NOT kissing, nd i get that they weren't supposed to spend time together if theyre not having sex, but seriously? Some fluke accidents would be great, just anything that didn't get lost because the characters got distracted with their sexual attractions. With Miles's past, with Rachel... it was so dramatic and intense, i kept crying. Very very powerful writing. Heartbreaking. But, like i mentioned before, Miles didn't have enough time to fully... embrace his realizations by the end of the book. I felt like Hoover focused on the negative parts of his past and how he needed to get through those, but what about the positive? The good? She left out a huge chunk of information that made Miles, MILES. His first love? That was a write-off because of the tragedy that happened further on in the relationship. In the end, he only faces the bad stuff, not the good stuff that got lost along the way, and it made me wonder, if none of that tragedy stuff ever happened, would he still be with his first love? Was that real? Would he be happier with Tate? I also hate the type of possessive terms, claiming terms: "She's mine," or "I want her to be mine." It's always unsettling to me, and in Mile's chapters in his past where he used a lot of those terms with his first love; that had me weirded out some of the time, wondering if it would turn into some sort of obsession novel because of the strength in those words and the degree in which they were used, the emphasis of them. There were so many good parts to this book, though. Although i feel like their relationship could've had some altered element and added emotion, this book had me in tears. It was powerful. Intensely powerful. Insanely powerful. This is definitely not your usual friends-with-benefits thing, in a complete good way. It was humorous, entertaining, and written strongly and well. Especially Miles past - it was written like poetry, sometimes making me wonder if it would turn into a crazy obsession story, but for the most part, it was beautiful. Ugly love is hardhitting, and although it has it's poor moments, even though it could be structured better and crafted in a better way, Colleen Hoover did do a great job bringing the characters, more specifically their emotions, thoughts, and past hardships, to life. I wish i could love this book, but i simply can't. I do really, really, REALLY like it. Looking past all the faults and my personal views, it is a really good book that balances the deep, life advice stuff with the lighter, more fun and enjoyable things. I don't know if i would read it again, but there are definitely parts i would go back to, sentences, paragraphs, words that affected me strongly. It's a really, really, really great book, it truly is.
Date published: 2014-07-27

Extra Content

Read from the Book

Ugly Love chapter one TATE “Somebody stabbed you in the neck, young lady.” My eyes widen, and I slowly turn toward the elderly gentleman standing at my side. He presses the up button on the elevator and faces me. He smiles and points to my neck. “Your birthmark,” he says. My hand instinctively goes up to my neck, and I touch the dime-sized mark just below my ear. “My grandfather used to say the placement of a birthmark was the story of how a person lost the battle in their past life. I guess you got stabbed in the neck. Bet it was a quick death, though.” I smile, but I can’t tell if I should be afraid or entertained. Despite his somewhat morbid opening conversation, he can’t be that dangerous. His curved posture and shaky stance give away that he isn’t a day less than eighty years old. He takes a few slow steps toward one of two velvet red chairs that are positioned against the wall next to the elevator. He grunts as he sinks into the chair and then looks up at me again. “You going up to floor eighteen?” My eyes narrow as I process his question. He somehow knows what floor I’m going to, even though this is the first time I’ve ever set foot in this apartment complex, and it’s definitely the first time I’ve ever laid eyes on this man. “Yes, sir,” I say cautiously. “Do you work here?” “I do indeed.” He nods his head toward the elevator, and my eyes move to the illuminated numbers overhead. Eleven floors to go before it arrives. I pray it gets here quickly. “I push the button for the elevator,” he says. “I don’t think there’s an official title for my position, but I like to refer to myself as a flight captain, considering I do send people as high as twenty stories up in the air.” I smile at his words, since my brother and father are both pilots. “How long have you been flight captain of this elevator?” I ask as I wait. I swear this is the slowest damn elevator I’ve ever encountered. “Since I got too old to do maintenance on this building. Worked here thirty-two years before I became captain. Been sending people on flights now for more than fifteen years, I think. Owner gave me a pity job to keep me busy till I died.” He smiles to himself. “What he didn’t realize is that God gave me a lot of great things to accomplish in my life, and right now, I’m so far behind I ain’t ever gonna die.” I find myself laughing when the elevator doors finally open. I reach down to grab the handle of my suitcase and turn to him one more time before I step inside. “What’s your name?” “Samuel, but call me Cap,” he says. “Everybody else does.” “You got any birthmarks, Cap?” He grins. “As a matter of fact, I do. Seems in my past life, I was shot right in the ass. Must have bled out.” I smile and bring my hand to my forehead, giving him a proper captain’s salute. I step into the elevator and turn around to face the open doors, admiring the extravagance of the lobby. This place seems more like a historic hotel than an apartment complex, with its expansive columns and marble floors. When Corbin said I could stay with him until I found a job, I had no idea he lived like an actual adult. I thought it would be similar to the last time I visited him, right after I graduated from high school, back when he had first started working toward his pilot’s license. That was four years and a two-story sketchy complex ago. That’s kind of what I was expecting. I certainly wasn’t anticipating a high-rise smack dab in the middle of downtown San Francisco. I find the panel and press the button for the eighteenth floor, then look up at the mirrored wall of the elevator. I spent all day yesterday and most of this morning packing up everything I own from my apartment back in San Diego. Luckily, I don’t own much. But after making the solo five-hundred-mile drive today, my exhaustion is pretty evident in my reflection. My hair is in a loose knot on top of my head, secured with a pencil, since I couldn’t find a hair tie while I was driving. My eyes are usually as brown as my hazelnut hair, but right now, they look ten shades darker, thanks to the bags under them. I reach into my purse to find a tube of ChapStick, hoping to salvage my lips before they end up as weary-looking as the rest of me. As soon as the elevator doors begin to close, they open again. A guy is rushing toward the elevators, preparing to walk on as he acknowledges the old man. “Thanks, Cap,” he says. I can’t see Cap from inside the elevator, but I hear him grunt something in return. He doesn’t sound nearly as eager to make small talk with this guy as he was with me. This man looks to be in his late twenties at most. He grins at me, and I know exactly what’s going through his mind, considering he just slid his left hand into his pocket. The hand with the wedding ring on it. “Floor ten,” he says without looking away from me. His eyes fall to what little cleavage is peeking out of my shirt, and then he looks at the suitcase by my side. I press the button for floor ten. I should have worn a sweater. “Moving in?” he asks, blatantly staring at my shirt again. I nod, although I doubt he notices, considering his gaze isn’t planted anywhere near my face. “What floor?” Oh, no, you don’t. I reach beside me and cover all the buttons on the panel with my hands to hide the illuminated eighteenth-floor button, and then I press every single button between floors ten and eighteen. He glances at the panel, confused. “None of your business,” I say. He laughs. He thinks I’m kidding. He arches his dark, thick eyebrow. It’s a nice eyebrow. It’s attached to a nice face, which is attached to a nice head, which is attached to a nice body. A married body. Asshole. He grins seductively after seeing me check him out—only I wasn’t checking him out the way he thinks I was. In my mind, I was wondering how many times that body has been pressed against a girl who wasn’t his wife. I feel sorry for his wife. He’s looking at my cleavage again when we reach floor ten. “I can help you with that,” he says, nodding toward my suitcase. His voice is nice. I wonder how many girls have fallen for that married voice. He walks toward me and reaches to the panel, bravely pressing the button that closes the doors. I hold his stare and press the button to open the doors. “I’ve got it.” He nods as if he understands, but there’s still a wicked gleam in his eyes that reaffirms my immediate dislike of him. He steps out of the elevator and turns to face me before walking away. “Catch you later, Tate,” he says, just as the doors close. I frown, not comfortable with the fact that the only two people I’ve interacted with since walking into this apartment building already know who I am. I remain alone on the elevator as it stops on every single floor until it reaches the eighteenth. I step off, pull my phone out of my pocket, and open up my messages to Corbin. I can’t remember which apartment number he said was his. It’s either 1816 or 1814. Maybe it’s 1826? I come to a stop at 1814, because there’s a guy passed out on the floor of the hallway, leaning against the door to 1816. Please don’t let it be 1816. I find the message on my phone and cringe. It’s 1816. Of course it is. I walk slowly to the door, hoping I don’t wake up the guy. His legs are sprawled out in front of him, and he’s leaning with his back propped up against Corbin’s door. His chin is tucked to his chest, and he’s snoring. “Excuse me,” I say, my voice just above a whisper. He doesn’t move. I lift my leg and poke his shoulder with my foot. “I need to get into this apartment.” He rustles and then slowly opens his eyes and stares straight ahead at my legs. His eyes meet my knees, and his eyebrows furrow as he slowly leans forward with a deep scowl on his face. He lifts a hand and pokes my knee with his finger, almost as if he’s never seen a knee before. He drops his hand, closes his eyes, and falls back asleep against the door. Great. Corbin won’t be back until tomorrow, so I dial his number to see if this guy is someone I should be concerned about. “Tate?” he asks, answering his phone without a hello. “Yep,” I reply. “Made it safe, but I can’t get in because there’s a drunk guy passed out at your front door. Suggestions?” “Eighteen sixteen?” he asks. “You sure you’re at the right apartment?” “Positive.” “Are you sure he’s drunk?” “Positive.” “Weird,” he says. “What’s he wearing?” “Why do you want to know what he’s wearing?” “If he’s wearing a pilot’s uniform, he probably lives in the building. The complex contracts with our airline.” This guy isn’t wearing any type of uniform, but I can’t help but notice that his jeans and black T-shirt do fit him very nicely. “No uniform,” I say. “Can you get past him without waking him up?” “I’d have to move him. He’ll fall inside if I open the door.” He’s quiet for a few seconds while he thinks. “Go downstairs and ask for Cap,” he says. “I told him you were coming tonight. He can wait with you until you’re inside the apartment.” I sigh, because I’ve been driving for six hours, and going all the way back downstairs is not something I feel like doing right now. I also sigh because Cap is the last person who could probably help in this situation. “Just stay on the phone with me until I’m inside your apartment.” I like my plan a lot better. I balance my phone against my ear with my shoulder and dig inside my purse for the key Corbin sent me. I insert it into the lock and begin to open the door, but the drunk guy begins to fall backward with every inch the door opens. He groans, but his eyes don’t open again. “It’s too bad he’s wasted,” I tell Corbin. “He’s not bad-­looking.” “Tate, just get your ass inside and lock the door so I can hang up.” I roll my eyes. He’s still the same bossy brother he always was. I knew that moving in with him would not be good for our relationship, considering how fatherly he acted toward me when we were younger. However, I had no time to find a job, get my own apartment, and get settled before my new classes started, so it left me with little choice. I’m hoping things will be different between us now, though. Corbin is twenty-five, and I’m twenty-three, so if we can’t get along better than we did as kids, we’ve got a lot of growing up left to do. I guess that mostly depends on Corbin and whether he’s changed since we last lived together. He had an issue with anyone I dated, all of my friends, every choice I made—even what college I wanted to attend. Not that I ever paid any attention to his opinion, though. The distance and time apart has seemed to get him off my back for the last few years, but moving in with him will be the ultimate test of our patience. I wrap my purse around my shoulder, but it gets caught on my suitcase handle, so I just let it fall to the floor. I keep my left hand wrapped tightly around the doorknob and hold the door shut so the guy won’t fall completely into the apartment. I take my foot and press it against his shoulder, pushing him from the center of the doorway. He doesn’t budge. “Corbin, he’s too heavy. I’m gonna have to hang up so I can use both hands.” “No, don’t hang up. Just put the phone in your pocket, but don’t hang up.” I look down at the oversized shirt and leggings I have on. “No pockets. You’re going in the bra.” Corbin makes a gagging sound as I pull the phone from my ear and shove it inside my bra. I remove the key from the lock and drop it toward my purse, but it misses and falls to the floor. I reach down to grab the drunk guy so I can move him out of the way. “All right, buddy,” I say, struggling to pull him away from the center of the doorway. “Sorry to interrupt your nap, but I need inside this apartment.” I somehow manage to prop him up against the doorframe to prevent him from falling into the apartment, and then I push the door open farther and turn to get my things. Something warm wraps around my ankle. I freeze. I look down. “Let go of me!” I yell, kicking at the hand that’s gripping my ankle so tightly I’m pretty sure it might bruise. The drunk guy is looking up at me now, and his grip sends me falling backward into the apartment when I try to pull away from him. “I need to get in there,” he mutters, just as my butt meets the floor. He makes an attempt to push the apartment door open with his other hand, and this immediately sends me into panic mode. I pull my legs the rest of the way inside, and his hand comes with me. I use my free leg to kick the door shut, slamming it directly onto his wrist. “Shit!” he yells. He’s trying to pull his hand back into the hallway with him, but my foot is still pressing against the door. I release enough pressure for him to have his hand back, and then I immediately kick the door all the way shut. I pull myself up and lock the door, the dead bolt, and the chain lock as quickly as I can. As soon as my heart rate begins to calm down, it starts to scream at me. My heart is actually screaming at me. In a deep male voice. It sounds like it’s yelling, “Tate! Tate!” Corbin. I immediately look down at my chest and pull my phone out of my bra, then bring it up to my ear. “Tate! Answer me!” I wince, then pull the phone several inches from my ear. “I’m fine,” I say, out of breath. “I’m inside. I locked the door.” “Jesus Christ!” he says, relieved. “You scared me to death. What the hell happened?” “He was trying to get inside. I locked the door, though.” I flip on the living-room light and take no more than three steps inside before I come to a halt. Good going, Tate. I slowly turn back toward the door after realizing what I’ve done. “Um. Corbin?” I pause. “I might have left a few things outside that I need. I would just grab them, but the drunk guy thinks he needs to get inside your apartment for some reason, so there’s no way I’m opening that door again. Any suggestions?” He’s silent for a few seconds. “What did you leave in the hallway?” I don’t want to answer him, but I do. “My suitcase.” “Christ, Tate,” he mutters. “And . . . my purse.” “Why the hell is your purse outside?” “I might have also left the key to your apartment on the hallway floor.” He doesn’t even respond to that one. He just groans. “I’ll call Miles and see if he’s home yet. Give me two minutes.” “Wait. Who’s Miles?” “He lives across the hall. Whatever you do, don’t open the door again until I call you back.” Corbin hangs up, and I lean against his front door. I’ve lived in San Francisco all of thirty minutes, and I’m already being a pain in his ass. Figures. I’ll be lucky if he lets me stay here until I find a job. I hope that doesn’t take long, considering I applied for three RN positions at the closest hospital. It might mean working nights, weekends, or both, but I’ll take what I can get if it prevents me from having to dip into savings while I’m back in school. My phone rings. I slide my thumb across the screen and answer it. “Hey.” “Tate?” “Yep,” I reply, wondering why he always double-checks to see if it’s me. He called me, so who else would be answering it who sounds exactly like me? “I got hold of Miles.” “Good. Is he gonna help me get my stuff?” “Not exactly,” Corbin says. “I kind of need you to do me a huge favor.” My head falls against the door again. I have a feeling the next few months are going to be full of inconvenient favors, since he knows he’s doing me a huge one by letting me stay here. Dishes? Check. Corbin’s laundry? Check. Corbin’s grocery shopping? Check. “What do you need?” I ask him. “Miles kind of needs your help.” “The neighbor?” I pause as soon as it clicks, and I close my eyes. “Corbin, please don’t tell me the guy you called to protect me from the drunk guy is the drunk guy.” Corbin sighs. “I need you to unlock the door and let him in. Let him crash on the couch. I’ll be there first thing in the morning. When he sobers up, he’ll know where he is, and he’ll go straight home.” I shake my head. “What kind of apartment complex are you living in? Do I need to prepare to be groped by drunk people every time I come home?” Long pause. “He groped you?” “ ‘Grope’ might be a bit strong. He did grab my ankle, though.” Corbin lets out a sigh. “Just do this for me, Tate. Call me back when you’ve got him and all your stuff inside.” “Fine.” I groan, recognizing the worry in his voice. I hang up with Corbin and open the door. The drunk guy falls onto his shoulder, and his cell phone slips from his hand and lands on the floor next to his head. I flip him onto his back and look down at him. He cracks his eyes open and attempts to look up at me, but his eyelids fall shut again. “You’re not Corbin,” he mutters. “No. I’m not. But I am your new neighbor, and from the looks of it, you’re about to owe me at least fifty cups of sugar.” I lift him by his shoulders and try to get him to sit up, but he doesn’t. I don’t think he can, actually. How does a person even get this drunk? I grab his hands and pull him inch by inch into the apartment, stopping when he’s just far enough inside for me to be able to close the door. I retrieve all of my things from outside the apartment, then shut and lock the front door. I grab a throw pillow from the couch, prop his head up, and roll him onto his side in case he pukes in his sleep. And that’s all the help he’s getting from me. When he’s comfortably asleep in the middle of the living-room floor, I leave him there while I look around the apartment. The living room alone could fit three of the living rooms from Corbin’s last apartment. The dining area is open to the living room, but the kitchen is separated from the living room by a half-wall. There are several modern paintings throughout the room, and the thick, plush sofas are a light tan, offsetting the vibrant paintings. The last time I stayed with him, he had a futon, a beanbag chair, and posters of models on the walls. I think my brother might finally be growing up. “Very impressive, Corbin,” I say out loud as I walk from room to room and flip on all the lights, inspecting what has just become my temporary home. I kind of hate that it’s so nice. It’ll make it harder to want to find my own place once I get enough money saved up. I walk into the kitchen and open the refrigerator. There’s a row of condiments in the door, a box of leftover pizza on the middle shelf, and a completely empty gallon of milk still sitting on the top shelf. Of course he doesn’t have groceries. I can’t have expected him to change completely. I grab a bottled water and exit the kitchen to go search for the room I’ll be living in for the next few months. There are two bedrooms, so I take the one that isn’t Corbin’s and set my suitcase on top of the bed. I have about three more suitcases and at least six boxes down in the car, not to mention all my clothes on hangers, but I’m not about to attempt those tonight. Corbin said he’d be back in the morning, so I’ll leave that to him. I change into a pair of sweats and a tank top, then brush my teeth and get ready for bed. Normally, I would be nervous about the fact that there’s a stranger in the same apartment I’m in, but I have a feeling I don’t need to worry. Corbin would never ask me to help someone he felt might be a threat to me in any way. Which confuses me, because if this is common behavior for Miles, I’m surprised Corbin asked me to bring him inside. Corbin has never trusted guys with me, and I blame Blake for that. He was my first serious boyfriend when I was fifteen, and he was Corbin’s best friend. Blake was seventeen, and I had a huge crush on him for months. Of course, my friends and I had huge crushes on most of Corbin’s friends, simply because they were older than we were. Blake would come over most weekends to stay the night with Corbin, and we always seemed to find a way to spend time together when Corbin wasn’t paying attention. One thing led to another, and after several weekends of sneaking around, Blake told me he wanted to make our relationship official. The problem Blake didn’t foresee was how Corbin would react once Blake broke my heart. And boy, did he break it. As much as a fifteen-year-old heart can be broken after the span of a two-week secret relationship. Turned out he was officially dating quite a few girls during the two weeks he was with me. Once Corbin found out, their friendship was over, and all of Corbin’s friends were warned not to come near me. I found it almost impossible to date in high school until after Corbin finally moved away. Even then, though, the guys had heard horror stories and tended to steer clear of Corbin’s little sister. As much as I hated it then, I would more than welcome it now. I’ve had my fair share of relationships go wrong since high school. I lived with my most recent boyfriend for more than a year before we realized we wanted two separate things out of life. He wanted me home. I wanted a career. So now I’m here. Pursuing my master’s degree in nursing and doing whatever I can to avoid relationships. Maybe living with Corbin won’t be such a bad thing after all. I head back to the living room to turn out the lights, but when I’ve rounded the corner, I come to an immediate halt. Not only is Miles up off the floor, but he’s in the kitchen, with his head pressed against his arms and his arms folded on top of the kitchen counter. He’s seated on the edge of a bar stool, and he looks as if he’s about to fall off it any second. I can’t tell if he’s sleeping again or just attempting to recover. “Miles?” He doesn’t move when I call his name, so I walk toward him and gently lay my hand on his shoulder to shake him awake. The second my fingers squeeze his shoulder, he gasps and sits up straight as if I just woke him from the middle of a dream. Or a nightmare. Immediately, he slides off the stool and onto very unstable legs. He begins to sway, so I throw his arm over my shoulder and try to walk him out of the kitchen. “Let’s go to the couch, buddy.” He drops his forehead to the side of my head and stumbles along with me, making it even harder to hold him up. “My name isn’t Buddy,” he slurs. “It’s Miles.” We make it to the front of the couch, and I start to peel him off me. “Okay, Miles. Whoever you are. Just go to sleep.” He falls onto the couch, but he doesn’t let go of my shoulders. I fall with him and immediately attempt to pull away. “Rachel, don’t,” he begs, grabbing me by the arm, trying to pull me to the couch with him. “My name isn’t Rachel,” I say, freeing myself from his iron grip. “It’s Tate.” I don’t know why I clarify what my name is, because it’s not likely he’ll remember this conversation tomorrow. I walk to where the throw pillow is and pick it up off the floor. I pause before handing it back to him, because he’s on his side now, and his face is pressed into the couch cushion. He’s gripping the couch so tightly his knuckles are white. At first, I think he’s about to get sick, but then I realize how incredibly wrong I am. He’s not sick. He’s crying. Hard. So hard he isn’t even making a sound. I don’t even know the guy, but the obvious devastation he’s experiencing is difficult to witness. I look down the hallway and back to him, wondering if I should leave him alone in order to give him privacy. The last thing I want to do is get tangled up in someone’s issues. I’ve successfully avoided most forms of drama in my circle of friends up to this point, and I sure as hell don’t want to start now. My first instinct is to walk away, but for some reason, I find myself oddly sympathetic toward him. His pain actually appears genuine and not just the result of an overconsumption of alcohol. I lower myself to my knees in front of him and touch his shoulder. “Miles?” He inhales a huge breath, slowly lifting his face to look at me. His eyes are mere slits and bloodshot red. I’m not sure if that’s a result of the crying or the alcohol. “I’m so sorry, Rachel,” he says, lifting a hand out toward me. He wraps it around the back of my neck and pulls me forward toward him, burying his face in the crevice between my neck and shoulder. “I’m so sorry.” I have no idea who Rachel is or what he did to her, but if he’s hurting this bad, I shudder to think what she’s feeling. I’m tempted to find his phone and search for her name and call her so she can come rectify this. Instead, I gently push him back into the couch. I lay his pillow down and urge him onto it. “Go to sleep, Miles,” I say gently. His eyes are so full of hurt when he drops to the pillow. “You hate me so much,” he says as he grabs my hand. His eyes fall shut again, and he releases a heavy sigh. I stare at him silently, allowing him to keep hold of my hand until he’s quiet and still and there aren’t any more tears. I pull my hand away from his, but I stay by his side for a few minutes longer. Even though he’s asleep, he somehow still looks as if he’s in a world of pain. His eyebrows are furrowed, and his breathing is sporadic, failing to fall into a peaceful pattern. For the first time, I notice a faint, jagged scar, about four inches long, that runs smoothly across the entire right side of his jaw. It stops just two inches shy of his lips. I have the strange urge to touch it and run my finger down the length of it, but instead, my hand reaches up to his hair. It’s short on the sides, a little longer on the top, and just the perfect blend of brown and blond. I stroke his hair, comforting him, even though he may not deserve it. This guy may deserve every single bit of the remorse he’s feeling for whatever he did to Rachel, but at least he’s feeling it. I have to give him that much. Whatever he did to Rachel, at least he loves her enough to regret it.