Welcome to Storybook Lake, where dreams come true.
Not all fairy tales have a happy ending. Jocelyn learned that the hard way, when she married
her high school sweetheart Keaton Shaw—only to have him break her heart.
But that was a long time ago. The papers are signed, the divorce is final, and Jocelyn is no longer a little girl with her head in the clouds. That’s why no one in Storybook can believe it when Keaton, the All-American dream boy walks into Jocelyn’s bakery, looking as sweet as one of her frosted cupcakes, and demanding a second chance with the woman he still calls his wife.
There is something about a man who isn’t afraid to say he is wrong and Keaton Shaw, the hero in Here He Comes Again, is that guy. And what good is a hero if he isn’t built like a Greek god with a smile that makes the angel break out in song? It almost makes his past mistakes easily forgiven.
He says things like… Jocelyn, since the first time I saw you, I knew that you were the one person in the world I wouldn’t be able to live without; and… Don’t you know? You have always been my dream girl; and my personal favorite… You are my best friend and my soul mate. For as long as I live, I’ll thank God every day for giving you to me.
But more than what he says or how he looks, I like that he is flawed and that he doesn’t hide his mistakes behind excuses. He did what he did (or maybe did) and he accepts it. I can’t tell you much more than that without giving it all away, but he is just flawed enough to make his perfections even better.
The excerpt is from a time when they were seventeen and Keaton and Simon had just gotten into a fight over something Keaton said about Jocelyn.
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I sat with Simon all through the night, but as soon as the sun peeked out, I snatched his car keys off the dresser and drove straight to Keaton’s house. Pounding on his door at the crack of dawn didn’t satisfy me nearly as much as I hoped pounding on his face would. He opened the door, rubbing his matching black eyes, then stepped half-way outside, bare-chested and in low-riding pajama pants. I ignored his in-my-face hotness and the bitching began.
“You hit my brother?”
He gently pushed me back and stepped out onto the porch, shutting the door behind him.
I would never be accused of being the kind of girl who would have thought twice about waking up his whole family to inform them of their son’s remarkable likeness to a barbaric mule.
“He hit me back.” He rubbed a bruise on his jaw as he added, “He actually hit me first.”
“Good. Now I’m going to hit you.” In hind sight, informing him of my intention wasn’t the smartest move I could’ve made. I drew back, and he caught my fist easily in his palm as I brought it forward.
“We worked it out, Jocelyn. Leave it alone.”
Either he didn’t know me at all, or stupidity ran in his family for him to believe I would let him swing on my brother and then let it go.
I snatched my hand out of his grasp and fisted it on my hip. “He was your friend when nobody gave a shit about you, and he’s a way better person than you will ever be!” Shouting made me feel only slightly better. I wanted to punch him, but settled for poking him in the chest. “He has more character in his pinky than you have in your entire body.”
Keaton smiled at me as I insulted him, and it only infuriated me more. My Heart throbbed against my ribs. For one small fraction of a second, I couldn’t determine whether my reaction stemmed from the effect of his behavior or his body.
“Well, there ya go. It wasn’t his character we were fighting over. Feel better?”
Wiping that smug smile off his face became my new mission in life. God, I hated him. It didn’t matter how fine he looked, or how nice everyone else thought he acted. I knew the truth. Keaton Shaw personified every stereotype people associated with assholes. “You know what?” I reached out and shoved him backward. “You’re right. I have been kissed a lot, and I do get into trouble, but it isn’t your freaking business.” I pushed him again, and his back thudded against a heavy white column on the corner of the porch. “And if you have something to say about me, you should grow a pair of balls and say it.”
After a long minute of us staring at each other, his face changed beneath the bruises, and he took a step forward, bringing his body closer to me. “Fine. You were right.”
“I know!” I yelled, then more calmly asked, “About what?”
“I am jealous of Eric.” My heart heard his soft voice loud and clear and started a freaky little Mambo in my chest. He intoxicated me with his words, the scent of his soap. The dimple in the center of his chest continued down, separating the abdominal muscles in his stomach and trailing lower…lower…. Where had all that business come from?
I opened my mouth to speak, then snapped it shut, not sure what to say. I turned, walked down two steps, then marched back to stand right in front of him. “What does that mean?”
“It means I don’t like thinking about your boyfriend kissing you.” He said it as though boys said that kind of thing to girls every day—which, in my experience, they did not.