Aimee Brown shares an extract from her latest novel, The Last Dance.

‘Come on, shy girl, you’re cute, I’m cuter, and I think you’d fit perfectly in the back seat of my car.’ Jasen, a guy whose name is the only thing I know about him, is harassing a fellow freshman classmate.

‘I don’t think so,’ she says quietly, obviously uncomfortable but clearly trying not to make a scene. Jasen’s leaning into her, his hand resting on the wall behind her, above her head.

‘You don’t want to be known as the prude girl, do ya?’

I can’t even believe what I’m hearing, and that people are actually walking around this douchebag as he does it.

‘Hey, asshole Romeo!’ I yell at him. He turns towards me, somehow knowing I was addressing him. ‘She said no, that’s your cue to walk away.’ When he takes a step towards me she speeds away from him, never even looking back.

‘Oh yeah, shorty?’ He walks towards me, a perverted grin on his face. ‘How about you and me, then? I like them feisty – they’re better in bed that way.’

‘Ughh…’ I act like I’m going to vomit, rolling my eyes so hard it hurts. ‘Yuk. How about never ever in a million years? I don’t date dickheads.’ I haven’t dated anyone up to this point so that statement is sadly far too true.

I see him walk up out of the corner of my eye. Henry Decker. I know who he is just like I know who Jasen is; they are in the popular crowd. Everyone knows who they are. Of course, Jasen is popular for being a dick and Henry is pretty much the exact opposite of that. They are both a couple years older than me, and our crowds don’t exactly intermingle. Not that I am even a part of a crowd. I’m more of the ‘leave me alone’ kind of girl than the cliquish kind.

Anyway, Henry stops to my right as the word ‘dickheads’ leaves my lips.

‘I think you heard her,’ he says to Jasen. ‘Now would be your time to leave.’ Henry shoves him away from me, Jasen not arguing even a little bit. Henry turns to me once Jasen is well on his way to wherever he should have been going in the first place. ‘I think asshole Romeo is a great nickname for him.’

I nod, completely in agreement. ‘I know it’s what I’m gonna call him from here on out.’ I shrug. ‘If you ask me, the best nicknames are the ones people don’t know they have.’ I turn to walk away, Henry quickly following and walking alongside of me.

‘Do you have a nickname for me I don’t know about?’

I stop, turning towards him shaking my head. ‘Not yet, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something.’

He laughs. ‘I look forward to that. Until then, what should I call you?’

‘Just Ambri,’ I say, turning to walk away from him, heading for my first class.

‘OK, then, JustAmbri. I’ll be waiting on that nickname so don’t be a stranger!’ he calls after me. When I glance back he’s still watching me, standing in the middle of the hall, a goofy smile on his face and a finger pointed in my direction as the halls bleed with people making their way around him to their first class.

Can you truly forgive and forget?

Ambri and Henry have been best friends forever. They’ve been through the highs and lows of life with each other by their sides. The worst? When Henry’s wife, and Ambri’s sister, died. Together, they can face it all. Until one night destroys everything.

Two years after he stepped out of it Henry walks back into Ambri’s life and she’s more than a little shocked. But as old friends fall into even older habits they need to decide whether they can forget the past and embrace their future.

Aimee Brown is a writer of romantic comedies set in Portland, Oregon, and an avid reader. She spends much of her time writing, raising three teenagers, binge-watching shows on Netflix and obsessively cleaning and redecorating her house. Aimee grew up in Oregon, but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty years, three teenage children, and far too many pets.

Facebook: @authoraimeebrown
Twitter: @AimeeBWrites

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