Hope Is Lost (Ocean Beach #2)(79)

By: Emma James

“Okay.” I’m trying not to sound upset and worried, but even I can hear it in my voice. “If you are around on Sunday, I’ll be at Joe’s at lunchtime for a few hours.”

I walk out with Keanu after not really giving Hope an answer. I know Keanu is pissed off at me about it, too.

I found it so hard to even look at Hope. I stayed close to her all night, hoping that would help with what I have to do. It hurts me having to let her go, much more than I thought it would. I know she doesn’t understand what’s going on, and for that, I’m truly sorry.

I also have to talk to Keanu about what’s festering between us. I can’t leave things the way they are.

“Keanu, do you mind if we have a little chat in private?” I keep us moving down Harley’s driveway, away from the house. “I won’t need a lift tonight.”

“Sorry, bro, it’s bad enough knowing what I know, and then you go and do this to Hope whose heart is breaking back there, but now you want me to just let you walk off? Not. Happening.” Keanu has no need to worry.

Keanu stops me by his Jeep with a hand to my chest. “Ajax, is everything all right? If there’s anything I can help you with, you can talk to me.”

I see the look in Keanu’s eyes. He’s trying to work out what the fuck I’m doing to Hope and why. Damn, this is going to be harder than I thought.

I walk between Keanu’s car and the high fencing, ensuring we have privacy. Then I take off my hat that I wear as my protection and put it on the ground. My sunglasses and hat rarely come off. They are my armor to this life I’ve been living. I take a deep breath and start unbuttoning my shirt.

Keanu takes a few steps back and holds his hands up in front of him. “WHOA! Bro, please keep your clothes on. I won’t tell Hope, but leave your shirt on. What you do—”

I have to cut him off because I can’t stand him thinking that. “Look, trust me. I want to show you something.” I keep unbuttoning my shirt and take it off to reveal the white Henley underneath. I look at Keanu. “Trust me.”

I bend over and strip my baggy pants off, revealing a designer pair of jeans. I run my hands through my dark hair then slip my hand into my pocket, pulling out a hair tie, and pull my long hair up in a man bun of sorts. I need to get it cut, and I’m sporting a longer beard that needs to be trimmed back to my normal, light, facial scruff.

“How do I look now?”

“Well, fuck me.”

“No, thank you. You aren’t my type.” I extend my hand. “Hudson Raine, but my friends call me Raine.”

To be continued…

Joy Is Found, coming late 2015

To my husband and children for your love and support throughout this whole writing process: I thank you, and I make sure you all get a home cooked dinner every night. It may be a little late, but I still make sure it’s on the table.

To my middle man-child who loans half his bedroom to my office, so to speak: He is so very patient and understanding with what his mamma needs to do every day. One day, middle man-child, one day. ☺

To Jemina Venter, my most exceptional cover designer and friend: She has such patience for my OCD when it comes to the little things. You know what I’m talking about. You blow my mind with how your brain works, so thank you for being you and being such an Australian talent.

To my beta readers—Louise at Readers Confession book blog in UK; Debb Lynn, all round Aussie mum and friend to so many authors; Erin Daniels, blogger at Reader and Ramble; and Maria York at Book Boyfriend Hangover: You gave me honest feedback and didn’t beat around the bush. Thank you for your support. It is so appreciated.

To my lovely editors Kris and Alizon from C&D Editing: You are such professionals. It was Alizon’s turn this time, editing solo, and she rocked my manuscript. I loved reading all the fun comments she left. She whipped my P & G into a frenzy. I do sucketh at getting those pesky commas and such in the right place. You made my manuscript shiny, so thank you.

To Debb Lynn: You little Aussie star, thank you for being you.

To Louise for looking under the doormat and making me work that little bit harder: I appreciate it so much.

To Kasey and Mischelly for cheering me on and to all Emma’s Beach Babes for popping up in our little group and posting comments and images: You girls all rock, and I thank you for your continued support.

I would also like to thank the lovely Max Henry for formatting Hope Is Lost. She is such a brilliant formatter.

I want to thank the bloggers who have come onboard—you know who you all are—for taking a chance on me and supporting me. It really means the world to me. You selflessly promote every day authors for just a thank you. You all rock!

Another book finished and another labor of love that I have released into the world. I breathe my characters every day, and they mean the world to me.

To the readers: I hope you are surprised by my writing, and I promise to bring the feels and the laughs. I thank you for reading my book and hope you come back for more.