Title: The Promises We Keep (Made For Love, #1)
Author: R.C. Martin
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 1, 2015
The promises you keep reveal who you are and define who you want to be…
With senior year of college just a breath away, Beckham and Grayson, brothers by fate, battle against their fears and surrender to their hearts’ bidding—consequences be damned; while Addison and Avery, sisters by blood, learn that in romance, all you need is love—except for when life is way more complicated than that.
Written in each of their perspectives, The Promises We Keep tells the story of a couple joined together and another split apart. As they make plans in preparation for life after college in the Òreal world,Ó they are each challenged with the reality that love can conquer all; but only if they choose to let it, which is never as easy as it sounds.
I hop up onto the counter and watch Addie as she moves about the kitchen preparing our coffee. My sister takes care of me like no one else can. We call each other my other half for a reason—I tell people all the time that she is proof that God loves me. WeÕve been close always. Of course, weÕve had our disagreements and our fights, but weÕre more than sisters and weÕre more than friends. IÕm convinced that sharing a womb with someone links them to you in a way that simply cannot be understood by anyone who isnÕt a twin.
Sarah belts out a particularly shrill ÒnoteÓ and, this time, I canÕt help but laugh. IÕm so tickled I have to hold onto the counter to keep myself from falling off. Addie met Sarah freshman year. They both have plans to teach elementary school, so they met by way of a handful of shared classes. Sarah is easy to like and a blast to live with, aside from her lack of musical skill; and while she canÕt hold a tune to save her life, Addie has a beautiful voice. SheÕs been singing at our church going on two years, now. Mom always calls her Addie Jane, her little songbird.
ÒCanÕt blame her for trying,Ó says Addie. ÒHer lack of shame is actually sort of endearing, donÕt you think?Ó
I raise my eyebrows at my sister in question. ÒOne day, when she meets the love of her life and she gets married, I want you to ask him that.Ó She flashes me a goofy smile, implying her sympathy for SarahÕs future beau. ÒSpeaking of the love of oneÕs life, what time are the guys supposed to be here, again?Ó
ÒTen,Ó she answers, filling up my mug, complete with a spoonful of sugar and a splash of nonfat milk. She pours herself a cup as well. By the time sheÕs doctored it, her caramel creamer makes her coffee barely recognizable as such; itÕs the color of our complexion when sheÕs done. ÒThat is, if Beck doesnÕt over sleep,Ó she tacks on as an afterthought.
The guys consist of Beckham, Jackson, and Grayson.
Beckham—or Hammy, to me—is AddieÕs sweetheart. TheyÕve been madly in love since we were sixteen. I have not a single doubt in my mind that they will get married one day. I know if it were up to Addie, heÕd propose this summer and they would be married before he heads off to medical school—but even if that doesnÕt happen, theyÕre destined to be together.
Jackson is also the sweetheart to a special someone. HeÕll be coming with his girlfriend Claire. She spends most weekends downstairs, even though sheÕs got her own place a few blocks away. WeÕre quite used to having her around and we like her a great deal. We consider her an honorary roomie.
And then thereÕs Grayson. Well, I call him Sonny.
He strolled into my life about the same time that Sarah did. He was introduced to us through Beckham. They were paired together as roommates in the dorms freshman year and theyÕve been best friends ever since. To say that I was instantly attracted to him would be one hundred percent true. It surprised me at first, because I didnÕt think that someone like him was my type, but I couldnÕt argue against the evidence of my attraction—which manifested itself by way of my stomachÕs somersaults every time I saw him. But IÕve never been that girl who falls for the hot jock. IÕm a nerd; total band geek and completely unashamed. As for SonnyÉhot jock describes him accurately, as he is a distractingly handsome football player. A couple years ago, football was so far off my radar I couldnÕt even tell you what the role of the quarterback was—so Hot Jock was just nice to look at.
But then I got to know him.
I guess I should have known, if he was able to get along with Hammy so well, he had to be more than just his good looks. The tight knit group that started off as Addie, Hammy and me grew to include Sarah and need Sonny. While heÕs a wonderful sportsman and great team leader, heÕs also just a really good guy. Even still, it took about a year of friendship, and Addie and SarahÕs incessant goading, before I was willing to admit that, yeah, I like him a lot.
He, on the other hand, does not feel the same way about me. I know this to be a fact, as he has never even hinted to thinking of me as more than a friend. Seriously, if I made a list of all the things that we do that ensures me that IÕve been delicately stored in the friend zone, I could fill a book. For about the last nine months, Addie and Sarah have been trying to convince me otherwise, but neither of them have been able to give me a good reason as to why heÕs never asked me out—so I rest my case.
Besides, heÕs way too popular.
Who knew that word would follow my social life outside of the halls of high school? ÒHey, Twinkies!Ó greets Sarah, strolling into the kitchen.
Her long blonde locks are wet and sheÕs wrapped in only a towel. Neither Addie, nor I, bat an eyelash at her lack of clothing. SheÕs easily a half a foot taller than us and sheÕs shaped like a greek goddess—voluptuous with a small waist and a bust size at least two times the size of mine—which, I suppose, makes her about average, if IÕm being honest. SheÕs got piercing blue eyes and milky skin and I decided a long time ago that if she wanted to walk around in her underwear, all the power to her. She has a body worthy of admiration.
ÒMorning, Baker Babe,Ó says Addie. ÒThanks for the wake-up tunes.Ó
Sarah throws her head back in laughter. ÒSorry. IÕll make it up to you,Ó she promises. ÒIÕve got blueberries, chocolate chips, and strawberries in the fridge—all of which go quite nicely with pancakes.Ó
ÒMmm. YouÕre forgiven.Ó
ÒAnd now that I say that, I realize I really should get a move on. Just wanted you to know the showerÕs free.Ó
ÒMe first!Ó I cry, jumping from the counter. I donÕt miss the amused glances that pass between the two of them as I make my exit. I ignore them both, sipping at the warm nectar in my mug as I go.
Forty-five minutes later, IÕm standing in front of my closet, fretting over what to wear. Yes, IÕm aware that I probably spent too much time blowdrying my hair—I so would have curled it if I had the time. Yes, IÕm aware that I only have about fifteen minutes to decide on an outfit, dress, and throw myself back on the couch so that it looks like I didnÕt agonize over my appearance this morning. Yes, IÕm even aware that all IÕm getting dressed for is breakfast with some of our closest friends—but when I know that IÕll be seeing SonnyÉ
ÒAJ!Ó I call out as I hurry my way into her room. SheÕs sitting in the middle of the floor, leisurely blowdrying her own wet mane.
ÒWhat do you need?Ó she asks as she pauses.
ÒI need to borrow something,Ó I answer, sweeping my hands in such a way to signal my current lack of clothing.
She turns the hairdryer back on and speaks loudly over the hum. ÒYou know heÕd notice you if you were wearing a paper bag, right?Ó
I tilt my head to the side, agitated that sheÕs jumped to the conclusion that IÕm trying to dress to impress. I am—but we certainly donÕt need to talk about it. ÒExcuse me, anyone would notice me if I was dressed in a paper bag! IÕd look ridiculous.Ó She arches and eyebrow at me in response. ÒI just havenÕt done laundry yet. I donÕt have enough options. This is not about Grayson.Ó The second before I yell out his name, she turns off the hairdryer. I canÕt help the blush that colors my cheeks.
ÒDid I hear someone mention Grayson?Ó asks Sarah as she races her way into the room. SheÕs wrapped in her pink apron, which covers a pair of shorts and a tank top. I notice Addie has on shorts, too, only with a long sleeved t-shirt.
ÒShe needs help picking something to wear.Ó
ÒWhatÕs wrong with what youÕve got on?Ó Sarah teases. I look down at my bra and cotton shorts and then back at her. She snorts as she makes her way to AddieÕs closet. ÒYou know heÕd notice you no matter what you wore, right?Ó
ÒIÕm not trying to dress up for him, you know?Ó I lie, folding my arms across my chest.
ÒOh, sweetie,Ó Sarah murmurs as she presses a kiss on the top of my head, Òdenying your feelings wonÕt make them go away.Ó I narrow my eyes at her and she offers me a smirk. ÒHe—Ó
ÒIsnÕt interested,Ó I interrupt, finishing her sentence for her.
ÒHere we go again,Ó Addie says as she stands.
Sarah grins at her from over her shoulder before returning to her task, decisively reaching for items of clothing. ÒMy argument that he is interested still trumps yours. Shall we go over the list again?Ó She pauses as if to wait for an answer, but before I can speak, sheÕs yanking off my shorts and encouraging me into pair of distressed jeans, complete with holes in each knee. ÒHe always walks you to our front door after you guys hang out—even if you were just downstairs.Ó
ÒThatÕs just him being a gentleman. All of us get escorted home—by him or Hammy.Ó
I’ve seen him carrying your cello more than once,Ó pipes in Addie, ignoring my rebuttal. I forget to make my counter argument as Im temporarily distracted by the fact that Sarah’s dressing me—and I’m actually letting her. And the kicker, she says, tugging a spaghetti strap tank over my chest, is that he’s been to three of your orchestra concerts.
First of all, everyone came to my last one—even Jack and Claire,Ó I mutter, finding my words once more. Second, he was just being supportive. I go to his football games.
Yeah. Because you like him,Ó argues Addie.
ÒAnd he practically stamped I like you back on his forehead at your concert, says Sarah, plucking a thin, loose knit, sweater from a hanger. He wore slacks and a collared shirt,Ó she insists, pulling the garment in her hands over my head. He dressed up for you, she adds, as if her previous statement needs clarification. She sweeps my hair out from underneath the collar and it falls down my back. He’s shy, she explains.
No—see, that is the biggest hole in your entire argument. He’s the star quarterback! He’s one of the most well known people on campus—where thousands upon thousands of people attend school—he is not shy,Ó I say with a laugh.
You look adorable, Ave, says my sister, guiding me toward her full length mirror. How could he not be shy around you?
A knock sounds at the door and, for a moment, we all fall silent. They’re early, I announce.
Go let them in, says Addie. I just need a couple more minutes to finish drying my hair.
And I have to get back in the kitchen. Besides, we all know who Gray would prefer to open that door.Ó