Excerpt: Rafe - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

I was living my dream until one phone call changed everything.

As the second line center for the Arizona Vengeance, my mind has been on one thing—helping my team bring home a championship. But that all changed when I found out my dad had cancer and only months to live. In that moment, nothing mattered more than getting home to North Carolina to be by his side. That meant asking for the unthinkable—a trade to the Carolina Cold Fury.

Now I’m home and when I’m not on the ice with my new team, I’m helping care for my dad. And in the midst of my grief, I find comfort from the one person I never expected.

Calliope Ramirez stole my heart at a very young age. The beautiful, smart, headstrong girl next door, she was my first… everything. She has never forgiven me for leaving her, believing that I chose hockey over a future together. What she doesn’t understand is that every decision I made was for her, and I’ve never given up hope that one day we’d be together again.

Watching my dad slip away is a harsh reminder of how short life can be, and having Calliope by my side makes me realize I was a damn fool before. That changes starting right now. Calliope Ramirez is mine and I’m not going to waste the second chance that I’ve been given.

Series:

Arizona Vengeance

Can be read as a standalone

Book Type:

Romance

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Excerpt: Rafe
By Sawyer Bennett

Excerpt: Rafe

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett comes RAFE — a new story in her Arizona Vengeance series. I’m thrilled to share an excerpt from the book (out tomorrow) below!

My gaze travels up past jeans-clad legs, a pretty spring sweater in butter yellow, gorgeous breasts, and a slender neck.

Then my eyes lock on the most beautiful face I’ve ever seen.

One I’ve looked at least a million times throughout my life and in my dreams. I still have found none to rival it. My entire body jolts with an electric shock as I stare into the eyes of my ex-girlfriend, Calliope Ramirez.

“Hey,” I say in mild surprise, both pleased and feeling terribly awkward at seeing her here. I look around for her family or even some friends she might be on a trip with. When my gaze comes back to her, I ask, “Small world, running into you at the airport.”

  Could that be any lamer?

I mean…we grew up together. Our houses still sit side by side. I’ve known her for as long as I can remember, and it’s a pure miracle that she and I haven’t run into each other since we broke up eight years ago.

But no…this is the first time I’ve laid eyes on her in a very, very long time, and damn if she hasn’t gotten even more beautiful over the years.

Calliope is my age…twenty-six. Our birthdays are only ten days apart. We celebrated all of them together, seeing as how we were the best of friends growing up and then way more later.

I take every bit of her in. Her long, dark hair parted in the middle and cascading in loose waves over her shoulders. Her skin a light mocha, compliments of her Puerto Rican dad, but the rest of her face is classic Irish from her redheaded mom. Her eyes are hazel-green, more on the green side when she’s feeling intense emotions, and she has a smattering of freckles all over her nose and cheeks. She’s got the Irish temper to boot.

“Your mom sent me to pick you up,” she replies flatly, her eyes conveying that she’s not overjoyed to see me. “Your dad’s having a bad day, and she didn’t want to leave him.”

In that moment, I forget all about my sad history with Calliope. The way I broke her heart and left her behind for fame and fortune. At least, I’m sure that would be her story if you asked her to tell it.

“What do you mean by bad day?” I ask her, my heart thudding in my chest.

For just a moment, her expression softens in empathy, and she gives a small shake of her head. “I only meant that he’s really tired, and your mom doesn’t like leaving his side hardly at all. I’ve been pitching in when I can to help out. She asked me to come, so I came.”

“Okay,” I reply, gusting out a relieved exhale of air. I attempt a smile. “Thank you for doing that.”

“Sure,” she replies with a shrug and turns on her heel toward the exit doors. I scramble to catch up with her, pulling my suitcase along.

Wordlessly, we head out of the airport into the parking garage and take an elevator up to the fourth floor. I follow Calliope to a later-model Nissan Pathfinder that, although clean, bears a few rust spots near the fender. I notice a parking decal for Raleigh Community Hospital and of course, I know that Calliope is a nurse.

I actually know quite a bit about her because, over the years, I’ve never been hesitant to ask my mom how she’s doing. I do it because I’m riddled with so much guilt and regret over what I did to her all those years ago that I have to torture myself with all the details of her life that don’t include me.

So, yeah… I know she’s a labor and delivery nurse at the local hospital, and while she doesn’t live with her parents anymore, she still lives close by and visits them frequently, so she still sees my mom quite a bit.

Because Mom still thinks I’m the world’s biggest idiot for leaving Calliope behind, she tends to overshare details about her.

Including information I’d rather not know, like the men she’s dated over the years.

Bitterness fills the back of my throat because leaving Calliope behind was truly the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. At the time, I thought it was best for her, and I sacrificed my own happiness to give her the best shot at life I could.

It’s painful to see her now, just like it’s going to be painful to see my dad before too long.

Yeah…this homecoming sucks.

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