TITLE: Sorry's Not Enough
GENRE: Commercial New Adult
WORD COUNT: 97,000
If emotional wall-building were an art form, Charlotte would be a grand master. After being betrayed at a young age by the one man she should've been able to trust, she builds an impenetrable fortress of solitude. At least she thinks it's impenetrable, until a summer writing workshop brings Steven into her life. With his obnoxious ego and stupid good looks, he's somehow immune to her Stay the Hell Away from Me pheromones. Even more bizarre is that for the first time, Charlotte can't quite bring herself to really push him away.
The unexpected romance screeches to a halt when Charlotte and Steven walk into the same classroom at the start of the school year and find themselves on opposite sides of the desk. Steven's quick with the apologies, but sorry doesn't seem to cut it when you've just found yourself cast as a modern day Lolita, you know?
Obviously the universe is telling Charlotte that keeping Steven at arm's length is the only way to avoid getting hurt. Resisting the warmth of his embrace is easier said than done, though, especially when it's evident Steven has no intention of letting her go.
And so the cycle of their relationship begins. Over the course of several years they share moments as passionate lovers, periods of warm friendship, and months of barely-civil tension. How can she hope to create a healthy relationship with Steven when she's never confronted the relationship that destroyed her ability to trust in the first place? And by the time she finds the courage to do so, will sorry be enough for Steven?
Sanguinolent sunset. There's a word you don't see every day. Charlotte circled it with her red pen and drew a smiley at the end of the line, below where she'd called out a different phrase for being trite. She continued making notes in the margin as the others took turns giving feedback. By the time she was done marking up the poem, the paper was also sanguinolent.
She looked up when the group grew quiet. Her turn. She looked down at the poem again and hoped its author wouldn't be offended. What was his name? Steven.
“It's a little confused,” she said. There was a pause and a shuffle of papers.
“What don't you understand?”
She snapped her chin up and was taken aback by the force of his gaze. No adjective could adequately describe the shade of green staring back at her.
“I'm not confused. Your poem is.”