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 “real world,” 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.
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Since Avery and I both wanted to do a little studying before our movie night, I invite her over to work at my place, bribing her with grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. Not that I really had to convince her. We might not be dating, but we do enjoy each others company quite a bit.
As soon as Beck drops us off, she walks with Sarah back to their apartment to grab her things while I hurry back to my place to get lunch started. I kick my shoes off at the door, like we always do, and pad my way to the kitchen. I’m pulling out bread, cheese, and butter when I hear Jackson’s bedroom door open. I look up to find Claire quietly making her exit.
She’s being swallowed by one of Jack’s t-shirts and I can barely make out the hem of the tiny sleeping shorts she’s got on underneath. She has legs for days and olive skin that always looks really soft. Her honey, brown hair, which usually lays straight and loose just above her shoulders, is pulled up into a messy ponytail. As she closes the door, her sleepy hazel eyes meet mine and she shoots me a small smile. I nod my greeting as she makes her way towards me. She pulls out one of the barstools, on the other side of the island on which I work, and takes a seat.
“Hey,” she murmurs, her voice groggy and endearing.
Jack and Claire have been together for almost a year and a half. They met at a party over a keg of beer—Jack had been doling out drinks. Let him tell the story and he’ll swear it was love at first sight. I doubted the validity of his statement in the beginning, but now it seems irrefutable. They’ve been together ever since.
Claire is pretty great. She’s studying to be a nurse, which fits her personality really well. She’s kind and sweet, laid back and fun, and generally mild-mannered yet strong and opinionated. I say generally mild because she has her moments when she can be pretty vocal…mostly in bed. Yeah, that’s information I’d rather not know, but Jackson’s room isn’t sound proof.
It took Beck a while to be comfortable with Claire staying the night in our apartment. She’s not over every day but weekends are pretty guaranteed. It never really phased me. In fact, I appreciated that the sleepy girl who I’d run into some mornings was familiar. I knew her name and her favorite kind of ice cream—because Jack always makes sure we’ve got some in the freezer—and her presence in our space was normal. It’s definitely better than the nameless strangers I sometimes ran into in my father’s house. Anyway, Beck got used to Claire and we’ve all become good friends.
“Late night?” I ask with a smirk as she rubs her hands over her face.
“Yeah. I think it’s safe to say that last night was the last night we’ll be going to a party before the end of the semester. I think we got in around three? But I’m not sure when we actually fell asleep.” She shrugs before she stands and heads into the kitchen, grabbing herself a glass of water. “How was church?”
“It was good. Pastor Doug is starting a series on relationships.”
“Like, romantic relationships?” she asks, taking her seat once more.
“No. Well—yes, he will touch on that; but he’s also going to talk about other kinds. You might want to check it out.”
“Mmm,” she hums as she swallows a mouth full of water. “I might just let you tell me about it, instead.” I shrug as if to say, suit yourself. I’m not surprised she turned me down but it’s always worth a try. “How many grilled cheese sandwiches are you planning on making, anyway?” she asks, nodding toward my growing stack.
“Oh, Ave will be here in a sec. Would you like one?”
“I’d be a fool to turn down a famous O’Conner grilled cheese,” she insists with a grin.
I shake my head with a laugh as I prep for one more sandwich. I wouldn’t dub my grilled cheese famous, but they are pretty popular amongst our group. Not that they couldn’t recreate the same thing. It’s just a slice of cheddar, a slice of pepper jack, and another slice of cheddar between two pieces of pumpernickel bread. I always make sure to have the ingredients on hand.
“Sooo, you’re making your girl lunch, today, huh?”
I roll my eyes at her. “Are you guys ever going to stop?”
“Yup. As soon as you finally ask her out.” When I look over at her, she’s taking another sip of water. Her eyes meet mine and she lifts her eyebrows at me in a sort of silent challenge. I can’t seem to find the words to say, so I simply shake my head. “God—no wonder you and Beck are best friends. You two are just alike. You both seem to be scared of the inevitable.”
“What do you mean?” I ask, turning toward the stove to start warming the skillet.
“Beck and Addie have been together forever and ever. They talk about the future and it’s obvious that they want to be together, but he’s afraid to propose. It’s silly, really. Especially considering the crazy amount of sexual tension in their relationship. I mean, I respect their decision to wait—but they wouldn’t have to if he just married her already.”
She has a point. Beck and I have had more than one conversation about his future with Addison. I don’t understand it, but he’s sure that he doesn’t want to be with anyone else while, at the same time, he’s afraid to propose. I’m not even sure he understands his fear well enough to explain, which is why I can’t argue against Claire’s statement. Though, I’m suddenly struck by how perceptive she is, knowing Beck wouldn’t open up to her about his thoughts on the matter.
“As for you and Ave,” she continues, “you guys are obviously into each other.” I turn to say something but she holds up her hands, signaling me to keep my mouth shut. “It doesn’t matter what you say. Your actions speak so much louder than your words. So do hers. Which is why I can sit here and say that regardless of how much or how loud you deny your feelings to me, I know you are both crazy about each other.”
I open my mouth to respond, but no words come out. She lifts a single eyebrow at me and I turn away as I start grilling the first sandwich. Claire-2. Grayson-0.
I kind of assumed Avery had a crush on me almost since the first time we met. It was a guess based off of how easy it’s always been for me to make her blush. Beck doesn’t have the same effect. But at the same time, I never really chalked it up as serious. She’s not an overly flirty person. I know when a girl is really into me—not to be arrogant, but I’ve had a pretty successful football career for the past seven years, which ultimately leads to my pick of females. When a girl wants to get my attention she will. Chicks have been throwing themselves at my feet since I hit puberty. I came to learn that they were more interested in my body than anything else, but for a while I could tolerate that truth. Avery has never put herself out there like that. That’s one of the reasons I like her so much.
It wasn’t until I started liking her that I really began to notice that our feelings are mutual. I remember exactly when it hit me that she had my heart. It was the beginning of fall semester—just this past August. I had officially become CSU’s starting quarterback and I was pretty excited about it. I told everyone and made them all promise to come to our first home game. Avery had been to a game or two before, but she never really got into it. Then, the week before the season opener, she came over and told me she was ready to learn football. She said if she was going to start coming to every game, it was time she knew what she was watching. I can’t help but smile now in remembrance. She had brought a book—Football for Dummies—and it was filled with sticky notes. She made me sit down with her and answer all of her questions and explain the things she didn’t understand. We talked for hours. When she hugged me goodbye that night, I swear she walked away with my heart.
She waited for me after that game. I spotted her as I was coming out of the locker room. Despite the fact that we had won, I played a pretty mediocre game—but she was so excited for me. She had all of my stats recorded in her phone and she was rattling off numbers with this adorable grin on her face. I wanted to kiss her right then and there—because that is Avery. She’s never going to be the girl who throws herself at me. She’s the girl who will tell me when I play a crappy game but still manages to point out all the things I did right. She’s the girl who will take something she’s not particularly interested in, and find the part that she can relate to—for her, football is about numbers—in order to share it with me anyway.
More than that, she’s also the girl who will study with me—and actually study. She’s the girl who will sit up and watch movies with me when I can’t sleep or I need to get away from the sexcapades that are happening on the other side of my bedroom wall. She’s the girl who will invite me over to play games when she’s all alone in her apartment and she just wants some company. She’s the girl who decided that she was going to call me Sonny because Gray was not a suitable nickname for me, in light of the fact that my hair is too brilliant and my smile is too bright—her words, not mine.
Avery cares about me in a way no one ever has before. Even though we’re just friends and we’ve not had a conversation about being more, she’s never given me any less than her whole self.
Basically, Avery Jade Grant is the girl of my dreams—if only I deserved to be the man of hers.
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