The Other Side of Us (Harlequin Superromance)

BOOK: The Other Side of Us (Harlequin Superromance)
8.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

The making of a

The best thing between Oliver Garrett and Mackenzie Williams
is a fence. Ever since Oliver’s new-neighbor gestures were met with unfriendly
responses, he’s decided to keep his distance. After all, he’s in this seaside
town to get his life on track again. That doesn’t include working hard to get on
Mackenzie’s good side—no matter how intriguing she may be.

His intentions are put to the test, however, when his dog
becomes infatuated with hers. The two crafty canines do their best to break down
the barriers between the properties. And where the dogs go…well, the humans must
follow! It doesn’t take long for a powerful attraction to build between Oliver
and Mackenzie. They soon discover that the worst of first impressions can lead
to the best possible outcomes….

There was no denying Oliver’s appeal

His hair was a deep, russet chestnut, warm and vibrant. As
for his body... Well. Mackenzie would have cast him as a love interest on her TV
show in a heartbeat if his audition reel had come across her desk. He had the
kind of body women fantasized over—broad shoulders, deep chest, flat belly,
tight, firm little backside....

Fantasizing just like she was doing now. Furtively watching
him through the window as he romped with his dog in the backyard.

Sad, Mackenzie. Very, very

Giving herself a stern talking to about spying on
neighbors—especially on neighbors she wasn’t sure she actually liked—she tried
to turn away. But at that moment, he pushed his hair out of his eyes, and a
smile lurked around his mouth. She froze, captivated by what that smile did to
his very attractive features.

Suddenly, her other priorities slid away and getting to know
him better seemed the most important thing to do.

Dear Reader,

We hope you enjoy
The Other Side of Us,
written by bestselling Harlequin Superromance author Sarah Mayberry.

Looking for romance
a bigger story? Harlequin Superromance novels are filled with powerful relationships that deliver a strong emotional punch and a guaranteed happily ever after. Each month you’ll find six brand-new books that deliver realistic, heartwarming stories.

If you want to read about true-to-life people and their journey to love, then Harlequin Superromance is the series for you!

Happy reading,

The Harlequin Superromance Editors

PS: At the end of this book enjoy a sneak peek at
Within Reach,
also written by Sarah Mayberry and available as an ebook!

The Other
Side of Us

Sarah Mayberry


at the rolling digits on the gas pump, willing the
damn thing to finish filling his tank so he could get back on the road. He had a
nine-o’clock appointment with an up-and-coming country-and-western band who
could become regular clients—if this first recording session went well. Being
late would be an awesome start to their relationship—the rule was, it was okay
for the talent to be late, but not the sound engineer. That was simply the way
the world worked.

It was exactly like his wife, Edie, to suggest they swap cars
for the day and not notice her Mini was low on fuel. It wouldn’t have even
crossed her mind to check last night on her way home from work, let alone before
she took off in his wagon this morning. Just as she never seemed to be aware
when she used the last of the hot water or put an empty milk carton back in the

He frowned, annoyed by the whiny, resentful tone to his own
thoughts. Admittedly, he wasn’t exactly a dream to live with, either. He left
his shoes to clutter up the bedroom floor and liked to drink juice straight from
the container. Sometimes he even left whiskers around the sink after he’d
finished shaving. Tolerating another person’s little habits and preferences was
part of marriage, and getting bent out of shape about the small stuff was a
surefire way to make himself—and Edie—miserable.

The pump hit the thirty-buck mark and he called it quits—half a
tank was more than enough to get him where he needed to go. He leaned into the
car to grab his wallet, but it was nowhere to be seen. He swore under his
breath. Why did keys, passports and wallets always go missing when time was at a

He crawled into the car, checking first the floor, then under
the seats. He found his wallet wedged between the passenger seat and the door,
along with a fistful of crumpled papers and an empty chocolate-bar wrapper. He
pulled it all out, dumping the trash in the nearby bin before hustling inside to

He tossed his wallet onto the passenger seat when he returned
to the car, his gaze gravitating to the lone piece of trash he’d missed. He
reached for it impatiently, the neat freak in him unable to leave a job
half-done, even though he was running late. The curse of the detail-minded.

He was about to lob the crumpled piece of paper through the
open car window and into the garbage when something caught his eye: a line of
dark printing, visible from the wrong side of the paper.

The Annandale Motel.

Huh? He smoothed the paper flat on his thigh. Sure enough, it
was a receipt for a queen room for one night, along with minibar expenses—a
bottle of wine, a package of pretzels. Total $187.50.

Everything in him went very still.

The date was Wednesday of last week. The same day Edie was
supposed to have given singing lessons to one of her many private clients,
followed by a girls’ night out with her friends.

There had to be an explanation. Maybe the receipt had fallen
out of one of her friend’s bags. Maybe—

Someone tooted the horn behind him. He was blocking the exit.
Feeling oddly disconnected from his body, he shoved the car into gear and drove
out of the service station, turning onto the nearest street and pulling over. He
read the receipt again, his gut churning. Looking for proof that what he was
thinking was impossible.

The last four digits of a credit-card number were printed below
the total. He grabbed his phone and launched his banking app. He and Edie had
separate accounts, but he knew her access code, the same as she knew his. His
hands were shaking as he punched in her number then waited while the program
processed his request.

Finally the screen filled with data. He scrolled through until
he found last Wednesday’s transactions. His hand tightened on the phone when he
found a payment to the Annandale Motel for $187.50.

Not a mistake, then.

Edie was having an affair.

He felt... He didn’t know how he felt. Angry. Shocked.
Disgusted. Hurt. And that was just the tip of the iceberg.

He bowed his head, trying to think. Trying to get past the
tight, hot sensation in his chest.

They’d been married six years. Their relationship wasn’t
perfect, but this was real life, not some fairy tale. Marriage was tough, and
he’d signed up for the long haul because he loved Edie and because he wanted to
grow old with her.

And she’d cheated on him. She’d gone to some sleazy motel and
slept with some other man and then come home and lied to him.

He started the car and drove in the opposite direction of the
studio. He knew exactly where Edie was—teaching vocal lessons to a bunch of
overprivileged kids on the North Shore. Battling his way through rush-hour
traffic, he focused on getting to her. He needed to talk to her. Needed answers.
Beyond that... He had no idea.

His phone rang as he exited the freeway and headed into
Cremorne. Caller ID told him it was Rex, his business partner.

“Where are you?” Rex said the moment he took the call.

“I’m not going to make the session,” Oliver said.

Someone cut in front of him and he leaned on the horn, a surge
of fury rocketing through him. He wanted to put the pedal to the floor, wanted
to blast past all this traffic so that he could be there, standing in front of
Edie, looking into her face. So he could know for sure if this nightmare was
real or some kind of messed-up misunderstanding.

“What do you mean you’re not going to make it? You’re the one
who roped these guys in, Ollie.”

“I think Edie’s having an affair.” The words were thick in his
throat, so thick he didn’t know how he got them out.


“I found a receipt in the car. I’m going to talk to her.”

Rex swore. “Mate, do you think that’s a good idea?”

Oliver laughed. “There’s nothing else I can do.”

He had to know. Now.

“Okay. I’ll cover for you. Somehow.”

“I’ll make it up to you.”

“Don’t worry about it. And...look after yourself, okay? Call me
when you know more.”

Oliver tossed the phone onto the passenger seat and
concentrated on driving. Twenty minutes later he pulled into the parking lot at
Cremorne School for Girls. He could see his wagon sitting halfway down the row.
He parked the Mini and got out. His legs felt strange as he made his way into
the school, as though they belonged to someone else.

It was easy enough to find the music wing, and once there he
simply zigzagged along the corridor, looking through the window of each door,
searching for Edie’s familiar dark head.

He found her midway down the hall, dread thudding in his gut
like a bass drum.

He watched her for a moment, aware of the adrenaline firing his
pulse. She was demonstrating a breathing technique, one hand on her diaphragm,
the other gesturing in the air. She wore slim, thigh-hugging jeans tucked into
tan knee-high boots and a green asymmetrical top that hinted at her spectacular
cleavage. She looked beautiful and vibrant.

His wife. The liar.

He opened the door. Edie turned toward him, a confused smile
curving her mouth when she saw him.

“Ollie. What are you doing here?”

“Can I have a minute?”

Her smile dropped like a rock as she registered his tone. She
glanced at the class.

“I won’t be a minute, girls. Go over the chorus again, and
concentrate on your breathing.”

She joined him, her gray eyes wide with panic. She grabbed his
jacket sleeve. “It’s not Mum, is it? God, please tell me it’s not Mum.”

Her mother, Naomi, had had a minor stroke several months ago
and Edie had convinced herself it was the beginning of the end.

“She’s fine, as far as I know.” He pulled the motel receipt
from his pocket and handed it to her.

Was it his imagination, or did she blanch as she read it?

It seemed to take forever for her gaze to return to his.

“I found it in your car today,” he said.

She opened her mouth and he knew from the look on her face and
in her eyes that she was about to lie. Funny that he could see it now. When it
was too late.

“I checked the account,” he added.

There was a small pause.

“Ollie. I’m so sorry.” Her eyes filled with tears.

“Who is he?”

“Does it matter?”

“Who. Is. He?”

She swallowed, a single tear snaking down her cheek. “I was
with Nick.”

Shock was a physical thing, rocking him back on his heels.


Of all the men in her life—in
life—Nick was the last person Oliver would have suspected.
Nick had been their band manager in the early days, and he and Edie had
gone out for two tumultuous, tempestuous years. Nick had broken her heart and
crushed her spirit and when things had finally ended, Oliver had been the one to
help her pick up the pieces.

Nick was the past, a face they saw occasionally at other
people’s parties and barbecues. A mistake Edie had openly regretted more times
than Oliver could count.

And yet she’d slept with him last Wednesday.

Edie wiped the tears from her face. There was something about
the way she was watching him that made the tightness in his chest ratchet even

“How long?” The question came from his gut, inspired by pure,
primitive instinct.

She closed her eyes, as though she couldn’t bear to look at him
as she—finally—spoke the truth. “Since he and Lucy broke up. On and off.”

“Jesus.” Oliver took a step backward, blinking rapidly,
struggling to get his head around that news.

Lucy and Nick had broken up
five years
barely six months after Oliver and Edie had returned from their

Five years. Edie had been sleeping with her ex, screwing around
behind Oliver’s back for
five years.

He felt as though the world had shifted beneath his feet.
Everything he thought he knew about her, about their marriage, about
was suddenly as insubstantial as dust.

Five years.

That was when it hit him—nothing would ever be the same

BOOK: The Other Side of Us (Harlequin Superromance)
8.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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