Had To Be You
Release Date: 08/05/14
After college, Rory Finn left behind the familiarity of her quiet, picturesque hometown to pursue a professional career in the city. With her sights firmly on the future, Rory pressed on in hopes of forgetting the past until a jarring bit of unwelcome news forces her to confront it.
Her first love, the one she'd tried so hard to forget, is about to marry someone else. That pang Rory feels isn't envy, it's not even regret. It's love. But Rory can't be that girl. She won't. But if she doesn't, she'll never know what could have been. She'll never have another chance to tell him how she feels.As she embarks on an impulsive, desperate bid to win him back, her mission turns into an unexpected and emotional journey of rediscovery.
HAD TO BE YOU explores a history of love from its tentative beginnings to what may just turn out to be its final bittersweet end, as Rory ignores her head and follows her heart.
The bus finally rolled to a stop, tires crunching over gravel at the end of the drive before the door creaked to fold open. Rory already had her duffle bag slung over her shoulder, perched eagerly on the edge of her seat. She was up and out with barely a thank you and goodbye.
Camp certainly hadn’t been her idea, especially not the exclusive, elite one her father insisted she attend just because it was the place all his big shot business colleagues sent their kids. Per usual, however, he didn’t exactly take her wishes into consideration when making the decision. Rory knew he just liked the idea of his daughter being there. Much like the idea of a daughter in general, really—great in theory, but not so much in practice.
She took the front porch steps in two short leaps, bursting into the house to head straight for her room. She dumped the bag on her bed and quickly shed her green polo and cuffed khaki shorts, replacing them with a pair of denim cutoffs and pulling a plain white tank over her head. Her long skinny legs were dark with a tan and her light brown hair brightened to a sunlit-streaked blonde.
On the kitchen table was a plate with a wrapped sandwich along with a note that her mother would be home by five o’clock. Rory grabbed a ripe peach from the fruit bowl on the counter instead before she flew out the back, the screen door slamming shut behind her.
Three full weeks of campfires, bug bites, swimming, sunbathing, sailing, archery, hiking, tennis, and now her real summer was finally about to begin.
She ran all the way to the end of the street, skirting the stone seawall until she reached the rickety steps leading to the weathered wood dock. She smiled when she spotted the small Boston Whaler tied up to a slip, bobbing in the water.
They were all there, doing flips into the cool blue waves.
She grinned, lifting her hand to wave. “Hey, Kev!”
Suddenly Matt emerged from the water, smiling as he climbed up the ladder to the dock and hiked up his board shorts. He looked taller somehow, even dripping wet, his short dark hair sticking up in spikes as he swiped a hand down his face. His eyes were as blue as the ocean against his smooth, bronzed skin.
“How was it?” he asked.
She lifted a shoulder to let it drop. “Okay.”
“I’ve been taking care of your boat.”
“I see that.”
“Matt! Let’s go!”Murph appeared from around a cluster of tall pilings in his dad’s Aquasport, calling out to him with a slight scowl. From the sound of his impatience, Rory assumed Matt must have been swimming out to meet him when she arrived.
“We’re heading over to the island,” Matt explained. “You in?”
“I’ll meet you guys there,” he called back to Murph. “We’re taking Rory’s boat!”
Despite the fact he already carried a full crowd, Murph didn’t seem too pleased with the unexpected change of plans.
Matt waved his brother Kevin along with the others before grabbing his t-shirt and sneakers from the dock. He dropped them into the blue interior of the waiting skiff and then offered Rory a steadying hand as they both stepped aboard.
“Check this out,” he said. “I worked taking out the trash and stocking shelves and stuff like that for my dad, until I had enough to buy some parts.” Grinning, he took a seat at the stern and revved the little motor.
“I can’t believe it!” Rory laughed, taking a seat on the polished wood thwart. “It finally works.”
She wondered exactly how many hours he’d put in at his dad’s marine store to make this happen. Mr. O’Shea wasn’t the type to let his sons off easy.
As Matt instructed her on how to guide it out of the busy afternoon harbor traffic, warning her about the chop, talking a mile a minute with his typical enthusiasm, their arms gently brushed and bumped against each other. Although his body seemed so lean and hard, his warm skin, still dotted with water, was surprisingly soft.
“You got it?” he asked.
Leaning back, he draped an arm over the side of the boat and smiled as he watched her.
“So, what else?”
Motoring across the bumpy currents, she shook her head in the salty spray. “Not much else to tell. It was summer camp. That about sums it up.” She narrowed her eyes when she noticed he was staring. “What?”
“You look different.”
“I do?” Rory frowned skeptically and pushed the windswept hair off her face, although she had been thinking something similar about him. “How?”
“I don’t know.” He brushed it off with a dismissive shrug of his shoulder. “Did you miss me?”
“Oh yeah.” The corner of her mouth curved up. “I cried myself to sleep every night.”
They eased away from home port, heading across an open stretch of water to the offshore rocky outcropping of sandy beach and shady gnarled pines at the very tip of Lighthouse Point that they called their island.
Rory snuck another glance at him before quickly returning her attention to the water.
“I didn’t miss you either—in case you were wondering,” he said finally.
She just smiled.