Authors: Rachel Dunning
Tags: #college, #brooklyn, #nyc, #new adult
Copyright © 2014 Rachel Dunning.
The moral right of the author has been asserted.
Cover Design Copyright © 2014 Rachel Dunning.
Cover Photo of Female Model - Copyright © 2014 Inga
Cover Photo of Male Model - Copyright © 2014
All photos obtained from Shutterstock and used with
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any
manner whatsoever without written permission of the author, except
in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and
This book is a work of fiction. Any references to
historical events, real people, or real locales are used
fictitiously. Other names, characters, places and incidents are
products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual
events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely
Also by Rachel Dunning:
Finding North, #1 Naïve Mistakes Trilogy
East Rising, #2 Naïve Mistakes Trilogy
West-End Boys, #3 Naïve Mistakes Trilogy
Like You, #1 Perfectly Flawed Series
Christmas Comfort, #1 Hot Holidays Series
Girl-Nerds Like it Harder, #1 Girl-Nerd Series
Girl Nerds Like it Faster, #2 Girl-Nerd Series
Girl-Nerds Like it Deeper, #3 Girl-Nerd Series
Girl-Nerds Like it Longer, #4
To the good ol’ days, and everyone in them.
To perceive or
apprehend clearly and certainly;
; to have full
to be convinced of the truth of
; to be fully
to be acquainted with
; to be no stranger to; to
be more or less familiar with the person, character, etc., of;
to possess experience of
; to recognize; to distinguish; to
discern the character of;
To have sexual intercourse with
Revised Unabridged Dictionary - 1913
Love is a rift. It is a break in the
fabric of whatever substance makes this universe.
Love is not your friend. Love is not the
gentle green slopes of Prospect Park
. It is not the condo being built down in Brooklyn
Heights looking across at The City’s breathtaking
Love is your enemy.
Love is an earthquake.
It rolls in like a Tsunami.
Love is black smoke.
Love swallows you whole and takes you with
Those that find happiness in love are those
who ride its waves wildly, knowing the trip will be short, always
destined to fail. Painfully.
Love is a bastard. Or, as they say in here
Love is the electric surge which blows
your speakers, it
feedback that ruins your gig. It’s the crackle of lightning and
high-wattage static before you’re finally struck down.
’s your Molly—E,
Adam. It’s your Crack Cocaine, your rocks, the
you smoke in a
pipe. It’s the sweet poison in your blood, the taste of honey in a
H. Your Heroin. Your
Love is also the hot touch of velvet over your
sweat-glistened skin. It’s melting chocolate on your lips, the
taste of human salt on your tongue, the feel of slick perspiration
on your body...
Love is a rift
—in the fabric of this universe. An anomaly. A
nd also a necessity.
the Mike Tyson we all must face. Love is that fist
to your face. A slave-driver, a whip-cracker. Love will kick you to
the ground and watch you spit out a bloody tooth. Then it will
laugh at you.
What are you?
Because I stood up again. And I let it hit
Love—now hear me on this one, hear me;
please for the love of god,
will make you cry. It will make you scream. It will twist your
heart in its gnarly hands and laugh an echoing cackle in your ear
while it beats you down on a sidewalk behind an abandoned
But Love—maybe because it gets more
pleasure out of it this way, I don’t know—will also offer you a way
out of its grasp... With a smile. It’ll say,
Leave me. Don’t love anymore,
and the pain will go away...
—The Liar. That
Because the pain might go away
indeed—replaced by a thudding
dullness no man or woman could possibly bear after having tasted of
But so will the joy
Love buries itself
deep in your vital fluids until,
eventually, you cannot live without it.
Love is riding a rollercoaster with no lap
is something I thought I would never find, something I
didn’t care for, something I didn’t even believe
It grabbed me. Snatched me. Did what
would with me and
then tried to get rid of me.
I kept coming back, kept taking more, kept getting my jaw
knocked out for it. So then
tried to get away from
I caught it, bloody mouthed and bleary eyed. I
And now I’ll never let it go.
Even if it kills me.
Damned if I thought I’d live to see the
day when my girlfriend had to pull a gun on my son’s head to get
him off o’ me.” Pops’s eyes are glued to the TV, not even taking a
moment out to look up at me—his right shiner still bright and
swollen from the one I landed on him two days ago.
And damned if I thought I’d
ever live to see all the insane shit
pulled in the last few days
’m standing at the doorway of his tiny, shitty TV room.
Pops’s face glows pale white from the flickering TV. My fists
clench. My teeth grind.
I let the
“girlfriend” statement go.
So, I’m done,” I say, “I got all my
s takes a slurpy sip out of the
Pabst Blue Ribbon
in his hand, stares at the screen. Four
other crushed cans lie on the ground next to him. Catalina—the
squeeze whose neck I’d like to squeeze—sits languidly next to him,
beer also in her hand, probably to chill out her Big C
egs are erotically placed over pops’s lap while she chills
in her robe next to him on what was once
And mom’s body is barely even
I feel myself getting sick.
Anthony Fortunato of
is cursin up a storm on the tube, in a
southern Brooklyn accent second only to pops’s own.
You see this other bastard?” When Pops
says it, it sounds like
. He points at the TV. “See what he’s done? It’s not right
I tellya. That’s
My eyes flick briefly over to the
barely noticing it,
then back at pops. “Well, I guess I’ll get outta your way
Pops says nothing.
“Close da door on
way out.” I can almost hear the rest of her words:
Or the Beretta I
pulled on your ass two days ago is gonna be back at your
I hang back
for half a second, just hoping pops turns and says
stares at the TV. Says nothing.
The last thought in my mind when I close
A folded yellow note is stuck on my door.
I stare at it
for a moment. Thoughts of eviction and raised rent and getting
thrown out on my ass pummel me. My right hand trembles beside me. I
take in a deep breath, smell the moist brick of my hallway. My
spine shivers from the cold.
Maybe my music’s been too loud. But I’ve
been careful to keep it down after ten. Besides, none of the other
tenants are gonna complain in Bushwick anyway—too afraid of getting
on Mr. Bernstein’s bad side.
Little do they know he’s just an old Santa in
hate letting him down.
I reach for the note and open it quickly,
like ripping a Band-Aid.
I’m so sorry, the schmucks pushed me into a corner.
Please keep it quiet until we talk.
Sorry. It’s the market. It’s all these darn rezoning
laws! They been schmoozing me for over a year. Finally, they gave
up on the Mr. Nice-Guy act and put the thumbscrews on me. I’ll come
by on Sunday so we can chat. Don’t worry, Blaze—I promised your
mama I’d look out for you, and I will.