Bad Boy Rebound

By: J.A. Templeton


Ross Sullivan was the asshole to beat all assholes.

The man I’d wasted seven years of my life over.

Seven fucking years.

From the moment I’d locked eyes with him across a crowded room at my college roommate’s welcoming party, I didn’t stand a chance. Not with his athlete’s body, mesmerizing brown eyes, and thick sandy blond hair. That had been our third week of freshman year at Arizona State. After our very first date, we’d become a couple.

Until five seconds ago when my world came crashing down on me with the words, “There is someone else. Someone I’ve fallen in love with.”

A knife to the heart would have had as much impact as that statement. I had to lock my knees before they buckled. “I don’t understand. We’ve been engaged for three years, and not once did you tell me that you were unhappy,” I said, my voice hinting at desperation.

“Amanda, I didn’t mean for it to happen.”

“Who is she?”

Ross shifted on his feet. “Candace Newberg.”

“Newberg…as in your boss’s daughter?”

His silence confirmed my suspicions. I had seen Candace at the Newberg & Associates Christmas party last year. The tall, gorgeous seventeen-year-old had been personable and outgoing. I hadn’t considered for a second that her overly sweet demeanor had to do with the fact that she had been fucking my fiancé behind my back.

Oh my God. Not only was I being dumped, but I was being dumped for someone younger than me.

Maybe if I had a rich daddy, was a few inches taller, and dyed my blonde hair red, then I’d be good enough for him. Asshole…

I wanted to rip his eyes out.

“When did you start seeing her?” I asked, my voice strangely calm considering the rage consuming me.

He bit the inside of his lip, a nervous habit I had caught on to from his teenage years. “It’s not important.”

“Maybe not to you…but it is to me.” Still, he said nothing. “Let me guess—last fall, about the time you started working late.”

Once again, his silence confirmed my suspicions. I felt like such an idiot. In September or October, he had come home from the office bitching about Newberg’s daughter, who was working at her father’s firm for school credit. Come to think of it, shortly after that, he started paying a bit more attention to his appearance. Occasional workouts became four days a week, and he’d taken to wearing cologne. Those were signs I should have paid more attention to. But I hadn’t. I had trusted him. After all, we were engaged. We knew each other so well we often finished each other’s sentences. “So at the Christmas party…you were seeing each other?” Ross had disappeared for a short time during the party while I’d been talking to Candace’s mother. I had gone looking for him, and he’d shown up ten minutes later saying he’d left a business card in the car and his boss needed it. No doubt he’d been fucking Candace in our car, or who knows—perhaps in a dark corner while I’d been making small talk with the boss’s wife.

“Of course not.” He sounded exhausted. Like this was so tough for him.

“Then when did it start?” My chest hurt, like I was on the verge of a panic attack. The last thing I wanted was to have a meltdown in front of him. I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction. “Jesus Christ, at least be honest with me, Ross. You owe me that much.”

“It was around January. We went out one night after work, had a drink, and then one thing led to another.”

A pain unlike anything I’d ever experienced ripped through me. “I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that her daddy owns the firm,” I blurted. My father had worked for the railroad for the past thirty-four years, a fact I’d always been proud of and would be until the day I died. I know Ross, in his own way, had looked down at my working class roots. His own father, a successful IT consultant in Las Vegas, had recently fallen on hard times. Ross had gone to my home once in the seven years we’d been together, and in the past three years I’d flown in for a day or two to meet up with Ross in Vegas to celebrate the holidays.

His brows furrowed. “What’s that supposed to mean? I’m not with Candace because of who her father is.”

I clenched my teeth and forced myself from calling him a string of cruel names. He might try to convince me that part of Candace’s appeal had nothing to do with who her father was, but I knew him better than that. In the years we’d been together, I’d noticed Ross’s aspirations growing higher and higher. There was nothing wrong with wanting more from your life, but to be so enamored of people who had gained success and his desire to have the same had unsettled me. Always, he said he wanted success for us. So I could quit my job as a Human Resources manager and stay home with our children.

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