Up-and-coming mommyblogger and single mom Marisol Herrera Slade returns to her old hometown in western Pennsylvania for her 20th high school reunion, reluctant and yet compelled to see her high school sweetheart, Russell Asher, who dumped her for the homecoming queen.
Russell’s marriage to the golden girl, however, ended in a nasty divorce, and he has been systematically excluded from his sons’ lives. In his Internet wanderings, he’s found feminist blogger named Jerrika Jones, who glorifies single motherhood, essentially putting a stamp of approval on what’s happened to him. He’s vowed to take this woman down if they ever should meet.
What he doesn’t know, when he thinks to rekindle what he had with Marisol, is that Marisol and Jerrika are one and the same. When he discovers the truth, will his drive for revenge derail any chance they have to reunite? Or will they find they have more in common than they ever expected?
A little light-headed at the attention she was getting, Marisol could only nod. "Some water?" she asked, her knees a little weak.
A voice came from behind her shoulder. "Here, maybe this will suit you. Hemlock, isn't that more appropriate?"
Marisol blinked as Russell appeared in front of her with a glass in his hand. He held it out to her. It looked like water, but the tone of his voice and the dark fury in his eyes made her wonder.
"Russell?" she asked. "What's the matter?"
The people around them fell silent, the tension between the two almost solid as a wall.
"I can't believe I fell for that act," Russell said. "That Little Miss Sweet Innocence, yesterday at the coffee house. When this is who you are."
Aware of the attention focused on them, she wanted to fall through the floor. What had happened? Pulling together as much of Jerrika as she could manage, she turned on her heel and walked away from him, needing a few moments to get herself together.
But he wouldn't let her.
She hadn't retreated fifteen feet when he grabbed her arm, his fingers pinching, hurting her, and yanked her around to face him. His eyes, hot and dark, glared as if he wished he could shoot laser beams from them.
"No, no, you've got this coming to you. You and all the other women who think kids don't need their dads. You brag about how you're so superior, so wonderful, so everything that a man isn't. If you're so good, why don't you just have children on your own, since you don't need men? Don't just use us and toss us aside!"
Marisol's jaw had dropped open, the unprovoked attack leaving her speechless. She stumbled on her boot heels, caught off guard by the depth of ferocity in every aspect of his being.
Someone came up behind Russell and laid a hand on his shoulder. He kind of looked like one of the other guys from the basketball team, but Marisol couldn't remember his name. She could hardly remember her own name. Certainly not in her current state of shock.
“Rusty, man, what are you doing? Let the woman go."
"Giving her what she deserves," Russell snapped, but he released her. She tripped backwards, but Teresa caught her elbow and kept her from falling.
"You're making an ass of yourself, that's what you're doing, pal," the other man said.