The true measure of a person's worth lies not within what they can offer you but what you have to offer them. No matter how desirable, are they worth your time, patience, forgiveness, loyalty, friendship, love, respect, understanding, compassion, trust? If not, they are worth more than you have to offer.
They deserve for you to let them go.
Under the pretense of introducing Trace Delgado, her soon to be fiancé, to her adoptive parents, Emerson and Amila Roberts, Charlotte arrives back in her small southern hometown to personally collect on the forgiveness William promised he would give her if she ever returned.
Spending his days at the hospital with his brother William and his nights tending bar at The Dog House, Auggie knows it is only a matter of time before he loses the brother he has tried his entire life to protect.
When Auggie finds out Charlotte is in town, to no doubt torment his brother on his death bed, he wants her to stay as far away from William as possible. All Charlotte wants is to be forgiven and move on with a clear conscience. While, William's dying wish is to ensure the two people he cares about most step outside of their comfort zones and see that life is not as cut and dry as they think it is.
Charlotte's guilt and Auggie's brotherly devotion compel them to, secretly, follow through with William's last requests forcing them to begrudgingly spend time together. The more time they spend together, the closer they become. And the harder it is to keep what is taking place between them secret.
Late nights visits and stolen moments cause Charlotte to fall hard. But when a reminder of what brought them together stops Auggie dead in his tracks, he starts to question how far he's willing to go with someone who was his brother's first.
From Ch. 4~Deal
Leaning onto the doorframe through the open door, Charlotte crossed one foot in front of the other and greeted, "Well this is a surprise."
Clearing his throat as he looked her over, Auggie questioned, "Do you really know how to do this?" holding a green ledger book up to her.
Drawing out a "Yep," she looked him up and down.
Auggie was consistent if nothing else. The only thing that varied was his choice of shirt and even then it was still plaid. And what was with the beanie? Clearly he wasn't going bald, she had seen him at the cemetery without it and although it was fashionable to wear them, he didn't strike her as keeping up with trends.
Just about the time she started to think about what was hidden by his ugly shirt, Auggie said, "Sundays are my only day off."
"And?" she questioned, wanting him to come right out and ask her for help.
"That's the day I work on this stuff."
Rolling her eyes as she turned to walk back into the living room, Charlotte replied, "Thanks for sharin'."
Auggie followed her into the house, already frustrated by the way she was acting.
Closing the door behind himself, he griped, "You said you knew an easy way to keep books. Are you gonna show me or what?"
Continuing to the couch, she sat down, crossing one leg over the other, saying, "That depends."
Fluttering her eyelashes at him, Charlotte proposed, "Ask me nicely."
Narrowing his eyes at her, he snapped, "Kiss my ass."
Slowly shaking her head, Charlotte leaned back rebutting, "I do believe it's my ass you should be kissing, Augustus."
"You must be high out of your mind if you think I'm kissin' anything of yours."
Feeling a bit insulted, she sat up straight and offered, "Look, you don't like me and I don't like you so let's lay our cards on the table and help each other out."
Suspicious, he scowled, "Alright."
Charlotte patted the spot on the couch next to her, saying, "Have a seat."
"Yea, no thanks."
Fluttering her lashes as she rolled her eyes at him, she stood up with a loud huff.
~Auggie watched as Charlotte made her way to a chair facing the couch. With a sarcastic expression, she motioned for him to sit on the couch by himself.
Taking the offer, he sat before asking, "You wanna get dressed first."
Crossing one of her long legs over the other, she replied, "I am dressed."
The spot where he sat on the couch still smelled like her, making him wish she would go put more clothes on.
"Let's hear it."
Placing her hands on the arms of the chair, Charlotte stated, "I made your brother a promise before he died and I need you to keep it."
Running his last conversation with Will over in his mind, Auggie asked, "Oh yea, how's that?"
She was silent for a moment before sharing, "He wanted me to make an effort with you. Since he loved us and we cared about him, he wanted me to be here for you."
Instantly furious, Auggie stood up correcting, "I didn't just care about him, he's my brother. I don't need anything from anybody and honey, if I did, you're the last person on earth..." until she cut him off, arguing, "Really? Then why are you here?"
Asking himself that same question, Auggie remembered Will making him promise he would look out for Charlotte while she was here.
Glaring at her, Auggie sat back down. He didn't want to spend time with her. He didn't want to have anything to do with her at all. Will had really screwed him over with this one.
"What did you have in mind?"
'For me, each new book I write or character I create feels like the first time and I find myself falling in love with writing all over again'