FOUND BY YOU
Heather Carver & A.K. Layton
Cover Design: JM Walker – Just Write Creations.
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Sometimes getting lost is the only way to be found.
Annaliesa James and Kenslie Walker have been planning the European trip of
a lifetime since their freshman year of college. Now, with graduation
behind them, they’re ready to set sail. One last hoorah before they move
away to conquer their own dreams.
They’re a few days from leaving when Kenslie’s boyfriend, Everett, throws a
wrench in everything, sending her to Europe with a broken heart.
The ever-meticulous Annaliesa has the trip planned to a tee until a twist
of fate leaves her stranded alone with a mysterious stranger who becomes an
unlikely friend. Ryker helps Anna let her hair down and learn to live in
Kens is shocked when Everett suddenly appears, causing her to make a rash
decision, which results in her being separated from Anna.
As Kens and Anna search for each other they find more than they ever
expected, but is it enough to mend a broken heart and open another to love?
Content Warning: contains sexual content and strong language
It takes just a minute for Everett to close the distance between us, and I
can feel his mood change. His arms encompass my body, cradling me while I
cry. I tuck my head into that familiar spot on his chest, desperate to burn
it into my memories, because soon that’s all Everett will be. The memory of
the first boy I ever really loved.
“Kenzie. Hush, baby. It’s going to be okay.” His strong hands smooth my
hair, comforting me. “I love you. I don’t want to fight. Now isn’t the
right time to talk about this, you’re right.”
I can hear the desperation in his voice. He knows just as well as I do
where this is going, and I love him for wanting to spare my pain for as
long as possible.
Pulling back out of his arms, I wipe my eyes on my sleeves and blow out a
“It seems love isn’t enough for us, not right now at least. I can’t give up
my dreams to stay here, and you feel the same way about not leaving. If one
of us gives in, we’ll just end up resenting each other in the end. I love
you too much to ever want to hate you.”
I pause, steadying my voice, as I look up at Everett, only to look quickly
away. The foreign tears hiding in the corners of his eyes are going to have
me a complete, utter wreck any moment now.
“I’ll have most of my stuff out by tomorrow night. I’m sure Anna will let
me keep it at her place. You can have all the furniture.”
“You’re the one leaving me, for the record,” Everett says sorely.
“For the record?” I roll my eyes. “Yeah, well, for the record, I’m the one
who’s a crying mess, I’m the one who’s said I love you a dozen times, I’m
the one who thought about marriage and our big picture, not you.”
“I don’t want this. I love you too. Tell me what I can do to make you
I can hear the desperation in his voice as he takes a hesitant step toward
me, and it makes me want to rethink my decision. Maybe I can find a
hospital locally, even though I was turned down for my top choice local
jobs I’d applied for months ago. I’d have to start small and work my way
up, but I could do it, I tell myself hopefully. But a voice in the back of
my head tells me that I deserve more. That I’ve worked hard for more.
“You can’t,” I finally say.
“Then what good would chasing after you do?” Everett says with a scoff.
Turning, he slams his hands on the table, and the loud thud bounces off the
happy memories and pictures hanging on the walls.
“Thank you.” I pause, trying to stay collected. “Now we’ve both broken my
* * * *
“Sit, I won’t bite,” he says as I walk by him again in hopes of finding a
place to sit.
“I don’t want to interrupt your peace.”
“You’re annoying other people by walking up and down the aisle, looking for
“That wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to find a spot big enough so I
could try to sleep,” I say as I sit down, but as I scoot around him to get
to the seat by the window my bag knocks him in the head.
“Damn, what’s in that bag?”
“Oh shit, I’m sorry,” I say. Crap, I should’ve taken my backpack off before
trying to sit. “Are you okay?”
“I’ll be fine, but I may have a broken nose and a couple of black eyes,” he
mumbles through his hands. “I hope you like raccoons.”
“What?” I ask, confused about why he’s talking about raccoons. “You’re not
okay. Maybe you have a concussion. You need to go to the hospital. You’re
bleeding,” I say, trying to get out of my seat to stop the train.
“Sit down. I don’t have a broken nose or a concussion, and if I did, they
wouldn’t stop the train. They can’t. But I may have two black eyes
Duh. That’s why he was asking me about the raccoons. I don’t believe I
didn’t catch that at first. Normally, I’m not that slow, but I was too
preoccupied with the thought of him needing medical care. Plus, the stress
of being split from Kens isn’t helping.
What a craptastic day this has turned into.
“Are you sure your nose isn’t broken? It’s bleeding,” I say again.
“It’s fine.” He pulls a shirt out of his bag and wipes his nose. “It was an
accident, unless you’re just trying to show me you can defend yourself,” he
says with a laugh, showing me his shirt to prove he wasn’t bleeding that
bad. “Really, I’m good. Sit down and relax. Maybe I can help you come up
with a plan to find your friend.”
I really shouldn’t get close to him, but he seems nice, and I could use
some support right now. Maybe he can calm me down a little, so I don’t feel
like murdering Everett the next time I see him.
Sitting down, I set my backpack under my seat and take a couple of calming
breaths. “Thank you,” I say, even though I’m not really sure why. “Before
you ask, I don’t know what I’m thanking you for.”
“You’re welcome. Maybe it’s my good looks,” he smirks at me.
“Har har har. There are a lot of good-looking men on this train, and I’m
not sitting next to them thanking them.”
“Fine, it’s because I’m the only one who’d let you sit with me. Or maybe
it’s because I offered to keep you company while you’re separated from your
friend. The one who should never have gotten off the train like that. Or
could it be that you want to have a whirlwind romance in Europe?”
Heather Carver was born and raised in the Pacific NW. However, if she could
live anywhere it would be a tropical beach.
She’s a wife and mother of three children, who keep her quite busy with
sports and activities. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with
friends, traveling, spending time outdoors, and exploring new adventures.
While Heather didn’t become a book lover until her twenties, she’s happy
that she finally found the book world; finding it the perfect stress
releaser, and a way to fill nights of insomnia.
Heather enjoys chatting with fellow book lovers, and you can connect with
her at any of the following:
A.K. Layton has always been one to play by her own set of rules. In her
youth she enjoyed writing poetry as it gave her a creative outlet that had
no restrictions. Now, after years of reading all types of romantic novels
she decided that she wanted to write stories her way. She pushed ahead as
only a natural born Taurus can, with shear stubbornness and determination.
She resides in Oregon with her husband and two children. When she isn’t
over committing herself for school functions, playdates, and volunteer
activities she enjoys watching MMA fights, taking advantage of the
beautiful Oregon Coast, and reading until the wee hours of the night.
A.K. Layton would love to hear from you and can be contacted at the