Love After

Love After

By:  B. Ramsey  Ongoing
Language: English
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Ashton didn't know how she would move on. How she would keeping putting one foot in front of another, until Z came along and changed everything. Would his darker world save her or destroy her?

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28 Chapters
Prologue
We sat across from each other in heavy silence. My mind off in another place. A dark place full of despair. I wasn’t sure why I picked this place to retreat to, why I had picked his company. Zain had joined the band a year ago and while we were all friends-ish, he hadn’t been super close with any of us. But his was the name that popped in my head when I didn’t want to be around anyone, yet, didn’t want to be alone. His brown eyes flicked up to me from time to time. Never landing for long. The loss of his drummer was weighing heavy on his heart as well, although he has not once let his grief pour over onto me. For that I am grateful. My grief was already too much. Ryan’s death was too much for my heart. I thought I would shatter at any moment. I have loved him since I was 17. Friends and on and off again lovers for 20 years. My mind drags up images of his beautiful smile and of the way his energy shifted when he played. The man was a hell of
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Chapter 1
“Yo!” I shout as I enter the house and spot all of Zain’s roommates gathered in the kitchen. This place is seemed to always have something going on. Various “what’s ups” greet me as I walk in.“What’s happening tonight?” I ask as I set my bag of goodies on the counter. Vodka, punch and pineapple juice where tonight’s choice of poison. It was a dangerous mix because you could not taste the alcohol which is why I like it. It is a fast fun drunk to keep my mind in a happy place.“Karaoke in the living room!” replies Sarah as she walks over to give me a hug. “You went pink!” I say as I notice her once blonde hair is now streaked through with hot pink. “It really pops against that white dress!” She giggles as she embraces me. She has the best hugs. Probably because her chest is huge so it’s a soft, comforting squeeze. “I’m going to find Z.” I tell her befo
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Chapter 2
“So, Hannah is coming over?”I roll my eyes. The woman has never done anything to me, but I do not like her. It’s not because her and Z have some thing going on, it’s her. She doesn’t seem to have a personality. I have tried to hold a conversation with her, but if it isn’t about makeup or food, she has nothing to add to the conversation. She is the local music scene groupie and it gets on my last nerve.“Okay.”“Do you want me to tell her not to come?”I wanted to tell him to tell her not to come. That isn’t fair of me. Why do I care? He isn’t mine. We are friends. A little voice in my head tells me that I should tell him to make some reason for her not to come, but I don’t. I don’t have that right.“If you want her to come, let her come.”Hell, she would show up anyways and say she is there to visit one of the other roommates. Any reason to be ar
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Chapter 3
I stood at the window watching. A part of me glad that she would be gone soon. Not that I could comprehend for the life of me why it mattered. I told myself it was because she wasn’t good for him. She had nothing to offer him, no personality and she was possessive over him when she had no right to be. Hannah didn’t know Zain. She knew the energetic party guy that everyone else knew. She didn’t know are care, as far as I could tell, about the gentle, kind man with a dark past he kept hidden away. She wasn’t worried about his mental wellbeing. She needed to go home and leave my friend alone. She was constantly showing up everywhere he was. Which meant everywhere I was because we do almost everything together. Really only spending time apart when we have work. Nights and weekends are ours. It never fails, within 30 minutes of him posting from our location she shows up. It almost always leads to her needing to talk to him in private. Dragging him off from our fun. Finally, her f
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Chapter 4
“Want another one?” The cute bartender asks me while holding up my empty bottle. I smile at her and nod and she bounces off to the bar for me. I like Sam. She is bubbly and sweet. Her dark hair is in two buns on the top of her head and her ever present spiked goggles sit on top of her head like a headband. She completes her look with tight red pants and a black T with fishnets sleeves. We got close when the band was still a thing. She was dating the then guitarist, so we spent a lot of time hanging out together.“So where is Zain?”“Oh, I am sure he will be here. He was pregaming at the house with everyone before coming. We are kind of doing our own thing tonight.”“Cool.”I prop my feet up in the empty stool next to me as I chat with her. These damn boots are sexy as hell, but so uncomfortable.“Tell me how you are really doing.”Sam doesn’t pry, but she has been a constant s
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Chapter 5
I sink lower into the warm bath. Letting the water and the music try to do their job to relax me. Work sucked today. Nothing crazy, I have just had enough for the day. The heat of the water turns my pale skin pink. My toes peek out over the bubbles and I inspect them for any chips in the dark polish. I am terrible about keeping up with them. Hell, half the time they are covered up so does it even matter.If I am being real with myself, I don’t have much care to give anything anymore really. When Ryan died the only emotion left inside of me was grief. Man, I did not know that that level of grief was even possible. I couldn’t eat and barley slept in the beginning. The first week the grief stole 15 lbs from me. My parents were worried sick. They were always hovering and checking on me. It meant a lot considering I could not seem to make any decisions about anything. We were never super close, but they stepped up and we grew closer. Dad was extra protective of me duri
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Chapter 6
“I um, thank you?”Z chuckles, “You are all wet.”“I uh, yeah…I was in the bath.”“I saw.”Oh my god I think I may just melt on this floor and die from embarrassment! What is wrong with me. I am a grown ass woman standing in front of my friend stuttering all over myself. The floor can just open up right now and swallow me whole.“I thought is was a safe picture, just my legs and my feet.” I say into the floor.Z tilts my chin up with his index finger.“Would you like to take it back?”“I, I don’t know. I…well…no. I just…I”Z shuts me up with another kiss. His lips drop to mine unexpectantly. This time it isn’t a soft peck. The pressure increases and his tongue licks my bottom lip asking for entrance. My lips part and his tongue finds the entrance it was seeking.  His hands clutch my hips and he
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Chapter 7
He has some thoughts; this I must hear. What in the world does he think will help me get through all of this? I hope he doesn’t say therapy. I don’t want to talk about my feelings. What’s the point? I am sick of talking about my feelings. I am tired of hearing everyone telling me he is in a “better place” and it will get easier. Shit I know all of that. Doesn’t make it easy right now. There are no point in all these words when I know all of it and I also know there is nothing that can be said to make me feel better.“What did you have in mind?”“To be honest, I have not thought of how to present this to you. It was not a thought until you sent that picture.”“Come on Z, it was just my legs.”“Ashton your legs are sexy as hell and I wasn’t expecting it.”“I am sorry, I thought it was safe. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable or step over any lines
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Chapter 8
What is that noise?! I peel my eyes open and take in my surroundings. I am still on the couch. Shit that is my alarm. I scramble for my phone to shut off the annoying noise coming from it. I must find a better sound to wake up to. I have not had time to find a new sound since getting this new phone.“Zain wake up we got to get moving. We are both going to be late for work if we don’t.”Zain mumbles something and stretches his arms above his head and cranes his neck to the side. The popping sound that accompanies the movement is loud.“Shit, you okay?”“Shut it, I am getting old.” He chuckles in response.“You make coffee while I shower and then you can have your turn.”I take off to the bedroom to take a quick shower. I strip while I wait for the water to heat up.“Shit I uh..”I spin around quickly at the sound of Zains voice.“Oh! I uh….what
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Chapter 9
Concentrating at work is proving difficult. My mind keeps wondering back to Z. Back to our kiss and back to my embarrassment over the photo. It’s going to be an incredibly long day. Lunch time comes and I decide to close my project for the day. There is no point to keep working on it when I’ve had to redo my work twice because I am unfocused. I save my work and close everything out. My phone dings as a message comes through. It’s Zain.“To make things fair, and for you to stop being embarrassed….”I wait, what is he…ding. Well now. A picture comes through. My checks flame and a heat ignites in my belly. His muscular chest and exquisite abs stare back at me. I can see water droplets sprinkled across his gorgeous dark skin. Making trails all the way down to that perfect V. That is where it stops. I shake my head at myself when I open the photo to full screen to see what else may be visible. I can admit to myself I am a little d
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