EXCERPT REVEAL – This Is Wild by Natasha Madison

๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ COMING SOON ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ

THIS IS WILD By Natasha Madison

RELEASING – JULY 30

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โ€œWe canโ€™t date each other,โ€ he says. I donโ€™t know why it bothers me, but my hand falls from his arm. โ€œI mean, youโ€™re hot and all that, but I canโ€™t date you.โ€

โ€œUm โ€ฆโ€ I start, ignoring the echoing of my heart in my ears. Ignoring that crushing feeling in my chest. I pull out the Zoe that just lets things not bother her, the fake Zoe, the Zoe everyone has met. โ€œOne, thank you, I guess, for thinking Iโ€™m hot.โ€ He smiles, and now I put on my fake smile, but he doesnโ€™t seem to notice. โ€œAnd two, when did we say we would date each other?โ€

โ€œI โ€ฆโ€ he starts. โ€œNever really but I wanted to make sure you knew it was never a possibility.โ€ I nod at him because I canโ€™t say anything. The lump in my throat just gets thicker. โ€œYou canโ€™t fall in love with me.โ€

I laugh and look down at my feet, giving myself an internal pep talk. Put the poker face on, Zoe. I channel it as much as I can. โ€œI am a touch confused with this conversation, but just so we are perfectly clearโ€โ€”I hold up my handsโ€”โ€œI donโ€™t want to date you. You are good looking, but you arenโ€™t anything that I โ€ฆโ€ I try to find the words.

โ€œI play hockey,โ€ he says, and I start to make a list of why I donโ€™t like him.

โ€œYes,โ€ I say louder than normal because Iโ€™m nervous and that is also number one on my list. โ€œYou play hockey, and I donโ€™t really get hockey.โ€ I use my hands. โ€œItโ€™s just something that I donโ€™t ever โ€ฆโ€ Then I stop and look at him. โ€œDid I say anything that made you think I wanted to date you?โ€

โ€œNo,โ€ he says, shaking his head, and I at least breathe a sigh of relief that I wasnโ€™t that transparent. โ€œI mean, you got me dinner, and you gave me a key chain.โ€

โ€œUm, yeah, because we were celebrating a big step,โ€ I tell him. โ€œI mean, the key chain was something that I saw and figured it would be a nice thing to do.โ€ I shake my head. โ€œYou know, for a friend.โ€

โ€œIโ€™m a recovering addict, and I have to focus on me. I donโ€™t have time for a relationship,โ€ he says and then looks down at his bare feet. โ€œGod, this is the most awkward conversation I think Iโ€™ve ever had.โ€

โ€œI mean, if it makes you feel better, I had an even more awkward conversation about an hour ago.โ€ I smile at him, and he smiles back.

โ€œOkay, well, now that we got that out of the way,โ€ he says, and I put my hand up.

โ€œViktor, I think you are a great person.โ€ It feels like a breakup, but we werenโ€™t even together. โ€œI donโ€™t know what happened with everything that went down in LA, and I think them tossing you aside and looking for a trade was a crappy thing to happen. I think you got dealt a shitty hand and then you decided that shitty was what you deserved. That key chain was just a little reminder to let you know I donโ€™t agree. I think you deserve more.โ€

โ€œYou sound like my therapist,โ€ he tells me. โ€œAnd my sponsor.โ€

โ€œWell, I donโ€™t know how to be a therapist,โ€ I answer, โ€œbut I know how to be a listener, and I know how to be a friend. A friend.โ€