The Worst Bad Thing | J.E. Birk
Release Date: May 24th, 2022
He thinks I’m worth saving. He doesn’t know how wrong he is.
Some mistakes can never be redeemed.
I know that better than anyone. Last year I made the ultimate mistake—I cost someone their life. This trip I’m taking through Iceland, England, and France may look like the trip of a lifetime, but it’s not. This is a mission. I have to pay back the debts I owe the world.
Then I meet Gabriel Carrillo. Gabriel is kind, caring, and generous, and he seems to be on a mission of his own to make sure our paths keep crossing. Between sunrise swims in the Blue Lagoon and afternoon walks through Stonehenge, I find myself wanting to spend more and more time with him.
But Gabriel doesn’t know my secrets. He doesn’t know what I’m out to achieve.
He doesn’t know that my future is already set.
The Worst Bad Thing is a hurt/comfort romance set across three countries. It stars a former soldier and the mysterious man he falls in love with on a plane, and it features a HEA. Please see the Author’s Note for content warnings.
NOTE: Previously published.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” he asks again.
“Sure. I told you. I’m just fine. I can’t even imagine what I was thinking when I had them call you.”
Gabriel rolls his eyes. “Maybe that you had a panic attack in the middle of an exhibit about particles?”
“Sure, maybe. Hey, look, a rugby game.”
“Tate, stop.” Gabriel grabs my sleeve lightly and spins me around to look him in the eye. “What’s going on? The museum officials said you were down for several minutes trying to get air back in your lungs. This attack was obviously serious. And people just don’t have panic attacks for no reason. What’s going on with you? Can I help with anything?”
Now it’s my turn to roll my eyes. “Shit, Gabriel. I just met you yesterday. I don’t even know your last name yet, for fuck’s sake. And if we’re being honest, you don’t know my first name. This isn’t any of your damn business. I’m sorry I had them call you. I should have just left you alone to meet with Thom Yorke or whoever.” I jerk my arm away from him and take off in the direction of the rugby game.
“James,” he calls after me.
“James Tate O’Reilly.”
I turn around.
“I saw your passport yesterday at customs,” he says apologetically.
And you didn’t run away screaming. Which means you must not watch a lot of news.
“It’s an unusual middle name. Family name?”
“I’m Gabriel Michael Carrillo. And I wasn’t meeting with Thom Yorke this morning. That would have been a hell of a lot more fun than what I was doing. But I didn’t have much choice in the matter.”
“Oh.” That’s all I can seem to say.
“Yeah. Listen. You don’t have to bare your soul to me or anything. We did just meet, and who knows if we’ll ever see each other again after this trip. But I really do like you, Tate. You have me worried. You going to collapse if we walk by a pigeon who looks at you funny?”
I glare at him. “Nice. Kick a guy after a panic attack.”
He moves closer to me until I’m standing directly in front of him. “You’re kind of cute when you’re pissed off. Actually you’re kind of cute all the time.”
“You’re not all that ugly yourself.”
And so we stand there for several long minutes, staring at each other while a British rugby team looks on. And possibly some pigeons.
Then we move away from each other and go back to our walk. Almost as though we never stopped in the first place.
About the Author
J.E. Birk was raised in Vermont and is now adulting in Colorado with intermittent success. She is a long-time lover of stories, and she writes and reads in worlds where imperfect characters find their happily ever after.
To celebrate the release of The Worst Bad Thing J.E. Birk is giving away
A signed paperback copy of Booklover (US Winner)
An e-copy of Booklover (International Winner)