Bed of Roses
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Twenty-Four
Chapter Twenty-Five
Chapter Twenty-Six
Chapter Twenty-Seven
Chapter Twenty-Eight
Chapter Twenty-Nine
Chapter Thirty
Chapter Thirty-One
Chapter Thirty-Two
Chapter Thirty-Three
Chapter Thirty-Four
Chapter Thirty-Five
Chapter Thirty-Six
Chapter Thirty-Seven
Chapter Thirty-Eight
Chapter Thirty-Nine
Chapter Forty
Chapter Forty-One
Chapter Forty-Two
Chapter Forty-Three
Chapter Forty-Four
Chapter Forty-Five
Chapter Forty-Six
Chapter Forty-Seven

A peek at the plot

Alli nodded and then shook her head before dropping it helplessly into her hands. "God, what the hell is wrong with me?"

"That's what I've been trying to figure out for years, babe," AJ teased her, but his smirk faded when he saw the desperate look on her face. Dammit, McLean, you know how much she cares about that kid...

"Al, the better question might be 'what the hell is wrong with him?'."

Alli sighed heavily. When she spoke, her tone was uncharacteristically soft. "But, J, I thought we'd decided that we didn't know the answer to that question?"

AJ nodded in affirmation. "That we did."

"So what's the point in asking it again?"

AJ shrugged lightly. "Maybe one of these days we'll find an answer?"

Alli rolled her eyes. "Yeah, and maybe one of these days pigs will fly out of Carter's ass." She leveled her friend with a pointed gaze. "Don't think so, AJ."

AJ chuckled at the imagery. "Hey, babe, Nick's already got a lot of things flying out of his ass. None of them are too pleasant, but they're certainly noticeable." He giggled gleefully at his own inconspicuous fart joke, but Alli had him one better.

"Yeah, I guess you're right. Come to think of it, nearly everything Nick says these days seems to fly out of his ass..."

AJ nearly spit out his coffee as he sputtered in surprise. As soon as he recovered, he glared sternly in Alli's direction.

"Alli..." he warned, wagging a finger at her. She glared right back at him, matching his tone and demeanor exactly.


"What phrase would you most like to hear Nick pull out of his ass next?"

Alli couldn't hide her smile that time. The question was random, but it was most definitely an AJ thing to ask. After a moment's thought, however, her expression grew serious as she fixed her sad gray eyes on the Backstreet Boy she considered to be a brother.

"Honestly?" AJ nodded. "I'd like to hear him call me his best friend again and mean it. I'd like to hear him tell me that I'm the only one that understands him, that he loves me for me, and that he feels better with me around." She sighed again. "Of course, that's totally unlikely, isn't it?"

"Nothing's too unlikely to hope for," AJ countered pointedly, and Alli's shoulders sagged in defeat.

"Don't tell me that," she said, quietly but seriously. "I might actually start hoping again."

Excerpt taken from Chapter Thirteen.