Last Love (The Love Duet #1) Read Online Xavier Neal

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Contemporary, Erotic, Insta-Love Tags Authors: Series: The Love Duet Series by Xavier Neal
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Total pages in book: 97
Estimated words: 96586 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 483(@200wpm)___ 386(@250wpm)___ 322(@300wpm)
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Ryder Collins wasn’t always this determined.
This optimistic.
This devoted.
Once upon a time he was fractured.
Resentful.
Disgusted by his entire existence.
So, what happened?
He’s finally given the opportunity to make things right with his soulmate.
Hopefully.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************

Playlist Selects

Here are five songs from the “Last Love” playlist!

Feel free to follow the playlist on Spotify to find more songs I felt related to the book.

1. Come Away With Me – Norah Jones (Jazzy/Piano Pop)

2. Here Ever After – Red Hot Chili Peppers (Rock)

3. Selfish – Slum Village, John Legend, Kayne West (Rap/Hip-Hop)

4. Pusher Love Girl – Justin Timberlake (R&B)

5. Her World or Mine – Michael Ray (Country)

More songs: https://spoti.fi/3JMDJ2G

Chapter 1

Ryder

- “Life without you was barely worth getting out of bed in the morning.” -

“My name is Ryder Collins,” I begrudgingly announce from behind the too short podium. “And I’m a recovering drug addict.”

Fucking obviously.

It’s not like I walked into a shopper’s anonymous meeting.

The goddamn words written on the dry erase board right outside the door tell everyone and anyone walking by exactly why I’m here.

Why we’re all here.

Why we’re all sitting in this bland fucking environment watching each other ramble instead of binge watching something more entertaining on Netflix.

Why we sit in uncomfortable fucking fold out chairs like we’re in a middle school assembly just thinking about how long is left until the bell rings to dismiss us.

I highly doubt that any of us want to be here.

Just like I highly fucking doubt anyone of us want to be standing where I’m currently standing.

Giving this fucking speech I damn sure don’t wanna be giving.

I mean it’s so fucking over rehearsed.

Empty.

Hollow.

I’ve said these words so many times over the past couple of weeks that they’ve completely lost their meaning.

Recovering?

Fuck that, I’m recovered.

I haven’t touched the shit in months.

Shouldn’t that put my ass in the past tense version of that shit?

See, but that’s the thing about being an addict.

You’re always recovering unless you’re using.

You’re always an addict.

It’s a disease.

A fucking plague.

And no matter how hard you scrub your name, your personality, your actions, your goddamn soul, you will forever be permanently branded with the black stain of your mistakes.

Your shortcomings.

Your weakest moments that you wish you could forget.

You know since self-disdain isn’t enough atonement on its own, it only makes sense that you have to bear the bleakest branding possible for however many days you have left on this wasteland we have the balls to call paradise.

Alright.

So maybe I need to attend a crabby assholes anonymous meeting too.

Get some tips on how the fuck to lift my spirits.

Turns out just being “free” doesn’t automatically do that shit.

I grip the edges of the wooden stand a little harder as I begin my insipid retelling of how I found myself on this particular path.

While every gathering begins with the same trite start – the introduction of who you are and what you are – each one touches on a different topic.

Different moments.

Sometimes they have us looking backwards, reflecting on what once was – an exercise I’ve already fucking perfected – and at other times they have us looking forward – an activity I haven’t trained myself to do past the very next day.

“One day a time…” were Doc’s final words to me.

They fucking stuck.

I wake up repeating them.

I go to bed reciting them.

I even jog – fuck, I hate jogging – to them.

Noah says it’s perfectly normal to have a mantra.

That he even has one.

I think he wanted me to ask about it, but I didn’t.

Maybe someday I will.

As for now?

I think he’s just grateful I share mine.

And I’m grateful I don’t feel like he’s judging me for it.

The watered-down depiction of my descent holds the audience attention to the same degree it holds my own when it’s me sitting in the seats rather than standing. Unlike the elaborate version I went through with Doc, which highlighted more to me than I previously allowed it, I deliver one that gets enough of the point across.

I used drugs to numb the pain for years.

Forget who I was.

Forget the fuckups I had made.

In admitting this mistake to a room full of people with the same fault, it feels okay to accept I am no better than they are nor am I worse.

Fact of the shit is…we’re all on the same abstemious journey.

And we are all in need of the same substantial support.

Part of me likes that.

Fuck, part of me finds so much goddamn comfort in that.

At the end of my short story, I escort myself back to my seat to the sound of applause meant to congratulate me on my bravery for telling my tale.

I don’t feel brave.

I feel like a fucking loser.

Maybe there’s a fucking meeting I can go to for that shit as well?

Or a class?

Jan Holtby, our host, and a retired Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, returns to the stand to close the meeting the same way she always does. There’s gratitude expressed my direction once more for speaking, key things to takeaway, and a tough love reminder framed in a military camaraderie sense that tends to leave us feeling ready to handle whatever will come our way this week.


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