Until We Break

By: Jamie Howard


There is no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love and support of so many amazing people. I am eternally grateful for having every single one of you in my corner.

First and foremost, I’d like to thank every one of you who took the time to read this. Thank you for taking a chance on a debut author. Your support means the world to me.

To my fabulous agent, Jessica Watterson, for plucking my query out of the slush pile and falling in love with my story. Thank you for taking a chance on me, turning my dream into reality, and changing my life. And for the entirety of Team Watterson—you girls are phenomenal. I have the best agency sisters I could ever ask for.

To the amazing team at St. Martin’s Press—Eileen Rothschild, for being the most amazing and insightful editor I could possibly imagine. Your enthusiasm for my book and unwavering support has been incredible. Kate Davis, possibly the most knowledgeable copyeditor on the planet. Thank you for teaching me the difference between whisky and whiskey, and reminding me that daffodils don’t bloom in the summer. Crystal Ben, for the gorgeous cover. Monique Patterson, for giving me my very first fangirl moment. Michelle Cashman, publicist extraordinaire. And every other person at SMP who, in even the smallest ways, were a part of this process.

A huge thank-you to Meredith Tate for being a critique partner, friend, therapist, and cheerleader. To Betsy Aldredge, for whipping the early stages of this manuscript into the very best shape it could possibly be in. To Amanda Heger, Annika Sharma, and Kelly Siskind, for being generally awesome and having superior blurb-writing skills. To Juliana Brandt, for being my very first writing friend and for taking me under her wing. I’d never be here without you.

For absolutely everyone in the NAC—Amanda Heger, Annika Sharma, Ara Grigorian, Diana Gardin, Jessica Ruddick, Kate L. Mary, Laura Salters, Marie Meyer, Marnee Blake, Meredith Tate, Sophia Henry, Tegan Wren—your support is tireless, your enthusiasm unwavering. I’m so grateful to have you. To the entirety of the QK Cabal and the Agented Chamber of Secrets—you guys rock. And last, but certainly not least, to the QK Draft Club—Alex White and Max Wirestone—thank you for your never-ending encouragement and for keeping me on track.

My biggest thanks (and deepest apologies) to my very first readers of not only this manuscript, but also the one we will never mention—Carol Kuziola, Aunt Dawn, Mom, and Steve.

Much love and gratitude to my entire family. To Aidan, for reminding me to never stop dreaming and for being the best sleeper a mom could hope for. To my mom, for every piece of love and encouragement that got me exactly where I am today. To my dad, for always believing in me. To Amanda and Kelley, for generously spending your time looking at pictures of hot guys as inspiration with me.

Lastly, to Steve— the most amazing husband a girl could ask for. Not only for wrangling our busy, busy son so I can get work done, or for wading through the ‘had forest,’ or even for pointing out all the spots where ‘a guy would never say that.’ But for giving me my very own happily ever after. Our love story will always be my favorite one.


Chapter 1


I drum my fingers against the side of my empty plastic cup as the redhead sitting in my lap twirls one corkscrewed curl around her finger. Leaning against my chest, she flicks my earlobe with her tongue and then bites down softly. I curl my bare toes in the sand as her lips trace a fiery path down my neck.

Reaching behind her, she skims her hand up my inner thigh, the warmth of it bleeding through my jeans. Inches from reaching her goal, I wrap my fingers around her wrist to prevent her from dipping below my waistband. She whips her head around, eyebrows drawn together and her lip thrust out in a pout.

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