Release date: February 20, 2017
Sarah Soon may have recovered from cancer—in body—but her brush with mortality has left the usually confident OB/GYN shaken about her future and herself. When she unexpectedly runs into Jake Li, her brother’s annoying high school BFF who betrayed her trust, he’s the last person she wants to see. She doesn’t need the now-disturbingly hot social worker hanging around while she sorts herself out, yet suddenly he’s inescapable.
Everyone’s telling the newly divorced Jake that he shouldn’t be looking for a serious relationship already, but he’s always been helplessly drawn to Sarah’s vivaciousness. Can he show her that he’s all grown up now and worthy of her trust and a second chance?
Or will they make a clean break once and for all?
by Ruby Lang
Ruby Lang is the pen name of non-fiction writer Mindy Hung. She has written for The New York Times, The Toast, and Salon. She enjoys running (slowly), reading (quickly), and ice cream (at any speed). She lives in New York with a small child and a medium-sized husband.
An excerpt from Clean Breaks:
“Sarah, that guy is looking at you.”
Sarah Soon, obstetrician/gynecologist, maker of lists, taker of names, kicker of asses, put down her beer and gave her hair a flip.
“The Asian guy over there. The one with the”— her friend Petra made a cupping motion—“the physique.”
Sarah turned right around—she didn’t do subtle—and took in a good eyeful of the long body hugged lovingly by a gray t-shirt and jeans. She noted the square chin and cheekbones sharp as a blade, a neat, dark beard, a pair of soulful brown eyes, and a frowning forehead. Those eyes were focused on her. Her gaze went back to the forehead.
Sarah was all too familiar with the lines of this particular frown.
“Ohhhhh, shit,” Sarah said, turning back around.
She wasn’t sure if she was embarrassed for getting caught ogling this particular man, or annoyed. She went with annoyed. Also, she didn’t do embarrassed. Not anymore.
“What is it?” her other friend, Helen, asked.
“I know that guy from high school and middle school and … the cradle, probably. He’s one of my brother’s best friends.”
“Were you teen sweethearts?” Helen asked, waggling her brows.
“Ew. No, we did not go out. We were the only two Asian people in my graduating class—different kinds of Asians at that. My parents are from China, and his are from Taiwan. Not that anyone in town cared. They always assumed that we were a breeding pair even when I was actively dating other people.”
They had never been very close, but she had appreciated Jake being there. He’d been someone to share a knowing look with across a room or joke with after an exam. But it had turned out that he hadn’t deserved any loyalty from her. She sighed. “He’s coming this way, isn’t he?”
“I’m afraid he’s already here.”
That last response came in a deep, quiet voice, and Sarah turned herself around once more, slowly this time, caught in his familiar tones. She nodded resignedly in his general direction without looking. “Hey, Jake,” she said.
There was a silence that could have been called uncomfortable, but Sarah was very comfortable with it. She supposed she should attempt to be civil, though, so she broke the silence by taking him in full on and noting grudgingly, “I see you got hot.”
She was satisfied when Jake blushed. He stared down at the bottle of beer in his hand and shuffled his feet. It had always been so easy to get to him.
“Thanks,” he muttered. Then he added, “And you stayed hot, I see.”
“Oh, uh …” She had not expected that. Jake had been a constant presence in her life, but she never thought he’d looked at her. Especially after it turned out that he’d been more a friend to her brother, Winston, who was constantly telling her to get lost and treating her like a pesky younger sister, inferior in intellect, strength, and by her very femaleness. Jake had always been there, calm, never contradicting his friend. She knew where his loyalties lay. She sat up straighter. “Yeah, I did stay hot. Thanks.”