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T H I S  U S E D 

T O  B E  E A S I E R

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Meg Doyle did not intend to return home from college with a suitcase and nowhere else to go.

Ideally, she would have rolled up to her tiny home town in a limousine and jumped out wearing a designer tuxedo. She would have shaken a few hands, signed a few autographs, and maybe kissed a few girls before riding off into the sunset of her glorious, post-grad future in set design.

Instead, she’s stuck spending the summer in her childhood bedroom, trawling the internet for job listings after a last minute internship cancellation in Europe.

It’s anything but triumphant. Her friends in the city won’t stop reminding her what she’s missing, her mom won’t stop researching lesbian slang terms to seem more ‘relatable,’ and around every corner in the small town of Chapel Creek, there’s Connie Shipley.

The girl Meg used to know better than anyone in the world.

The girl she spent countless nights huddled under the blankets with for sleepovers and movie marathons.

The girl who leaned in and kissed her four summers before.


The girl who hasn’t spoken to her since.

...Which makes it very inconvenient that Meg’s heart still stops every single time she sees her.

This Used to Be Easier is a New Adult, small town WLW romance from Katia Rose. It features a quirky cast of unforgettable characters, an endless supply of cheesy fishing puns, and the kind of love that lasts a lifetime, despite a few bumps along the way.


He doesn’t notice me gripping the edges of my seat so tight my knuckles go pale. He’s whistling to himself and enjoying another Hot Rod as he cranes his neck to stare up at all five storeys of the Shipley Resort, built in the same cottagey style as the ski lodge and dotted with balconies that glow under solar-powered lanterns.

“I still think it’s crazy people pay so much to stay in those,” he says. “Those ones don’t even face the lake.”

All I can do is grunt in answer.

“Oh, hey!” He turns to point the remaining half of his Hot Rod at me. “I forgot you were like, best buddies with Connie Shipley. Does she know you’re back yet? She must be happy about that! We could pull in here if you want to say hi?”

I shake my head so hard I almost give myself whiplash. “She doesn’t live at the hotel, Pat.”

I sound way harsher than I mean to. Pat turns quiet and goes back to watching the road as soon as the words leave my mouth, but I’m too caught up in the way her name is echoing in my head to even try apologizing.

Connie Shipley.

Connie. Connie. Connie.

I kept that name out of my thoughts right up until this moment. The sound has tried to creep into my head more times than I can count over the past couple weeks, but I pushed it away with all the bright, shiny distractions on offer in Montreal. There was always a friend to grab drinks with or a date to go on or a night to spend in with Justice, bitching over a bottle of wine. Those distractions hardly kept out the looming threat of my return to Chapel Creep, but if I tried hard enough, they could at least keep me from thinking about her.

Connie Shipley. Connie Shipley.

I turned her name into a fuzzy, distant chant I couldn’t quite make out, but I forgot how impossible it is to keep the sound from blaring with brutal clarity when I’m in a town that’s literally branded after her family.

My family would barely even have a business if it weren’t for hers. No one around here would. We’re like medieval chattel peasants sworn to a weirdly symbiotic relationship with M’lord Shipley.

Connie wasn’t like that, though. Connie never made me feel less than—at least, not until the very end of things.

“We don’t really keep in touch,” I say once we’re past the resort and heading up the short stretch of highway between Purple Peaks and Chapel Creek’s town centre. “I haven’t even seen her in over a year.”

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