Today we have a smooch from Friends to Forever by Nikki Logan, but first ...
the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- Nas Dean!
Congratulations, Nas! Can you please contact Anna Hackett at
anna (at) annahackettbooks (dot) com
and she'll send you a free download of One Night with the Wolf.
And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Friends to Forever by Nikki Logan! For the first time, we'll be using one of our nifty new 'content' icons...
She was the high-school princess – he was the high-school nobody…
Marc Duncannon and Beth Hughes were the best of friends – until a heated kiss exposed secrets and ruined everything.
Ten years later, Beth seeks out Marc and finds him battling to save a stranded whale. Together on a lonely Australian beach they face exhaustion, the elements and their own personal demons. They discover that their friendship is worth fighting for, because they share something even stronger – a love that
could last a lifetime.
Set-up: Everything changed between inseparable friends Beth Hughes and Marc Duncannon when they hit puberty and life got complicated. Beth has always blamed herself for the horrible way their friendship ended and has tracked grown-up Marc down to set things right as part of her management of her alcohol addiction. But instead of saying her piece and driving back into the sunset, she finds herself alone on a remote beach, thigh-deep in freezing water, with the man who has so much reason to hate her. But once the euphoria of freeing the stranded whale drains from their systems, Beth and Marc are left weak and exhausted, clinging together in the icy, midnight shallows with the turbulent echoes of that day floating around them… As she sags, broken and emotionally battered against him in the surf, Beth asks Marc what he’d do differently about that last day they were together if they could go back in time…
‘It matters to me, Beth.’ Marc said. ‘Whether you hated it. Whether I damaged our friendship, too.’
Too. Misery came surging back in at the reminder that she’d said the words that destroyed their friendship. Even if she hadn’t set out to. She was only going to ask him to back off for a while. But he’d kissed her and she panicked. Those angry lips pressing against hers, forcing hers wider. The hands that had plunged into her hair to hold her captive sent electric sparks through her body and threw her into confusion. The press of his eager body into hers made her want things she shouldn’t want. The desperate, intense pain in his eyes echoing hers. The thick smoke-like energy he’d been pumping out all around them.
Did she like it?
Enough to rip his heart out with her reflexive over-reaction.
She took a breath. Held his eyes. Held her breath. ‘I didn’t hate it.’
This is where he’d kiss her in a movie. The water. The cold. The intimacy. And her admission practically cried out for his mouth on hers.
Instead he nudged her head back down to his shoulder and rested his cheek against her wet hair. A particularly full wave washed over them and buffeted Beth against him with its chilly brush. Her heart squeezed hard. Had she been so starved for affection in her loveless marriage that she was finding it now in impossible places? Marc was just moved by their circumstance and harking back to better times. That was all. Waiting for a kiss was stupidly naïve and impossibly romantic.
Since there was to be no kissing, she needed—really badly—to get off him. But her body had practically seized up in the foetal position and straightening her limbs was a new kind of agony. Just when she thought she’d already met all the cousins in the Pain family.
‘Easy, Beth. You need to walk off the ache. Your muscles will be eating themselves.’
Pretty apt, really. Starting with the giant, thumping one in her chest cavity. Crawling into Marc’s lap had not been part of her plan as she drove up the coastal highway this morning, but now that she had it was hard to imagine ever getting the sensation out of her mind. Her heart.
But she had to.
Her back screamed as she pushed against his chest and twisted up onto her knees, between his. She gave herself a moment to adjust.
‘Just one more thing…’ Marc murmured, before she could rise much further. Those powerful abdominal muscles she’d spied before he zipped them up beneath his wetsuit did their job and pulled his torso up out of the splash and hard into hers. His lips slid warmly, firmly against her mouth and he took advantage of her shocked gasp to work them open, hot and blazing against her numb flesh. Her lips drank heat from him and came tingling back to life, startled and wary. His hands forked up into her wet hair and held her face while he teased and taunted her blissfully with his tongue, letting her breathe his air as though he were giving her the kiss of life.
Which, in a way, he was.
Relief and a decade of desire surged through her. Forgiveness tasted an awful lot like this.
He lifted his face and stared into her glassy eyes. ‘This is how I would do it if I had my time over,’ he said softly and then lowered his mouth again.
Nikki has a signed copy of Friends to Forever to give away to one lucky commenter. Just tell her whether you have a best friend of the opposite sex from your past that you let go due to social expectation or peer pressure. Do you ever wonder what happened to them? Or have you kept track all these years? Or did you end up turning your friendship to forever?
Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from our international guest Liz Fielding will be posted!
Love the excerpt I have this book on the TBR pile and am very much looking forward to reading it.
I don't have anyone from the past that I let go I started going out with my hubby when I was 15 and him 17 and we have been married for nearly 34 years we stuck together and very happily as well
oooh - I feel the pain in this one - want to know all about that past now - and how they can resolve it to move forward together...ReplyDelete
Hmmm - as for those people in the past? Don't really have that many boys I was that close to at an early age - was part of going to an all girls school and growing up in an all girl family I guess! I'm still very good friends with one guy tho - he and his wife are godparents to our twins :)
Thanks for the win. I'm looking forward to reading ONE NIGHT WITH THE WOLVE. I wonder if this wolf is as super hot as Jacob(Taylor Lautner!)ReplyDelete
This kiss is hot despite being the kiss of life in a way. Adding FRIENDS TO FOREVER to my TBR list.
Like Natalie, I grew up in an all-girl household and went to a girls' school, so no, there aren't any boys I was close to at that age!ReplyDelete
Great smooch, Nikki!
Nikki, that was sooooo nice! No wonder people are talking about this book =)ReplyDelete
Ooh, wonderful smooch, Nikki. I could feel how much history this pair shares. Really looking forward to hunkering down with Friends to ForeverReplyDelete
Hi Nikki --ReplyDelete
What an emotionally intense smooch!
I've always had lots of friends of the opposite sex (my day job is male dominated) but since hubby entered my world, balancing friendship and *more* isn't an issue. Some friends I keep in touch with and some I do wonder what they're up to now...
Congrats to Nas on winning One Night with the Wolf -- I'm off to email you the download right now!
I have read Friends to Forever--OMG, the power packed emotion in this story is incredible.ReplyDelete
I read one story a few years ago that had the same flaw as this heroine--but I never warmed up to that heroine and decided that it was one flaw that was beyond my tolerance.
Well, Nikki Logan blew holes in that theory. The biggest difference was in execution. Beth Hughes owned her flaw and she worked hard to overcome her past--yes, she was heroine with a flaw I find hard to tolerate, but I became enamored with her and respected her gutsiness. Both the hero and heroine in this story could have become tragic annoying characters, but they did not in Logan's hands. This is a wonderful read!
BTW, I do have a friend I let go, but after a few years we reconnected via fb despite living on opposite coasts of the USA.ReplyDelete
OMG - I am so embarrassingly late to my own party.ReplyDelete
I'll just blame it on travel-lag coming back from a week-long writing retreat with two other Cats in Tasmania...
now...to comment and pick a winner...!
Helen - I love that you and your husband are still together, still strong and in love 34 years later. Congratulations. I think that's beautiful.ReplyDelete
Natalie and Emily - SNAP on the all girl family, all girl school but I did still manage to have boy friends (as distinct from 'boyfriends') outside of school. It was a brutal world, junior high school and I look back with amazement at how intolerant most of my peers were to anyone with the slightest defect (me included!).
Nas, thanks for adding me to your TBR and congrats on last week's book.
Robbie, who's talking? I must know... ;)
Michelle - as the queen of simple, untennable conflicts I'd love to know what you make of mine when you're done.
Anna - it gets easier...well, 'clearer'...as we get older, thank goodness. Imagine if we had to battle the perceptions and opionions forever...ReplyDelete
Nancy - I may just love you. Thank you for such a lovely summary of my story (and so sensitive to spoilers, too! Professional reviewer at work...). ANd how fantastic to see FaceBook doing it's job! Tell you what that would have been a much shorter book if Beth and Marc just friended each other on FB. LOL. I'm glad you reconnected and put things to right.
Now off to pick a winner....ReplyDelete
Thanks for all the comments everyone.