This is the beginning of an atypical romance.
When artist Nate Wilson falls in love, he falls hard. The problem is, he’s only been in love once, and the girl of his affections is his best friend, Emi Hennigan. In high school, the two bonded over painful breakups, and swore off a relationship to save their friendship. Thirteen years later, Nate has had more than his share of emotionally-unfulfilling, sexual relationships with beautiful women to distract himself from his true romantic feelings.When a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity takes Nate away from his friend and his comfortable lifestyle, he is forced to reflect on the distinct void that Emi’s absence leaves in his life. To Nate’s surprise, Emi has a similar experience; but as the friends embark upon their journey toward happiness together, destiny reveals other plans for Emi.
Nine years is a long time to hold on to a feeling– one that I felt for only ten seconds of my life. Logically, I know it was twenty seconds at most, but the impact it left made it seem like forever. If I allow myself to think about that night– and I never do– I can remember how the air in my lungs felt completely effervescent, how my chest tightened around my racing heart, how my skin seemed to feel everything around me. Hands. Lips. A cool, fall breeze. I even thought I could feel the stars sparkling above, prickly and scintillating in their luminescence.
Nine years is a long time, but with a feeling like that, I doubt I’ll ever let it go completely. It’s a shame I don’t have a good sense of what actually caused that feeling, but my imagination has filled in the blanks left by the drunken oblivion of that night.
I chose stupid ways to rebel in college. Of course, drinking was the norm for most students at school, but my actions back then lingered more toward self-centered and inconsiderate. Had I known I’d see Nate at any time that evening, I never would have consumed as much as I had. To this day, I mostly drink in moderation when we’re around one another. A better friend may give up drinking entirely, but even he has a little alcohol every now and then. And he doesn’t have any friends better than me, nor do I have any that rank above him.
As I wait for Nate, hurriedly getting ready for a night out with his current love interest, I wonder if he makes all women feel the way I felt for those ten glorious seconds. That would explain the long string of girlfriends. But maybe that feeling was fleeting. Maybe it was only meant to happen once, to stir up those emotions and questions for those brief seconds. Maybe other women acted on that fleeting feeling... and then maybe it just resulted in fleeting relationships. After all, they’re just emotions. By nature, emotions are not stable, nor are they reliable. They come and go. Just as his girlfriends do. In quick succession. They come and they go...
Does it make any sense at all to continue to search for that feeling? I shrug my shoulders as if I’m answering my own question, having my own conversation with myself. Whether it makes sense or not, I’m on a mission to find it again someday, with someone. I just hope that my pursuit doesn’t keep me from seeing things in the periphery. From seeing that what I’m looking for is actually right in front of me.
“Well?” he asks, my eyes focusing on what I would call a blouse on any day. It almost doesn’t compute. Men don’t wear blouses. Nate does not wear blouses.
“You’re not wearing that.” I can’t contain my laugh.
“What?” he asks, lingering in the doorway to his bathroom.
“That... that... is it a shirt?” I ask, cringing at the light pink button down with... are those ruffles? I take a few steps closer to confirm the strange quarter-inch of fabric peeking out from under the center hem.
“Yes, it’s a shirt,” Nate argues, his voice not as confident as it was only seconds before.
“Who picked that out?”
“My personal shopper,” he defends his clothing choice. “It’s Italian... or French, I don’t remember.”
“Wait, your personal shopper. Is she a jilted lover?” I ask him.
“She wasn’t at the time,” he confesses as he takes a long, hard look at himself in the mirror.
“Well, I think it’s safe to say she didn’t want any other women hitting on her man. You can’t wear that. Seriously. I don’t know what kind of man would wear that sort of thing. Gay men have much better taste. And straight men would run screaming. Wait, why aren’t you running, or screaming?”
“Damn it, Emi,” he says, frustrated, practically tearing the monstrosity of a shirt off of his body. “I don’t have time for this.” He walks quickly back to his closet and takes a look inside, stretching his back subtly. I hate it when he walks around without his shirt, and decide to tell him so.
“I hate it when you walk around without your shirt on. It... bothers me.” And yet, I can’t tear my eyes away.
“I know you do. But did you not just tell me ten seconds ago that I couldn’t wear that shirt? You asked for it.” He throws the pink thing at me playfully. “What should I wear then?”
“A regular American dress shirt, Nate. Don’t you have anything like that?” I push aside t-shirt after t-shirt in his closet until I find a pressed white button-down shirt, still in the plastic bag from the cleaners. “Here.”
He takes it from me and walks back into the bathroom. “You need a belt, too,” I remind him, catching a glimpse of the waistband of his light blue boxers underneath his loose-fitting jeans. “And you’ll probably want to wear an undershirt with that,” I yell to him.
“What else, Mom?” he teases me, crossing the room to his dresser and pulling out a thin, white t-shirt. “And I’m not wearing jeans, don’t worry. I’m wearing that.” He points to a hanger holding a pair of black pants and a matching jacket.
“Wow, slacks and a coat. Looks suspiciously like a suit... This must be getting serious. Did you get her a corsage, too?”
“Shut it,” he warns me with a smile. “Well at least my wardrobe choices are keeping your mind off of... what’s his name?”
“David,” I remind him for the twentieth time, watching him pull on the tight undershirt as he goes back into the bathroom. I examine the pink blouse and put my arms through the sleeves. “Hey, can I wear this?” I cinch the ends at my waist and push my way into the room next to him, looking at myself in the mirror. I flop the cuffs around, trying to find my hands.
He laughs and turns to me, folding up the sleeves until my limbs are revealed. “I thought you wanted him to like you... not run, screaming.”
Review ~ 4 Stars
Hmmm! Where to start... I know! How about Nate is such a friggin man whore that I wanted to kick his nuts in through out most of the book. I really did like this story but he just made me sooo damn mad. I think he could have come to his life altering epiphany without all the sleeping around. And without hurting all those other girls in the process. Ok! Moving forward. Emi needed a good shake also. She loved him but kept finding reasons why it wouldn't work out between them. Shit or get off the pot already chica. I was having a hard time deciding what rating to give this book and then I realized that if the author can make me this angry with her writing then it's a job well done. There were some really sweet moments between Nate and Emi too. Finally Nate started redeeming himself and Emi got her head together. So then what does the author do? She leaves you with your mouth hanging open and a WTF just happened feeling in the pit of your stomach. Thank god the second book is already out or I may have lost it! Now I am off to find out what happens next.
About this author....
After graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1997 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Lori Otto worked in the billboard industry for ten years. Frustrated with trying to communicate entire messages in “seven seconds or less,” she decided to leave outdoor advertising and return to her love of creative writing.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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