Ashley Smith spent her life being shipped from one family member to the next. When Ashley’s estranged father dies, she finally has the money to go to college and the chance to find a place where she belongs.
Within days, Ashley has found the one thing she’s always longed for – a family. She may have even found love. There’s only one problem. Ashley likes Colin…a lot, but so does Randi, and everyone likes Randi. Randi’s approval is the single easiest way to belong. Falling in love with Randi’s crush is the single easiest way to find oneself on the outside for the next three years.
When Ashley arrived at college, she never dreamed she’d find this kind of happiness. Will she allow herself to hold on to this happiness, and Colin, or will her fear of losing her friends, the only friends she’s ever known, dictate her actions?
Accepted by Coleen Lahr
Publication date: November 4th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
By the time we were halfway through reviewing the second chapter, I was fully engrossed by the disparity between the two sides of my body and had completely and utterly lost focus on Organic Chemistry. All of my focus was on the parts of my body that pressed against Colin. I only hoped Colin wouldn’t notice.
“You alright, Ash?”
And, of course, he did.
“Huh?” was my brilliant answer.
“Are you okay? You’re kind of out of it.”
I needed an excuse. I didn’t think, “Oh, I was just daydreaming about having your body pressed against mine,” would cut it.
“Oh, um, I’m sorry.” I shook my head, trying to dispel the fog. “I was just trying to figure out where I was going to sleep tonight. Becca went home, and I didn’t think to borrow her key.”
Awesome save, Ashley.
“Rookie mistake,” he joked and nudged his shoulder into mine, pushing his body harder against my side. “I forget that this is your first semester here. It’s strange. I feel like I’ve known you so much longer than just a couple of months.”
Then, he turned his face to mine—it was just a couple of inches away—and smiled warmly. I looked into his eyes, and the heat that had been just in my right side spread through the rest of my body.
Colin’s expression suddenly changed, and he looked away.
“You could, you know, sleep in here.” He shrugged.
He looked so nervous that I actually smiled.
“I’d sleep in Brett’s bed, of course.” He looked up at me and continued, more confident now. “I won’t try anything funny.”
I don’t know how it slipped out, but all of a sudden, I heard myself reply in a husky, flirtatious voice, “It’s not the funny stuff that I’m worried about.” Then, I felt the corners of my mouth tip up.
I had no idea where it came from. As soon as the words came out, I knew I shouldn’t have opened my mouth, and now that they were out there, I couldn’t take them back.
Suddenly, the entire atmosphere of the room changed. The air was thicker somehow, and I was even more aware of Colin next to me, as if that were possible.
Our eyes locked, and he leaned toward me, closing the inches of space between us.
I knew he was going to kiss me. I also knew I wasn’t going to stop him.
I closed my eyes and tilted my head back, knowing this may be a bad idea and that it may change things—and not in a good way—but also knowing that right then, at that second, and in that moment, I couldn’t stop it.
And as I waited for Colin’s lips to touch mine, I realized that there wasn’t anything either of us could do to stop it. There wasn’t anything anyone could do to stop it.
When Coleen‘s not plotting or writing her next book, she can be found making sandwiches in her family’s restaurant, running (but mostly walking) Disney marathons, reading any book she can get her hands on and playing with her adorable kid. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, daughter, two dogs and lizard.