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TWISTED SOULS - EXCERPT
4 years ago
“I can’t believe we have to go home tomorrow,” Liane groaned, sticking her toes in the sand. “Another year until I see you again, Blake. I can’t take it.”
Blake reached over and patted her hand, willing himself to grab her and just let the truth spill out of his mouth. But she hadn’t given him any signs that her feelings for him had changed, and he was scared. “I know. A year is a really long time. But we’ve done it every year since we’ve known each other. There’s always letters and phone calls.”
“I know. But it’s not the same as getting to spend two straight weeks with you. I wish you lived in Kentucky,” she whined, rubbing her foot absently against his leg.
“And I wish you lived in South Carolina,” he forced himself to say. Really, he wished he could be anywhere that he could see her every single day, maybe for the rest of his life. He couldn’t wait to be an adult, because that’s exactly what he was going to do; give Liane the world and never, ever leave her side again. And if she didn’t stop rubbing her foot on his leg, it was going to get embarrassing.
Liane looked over her shoulder at her sister Beth, walking down the beach with a girlfriend that she had also met at Sanibel over the years. Beth was getting ready to go to college, and Liane, high school. “I’m sad that she’s leaving for college,”
she said. “I’ll be all alone. I’m afraid to start high school, and my big sister won’t even be there to give me advice. Wait! I know! Maybe ask your parents if you can come to Kentucky for Christmas! You know our parents miss each other just as much as we do. Then I’ll at least have something to look forward to.”
Blake looked out at the dark water, the moon illuminating just enough for them to see. He lifted his eyes to the stars, wishing that giving his wish to one would make it come true. “It’s been the best two weeks of my life so far,” he admitted.
“Me too,” Liane sighed. “We even met some new friends this time. You liked Veronica, didn’t you? She’s really cute.” Blake looked at her, wondering how in the heck he could answer this question. There had been a new group of teenagers at the beach for a week, and they had spent time with them almost every day they had been there. They were from Michigan, and hadn’t ever been to Sanibel before. The girl Liane was talking about was a fifteen-year-old bombshell, with dark curly hair, electric blue eyes, and a body well beyond most girls her age. And had he not had Liane, he might’ve liked Veronica. But when Liane stepped into his eyesight, there was no one that held a candle to her.
Liane came to the beach this year looking like a woman, and he had no idea what to do with that. While last year she had been rail skinny, this year she wasn’t only beautiful, she had curves. Her breasts had filled out, as well as her hips. Her in a two-piece bathing suit was enough to send Blake running for his condo. It didn’t help that puberty had hit him full force this year. He had spent all of the last two weeks trying his hardest to look at Liane the way he had the previous thirteen years of their lives. But nothing dissuaded him from falling hard for her. He thought even his parents had noticed; maybe even hers. He wished that would
embarrass him, but he was getting to the point that he would admit it if they would just help him with what to do.
There wasn’t a memory of Sanibel that didn’t have her in it. Their parents had met here when they were both babies. Liane liked to tell him that she was older and therefore wiser their entire life. Their birthdays differed by just weeks. There hadn’t been a year in their whole lives that they hadn’t seen each other, and ever since they knew how to write and make phone calls, they had spent much of the rest of the year keeping in contact that way.
“Penny for your thoughts,” Liane said, nudging him. She wondered where he had just been. That had been happening often, either he would go off into la-la land, or she would catch him looking at her. While he was still her Blake, there was something different about him this year and she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. Beth thought that he had a thing for her, but she knew that wasn’t the case. He was her best friend; plus she had seen him eyeing Veronica all week long. She didn’t blame him; Veronica was gorgeous. Maybe he was sad that she left yesterday and he would probably never see her again. Liane found herself wondering if they exchanged phone numbers, but she couldn’t make herself ask.
“Sorry,” he laughed, realizing she had asked him a question and he had spaced out. “Veronica was cute and nice, but I’m not interested.”
Blake sighed. She just wasn’t going to let this go. This summer, she had been relentless in pointing out cute girls. Even when they went into Fort Myers for
shopping or out to eat with their families, it seemed like she was always trying to find him a girlfriend.
Before he could stop himself, he stood up and reached out his hand, pulling her up to her feet with him. She looked bewildered. “What are you doing?”
Something took hold of him, and he knew he was going to do it. It was now or never. “Liane,” he began. “My LiLi. We’re growing up now. We’re not little kids anymore. We’re about to start high school, and so many changes have happened. You will always be my best friend. But I have to be honest with you right now, because we’re leaving tomorrow and I can’t go another moment without telling you.”
She laughed nervously, wondering what in the world he was about to say. He looked so serious, and his hands were clutching hers. “What’s going on?”
The moonlight shone on his eyes, making Liane suck in a breath. She might be young, but she loved romance novels and movies. She knew exactly what that look was, and she couldn’t believe it was coming from her best friend in the world. She started to back up, willing him not to say the words. It wasn’t that she hadn’t thought that same thing over the last two weeks, but she knew that it was pointless and would only hurt them in the long run. After all, they were only fourteen years old. What did they know about love and relationships? She had never even kissed a boy before.
“We can’t be just friends,” he said softly, his heart hammering in his chest. She looked confused and a little panicked; yet he knew he wasn’t stopping now.
Liane’s eyes widened. He didn’t want to be friends with her? What had happened? How had she misread him so terribly? “W-what?” Tears pricked her eyes. “What did I do? I’m sorry!”
Blake smiled, shaking his head. “You don’t get it, Li. We can’t be just friends because I want us to be more. I want you to be my first and only girlfriend, Liane Kelly.” Before she could process the words he just announced, he closed the space in between them and pressed his lips to hers. She had thought about this moment ever since she started liking boys when she was about twelve, but never did she think she’d have her first kiss on Sanibel Island with her best friend, Blake McIntyre. His lips were warm and a little sticky from the marshmallow they had eaten earlier. They were like pillows pressing against hers. She knew all about French kissing, and wasn’t so sure that she wanted to do that just yet with a boy. He kissed her once more softly and then backed away, his eyes searching hers for any reaction whatsoever.
Liane’s breath started coming in short spurts as she searched for some semblance of understanding. What had just happened? She couldn’t kiss her best friend. It would ruin everything. She could never live without him, yet now he wanted to be her boyfriend? She had just had her first kiss. With Blake McIntyre. Her best friend since she was in diapers. This wasn’t happening.
She found herself backing up, dropping his hands. He reached for her, but she continued moving away from him. What was she going to do? “I-I have to go,” Liane stuttered. “I can’t do this with you, Blake. Not now, not ever.” With that, she turned and ran off into the darkness, leaving Blake looking after her.
He was pretty sure she had just ripped out his heart and was running away with it.
TWISTED SOULS (Twisted, #1)
What if your soul is so intertwined with someone else's that it's impossible to imagine yourself without them?
Blake McIntyre and Liane Kelly’s families have spent their vacations together on Sanibel Island their entire lives, and the two have always been the best of friends. But as they get ready to go to college, they admit that friendship isn’t enough for them anymore and spend a whirlwind two weeks daring to dream of their future together.
But building sandcastles and lazy beach walks filled with moonlight kisses isn't the same as real life, and soon they are faced with a new reality. Can their hope of forever survive past their summer, or does fate have its own twisted plan?
TWISTED PATHS (Twisted, #2)
Life is a series of choices, and every one we make sends us down a different path…
It is easy to look back at your life and see the mistakes you’ve made and wonder how it all could’ve been different. But when the path you thought would last forever comes to an end and you have to choose a new one, do you follow the route that looks the straightest and easiest? Or do you follow your heart and choose the one that might have more twists and turns but could lead you to the happiest tomorrows?
Twisted Paths is not a standalone. This is meant to be read after book one in the Twisted series, Twisted Souls.
About the Author:
L.L. Collins loves spending her days in the Florida sun with her husband and two boys, reading, and writing. LL has been writing since she was old enough to write. Always a story in her head, she finally decided to let the characters out made her lifelong dream of becoming an author come true in the self-publishing world. She’s the author of the Living Again Series and the Twisted Series, plus a new standalone, Back to the Drawing Board. Visit LL on her website, www.llcollinsauthor.com and on all social media. Look for more of her emotionally charged novels soon!
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