Genre(s): New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Published: September 22nd 2014
How far would you go for a second chance?
Eleven years after flunking out of college, Kate has finally hit rock-bottom. Losing her job and boyfriend in one drunken night, she’s determined to fix her life by going back to the moment when she let partying and sex take over. And do things right this time. At twenty-nine, she heads back to freshman year of college, with a catch.
Pretending she's nineteen with a new roommate and full class schedule is easy. When she meets her shy, sexy and seven-years-younger RA, Carter, following her self-imposed sobriety and celibacy rules is proving to be anything but.
A senior enduring years of regret, Carter is more than ready to graduate. He’s anxious to move on from the party his freshman year where he witnessed his frat brothers about to commit a sexual assault. Instead of doing the right thing and stepping in, he looked the other way and left. His guilt has made for a lonely four years.
When he meets the new freshman on his floor, spunky and confident Kate, he wonders if his time as an outcast has finally come to an end.
Kate and Carter’s growing friendship and undeniable attraction make it harder to hide the demons from their respective pasts. But when their secrets are finally revealed, will their chance at starting over together still be there?
It was light out when I woke up. Kate was breathing next to me. We were both fully clothed. Making out was as far as we had gone. I could tell she longed for more, hell, I did too—my body ached for it. But we’d both stopped this time. The invitation was there if and when we were ready to attend the party.
I’d said no more hiding, but there was still the omission I hadn’t shared. Until I told Kate my secret I didn’t have a right to go any further with her. When and if I finally admitted everything, Kate would have to decide if she still even wanted to know me, let alone you know me.
Besides, even with opportunity pushing us together, I wanted to wait for her. She was worth waiting for.
I sat up and glanced out the window; the snow had stopped. Triple A would be here soon. I’d be able to drive Kate back to the dorm, back into the life we’d been in before last night—before we could lock everything away.
Her eyes opened slowly. “Good morning,” she said, leaning on her arm.
“I have breakfast in bed,” I replied, indicating the box of graham crackers on the floor.
“Leftovers already,” she said with an over-exaggerated frown.
“I could make them into sandwiches, or crumbs, if you’re looking for something a little different.”
“How gourmet,” she said, checking the window. “Did it stop?”
“Does that mean we have to wake up?” She stretched out lazily like a cat. It was so early, even they were still asleep, the dogs too. The only noise I could hear was our breathing, in and out, in and out in the same rhythm, a song our bodies made together in the half-light.
“No,” I replied.
Luckily, it was a weekend and no one would be in till eleven. I kissed her forehead. She smelled like cinnamon from the graham crackers and a little like me from having slept in the crook of my arm all night.
Axe body spray and cinnamon were a lot sexier on a girl than you might think.
“Good,” she said lying back and closing her eyes. Her mouth twitched. “You can keep kissing me though.”
“I can, can I?” I laughed.
“I mean if you’re bored or something.”
“I thought you wanted to go back to sleep.”
“Unless something better wakes me,” she explained.
“Okay, Sleeping Beauty,” I said, kissing first her top lip, then the bottom, running my tongue against the inside of her mouth.
She started fake-snoring, loud, her nose a buzz saw.
I laughed. “Are you claiming my kisses don’t have the power to break a spell?”
“So far,” she said, yawning heavily. “I’m not impressed.”
“That wasn’t how it seemed last night,” I shifted, the bed squeaking below us.
“Last night you plied me with water and graham crackers,” she explained. “I would have done anything you wanted.”
“They do say graham crackers are the new oyster. I mean, I could barely control myself when they came out at snack time as a kid.”
“It’s surprising starting so young didn’t help with your kissing any,” she smirked.
I tickled her and she yelped, which was good because if her outburst didn’t make me stop touching her around her soft, curved abdomen, I wouldn’t be able to control myself from making her yelp about something else.
“Close your eyes again,” I said.
She obliged with a calculating smile.
I tasted her temple, my lips landing quieter than a sigh. I explored along her hairline, my kisses a crown of daisies on her forehead. My mouth grazed her earlobe. I kissed the bridge of her nose, and her
breathing quickened beneath me. I kissed each cheek, one side of her neck and the other, my kisses more hungry, insistent, like I was gasping air.
My lips connected with her pulse as I slid down the length of her neck. I sucked on the base of her throat, the skin there as soft as a peach.
I scanned her face, her lips.
Her tongue darted out and she pouted like a flower waiting for my kiss to sting her, to send her reeling.
I would make her wait.
“Still nothing?” I asked.
“How warm?” I glided my lips back to the nape of her neck.
“Little higher,” she said.
I teased the area below her right jawline.
“Little higher and to the left,” she instructed.
“That’s pretty specific,” I said, my words echoing against her chin.
“Warmer,” she said.
My cheek smoothed against her left jawline.
“Colder, freezing,” she laughed.
I hovered above her lips, not touching them, not touching her, waiting, flooded in her pull, letting her bathe in mine.
She tipped her head back. My lips grazed hers like a rain just starting and then thundered against her with the force of a downpour.
“Hot enough?” I whispered, continuing to inhale her one kiss at a time.
“Bull’s-eye,” she sighed.
He’s a senior when AGAIN begins and hasn’t been with a girl since that night as a way of punishing himself. He loves animals and volunteers at the local humane society. It isn’t until he meets Kate that he thinks he might finally be able to let himself be happy again.
She goes back to freshman year of college and pretends to be nineteen, only this time she vows there will be no drinking and no guys to mess things up. She has a great wit and confidence despite always feeling like she made the wrong decisions.
When she meets Carter, she begins to wonder if someone who seems so good is actually too good to be true.
SWEET- Carter is probably the sweetest hero I’ve ever written, aside from what he’s done in his past.
SEXY- Kate and Carter navigating their forbidden feelings for each other is one hot ride.
REDEMPTIVE- Carter and Kate both realize that forgiveness really begins with them.
SECOND-CHANCE- Who doesn’t wish they could go back and change something they’ve said or done. Both Kate and Carter get to see if this wish is really worth wishing for.
I liked the way he was checking me out, his gaze sliding from my just purchased Uggs to my just purchased white winter hat with cat ears smashed over my recently highlighted blond hair. I had been doing my best to look student-like. But I was pretty sure I looked like Hannah Montana.
I couldn’t help but wonder if my real “father” wasn’t the hotshot in the listing at the sperm bank, but was just some homeless guy jizzing in a cup to get money for a fix.
Sure there were those movies where the main character wishes they could be older or younger when they blow out their birthday candles, or when they are in front of a fortune teller machine, or while they are holding a possessed totem, and then magically overnight they are, but I didn’t have time to wait for magic.
Maybe that’s what happens to everyone as they are about to turn thirty—the threshold where their life isn’t theirs anymore. It belongs instead to the people they sleep with, the people who pay them, and the people they have to pay.
I liked anything that got me drunk. Sure, my preferred poison was always Riesling, but if someone else was buying I’d drink moonshine, or fucking Scope.
I launched myself against his chest and kissed him, his lips hard and soft and rough and smooth and wrong and right and terrible and perfect all at the same time. His hands eased under the jacket, cold shocking my warm stomach. A moan trembled from his lips, the sound like a boiling teapot about to whistle. I forced my hips against his, practically crawling on top of him. He was hard, hot against me.
Every mistake feels at least partly amazing, otherwise you wouldn’t keep making them.
When I thought about his kiss, recalled the need that surged through me, I knew I would wear his lips as permanently as a tattoo for the rest of my life.
That was what everyone said when you did something destructive. It was easy to tell someone to stop. It was a hell of a lot harder to be the person who had to do it. I knew about the damaged parts of a person. The pieces you wanted to hide that people close to you always found eventually. They were the rawest parts of you, which usually made them the hardest to let go of.
My body was uneven with her question hanging there, transforming me from cold immovable stone into someone scrambling for anything to hold on to. She was so direct. It was unnerving and sexy and, having lived surrounded by lies for so long, a lot like air.
She pushed out her bottom lip. A lip I’d bitten, sucked on, and wanted to do a hell of a lot more to. Her brown eyes filled with so much they seemed black, like universes. She blinked; dark lashes hit white skin as soft as a whisper.
My lips burned with urgency. His kiss lived in the hot skin of my cheeks, the tender hairs behind my neck, the goose bumps riding up and down my thighs. He gasped for breath and his gaze darted over me. Not like he was searching, but like he’d found everything he was ever looking for.
I tasted her temple, my lips landing quieter than a sigh. I explored along her hairline, my kisses a crown of daisies on her forehead. My mouth grazed her earlobe. I kissed the bridge of her nose, and her breathing quickened beneath me. I kissed each cheek, one side of her neck and the other, my kisses more hungry, insistent, like I was gasping air. My lips connected with her pulse as I slid down the length of her neck. I sucked on the base of her throat, the skin there as soft as a peach. I scanned her face, her lips. Her tongue darted out and she pouted like a flower waiting for my kiss to sting her, to send her reeling. I would make her wait.
“What do people do on their fifth dates?” I asked, leaning toward her. “They don’t have to ask for someone to kiss them, for starters,” she said, licking her lips so they sparkled in the night. Urgency hummed inside me, a throb, a scream for more. “What do they ask for?” “Are you going to make me beg?” she laughed. I reached out for her, gripped the small of her back, startling her laugh into a gasp. I stroked her cheek, making the anticipation last. Letting the before build like the flood I felt when I was around her. I ran my finger against her top lip, her bottom lip, her chin, forcing it to be too much, something I couldn’t keep myself from drowning in. “Beg,” I said.
Our bodies fell against each other with no barriers, only hot, searching skin. Just the two people we were when we were alone together. No pasts, no secrets, solely enveloped by the truth of our need, our want.
Not all girls are broken and not all guys are strong.
Sorry was such a shit word. What a fucking joke—five letters could never be enough. I took a bite, then another, filling my mouth so I didn’t say it again.
I understood that to college freshman thirty was ancient. They didn’t realize that even though the calendar ticked by you didn’t feel ancient, you were simply trying your best to stay one step behind the age on your driver’s license. Always thinking to yourself, at least I’m only whatever, until you got too old to pretend.
We were entwined like vines, like roots, like the two of us were both halves of a wishbone that would never be broken, the wish already granted.
A. I have a cousin who always looked really young, like ten to fifteen years younger than she really was. She even told a story (with pride) that when she was thirty-two she went to Disneyworld alone and to get to the front of the lines she pretended she’d lost her parents and they were waiting for her up there. AND PEOPLE BOUGHT IT. So I made Kate someone with a baby face, the kind of person who ALWAYS gets carded, when she’s on a bus in the city people ask her if she’s okay, she looks out of place in her business suits, etc. Then I just had her buy the wardrobe of a college student. Voila nineteen J.
She lives in Portland, Oregon with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats. Again is her self-publishing debut.
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