This week I released my three best-selling stories, ME & TIMOTHY COOPER, I KISSED THE BOY NEXT DOOR, and THE BEST WEEK OF MY LIFE in a paperback compilation. On sale now for $12.00. Makes a great gift for your teen or yourself for light summer romance reading.
Also on the horizon is my first Time-Travel Romance book, FOR ETERNITY. Hopefully, this will be released sometime in June.
Today's excerpt is from an upcoming YA entitled, "Of All The Ways He Loves Me." No Release Date yet.
“I love you as a friend, Nat. I love you as a sister. I love you as a neighbor, a school mate, and a dozen other things. I simply want to know if I love you as a girl, and maybe if you can love me in return.”
Nadia Asbury knew everything there was to know about Paterson Radovich, his likes and dislikes, what viruses and injuries he’d had, and every Christmas present he’d received since they were ten. He was, after all, her best friend. Yet asked out on a date, she wonders if she knows him at all.“Trust me,” he says.And, yes, well, she does, and him more than any other person she knows. But maybe now she doesn’t trust herself because what if this is all in vain? What if after all his efforts, she doesn’t feel anything? Scarier still, what if she does?From the author of ME & TIMOTHY COOPER and I KISSED THE BOY NEXT DOOR comes another feel-good romance of that precious moment when a boy and a girl first fall in love.
In this scene from chapter one, Nadia is dealing with a serious head cold and a strange statement from the boy who is her best friend. What exactly is he up to?
I was sick, seriously sick, the kind of sick where half your sinuses drip incessantly and the other half are dry and stuffy. My arms ached. My legs ached, and my head was a balloon. I was also thinking of trying dreds in my hair from lack of washing it. I mean, washing took energy, something I didn’t have in a ready supply. Moreover, I’d welded myself to the tissue box and a two liter of cola. The soda had kept me alive, I do believe, along with chicken noodle soup in a can.
So it was with complete horror that I contemplated my mom’s statement.
“Get dressed, Sweetheart, we’re going to the church picnic.”
The church picnic? Were her eyes open? Was she actually looking at me?
“I am not going to the church picnic,” I said flatly.
This earned me the mom look, the one that says I’m skating on the edge.
“Look at me,” I said. “I’m a disas … disas …” I ended the word with a tremendous sneeze – totally unplanned – and thought that’d convince her.
“You just need a nice bath and fresh clothes, and you’ll be as good as new,” she chirped.
Yeah, because fresh clothes would help. I admit my jammies were smelling kinda funky. I’d been in them for two days. But I strongly suspected my head would be the same no matter what I wore. This mess, whatever it was, was determined to take me out.
“I’ll have to sit there and pretend I care,” I whined. And listen to twelve people tell me how bad I look, something I knew already; how their cousin had something like that recently, and it was so much worse than what I was dealing with; and could they please pray for me?
Okay, so prayer wasn’t such a bad idea as long as it didn’t require me to do anything. Again, no energy.
“Obey your mother.”
Dad was now getting into the mix, and that was bad because it gave me no choice. He had his arms crossed, too, a sure sign I should toe the line.
I didn’t dare argue, so I slunk off to my room and contemplated a long, excruciating morning. This was the end, completely the end. One look at me and the entire youth group would run screaming. Parents would yank away their kids. Grandmothers would chase me around with disinfectant.
I fell back on the bed prone, my arms splayed out on either side, and said the first thing that came into my brain. “Dear, God. Why?”
“You look awful,” Penny said.
I didn’t bother to turn my head and find her. I was too drained.
“Seriously, awful.” She reiterated it and then found my gaze for herself by leaning overhead. Her straight brown locks formed a curtain around her face, making it rounder than it really was.
“I feel so much better about myself now. Thanks,” I said.
She smiled. “You’re welcome.” She disappeared from view and coming around the fold-out table, seated herself beside me.
I made no effort to turn my head.
“Your parents made you come, huh?” she asked from her new position by my left ear.
“What day is it?” I asked.
She laughed. “That bad?”
“Awful. Just dig a hole and bury me.”
“I’ll help,” said a new voice. Deep. Male. Paterson Radovich.
I wanted to weep or cheer, one. I couldn’t decide. First, because he’d offered to dig the hole Second, because burial seemed like a relief right then.
“I’ll even plant flowers at your headstone,” he said.
“That’s so sweet of you,” I replied. “The only thing that’d make it better was if you’d propose first.”
He chuckled. “I might, so long as I get your music collection once you’re gone.”
“Nadia Asbury, you look terrible.” Friend number three had arrived.
“Wow,” I said. “I didn’t know. Thanks, Jenn.”
“Paterson just proposed,” Penny inserted.
Jenn plopped down in a chair opposite me and propped her chin in her hands. “To Nadia? Awesome. When’s the wedding?”
“Next summer,” I replied. “Or one week from now, depending on if I die or not.”
“Can I be best maid?” Jenn asked.
I grunted. I was through talking.
“Oh, boy,” Paterson said. “A woman that won’t speak. I’m set for life.”
“At least, until she passes on, then she’ll haunt you,” Penny said.
“And I’ll pine away.”
This was really going too far, this whole think-about-my-death thing, so I raised my hand. “If I could get a word in edgewise,” I mumbled.
They all looked at me, expectant.
“Would one of you wake me up when this is over and don’t let me drool in the meantime?”
This brought laughter all around and the attention of Evelyn Fitzpatrick. Evelyn Fitzpatrick was what my mom called a case, that being a generalization of any number of frustrating people or situations. Pencil thin with razor straight blonde hair, she was pretty in a sort of blade-of-grass kinda way, but it wasn’t her looks that made her a case. It was her attitude. In short, Evelyn was a snob.
She was also in love with Paterson, who couldn’t stand her. He’d told me this on a number of occasions, and the fact I knew it and had shared it with both Penny and Jenn made me her number one target. Not that there was much she could do to me. I outweighed her and had a mean right cross.
“Gee, Nadia, you look terrible.”
This statement coming from the others had been cute, funny, and endearing, but coming from Evelyn it was spiteful. I glared at her and wiped my runny nose with the back of my hand. I then extended it.
“Good to see you, Evie.” I stretched for her fingers, and she squealed and withdrew.
Penny, Jenn, and Paterson were chuckling behind me.
“Don’t touch me. You’re sick,” she said.
“You’ve gotten so smart. I’m impressed.”
She snarled at me, her lip curled. “You’re never funny. Hard as you try.” She flipped her hair over her shoulder, and I had this moment where Evelyn fit all the snotty-girl TV sitcom molds.
She spotted Paterson and her face changed; she crossed her arms behind her back and sort of swayed. “Hi, Paterson.”
Penny poked her head into the scene. “You can’t talk to him. He’s engaged to Nadia.”
“Engaged?” Her voice raised and her eyes spun wide.
“Yep, as of five minutes ago,” Jenn said.
Evelyn stared at the all of us then narrowed her eyes. “You’re not engaged. That’s a joke, and again, not funny.”
Then Paterson spoke and his words sent me for a spin. “Bug off, Evelyn. Nadia and I are an item.”
I twisted my neck as far backwards as I could, barely catching his eye with the corner of my left one, and found him smiling at me.
Paterson and I went way back to fourth grade. He was the annoying boy seated behind me who kept looking over my shoulder for the test answers, the one who then sat beside me at lunch and on the playground, saying weird random stuff like, “Chicken wing,” for no reason at all. Of course, that was in fourth grade, and we were seniors next year, so we’d worked through a lot of that childishness and become fast friends.
But that was all – friends. I’d never considered dating him, and he’d never asked to date me, so us being an item was a surprise. However, I wasn’t about to say so in front of Evelyn.
“Since when?” she asked. I could see her pulse racing in her throat. She believed it.
“Since a while now,” he replied. “We’re together all the time or hadn’t you noticed?”
That was true. We were together a lot. He came over all the time, had dinner with us, and he and I would go places. But exactly like we’d always done.
Evelyn didn’t say anything, but her wheels were spinning. “I think you’re funning with me,” she said. “You’re trying to make me feel stupid.”
“No funning,” he said. “If she wasn’t so sick, I’d prove it.”
I was really interested in this conversation now. Exactly how would he do that?
“You would?” she asked.
“Sure. Why wouldn’t I? Look, give us two weeks, and I’ll do it then.”
Do what? I was screaming the question in my head. I knew Paterson as well as I knew myself. I knew he hated caramel, but liked whipped topping. I knew he ate peanut butter cups in a circle and thought peppermints tasted good melted in his coffee. I could tell you what size clothing he wore, about the infection he had in his right toe after he went swimming in the lake, and exactly how many chicken pox he’d had when he was ten. But I honestly had no idea where he was going with this conversation.
But apparently Evelyn did because she looked from him to me, one hand on her hip, and nodded. “You swear, and you have to do it in public in front of everyone.”
He held up his right hand. “I swear by God and the hair on my mother’s head.”
She gave a snort. “Very well. But I warn you, if it isn’t good …”
“Oh, it will be, so relax. Now, if you don’t mind, I think your mom’s calling.”
She was, in fact, calling. I’d heard a minute ago; she had this pitchy voice, like a bird on helium.
Evelyn glanced over her shoulder then walked away, and I waited. Waited and waited for her to be far enough off. Then I whirled on him.
“What was all that? We’re an item now? Exactly what are you going to do?”
He grinned at me, this silly, boyish grin that was so Paterson, and leaned onto his elbows propped on his knees. “You mean, you don’t know?”
But obviously I didn’t. He knew that, and he was enjoying this. I looked past him at Penny and Jenn. Penny was sweating bullets. I’d never seen her so disturbed, and Jenn … Jenn was about to come unglued she was so excited.
“Somebody tell me!” I screamed. I shouldn’t have screamed because my throat scrape raw and I fell to coughing. It took me ten minutes and a can of soda to recover. Then tissue in hand, my breath half held, I refocused blurry eyes on his face.
And he straightened, tilting his head to the left. “It’s very simple. In two weeks, I’m going to kiss you.”
Suzanne D. Williams
Suzanne Williams Photography
Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.