Man Up Playboy Cover

Man Up Playboy

Have you seen the cover of my new Book Man Up Playboy, scheduled to release on September 25th? Looking at the whole cover, I can tell you without a doubt this is my favorite cover. And I think CT Cover Creations really captured the essence of Cooper Sutton. What do you think? I’d love to know!

Man Up Playboy Full

With just over a week before release, let me tell you a little about Cooper Sutton.


No one knows the man behind the face.


Cooper Sutton loves nothing more than living up to his reputation as a playboy. That is until he meets Selene Davis in a coffee shop. Unlike the girls he’s known before, she doesn’t fall for his good looks and witty charm. She makes him work for every bit of her time and attention.


Haunted by memories of his childhood sweetheart, Cooper doesn’t believe in love, marriage or monogamy. And much to his delight, neither does Selene. She appears to be his perfect match. Until she changes the rules of the game. And he finds himself knee deep in a committed relationship.


When the stakes are raised, Cooper’s faced with a decision. Can he put the past behind him and move forward with Selene, or will he push love and happiness beyond his reach forever?


Due to language and sexual content, this book is intended for mature audiences.


To celebrate Man Up Playboy, I’ll be having a Facebook release party on Friday Sept 25 from 7-11pm EST. I hope to see you there!



Best of all, you can preorder Man Up Playboy right now, so that as soon as it is live, it will be delivered to your device-











Limited time only- Only 99 cents!!!!

Love's a Beach 3D Formatted Portrait



Close your eyes and imagine the warmth of the sun caressing your skin, the sea breeze blowing your hair, and the feel of powder-fine white sand under your toes. Now, imagine all that together with EIGHT gorgeous, sexy, and powerful heroes ready to sweep you off your feet, and you have the LOVE’S A BEACH ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY!


Whether you’re looking for alpha billionaires or irresistible bad boys, this LIMITED TIME beach romance anthology has it all.


Second Chance by Liliana Rhodes
A Fling with a Greek Billionaire (The Prequel) by Marian Tee
Tempting Victoria by Mina V. Esguerra
His Need, Her Desire by Malia Mallory
When She Fell for the Billionaire by Suzette de Borja
In Too Deep by Bianca Mori
Other Than Easy by Laney Castro
Man Up Party Boy by Danielle Sibarium










All Romance


And if that’s not awesome enough on it’s own, there’s a giveaway to go along with it!!!
Check it out!!!



Release Day!

IT’S LIVE! I’m so excited to hand over my Party Boy to you. I’ve had a lot of fun writing this, and can only hope you enjoy reading it just as much!!!

Man Up Party Boy

Noah York is looking forward to the beach vacation he’s been planning with his best friend, Cooper. He has visions of relaxing days on the sand and fun nights with the girls. However, all his plans come crashing down when Cooper abandons him for a trip to Italy. Not wanting to leave his friend in a lurch Cooper arranges for his sister to take his place. Noah hasn’t seen Lexi in years and isn’t looking forward to spending a week with her or her attitude.


Lexi can’t stand party boy Noah. At least, that’s what she thinks. But when she sees him talking to a blonde at the bar on their first night in the beach town, jealousy takes over and she interrupts them with a kiss. One kiss leads to another. Before either of them realizes what’s happening passion and desire are awakened between them, but Lexi knows better than to fall for Noah. He is, after all, just a party boy


I’m also excited to let you know that all of my books are now available in paperback.


And last but not least, if you’d like to meet up and get a signed copy of my Party Boy, or any of my other paperbacks, I’ll be at the Yo Philly Author Event on May 16th. Tickets are free. I hope to see you there!


Tickets for the Yo Philly Author Event

May 16th 2015 Holiday Inn @The Stadium
900 Packer Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19148




Cover Reveal Man Up Party Boy

HI friends. I am so excited to reveal the cover for my new NA Contemporary Beach Romance- Man Up Party Boy.


Man Up Party Boy


Noah York is looking forward to the beach vacation he’s been planning with his best friend, Cooper. He has visions of relaxing days on the sand and fun nights with the girls. However, all his plans come crashing down when Cooper abandons him for a trip to Italy. Not wanting to leave his friend in a lurch Cooper arranges for his sister to take his place. Noah hasn’t seen Lexi in years and isn’t looking forward to spending a week with her or her attitude.


Lexi can’t stand party boy Noah. At least, that’s what she thinks. But when she sees him talking to a blonde at the bar on their first night in the beach town, jealousy takes over and she interrupts them with a kiss. One kiss leads to another. Before either of them realizes what’s happening passion and desire are awakened between them, but Lexi knows better than to fall for Noah. He is, after all, just a party boy.


Please leave a comment and tell me what you think!

Due to adult content, it’s not meant for readers under the age of 18yrs.
Add it to your TBR list now!




The ABC’s of Dee release Day Blitz

Happy release day to Danielle Bannister. Find out all about her latest gem The ABC’s of DEE

The ABC’s of DEE

Release Day Blitz


It always starts out so innocent. A drink, a laugh, a bet. For forty year old Dee Harper, her hum-drum life is about to become…educated.
Dee has just turned 40. She has no children, no husband, a job she’s been in for most of her life. She needs a change. So when her rich friend offers her a bet on a drunken night, Dee accepts it. She has to date 26 men, in alphabetical order, in one year.
What could possibly go wrong?


CAUTION: This book contains adult language.

CAUTION: This book contains adult language.

Purchase Links

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1yepCuS
iBooks: http://bit.ly/15VxUgL
B&N: http://bit.ly/1w12AXm

Full Cover Wrap

dee full wrap


It’s ten minutes to seven and my underwear has already climbed up my ass more times than people have climbed Everest. I would love to blame Victoria’s Secret for selling me faulty ‘3 for $25.00 panties,’ but let’s be honest, I’m the one trying to cram my 40-year-old fanny into underwear meant for people who don’t eat food. They just looked so good on the stark white, half-butt mannequin that I thought they would totally cover the square footage of my backside. I was grossly mistaken.

As I yank the neon pink cloth from the depths no undies should go (again), I debate whether I should change them or not. On the one hand, it is only a first date. Wearing these will pretty much assure he’ll be getting some because I don’t intend to wear this torture device all night long for nothing. On the other hand, it is only a first date. Wearing some good old ‘period panties’ would guarantee that there would be no traveling South of the Elastic Band Border and my cheeks would actually be comfortably contained. Decisions, decisions.

That’s it. I’m becoming a nun. Nuns don’t have to deal with this shit. They don’t have to question how much wedgie-control is adequate for a first date. They can just sit in silence with no judgment about who they’re dating, why their legs aren’t shaved, or why they haven’t had sex in two years. I know. I have issues. And a lot of toys.

Author Bio:

stright on bw



Danielle Bannister is a work at home mom of two small children living in rural Maine. She has her BA in theatre and her Masters in Literary Education and working hard on several other novels. She has written the first in this trilogy, Pulled, as well as a collection of short works entitled Short Shorts. Her work can also be found in the 2012 edition of The Goose River Press Anthology and the 2012 Maine Writing Project’s Anthology, Writeous. She has also written Pulled, Pulled Back and Pulled Back Again.


Social Media Links

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1OW0AZ0

Website: http://daniellebannister.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @dbannisterbooks

Sharing is caring! Any shares of anything on this page would mean the world to me!!

And Forever Blog Tour

And Forever Blog Tour Schedule


March 9th Mes Livres.


March 10th Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog.


March 11th Crazy Book Chicks.

Rachel Walter Author


March 12th Teacups and Bookends.

Author Jennifer Ann.


March 13th Feedmeinbooks.


March 14th Have You Heard My Book Review.


March 15th I Heart YA Books.




March 16th Morning Books and Coffee.


March 17th Breaking That Kindle Budget.


March 18th This Girl Loves Books.

Scandalous Book Blog.


March 19th MS. ME28.


March 20th What’s Beyond Forks.

Maria E. Monteiro.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Heart Waves is free

Hi friends. I’m thrilled to share some news with you. Since the release of the final book of the Heart Waves Series has been released, I’ve been working on making Heart Waves free, and now it is! To celebrate, I’m posting the first chapter, for those of you who either haven’t started the journey with Jenna, Reece, and Tyler, or for those of you who have forgotten them. I hope you enjoy it.
Heart Waves4a


Chapter 1
Lies. Lies. Lies. He was covered in lies. They oozed off him like slick, goopy slime. As if I didn’t already know Steve couldn’t be trusted. I always thought of him as a pompous ass, especially after our one and only date.
But that was years ago.
Steve wouldn’t meet my eyes. I hadn’t spoken to him since my freshman year of high school. I wondered if it he even remembered me. I remembered him all too well, Mr. Captain of the baseball team with the perfect smile. The thought of his cold, wet lips and octopus arms still made my skin crawl.
Regardless, he looked past me, around me, like I wasn’t good enough to look at. I could feel his apprehension so I knew I’d get him. I’d get him good. Call him out for being the jerk he was and embarrass him in front of his friends. I just needed to concentrate.
I closed my eyes, focused on blocking out the music and clarifying the image in my mind. I fingered the gold bracelet interpreting the words and images flowing from it.
“You just came back from someplace warm,” I declared.
With a snide look on his face the muscle-bound jock shook his head and spoke sceptically to the crowd of onlookers, “Like most of the country isn’t warm in July. This is bogus,” he chortled, still trying to best me. He thought his wise cracks were enough to intimidate me, to make me feel stupid and insecure so I would shut up. He wanted to end it here and now. Better to make me look bad before it went any further. Not going to happen. Not tonight. If I had to be miserable, so did he.
“I see a beach and water . . .”
“Hard one. Like we don’t live at the Jersey shore.”
“Not here,” I said a bit forcefully. “The water is clear blue, so it’s not in this state.”
“Oooh,” I heard someone jeer. “She’s onto you.”
“Shut up,” Mr. Macho snapped at his buddy while reaching for the bracelet I wasn’t ready to release. “You probably told her.”
“You’re there with a beautiful girl,” I continued. “Long blonde hair. Her name begins with the letter E.”
“You were with Emma?” A petite brunette bellowed while pounding her fist into his arm.
“Busted!” someone shouted before bursting into a fit of laughter.
“You don’t believe this bull, do you?” he pleaded.
With tears in her eyes, the girl rushed off, “You’re a shit!”
Steve snatched his bracelet and rushed after her, “Shari, wait. I haven’t seen her in months. She must be a friend of Emma’s or my shit-head friends are playing a joke. When I find out which one of you set this up . . .” the rest of the threat trailed off.
“That’s what you get for two timing,” I called watching him push through the sea of people. If he didn’t remember me before the reading, he’d never forget me now. I brought my hands together, “All right, show’s over.”
A few moans and grumbles, then suddenly I could breathe. A wave of relief washed over me as the oppressive group surrounding me thinned. My right eye burned, and the aching in my head had already begun. I knew I had to stop before the sharp blinding pain ensued.
I turned and looked for my best friend Grace. No sign of her. I shook my head. I didn’t even want to come to Mike’s stupid party, let alone be the entertainment, but she insisted.
What exactly she found appealing about Mike was beyond me, but Grace had been crushing on him all through high school. She would do just about anything he asked; only before tonight he never did.
Earlier in the day, while life was still bliss, we were just two best friends lying in the sun with lemon juice in our hair (Grace’s attempt at natural highlights) listening to music. When Mike sauntered over poolside to extend the invitation, Grace turned into groupie girl, and it took her approximately one second to accept. I was biding time until I could convince her to leave.
“One more,” the voice caught me. Stopped me dead in my tracks. For a moment the room went silent, the people disappeared. All that existed was the soft soothing voice.
“C’mon, please,” he spoke again, and I wished he’d never stop talking so I could forever hear the sound of his melodious voice.
Before I could refuse, a small, gold ring was placed in my hand. I stood frozen, feeling as if someone connected a live wire to my heart. White electricity surged throughout my body.
I looked up to see what creature bore such exhilarating energy. His soft, golden-brown eyes captivated me. They were alive with laughter and mystery. I closed my eyes, barely able to focus and stroked the ring with my thumb. I took a deep breath, taking in the scent of his cologne. Fighting the sudden lump in my throat, I blurted out, “Romeo and Juliet.
“Excuse me?” he asked as he smiled, confused.
“It’s like Romeo and Juliet,” I recovered, tracing the diamond chip initial on the ring. “You believe you are in love.”
“She’s my Juliet?” he asked with a suspicious look.
“No, she’s your Rosalind,” I felt the need to explain, hoping to keep him nearby, “the girl Romeo thought he loved. Remember though, it was unrequited.”
“Really?” he asked egging me on, seeming to enjoy the conversation.
“Yes,” I continued with a nod, “then he met Juliet, and Rosalind turned into nothing more than a distant memory. I’m sure you know the rest.”
“Do you know who my Juliet is?” he asked with a smile. “Have I met her yet?”
“Yes.” I answered.
“Hmm. Someone I know.” He looked around the crowd mischievously, a delicious smile on his lips, “Will we get married and live happily ever after?”
I shook my head sadly. “No.” I paused a moment, and found my breath. “You’re going to break my heart.”
I reached for his hand, his strong, warm hand, and took hold of it. I didn’t want to ever let go. I placed the ring in his palm, closed his fingers around it, turned and walked away.


Purchase Heart Waves on Kindle.


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And Forever Release!

And ForeverI can’t believe today is finally here. This has been years in the making. When I first released For Always, I had no intention of continuing Jordan and Stephanie’s story. I thought it wrapped up well, but so many people reached out to me, asking for more, I had to start considering it. The decision to write And Forever wasn’t an easy one for me. Even as I wrote it, much like when I wrote To My Hero and Regret Me Not, there were many times I thought about scrapping the whole thing. Ultimately I didn’t because I didn’t want to disappoint my fans. I have to tell you, I am so excited about this release. If you fell in love with Stephanie and Jordan in For Always, I have no doubt you’ll love And Forever!
Here’s the first chapter of And Forever. Be sure to leave a comment and let me know if you’re excited, and what your thoughts are!
Chapter 1
The scent of death lingers nearby. Always. Only I don’t attract it like I once thought. I repel it, like a deflector shield. This is my lot in life, my special gift, to extend the days of those I love. That theory comes from Jordan; the keeper of my heart, and the love of my life!
I sigh. I don’t realize I made a sound until Jordan apologizes. Again.
“I’m sorry, Steph. I just don’t want to be distracted.”
“I know.”
He misunderstands. It’s a contented sigh. One that says I’m thrilled my boyfriend is driving me to school. It’s a sign of how surreal sitting next to him and knowing that he loves me is. How I can’t believe in a matter of hours he’ll be leaving me alone on my college campus, and I intend to savor each minute with him, every possible second. The sigh is the only chance I have of communicating any of these sentiments because he doesn’t want me to talk while he’s driving. I know just being together in the car for this length of time is challenging for him.
Jordan still suffers the after effects of a terrible car accident that killed his ex-girlfriend. Ex as in he broke up with her minutes before it happened. When he served as my unexpected prom date, I pressed him to admit his feelings for me. That’s what led to the break-up. Now he has to deal with the swamp of guilt-induced quick sand he’s been left in. It hasn’t been an easy road to get to where we are, but we worked through all that.
I hope.
“I’m doing the best I can, babe.”
“I know.” I don’t bother saying anything further to reassure him that I’m not upset.
“Maybe you can find some music on the radio.”
Maybe I would if I could hear what’s on the radio. Every time I turn the volume up, he lowers it. The problem is he wants it down so low I can’t hear the music. I glance at his hands on the steering wheel. He holds it in a death grip. His knuckles are white, and I think his fingers might snap in two any moment.
“I’m fine. Just happy to be here with you.”
“Am not.”
A car swerves slightly towards our lane. He lays on the horn and goes back to stoic silence. I hate that this is so hard for him. I want him to find his way back to being the carefree, flirtatious boy I fell in love with. I doubt he’ll ever go back to being that person, and it makes me sad. I don’t want him to carry all this pain for the rest of his life. I wish I knew how to make it better, but the only thing I can do is stand beside him and hope in time he’ll heal.
I turn to my window, watching the never-ending expanse of trees zoom by. I wish for a fleeting moment I’d gone in the other car with my mother and her new, at least new to me, boyfriend Eddie. I’d been clueless about Eddie, but after her health scare last week, she came clean.
“There’s someone I want you to meet,” she said when he showed up at our house to visit her.
At that point she had no choice. She’d been ordered to take a few days off of work, where they’d rendezvous during lunch. She’d been frightened when they first told her it looked like a heart attack and realized it was silly to keep him hidden away. I can’t imagine the cheesy conversations taking place in the other car, but I’m happy for her. My father died a decade ago and as far as I know she never dated before, so it’s about time she gives someone a chance.
“Sorry.” I hear the tension in his voice.
“No worries. It’s all good, as long as I’m here with you.”Always and Forever guy
I mean it, because even with the deafening silence, and the tension he carries on his shoulders every time we’re in a car together, there is nowhere else I’d rather be. From the first moment he spoke to me, he owned my heart. It’s branded with his name. I’d tried for four years to move on, to forget him, but that wasn’t an option for me. No one can hold a candle to him.
“Hey,” He pulls my attention back to the here and now. “You know I love you right?”
I smile. I’m sure it’s just the reaction he hoped for. It feels like that’s all I’ve done over the last week since he found me crying on the beach. I’ll never forget the wave of relief that washed over me when I found out he’d been spared from a terrible plane crash. He never made it on the plane because I called him at the last minute in an attempt to convince him to stay. Thank goodness he did.
I always believed myself to be the root cause of the bad things that happen to people around me. Jordan thinks I’m what keeps them hanging on. I don’t believe him, at least not yet. But having him try to convince me otherwise promises to be an amazing adventure.



And Forever Playlist

One more day until the release of And Forever! One of my favorite things to do when I’m going through my writing process is piece together songs that keep me focused and in the mindset of my characters, along with the book I’m writing. I choose songs form my playlist that I feel help tell the story and have the emotional content I’m looking for. Here’s my And Forever playlist along with YouTube links. I hope you enjoy it.


1. I lived- One republic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKt3o7WPYdo


2. Sheppard- Geronimo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-SeaCZE2TM


3. Honey, I’m Good- Andy Grammer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Go7gn6dugu0

4. Somebody to You- The Vamps https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0go2nfVXFgA

5. Somewhere Only We Know- Keane https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oextk-If8HQ

6. Take Me to Church- Hozier https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVjiKRfKpPI


7. Night Changes-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syFZfO_wfMQ


8. Christina Perri- The Wordshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9tc9R_Y3FY


9.I Bet My Life- Imagine Dragons https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ht80uzIhNs


10. Coming Back- Dean Ray https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16uJQAODCnE


11. Fall For You- Second Hand Seronade https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1O9DyFLIKo

 And Forever

12. Thinking Out Loud- Ed Sheeran https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lp-EO5I60KA


What do you think? I can’t wait for you to read And Forever and tell me what songs are on your playlist!



Prom night from Jordan’s POV

For AlwaysAnd Forever

Just a few more days before And Forever is released. I thought another good refresher scene would be the prom, but this is another bonus. This is the prom scene from Jordan’s POV.


The spiral started in the limo. I couldn’t wait to get the tie off. Once I tossed it aside I glanced at Stephanie. God she took my breath away. I forgot myself for the moment, lost thinking about how much I wanted to touch her creamy skin. At least when we were dancing I had an excuse to put my hands all over her. Now it was an urge I wasn’t sure I could control.


I let out a long breath and opened the top buttons of my shirt, watching her watch me. The look in her eyes, the hunger; it was hot. I stretched out and reached my arm behind her, allowing my fingers to brush against her shoulder. I heard her inhale and moved. If I kept my arm there I’d let my hand start to roam.


I took her hand in mine, and interlaced our fingers. I hoped this would stop me from tearing her dress off and touching her in places I only imagined. I looked at our joined fingers and couldn’t hide the silly smile growing inside me.


“Are you having a good time?” I asked.


She nodded.


“It’s about time,” Maria interjected.


She pulled me back to the present. We weren’t alone in the limo, and even if we were, this was Stephanie. I cleared my throat, and let go of her as I moved away. The more space between us, the better chance I had of keeping this platonic. Just one friend helping another. I couldn’t let anything happen between us. She was too young and it was out of the question.


“I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable,” Maria explained. “You looked so happy and perfect together. It’s just . . . it’s about time.”

I wanted to thank her for the reality check, but didn’t think Stephanie would appreciate it. I peeked at her from the corner of my eye. Stephanie was spitting mad. I half expected her to shoot steel spikes out of her mouth aimed at Maria’s throat. Rob broke the awkward tension in the air with small talk. I followed his lead.


“Everyone’s meeting in front of the concession.” He said getting out of the limo.


A large crowd formed on the sand in front of the red, brick building. Music blared from a boom box connected to a pair of large speakers. Blankets were scattered about with coupled bodies cozy inside. Frisbees and beach balls flew through the air. A volleyball game ensued nearby.


I tossed my jacket aside, unbuttoned my shirt, and pulled it out of my pants. Steph’s eyes soaked me in. Every visible inch of me. I was tempted to strip down further if she promised to keep staring at me like that. I didn’t mean to be selfish. I just wanted to enjoy her wanting me, as much as I wanted her.


We took our shoes off and joined a group playing Frisbee. When I saw her dash for it, I decided to go after it too. We fell to the ground and I rolled on top of her. Looking at her beneath me in the moonlight, I almost lost it. Pinning her down, holding my hands just above her shoulders, our eyes locked and the crowd disappeared. All I wanted to do was kiss her. As I felt my control withering, I jumped to my feet and extended a hand to help her up. Air between our bodies did wonders for my teetering control.


“A bunch of us are going skinny-dipping,” Maria ran over to inform us, “want to come?”


“I’ll pass.” Stephanie answered.


“You sure?” I could see pink coloring fill her cheeks. I put my hands around her waist, wondering if she’d notice if they dropped down to her hips, or lower. “It could be fun.”


She froze. I recognized the panicked look on her face before she answered. “You can go if you want. I’ll wait here.”

“Nah,” I laughed, “I just wanted to see if I could get you out of your clothes.”


The walk had been my idea. There were too many people. And if we stayed, I’d focus on getting her out of that dress and into the water with me. I rolled my pant cuffs up so we could walk on the hard, wet packed sand. The cool sea foam rolled over our feet every now and then. Again I took her hand in mine. We walked, talking, holding hands in the silvery moonlight.


“Let’s sit.” I motioned toward a lifeguard stand.


We climbed up and took a seat. An awkward silence hung between us, and with nothing to say I imagined all the things we could do with the privacy the lifeguard stand had to offer. Suddenly I thought we would’ve been safer staying with the crowd.


“Stephanie.” She looked at me with so much hope in her eyes my chest ached. “You’ve really grown up.”


“Thank you.”


“I can’t believe I’m here with you.” I gave her a sly sideward glance hoping she’d pick up on what I couldn’t say.

“You mean the beach?”


She was always so naïve, so innocent. I chuckled and moved my hand to the nape of her neck. I ran my fingers through a few loose strands of hair hoping this would quench my need to touch her. She gasped. I felt it, throughout my body, but mostly there, where I shouldn’t have.

“You look . . .” I let my eyes crawl from her sweet face, down to the exposed area of her breasts, all the way down. “Incredible.”

She smiled, and I realized I’d do just about anything to keep the smile on her face.


“You’re amazing.”


“What do you mean?”


I had to think of something quick to cover what I really wanted to say. “I’m sure tonight wasn’t easy for you. I know it’s not the night you planned.”


“No.” She took a deep breath. “It’s so much better.”


I looked at the water. Afraid of where she wanted to take this.


“Charlie’s an idiot you know? Anyone who would let you slip through his fingers is.”


Her teeth chattered. I pulled her close hoping to warm her up. With her face nuzzling into my bare chest, I hoped she wouldn’t catch on to how much heat she was causing me. After a moment she placed her hand on me, right beside her cheek. I pressed down on it. I wanted her to know she was in my heart.


“Present company included?”


Again I looked away. How could I answer? I didn’t expect Stephanie to ever push the issue. I thought she was too shy to ever say anything like that to me. She touched my face and forced me to look at her.


“I know you have feelings for me.”


Uh oh. My stomach dropped. “I never said I didn’t.”


“You pretend you don’t.”


Didn’t she realize I only asked to take her to the prom because of my feelings for her? I squeezed her hand gently, “Stephanie, you’re young and idealistic.”


“Idealistic?” She looked insulted. “If anyone knows a big, heavy foot is about to come crashing down at any minute, it’s me. And age has nothing to do with it. You’ve hidden behind that since the day we met.”


Where did this bravado come from? “Age has everything to do with it.”


“I see your point when we were younger, but not now. Not anymore.


I cleared my throat. I had to end this conversation. Now. “Do you understand everything you’re going to experience I’ve already been through. You’re starting your first year of college, I’m starting my last.”


“Great. Help me prepare.”


Was she for real? How? “It’s not an academic issue. It’s social. You need to experience things without anyone holding you back.”


“Let that be my decision.”


She’d want to go to parties, get involved in campus life, and what if she wanted to date other guys? I wouldn’t hold her back. For four years I kept us in the friend zone, this is where we needed to stay.


“I can’t. I don’t want to hurt you.”


“Then don’t.” Tears filled her eyes.


I looked away. I just wanted to wrap her up in my arms and kiss her until I made it better. “It’s not that simple, Steph. Things aren’t black and white.”

“If you don’t want to be with me, Jordan, say so. But don’t you dare tell me you’re doing it for my own good.”


“You think that’s the problem?” Why couldn’t she see how hard this was for me? “That I don’t want to be with you?”


She nodded.


I brushed my hand over her back, hoping if she knew how much more I wanted, it might scare her a bit. “If you only knew how hard it’s been to keep away from you.”


“Then don’t.”


She’d be the death of me. If you could die from desire she’d kill me a hundred times over. I looked at the waves biding time. Thinking.


“Jordan, this isn’t a silly school girl crush.”


“And they called it puppy love…,”


“Not puppy love. What I feel for you, it grows year after year.”


“I know you like me.” I smiled hoping to soften the blow. “You’ve always liked me. I know that. I like you too. I do. But…”


“No. I don’t like you.”


“You don’t?” I brought my hand up to my chest, “That hurts.”
She shook her head looking exasperated. Good. I hoped it’d be enough to stop her. As long as she didn’t say those words we were okay. Any words but the three trite words that made prom night a cliché. If they slipped out, everything would change. It would have to.


“It’s more than that. I’d die for you.”


“What?” My heart hammered, shooting the blood through my veins with such force I didn’t realize at first all the places the blood was flowing. Did I hear right? She didn’t really say that. So much for the cliché. I would’ve taken that over this.


“If a bullet was coming your way and I could save your life by giving up mine I would. That goes far beyond like.”


I wanted her. Right there in that moment. It would’ve been so easy to take her. Just reach under her dress and rip her underwear off. But I knew nothing worthwhile ever came easy. We couldn’t be together. After tonight it was back to the real world. Back to Madison.


“Why are you doing this?” I closed my hand around her shoulder, her soft, silky shoulder. I wondered if every part of her was that soft. “What do you want to happen?”


“I want to know how you feel. I think I deserve that much.”


“Don’t you get it Stephanie? When I’m with you, it takes every ounce of self-control I have . . . and then when I’m not with you . . .” I looked away and then back at her, “You always leave me wanting more.”


“Then have more. The only thing standing between us is you.”


I smiled. She made it seem so easy. Like it really could happen. “This is what I mean about being idealistic, you believe everything will work out and we’ll live happily ever after.”


“Give me one good reason why we can’t.”


“Because things will get complicated. We’ll forget how to talk and trust each other.” My heart was thumping hard in my chest. What was I doing? This sweet, beautiful girl was offering herself up and I was saying no. Someone shoot me! “We work great as friends and I don’t want to lose you. If that means we need to sacrifice so we don’t mess this up than I’m okay with it.”


“What if I’m not okay with it? Then things will get complicated anyway.”


I never thought of that. I just expected we could go on as normal. But now everything was going to change whether I wanted it to or not.


“Haven’t you ever thought about us as more than just friends?”


“All the time.” I stared into her eyes and pulled her close, moving towards her lips. I could do it, taste the sweetness of her mouth. I imagined it for years, and now I was centimeters away. I just had to give in. I wanted to do it. I closed my eyes poised to kiss her and drew back at the last moment, kissing her forehead instead. “Let’s head back.”


“Kiss me!”


“I can’t.” It wouldn’t be fair. I had a girlfriend. “Madison.”


I don’t know what was harder, not kissing her or knowing I caused the pain in her eyes.


“I thought you were seeing other people.”


“It’s all or nothing Steph.” She wouldn’t be the other woman in my life. She deserved so much more than that. And I sure as hell wasn’t about to start a relationship with her before I ended things with Madison. “It’s the least you deserve.”


She nodded and bit her lip.


“So, which is it going to be? All or nothing?”


“I need a little time. Is that too much to ask?” I didn’t want to answer. I didn’t want to risk making a life altering decision in a heartbeat.


“Don’t you think four years is long enough?”


“A few days. That’s all I need.”


She pulled back and looked away, but not before I saw the disappointment in her eyes. “What’s the point?”


I swallowed hard, “I need to do this the right way. I have to end things.”

“Do you mean it?” Her eyes lit with hope and happiness.


“You’re not giving me much choice.”


I stuck my chest out, proud that I was the reason for that light. I knew there was nothing I wouldn’t do for her, and I would do nothing to dim the glow in her eyes. It was rare to see, and that’s all I ever wanted for her. No one else made her happy like that. If I could bring it out, if I could make her days better, I’d lay my heart and soul at her feet. I’d give in and love her the way I wanted to, back when I leapt off the bus. Back when I found her at the cemetery. All along I wanted her. I knew her heart was mine. Now it was time to give her my heart in return.