11/6/15

Release Day~ Change of Heart


Title: Change of Heart
Author: Jennifer L. Allen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 6, 2015





Casey
Evans and Decker Abrams have been best friends since they became
neighbors at the age of six. After high school, Casey abruptly leaves
their hometown of Charleston, South Carolina for the west coast, leaving
Decker wondering where she went and why she left.


Three
years later the two are reunited, both harboring some old resentment
towards the other. Not to mention, Casey has been hiding a pretty big
secret from Decker all those years. Not willing to risk losing Casey
again, Decker follows her back to California in an attempt to save their
friendship.


Will Casey and Decker work out their issues and be best friends again? Or will they finally become something more?







I lie in my bed, staring at the text on my phone.
Deck:  Still up?
I
look over at the alarm clock on my nightstand. It’s after midnight, and
I have a long drive ahead of me tomorrow. At this hour, Decker only
ever wants one thing. I know what I should do, but what am I going to
do?
What’s one more night, right? Does that make me a bad person?
Things
with Decker have been strained, to say the least, since Cade’s
graduation party. It’s like he knows something is wrong but is too
afraid to stir things up by asking me about it. I usually don’t hide
things from him. I’ve always been an open book.
But this…this I can’t be an open book about.
Me:  Yes.
Deck:  Is it open?
He’s referring to my bedroom window. His point of entry.
Me:  Yes.
Deck:  I’ll be right there.
I
roll to my back and stare up at the ceiling, the glow-in-the-dark stars
shine back at me. Decker and I  placed them there when we were twelve.
It was only six years ago, but it seems like a lifetime ago. Things are
so different now.
I hadn’t been sleeping with him back then.
And I hadn’t been in love with him, either.
Yep,
that’s right. I’m in love with my best friend. At Cade’s graduation
party, when I saw him with Carrie, it’s like my heart had stopped. I’d
believed what he’d told me—that it was a ruse to get him upstairs and
that he stopped when he’d figured out what she was up to. But it was in
that moment that I’d realized my feelings for Decker were much stronger
than they should have been. And then, when he and I had spoken outside
before I’d left that night, I’d realized my feelings were stronger than
his, too.
You’re my best friend.
Those
four words were like a punch in the chest. But what had I expected? For
Decker to have the big ah-ha realization moment at the exact same time
as me? Not likely. Hell, my moment of realization wasn’t even all that
awesome. Since we took our friendship to the next level, Decker has
never expressed that he wants us to be anything more than what we are.
In fact, he’d always seemed pretty content to just keep our whole
“relationship” a secret. Maybe if he would have just come out with it,
his friends would have laid off with the teasing and the name calling.
Or maybe it would have been even worse.
Then,
to make the situation even more complicated, what do I do? I go and
fall in love with him. Smooth, Casey. Real smooth. I’ve always loved
Decker, but it’s different now. Too different.
I
hear the tell-tale sound of the window being raised so I roll onto my
side to watch him climb in. Decker has been climbing in and out of my
bedroom window for more than ten years, but it’s only happened at night,
like this, the past few months.
Regardless
of the obvious strain, our appetite for one another hasn’t changed. All
summer long we’d feasted off one another night after night. It’s as if
I’ve been trying to quench all my desires before our impending
separation. The separation he’s still unaware of.
My
heart pinches inside my chest at the thought of this being our last
night together. Maybe, just maybe, things can be different. There
is still time.
I
take in his slightly disheveled appearance and my stomach clenches.
He’s really filled out over the past year. Thick, corded muscles in his
arms and shoulders—natural for a pitcher, tight abs, and muscular
thighs. Now another part of me is clenching.
He
struggles his way into the room, then stumbles over to my bed. His
auburn hair is slightly longer than last summer’s buzz cut, but still
quite short, and spiked in a messy, yet organized, way. He gives me a
half smirk, his eyes are hooded.
Great.
He’s drunk. Just how I’d wanted to remember tonight. I should’ve said
no. I should’ve ignored the text. I should’ve locked the damn window.
But it’s Decker. My kryptonite.
“Have you been drinking?” I foolishly ask him, already knowing the answer to my question.
He laughs as he drops on the edge of the bed and starts pulling off his shoes. “A little,” he admits.
“I thought you were in training.” The frustration is evident in my tone—not that he’d notice in his present state.
Decker
got a baseball scholarship to go to the University of South Carolina.
He is going to be a Gamecock, and everyone in our town is so proud of
him. I’m proud of him. Even though the baseball season isn’t until the
second part of the year, they have the team train all-year-round to some
degree. And when he’d accepted the scholarship, he also accepted a
pretty extensive summer training schedule to prepare him for what he
will have to deal with once he is on campus.
“It’s
one night, Case. Stop being so serious all the time. It’s summer,” he
slurs. He finally wrangles off his pants and shirt and flops down on his
back.
“It won’t kill you to take things seriously every once in a while.” Maybe if you took things seriously once in a while, you’d realize that life was about to change, I think to myself but don’t dare speak. I don’t want a confrontation with Decker. Yeah…I’m a chicken.
“And
it won’t kill you to give it a rest every once in a while,” he
counters. And he’s right. It is our last night together, the least I can
do is refrain from lecturing him. It is too late for it to do any good
anyway. Isn’t it?
I
sigh in acceptance, and he takes it as an invitation, rolling towards
me and cupping my face. I look into his deep green eyes, and for a
moment, I swear he looks sad. But he can’t possibly be. He doesn’t know
what’s really been plaguing me these past couple months.
He
closes his eyes and presses his lips against mine. I pull him closer
and he moves himself above me. My mouth opens on a soft moan and he
takes advantage, pushing his way inside. Our tongues clash and our
bodies grind against each other as we rid one another of our clothes,
coming together completely one last time.
It’s
a night I will never forget. I’m so grateful that the bedroom light is
out, and the moon is low so he can’t see the tears I can’t hold back in
the dark.
“Decker?”
I take some comfort in the heat radiating from his naked body pressed
up against my back. It makes me feel bold. Bold enough to speak my
heart? My mind?  
“Hmm?”
“Things
are going to change.” I close my eyes tight, badly wanting to tell him
everything. How much I love him…really, really love him. And that I’m
going to Stanford. I want him to assure me that everything will be
okay…that we’ll be okay. That he loves me, too, and we’ll make it work
despite the distance. I need his strength.
“Nah.”
He yawns loudly, the liquor on his breath wafting over my shoulder as
he exhales and pulls me tighter against him. “We might not see each
other as much…but we’ll always be best friends.”
The small glimmer of hope I had burns out in the night.
“Best friends…right.” A final tear falls from my eye, runs down my cheek and drops to the pillow with an audible plop.
“Forever…” he murmurs.
By morning, Decker is gone.
   A few hours later, so am I.






 

Jennifer
lives in South Carolina with her husband and their four fur-kids. She
is in grad school, pursuing a Masters in Psychology for Clinical
Counseling. When she is not at work or taking classes, she is either
reading or writing. Books have always been a passion. She also enjoys
spending time with her family, traveling to new places, and music. She
released her debut novel, Our Moon, in June 2015.




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