*Rafflecopter Giveaway at the Bottom!*
"Lost and Found"
By: Lori Otto
This is the beginning of an atypical romance.
When artist Nate Wilson falls in love, he falls hard. The problem is, he’s only been in love once, and the girl of his affections is his best friend, Emi Hennigan. In high school, the two bonded over painful breakups, and swore off a relationship to save their friendship. Thirteen years later, Nate has had more than his share of emotionally-unfulfilling, sexual relationships with beautiful women to distract himself from his true romantic feelings.
When a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity takes Nate away from his friend and his comfortable lifestyle, he is forced to reflect on the distinct void that Emi’s absence leaves in his life. To Nate’s surprise, Emi has a similar experience; but as the friends embark upon their journey toward happiness together, destiny reveals other plans for Emi.
Anger clouded my eyes when I pulled up in front of the frat house. A stranger’s hands were on her cheeks, holding Emi’s face close to his. She was trying to move away from him, her hands pressed against his chest. Or were they gripping his shirt, holding him closer? No, certainly not. Eventually they stopped kissing, and he held her arm as she slid off the picnic table and stood next to him.
I revved the engine and eventually got the guy’s attention... Emi’s, too. I got out of the car quickly, and I could tell she finally felt safe enough to move away from him.
“Emi,” I said, exhaling as I spoke.
“Hey,” she said quietly as I glanced at the frat boy. When she started to cry, she was the only thing in my vision. I couldn’t get to her fast enough, but when I finally reached her, I pulled her into my arms, holding on to her, whispering assurances in her ear.
“It’s okay, I’m here. Shhh...” She sniffled loudly in my ear. “Are you okay?”
She pulled away and looked up at me, looking sorry and apologetic. She nodded, a motion so subtle I barely caught it. Relieved, I kissed her forehead and pulled her back into my chest before trying to walk her to the car. She was unsteady, clearly drunk. Even with my careful steps, she managed to trip us both. Once I knew she was alright, we laughed quietly.
“Come on, Em,” I urged her as I opened the door. She sat down, folding her hands in her lap, obviously obeying me. I pulled the belt across her body, moving her arms out of the way when she wouldn’t, and buckled her safely in. I closed the door and smiled at her as she looked up at me, smiling back. I brushed the hair out of her eyes and then felt her hand on the back of my neck, pulling my head to hers.
I shook my head, unsure what she was trying to do. I took her hand in mine, kissed it and placed it back in her lap. I returned to my side of the car and looked back at the guy who still stood motionless next to that table. The anger was immediately back, and I hoped my eyes were communicating it to him as I stared into his. I wondered if Chris knew what had happened in the time that had passed since he called and the time I actually showed up. I wasn’t sure that Emi even knew.
I sped away from the frat house quickly, glancing back only once in hopes of seeing the guy’s face one more time. He had dark hair, but that was the only physical characteristic I really latched on to, too occupied with taking control of the situation, and I really wanted to remember him... really wanted to go back and let him know it wasn’t okay to take advantage of drunk girls– especially the one sitting next to me in my convertible. He had already gone inside, though. Fucking coward.
“Did you see him?” Emi asked.
“I didn’t get a good enough look. Did he hurt you?” I asked, worried.
“Hurt me?” She sounded like she snorted when she laughed. “God, no, he was beautiful. When he kissed me, it was unreal. Like nothing I’ve ever felt before in my whole entire life. Nate, I think he’s the one.”
“No,” I laughed back at her. “You’re drunk. He definitely was not the one. What would have happened if I hadn’t shown up?”
“I don’t know,” she said, unbuckling her seatbelt when we got to a stop sign. “Good question, let me out and we’ll see.” She struggled with the door handle, unable to swing the door open. I would always turn the child locks on to piss her off, and I hadn’t remembered to enable them after the last time she was in my car. I was thankful for that now. “Let me out,” she whined.
“No, Emi,” I coaxed her, tried to calm her down. “Sit back down and buckle your seatbelt. I’m taking you to your dorm. Are your roommates there?” I buckled her back in myself, watched an adorable pout form on her sumptuous lips... lips that another man had the pleasure of tasting... lips that I had always wanted to press against my own. She adjusted herself in the car, curling her legs under her body and leaning her shoulder against the seat, while she looked at me with pleading eyes. I touched her face gently with the back of my hand and closed my eyes, imagining a kiss with my best friend. A car horn from behind us snapped me back to attention.
“Fuck off!” Emi yelled to the car.
“Alright,” I sighed, taking the corner a little too fast as I raised the convertible top up to protect us from any more trouble. “Behave, Emi.”
“He was cute,” she said as I rolled up the windows. “The guy at the party was so cute. And perfect. I’m sure I’m in love.”
“Cute or not,” I argued, “he shouldn’t have been taking advantage of you in the condition you’re in. How much did you have to drink, anyway?”
She just shook her head, shrugged her shoulders and smiled at me with a dreamy look in her eyes.
“You’re cute.” Her hand reached out and touched my lips and I almost drove into another car at her gesture.
“Hands to yourself, Em,” I had whispered to her. “Don’t distract me while I’m driving.”
Meet the Author:
After graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1997 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Lori Otto worked in the billboard industry for ten years. Frustrated with trying to communicate entire messages in “seven seconds or less,” she decided to leave outdoor advertising and return to her love of creative writing.
Buy the Book:
SIGNED copy of Not Today, But Someday
Grand Prize Giveaway:
*Thanks for stopping by to check out my stop on the Blog Tour! What did you think of the cover, blurb, and excerpt? Did you like them? What did you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts! And make sure you enter the giveaways! Remember, there is two of them open for you to enter!! Enjoy & Good Luck! Happy Reading & Writing!*