Crossing Paths by Melanie Stinnett
Design by Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations.
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
The crossing paths of friendship, family, love, and loss are often complicated.
June Deckert and Caroline Smith sparked a friendship in college that carried them through graduation. Although they are complete opposites in every way, they have spent the last four years inseparable.
That is, until now.
June finds herself falling for a man who seems unattainable. As she works side by side with him on a new media campaign, their feelings for each other come alive. But when his actions start to speak louder than words, she wonders if she’s missing something.
Meanwhile, Caroline is fighting against her feelings for a recent acquaintance, and she decides to keep her new love interest a secret from June. Overwhelmed by these new emotions, her moods change swiftly, swinging up and down like a yo-yo.
While June and Caroline try to maneuver their way through new relationships, Caroline starts lying to June to protect her from a truth that threatens to break her heart and tear them apart.
In the end, Caroline’s deceit will test their friendship, and June will have to decide if her chance at love is worth putting her heart on the line.
As I push open the door, he is leaning against the counter, just finishing off a glass of water. His head is tilted back slightly, getting the last drop, before he swallows. I never knew drinking water while covered in sweat could look sexy. I close my eyes to limit the visual stimulation as I try to ward off the blush I feel creeping into my cheeks.
“You took your sweet time getting in here,” he states.
When I open my eyes, he is standing closer to me with his hip resting against the kitchen island.
I walk toward the door that leads to the backyard and pause briefly to face him. “Um, well, I had to traverse the mountain of holiday decorations in the entryway.”
Laughing, he steps toward me and places one of his hands against the door just above my shoulder as his opposite hand takes hold of my hip. Before I know what’s happening, my back is pressed tightly against the door.
“I was hoping we could talk tonight,” he says softly.
My heart begins beating quickly, and it feels like it’s in my throat. “Really?”
He nods and leans in closer to me, his nose brushing against the skin just below my ear. “Have you told June?” he whispers, touching his lips to my neckline.
Goose bumps rise all over my body, and I feel certain that I might faint at any moment. “No,” I respond in a voice so hushed that even I have trouble hearing it.
His lips trace the line of my jaw. Each time he moves to another place on my skin, the prior space feels numb and neglected. When I feel his hand tighten on my hip, my body tenses in response. Just as he is about to reach the corner of my lips, the doorknob turns, and the door jolts against my back. My eyes widen in concern, and Liam hangs his head, sighing in what seems like frustration.
He looks into my eyes as the door continues to shake, and then he nods his head toward the other door. Continuing to hold his weight against the door, he releases his body’s pressure from mine, and I walk slowly backward through the opposite doorway.
I hear a loud thud as the door closes behind me. As June begins yelling something unintelligible, I hold my hands over my mouth, attempting to stifle a laugh. Liam runs through the door at lightning speed, closely followed by June.
Although she stops when she sees me, she’s still yelling loudly. “One day you’re going to regret playing all these nasty jokes on me. I could have gotten a concussion! You are such a buffoon!” She clenches her teeth and stomps her foot like a small child. “Hey, Caroline. I didn’t know you were here.”
“Just got here a few minutes ago,” I say, trying to act nonchalant. Glancing up the stairway to the wooden railing across the upstairs loft, I catch a glimpse of Liam smiling.
“I’m thirsty. Let’s get a drink,” I say, giving Liam a small smile in return before I walk out of sight.
When I was ten years old, I got a trampoline. My first thought wasn’t about how it would impact my life. I thought about the special tricks I could learn, like bouncing my friends higher than any sane adult would allow. The moment I ripped through that wrapping paper, I was ecstatic as I stared at the picture of three happy kids jumping with their limbs flailing through the air. The box was gigantic, but I found a way to hug that box with more emotion than any other hug I had ever given.
Of course, my dad had to put it together right away. We sat in the backyard with metal pieces and tools surrounding us. The large round fabric was spread out, obscuring the grass from the sun.
Two weeks later, when I was happily jumping up and down, the unimaginable happened. One moment, I was free as a bird, flying through the air, and then falling, bending the fabric toward the ground. As I took my next flight, I could have never predicted what occurred next. When my feet left the trampoline, I raised my hands out from my sides with a huge grin across my face. While my body was in the air, I glanced toward the front of the empty house next door, and suddenly, my world changed.
A petite young girl with blonde hair flowing around her shoulders slid off the seat of a moving van. She was smiling and laughing as she ran up the sidewalk. My body descended, but my heart was still floating above. Then, it came crashing down moments after my eyes lost sight of her.
My young mind had no words for the emotion that planted its seed that day. I should have known then that I would fall in love with her. Instead, with everything in my being, I fought against loving her for the next three years.
About the Author:
I have enjoyed reading and writing since I was very young. Some of my fondest memories from childhood are of spending time with my mom or grandma reading a good book. Over the years, it never crossed my mind that writing my own novel would be an attainable goal. After reading several independently published novels by Jamie McGuire, Colleen Hoover and others, I decided I needed to give that dream a chance.
When I’m not reading and writing, I enjoy spending time with my three favorite guys: my husband and my two little boys.
In addition to being an author, I work as a Speech Language Pathologist to provide therapy to adults who are dealing with speech, language, cognition or voice deficits. My day job is rewarding in many different ways and I love having the opportunity to help others in a time of need.
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