Saturday, December 28, 2013

My poem "Small Things"

It's easy to forget the small things
When life happens and ash is left after the burning
But I remember it
The small things
The way your fingertips left goosebumps in their wake
The look in your eye when my heart was yours to take
The fear left behind when I lost it
The ache left in its place as I tried to replace it
I need them
The small things
Racing heart, butterflies dancing
Stolen kisses and love blazing
I forgot them
The small things
How you knew just what I needed when I didn't
How you put me back together when I couldn't
I loved them
The small things
Lost, forgotten and missed
Gained, remembered and embraced
Those small things
Become everything

Copyright 2013 by Andrea Michelle

New edition


Heeeeyyyyy!  Just 11 more days

Tuesday, January 7th will be the re-release day for the second edition of, Escape the Doubt.

And what's that?  You've heard it has a hot bonus chapter in it. Well, you have heard correctly.  Yes, 6,000 words in Dean's POV. If you haven't met him yet—you should.  He makes your boyfriend look effing amazing.

Readers, I heard you, and I agree. You hate Dean. Your words- He's an asshole, a dickpickle, a douche nozzle, a prick, or as I call him - the jerk I love to hate. You will read his 6,000 words and probably still hate him, but wouldn't you love to climb inside his head, and find out why he is so f*cked up? Well, NOW YOU CAN.

Rumor is - this could be leading somewhere for a future for Dean without Riley. I cannot confirm or deny this rumor.

Teaser
(In case you missed it)

copyright remains with the photographer
Don’t talk, don’t kiss me, and don’t tell anyone we did this—those were the rules for them. The rules for me weren’t as simple. Pretend the chick below me is someone else entirely. Forget the guilt because it’s just sex—sex with the wrong girl. Don’t feel too much, because it isn’t real, and she (whoever she may be) isn’t Riley. 
Dont worry- if you already purchased Escape the Doubt all you need to do is update the edition on your kindle.
.99 FOR JUST 11 MORE DAYS

Friday, December 20, 2013

Bonus Chapter Update

I'm trying to figure out the best way to get this chapter in the hands of readers. I thought about adding it to the back of the novel for new readers but that leaves me with how to share it with prior readers. I'd love to share this with everyone that wants to read it. 6,000 words from scenes in Escape the Doubt all told in Dean's voice. He has his own side of the story. You might be shocked to hear it. I wonder how others share these things. Hmmm... Leave comments if you have a suggestion. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ramblings out of the BLUE

I need a street team, I need some kick ass beta's. I need to trust more, but it's really hard when I've already been burned. I need a loyal group of minions that want to pimp me out and be my forever besties. And I need some awesome bloggers to give me a chance and get to know me, every 'no' I receive breaks my spirit just a little more. I need to spend time writing, and less time stressing about all the things I'm not seeing happen, and all the things I wish were. I see new authors doing great things, all over blogs sites (spotlights, take overs etc.) and being recommended like no one's business. IDK if it's just me, if it's personal, if it's my book, if it's my genre, if people just assume my book is going to suck... I just don't know. I wish I did. I wish I could telepathically convince people to take a chance with someone new, read my book, fall in love with it, want more of it and then pimp the hell out of it. Some might hate it... I'm not in denial. I just don't know what I'm doing wrong, or if any of what I'm doing is even right. What I do know... is that my heart is sad. Because I finally find the thing that is missing in my life, and felt complete for the first time ever. Now the critic in me berates my failure and makes me feel like something is missing again. I want to make friends with people with like minds, no one better understands this path then others like me... but even that... is hard. I've never felt so alone doing something I love, and it makes me not love it as much. My characters scream and holler at me daily, they tell me to never give up and just be patient. I'm trying really hard to listen to them... in more ways than one, but this journey is full of hurdles and brick walls.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Dean's POV... you don't say?

I'm going to be revamping Escape the Doubt in Jan. - a second edition will be in the works. 

Hmmm.... I have a surprise up my sleeve. 

Just wondering... 

Would a Bonus Chapter in Dean's POV be something that interest you?

It just maybe, might possibly, almost definitely could be a teaser for something in the future.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop 2013

Thank you for joining the Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop 2013. I am excited to be one your many stops.

I hope you enjoy your hop to my blog. I will be giving away an ebook copy of my debut, Escape the Doubt, for you to enjoy. This is my first hop ever and I wasn't all that sure what I should put inside this post. I have listed my dreamcast, my playlist and a small excerpt of Escape the Doubt in seperate posts. So scroll down... :) 

ABOUT ME:  I am a new author.... WOW! It still shocks me to be able to say that. Okay, so I am a new self-published author. My debut and it's series are YA/NA, Coming-of-Age Romance. I have many WIP's in progress and they won't always fit inside that same genre box. I hope to have a variety  genres as each story chooses it's voice for me. I am 34 years old, mother to 3 beautiful daughters, and I have been married to my best friend since I was nineteen. I used to live in Texas but now I am back home in Louisiana. I am beyond nervous to be venturing into the book world as an independent author. I have never before shared my writing, even though I have hid many secrets in my own dark poetry (like my character, Riley). It's not that I didn't want to share, but more that I didn't believe enough in myself to do so. Sometimes though, you have to let go of insecurities and the fear of failure to find happiness. I have several post on my blog about why I write (check those out). Below is a poem I wrote about what writing feels like to me. So flying on a wing and a prayer, I took the leap off the ledge and now... HERE I AM. 

THIS IS WHAT WRITING FEELS LIKE TO ME:   (Enjoy my poem)  


I just wish for a second I had all the answers.  Even if in that second I only captured one or two answers to memory.  Just for a second to not feel confused about which step should come first, that 'one' or the one I'm about to take.  Just one simple, small second that feels like a minute or an hour.  In that second I might be able to breathe, might be able to see a small glimpse or a sliver of insight, and not be so afraid of the unknown.  The second passes, I don't receive the answers, only more questions, and I still can't breathe.  I'm also still afraid of the unknown.  The dark places in time, where thoughts and fear entwine is where I lie.  Until the next second passes, and the next after that, until a minute becomes an hour, and hours become days without change.  The whispers get louder, their are so many, pulling me back and forth and hard to focus on just the one.  No need for time as they don't exist for them.  For me, time is all I see.  Too little time, running out of time... never enough time.  And yet, in all that time... I never get my second with all the answers.  Time, the peculiar thing that it is... never stops, never goes back... just continues to tick and to tock.  Within time I will have even one answer, maybe two, just possibly three or very well none at all.  Within time the whispers will become a voice I can rely on.  The voice will become it's own maker of time, another cycle of unknown.  Another second I fear and embrace because it's my own.  With or without answers, this voice belongs to me, and it should not be feared but cherished.  So I will try... try to embrace the time I'm surrounded with all of the whispers.  I will to try to not fear the unknown or focus on the unanswered questions.  I will try to not let my demons scare me off, even if time after time I do let them.  This time will be different.  This time, I will not count the seconds I'm lost, or the hours I feel like I can't breathe.  This time I will just let the whispers find their voice, and the voice will find me. 



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Feel free to scroll through my blog and find teasers as well as other information about me.

  Escape the Doubt is a beautiful love story about two high school seniors, which are struggling to escape a past that fills one of them with doubt and guilt, while the other is filled with longing and desire.  Josh and Riley have been best friends since they were four and five years old. Told in dual POV's, Escape the Doubt, will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions as secrets unfold. When friendship shifts into love and innocence shifts into curiosity... the journey should be fun right? Wrong. Nothing involving these two happens easy or without a curve ball being thrown at them.

*Pages full of: wrong decisions, mistakes, misunderstandings, betrayal, lies, and secrets... so many secrets!

*This is book 1 in the Shifting Series but can be read as a standalone (no cliffhanger).


  Visit the link to enter the giveaway for the Grand Prize... http://pjschnyder.com/blog/contests/

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Kings of Leon - Closer ~ THIS.

THIS SONG IS PLAYING DURING AN INTENSE SCENE IN ESCAPE THE DOUBT.  RILEY FINALLY SEE'S POSSIBILITIES, SEE'S SOMETHING DIFFERENT -UNTIL ....  IT COMES CRASHING DOWN TO REALITY.  SHE DOES THE VERY THING THAT IS WIRED IN HER DNA (SHE DRINKS).  SHOT AFTER SHOT SHE NUMBS WHAT HURTS, ACTIONS BECOMING REACTIONS UNTIL SHE ISN'T THINKING AT ALL.  BUT WHAT'S LEFT AFTER ... MORE CONFUSION, REGRET, FEELING THE PAIN OF REJECTION AND THE REMAINS OF TEQUILA. WITH HER CHEEK PRESSED AGAINST THE COLD HER TILE FLOOR SHE REMEMBERS LOSING HERSELF.  LOSING EVERYTHING.

Escape The Doubt Book Trailer

Monday, December 9, 2013

New Cover and Blurb


I believe


Warm Wishes


Teaser from Book 2


***TEASER*** 
This is from Embrace the Moment (book 2 in the Shifting Series). 

*UNEDITED AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE* 

His knuckles brush my cheek and I reach up to take his hand and bring it to my mouth where I kiss his palm and then we hug. We freaking hug... it’s the simplest of gestures but it makes me feel warm and like his arms are my home. He is home to me and I’m so completely happy to be back home where I belong.
“Well isn’t that cute.” I hear a familiar voice say from behind me. I feel Josh tense instantly and when I turn around I find my ex. That warm and fuzzy feeling dies a quick death being buried underneath years of wrong decisions. Dean takes off his helmet, places it on the handlebars and walks towards us never breaking eye contact with me. 
I’m not sure what my face is portraying right now. A little of shock and a little of irritation I would presume. “Hey Dean,” I reluctantly say to the guy that is more like a stranger to me than an ex-boyfriend of two years and a good friend since childhood. 
His chocolate eyes are speaking to me without words. For a second they soften but with just a breath they become cold and foreign. “Riley, I see you found your smile again.” He smiles but it’s strained and seems to taunt me not congratulate me. “Good for you. Strange though, how it seems to slip right into place when only Josh is near you huh?” He says full of sarcasm and bitterness. It slaps me right in the face with the truth. 


© Copyright by Andrea Michelle 2013

This is why I write


I'm about to post something a little about myself. This is not a rant but more of me sharing a piece of my story. 

It's not an easy decision to share your writing with the world. It's not an easy act of trusting people you don't know (even if you hope to one day grow to know them). A moment hasn't gone by since I have begun this journey where I haven't asked myself "Do you know what you're doing?" The answer remains the same... No. 

I love to write. I mostly love poetry. Last year I was at a very low point in my life and stuck in a very dark recess in my mind. Last time I ever felt that desolate was in high school and my dark poetry journey became my escape. Needing that same escape last year I devoured many many many novels from other authors that my one click finger has grown attached to. Retracting into a fiction story helped me cope with the out control stuff in my real life story. That worked for quiet a while until I needed more... more of something I didn't even realize I was missing. 

I've always had an imagination. I picture things in unusual ways and I daydream constantly. My mind slips into a realm that isn't reality sometimes (not the crazy kind but the story reel kind). Growing up with these strange visions in my mind of events that have never happened or don't really involve me was bizarre to me. I often felt... odd (lack of a better word) in that voices thundered in my head. Not voices like telling me to do stuff. But voices that wanted to tell me stuff. Does that even make sense? 

So one day (last year) I sat down with my lap top and I listened. I really listened and I began writing. I let the fiction world in my mind become a real world on my lap top. Once I started tapping away it just poured out (it became an obsession). This story went one way while another began and no two connected just right. They were two completely different stories with two completely different feelings. Then a third hit me in the face where I lie with insomnia and a brain that never shuts up. It was THAT one which helped me escape. That story became my true focus and the title for Escape the Doubt became my debut. Because that is truly what I felt I needed to do at that point in my life. 

I released it into the wild unknown in October. It's been slow moving and truth be told it's because of many reasons that I definitely understand (timing, genre, lack of pimping skills, lack of know how, awesome freaking authors already out there). No two things were perfect and most things were just not perfect. 

 I poured my heart into those pages and I shared it (that in itself was a goal met). I have never ever shared my writing. Not at all because I don't think it's worthy, a little because I'm afraid to do so and a lot because it's personal and belonged to me. To share it meant letting it belong to someone else too and I wasn't sure I could do that. Obviously I changed my mind since I did share. 

I became Riley Shaw and a piece of me became Joshua Parker. Little pieces of me were each of the characters in my book. Riley is a teen who writes dark poetry to escape all of the emotions she feels. It's her way of coping just as it was mine. I let her have her own voice and in return she let me escape with her. I researched a lot before I released. Scared to death of failure and insecure that I just wasn't good enough to do this. Everything I read told me that incorporating poetry into a novel was sure to fail. That took my tiny piece of fear and turned into a giant weight on my chest. However I ignored the weight and I ignored the fear and I put the poetry in my novel. Why? Because it was a piece of my character (it was a piece of me). Every poem in my book was written by me when I was in high school as a troubled teen with emotions I didn't understand. 

Moments in that novel were real moments inspired from either my own experiences or that imaginative reality where my mind slips to live at times. 

Self publishing has been a multitude of a lot of things. Most days I feel absolutely grateful and excited to be taking the leap. Some days I feel just plain clueless when I see that I'm NOT doing a lot of the things I see other authors doing. I don't have a blog tour. I didn't hire a marketing team. I haven't made guest appearances or looked into conferences or signings. It's just been one step and then another step and eventually maybe those steps might take off sprinting.

 However for now I'm just learning and figuring this all out. Every step I've made I've done it on my own. From creating my blog, buying photographs and creating teasers, designing my facebook cover to formatting my own book. I started out with a premade book cover and knew from day one (even though beautiful) it didn't speak to me. Not able to afford the amazing covers I saw out there really bummed me out. It was my husband who actually told me to make my own and just keep trying. Gimp is a bitch btw. BUT... I learned how to do all the graphics (tutorials are awesome) and I figured out how to format my book (with a lot of hair loss from pulling it) on my own into multiple formats needed to deliver ARC's and proofread on my kindle... so I could do this last thing too. Shutterstock has become my best friend. Searching for days until I found the two pictures that I knew in an instant screamed at me that they were the ones. Two? Yes, the debut and the sequel. I set off to making my own cover and then uploading it to the already released book. This new cover definitely connects to me as I picture my character and what I wanted it to portray on first glance. 

I made a mental note that I have done EVERYTHING backwards. I didn't build a platform first and I didn't contact bloggers months in advance. I didn't believe in my graphic ability until after the fact. I didn't make a social media appearance beforehand. What I did do... I wrote a book and I hit publish. So much--so so so much more goes into this job. I'd love to make this a career as I never even knew the piece I was missing in my soul was the piece I never let out. Unlocking a passion I kept to myself has been freeing and now I can't picture it any other way. 

Some days I think it's just not gonna happen. I might have let this piece be shared but it might never really turn into something more than a book I shared sitting on a TBR shelf of lots of people. However I've learned that patience is virtue. And sometimes to fly means leaping off the edge with a wing and a prayer and two left feet. Would it really be considered failure if I don't make a best seller list? Not to me. Would it really be considered failure if an agent or publishers never contact me one day? Again, not to me. Are both of those things something that would be amazing? Abso.freakin.lutely. But my point is that I tried. I took a chance. I risked it all to share this story. 

I wouldn't recommend anyone flying the way I have. I would definitely do all the steps in reverse if I could go back and do it differently. All in all though... it's done. I stepped out there the way I have and I can only grow and learn from here. 

I'm excited to get to know a bunch of amazing new people, creating friendships that might not ever have been made otherwise, and just having the opportunity at all. So thanks. Thanks for welcoming me into this crazy world. I've learned it's pretty crazy. ;) Thanks for embracing my debut and for letting me share it with you. Thanks for letting me escape and be the person that I'm finally letting free. And thanks for the future... where ever it may lead me. 

That's all. Long story but true story. *puts mic down and blows kiss*

Escape The Doubt by Andrea Michelle (Book Trailer from Booker Hooker)

Troubles with the school slut

*Preslee is that character that I wrote... ya know the one I love to hate? She creates trouble and drama. Here is a thought from Riley. 

"Why is she his new flavor anyway besides the obvious fact that she is 5’6 very blonde-legs for days-pouty lips-bigger boobs-very easy piece of work that I hate. She is opposite of my 5’2 petite figure, my average olive skin, my average dark hair with unruly wavy curls and my strange indecisive eye color of blue and green. Oh and the fact that she opens her legs when she smells a man and I well… nope I’m not that girl. I can’t even go there with a boy I’ve dated for two years."

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A PG 13ish scene from Escape the Doubt

I do not own the rights to this photo. All credit remains with the photographer & creator of the gif. Visual purposes only. 

 He brushes the hair away from my face and places a contented kiss on my forehead as he always does. He wraps his arm around my waist and hugs me tightly against him, resting his chin on my head. There is no space left between us. My leg is around his hip; my chest is pressed up against his. It feels perfect. Just for a moment I let myself forget everything else, I need this moment of respite. 

I pull back just enough that our faces are inches apart now. His nose is almost touching my nose. I watch his eyes study mine. I see it. Sadness, regret, remorse, longing... even love. It hurts to see it and I want to forget it’s there and that all of those emotions are sitting inside of me too. 

 He moves his hand from around my waist and runs his fingertips down my leg over his hip and back up until his palm is cupping my ass. An involuntary shiver runs up my spine and delicious tingles are following his fingers path. I press my hip into him involuntarily. His eyes are boring into mine, penetrating every barrier, everything I’ve tried to hide from him I feel peeling away and I’m scared shitless. I am open to him like this and I can feel him in my most tender spot. 

His thumb is caressing the side of my shorts now and I want him to touch me, God help me, I want him. I shut my eyes and inhale deeply. I can feel his breath on my lips. He is so close and I have a moment of trepidation. My body is covered in goose bumps; I have this coiling feeling in my stomach. He gently kisses each of my eyelids, my lips part as I exhale slowly. I feel him pull back slightly and when I open my eyes leisurely I find him studying my face, his eyes are clouded. He is fighting something; I can sense his inner battle. 

 “Josh?” I ask breathlessly. He moves his hand away from my hip and skirts it up my side, brushing the side of my breast before he cups my cheeks with both hands. He’s going to kiss me. 

 “Shhh” he whispers and then it happens. The Earth turns on its axis, my world stops. He so softly pecks my lips, gently licks along my bottom lip, parting my mouth, seeking permission to enter. A soft moan escapes me; my lips are quivering. His tongue enters my mouth and dances seductively with my own. The kiss is slow, sensual and damn near unravels me. It’s over much to fast. He doesn’t deepen it, even when I reach up and pull at his shoulders before tangling my fingers into his hair. He keeps the kiss completely sweet and a breath away from innocent. 

 I am fully aware that this is blurring the lines of our relationship further. When he pulls back I am panting, I am shaking, I am beyond in need. He smiles the sexiest smile and taps his index finger to my nose. 

 “You need to sleep” he pecks my mouth one last time and rolls to his back leaving me a quivering hot mess.

Copyright 2013 by Andrea Michelle 

Meet Tink

What if your first kiss involved chocolate? YUM


*Excerpt from Escape the Doubt (unedited and subject to change). This is a memory of Josh and Riley's first kiss when they were freshman in high school (before life turned love to shit). SOMETHING SWEET & UBER YUMMY! enjoy ;) 


****

Josh and I were babysitting the brats otherwise known as our little sisters. It’s date night for our parents, which hardly ever happens being that only one of those couples actually likes the other. We were alone which was not unusual. Even our parents saw us as innocent friends. If they only knew what I saw when I looked at him. How I craved him then they might not have been as trusting. 

 I was busy making brownies. Baking was something I did when I was nervous and needed to keep my hands busy. Usually I write in my journal but Josh was here so... baking it was. I was mixing like a mad woman. I felt like that. What was I supposed to say to that? My best friend, the boy I wanted to be mine, wanted to kiss another girl. Not just any kiss, it would be his first kiss. That’s a big deal right? 

 I could say… “Good luck, hope you do it well” or better yet I could say… “Hope it sucks and she slobbers on you and you hate it, maybe even bites you accidentally and scares you to never do it again”. Who was I kidding? Biting his lip would only make her the best damn kisser ever. Ugh! I could feel his grin and for the life of me I didn’t understand why he was grinning. None of what he said made me happy. 

 Stir stir stir. 

 Bastard.

 I finally said, “I heard Josh. I mean… I don’t know what you want me to say or why you’re telling me this.” “I’m telling you because what you think matters to me,” he threw out there. Mix mix mix. Honesty? Yes I think so. “Well I think I don’t like Laiken. I think she flirts with all the boys in school. I think the fact that she has already kissed three other boys while y’all have been hanging out say’s something. I mean she is so fake. She laughs at everything you say and seriously you’re not that funny. Well, I mean you are funny but not like all the time.” I rambled and realized I had said way too much.

 He threw his head back and laughed. God, I loved his laugh. It was the best sound. “You’re adorable when you are like this.” 

 I poured the brownie mix into the pan and bent over to place it in the oven. When I stood up, I noticed he was looking at my butt. I set the timer ignoring why he was doing that. I placed my hands on my hips and tilted my head. “Like what exactly Josh?” 

 He smirked like he knew something I didn’t and locked eyes with mine. “Like that. Like you’re jealous.” He gestured at my posture. 

 I grabbed the spoon covered in brownie mix and held it up in front of me like a gooey weapon. “I’m not jealous Josh.” I soooo was. “Why would I be?” That’s right, faking nonchalance. 

 I licked the chocolate goodness from the spoon. Brownie mix was the best. He cleared his throat and swallowed hard. His eyes narrowed and he asked, “I don’t know Riley. Why would you be?” His eyes watched my mouth nervously lick the chocolate like he wanted a taste. 

 I rolled my eyes. “I’m not. You want your first kiss to suck, and it will because Laiken isn’t the right girl for you, then go for it. Have fun.”

 His eyes flicked between the spoon and my mouth and a smirk crossed his lips like he suddenly had an idea I wasn’t privy to knowing. “Oh I’m sorry did you want some?” I asked holding out the spoon for him. His eyes were telling me something, giving me a clue. I dragged my tongue along my bottom lip erasing any left over batter.

 He nodded but didn’t move. I went to pull the spoon back to my mouth but he grabbed my wrist holding the spoon in between us both as a hostage. My mouth formed an O as he slowly licked a trail up the spoon… damn lucky spoon I thought. I couldn’t help but watch his mouth the entire time. “Hmm,” he moaned like he thought it was delicious. I thought his lips probably tasted delicious too. Chocolate and Josh would be the best mixture of sweet. All these thoughts about Josh like that took me by surprise but I couldn’t help it. Something in me was changing. Shifting. 

 The air changed. He didn’t let go of my wrist. He watched my eyes watch his mouth and damn if he didn’t wickedly grin at me. He pushed up close to me. So close in fact that his chest meshed with mine and I suddenly forgot how to breathe. “Um, what are you doing Josh?” I whispered breathlessly. 

 He smiled, “Shhh… it’s okay. You just have a little chocolate right there.” 

 “Where?” I asked embarrassed but then he lowered his head and… oh hell. He moved the spoon back to the bowl and leaned in, his tongue softly licked a spot by the corner of my mouth. I couldn’t help but shut my eyes and softly moan. My body fell limp against the counter. I braced my hands on the edge just to keep my balance. It wasn’t until I felt the loss of his warmth that I knew he had stepped back and when I slowly opened my eyes I found him watching me with my lips parted wishing for his tongue to enter my mouth.

 I puffed out the breath I wasn’t completely aware that I was holding. He was studying my face with a satisfied look. “I got it.” He smiled crookedly. “So about that first kiss. I could think of a way to make it not suck.” Oh I could too. I so could picture lots of ways.

 I looked away from him, feeling the blush creep up to my cheeks as the image in my mind blazed. “How is that?” He stepped back into my space and gently tugged my chin to him, forcing me to meet his gaze. I was trapped in his beautiful hazel eyes that I didn’t notice him reaching into the brownie bowl and dragging his fingers all through the chocolate. He laughed and stepped back tapping my nose with a chocolate covered finger. “Gotcha.”

 I squealed, “Oh my God. You are so dead, Joshua Parker.” I reached in and coated my own fingers in chocolate and began to chase him around the island wiping my hand along his cheek when I caught him and I was laughing hysterically as I did. He grabbed my hand before I could run away. My heart was racing. My breathing was fast. And I knew he was up to no good by the sinful little twinkle that danced in his hazel eyes. No good at all. My laughter fizzled out as something else took its place. Something unfamiliar, yet wanted so badly. 

 He took my messy hand and placed my index finger into his mouth sucking the chocolate clean. I felt dizzy. I could feel his tongue swirl around my finger and something in my belly clenched tight. I stumbled back, my back hitting something hard. He let my finger go with a pop and we stared at each other for the longest time. Not moving just breathing.

 He tucked a curl behind my ear. “That was fun.” He smirked and my toes curled. Did he not see how he affected me? What the hell was that? 

“I um… yea… I should get a napkin.” I knew it was such a stupid thing to say. I should get a napkin. No I should attack your face and lick it clean that’s what I should have done. I moved around him and wet a paper towel in the sink. He didn’t move. He just watched me with an unreadable expression. I reached up on my tippy toes and started dabbing away the chocolate mess I had coated his cheek with. He was motionless with the exception to the way his chest was rising and falling. “All clean,” I said as I softly smiled. 

 He grinned and took the napkin from my hand and began to gently wipe the chocolate off of my nose. Once he was done he placed his hands on both sides of me caging me in between his hard chest and the kitchen counter. “I want to kiss you,” he blurted out. Wait! What?

 “I thought you wanted to kiss Laiken?” Stupid Riley. Stupid, stupid Riley, I thought again. Just shut up. 

 He shook his head back and forth, “Nah, you were right she isn’t the right girl. There is only one solution to making my first kiss not suck and that’s if you let me kiss you.” His eyes never left mine. I wanted to kiss him. But truth was Josh seemed to not really know what he wanted lately. I wondered if I kissed him did that mean Laiken no longer existed? “Stop over thinking it Riley. Can I kiss you?” he asked permission again knowing me so well. I was over thinking it. 

I nodded. “Okay.”

 “Okay?” his breathe feathered across my lips as I nodded again. 

 I trembled in anticipation as he lowered his mouth to mine. A gentle, soft, sweet peck at first was what he placed on my lips. As my hands reached up around his neck to pull him closer to me and I tangled his dirty blond hair in my fingers he groaned deep in his throat and his tongue teased my lips to open for him, allowing him to deepen this kiss. I was nervous. What if I did it wrong? What if my kiss sucked and kissing Laiken would be better? “What ifs” filled my head as my body was humming. I willed myself to shut up and parted my lips allowing him in and it was like our mouths were made for each other. My tongue began to dance with his and I wanted it to never stop. He tasted delicious. 

 It did stop though. Definitely not saved by the bell. The doorbell rang and we both jumped apart panting heavy and staring at the other in shock. It ended way too briefly for my liking. I felt on fire. Tingling in a way I wasn’t used too. 

“Riley, Dean’s at the front door,” Tatum shouted loudly from the living room. 

 Josh raised his eyebrows at me probably just as curious as I was about why he would be ringing my doorbell. Dean was a tolerable pain in my ass, but was a friend nonetheless. I struggled to slow my breaths. Josh had completely composed himself as though he was unaffected completely. Like nothing amazing just happened. He left the kitchen and walked to the living room to open the front door. I followed in a cloud of confusion.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Writing on Pause

Hey guys, well... I've had to put my writing on pause for a week or two and haven't been able to write as much lately. The family and I are moving back to Louisiana and it's a time consuming nightmare. I will be thrilled when normalcy gets back into its right place. Patience is not in my vocabulary but I'm working on it.

Friday, October 25, 2013

My personal journey with some special thanks

I would have never thought that I would write a novel much less publish it. So much has changed this year for my family and I. In August of 2012 I made a career change only to have that fall apart a short eight months later. A personal struggle was being battled within our family. I was faced with a decision that I wasn't ready for. Needing an outlet for my feelings I took to the hobby that has always been a great release... I began writing. I never imagined that writing would turn into several stories that decided to take residency in my head. I decided to spend the summer with my three daughters and in August 2013 became a stay at home mom with my four year old daughter. Seeing as though I had extra time on my hands that I never had before ~ I began to dabble with this idea. I started writing Lost in the Dark a troubling story that left me an emotional wreck. I was midway through that story when Josh and Riley knocked on the door of my mind. Escape the Doubt started out for me as a completely different story than what it is now. A single POV of Riley Shaw. A dad with wandering eyes and an affair that left her untrusting of any man. The boy she loved (Josh) was very much playing games with her heart and the boy she was with (Dean) was trying his best to make her love him. My original manuscript told a different story altogether. An alternate plot where the affair Riley's dad had was actually with Josh's mom which was discovered the night of a drunk driving accident where they were found together (it was a major plot twist). It took several thousand words for me to change my mind. I wanted redemption in a tragic story. I wanted love to prevail. I wanted Josh & Riley to be together where they belonged. Entered Josh's POV. Within a few hours he spoke to me. It's crazy really. Once I let him speak, the story unfolded and took a complete 180. At first I was like "oh crap" now what? I lost thousands of words, chapters became something else entirely. But it was a beautiful painful process and it was necessary to tell the story I wanted. Lost in the Dark took a back row seat unfortunately. I had two characters that wouldn't shut up so I went with it. Meanwhile many WIP's became projects for the future. Abandoned Identity is one of a few I'm not ready to share yet. Even since I hit publish my life took yet another turn. Leaving Texas and moving back to our home state of La. in just a few short weeks. Unfortunately it has interrupted my writing time and set me back on the timeline I had made for myself. It will be a good journey. And so many inspirations come to me from these experiences. Another random fact... Riley loves poetry (her poems are my poems ~ one's I wrote in high school). Just a little secret I'm sharing. 

Huge thank you... 
~ to the bloggers that helped me along the way (cover reveal, release day blitz, recommendations). 
~ to my Dance Momma friends and my LSU bestie - I have crazy mad love for you all. Y'all have encouraged me to do this. To not be afraid and to chase after my goal. I literally grabbed that goal and never let go. I'm going to miss you all so much when we move. 
~ to Alicia, my fellow Cowgirl Kicker - when I told her I was doing this, she was so flipping excited. She began to pimp me out right then. My favorite beta and thanks is just too small of a word for how she has helped me. 
~ to my FB buddies - I ask a lot of questions. So many new faces, strangers to me have been open, welcoming and extremely helpful. I just love your freakin faces. THANKS!  
~ to my readers... WOW! I have readers. Still a shock - I love hearing from you. So many have PM'd me with kind words and encouragement. I heart you all. 
~ top of the list (saving the best for last) - My husband, my best friend and the guy that broke down my walls and showed me real love. I've neglected him as I traveled this journey, he never once complained. Hearing "I'm so proud of you" from him - well who needs to be a best seller after that. He is my New York Times and he thinks I rock (I stay at #1 for him). Love you baby. 
~ My daughters are my oxygen. Every breath, every heart beat belongs to them and is for them. They can't read my books right now (too young) but they think I'm famous. Totally funny... as if... who cares though. They brag to teachers and friends and everyday want to know what my characters are up to. I love it. Hopefully I've inspired them to never give up and always chase your dreams even when you didn't know you had them. 

They thought they knew but did they really?

All Josh knew was when he looked at her the words "MINE, LOVE and FOREVER" shot to his mind at the same speed his heart raced when she was near him. Riley wasn't his girl though. She belonged to someone else or did she? 


All Riley knew is that when Josh looked at her he saw all the reasons his mom was buried six feet under earth and tears. She convinced herself he felt pity and an obligation to always be her best friend. But loving her, allowing herself to admit she loved him and not Dean well... that was crazy talk and only in her dreams. Love isn't real. Or is it?

Stages of Josh & Riley


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Work in Progress (Abandoned Identity)


This is the synopsis to my WIP (Release date not yet announced)

Abandoned Identity

by Andrea Michelle 
Copyright 2013 by Andrea Michelle 

~Without a choice Leah would have a fresh start, a new beginning. Although she isn't sure if it's possible to start over when her beginning had no end. All Leah wanted to do was walk away from the life she left behind, and now the disappointment she saw in Kevin's eyes when she told him what had happened and why she lied about her identity. He wouldn't forgive her. He couldn't understand. It wasn't in him, his upbringing didn't allow that kind of information to exist. Leah knew to keep it secret when she met him, she knew she had to hide it for as long as she could but when someone who knew the truth walked back into her life exposing her not as Leah but as Sydney, a troubled girl with a dark past, her cards were scattered to the table. Kevin wouldn't pick them up. He just stared at them with judgement and watched her walk away, right out of his life. No reason to continue the charade of being Leah, Sydney once again abandoned another identity only to take on the real skin she hated so much.

~Micah was a beautiful creature with dark edges. He was broken and alone. Everyone in town knew he had a history of losing his temper, of making bad decisions. They accused him of the worst act imaginable. They were wrong about him but he didn't care enough to correct them. She was gone, sweet Rosalie and the future they were to have... all gone. All reason to care about anything became ashes. He let them convict him. Lost without the one he loved he spent his time talking to a ghost in four walls of misery until the truth set him free.

~Micah was wandering aimlessly into his new life, leaving his old identity behind. Sydney was walking with determination to hers. Amazingly by mistake but with complete purpose they walked and wandered right into each other.

~What happens when broken meets beaten down? What happens when convicted meets rejected? What happens when the judged and the condemned find each other? Can two past enveloped in pain and sadness become a future with healing and love or are they too damaged to fix each other?

~Travel the streets of abandoned identities with Micah and Sydney to find out.

One of my poems

Subtle whispers, once a soft voice
Now pounding in my head, crying out to be said
These words are my own 
Keeping them inside only weakens my soul. 
Holding on to hope that tomorrow will be different than today
I know that these feelings that remain will not always be this way
I find myself struggling each day just to emotionally survive
But I find the strength in releasing my emotions and thoughts
On paper ~ out loud ~ to you from my mind. 

Copyright 2013 by Andrea Michelle

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Finding myself

I'm crying happy tears right now and just can't find the right words to express the happiness that is inside of my heart right now. Wow... just wow! I just read a review that seriously made my day, my first five stars. Then another, then messages that just made my heart sing. Trust me I'm not bragging, so far from it. It took me 18 years to share my passion out of fear (maybe insecurity).  The unknown is a scary place and trusting strangers with my heart and soul is very hard for me. When I decided to jump off the edge I didn't know where that would land me. I decided not to jump but try to fly (a wing and a prayer is what I had and I just hoped that would be enough). I hoped that Escape the Doubt would touch someone the way it did me. This story is very close to my heart. Josh and Riley consumed me. They spoke for themselves and I just wrote the story they wanted me to tell and it was an emotional journey. I was scared that it wouldn't be embraced, that it wouldn't be enough, that I would fail Josh and Riley somehow and that fear broke my heart a little before I even gave it a chance. I am my worst critic and having faith in myself is something I have to stop and talk over with myself daily. I have a lot in common with the characters in my book. That review and the kind words coming from others mean the world to me and I am humbled and beyond grateful. Reminders that I can and should do this. That missing piece in me is complete when I write. It may have taken me years to put the puzzle together but now that the pieces are falling together I can't help but smile and be happy. HUGE THANK YOU to the readers of Escape the Doubt. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Released

I hit publish today. Escape the Doubt should be live in 12-48 hours on Amazon, B&N and kobo. It will be on Apple later. :) My stomach is full of butterflies that have had way too much Red bull. I'm a nervous excited wreck. :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Another teaser from Riley


“It’s not too late to fix this Riley. Even if you hate me, it’s not too late. Josh is still Josh and you are still you. I know he cares about you, hell he might even love you if you let him.” She said.
Love? What the hell was that anyway? Love wasn’t real. Love broke hearts, betrayed trust, and left you alone in pieces.
“Love isn’t real Emily.” I said. Silly girl.
She just looked at me like she didn’t understand. “Yes it is Riley. Love can be beautiful. You’ve only been shone the ugly in it. But I’ve seen it Riley. Love is beautiful. And you and Josh have a chance to let it be beautiful.”
I wished that were true. I did but I just didn’t believe in it. Not anymore.
Copyright 2013 by Andrea Michelle

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Another teaser


At Collin’s party I saw Josh and Preslee kissing in the hall and I hated it. I hated it even more when she pulled him into the bathroom with her.
“Why are you such a man whore Josh? You know you can do better than Preslee? Didn’t she hook up with Collin last week?” I asked him after he came out of the bathroom with her and she was out of earshot. He laughed at me “we didn’t hook up Shaw, she just did me a favor.” I gagged and he shrugged like it was no big thing. “What? She offered and I accepted. Is that a crime?” he smirked. Granted Josh was a little tipsy but still it grossed me out.
“You’re a pig Josh, I don’t want to hear that”
“You asked, I told you. Besides I’m not a man whore as you called it, I’m just bored and having fun.” Some random guy heard him as he walked by and fist bumped him. Guys are pigs I thought. All the sudden Josh tilted his head to the side and hummed like he had a sudden thought. He tapped my nose with his index finger, “We could have fun together ya know and then I wouldn’t need the distractions anymore.” He said gesturing to the other girls at the party and nibbling on his lip.
I rolled my eyes “Yea ok, your drunk” I said sarcastically, “distraction from what exactly?”
He leaned in close to my ear, his breathe causing me to shiver and he whispered low and husky, “from my fantasies of you” I think I may have “aahhh’ed” and when he leaned back to look into my eyes I swore he was going to kiss me. His eyes flicked to my lips.
I began to panic realizing I wanted him too but knowing I was at a party full of people one of which was my boyfriend. Where was he anyway? I hadn’t seen him in a while.
My thoughts of a MIA Dean dissipated when Josh grabbed my wrist and brought it to his lips never breaking eye contact. He left his mouth there briefly, feeling my pulse thump wildly I imagine.
He grinned wickedly before softly placing a kiss and letting my hand fall away. “I’m kidding Riley, you can calm down. We didn’t do anything in there but kiss. I was joking with you but I’ve said it before you are absolutely adorable when you are jealous.” He walked away laughing. 
Copyright 2013 by Andrea Michelle

Thomas Rhett - It Goes Like This (love this song)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Prologue & Chapter 1 of Escape the Doubt


What do you want from me?” my Dad yelled at my mom.
“To listen.  You never listen.  You just—,” my mom yelled back.
“I just… what? Work my ass off, put a house over you girls’ heads, you want for nothing and yet it’s never enough for you Claudia,” he yelled an octave louder.
“It’s not about the money, Evan. You’re never home. Look at the table for God’s sake.  You didn’t even come home last night AGAIN!” she shouted gesturing to his full plate still sitting on the table where my mom sat it out for him the night before, left untouched. Then her voice took on a low accusing tone, “What were you doing this time Evan?  Or dare I say who were you doing?” she asked with malice.
He recoiled from her accusation and looked at the table somewhat sheepishly but not full on guilty before narrowing his eyes at her and, like a rubber band stinging him, he retaliated with angry words, “you know what Claudia? I made a goddamn mistake years ago. One you still throw in my face every chance you get. I was 23 years old and scared as fuck. I’ve reaped what I sowed. I apologized a million times over but you won’t let shit die. I don’t even know why I try anymore. I CHOSE YOU!” he shouts. He was basically in her face, cornering her into the kitchen counters. He bowed his head to hers, gripped her by her chin that was quivering and forced her to look at him. “When are you going to choose me?” he asked with such sincerity it ripped my heart into shreds.
“Once a cheater, always a cheater.” That’s what my mom’s mother told her. Lecturing her, in fact, on how foolish it was to stay with him after finding out he cheated. My grandpa, who I have never met, ran off when my Mom was just a baby. “I baked his bread but he got it buttered by someone else,” she would say.
 Needless to say it’s been drilled into my mom’s head that all men cheat. It’s been cemented into mine that love is just a joke.
All more reasons why I will never commit with my whole heart. Love is just temporary. Nothing lasts forever.


RILEY
Sometimes to escape the noise of haunting memories you need your best friends hand in your own to help erase the sound and fill you with a sense of peace, even if it’s temporary.
“I thought I would find you here,” Josh said sitting next to me interlacing his fingers with my left hand as I trace over my dad’s name on his tombstone. “You okay? You look far away.” He always worries about me especially on this day.
I nod swiping a few lost tears. “I was just remembering that day. Their angry words thunder so loudly in my head. It’s been three years today and it still hurts.” I rub the throb in my chest that never dulls.
He pulls me to his side, kisses my forehead the way he always does. “I don’t think the hurt of losing someone goes away. Some days are better than others. But missing them… that feeling I think is just always they’re lying dormant. Something as simple as a song on the radio or the smell of their perfume on someone else triggers all those memories and in one moment you’re trapped in the past.”  He sighs getting lost in his past.
I look at him, my best friend, his own pain from loss etched all over his face. The guilt kills me everyday. He understands more than anyone how I feel except for the guilt. “I’m sorry Josh,” I whisper.
He cups my chin tilting my face to his, “Riley, we do this every year and every year you apologize to me. It’s not your fault that your dad got in the car that night or that my mom was a victim of his drunk driving.“
“It’s my dad’s fault. My mom’s fault. Therefore I am guilty by association. He never should have been on the road. I’m sorry we came into yall’s lives. Because of that you don’t have your mom. It’s not fair.” I choke on every word as it burns out of my throat.
He abruptly stands and pulls me to my feet. “Riley stop blaming yourself because I sure as hell don’t. Yes it hurts. God, it hurts some days to not have her here but never, and I mean never, have I wished for even a second that you not be in my life. You mean the world to me, Riley Shaw.” He grabs my hand and places a soft kiss on my palm.
God I love him. Why is life so cruel?
“You mean the world to me too, Joshua Parker. I lo… I care about you so much.” I bite the inside of my cheek painfully as I realize my almost slip.
Josh stares at me for the longest moment with the strangest of expressions. I wonder if he caught that. Shit! He eventually smiles and interlaces our fingers. “C’mon, your mom is worried sick about you. If I don’t get you home soon she is going to send out a search party.” He laughs trying to lighten the mood.
I hold onto his hand like he is my lifeline and walk with him to his truck. Only if everything was different we could be together like we were meant to be. I wish everything were different.
Once were in the truck Josh asks the question that I’ve been asking myself all day. “Why is Dean not here with you Riley?”
I look out the window as the world passes by in a blur. Dean isn’t with me today because he isn’t with me anymore. When I turn my face to look at Josh I want to tell him everything. That we broke up two days ago. That it hurt like hell but I didn’t care like I should because Dean isn’t the one I loved anyway. That every decision for the past two years is one big giant mountain of doubt. “He had to work but I’m sure he will stop by later.” He won’t.
Josh studies my face I’m sure sensing the half lie or the withheld truth. “M’kay… so wanna tell me what happened this morning to have your mom in such a state of panic that she thought you might catch a bus and disappear for good?” He grins knowing my Mom always thinks I’m on the verge of running away.
I’m too broke and weak to run away physically, however emotionally I’ve been on the run since that day three years ago, maybe even before.
I sigh and laugh although it’s not a laugh of humor. “I ran off this morning after yelling at her for the longest time. I told her that I remember every word, every fight and every reason why I hate them both.” I see that my words disappoint him so I turn back to the window looking away from him.
Today is one of those days where I do feel that hate for them. I hate that they loved so little and fought so hard. I hate that my Dad chose to drown his pain in a bottle and took his anger to the road killing an innocent woman on her way home from her son’s sports banquet for football. A son that is my best friend and the very person I love with every fiber inside of me, changing our futures forever.
Josh sighs and I know he is about to spill his words of wisdom. The same thing I have heard from him more than once. “Riley you need to forgive them. I have. My family has. We can’t go back and change the decisions of that day. But if you keep living in the past you can never move forward.”
They ruined everything. His dad is without the love of his life. Josh and his sister are without their Mom. They stole happiness from them and because of that I can never allow myself to have any happiness with him. A bottle of booze, a car accident, and 6 feet of Earth on two important people cemented my decision to never let myself have him. I didn’t deserve him. Maybe I was punishing myself for my dad’s decision but it’s what I had to do. Every time he would look at me he would see what my Dad took from him. It was too much.
I used to wear my heart on my sleeve. I used to dream of a time Josh and I could be together. Some of my sweetest memories are shared with him. Yet looking back, even within those sweet memories there are bitter memories too of a boy that was already plotting his invasion of my life.


4 years previous
Freshman: fresh meat, a beginner, a novice, someone who is naïve, a first-try effort or the first time to screw it up
 “Earth to Riley. Did you hear me? I think I want to kiss Laiken.”
I heard him fine. I just hated what I heard. Laiken was the first girl to look at Josh with hungry curious eyes. Since Josh and I had been best friends since kindergarten he never saw me as a real girl and I was to scared to cross the line and lose my friend.
Josh was the quarterback on the JV football team and Laiken was head cheerleader on her JV squad. They were a match made in social heaven. I was a wallflower in the background looking in. But he saw me. He saw her too though.
Josh and I were babysitting the brats otherwise known as our little sisters. It’s date night for our parents, which hardly ever happens being that only one of those couples actually likes the other.
 We were alone which was not unusual. Even our parents saw us as innocent friends. If they only knew what I saw when I looked at him. How I craved him then they might not have been as trusting.
I was busy making brownies. Baking was something I did when I was nervous and needed to keep my hands busy. Usually I write in my journal but Josh was here so baking it was. I was mixing like a mad woman. I felt like that. What was I supposed to say to that? My best friend, the boy I wanted to be mine, wanted to kiss another girl. Not just any kiss, it would be his first kiss. That’s a big deal right?
I could say… “Good luck, hope you do it well” or better yet I could say… “Hope it sucks and she slobbers on you and you hate it, maybe even bites you accidentally and scares you to never do it again”. Who was I kidding? Biting his lip would only make her the best damn kisser ever. Ugh!
 I could feel his grin and for the life of me I didn’t understand why he was grinning. None of what he said made me happy.
Stir stir stir.
Bastard.
 I finally said, “I heard Josh. I mean… I don’t know what you want me to say or why you’re telling me this.”
“I’m telling you because what you think matters to me,” he threw out there.
Mix mix mix.
Honesty? Yes I think so.
 “Well I think I don’t like Laiken. I think she flirts with all the boys in school. I think the fact that she has already kissed three other boys while y’all have been hanging out say’s something. I mean she is so fake. She laughs at everything you say and seriously you’re not that funny. Well I mean you are funny but not like all the time.” I rambled and realized I had said way too much.
He threw his head back and laughed. God, I loved his laugh. It was the best sound. “Your adorable when you are like this.”
I poured the brownie mix into the pan and bent over to place it in the oven. When I stood up, I noticed he was looking at my butt. I set the timer ignoring why he was doing that. I placed my hands on my hips and tilted my head. “Like what exactly Josh?”
He smirked like he knew something I didn’t and locked eyes with mine. “Like that. Like you’re jealous.” He gestured at my posture.
I grabbed the spoon covered in brownie mix and held it up in front of me like a gooey weapon. “I’m not jealous Josh.” I soooo was. “Why would I be?” That’s right, faking nonchalance.
I licked the chocolate goodness from the spoon. Brownie mix was the best. He cleared his throat and swallowed hard. His eyes narrowed and he asked, “I don’t know Riley. Why would you be?” His eyes watched my mouth nervously lick the chocolate like he wanted a taste.
I rolled my eyes. “I’m not. You want your first kiss to suck, and it will because Laiken isn’t the right girl for you, then go for it. Have fun.” 
His eyes flicked between the spoon and my mouth and a smirk crossed his lips like he suddenly had an idea I wasn’t privy to knowing.
“Oh I’m sorry did you want some?” I asked holding out the spoon for him.
His eyes were telling me something, giving me a clue. I dragged my tongue along my bottom lip erasing any left over batter. He nodded but didn’t move. I went to pull the spoon back to my mouth but he grabbed my wrist holding the spoon in between us both as a hostage.
My mouth formed an O as he slowly licked a trail up the spoon… damn lucky spoon I thought. I couldn’t help but watch his mouth the entire time. “Hmm,” he moaned like he thought it was delicious. I thought his lips probably tasted delicious too. Chocolate and Josh would be the best mixture of sweet. All these thoughts about Josh like that took me by surprise but I couldn’t help it. Something in me was changing. Shifting.
The air changed. He didn’t let go of my wrist. He watched my eyes watch his mouth and damn if he didn’t wickedly grin at me. He pushed up close to me. So close in fact that his chest meshed with mine and I suddenly forgot how to breathe.
“Um, what are you doing Josh?” I whispered breathlessly.
He smiled, “Shhh… it’s okay. You just have a little chocolate right there.”
“Where?” I asked embarrassed but then he lowered his head and… oh hell.
He moved the spoon back to the bowl and leaned in, his tongue softly licked a spot by the corner of my mouth. I couldn’t help but shut my eyes and softly moan. My body fell limp against the counter. I braced my hands on the edge just to keep my balance.
It wasn’t until I felt the loss of his warmth that I knew he had stepped back and when I slowly opened my eyes I found him watching me with my lips parted wishing for his tongue to enter my mouth.
I puffed out the breath I wasn’t completely aware that I was holding. He was studying my face with a satisfied look. “I got it.” He smiled crookedly. “So about that first kiss. I could think of a way to make it not suck.” Oh I could too. I so could picture lots of ways.
I looked away from him, feeling the blush creep up to my cheeks as the image in my mind blazed. “How is that?” He stepped back into my space and gently tugged my chin to him, forcing me to meet his gaze. I was trapped in his beautiful hazel eyes that I didn’t notice him reaching into the brownie bowl and dragging his fingers all through the chocolate.
 He laughed and stepped back tapping my nose with a chocolate covered finger. “Gotcha.”
I squealed, “Oh my God. You are so dead, Joshua Parker.” I reached in and coated my own fingers in chocolate and began to chase him around the island wiping my hand along his cheek when I caught him and I was laughing hysterically as I did.
He grabbed my hand before I could run away. My heart was racing. My breathing was fast. And I knew he was up to no good by the sinful little twinkle that danced in his hazel eyes. No good at all. My laughter fizzled out as something else took its place. Something unfamiliar, yet wanted so badly. 
He took my messy hand and placed my index finger into his mouth sucking the chocolate clean. I felt dizzy. I could feel his tongue swirl around my finger and something in my belly clenched tight.
I stumbled back, my back hitting something hard. He let my finger go with a pop and we stared at each other for the longest time. Not moving just breathing.
He tucked a curl behind my ear. “That was fun.” He smirked and my toes curled. Did he not see how he affected me? What the hell was that?
“I um… yea… I should get a napkin.” I knew it was such a stupid thing to say. I should get a napkin. No I should attack your face and lick it clean that’s what I should have done.
I moved around him and wet a paper towel in the sink. He didn’t move. He just watched me with an unreadable expression.
I reached up on my tippy toes and started dabbing away the chocolate mess I had coated his cheek with. He was motionless with the exception to the way his chest was rising and falling. “All clean,” I said as I softly smiled.
He grinned and took the napkin from my hand and began to gently wipe the chocolate off of my nose. Once he was done he placed his hands on both sides of me caging me in between his hard chest and the kitchen counter. “I want to kiss you,” he blurted out. Wait!  What?
“I thought you wanted to kiss Laiken?”  Stupid Riley. Stupid, stupid Riley, I thought again. Just shut up.
He shook his head back and forth, “Nah you were right she isn’t the right girl. There is only one solution to making my first kiss not suck and that’s if you let me kiss you.” His eyes never left mine. I wanted to kiss him. But truth was Josh seemed to not really know what he wanted lately. I wondered if I kissed him did that mean Laiken no longer existed?
“Stop over thinking it Riley. Can I kiss you?” he asked permission again knowing me so well. I was over thinking it. I nodded. “Okay”
“Okay?” his breathe feathered across my lips as I nodded again.
I trembled in anticipation as he lowered his mouth to mine.
A gentle, soft, sweet peck at first was what he placed on my lips. As my hands reached up around his neck to pull him closer to me and I tangled his dirty blond hair in my fingers he groaned deep in his throat and his tongue teased my lips to open for him, allowing him to deepen this kiss.
 I was nervous. What if I did it wrong? What if my kiss sucked and kissing Laiken would be better? “What ifs” filled my head as my body was humming. I willed myself to shut up and parted my lips allowing him in and it was like our mouths were made for each other. My tongue began to dance with his and I wanted it to never stop.
It did stop. Definitely not saved by the bell.
 The doorbell rang and we both jumped apart panting heavy and staring at the other in shock. It ended way too briefly for my liking. I felt on fire. Tingling in a way I wasn’t used too.
“Riley, Dean’s at the front door,” Tatum shouted loudly from the living room.
Josh raised his eyebrows at me probably just as curious as I was about why he would be ringing my doorbell. Dean was a tolerable pain in my ass, but was a friend nonetheless.
I struggled to slow my breaths. Josh had completely composed himself as though he was unaffected completely. Like nothing amazing just happened. He left the kitchen and walked to the living room to open the front door. I followed in a cloud of confusion.
“Oh, hey Josh, what are you doing here? Is, um, Riley here?” Dean tripped over his words. He was always a little weird about Josh and I always being so close and he was more than tickled pink about Josh potentially dating Laiken.
“Yea man, she’s right there. We’re just babysitting the brats,” he joked and pointed at me over his shoulder. I was still frozen in a state of “what-the-hell?”
I walked into the living room. My mind felt on overdrive. Something life changing had just happened to me and Josh seemed like he’d already forgotten it. I saw it briefly in his eyes when I looked at him. A feeling he wanted me to see but it was gone in a blink of an eye, the softness turning cold. I looked at Dean and I know he saw it. Something non verbal being shared between Josh and I. His eyes darted between us both uneasily.
Josh said, “he’s here for you” In a flat tone that I didn’t understand. I nodded, words escaping me.
He did the guy nod to Dean, “She’s all yours man,” he told him and I was at a loss at what just happened. Why his mood had suddenly crashed and burned. I wondered what he meant by that?
All his? The hell I am.
Josh seemed mad at me. And I didn’t understand any of it at all. He pulled out his phone and with all the power to hurt me with words he did just that. “I’ll be in the kitchen. I forgot to call Laiken back.”
Just a sliver of my heart fell apart that day. He just kissed me senseless and he is calling her? What meant the world to me meant nothing to him? It hurt like a bitch.
I watched Josh walk to the kitchen, my mouth was wide open in shock.
Dean spoke to my back, completely dense to what he just did. “I’m sorry to just stop by. I need to talk to you about something. Can you come outside?” He shifted uncomfortably with his eyes tracked to the path of the kitchen as well.
I turned my eyes back to him and blinked a few times. I felt like I was going to cry. Josh had just kissed me and it felt for me like the Earth moved and now he was in the kitchen on the phone with Laiken probably planning how he would kiss her next. Maybe that kiss would be—the thought died there. I nodded and followed Dean outside wishing he would just go away and leave me alone.
We sat on the stairs of my porch. “What’s up Dean?” my voice cracked.
“Emily broke up with me.”
What? Why?
“What? Why?” I asked.
He looked at my face and sighed, “because she knows I like someone else and she kinda likes Brad now anyway.”
I looked at him, the right words not there. Dean and I were friends but why would I care that he and Emily were calling it quits? My mind was wandering. What’s Josh saying on the phone in the kitchen? I should probably go check my brownies and interrupt him. I should go do that. “Brad, huh?” I said.
“Yea and I like someone else,” he repeated himself. Again, I thought what did this have to do with me?
I mean Josh sucked on my finger, he asked to kiss me, and he put his tongue in my mouth. “You do?” I stated it like a question but I didn’t really care to know the answer.
He nodded. “Yea, she has no idea how amazing she is. There has just always been something about her.”
More wandering thoughts. What does Josh see in Laiken anyway? Doesn’t he know that she flirts with everyone? Why would someone like her be any good for him? What did Dean just say? Oh yea… “That’s great Dean. I’m happy for you. So who is she?” I looked back at the front door. I really needed Dean to leave so I could go figure out what had just went so epically wrong.
He whispered it so lowly I barely heard him, “she’s you. I like you Riley.”
“What?” I said. Shocked, my eyes darting to his eyes. My mind was completely focused on what he was saying for the first time since we had come outside. “You like me?” I pointed to myself like an idiot.
He reached up grabbing one of my curls like he always did and twined it around his fingers. All this time I thought it was a friendly gesture but now maybe I think maybe it was just a way to touch me. “I do. I tried not to. I mean I tried to just stop it but I always think about you,” he whispered and tucked the curl behind my ear.
I swallowed hard and felt like I was having an outer body experience. Before I could rationalize anything in my mind, Dean turned my face to his and I didn’t mean to but I leaned into his hand as he cupped my cheek.
I was feeling sad. I wanted these words to be coming out of Josh’s mouth but his words were being spoken to Laiken as I sat there. 
He moved his mouth slowly to mine and I knew I should have pushed him away but I couldn’t move. I was frozen in shock. I mean Josh had just blew me off.
Dean kissed me softly and it wasn’t full of the fireworks that I had just felt but it was… nice. Just a lingering peck, nothing more pushed, a soft pause on my lips. When he pulled back he was smiling.
I forced a grin back, the words were trapped somewhere inside of me. I don’t like you like that. I should have said that. I wondered why I didn’t say that.  I just couldn’t find my voice. He got up and walked backwards down my driveway. “We will talk later, K?”
“K,” I breathed. I watched until he was no longer visible. And then I rested my head in my hands letting a few tears escape.
After wiping my cheeks I stood up and turned back around to walk into the house, freezing when I saw Josh standing in the doorway. He saw the entire thing. I could tell by how his jaw was set tightly and how his eyes were staring off toward down the road. His arms were braced above him on the door frame. His body stiff and beautiful. If he wasn’t so angry looking that is.
“Josh…” his cold eyes darted to mine.
“Don’t! You and Dean make a cute couple,” he said it like he hated the idea of it but he smiled at me like it was a brilliant idea.
I looked at him with all the confusion I was feeling. “We are not a couple. I think he’s just confused.”
“His mouth didn’t seem confused Riley. Look…  Laiken and her mom are coming to pick me up. I already called my parents so they know about it. I took the brownies out while you were… doing what you were doing out here,” he said pointing in a circle at the steps I was just sitting on and straightening his body in the doorway.
A tear fell from my eyes and I wiped it quickly before he saw it. He was being so mean to me and I just didn’t understand why he would be mad at me. I didn’t set out to kiss Dean but I guess I didn’t stop it either. “Ok Josh. It’s not what it looked like. I promise.” I whispered and went to move around him to get inside.
He seized me by my elbow and when I didn’t turn around to face him he sighed heavily in his chest. “A first kiss, a second kiss all in one night Riley. That’s what it looked like. Which one was better? Wait don’t answer that. I will soon know the answer for myself when I—,”
I jerked my arm back and turned to him with all the venom I felt for how he was making me feel inside. “When you what Josh… kiss Laiken?”
He leaned into my ear, his hot breathe causing me to shiver and, he whispered, “No kiss will taste as sweet as yours. Good luck with Dean.” And with that he took off down the steps toward his yard.
I chased after him. “Josh stop,” I begged.
He turned around and I didn’t know what I saw when I looked at him. Fear? Anger? Sadness? I just didn’t know. All my life I had been able to read Josh. But recently things were shifting and I couldn’t always read him. It scared me.
“What Riley?” he yelled. He never yelled at me before. It caught me off guard. His hands were balled into fist, he was angry.
I walked right up to him, standing almost on my toes to meet his eyes. I placed my hand on his chest. His heart was pounding underneath my palm. I hated that he was so mad at me. “I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what the hell happened tonight but please don’t be mad at me Josh.”
His eyes softened, his shoulders slumped and he placed his head on my forehead in defeat. “I’m not mad at your Riley. I’m mad at myself. I shouldn’t have said all of that. I’m not going to Laiken’s tonight. I never even called her. I lied. I just…” he trailed off pulling back to look at me.
“You just what?” I said quietly.
He pulled me into a hug and I didn’t know what to make of it but I loved how perfect I felt with his arms around me. I hugged him back like there would never be another time.
“You mean a lot to me Riley. You’re my girl, my best friend, ya know? All this stuff is confusing. And you and Dean like that, well it’s just weird and I don’t like how it makes me feel.” He releases me and rubbed behind his neck, looking up to the sky.
“Josh you mean everything to me too. There is no Dean and me. I don’t know what to say about what you saw because I am just as confused as you are that it happened,” I said.
His eyes darted to mine. “He likes you Riley,” he stated it like it all made perfect sense. Like he already knew this. Did he know?
“I know.” Now I do. But I didn’t like him like that. I didn’t think I liked him like that. 
“Do you like him?” His eyes studied mine with such intensity that I wasn’t familiar with.
I shook my head back and forth. The answer came to me so quickly although I questioned its truth. “No… not like that.”
“Do you like me like that?” he asked his voice was barely above a whisper.
Yes that I knew for a fact. I did. I looked at him. The truth was on my tongue, ready to fall freely into the wind. If I told him yes, it would crush me if he didn’t feel the same. Worse… what if he did feel the same and I did something to screw it up or he changed his mind later? My dad loved my mom once but he still cheated on her. He still hurt her beyond repair. I could lose my best friend if I let myself feel the truth. I betrayed my own heart that day.
“You’re my best friend and I liked kissing you and I don’t like the way it feels seeing you with other girls. Shit, I don’t even like talking about it or thinking about it but… but…” How could I explain? I was afraid he would hurt me. I was afraid that I loved him so deeply that he had the power to ruin me.
He cupped my chin and the look in his eyes was killing me slowly. He whispered quietly, “but what?”
Tears began to trickle down my cheeks and I didn’t know why exactly, maybe for the loss of the possibility. I just felt so emotionally drained. My system had been shocked.
“But it’s probably not a good idea. I would be lost without you and were only 14 and you seem curious about everything where I am fine with everything staying the same.” I lied. I wasn’t fine.
In a perfect world where love didn’t scare me to death and forever existed, he would say what I wanted. He would have said –,
It’s a perfect idea Riley. You’re my girl, my only girl, and I will love you, only you forever”.
We didn’t live in that perfect world. In reality he said, “I guess I am a little curious. Things stay the same… for now. But one day Riley we may have this conversation again and when we do I hope you say yes.”
His eyes bore into mine and then he placed a sweet kiss on my forehead. I wiped at my eyes as he stepped back leaving me standing in the yard with a feeling like nothing would ever stay the same and I hoped that conversation would happen again one day and that I would have the strength and security to say yes.
<3<3<3
That conversation could have happened the next year but my Dad made a bad decision that made it impossible to ever embrace it. Instead it blew away in the wind, whispering little doubts of why Josh and I could never be more than best friends.
Copyright 2013 by Andrea Michelle