When Shari discovers that her fiancé has been cheating on her, she lets the wedding go on according to plan, except while everyone else is at the church, Shari is heading to the airport to fly off on her honeymoon with her best friend, Jon.
Jon is only too happy to help Shari escape what he knew would have been an awful marriage. Plus he’s thrilled by the prospect of time alone with her in a tropical paradise. He’s always loved her and desired her as a lot more than a friend.
A steamy, romantic night on the beach turns into a whirlwind of desire as they take their friendship to multiple new levels of passion. But when Shari’s apologetic ex tries to win her back, she must choose between the life she thought she was going to have with him and the possibility of love with Jon.
An Excerpt From: ALWAYS YOU
Copyright © KAREN STIVALI, 2011
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
An afternoon of shopping was exactly what Shari needed to lift her spirits. She bought a new sundresses, a pair of beaded sandals and a silver cuff bracelet, all of which she planned to wear to dinner that night. She couldn’t help but notice the approving look Jon had given her when she’d tried on the sundress. It was white and clung to her in all the right places, showing off her boobs and the tan that was already glowing from the few hours they’d walked around in the Aruba sunshine.
She talked Jon into some new clothes as well. A blue linen shirt that she was hoping he’d leave unbuttoned a bit if he chose to wear it later. She handed a second shirt into the dressing room just for a chance to have a glimpse of him changing again. Watching the muscles across his broad shoulders sent ripples of pleasure through her. Has he always been this hot? How could I not have noticed?
The more she thought about it, the more she realized she had noticed. She’d caught herself staring at him more than once over the years. When he was helping her plant her garden last summer, shirtless and sweating in her backyard. When he’d helped her move, his arm muscles flexing each time he’d carried another box into her house. Running her fingers through his thick hair whenever he’d convince her to give him a haircut when he’d waited too long to get an appointment at the salon. She’d always brushed it off as a passing attraction, never giving it more serious thought. Now all of a sudden the thoughts seemed quite serious. She found herself wanting him in a way she’d never wanted anyone.
“You okay?” he asked, slinging an arm around her shoulders as they walked down the street. His touch made her legs feel loose and rubbery.
“I’m fine. I’m guessing this is much more fun than my actual honeymoon would have been.”
His lips pulled into a smile and he shot her a sideways glance, his hair sweeping low over his eyes. Her insides started to liquefy. He tugged her closer and kissed the side of her head, nearly causing her heart to stop. She imagined his lips elsewhere, everywhere. The thoughts had her so flustered she tripped on an uneven bit of sidewalk.
Jon caught her mid-fall. “Whoa.” He gripped her around her waist and she considered turning in his arms and kissing him.
Her cheeks flushed at the idea. What if he pushed me away? Sure, she’d caught him looking at her from time to time, but not once had he ever made a move on her. It seemed unlikely he thought of her “that way” and the last thing she wanted to do was fuck up their friendship.
“I think I need some coffee.” She pointed to a café on the corner.
While they were on line, she stared at Jon as he craned his neck to read the chalkboard menu that spanned the rear wall. He still hadn’t shaved and his stubbly face looked incredible. She imagined rubbing her cheek alongside his.
“You ready?” he asked.
Her eyes widened. “What?”
“To order. Do you know what you’re having? We’re next.”
She shook her head to clear it and noticed the woman behind the counter was looking at her impatiently. “I’ll have a large iced latte and the fruit salad.”
Jon had a small smirk on his face as he looked at her and she wondered what was going through his mind. Probably that she was behaving like a total ditz. “I’ll take a large iced coffee and a Cuban sandwich. And an order of sweet potato fries.”
“You like it spicy?” the girl asked, her eyes not leaving his.
Shari felt instantly annoyed at the woman. What if he were here with me? Wait, he is here with me. Who is this bitch to flirt with him so openly?
“The hotter the better.” He threw the counter girl his winning smile.
Did she actually just wink at him? Shari felt her nostrils flare as she headed to the other end of the counter to wait for their coffees.
Jon noticed the pissed-off look on Shari’s face the moment they sat down. “What’s wrong?” he asked, handing her two sugar packets from the white box on the table.
She tapped the small bags against her finger then ripped them open, dumping the contents into her coffee. “I can’t believe she flirted with you like that.”
Jon’s eyebrows popped up. “Why not? Is it so hard to imagine a woman being attracted to me?”
Shari’s mouth twisted into a grimace as she poked at her ice cubes with a straw. “What? No. But how did she know I wasn’t your girlfriend or your wife for that matter? I was standing right there.”
Is she jealous? He couldn’t keep the smile from creeping across his face. “Maybe she just couldn’t control herself.” Shari’s brow furrowed further and he laughed. “She was probably just hoping I’d toss some extra coins in the tip jar. What’s gotten into you?”
“Nothing.” She took a sip of her coffee and reached for a third sugar packet.
The thought of her being jealous gave him a renewed sense of hope. Maybe she was finally starting to look at him differently. Maybe. His chest tightened as he thought about taking her hand.
Get your copy today!