AJ Pine writes stories to break readers’ hearts, but don’t worry—she’ll mend them with a happily ever after. As an English teacher and a librarian, AJ has always surrounded herself with books. All her favorites have one big commonality–romance. Naturally, the books she writes have the same. When she’s not writing, she’s of course reading. Then there’s online shopping (everything from groceries to shoes). And a tiny bit of TV where she nourishes her undying love of vampires, superheroes, and a certain high-functioning sociopath detective. You’ll also find her hanging with her family in the Chicago ‘burbs. AJ is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary.
Hi, everyone! So, before we get to spilling secrets, I have to let you in on some not-so-secret information. Today is the release of the first of four books in my Kingston Ale House contemporary romance series, THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY! In the book, my hero and heroine, Jamie and Brynn, go on a cross country road trip full of adventure, mishaps, plenty of music from The Monkees, and (hopefully) a whole lotta swoons…which brings us to the secret portion of the program.
Jamie Kingston has been in love with Brynn Chandler since high school. He almost lets the cat out of the bag on the night of their high school reunion, but when he walks in on her almost kissing the guy she crushed on but never got to kiss in high school, he doesn’t get his chance. The scene below is when Annie, a mutual friend, is giving Jamie the third degree the morning after the reunion. Because Annie knows how he feels about Brynn and wants him to tell her. Instead, Jamie cooks up a little plan, which involves keeping his feelings secret from Brynn for a little longer. Here’s the scene that is the catalyst for the rest of the novel…_______________________________________________________________
“You’re going to tell her now, right? About Liz and the feelings and the loving her for a decade?”
She let his hand go, and he avoided immediately answering with a long, slow sip.
“She was straddling another guy—in my chair, Annie. She doesn’t want to hear about my feelings, and I sure as hell don’t want to play runner-up.”
Annie crossed her arms. She craned her neck to peer around the corner where Brynn, Holly, and Jeremy huddled in a booth nursing coffees and talking animatedly. Well, Holly and Jeremy were engrossed in conversation. Brynn just sat with her hands clasped around her mug.
“If she knew, she’d pick you,” Annie said.
Jamie thought about this. She hadn’t picked him before, not until he kissed her, and even then it was only because Spencer wasn’t there. Yes, Brynn felt something in that kiss, too, but it never would have happened if she’d made it to the party. He wasn’t going to be second choice again, or the person she chose because of proximity.
“What if I want her to pick me without knowing first?” he asked. “What if I want her to be sure who she wants before picking me?”
Annie narrowed her eyes at him and stood, grabbing the pitcher Jamie still hadn’t delivered to the group.
“So you want her to go to California?” she asked, and his eyes widened. “That’s right, loverboy. Spencer Matthews invited her to his book launch in L.A. two weeks from now, and she’s already checking flights to see if she can afford it. If you are so sure about this picking you thing, then you’ll be fine if she heads out to Cali to spend a weekend with the guy she almost kissed twice in ten years.”
Jamie’s jaw clenched. The thought was enough for him to grind his own teeth to dust. But as much as Annie was baiting him, she was also right. If Brynn wanted to see this thing with Spencer through, he had to let her go. He had to let her decide on her own who she wanted without him forcing the issue. As much as he hated this idea, it was out of his hands. Brynn had free will, and if there was anything still there on her end, she had to realize it on her own.
He drained the rest of his glass, the hot sauce blazing down his throat. His eyes widened, not from the heat but from either the most brilliant or absolute worst idea he’d ever had.
“Annie—” he started, knowing once he said it out loud he’d have to follow through if Brynn agreed. “Not only do I want her to go to L.A., but I’m gonna take her there.”
She opened her mouth to respond, but Jamie was already making his way toward the end of the bar. He was done hiding. He could still make his grand gesture even if Brynn had no idea he was doing it.
This would be it, the trip that would fix them. All she had to do was choose Jamie before they got to L.A.—or else break them for good.
Okay. So, I’m a HUGE fan of the best-friends-to-lovers trope. Two of my all-time favorite movies (more secret spilling here) that served as inspiration for Jamie and Brynn’s relationship are WHEN HARRY MET SALLY and 13 GOING ON 30. To win an e-copy of any books on my backlist, tell me your favorite friends-to-lovers story, book OR movie. Let me know in the comments!
How far will one man go for the woman he's loved since high school?
Jamie Kingston has been Brynn Chandler's best friend since middle school. Only once was their friendship tested—when Brynn gave Jamie a single kiss. Since then, they've had an unspoken agreement never to cross that line again, and she’s ready to let go of the past and move on.
But Jamie has loved Brynn for as long as he can remember, and now that he's ready to tell her, she has her sights set on someone else. Knowing this is his last chance, he asks Brynn to go on a two-week road trip. But their time alone brings old hurts to the surface, and Brynn has to decide if the one that got away lies at the end of the journey or if he's been by her side all along.
Up for Grabs:
- 1 eBook of Choice from Backlist
- What is your favorite friends-to-lovers story, book OR movie?
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