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HOW FOREVER FEELS
Friends First #4
Releasing Oct 13th, 2015
Maya McKay’s heart is as big as Jack Rhodes’s shoulders are broad. Their chemistry is out of control, but it could never work between them because Jack is more than just best friends with her cheating ex-husband—they’re like brothers. Maya, the sensitive, practical florist, has given up on love and is ready to settle for like. But now that Jack’s around again, he’s stirring up old feelings—and turning Maya’s fantasies into irresistible reality.
Jack blew his chance with Maya years ago when he stepped aside for his best friend, Will, and he’s still kicking himself about it. Maya was promised forever once before, and she got burned. But when Jack realizes that second chances aren’t going to fall out of the sky, he seizes the moment—and the woman he’s always loved—to show her how forever truly feels.
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“I’m fine, really.” She waved away his concern, because for the most part she fine. Sure, she still had moments every once in a while when it hurt—that was normal in any divorce—but those moments were few and far between now. “I can’t believe you’re here. Thought for sure I’d seen the last of you when I left Will.”
“Yeah, well . . .” He chewed his bottom lip for a second, then shrugged. “It was pretty easy to avoid you when there were three hundred kilometers and the border patrol between us, but when I saw you sitting over there . . . I don’t know . . . I figured after all this time, the very least you deserved was the chance to tell me to go screw myself for deserting you the way I did.”
“Hmm. Tempting.” She pinched a couple peanuts out of the bowl on the bar and tossed them in her mouth, all the while grinning up at him, at that face she’d missed so much. “I never felt like you deserted me. We all did what we had to do.”
She might be Jack’s friend, but Will was like his brother, and when push came to shove, Jack’s loyalty had always been to Will and the rest of the Carson family. She’d known that from the first day they met, and she’d never expected him to change, which was why his next words made her choke on her peanuts.
“He never deserved you, Snip.”
“Well, that’s true,” she snorted. “But come on, enough about Dickhead. What’s up with you?”
It took a couple seconds for him to finally let it go, and when he did, his expression warmed, his mouth lifted at the corner.
“We’re moving to Newport Ridge.”
“We who?” Wife? Wife and kids? A lot could have happened in the two years since she’d seen him.
“The Vancouver office. The lease is coming due on the building we’re in and we need something bigger, so we did some looking around and found space in that new building down on the waterfront.”
“The Luna Building? That’s great! Does that mean you’re moving back from Seattle, then?” Her enthusiasm faded as her own words echoed in her ears. “Hold on . . . if you already have a place lined up, how long have you been here?”
“Me?” Jack glanced down at his watch and tipped his head a little to the side. “About three hours.”
“Keith from the Vancouver office has done everything up to this point, but he’s having knee replacement surgery this week, so they sent me to keep an eye on things while he’s sidelined.” He glanced down at his shoes for a second before looking back at her, his little wry smile doing nothing to hide the regret lingering in his eyes. “I don’t want to keep you from your friends, but since I’ll be in town a while, I was hoping we could get together and maybe catch up?”
“Come on, I’ll introduce you.”
“No buts. This is what you get for showing up unannounced after so long. Come on.”
Curling her fingers around his wrist, she tugged him up off the stool and led him back through the crowd, her brain spinning the whole time. Jack Rhodes had walked into her life four years ago, changed everything, and then faded out.
And now he was back. How could that make her so happy and yet a little freaked out all at the same time? And why was her stomach flippity-flopping like that—this was for crying out loud.
Three huge grins greeted them at the table as Maya held her palm up in front of Jack first, and then each of the others around the table as she made introductions.
“Jack Rhodes,” she said, “this is Ellie, Regan, and Jayne.”
“Jack Rhodes,” Jayne murmured. “I’ve heard that name before.”
“Yeah,” Maya said. “Probably from me.”
Chuckling quietly, Jack shook everyone’s hands, then tipped his bottle toward the table. “It’s nice to meet you all, but I didn’t mean to interrupt your night, I just wanted to say hi to Maya real quick. I’ll catch up—”
“Good try,” Ellie snorted. “But you’re not getting away that easily. Pull up a chair and tell me why you look so familiar.”
“And don’t worry,” Jayne added. “You’re not interrupting anything. We do this every Tuesday.”
“Ah.” He nodded. “Ladies night?”
Regan nodded. “But consider yourself an honorary member for the night, because we need to know why Maya threw herself at some guy none of us have ever met.”
“Must be something good, because I didn’t even know she could move that fast.” Ellie pointed Jack in the direction of an empty chair.
When he went to grab it, Maya tipped a warning look at each of her friends. “Be nice.”
“Aren’t we always?” Regan blinked innocently as Jack set a chair down at the end of the table. “So how do you two know each other?”
Maya turned her face toward Jack and half muttered, half laughed, “Yeah, you might want to scooch your chair closer to me.”
Instead of answering, Maya looked straight back at Regan and grinned. “He was Dickhead’s best man.”
“Oh, Jack!” Regan, Ellie, and Jayne in surround sound was more than enough to make Jack choke on his beer and everyone at the nearby tables stop and stare.
“I knew I’d seen him before,” Ellie said, wiggling her finger at him. “He was in the wedding pictures we burned.”
“Wow, okay.” Head down, eyes wide, Jack gripped the sides of his chair and shuffled it a little closer to Maya. “Is it too late to make a run for it?”
“You’re fine,” Maya said, patting his arm. “But that might change when they find out you were the one who introduced me to him.”
“What?!” Again in surround sound.
“Hold on.” Sputtering and laughing, and with his cheeks flushing all sorts of pink, Jack held up both hands in surrender. “You can’t just say that and then leave it hanging. I mean, yeah, I did, but tell them what happened so I don’t come off looking like a total dipshit.”
“Okay, but it’s not much of a story.” Maya frowned. “It was, what, four years ago . . . ish . . . and my roommate at the time—have you ever meet Louise, Ellie?—she got invited to this Hawaii-themed birthday bash for some woman she worked with, but she didn’t want to go by herself, so she dragged me with her. We’d barely made it in the door when she hooked up with some guy and deserted me.”
Ellie clicked her tongue. “Bitch.”
“Right? Anyway, I didn’t know anyone else there and had just called a cab when Jack here took pity on me. He brought over a piña colada, stayed until he could finally flag Dickhead over, and then he took off to do the limbo, which he sucked at, by the way. Ba-da-boom ba-da-bing, here we are today.”
“Ohhh.” Regan nodded, pointing at Maya’s drink. “Piña colada—got it. Okay.”
Maya turned to smile at Jack, but he wasn’t smiling; he was actually looking a little dumbfounded. “You’re kidding, right?”
“Seriously?” Shaking his head slowly, Jack lifted his bottle but blinked a few times before drinking. “How did that make me look like a dipshit? Let’s try telling them what really went down that night.”
“What do you mean? I did.”
“Ooooh.” Ellie clapped her hands together and leaned forward. “I haven’t even heard it yet and I already like Jack’s version better. Spill it.”
Jack hesitated, chuckled quietly then downed a good shot of his beer.
“Will had an on-again-off-again thing going with the birthday girl. That’s why we were there.”
“He was with someone else that night?” Maya growled. She shouldn’t have been surprised, but still. “Figures.”
“Sonuvabitch,” Ellie muttered.
"HOW FOREVER FEELS" is a heartwarming story that has heartbreak with a touch of angst and above all, lots of love. Our heroine, Maya, is reunited with her ex-husband's best friend. Maya is hardworking and caring. Although devastated by her husband's betrayal, she's gotten stronger because of it, yet she's vulnerable and doesn't easily trust. Jack, he's sexy and cool and I loved him. He's in a really tough spot - between loving Maya and his "family". I found the plot and intersecting characters to be interesting and a bit of a twist of other stories I've read. I liked that Maya had a strong support group - her friends were true and had her back, even if they didn't agree with her at times. Jack's support group, on the other hand - his "family", wasn't my favorite. I didn't like how he was treated by them, yet, being the great guy he was, he was loyal to a fault. Ms. Drewry did a really nice job of moving the story along and connecting the readers with the characters. This is a feel good story that I would recommend if you enjoy contemporary romance with some fun, laughs, a few tears and a really great dog! (received copy NetGalley for honest review)
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USA Today Bestselling author, Laura Drewry had been scribbling things for years before she decided to seriously sit down and write. After spending eight years in the Canadian north, Laura now lives back home in southwestern British Columbia with her husband, three sons, a turtle named Sheldon, and an extremely energetic German shepherd. She loves old tattered books, good movies, country music, and the New York Yankees.