A brand new series is coming this week from the fabulous Jasinda Wilder, and I have a never-seen-before excerpt for you from the first book in the series—The Long Way Home—a heartbreaking tale of second chances.
[Email from Christian to Ava; 6:04 a.m., August 20, 2015]
I got lost in success. That’s what happened to me. I was that man in college because that’s all I knew. Then success started happening to me, and I could suddenly afford things I’d never had before. Nice things. Cool things. And I just got lost in it all.
I was on the beach in Cancún a couple days ago. I anchored out a ways and took the dinghy to shore. And you know what I did? I played Frisbee with some douchey college bros on vacation before classes start. And then I sat in the sand with an older couple and talked about the Golden Age of Jazz and our mutual love for the poetry of e.e. cummings.
I’m finding that man again, Ava. I miss him too. I realized recently how pretentious and obnoxiously materialistic I’d become, and I took all my fancy, expensive clothing and I packed it into a suitcase, and I brought it to the university at St. Thomas and I gave it to the first young man who looked like he was of a similar build as me. He was baffled, at first, and then he set the suitcase on the ground, opened it, and saw what it was and tried to give it back. I just told him to keep it and have a nice day. He was wearing torn up sneakers and ripped, stained jeans. I even put in my favorite dress shoes.
I still have the stationery and pen, though. They’re useful items, and I will use them again, if only to doodle or write grocery lists, and they’ll be a reminder of who I don’t want to be ever again.
I haven’t had a drink since leaving Ft. Lauderdale. I wasn’t an alcoholic, in that I intentionally chose to drown myself in booze. But then, they say denial is the first sign of addiction. Either way, I’ve quit drinking, for now.
I told my editor I was going on indefinite leave. The reason this reply is so long delayed is that I put in at Belize City and spent four days in the cabin of my boat, finishing the book. I finished it, and I sent it to Lucy, and I told her I would be unavailable for follow up revisions or rewrites. They could have it as is, or they could have their advance back—I didn’t really care which. I’ve lost the touch, I think, lost the drive to write. I have no stories. Maybe I will again, someday, but right now…it’s still hard to wake up, most days.
I’m surrounded by beauty, but sometimes all I see is gray. I’m on the trampoline, watching the sunrise, and thinking about all the times we used to lay on the beach all night long, and wake up to watch the sunrise together, the air cold, our bodies warm under the blanket.
Our vacation to Iceland, you remember that? We lived somewhere it was sunny and hot all the time, so we wanted a vacation to somewhere different, a different climate. So we went to Iceland. It was so fucking cold, but we loved it. We dressed in thick wool sweaters and wool hats and fur-lined boots…and the locals were looking at us like we were crazy, because it was spring, and getting nice and warm for them. To us, though, it was frigid. Our room in the B-&-B? You remember how damn cold it was all the time? God, that was amazing. We stayed naked and piled on the blankets and huddled in that little bed in that little room, keeping each other warm, watching Netflix and drinking wine all night long.
I want that back.
Huddling together, keeping each warm through the long dark nights.
God, I miss you.
* * *
[Email from Christian to Ava; 11:48 a.m.]
I’m en route down to Rio now and I found myself thinking about you, as I so frequently do. Thinking about your last email some more. The beginning of it, most of all.
That first day we met, I’d had my eye on you for a few days, actually. I first saw you three days earlier, on the beach with a few other girls. You were wearing a blue bikini, sunbathing. I was surfing by myself. That bikini, or more accurately, your body in that bikini, god, it was like I’d been struck by lightning. I saw you as I carried my board down to the water. You were just laying there, big sunglasses on your face, arms at your sides, and your body was…god, so perfect. Your breasts were just the right size, big and juicy enough to sway to either side and almost spill out of the top, and your waist was trim and your abs taut, and your hips were a perfect bell curve. Your bikini bottom could barely stretch around your hips, and the tiny triangle of indigo fabric was being devoured by your pussy. Yes, I stopped, and I stared. I stared helplessly, probably creepily. I could see the outlines of your nether lips—you’re probably cringing as you read that phrase—and my mouth watered. I had to go run into the water then, or risk embarrassing myself at the beach with a monster hard-on in my swim trunks.
I tried to forget you, tried to get you out of my mind, but I couldn’t. I surfed, and you slept and sunned on the beach, and when I finally came in from surfing, you were gone. I was forlorn. I’d been sure it was going to be love. But alas, you’d left. Imagine my pleased shock, then, when I saw you crossing the quad at my university. I was sure all over again, then, that it would be love. You were just as gorgeous as I’d remembered, even wearing more clothing. And god, I wanted you. I walked over to say hi and ask you out, and inside my head, I was thinking about how badly I wanted to get you naked and do all kinds of dirty things to you. If I’d known how bad you wanted me too, I very well might have asked you to get on your knees and suck me off right there and then. I thought about that, actually. We went out later that day, and it was a totally average first date. Wonderful, and amazing, and fun, and I fell for you even more, and we went our separate ways afterward without even a kiss.
But I went back to my room and I imagined you in that blue bikini, and then I imagined myself tugging the string of the halter top and watching it fall to the floor of my room, and your luscious tits fell out and I pictured myself sucking on your nipples. In my imagination, I should point out, your nipples were nowhere near as plump and your areolae nowhere near as dark as they are in reality, and that was a pleasant surprise indeed. I jerked off twice thinking about you, after our first date.
I jerked off thinking about you every single day, and sometimes more than once in a day.
And then, after six dates, you finally let me kiss you on the beach. On the seventh date, we waited until we got back to your room, and you locked the door and my heart went crazy, beating in my chest so hard I thought I was having a heart attack. And then you kissed me with such aggression that I was shocked by it, by the fervor and suddenness of it. Within seconds of that kiss, you had my shirt off, and you wouldn’t let me at your clothes, wouldn’t let me undress you. You were too eager, too voracious. And then…oh god, and then you shoved off my shorts and yanked down those stupid boxers, and you took hold of me, and I almost came right then. For real, I nearly did.
I’m hard as a rock, right now, thinking about this.
Jesus, what a mess. I’m thinking about you naked, touching me, and I’m remembering how your hand feels, and your body. I’m remembering the way your breasts taste and the sound of your moans as I make you come. I’m remembering all this, and I’m jerking off. Typing one-handed, one-finger hunt-and-peck style, imagining you. Us. The away things were.
And I’ve made a horrible mess all over myself.
God, Ava. How did we get to this place?
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Sounds so good just one clicked