An all-new emotionally charged second chance romance is out today from author S.M. Soto, and I have an excerpt for you.
My mouth goes painfully dry when I take in his body, sans shirt. His basketball shorts hang low on his hips, revealing a deep v of muscles that I didn’t even know existed. What kind of exercises do you need to get something like that? Or are you born with it? Because Jesus…it’s distracting. Almost as distracting as his perfectly sculpted six-pack and his pecs that tighten every time he pumps his arms.
This…this is not the body of a teenage boy.
What I’m feeling, that warmth currently warming my belly and swimming through my veins, I know it’s wrong, but hell, I don’t want it to ever go away. The closer he gets to our houses, the more I start to notice how sweaty he is. It isn’t the gross kind of sweaty you’re thinking of, oh, no. It’s the kind that makes you want to glide your hand over it in fascination and wonder how someone can possibly make sweat look so damn enticing. I feel the moment Liam notices me perched on the steps of my porch. It causes heat to rise in my cheeks and my stomach clenches. Like the inexperienced, naïve, fool I am, I raise my hand awkwardly and wave. Instead of Liam bounding up the steps to Myrah’s house, he passes the two-story, headed straight for me. My chest heaves to accommodate my heavy breathing and my pulse vibrates within my ears.
“Hey, Bea.” Liam breathes out, coming to a stop in front of me. I swallow thickly, forcing the words past my lips.
“H-hi, Liam.” He grins down at me, stray, dark brown hairs matted to his head from his successful run. His smile hits me square in the chest, damn-near knocking the air out of me. He reaches behind him, grasping the shirt stuffed into the waistband of his shorts and he uses it to wipe the glistening sweat off his handsome face.
“Mind if I sit with you?” he asks, jerking his chin toward the empty piece of cement next to me.
“O-of course not,” I stutter out again, foolishly, making room for his larger than life body.
We sit in silence for a stretch of time. Long enough that I feel him slip his shirt on next to me. I have to bite on my bottom lip and force myself not to get one last glimpse of his amazing body before he covers himself up for good. I have the sudden urge to scream, “I’ll be in high school next year and we can finally be together!”, but I hold myself back. Just barely.
I can’t stop the way I react to Liam, even if I know it’s wrong. He’s older, way out of my league, not to mention my best friend’s cousin.
“Good run?” I finally manage to squeak out in a semi-normal voice. I peak at him out of the corner of my eye and catch him watching me with a smirk on his face. It makes my cheeks heat.
“It wasn’t bad. Few seconds behind my normal time, but that can be fixed before the season starts.” His voice is deep. The timbre rumbles in his chest, almost like a low growl. “What about you?” he asks, bringing my eyes back to him. “What’re you doing out here?” As I try to gather my thoughts, I stare into his eyes, getting lost in the icy blue color. Up this close, it’s easy to make out the multitude of blue’s that makeup the entirety of his eyes—ice blue, cobalt blue, and a pale, almost white blue. I shrug my shoulders, a small smile tugging at the corners of my lips.
“I just wanted to get some fresh air. I usually head to the open field on Orchid Street, but my mom will be home with everyone soon and I’m supposed to be ‘sick’.” I air quote for emphasis. Liam chuckles and shakes his head in amusement.
“Fresh air is always good. I haven’t seen you around much, I was starting to worry you disappeared,” he says, and my eyes widen.
“You were? I mean—you noticed?” I can’t hide the surprise in my voice. It only makes the grin on Liam’s face spread wider, making room for that lone dimple in his cheek that does crazy things to my heart.
“I notice a lot of things, Bea.”
The way he says it and the look in his eyes makes me realize we might not be talking about the same thing anymore—something else entirely now. The realization has my heart galloping and my palms sweating. I’m getting flustered over a simple sentence from him. Good Lord, I need help. “So,” I say, clearing my throat, trying to will away the flush permanently coated on my cheeks. “You mentioned earlier you timed yourself while running, are you training for something?” “Baseball. It’s the one thing I’m good at, so I can’t afford to fall off track.” My brows pull down at the sudden seriousness on his face. “I’m sure you’re good at tons of things.” This makes his mouth quirk.
“Oh, sweet Bea. If you only knew.”