Still Me (20Something #3) by Amy Patrick
Age Group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 10, 2014
Fall in love like a 20 Something….
23 year old Kenley Moran is going through a mid-life crisis… WAY early. Pushed since childhood by a nightmare stage-mom to use her looks to “land a rich man”, she’s reeling from a broken engagement and regretting the day she gave up her career in TV news for a guy.
Now Kenley’s determined to change her life, shunning makeup and fashion and fighting her way back into the highly competitive career she loves, off-camera this time. When she lands a producing job at Worldwide News Network in Atlanta, she plans to keep her head down, work hard, and prove she’s not just another pretty face. And vows NO ONE is EVER going to make her compromise herself again.
WNN anchor Larson Overstreet has it all—old money, good looks, a prestigious job, and more women than he can count throwing themselves at him. Problem is… none of it is real. He’s known his whole life that people are only interested in him for his fortune and his famous family name, in that order. Except for Kenley. The shy news producer isn’t interested in him at all.
Working closely with the anchor of her new show, Kenley’s dismayed to feel an instant spark. Larson’s everything she doesn’t want. He’s too good looking, too charming, and worst of all, too rich. She’s not looking for another big money honey. In fact, she’d prefer a nice little guy from the mailroom, maybe a guy who lives at home like she’s been forced to do.
But when they must travel together for a special report, Kenley realizes Larson’s not the spoiled pretty rich boy she pegged him as, and she’s not as immune to him as she’s pretended to be.
Now, even at the network level, what happens behind the scenes is the real story.
After killing as much time as possible in the bathtub, I got out and dried off and stood looking at my two clothing options. In this corner—Larson’s clean, fire-warmed t-shirt. In this corner, my repulsive two-day-old clothing. I slipped on the t-shirt and opened the door. Larson’s back was to me. He sat in a chair, facing the wood stove, listening to sports talk at a low volume.
I scrambled up the ladder and called out from the concealment of the dark loft. “Okay—done in there. It’s all yours. I’m really tired—just going to go to sleep—try not to wake me when you come to bed, okay?” There. I’d acknowledged the shared-bed necessity and laid the don’t-talk-to-me ground rule.
“Goodnight,” Larson said without looking up. Rising from the chair, he lifted the third pot of boiling water from the stove and carried it across the room toward the bathroom beneath the loft.
I lay in the bed, pulled the quilt over me, and stared up at the ceiling. The stove cast a dim, orangey light on the wooden planks above me. The grain of the wood seemed to dance and change as the firelight flickered from below.
I wasn’t the least bit sleepy, my mind was fully alert. Certain parts of my body were coming online as well as I listened to the sloshing water-sounds coming from the bathroom below.
I’d had no idea last night that Larson had been able to hear every time I moved in the tub. It was impossible not to put a mental image to the noises drifting up to the loft—splash—Larson’s long legs shifting in the tub, searching for some space to stretch out. Swish—his bare chest and torso, wet and soapy, the light fur of blond hair on his chest and forearms glistening in the candlelight.
I squirmed in the bed, unable to find a comfortable position. The large t-shirt twisted around me as I moved. But it was so soft—probably one of those designer things that looked like a plain white tee and cost a hundred-fifty dollars, knowing him. Though he’d washed it in shampoo, it still retained some of his cologne scent, subtle and mixed with the fragrances of lavender and wood smoke.
None of it was conducive to a restful mood. In fact, as the minutes ticked on toward the time he’d be crawling onto the mattress beside me, I grew more and more restless, charged with a sort of energy I hadn’t felt in a long time.
I’d almost made up my mind to get up and go downstairs when I heard the bathroom door open. My eyelids slammed shut. My heart hammered in my chest. He’s coming. But Larson didn’t climb the ladder. His footsteps tracked across the main room.
I opened my eyes to a slit and rolled silently to my side, watching him walk over to the woodstove in only his boxers. He lifted his arms and rubbed the towel vigorously through his hair, causing the muscles in his back to bunch and flex in the most fascinating way.
When he turned to face the loft, I closed my eyes completely but gradually eased them open again, taking in the sight of his long and lean body, his tight abs moving under his skin as he leaned to the side over the stove, running his hands through his hair and letting the hot air dry it. I’d seen Mark without his clothes on. He was fine—average-guy-build, maybe a tad extra around the middle like so many frat boys who took in a few too many liquid calories.
But Larson… something warm and sweet curled inside my abdomen as I watched him so unselfconsciously displayed there. It actually gave me pleasure to look at him. I felt a little bit guilty. How would I like it if I was the one down there almost naked and he was secretly watching me? And the warm, sweet thing intensified, becoming a tingle that filled me with equal parts dread and anticipation for the moment when that beautiful male body would be stretched out here beside me.
Amy is a two-time Golden Heart finalist (2013 and 2014) who writes Young Adult fiction as Amy DeLuca and New Adult romance as Amy Patrick.
She lives in Rhode Island with her husband and two sons and actually craves the heat and humidity of Mississippi, where she grew up.
She's been a professional singer and news anchor and currently narrates audio books as well as working as a station host for a Boston TV station.