Close to Me by Monica Murphy
Release Date: February 11, 2020
Close to Me, a New Adult romance by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Monica Murphy.
Asher Davis. My first crush.
My first kiss.
The boy who ripped my heart out of my chest again and again. Over and over. I let him have it every single time.
We are that toxic high school couple you hear about, the one you witness in the hallway as they avoid each other. You laugh at them in class when they’re forced to work together, their gazes full of hatred. We are the couple you gossip about when they win homecoming prince and princess their sophomore year…
The back and forth is what kills me the most. I’m not his princess, I’m the girl he toys with when he’s bored. And he’s definitely not my prince, no matter how badly I want him to be.
Finally it’s our senior year and we’re months away from never having to see each other again when disaster strikes—and brings us closer together. All it takes is one touch, and I’m burning for Ash. Hotter than I ever have.
But will that burn turn into a devastating fire? Or can we actually make it work this time?
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“Do friends give each other hugs? The friends I have do. Sometimes.”
“There is no way I’m hugging you.” I roll my eyes.
“A truce hug then? Come on.” He lets go of the door handle and faces me fully, stretching his arms out in invitation. “I’ll leave you alone after this, okay? I promise.”
I’m not sure if he’s the type who keeps his promises. I’m guessing no.
This could be the last time I hug him. This entire encounter has been weird. Confusing. We’re a mess. We would never work, and us going ’round and ’round in circles tonight just proves that.
So what’s the harm in getting one last hug from Ash? It’s just a hug. A brief moment of bodily contact and then I’ll send him away. He won’t bug me again. He’ll get over his so-called feelings for me. He’ll give his heart to someone else or even better, he’ll discover he actually has one, and he’ll forget all about me. He’ll give it to someone else, and he’ll finally leave me alone forever.
Why does that thought make me feel so empty inside?
Deciding it’s do or die time, I walk right into his hug, my arms sliding around his waist, my head resting on his chest. I can feel the steady thump-thump of his heartbeat and I close my eyes when his arms come around me. Slowly. Enfolding me into his body so that we’re snug tight.
He holds me with a desperation, almost as if he’s afraid to let me go, and when I lift my head, tilting it back so I can stare into his eyes, I find he’s already watching me.
“Friends don’t make each other feel like this,” he says, his voice a gravelly whisper.
The hairs on the back of my neck rise. “Feel like what?”
“Like you could be my everything.”
My shoulders sag. “Ash—”
“Stop talking.” He presses two fingers to my lips, silencing me. When he’s seemingly assured I won’t speak, he lightens the pressure, gently caressing my lips. Back and forth. Making me tingle.
Making me want him to do more than touch my mouth.
I want him to kiss me.
“You have the sexiest lips,” he murmurs, and the blush returns, setting my face on fire. No one has referred to me as sexy before. “What we’re doing is fucking crazy. You know this right, Callahan?”
I ignore his question. “How could I be your everything when you told me you don’t know how to feel?”
“The only time I seem to feel is when…” He presses his fingers into the corner of my mouth, so gentle, I could almost think he never actually touched me. “I’m with you.”
Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both self-published and published by Random House/Bantam and HarperCollins/Avon. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance.
She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she’s not writing, she’s reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She’s a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.
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