Always Book 1
by Lexxie Couper
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Life’s great — it’s the terminal degenerative disease that sucks.
Maci is young, smart and about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. It looks like she has the world at her feet, but appearances can be deceiving. Because Maci is not like other college girls. She already knows her future is written and there’s no happy ending in sight.
For Raphael, life is all upside. He’s on the fast track to success and nothing can stop him—except his unexpected love for a girl who’s convinced she’ll hold him back.
When Maci and Raphael are drawn irresistibly together, they’ll both have to redefine everything they thought they knew about life, love and happy ever after.
“One of the BEST New Adult Coming of Age romance books I’ve read…funny, heartwarming and sexy”~ Five Stars, Slick Reads
***The Always series is a 3-book series about love, life, laughter and hope. Originally released under the pen-name Cherie M Hudson, the Always series is Lexxie Couper unlike you've read before.***
If Heather said anything else before taking her leave of us, I didn’t hear it. All I could do was gaze up at Raph.
“You’re not having lunch with Osmond?” he asked, the low question playing havoc with my sanity.
Christ, he was gorgeous. Have I mentioned that yet? How gorgeous he was? Heart-clenchingly gorgeous.
I shook my head. I was sure at some point I’d recover the higher brain function to form words, but at that moment in time, all my higher brain function was occupied being in awe of how gorgeous and wonderful and sexy and there, right there, Raph was.
Four days, Rowling. The thought whispered through my roaring head. Only four days.
Now so close his knees brushed mine, Raph touched the line of my jaw with the back of his knuckles. “Lunch with me instead?”
I swallowed. Words still failed me.
Nervous doubt flared in his eyes. “Please?”
I don’t know if it was his uncertainty that helped me find my tongue, the fact it was obvious he wanted to be with me but feared I was going to deny him, or the way the distinct scent of him threaded into my very breath. All I knew for certain was that I wanted to spend every minute I had in Sydney with him.
“Lunch would be wonderful,” I said, my voice husky.
The smile that spread across his face sent a shard of wet, tight, delicious heat straight through me. Oh boy.
“Excellent. I know just the place.”
He took my hand in his, his palm warm and slightly rough. It reminded me he’d grown up on a cattle ranch, and that reminded me I was heading to the farm in four days, and that reminded me I wasn’t going to see him anymore after I left Sydney.
My chest clenched at the thought and, nerve endings thrumming with an elemental need I didn’t want to name, I tightened my grip on his hand.
Four days. I could live a lifetime in four days. I could.
We walked together through the university grounds, our conversation relaxed. Neither of us brought up our previous tension, it didn’t need to be addressed. The simple fact I was here with Raph now was the only thing that mattered.
By the time we got to his ute, we were both laughing. And ignoring the people we passed photographing us with their smartphones.
Screw it. If they wanted to experience fame by some tenuous thread of association—a Hey, I saw Raphael Jones and the American chick he’s banging kind of thing— then let them. As Heather had pointed out, tomorrow something new would be trending on Twitter. Who knows, maybe Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth would be engaged again?
As we approached his dusty, mud-caked ute, Raph waved his hand about in an elaborate flourish. “Your chariot, my lady.”
He pulled the door open, revealing the same chaos that I’d encountered yesterday morning. More Red Bull cans were scattered across the passenger-side floor, along with a crumpled McDonald’s bag I assumed must have contained yesterday’s lunch or dinner. I cocked an eyebrow at him.
He let out a rueful chuckle and shrugged. “What can I say?”
I laughed and made a move to deposit myself on the passenger seat. I stopped when I saw a pile of books. Heart thumping fast, I stared at the titles.
The Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Book.
Parkinson’s Disease: Top Tips to Optimize Function.
Understanding Parkinson’s Disease: A guide for Family and Loved Ones of Sufferers.
Parkinson’s Disease for Dummies.
Living with Someone with Parkinson’s.
At Raph’s low mutter, I turned from the books and stared up at him, silent. Inside, I was a churning, conflicted, angry, sad, ecstatic, confused mess. It was one thing to commit yourself to a four-day adventure with a guy you really, really, really liked. A guy who turned you on more than it was probably socially acceptable to admit. It was another to discover said guy was researching the disease that would ultimately end your life. It told me he was interested in every part of who I was, not just the healthy parts, the squishy, warm parts that fit together so well with his warm, not-so-squishy parts. It told me he was thinking about my life, my future.
It changed the playing field somehow.
“I only …” he began, frustration etching his face before he dropped his gaze to the incriminating books on the passenger seat. A rough breath left him. He raked a hand though his hair. “I know you don’t want to talk about it, but just let me read about it, okay?” He looked back at me. “I just … it’s what I do when I don’t understand something. I read about it.”
I drew a deep breath. I truly had no idea how I felt about that. Hell, I’d only just decided how I felt about him, and here he was, doing this.
I stared at the book sitting on the top of the pile. Its title tickled a funny bone I didn’t think I had anymore.
Turning back to Raph, I arched my eyebrow. “Living with Someone with Parkinson’s? Really? You got plans we haven’t discussed yet? I mean, I know we’ve made out and all, but I’m not sure I’m ready to move in with—”
He shut me up with a kiss. He swept his tongue into my mouth, grabbed my butt and, with a chuckle, pulled me close to his body and ground his hips to mine.
Instantly and immediately, I was horny. Horny and happy. Deliriously happy. Who knew?
At the sound of approaching voices, Raph broke our kiss. I did groan in protest, I’m afraid.
“We’ll continue this later,” he murmured with a grin before nudging his head toward the ute. “But for now, you need to get your arse in there, American girl. Before Horn finds me.”
“Oh, you being naughty?” I asked as I removed the books—Parkinson’s Disease for Dummies? Seriously?—from the seat and lowered myself into the car.
“Not yet.” Raph leaned into the interior, his eyes dancing. “But I plan to later.”
He winked and, as heat flooded my cheeks, he closed the door.
International bestselling romance author Lexxie Couper started writing when she was six and hasn't stopped since. She's not a deviant, but she does have a deviant's imagination and a desire to entertain readers with her words. Add the two together and you get romances that can make you laugh, cry, shake with fear or tremble with desire...Sometimes all at once.
$40 Amazon gift card plus a little Aussie treat I'll post to the winner from Down Under
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