We have something very special for you today...But, first, We truly can't believe the tour has come to an end. It has been so fun. There have been some fabulous stops, fantastic reviews, and some great giveaways. TSK TSK What to Read would like to thank all of the tour hosts for participating and really just getting the word out there of this FANTABULOUS book....
So, as the last day is here, we wanted to do something different. So, after speaking with Teodora, we decided to choose a scene from In a Heartbeat and she would write it from an alternate POV. Squeeee!!! So exciting!!
So, without further adieu...Here it is... ENJOY!!!
Max's POV in Chapter 32
When Stella took Max’s hand and led him towards the living room, he couldn’t help but feel both relieved and nervous. He was glad she wanted him there, with her mother and with her whole family, but at the same time had the nagging feeling that he shouldn’t be there. That her mum would not appreciate his presence. As if he was a part of the family. God, the mere thought of that made him ecstatic.
What if Helen doesn’t like me? What if she thinks I’m just a fling for Stella?
What if he was?
No, that wasn’t true. Despite everything they’ve said about their relationship ending when Stella headed back home, and both being OK with that, Max knew he wasn’t OK with that. Not anymore. And he was pretty sure Stella wasn’t either.
She led him to the huge green beanbag and Max sat down, expecting Stella to sit on the sofa next to her mum and Niki. Instead, she sat right between his legs as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Max stiffened, not sure what to do. He glanced in Helen’s direction, but she was chatting animatedly with Niki and wasn’t even looking at them. Sensing his discomfort, Stella turned her head over her shoulder and gave him one of her charming, reassuring smiles that always eased and relaxed him. It reminded him of the day she had told him how proud she was of him after he’d dragged that guy out of the water. Her presence and behaviour that day had nipped the panic attack at the bud. Just like right now.
He exhaled the breath he didn’t even realise he was holding and wrapped Stella in his arms. His whole body relaxed under her weight on his chest. Reassuring. Comforting. Wonderful.
Lisa had picked up her sketch book as she always did when they gathered in the living room and had started drawing something, not even lifting her eyes from the paper. It was like all she needed was a single glance and she memorized the scene she wanted to draw. Max knew how talented she was with a simple pencil in her hand – he’d seen it... no, experienced it, himself.
The familiar scent of Stella’s shampoo filled his nostrils and he realised he’d buried his face in her hair. She hadn’t moved in a while and was uncharacteristically quiet.
“What are you thinking about?” Max whispered in her ear.
“How good this feels.”
Yeah, me too.
Helen glanced their way and smiled, right before she yawned and Max noticed how tired she looked. She must be dying to get into bed. Niki took pity on her friend and finally stopped talking about their plans for Helen’s visit. They wished everyone ‘goodnight’, and climbed upstairs to the bedrooms.
“It’s still early for us. You guys wanna watch a movie?” Stella asked.
“I haven’t slept all day, unlike you,” Lisa stood up, giving them a pointed look.
Yeah, right, slept.
“Who said we slept all day?” Max teased. Lisa rolled her eyes and tore a page out of her sketchbook.
“Whatever. Here.” She extended her arm towards them, holding the page she’d just torn. “See how sickeningly cute you look.” Winking at them, Lisa climbed the stairs to her room.
Stella held the drawing in her hand, her mouth open. Max could see it over her shoulder – it was them. And it was amazing, just like the first drawing Lisa had shown him a long time ago.
“She’s incredible, isn’t she?” said Max, remembering the moment Lisa had come to him five years ago and given him a piece of paper, as if it was yesterday. “When I first saw her at the counselling meeting, she was sitting on a chair, her legs crossed and a sketch pad over her knees. She never stopped drawing, even when she talked, but she never showed us anything. It took me four weeks of listening to others before I gathered enough courage to speak myself. The day I spoke about my dad, Lisa came to me after the meeting and gave me a sheet just like this one.” Max needed to stop talking and collect himself, because he felt unexpected emotion bubbling up inside. That had happened a lifetime ago, but it still felt raw. Stella didn’t say anything – she knew all too well how it felt to remember stuff you didn’t really want to remember, but couldn’t help to anyway. She waited patiently for him to finish picking imaginary fluff off the beanbag until his hands stopped trembling.
“When I looked at it, it was as if I was hit by a high-speed train. The emotion behind that simple pencil drawing was exactly what I’d felt when I’d talked that day. I don’t know how she does it, but she’s got an amazing talent of capturing feelings on a piece of paper.”
Stella nodded slowly as if realising that was exactly what it was – not just a drawing, but emotion caught on a piece of paper.
“Stella ...” Max whispered, his lips touching the skin under her ear. “I don’t want to watch a movie.” He was suddenly overcome by the need to be as close to Stella as humanly possible and never let go. He wanted her body imprinted on his own, because she was already, irreversibly, a part of him.
Stella reacted to the touch of his lips and his soft tone of voice as she always did – she shivered in his arms, goose bumps exploding everywhere his lips touched her skin and her breath caught.
“What do you want to do?” Stella asked, her voice low and unsteady. Max wrapped his arms more tightly around her and nipped her earlobe.
“I want to be inside you. Badly. And then I want you sleeping snuggled beside me.”
He kept that part to himself, but couldn't control his actions as Stella’s whole body shuddered with need and lust. Max stood them both up in a flash and scooping her up in his arms, took her upstairs to her room.
“I’ve been in and out of hospitals for the past ten months. I’ve had half my liver removed and even though this time the doctors are very optimistic that they’ve removed all of the tumours, they can’t be sure. In another three months they want me here again for a check up. Right now I feel better than I’ve ever felt. I know the damn thing is gone, at least for the moment. Despite that, I can’t make any plans for the future, not yet. I need to go somewhere where nobody knows me, where I can relax and maybe even forget about all this. Where I can meet people who don’t think of me as the girl who lost her father and her brother in a car accident, and who has cancer. I want to have fun, even if it’s for a couple of months.”
When Stella decides to visit her estranged cousin Lisa in Genoa, she has no idea Italy will give her a new reason to live.
“Her gaze locked on a scene so beautiful, the picturesque beach paled in comparison. A lifeguard emerged from the water, his orange trunks stuck to his legs and water dripping all over him. He shook his head to get rid of some of the water in his hair and Stella felt as if everything started developing in slow motion – tiny drops of water slid from his neck down his broad chest and muscular arms, along a weaving tattoo on his right shoulder, and continued downwards towards his chest and washboard stomach, finally getting lost in the waistband of his trunks. A part of another tattoo peeked over his trunks on his left hip, the other part hidden under them. It was a total Baywatch moment.”
Their love is epic. But there are too many things keeping them apart.
“How could you keep this from me, Lisa? If you had told me the first day I met him, I would have avoided him like the plague. Nothing would have happened between us.”
“I kept your secrets, too, Stella.”
Are Max and Stella strong enough to fight not only for their love, but for their lives?
Check out Kathryn's REVIEW HERE.
Hi, my name is Teodora and I live in London with my husband Ted and my son Jason. I've been writing ever since I can remember, but it became my full time job in 2010 when I decided that everything else I've tried bores me to death and I have to do what I've always wanted to do, but never had to guts to fully embrace. I've been a journalist, an editor, a personal assistant and an interior designer among other things, but as soon as the novelty of the new, exciting job wears off, I always go back to writing. Being twitchy, impatient, loud and hasty are not qualities that help a writer, because I have to sit alone, preferably still, and write for most of the day, but I absolutely love it. It's the only time that I'm truly at peace and the only thing I can do for more than ten minutes at a time - my son has a bigger attention span than me.
When I'm procrastinating, I like to go to the gym, cook Italian meals (and eat them), read, listen to rock music, watch indie movies and True Blood re-runs. Or, in the worst case scenario, get beaten at every Wii game by a five year old.
1st Prize Winner:
A signed paperback copy of In a Heartbeat
2nd Prize Winner:
2nd Prize Winner:
3 signed bookmarks
Signed canvas bag
3rd Prize Winner:
$15 Amazon gift card
3 winners of:
ebook copies of In a Heartbeat