My first series, the foundation for all of my stories, is $4.99 on Kindle for 72 hours. The bundled Emi Lost & Found series–consisting of Not Today But Someday, Lost and Found, Time Stands Still, and Never Look Back–is four dollars off from 9/17 8am PST to 9/20 8am PST. This is and will be the lowest price offered this year!! (This is also free on Kindle Unlimited for your lucky KU subscribers!)
For those of you who don’t know, this is Emi’s epic journey of friendship, loss, grief, trust, faith, and above all… LOVE. Most people would describe it as an ‘atypical love story.’ I do, too.
Anyway, here is a little snippet from Jack’s point of view, and the first time our three main characters share a scene together:
When I was in my fourth year in college, Emi entered our school as a freshman and came to one of our fraternity parties. Even then, her smile was what drew me to her, but her green eyes were what held me there, captive. Once I started talking to her, I couldn’t focus on anything else. She made me laugh with the animated way she recalled some of her first college experiences. She was very much my opposite, but at the time, she seemed to be exactly what I needed. To my black-and-white world, she wasn’t just gray, she was every color in between. Her free spirit made me feel more alive.
At first, after having one or two drinks, she was cute and flirtatious, and after talking to her one-on-one for an extended period of time, I was getting up the courage to ask her out. As the night wore on, though, and the alcohol took its effect on her, I lost my nerve and my chance when at least ten guys at the party had the same idea. Eventually, she had a swarm of lonely boys at her feet, bringing her beer, each hoping for a night that would end up with her in their dorm rooms. From my conversation with her, I didn’t think she was that type.
Chris, enjoying the party as much as the rest of our brothers, was naturally angry when I pointed out the crowd forming around Emi. He set out to defend her honor, slurring some threats to them, and eventually the guys backed away from his sister. Chris delivered a few choice words to her, as well, adding that she didn’t belong at his party. He called a friend of theirs and asked him to come pick her up. Chris was in no shape to keep an eye on her, though, so I made it a point to do just that.
She sat outside on a picnic table, her beautiful green eyes now glazed over, tired and red. Her elbows rested on her knees, hands steadying her head. Waiting for her ride to come, a few frustrated tears escaped from her eyes as she chewed hard and deliberately on a piece of gum. Two cups and a bottle of water in hand, I walked outside to join her, wanting to comfort her. I poured each of us a drink, handing a cup to her.
“Thanks,” she mumbled, taking a sip.
“You’re welcome,” I answered politely. I sat down next to her and fought the urge to put my arm across her shoulders, not wanting it to seem like I was coming on to her. I tried to find words to put her at ease, but I couldn’t think of anything to say. In the end, we both just sat in silence, staring out into the dark night in front of us.
After a half hour or so of sitting on that table, waiting, I had accepted the fact that her friend wasn’t coming.
“Emi, can I take you back to your apartment?”
“You don’t have to.”
“I know I don’t have to, but I’d like to.”
“He should be here by now,” she said.
“I really don’t mind.”
She sat quietly for a few more minutes before conceding. “Alright, I guess,” she said to me. I was happy to have the opportunity to see her home safely. I had no intention of “going back to her place,” but I was relieved in knowing that no one else would be going there, either.
Just as she tried to move off the table, she stumbled. I reached out to steady her, and she laughed, embarrassed.
“It’s okay,” I encouraged her, trying to help her up. Her face inches from mine, she quickly leaned into me and kissed me. It took me a second to realize what was happening, as she had caught me completely off guard. But as she sat on that table, vulnerable, beautiful, her soft kiss caused a whirlwind of feelings inside of me.
Of course, my hormones raged within at her touch, but it was so much more than that. I felt numb and incredibly aware of every sensation, all at the same time. My body was alive with energy, aching to burst free from the confines of my skin, yet I could not move an inch, wouldn’t move an inch away from her. Never before had I felt as if my life was missing anything, but in that moment, I felt whole.
I cradled her face in my hands. I brushed my lips against hers gently, teasing her, tentative, making sure that was what she wanted. When she pressed her mouth to mine again, I felt I had not misread her intentions.
I took in the moment with each of my senses. The lightly perfumed smell of her hair. The taste of her cinnamon gum. The warmth of her creamy skin. The music behind us, barely masking the noise of a revving car engine. The nearly translucent green color of her sad eyes… I had to open mine in an attempt to catch another glimpse. She was looking back at me with uncertainty, and we slowly moved away from one another, neither of us daring to speak.
As I helped her off the table, breathless, I noticed the addition of the dark convertible sports car parked at the curb in front of us. Without cutting the engine or the headlights, a tall, blonde, lanky kid stepped out of the car and stared directly at her. She stopped in her tracks and looked down at her feet, shrugging away from my loose grasp.
“Emi,” he said to her, concern escaping with a rush of air from his lungs. He stood at the curb and surveyed the situation, only glancing briefly at me as if to warn me to stay away.
“Hey,” she whimpered out unsteadily, ashamed, her eyes sparkling as she looked up to meet his gaze. She began to cry, and I couldn’t tell if it was frustration, embarrassment, or just the alcohol. The tears stirred him immediately into action. He walked briskly toward her. I could see in that moment that he cared for her deeply, and it seemed she felt the same way. Although there was noise and havoc all around as the party progressed behind us, his eyes were focused only on her, as if she were the only thing in the world to him. There was something between them, some unspoken thing, that made it obvious that he was the one who was meant to be with her, the one meant to go back to her place. Not these drunk guys. Certainly not me.
I backed away from her and watched as they embraced one another. She looked up at him, eyebrows raised, as if she were a child looking to him for acceptance, or punishment. His eyes looked down to meet hers, and just when I thought I’d witness a kiss that I really didn’t want to see, his lips barely brushed her forehead before his hand pulled her head into his chest. She sighed visibly, and he slowly guided her toward the car, her clumsy gait causing them both to trip. They laughed before he opened the door for her and helped her inside, buckled her seatbelt. He closed her door and leaned over it, staring into her needy eyes, brushing a few hairs out of her face. She put her hand on the back of his neck and pulled his face to hers, but instead of kissing her, he paused momentarily and slowly removed her hand, kissed her palm, and placed it in her lap.
He walked to his side of the car, and as Emi turned to wave goodbye, I caught the boy looking at me once again. He was no older than seventeen, still an awkward teenager. I met his gaze and held it. I imagined he was advising me to keep away from her. My stare was telling him to take good care of her. That was a battle I knew I couldn’t win.
Emi Lost & Found ©2011 Lori L. Otto