I can’t believe my three book series, Kiss Starter, is coming to an end with Nora and Galley’s story in Nora Ever After. When I wrote Before You, I knew right away I would be writing Asher’s and Nora’s story, too. What I didn’t know is who I would pair them with until I wrote the below in Before You.
Foreshadowing of Asher and Ezekiel’s story
They walk backwards to my truck and wave. Asher stumbles. Zeke picks her up and carries her. The way he’s holding her with his head buried in her hair… I run the pad of my thumb across my jaw.
No way could Zeke be interested in Asher that way. If he is, he might as well count on being disowned by his family. Zeke’s family is racist to their core.
Foreshadowing of Nora and Galley’s story
“I’m sorry, Xander. My fault. Why don’t you and your friends crash here? I’ll stay with Asher or Nora.”
He’s rapid fire texting. The screen lights up. Ping, ping, ping.
“Huh, that’s different.” He brings the screen to his face. Downward slant of his brows. Thick silence.
“What’s different?” There’s an unbecoming panic in my voice.
“Zeke’s gonna stay the night at Asher’s, and Nora offered Galley her couch.”
What?! “Those girls are not my friends. They don’t invite guys to stay over. Aliens took over their bodies.”
In Before You, I hint at Nora’s “hang up” in the first chapter when Ryan, Asher, and Nora are at Jimmy’s Restaurant and Bar.
Nora pats my arm, surprising me, again. Nora doesn’t touch or like to be touched. Something to do with how she was raised.
Something to do with how she was raised. Teasing the reason out of my imaginary character, Nora, as well as teasing out the reason why Galley is into multiple partners, took some soul searching on my part as an author. In the end, the plot came together. Opposites attract. The no-touching hang-up of Nora attracts the very touchy Galley. And the more time they spend together, the more they realize they have similar insecurities about love and fidelity. I enjoyed so much writing their story and getting to know them as “people”. I hope you’ll take a chance on them and read their story. I’ve included a sneak peek.
Sneak Peek: Nora Ever After
She picks at the buttons of her shirt. “You’ve had a rough day.”
Nice. She’s too damn nice. Too innocent for my taste. My curiosity heightens.
“I’ll make you hot tea. Tea is safe and comforting after a difficult day.”
Tea? Is this girl for real?
I’m messed up, but what’s with this no-touching deal of Nora’s? I’ll drink tea. Give up hard liquor. Do whatever the fuck Nora wants me to do so long as she clues me in.
“Sure. Tea sounds good. Wait here.”
I scramble out of Xander’s truck and run around to the passenger-side door. I open the door. Skitter the fuck back. Give Nora a wide berth. Watch her slide out of the jacked-up truck and land on her half-boots.
She studies me with those keen brown eyes of hers. “Asher told you about my hang-up, didn’t she?”
“Yeah. You were asleep.”
On our two-hour drive back from Jimmy’s Bar in Ravenna to Dumas.
“She’s a good friend. Has your back. Is that what you call this no-touching deal of yours? A hang-up?”
“How would you label it? Weird? Strange? Screwy? Standoffish? Germophobe? I’m a freak? Not in my right mind? I’ve heard them all through the years, so if you want to add something new, I won’t be offended.”
Her small shoulders rise and fall. She couldn’t care less, but I don’t miss the slight tip of her chin. Nora’s challenging me to call her out. I don’t hold back.
“Interesting. Unique. Sexy as fuck.”
Her eyes widen. “You think so?”
“I know so.”
Her eyes light up as though she’s never been told a compliment in her life.
I shove my hands in my pockets.
Otherwise, I’ll go with this insane urge to tuck Nora’s hair behind her ear. Skim my fingers over the soft shell. Cup her face. Strum my thumb across the smooth arch of her cheek.
But I don’t do shit like that. Tender shit. Romantic shit. Any kind of shit that could be misconstrued as caring. This is my last year at DU. Translation: don’t start any kind of caring shit with a girl that’ll want more from me than what I’m ready for or am willing to give.
Then why the hell am I saying romantic, tender words like, “I’ve never met anyone like you, Nora. The honest truth”?
Her face softens, and that’s my reason. When Nora puts down her guard, I swear the heavens open and the angels sing.
The fuck? Romantic shit like that doesn’t cross my mind. I blink. Reset my brain. This girl jumbles my brain with her hang-up.
I hit the key fob and lock Xander’s truck. He’ll kill me if anything happens to his “baby.”
I put distance between us and sweep out my arm. “Ladies first.”
She smiles. “You’re a good guy, Galley Rutherford.”
I’m not. Good isn’t me. Wild, uninhibited, loud, filthy mouth…that’s me.
“I’m grateful you drove Asher and me home. Grateful your friend Xander is driving my friend, Ryan, home in her car. She was so shaken up after her run-in with that dangerous guy. But it’s best we walk side by side, okay?”
The streetlights above us are bright. I see the knowing gleam in her eyes.
“What, and not get the chance to check you out from behind?” Interesting. Unique. Sexy as fuck she’s onto me.
She flips her hair. Sets her hands on her hips. “I’ve seen the girls you’ve been with. After being with them and the stuff you do with them and to them, there couldn’t be anything more you haven’t seen or done.”
She’s wrong. I’ve never been with a girl that doesn’t like to touch or be touched.
“I take it that’s a no? You won’t change your mind?”
“Side by side, Galley.”
I nod. We walk alongside one another. I listen to what she’s telling me. What her friend, Asher, had told me in a panicked voice. I give Nora space.
She unlocks and opens the door. Distracts me with her take-charge attitude, telling me to go in first.
It’s dark inside Nora’s place.
She turns on the lights.
What I’m seeing has my jaw dropping.
I can’t speak.
For the life of me, I’m speechless.
Inside my head, though…inside my head I’m thinking it’s a damn fucking jungle in here.