Daniel has been best friends with Rose since they were born. He’s been in love with her for years. The only problem? She has no idea, and he’s not about to tell her and ruin their friendship. The solution? Leave Chicago to travel the world, pursue his dream of becoming a photojournalist, and try to forget the red lips that he could kiss for hours. If only she’d let him…
Rose knows true love is out there somewhere; she just has to try hard enough to find it. That’s become more complicated, though, since her best friend Daniel has moved in with her after being away for two years. Somehow thoughts of him keep getting in the way, making her morning showers a little too hot for comfort. If only he’d see…
In Helena Rac’s second novel, best friends become roommates and discover through sloppy towel tucks, stargazing adventures, and a very sexy photo shoot that sometimes love can be found in the most unlikely place: right in front of you.
The night is nothing short of perfect. The air is warm, there’s barely any wind, and the moon is young, so the sky is dark, laced with thousands of stars. We find our spot along the beach, well away from the other stargazers, and set down our sleeping bags, a couple of blankets, and our cooler.
Our eighties playlist is playing softly in the background while we enjoy the night. Daniel takes photos, and every so often he shows me an image he’s caught on camera. I’m in awe. He really is amazing. The way he sees the world is so different from how most of us do – angles and frames and visions that capture the beauty of everything that surrounds us, including the stars. Even in the dark, I can see a twinkle in his eyes, that same look he has when he picks up his camera. Confident. In charge. Sexy.
I squeeze in between Daniel and the telescope and lean into the eyepiece. I’m instantly fascinated by what I see. The star flickers like it’s dancing in the sky. There are hues of red and orange and gold, and it sparkles like a gem.
I’m equally distracted because Daniel is standing right behind me. He hasn’t moved an inch. His chest presses against my back, and I tense for a moment, unsure of his intent. His scent makes its way to me, and my eyes flutter closed for an instant. I inhale and savor the way he makes me feel. My initial tense reaction gives way to a new one – one that confuses me and excites me all at the same time. Goosebumps cover my arms, and my breath hitches in my throat. I can’t help but shiver from the sparks that travel through my body.
His response is not what I expect. Yet, even though I’m afraid to admit it to myself, it’s quite possibly what I hoped for. He wraps his arms around me so they criss-cross just above my waist. He starts to rub my arms, warming my skin and melting the goosebumps – and my whole body. My mind is screaming, Do not cross the friendship boundary! No good can come of it. Thank goodness for my sensible brain. Too bad I don’t always listen to it.
On that thought, I can’t help but relax into him. His strong, lean frame envelops me, and I’m aware of the contours of his body and the heat that radiates between us. I nestle into his shoulder and look up at the stars above us. He buries his nose in my hair and inhales deeply. Here, away from the city lights, it seems as though it’s just Daniel and me and our newfound closeness.
“Hey, there’s a shooting star.” I point to where it’s trailing across the sky. “Did you see it?”
“Hope you made a wish,” he whispers in my ear, and I swear his lips graze my skin. I shiver again, unable to control my reaction.