A Tuesday treat- an excerpt from Every New Year by Katrina Jackson. This book releases on 12/31/19 and is available for pre-order now. This book looks sexy AF and I can’t wait to read it.
When Ezra Posner was eighteen, he met Candace Garret and fell in love.
When Candace met Ezra, she instantly knew he was the boy for her.
In the middle of their first year at college, Candace and Ezra share a clumsy kiss that should have been the beginning of an epic love affair, but it’s not. Instead, it begins a nearly two-decade journey of never quite getting the timing right for love. For almost every New Year’s Eve after, Candace and Ezra stumble into one another’s arms, but can’t manage to hold onto each other for more than a single night. They live with the expectant giddiness of being able to spend New Year’s Eve with the person they love, always hoping that next year will be their year. Until eventually, their annual trysts ruin even the friendship that held them together.
As 2019 ends, Candace and Ezra are both running away from their broken hearts. They board a plane hoping to finally move on from their relationship, only to run right into each other’s arms.
Every New Year is a friends-to-lovers romance that takes nearly twenty years to bloom. It’s also the first in the Love At Last series, where happily ever afters might take some time to mature, but they’re always worth the wait.
parental sickness (cancer, diabetes, hypertension)
For the past three years, Candace had travelled from Ecuador to Nicaragua, Jamaica, Mexico (to get to Cuba without having her passport stamped), Puerto Rico, New York, Toronto, Vancouver and then home. She hadn’t planned any leg of that travel except the last part. Mei had asked her to be her maid of honor over Skype. She’d emailed Candace’s official invitation. Candace had sent her measurements by email to Mei and Candace’s cousin Lisa — who was a similar height and weight — had stood in at her fittings. Mei didn’t care as long as Candace made it to the wedding. That was her only request. And she’d only had to ask once, because there was no way Candace would miss Miles and Mei’s wedding. There was no way she could bear to miss seeing Ezra one more time.
But she’d thought all she’d do was look, because that’s all she’d really been accustomed to doing in college. Except for those three nights when there had been hugs and a little light making out, and that one time when they’d defiled Teddy. But now Ezra was holding her hand, leading her down the hall to his hotel room, turning every now and then to smile at her as if to reassure himself that she was still there. She squeezed his hand and their warm palms pressed together, because she needed to be reminded that this was real too.
When Ezra’s hotel room door closed behind them, the quiet was deafening. She blinked into the darkness and gasped when she felt his soft breath on her skin. His lips tentatively touched her back just at the top of her spine. She moaned as his wet tongue traced the skin over her right shoulder before his forehead pressed against her skin and his big hands settled on her waist.
She’d had dreams like this, but she’d never believed they’d come true.
His breath was ragged against her skin. This wasn’t the Ezra she knew. The boy who’d been blushing at her longer than she could remember right up until a few hours ago. This new Ezra was more like the Ezra of her dreams. The Ezra she’d been carrying around with her all over the Americas. The Ezra she sometimes conjured to mind when she touched herself or even when she fucked her ex-boyfriend. The Ezra she’d wanted so desperately she could taste him on her tongue, imagining what he would feel like in her hand and mouth and pussy since she’d never gotten the chance.
But she didn’t have to settle for dream Ezra, she realized. For the first time in so long, he was right behind her. Holding her.
She turned in his arms and he stepped back just enough to let her move. But he never let her go. She swallowed a groan as his hands rubbed along her waist and over her stomach, his hard body still so close. His eyes were focused on her mouth and she sucked her bottom lip between her teeth.
Candace smiled. God, she’d missed him. She raised her hands to his chest and lifted her right eyebrow. “You been lifting weights, Ezra?”
His chest hitched before he spoke. “Miles made me start going to the gym with him.”
She smiled. “Just like he used to make you come to our dorm room freshman year?”
His fingers flexed and dug into her hips. “He never had to make me come to your room,” he whispered.
It was her turn for her chest to hitch. She leaned into his body, the smell of his cologne engulfing her as she pressed herself to him. The hard points of her silk-covered nipples touched him first. Her mouth fell open on a soft sigh. Her hands moved up his chest to glide around his neck, and then her fingers sunk into the hair at his nape. “God, Ezra,” she whispered just as he captured her mouth with his own.
Candace wouldn’t have said that Ezra had been her best kiss ever, especially not that first kiss. But what she could say was that every kiss with him was always better than the last. And this kiss was by far the best. Not because it was perfect, but because they poured themselves wholeheartedly into it. Candace loved Ezra’s awkwardness, his blushing, all that nervous energy and banked intensity, and this kiss was that times infinity. He plied Candace’s lips open with his own and slipped his tongue into her mouth, groaning when her tongue eagerly met his. She smiled and he kissed her deeper, gripped her hips tighter and pulled her close. Candace sighed and wrapped her arms around his neck, meeting every thrust of his tongue and press of his lips with equal fervor, reveling in a kiss she’d been too scared to hope for. As Ezra kissed her, she let her bruised heart imagine that he’d missed her almost as much as she’d missed him.
But he never contacted you, some poor bitter part of her mind reminded her. She pulled back from him sharply and Ezra immediately stepped back, letting go of her waist.
“Did I do something wrong?” he asked quickly.
She shook her head. “No, I just…”
The light blinked on and Ezra turned from the switch on the wall to peer at her with worry in his eyes. She blinked at him. She wanted to ask him why he’d never emailed her during that final semester or in the past three years. She wanted to ask him if, errant New Year’s Eve behavior aside, she’d completely made up their friendship, because that was the only thing that made his complete radio silence make any kind of sense. She wanted to ask him why she only ever heard about what he was up to through Facebook or secondhand from Miles via Mei. She wanted to ask him how it was possible that he could look at her right now, dilated pupils, flushed cheeks and a prominent mound in his pants, as if he’d been waiting for this as desperately as she had, but not once even put a message on her Facebook wall.
But if she asked him that, she knew he could throw those questions back at her and she felt too fragile to even consider the answers. Because if he asked her, she was certain she’d spill all of her hurt and sadness out to him and not just about the last three years, but all those mixed signals when they were in college. And if she did that, then he’d know how much she’d loved him from the very minute she’d first seen him. And if he knew, she was terrified that her greatest fear would come true; that Ezra would frown at her and tell her that he didn’t feel the same. That she’d made meanings from all that blushing, and those kisses, and The Teddy Incident based on her own deceptive heart instead of reality. And she couldn’t handle that.
She couldn’t bear to be rejected by Ezra. Not again. She’d just barely survived the last time. So she swallowed all that emotion, shook her head and forced herself to smile at him. And then she turned to look over her shoulder at the bed. When she turned back to him, his eyes were still worried, but his jaw was set and there were beads of sweat at his hairline. Candace moved her hands to the back of her dress. She walked slowly backward toward the bed as she unzipped her dress, her gaze locked on Ezra’s warm blue eyes.
The metallic rasp of the zipper bounced off the walls. Ezra gulped at the sound, following her as if it was a beacon. At the foot of the bed, she held her bridesmaid’s dress loose against her body.
“Do you have condoms, Ezra?”
His eyes widened. He gulped again and nodded.
“Did you come here prepared to pick up someone from the singles table?” she asked, pretending it was a joke even as her heart shriveled at the thought.
He grimaced and shook his head. He turned to the desk against the far wall — trying and failing to subtly adjust his hard cock as he walked — and moved to a basket on the table.
She smiled when she saw it. She’d recognize Mei’s handiwork anywhere and there were near-identical baskets in all the bridesmaids’ rooms as well.
Ezra rifled through the basket and then turned to her, a box of condoms in his hand.
Candace frowned. “We didn’t get condoms in our basket.”
“I feel like this was Miles’s contribution,” Ezra offered.
Candace pursed her lips and rolled her eyes. “I can’t believe he took all those Women’s Studies classes with Mei and learned nothing.”
Ezra shrugged. “I don’t know about nothing. He made me go see the new Stepford Wives like twice when it came out. It was not good,” he said with an awkward laugh.
Candace smiled at him and then dropped her dress. Ezra’s laughter cut off on a strangled groan. She pushed it over her hips and let it pool at her feet, never taking her eyes from him.
“Ezra,” she whispered.
She smiled. “Come here.”
He nodded again.
She laughed. “You have to walk, Ezra.”
His eyes lifted to hers and he grimaced, still nodding, and finally moved.
Candace’s heart felt as if it might beat straight out of her chest as she waited. When he stopped in front of her, he had a death grip on the box of condoms. She plucked it from his hands and he sighed in relief. She threw the box on the bed and then put her palms flat on his chest.
His breath hitched again and she loved the feeling of it under her palms. She moved her hands under his lapels to his shoulders and then pushed his jacket from his body. It fell to the floor and was soon followed by his bowtie, shirt and belt. Ezra toed off his shoes and socks and then waited for Candace’s direction. She smiled at him and trailed her fingertips through his chest hair, down his stomach — his abs flinching under her fingertips — to the top of his pants.
Candace licked her lips and marveled at how much she loved touching Ezra. She was happy she’d never gotten to experience this while in college because she knew she’d never have been able to stop herself. The way his body heated and flinched and melted under her hands made her feel powerful and so horny her skin felt like it was covered in electricity. If she’d known Ezra would be like this, she was certain she’d have flunked out in a semester. Happily.
She wedged her finger into his belt buckle and began to pull it loose. She locked eyes with him as she pulled it slowly from his pants loops. A part of her wanted to yank it free quickly and push his pants just barely down his hips, just enough to get his dick free. But she hadn’t waited three years to rush through this. Who knew if it would happen again?
She slowly unbuttoned and unzipped his pants, leaning forward to push them over his hips. He dipped his head to brush his mouth against hers, but she pulled back before he could pull her into a kiss, smiling wickedly at him as her gaze dipped.
And then there he was, just the thin cotton of his underwear between her and her greatest regret. There was nothing worse than spending years of your life having a singular, but incomplete, masturbatory focus. Of knowing the intimate feeling of Ezra’s mouth and tongue, but no clear image of his dick. She knew what it felt like to desperately ride the hard mound of his erection but she had no idea of the weight of him in her hand, his girth, or the way that silky steel tasted. More than once she’d gotten herself off on her own fingers or her ex-boyfriend’s tongue trying to imagine all of that.
She slipped her fingers into the waistband of his underwear and his own hands followed. They took off his underwear together. He straightened, his hands at his sides as he waited. For her.
“Get on the bed,” she whispered, her voice hoarse with need.
There was no hesitation this time. He scurried onto the bed so fast Candace couldn’t help but laugh as she followed. He turned onto his back, his legs spread and she crawled between them. He groaned and his head fell back to the pillow, but only for a second. He lifted his head, unwilling to look away. That realization made her feel powerful in a way she’d always longed for with Ezra, as if the life she wanted with him was just at her fingertips.
She thought about reaching into her underwear, knowing that she’d find herself wet and warm. But she wanted to wait. She wanted his fingers to be the first to touch her in so long. So, she sat on her knees between his legs, her hands on his thighs.
“Candace,” he moaned.
She smiled and leaned over him, pressing a firm, closed mouth kiss to the center of his chest. She felt the deep rumble of his groan against her mouth and her sex clenched. She kept her eyes on his as she kissed her way down his chest and stomach as all of his muscles twitched and tensed. She smiled up at him as she settled onto her stomach, making sure she was comfortable and her cleavage looked amazing from this angle.
He huffed out a laugh that sounded like a moan and his hands gripped the sheets at his side.
And then she indulged herself. Finally.