Next to Me
Publication date: January 2nd 2016Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
After losing her parents and brother in a car crash, Callie dropped out of college and went to live in the small town where her family used to spend the summers. A year later, and struggling to move on, she keeps to herself and wants to be left alone. So she’s not too happy when her new neighbor keeps knocking on her door.
Nash Wheeler, a 25-year-old construction worker from Chicago, inherited the house next to Callie’s and is living there while he renovates it. Outgoing, confident, and never one to back down from a challenge, Nash sets out to get to know his new neighbor, inviting her over for dinner and offering to fix things around her house.
As much as his persistence annoys her, Callie finds herself attracted to the tall, muscular guy next door. And the more time she spends with him, the more she realizes how much they have in common. Like Callie, Nash has experienced loss, but when he opens up to her about it, she’s not willing to do the same. It’s too personal.
Nash is just her neighbor. Just some guy living there for the summer. But is that really all he is? Or is he the one person who can finally help her move on?
“You’re holding my hand,” she says, her lips creeping up.
“I am,” I say, matter-of-factly.
Her eyes return to mine. “Why are you holding my hand?”
“You have nice hands.” I rub the top of it with my thumb.
“That’s why you’re holding it? Because I have nice hands?”
“You got a problem with that?”
“I guess it’s okay. Although your hands aren’t the greatest.” She tries to hide her smile.
“You’re making fun of my hands?” I hold up the other one that’s not connected with hers. “I do construction for a living. I work with my hands. I’m surprised they look as good as they do.”
She takes the hand I was holding up and inspects my nails. “You need a manicure.” She tries to be serious, but then laughs.
“I’m not getting a freaking manicure. I’m not one of those metrosexual guys or whatever the hell they call them. The guys who walk around with purses? You see them downtown Chicago.”
“There’s nothing wrong with those guys.” She sits back but keeps her hand in mine. “And by the way, it’s not a purse. It’s called a man bag. Or a murse. And a lot of guys get manicures. They’re not just for women. It even has the word ‘man’ in it. And cure.” She pauses, then smiles. “It’s a cure for manly hands. Get it?” She laughs at her own joke.
I scoot my chair over and lean in close to her face. Her smile drops, her breath quickens, and her eyes fix on mine. She thinks I’m going to kiss her, but I’m not.
Instead I say, “I don’t want a man bag. Or a murse. Or a manicure.” I look directly in her eyes. “I’m a man’s man. I like red meat. Football. A cold beer. Hard liquor. Pounding nails into walls. And women who challenge me.”
She’s looking at me with lust in her eyes, and God, I feel it too. The intense need to rip off her clothes and do her right here on this table. How the hell did this happen? How did we go from having a conversation to wanting to have sex? I’m not even trying to date this girl, and I definitely wasn’t planning to have sex with her.
I’m here to do a job. Fix the house. That’s it. Plain and simple. But suddenly it feels more complicated than that.
Allie Everhart is a hopeless romantic who writes books about love. Allie has authored fourteen novels, including The Jade Series, a college romance that follows the story of Jade and Garret as they deal with numerous obstacles trying to tear them apart. Her other series, The Kensingtons, is a romantic suspense series. After writing two series, she’s now working on several standalone books, including her latest book, Next to Me, a new adult romance.