Thursday, January 23, 2014

Happy Release Day! Next to Forever is LIVE!

Next to Forever is the final book in the Never Letting Go series. 

The past will always come back to haunt you and hidden truths are uncovered, as darkness looms over the lives of Erin and Connor on their journey to forever. 

Filled with love and happiness, as well as a baby and a wedding on the way, Erin and Connor seem to have it all -until life throws them a twist.

As tragedy strikes, Erin and Connor have to make one of the toughest decisions in their lives.

Will they have their happily ever after or will they have to say goodbye forever?

Thank you to all of the amazing bloggers, my fabulous babes and my author friends who helped make Next to Forever's release incredible.

I'm so thankful for everyone's support and love. I've been receiving such great feedback and it truly makes me happy that you're enjoying Erin & Connor's story.

Be sure to one click <3

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As a SPECIAL thank you, here's chapter 1 of Next to Forever xxoxox

Chapter One


Thirty minutes. Eighteen hundred seconds.
That’s how long I’ve been waiting to hear about a possible new job with Vale Real Estate. I hate waiting and doubting myself. All I can do is wait at home, by my cell phone and pray that good news will come. I look at the clock again and I swear it’s been two PM for the last hour. I check my phone to make sure that I have reception and try to sit down but it’s useless.

I look around the kitchen to see if I can clean but everything’s done. The floors have been mopped, dishes done, and cabinets have all been organized. I walk over to the oven and look inside, trying to decide whether or not it’ll be a good idea to start cleaning it. The oven doesn’t look bad, and it shouldn’t since I don’t do the cooking. Connor does. We have a cleaner come in twice a month, and it looks fine to me. Shutting the oven door, I try to relax my mind and think about something else, but nothing comes to mind. Laying my head on the wood kitchen table, I close my eyes and say a silent prayer. I’ve been out of school for three months, and this is the first job that I actually have a chance at getting. It’s been one interview and rejection after another. Sometimes I wonder why I spent the money on all the tests to get my license to be a real estate agent.

I hate waiting, and I’m trying to stay hopeful that this is the job that’ll be my career. It kills me to think that after all the money my parents spent for me to get a degree that it takes this long to find a freaking job! I’m smart and graduated from a prestigious college, yet finding a good job is like trying to win the lottery. I could go back to get my Master’s degree, but it’s just more school and there’s always that chance I’ll be in the same spot—jobless. No one really understands my reasoning for a job, but I hate depending on Connor. Yes, we’re wealthy and Connor’s doing extremely well at Optimax, but I don’t want to be that girl who stays home all day shopping, going to the spa, and playing the good housewife. No, that’s not me. I’m the girl that needs to be busy and making a difference. I need to be around people and helping out. My own life and career. I love Connor, and I’m happy he wants me to stay home so I don’t keep stressing, but he can be such a man-child. Always complaining and whining that he doesn’t want me working, so I can travel with him so we don’t have to be apart. I understand because I do miss him, but sometimes we need the distance to appreciate each other and learn how to miss one another.

I’ve never been tied down to just one guy, so when Connor Simpson walked into my life, my world was turned upside down. It seemed as though I had to experience all the shit in my life, so that I could appreciate Connor. All of the flings, ex-boyfriends, and wasting my time—it was all worth it. There was an ache in my heart, an emptiness that was never filled. My parents gave me everything I ever wanted, but they were working all the time and I spent more time with my nanny than them. My nanny and driver were wonderful and I love them, but sometimes all a girl really wanted was to see her parents and tell them about her day. Phone calls and text messages didn’t count or mean as much.

When I got into college, away from home, my wild side came out. Getting drunk and high almost every night messed with my head. I was away from home and the freedom to be bad was more alluring than being the good girl I used to be. There was no one telling me “no” or reminding me that classy girls don’t do that. My inner wild child was out to play.

One night, there was this party at a frat house that was supposed to be the best party and I knew I had to be there. I was a freshman at the time, but since I was hot, no one cared that I was there. After about six shots of whiskey and funneling beer, I ended up in bed with the captain of the lacrosse team, Landon. We hooked up a few more times after the party, and he was great but it got boring. We were messing around for about a month before I broke things off with him.

 After Landon, there was Eddie, the hot soccer player. He had a small dick and wasn’t good at all, so he was just a one-time fling.

When I was done with Eddie, I dated Ash for a few months. Things were great, and I was falling for him but when I caught him cheating on me, it was over. My heart broke that night, and I felt alone. More alone than ever before. I cared about him, and he tried winning me back, but I couldn’t trust him, so I had to move on. I stayed single for a while and focused on helping Sophia and getting together with my girlfriends. I still had dates here and there, but the one-night stands weren’t as frequent. With a broken heart, I didn’t believe in love. To me, it was just a silly feeling that people thought they felt.

My feelings and view on love changed the night I met Connor, though. Right when our eyes met, something in me burst and I wanted him. He wasn’t like the other guys. Connor was special, and I couldn’t explain it then. He accepted me for me and my past was something that I couldn’t change. Connor tore down my walls and never gave up on me. I showed him a different side of me—the real Erin. He brought me back to life and out of my dark shell. He made me feel good and that I mattered. I wasn’t used to being called beautiful or special. The other guys called me sexy or dangerous. My mind flashed back to the night he told me he loved me.

I was on the laptop in the living room, while Connor was watching TV. He kept looking over at me, smiling.

“Stop staring at me!”

“Why? You’re beautiful, and you should know how I feel.” He came over to me, reached down, and took the laptop away. He pulled me up to his chest and our lips met. The kiss wasn’t demanding or rough. It was sweet and passionate. His hands roamed my back, and at the moment, I felt alive.

I felt whole.

Out of nowhere, ‘If I Didn’t Have You’ by Thompson Square came on. Connor pulled away and looked down at me. “Dance with me.”

“Of course,” I blushed.

His arms wrapped around me waist and I placed my head on his chest. We swayed to the music and listened to the lyrics. Connor started to softly sing to the song to me.

The loving words of the song… telling me he couldn’t live without me. I loved listening to Connor sing. I told him all the time his voice was amazing, but he was too shy to sing around anyone else besides me.

“I love when you sing to me.”

His chin rested on the top of my head. “I’ll always sing to you, Erin. Just to see you smile and make you feel happy.” His breathing quickens. I looked at him and wondered if he were okay.
“Connor? You ok, babe?”

He closed his eyes, and I felt nervous.


“I love you, Erin.”

The words hit me, and suddenly my whole life had meaning again. I’ve been waiting for those words for so long. Even though it’s only been a few months, I knew deep down that Connor was the one for me. I wanted to spend my life with him.

“I love you too, Connor. I fell in love with you the first time we met.”

Without saying anything, Connor’s lips crashed into mine with such desire and need.

The ringing of the phone brings me back to the now.

“Oh shit,” I mutter. “Breathe, Erin. Just. Breathe.” I pick up the phone. “Hello?”

The voice on the other line is sweet and refreshing. “Hi, may I speak to Erin Costella, please?”

“This is she.” I sit back down and try to calm my shaky body. My hands begin to get clammy, and I take a pen to start doodling on a piece of paper to help calm my nerves.

“Hi Erin. This is Stacey with Vale Real Estate. How are you?”

“I’m doing well, and yourself?” I get back up from the table and pace the kitchen. Doodling isn’t helping, and 
I’m about to scream if she doesn’t give me the news. Okay, peppy girl, give it to me now or else I’m going to punch someone in the throat!

“That’s so great to hear. I’m good, thanks for asking! Well, I’m calling on behalf of Albert Stanley, and we would like to offer you a position with Vale!”

Immediately, my arms are in the air, and I’m jumping up and down. Fist pumping the air, with the biggest smile on my face! “Wow, thank you so much, Stacey. Yes, I’d be honored to work with Albert and Vale.”

“Perfect. If you can start tomorrow at nine in the morning, that’ll be great. We just have to finalize some paperwork and get you into training.”

“Sounds good. Thank you again.”

“It’s our pleasure, Ms. Costella. Have a great day!”

“You, too!”

I hang up the phone with Stacey and feel so happy. The smile on my face is from ear to ear. This is the best news, and after everything I’ve been through, trying to find a job and not giving up, this is finally my moment. I can’t believe this is happening. All my hard work and efforts—finally someone notices.
I take out my cell phone and text Connor to let him know the news.

Me: Connor! I got the job!

Connor: Wow baby! Congrats! I’m proud of you. I wish I could be there with you now to celebrate, but I’ll be home in a few days.

Connor’s been in California for the past three weeks. The distance is good, but I’ve been a mess and it sucks. He always asks me how I’m doing but what can I say? I can’t beg him to come back. Optimax is important to him, and I don’t want to be that girlfriend who nags and complains. I hate lying to him but I know that Connor would get on the next plane home.

I have Sophia and Adam to keep me company, but a part of feels guilty to always be their third wheel. Sophia constantly tells me that they love having me around, and Adam agrees, but still, a part of me feels guilty.

 Since we all found out Sophia’s pregnant, Adam’s been staying in Charlotte and running things from the home office. I’m slightly jealous, but I know Sophia needs Adam. She’s been through so much over the past few months, but I’m proud of her and her strength.

Me: I know I miss you too.

Connor: I’ll call you soon, okay? Meeting in 5. I love you.

Me: Always.

Smiling, I put my phone away and head upstairs to take a shower before heading over to Sophia and Adam’s for dinner.

Before getting in the shower, my head starts pounding, and I feel dizzy. There’s some pain in my lower back, and I try to keep balance and focus. I gently shake my head and hold tight to the sink counter. This is getting weird. I’ve been feeling off for the past few weeks, but it’s been really stressful with Connor being gone and trying to find a job.

A few minutes pass, and I start to feel a little better. I turn on the shower knob to hot, take off my clothes and get in. The hot water soothes my body, but my emotions are all over. Leaning my head against the shower wall, a wave of sadness washes over me, and I start crying. I hate being away from Connor for this long. I don’t know when he’s coming back. It’s lonely at night when I fall asleep, and in the morning when I wake up to find myself alone in our bed. My mind goes back to our last Skype date.

Connor looked at me with sad eyes. The dark bags under his eyes were getting worse, and all I wanted to do was feel his touch and feel his lips.

“Babe, why don’t you try and get some sleep?”

Connor ran his hand through his hair. “I have so much work to do, baby. These contracts need to be revised, and I’m waiting on an email from Joseph.” I looked at the time, and it was almost eleven at night. “Stop doing that.”

I touched the screen, pretending I could touch him. ‘Mine Would Be You’ by Blake Shelton played from my iPod, and I started smiling.

“Do you remember our first date?”

Connor laughed. “Sushi date with Sophia and Adam.”

“I was so attracted to you and my goal was to get to know you.” I closed my eyes, remembering his smell, his smile, and his laugh. “God, I miss you so much.”

“I know, baby. I miss you too, but it’s just going to be for a few more weeks. Pretty soon, we’ll land the contract, and I won’t have to be in California.” He brought his hand to the screen, and I brought mine to meet his. “You know I dream about you every night. You’re always on my mind, Erin.” Connor let out a sigh. “I know that sometimes I don’t deserve you, and I know this has been hard. I love that you love me and understand.”

“Babe, I’m not going anywhere. We’re forever. You’re the best thing that’s happen to me, and I can’t wait to see you again.”

“I don’t want you to think I’m taking you or our relationship for granted. I know that you need me back at home, and I’d do anything to come back to you. Just to be in your arms.” Connor laughed. “I couldn’t be in your position.”

“I’m not going to lie, it’s hard and sucks. I wish that you could be home with me, and sometimes I do think about what it’ll be like if,” my voice trailed off. I couldn’t say what I was thinking.
“Be strong for me. For us. These hard times are just bumps in the road, but we’re forever, Erin. Don’t forget that. Don’t forget my love for you, how my heart beats for just you. You’re my first and last choice. Do you know what I think about when I think about forever?” I shake my head, smiling because I know what he’s going to say. “I think about you, me, and a family. A little girl with your blue eyes and earth-shattering smile. You’re brilliance is incredible. You’re sexy, confident, and your heart is so big, baby. You’re my world and I don’t ever want you to doubt us.”

My heart beat faster thinking about Connor and our future. He was my unconditional love, and I loved how close we were getting. We’ve been together since February, and it’s been nothing but amazing. “You always have the sweetest things to say. I know you just want some.”
He started laughing and winked. “It’s been a while.”

“You’re the one gone.” I stood up and walked to get my bottle of water. I was purposely wearing a tight purple tank top that revealed my goodies, and black boy shorts. I knew Connor was looking when I heard him groaning. Score, I can still make that man horny! I turned my head and saw the darkness in his eyes. I loved knowing what I could do to him. He never took his eyes off me. Connor moved around, and I wondered what he was doing. “Oh my God! Are you jacking off?” I burst out laughing, but Connor smiled and kept his eyes on my ass. “You’re so dirty.”

“Shhhh, baby. Let me enjoy this view.” An idea popped in my head. I started slowly taking off my tank top and touched my left nipple, playing and teasing it. “Fuck, baby.” His eyes lifted and locked on mine again as he leaned back. I saw his hand moving up and down. The ache was killing me. I slipped my hand in my panties and felt my wetness. “How wet are you?”

“So. Wet.” I breathlessly let out.

“I miss tasting how sweet you are. Put your finger in your mouth. Tell me how you taste.” I did what he wanted and smiled.

My other hand played with my clit, and I felt the build-up in my body. “Connor!” I yelled, feeling my release and hearing Connor saying my name over and over. I never felt embarrassed when it came to Connor. He made me feel sexy, and I couldn’t do wrong in his eyes. “Feeling better?”

“Oh yeah.” We both laughed and talked a little more before ending our Skype date. “I’ll see you soon, okay?”

“Okay. I love you.”

“I love you, baby. Sweet dreams.”

I blow him a kiss and turn off the laptop.

I miss him, and I just want him close to me. Picturing his smile and amazing eyes, the way he changes my mood with just one look, I count the days until we’re back together, and we can be connected once again.
I finish my shower and start getting ready. After blow-drying my hair, putting on some make up, and throwing on shorts and a tank top, I head over to Sophia and Adam’s place.

The walk is short, and I love being out in the sun. The August weather does wonders for my mood and always makes me smile. Summer in Charlotte is definitely really hot and humid, but so worth it. The sun’s rays hit my skin, and I feel better, but still missing my love.

Sophia and Adam’s front door is open, and I walk in. “If you’re having sex, then don’t make any noises or else I’ll come up there and ruin it!” I laugh, walking into the kitchen. Adam hates me when I start yelling when I come over. It annoys him but amuses me. Sophia’s in the kitchen cooking and listening to music. Justin Timberlake’s ‘Sexy Back’ is playing and Sophia’s singing. She starts fist pumping and I can’t help but laugh. I pull out my phone and start recording her rendition of ‘Sexy Back.’ She starts bouncing up and down, singing as loud as she can. I cover my mouth so she doesn’t hear me laughing. Sophia turns around and her face turns bright red in two seconds.

“Erin Kathryn Costella!” Sophia walks over to me, but I stop the video and make sure it’s saved on my phone. “Do not show anyone that video!”

She comes after me, but I run outside on the deck and laugh even harder. Sophia starts pouting. “Oh stop! I mean, you look like you should be on American Idol or something, with that voice and those moves.” I laugh again, and Sophia stands there with her hands on her hips.

“I’m going to punch you in the cooter!”

“Potty mouth! My future niece/nephew doesn’t need to hear that vulgar language!” We laugh again, and get more of the food ready. “How far along are you?”

“Eight weeks,” she smiles, touching her stomach. “It’s an amazing feeling, Erin.”

“I’m so happy for you! You’re going to be such a great mom, Soph.”

“I hope so!” She turns her attention to the chicken and pulls out different seasonings. “Did you hear back from any of your interviews yet?”

I turn around and smile. “Vale called, and they want me!” Sophia turns around and hugs me. She congratulates me and tells me how proud she is of me.

“Where’s Adam?”

She turns back to me and rolls her eyes. “Work. As usual.”

The sad tone in her voice is all too familiar. Adam and Connor are working so hard, and we try to be supportive, but it gets hard not being able to be with them as much as we want. “Busy with that stupid California project, huh?”

“Ugh. Yeah!”

Sophia tells me how Adam’s been working at least sixteen hours a day then comes home to work on his laptop. He’s getting sick with the lack of sleep and stress from the project. “Soph, I know it sucks, but at least Adam’s here and not in California.” I know it was bitchy of me to say that, and I do feel bad for my best friend, but it’s the truth. She should be happy that Adam’s here and not a thousand miles away. At least he gets to come home to her every night. Everyone has been working around the clock,  though, so he’s not the only one.

Sophia sighs. “I know, and I feel bad that Connor’s been gone for so long, but Adam said that Connor’s going to be back soon and then they won’t need to be going to California for a while. Joseph’s going to be doing most of the traveling. He knows it’s hard for us to have them gone.” Sophia gives me a hug. “I’m sorry that you’re going through this.”

I hug her back. I hate feeling this way and being a bitch. “I’m sorry for what I said. It just sucks not having him here with me.”

“You know you can come over and keep me company. I don’t know why you don’t come over more.” Sophia’s concern is sweet, and I know she wants me to come around more, but I hate intruding on her life with Adam. They just got married, and in the blissful happy life filled with hot sex.

I let go of Sophia and go back to cutting the vegetables. “I know that you and Adam need your time together. Plus, I’m over every other night for dinner. I’m sure Adam wants to kill me.” We both laugh and try to finish prepping for dinner.

She looks around to make sure we’re alone and turns her head to me. “Can I ask you a question?”

“What’s up?”

Sophia looks down, and I know what she’s about to ask. I love how shy she gets with the topic of sex. “So,” she starts to say, playing with her fingers and not looking at me. “I’ve been really horny lately but Adam comes home tired, and I’ve had to masturbate, which sucks! How can I get him into it?”

“Oh, honey. I know how that is, and I’m sorry. Sometimes surprising him in the office works and leaving sexy notes. Why don’t you put on some lingerie, and when he comes home just attack him?” I know she won’t do it but putting that idea in her head will hopefully help.

“Hmmm, good idea.” She washes her hands and takes out her phone to send a text.

Finishing up in the kitchen, I start cleaning up the remainder of the raw chicken juices. As the smell travels and swirls around me, my stomach starts making weird noises. Quickly, I wash my hands and run to the bathroom. I start gagging but nothing comes up. “What the hell?” My voice is low, and I try to figure out what’s going on with me. Turning on the water to cool, I splash some on my face and try to even my breathing. I hate feeling so shitty and sick. 

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