On this lazy day Sunday I bring to you Jessica Jayne and her short yet super steamy, More Than Friends. So keep reading for an in-depth look into Ms. Jayne's latest release, my review of it, and the chance to win some great goodies just for filling out the form below......
First, I’d like to thank The Scarf Princess for having me as a guest blogger. This is my first virtual book blog tour and I am more than thrilled to be here! I’ve been writing in some capacity most of my life, but More Than Friends is my first published piece of fiction. It is a novella that was published by Cobblestone Press, LLC. I loved the process so much that I signed with Evernight Publishing in March for a new book that is coming out on April 25th entitled In Flames. Look for it! J
Like many females, I’m a sucker for romance. I love to be swept off my feet by an amazingly gorgeous man, whether real or fictional. So being able to spend part of my time in this life creating these men in my stories is such great fun.
Though written in third person, More Than Friends is told from the perspective of Jeni Acerna. Throughout the story, we get to see inside of Jeni’s head… what she is thinking and feeling for Brian Hamilton, her best friend and lover. I thought for this blog it would be neat to see one of the scenes between Brian and Jeni from Brian’s perspective. To set up the scene, Jeni was flying into Cleveland for a friend’s wedding and Brian agreed to spend the weekend with her. The scene below is Brian picking her up from the airport. Enjoy!
Brian walked through the sliding doors of the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport leading tobaggage claim. He was a few minutes early, but he had been on edge all day. He left Canton Falls an hour earlier than he needed to because his blood pulsed through his body all day with anticipation of seeing Jeni. He couldn’t sit still. He couldn’t concentrate. He wasted that hour cruising around with Metallica pounding through the speakers in an effort to try and calm himself down. It had been a couple months since he had seen Jeni in person, and he could not wait to see her. The last time they had been together they were still on the “cooling off” period Jeni had requested, so she could explore a relationship with some big shot lawyer in Tampa. He hated agreeing to her request. No kissing. No sex. Just friends. It sucked. But Jeni was his best friend and he respected her… even if it did mean torture for him.
Brian was thrilled when she told him she broke up with that Stephen character. He wasn’t a good fit for her. Jeni needed someone that had time for her… someone that would treat her right. She was gorgeous and sexy and sweet and loving. He had never met another girl in all his life quite like her. Nor had Brian met any male that he wholeheartedly approved of as Jeni’s boyfriend.
He walked over to the screen that showed the arriving flights and found Jeni’s flight from Tampa. Her plane had just landed… a few minutes early. Within minutes, she would be in front of him again. He could touch her. Hug her. Kiss her. God, he fucking missed her.
He wandered over to the bottom of the escalator that would bring all passengers to the baggage claim area. His tapped his foot on the ground. His hands shoved into his jeans’ pockets. He pulled them out and lifted his baseball cap to run his hands through his thick hair… only to pull the Ohio State baseball cap back on his head and thrust his hands back in his pockets.
An elderly woman stepped onto the escalator. Then two men in business suits with laptop bags slung over their shoulders while tapping away on their smart phones. Where is she? A teenage boy and his father stepped on to the escalator next and Brian sighed. To say he was eager to see her was the understatement of the year.
And then she appeared, stepping onto the escalator behind the teenage boy. Oh shit! She looked amazing! Brian felt his knees buckle slightly as his gaze devoured her. Her long chestnut hair cascaded in waves over her shoulders contrasting nicely against her light purple sweater. Her tanned skin glistened. Her blue eyes were big and bright. And her luscious lips quirked up into a smile the instant she noticed him standing there. Seeing her made him smile, and his heart pound rapidly in his chest.
She barreled down the escalator excusing herself as she passed each person riding in front of her. As she reached the bottom, she tossed her duffel bag on the floor at his feet before throwing her arms around him and burying her face in his neck. Brian wrapped his arms around her and spun her around, allowing his body to be reacquainted with the feel of her… the smell of her again. He let her vanilla scent envelope him. God, he loved the way she smelled.
“I never realize how much I miss you until I see you again,” he whispered in her ear.
“I know what you mean,” she said. Jeni pulled back from her nestled spot on his neck and looked up at him. Her blue eyes sparkled. He could get lost in her eyes so easily. “You look great!” she said. Jeni placed a gentle kiss on his cheek. The feel of her lips on his skin caused a heat to spread over his body. Every time he was in her presence, his body came to life sexually. He found it difficult not to touch her… to kiss her. Their bet be damned.
“As do you,” he replied with a smile. He leaned in and kissed her gently on the lips. Her full lips were soft against his. He flicked his tongue over her lips tasting her sweet cherry lip gloss. Mmmmm! He swiped his tongue over her lips again. Jeni moaned at the feel of his tongue. That sound made him instantly hard, and he smiled against her lips. He knew his kisses drove her wild. He wanted to do wild as soon as they got to his car… screw their bet.
She pulled back from the kiss breathless and smiled up at him with a heated look that he knew meant she was as hot and wet as he was hard. Then she shook her head at him as if reading his thoughts. Brian smiled at her. She was taking their bet seriously. He grabbed her bag from the floor and entwined his fingers with hers as they headed out to his car. She wants a competition… now she has one, he thought with a mischievous smile.
Jeni Acerna’s longstanding sexual relationship with her best friend, Brian Hamilton, is both blissful and troublesome. She’s been unable to commit herself to another relationship because no one compares to Brian in or out of bed.
Prior to attending a friend’s wedding together, they place a wager…the first to beg for sex owes the other $500. After a tortuous night, their passion erupts and their sexual relationship picks up where it left off…hot and heavy. However, this time, Brian wants Jeni… and not just in his bed. Can he convince her the risk is worth taking?
Staring out the tiny airplane window, Jeni Acerna watched as the vehicles below transformed into matchbox cars and the slight cityscape of Tampa soon became a miniature play set. She was on her way to Cleveland for her college roommate Bethany’s wedding…alone.
Jeni had recently ended yet another relationship. Stephen Weller. He was a corporate attorney at a large firm in Tampa, Florida, working his way to senior partner. Handsome. Intelligent. Andaddicted to his work. He had to actually schedule time for Jeni on his Outlook calendar. Even when they had some time together for dinner or such, she had to regularly battle for attention with his iPhone. Jeni did not consider herself high maintenance. She was a small town Ohio girl, who moved to Florida like many northerners. She did not need constant attention. But she never expected to have to call her boyfriend’s secretary in order to arrange a dinner date with him. Stephen was reluctant to let the relationship go. He told her he truly enjoyed their time together, even if it was minimal. Jeni had some reluctance as well. She was twenty-eight years old and several relationships deep. But she wanted a relationship that involved spending time together and allowed for some spontaneity. At this point in Stephen’s career, that was not going to be possible. They went their separate ways.
It looked as if Jeni would be attending Bethany’s wedding solo. Not a big deal. Several of their college friends would be there, so Jeni would know more than enough people to keep her from feeling lonely. But a part of her dreaded the thought of going without a date. Many of her college friends were either married or engaged. Weddings were a great reminder that she was still so very far from having one of her own.
Instead of sulking to the wedding single, Jeni did what she inevitably did every time she traveled back home to Ohio—she called Brian Hamilton. Brian and Jeni grew up together. They had been best friends, but Brian had always been more than a friend. He was Jeni’s sex addiction and perhaps one of the big reasons none of her romantic relationships seemed capable of succeeding. She either compared her boyfriend at the time to Brian or could not keep herself from fucking Brian when she saw him.
“Hey, Jeni,” Brian said. He answered the phone in his usual cheerful manner.
“Hey, Bri,” Jeni replied. She was grateful to hear his voice, even though it had only been a couple weeks since they had actually spoken. “How are you?”
“Usual. Busy and bored,” he said with a laugh. Brian still lived in Canton Falls, Ohio, their small town about an hour south of Cleveland. He was a CPA working for his dad’s accounting firm, which consisted of Brian, his dad, and his older brother, Phillip. Brian enjoyed the work itself. He was always a numbers kind of guy. But living in Canton Falls could be suffocating. And Brian had made his way through most of the local attractive female population.
“Maybe I can brighten up your day and add some excitement. Would you want to meet me in Cleveland this weekend and go to Bethany’s wedding with me? I’m flying in on Friday evening.”
“You’ll be in Ohio next weekend and I am just hearing about this now?” he asked, pretending to be hurt. “Oh, wait! You must have broken up with dreamy Stevie, and now you need a date for the wedding.”
“Cute, Brian. And yes, I did.” He knew Jeni so well. Too well.
“Ha-ha,” he said with a laugh. “I knew it wouldn’t last. Jeni Acerna does not take well to being second fiddle. He’s a fool!”
“Thanks for the positivity,” Jeni said. “So, you’ll come with me?” To be honest, Jeni could not think of another person with whom she would rather spend the weekend.
“This is kind of short notice,” he said. “You know my social calendar is jam-packed.” He laughed. In their last conversation a couple weeks ago, Brian told her he had taken Samantha Franklin out on a date. She was the much younger sister to one of their high school classmates. Sam had had a crush on Brian since she was a little girl. When asked how the date had gone, he chuckled and said there was zero chance of them getting serious, but that it was fun to date a twenty-one-year-old again.
“You already have plans?” Jeni tried to disguise the disappointment in her voice.
“Tentatively,” he said. “Besides, it would be nothing but trouble for us to see each other.”
“Why would you say that?” she asked.
“Didn’t you say you wanted to ‘cool things off’ between us?” he asked.
“I suppose I did,” Jeni replied. She had made that request when she thought she and Stephen might have a chance at a real relationship. Brian always complicated things, because Jeni had an almost impossible time resisting him, and Jeni made regular visits to Ohio to see her parents, siblings, and friends. Brian had not been overly thrilled with the request, but he respected her and agreed to her “cooling off.” Jeni could kick herself now for ever suggesting that to Brian. There was little she wanted more than a dose of Brian Hamilton.
“Jeni, you know you are to me what alcohol is to an alcoholic. When I am around you, I can never get enough…no matter the situation.”
Jeni’s heart skipped a beat at the fact that she still had such a profound sexual effect on him. He, of course, still made her knees weak and her panties wet.
“I’d never be able to keep it cooled off spending the weekend with you. You should know that.”
And she did know it. They had seen each other only twice since the cooling off began several months ago, and both times were planned with many of their friends around them so as to avoid the one-on-one time. Even then, they had a difficult time keeping their hands off each other. She found his hand at the small of her back or on her thigh during dinner. She couldn’t stop from ruffling his silky, brown hair or nuzzling into his neck when they said goodbye.
They had had a secret love affair or rather sex affair for years. But she knew that it had never actually been a secret to anyone. They had known each other since they were born. Their parents were good friends and had gone to high school together in Canton Falls too. Since Jeni and Brian were fifteen, they had a magnetic attraction to each other. Their sexual relationship started in high school, continued through college, and carried on even after Jeni moved to Florida five years ago for warmer weather and a job in hospitality marketing at a large resort in Clearwater. Anytime she returned home to Ohio to visit her family and friends, she and Brian found a way to be together. And when she saw Brian, Jeni had an extremely difficult time not fucking him.
When they were in high school, they had tried the boyfriend-girlfriend thing. At the time, neither of them wanted a serious relationship, so they agreed to be friends with benefits. Since then, they never approached the subject of a “relationship” so as not to ruin the good thing they had. And it was good. Very fucking good!
“Are you turning me down because you might not be able to fuck me?” Jeni asked. Brian laughed.
“Might not? I’m turned on just thinking about being in the same room as you,” he said. “There is no way either of us would get out of that hotel room not completely sated.”
“Maybe the cooling off period can be over,” she teased. “Could we make a game out of it?” A thought popped into her head that could make it a challenge. Brian could hardly resist a challenge, especially against her.
“What kind of game?” Brian asked, intrigued.
“Every time we meet up, we are fucking within ten minutes,” Jeni said.
“It’s one of the many pleasures of getting together with you.”
“I’m not saying I don’t enjoy that aspect, because, of course, I do. But it might be fun to restrain from our natural instinct even if just for a little bit. Let’s agree not to have sex for the first twenty-four hours I’m in town. That still leaves about forty-eight hours to play.”
“That’s such a waste of twenty-four hours,” he said. “What do I get out of this?”
“The challenge,” she replied. “I know you can’t last that long being in a hotel room with me with nothing but our clothes separating us.” She heard him snicker on the other end of the phone. Brian could never pass on a challenge. He was way too competitive. “Whoever begs to be fucked first owes the other five hundred dollars. So make sure you bring cash when you pick me up from the airport.” Jeni knew they would not likely make the twenty-four hours, and she did not mind coming home with a little extra cash.
“You know me too well, Jeni,” he said. “I’m always up for a challenge. I’ve got you on this one! You’ll be begging me to fuck you well before that twenty-four-hour period is over. Keep the money in your bra. I’ll find it!”
BUY LINKS: Cobblestone Press | BN | ARe | Amazon
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS STORY:
More Than Friends features another of my favorite themes with its friends with benefits storyline. This allows for lots of steamy interludes that burned up the pages. This theme also allows for a relationship to be previously established and easily accepted as their life-long closeness is referenced throughout the story and the evolution into something more substantial becomes something you root for.
This short story is surprisingly fully fleshed-out with two likable characters amidst lots of super steamy scenes. Jeni and Brian are delightful together with their sexually playful dialogue and sense of closeness and watching their journey towards their HEA makes for an immensely satisfying story. Seeing Ms. Jayne accomplish so much in a short format has me excited to read one of her books in long format and be just as entertained.
My rating for this is a B+
*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
I am a born and raised small town Ohio girl, who moved to the Sunshine State after graduating from college. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in English because I could not imagine doing anything else but reading and writing. It is such a pleasure to be able to share all the stories in my head!
In the journey of life, I also became a wife and a mother of three children. So, life is always an adventure. But the love of writing has never died.
My favorites: I love to read and write... obviously! But I also enjoy all sports, especially college football and the Ohio State Buckeyes! Go Steelers! Go Rays! I LOVE to travel... LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to travel. And I love sharing my love to travel with my children. I love to drink Teavana teas! I love a good glass of wine, especially if it comes from a bottle made by the FOOLS wine club… yep, I’m a member of that! J I love hanging out with my family and my friends! Big fan of music, but love nothing better than putting on my jean shorts, tank top, cowboy boots and hat and watching Tim McGraw belt it out! I’m a sucker for a cowboy hat! J
Favorite quote: “If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies.”http://www.goodreads.com/
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