“Dealing with your own terminal illness is easier than telling your best friend that you’re in love with her. Just sayin’.” – Regina Callahan
Reggie Callahan has come to terms with her prognosis of less than a year to live. She’s been dealing with it all summer thanks to blacking out and falling off her horse back home in Wisconsin. Instead of starting her junior year, she’s only back at New York University to tie up loose ends. One of them is breaking the news to her childhood friend, actress and model, Desi St. Clair. For Reggie, telling her that she is sick, and leaving the city is harder than learning you’re going to die.Until Desi kisses her.
This isn’t a story about gender preference or about living with cancer. Plain and simple, it’s about love and what people are willing to endure to live without regrets and savor every moment.
Portion of all sales will go to Free2Luv, a non-profit charity that supports anti-bullying & the freedom of expression.
**This is a STANDALONE novella. It is not part of a series, and does not contain a cliffhanger. This book is intended for mature audiences. Does NOT contain explicit or graphic sexual scenes. **
THE FOLLOWING MORNING IS molasses of silence. Desi didn’t come to bed last night, and I surmise she slept in a guestroom when I wake alone.
Sounds of movement draws me into the kitchen, but Desi does not greet me. Both my parents say their good mornings like we are in a library. As I move around the kitchen, Desi stays opposite from wherever I go. It’s a dance I do not like. I do my best to counter her moves, but she evades well. When I reach out to her, her glare scorches and turns further efforts to ash.
Desi flattens me by announcing she’s trying to get a flight out early. Something about an agency party she has to go to. We all know it’s an excuse. She’s leaving because of me. Most likely she won’t get a flight out today, but if I let this simmer, there’s no way she’ll stay for Timeless’ annual New Year’s Eve party. My insides are churning; every second of silence is a razor blade slicing through me. I have to say something to make her stay. The looks I am getting from Mom and Dad tell me the same. I get up from the table with the intent of going to her, but she moves away from me again. The sharp pain of my nails digging into my palms is not enough detract how deeply that cuts me.
“I have a few calls to make,” she softly says grabbing her coat. I notice she grabs her Christmas presents too. And there it is—hope. Though the red hat and scarf are out the door before I can reach her.
The throbbing of my heart pulses in my ears. It is all I hear in the kitchen with the exception of the battery-operated clock ticking away on the wall. The echoes click seconds away as if reminding me my time is limited.
Dad gets up and walks to the sink, standing next to me. It feels like an intrusion, almost offensive, as he is filling the space Desi has abandoned. Putting his arm around my shoulders, he sighs. “Regina, don’t wait. Life is not practice for the real thing; it IS the real thing. We can’t wait for the next test result, we can’t wait for the next treatment; we can’t wait for the next next. Go ahead and give yourself permission to own the moment. Moments are ours for the taking, and we have to grab it whenever we can. Make every moment, and make it count. Love like you have no tomorrow.
Do you really want this to be the last thing she remembers? Live your joy, live your love, and live your life as if it is. Nothing else matters but you and her. Remember what you said: don’t live like you’re dying.”
Everything inside me is clamping down, and it steals my breath. I can’t lose her now, not after waiting for so long to be with her. I can’t lose my best friend and the girl I’ve loved all my life. Determined, I snatch my down coat and wool scarf. I throw a weak smile at Dad, telling him ‘thank you’ with my watery eyes, and with my heart in hand, I go to her—the reason I breathe.
A creak from the side door announces me, and her shoulders tense at the sound. Desi shoves her phone back in her pocket, wiping her face and sniffling. A weight drops low in my belly knowing I caused that reaction. My fingers find her tiny waist and I sigh, leaning the crown of my head against her back.
“Don’t leave me,” I whisper, barely louder than the snowflakes falling around us.
Her hand jetties to her mouth to stifle a whimper. Her tremor shakes a few tears loose from me, melting the snow-covered ground I am staring at. Breath from both of us is crystallizing fast and rapid, surrounding us in a mist.
“You’re right, I am a hypocrite, and I am selfish. I’m sorry, baby. I can’t stand making you cry.” I am grateful she allows my touch, so I risk slipping my arms around her waist.
She sniffles. “Do you know how hard it was to keep up appearances dating all those guys, pretending I didn’t just want to stay home with you? I wasted so much time, and for what? My career? My image? I kept thinking, if I saw a glimmer from you, then I could tell you. I kept looking for hints, and clues, and innuendos. You should have been an actress, Reggie.”
I snort a laugh, which makes her chuckle.
“We are so stupid,” I say, which makes her laugh harder. “Let’s stop being stupid, babe.”
I don’t let her go as she slowly turns around to meet my begging eyes.
“Are you saying yes?” So much love and hope fills her falling tears.
Both our fears burned time we could have had together. My fear drove a crevasse between us, scorching through more. I realize fear is an incendiary element that tempts us away from greatness. I don’t have time to be afraid. I only have time to be great.
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SVC Ricketts is a Contemporary Romance author and professional smart alec (self-professed). Her work has been recognized by the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and was selected as a finalist for the 2013 PNWA Literary Competition in the Romance category.
Raised between Southern California and Oahu, she moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1993 and although she loves it here, her heart belongs to the Islands - it always will. When she’s not in, what she loving calls “book-mode,” she multitasks her life between her hilarious adult special needs daughter, super smexy husband of 11 years, two dogs, and sweating out her stress in a hot yoga studio. She’s also an avid Twitter (@SVC_Ricketts) and Facebook (SVC Ricketts) addict (again, self-professed). If you want to check out her other ramblings, you can visit her at www.SmexyIndieAuthor.com.
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Claire's 5 Bare Naked Stars ***** Review
Oh My Goodness,
BNW were approached and offered this book for an honest review, we don’t delete e mail’s like this unless we absolutely cannot do it, and books like this, well books like this are why we do what we do. What an absolute gem.
Firstly, this book is f/f, this is irrelevant, this book is a love story, an absolutely beautiful love story. SVC’s writing is impeccable, just a pleasure to read, I could not put it down and given that it is novella size I devoured it in one night.
I won’t lie, this book made me cry, more than once, but it also made my heart lighter, it makes you realise that if you have EVER come across this type of love, you are blessed, even if you no longer have it for some reason.
The story is told from Reggie’s point of view, we meet her as she is waiting for her best friend, Desi, to break the news to Desi that she has been diagnosed with cancer, the absolute topper is that Reggie is also in love with Desi…
When Desi kisses Reggie and Reggie realises that her feeling are reciprocated her life is complete, or it would be, but, yeh, there’s that cancer to deal with…
There are no spoilers there; nothing that you can’t get from the blurb, it sounds depressing doesn’t it? Thanks to the amazing talent of SVC, it actually isn’t. She handles the subject matter incredibly well, yes you experience what Reggie and Desi are going through with this incredibly cruel illness, Reggie’s parents also (who I LOVE by they way) but it’s not written in a depressing way. Reggie is very matter of fact and very selfless in her attitude toward Desi and her life away from Reggie and her illness.
I also love the childhood flashbacks; they give a real insight into the relationship between Reggie and Desi.
My only criticism of this book is that it could have been a novel, I would have liked to read more of a build up and possibly more from Desi’s point of view, and her story, maybe that is yet to come ;-)
**She reached out, and we were palm-to-palm with our fingers interlaced. “Best friends for life,” she said through a yawn.
I let out a repressed breath through a timid smile. “Yeah, best friends for life.”