Here’s a little tease from #TheWayThingsAre for those of you who haven’t subscribed to my newsletter. Also, why haven’t you subscribed? They get AWL the goodies first and I’m planning a series for them and my Medium followers in the New Year, so you might want to rectify that post haste.
Anyway, as you may recall, my #NaNoWriMo project was The Way Things Are, The Truth Duet: Book Two. This one is told from Ava and Levi’s point of view and can I just say…
LEVI IS FUCKING DREAMY.
Much like Elijah Weinstein, Levi Raymond presents as perfect, but has some shit with him that needs work. With two POVs two views of the central conflict is dealt with in different ways. The pathology of these characters shows up in full force when it’s challenged by real-life issues. We were already well acquainted with Ava’s flaws, but finding out what makes Levi tick has only made him more endearing and I hope that you all feel that too!
On December 15th I’m going to be doing a cover reveal for this book and I would love and appreciate it if you all helped me spread the word. If you’re interested PLEASE CONTACT ME via the form at the bottom of this post. I’m definitely going to do a social media blast, but I’m extending this to you guys first because you’re special.
Until then, here is a taste of that dreamy guy named Levi. It’s a preview of the scene that I shared with you all last time. Per usual, this is the rough draft and is subject to change. Blah…blah…blah…
We ate dinner at a seaside restaurant then bought a pint of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Whiskey and made our way down to the beach. It was too cold to swim, but we took off our shoes, rolled up the cuffs of our jeans and took our bottle of whiskey for a walk along the shore. Levi reached for her hand and laced his fingers through hers. She smiled big and sighed, clutching the whiskey bottle to her chest. He knew and loved that look on her face. Happiness.
Levi gave her hand a quick squeeze and took the bottle from her.
“So we’ve been doing this for almost seven months now. Kind of a long time for something that isn’t supposed to be serious,” he said, diving into a familiar game they played. Ava only felt comfortable talking about their relationship in cynical, hypothetical terms. Levi was mostly okay with that.
“I know and here we are heading into cuffing season. I better cut you loose while I still can or we’ll end up being cuddle buddies all winter.”
“Right? Then we’ll have to buy each other Christmas gifts and make holiday plans.”
“And omigod. Valentines Day…definitely gotta end this before you are required to profess your love in the form of chocolates and jewelry on the National Day of Love.”
“So I should quit you after Thanksgiving but before Christmas?”
“Yeah, you better stick to that, otherwise you’ll be stuck cuddling with this bum all winter.” Levi took another swig of whiskey and then passed the bottle back to her. “You wanna hear something funny?”
“You mean something funnier than the daughter of a crackhead dating a cop who detained her on the night they met?” she asked before taking a small sip. “Damn. This shit is real smooth. My feet aren’t even cold anymore,” she muttered.
He laughed “Are you drunk already?”
“Nah. Just a little tipsy. What’s this joke?
“Well, it’s the same joke, different punchline.”
“I like to laugh,” she said before taking another swig. “Tell me the joke.”
“Well, yesterday when Indi came through to see me, she asked me how’s life? And…I misheard her. I thought she said wife and I proceeded to tell her everything that was going on with you.”
She chuckled and then slowly, her face fell as she realized what he was saying.
“Wife?” she squawked, panic distorting her voice. “Is this a proposal? Is that why you set up this whole weekend? And bought that camera for me? Oh, god…is this happening? You can’t be for real—”
“You can’t…we can’t…we just met! It’s only been six months—”
“Ava Marie Greene!” he barked, grabbing her by the shoulders and forcing her to look him in the eye. “This is not a proposal,” he said in a calm, low tone. “I’m literally just telling you about my slip of the tongue.”
“It’s not a proposal?” she asked.
“It’s not a proposal.” He let her go and backed up. That fucking reaction… that was the last thing he expected. “But if it was, you sure as fuck just ruined it.”
Levi took the bottle from her and turned to walk up the beach. What the fuck was that about? Haven’t I done everything I possibly could to make this girl know how much I cared for her?
“Wait…” Ava called out as she jogged to catch up to him. “Are you mad at my reaction to a proposal that you weren’t even giving me?”
“Nah…not mad,” he said shaking his head.
“Come on, now.” She grabbed his hand and dragged him to a stop. “We don’t do this. Talk to me. You’re clearly mad.”
“Nah, I’m not. A little surprised and disappointed, but not mad.”
“Disappointed?” she echoed in a soft voice. “In me?”
He softened. Damn it. I hadn’t meant to hurt her feelings, but I knew I wanted to talk about this. It’d been on my mind since Indi brought it up. But the way she reacted…were we even on the same page?
“Be real with me for a moment. Are you into this? Do you want what we have?”
“Whoa… we were literally just joking—”
“Ava Marie Greene. Cut the shit. I’m trying to have to a genuine moment right now.”
“Okay, let’s be genuine.” She turned and faced him square on.
“Ava Marie…” He licked his lips and then looked her in the eye. Damn… He must be drunk because he felt like he was looking at his heart outside of his body. “I fucking love you.”
She smiled. “I love you, too, Levi.”
“And I…” He swallowed. “I’ve thought about how it would be…”
“To be married? I mean, I know that’s what you want. You told me that when we first started seeing each other—”
“Not just about being married, Ava. About you being my wife,” he corrected.
“You said it again—”
“Why is that so hard for you to hear?”
“It’s not it’s just…we’ve only been dating for like seven months—”
“I don’t need to date you for some arbitrary length of time to know what I want, Ava Marie.”
“What do you want?” she asked.
“This…you…us.” He slid his hand under her sweatshirt. His hand was cold, but her skin was warm. She drew a startled breath then relaxed into his touch.
“I want this, too,” she said finally.
A smile that was part nerves and part happiness twitched up the corner of his mouth. “Okay.”
“My reaction and hesitance has nothing to do with you. “It just caught me off guard because I never thought anyone would want to… No one has ever…”
… loved you this much?
That was so hard to believe. Her ex Marcelo loved her that much—hell, sometimes Levi felt like he still did. Marcelo never admitted it to him, or disrespected their relationship, but every time they were around him, Levi saw that look of longing his face. Yeah…at least one someone had loved Ava that much. It was more likely that she has never let someone get close enough to prove to her that she could be loved this way.
“Not even me?”
She shook her head. “I know that you very much want to be a husband and a father, but… I never assumed…”
“That you’d be my wife.”
Her belly pulled in on another harsh intake of breath and she nodded. Damn. My baby really thought she wasn’t worthy of love.
Levi pulled her closer. Kissed her. Made sure she felt his love for her in this moment.
“I hear you, Ava. I get it. You’ve never considered it. You never thought about it. But I have. And now you’ll think about it, too. Maybe in a few months you won’t be caught off guard. Okay?”
And if you’d like to participate in my cover reveal for The Way Things Are, fill out the contact form!