Again by Lisa Burstein
How far would you go for a second chance? Eleven years after flunking out of college, Kate has finally hit rock-bottom. Losing her job and boyfriend in one drunken night, she’s determined to fix her life by going back to the moment when she let partying and sex take over. And do things right this time. At twenty-nine, she heads back to freshman year of college, with a catch. Pretending she's nineteen with a new roommate and full class schedule is easy. When she meets her shy, sexy and seven-years-younger RA, Carter, following her self-imposed sobriety and celibacy rules is proving to be anything but. A senior enduring years of regret, Carter is more than ready to graduate. He’s anxious to move on from the party his freshman year where he witnessed his frat brothers about to commit a sexual assault. Instead of doing the right thing and stepping in, he looked the other way and left. His guilt has made for a lonely four years. When he meets the new freshman on his floor, spunky and confident Kate, he wonders if his time as an outcast has finally come to an end. Kate and Carter’s growing friendship and undeniable attraction make it harder to hide the demons from their respective pasts. But when their secrets are finally revealed, will their chance at starting over together still be there? Excerpt
Carter I was startled by a knock at my door. A law book lay on my bare chest as I stared at the ceiling. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t read. I couldn’t do anything but feel Kate’s hand on me. After dinner and a longer than usual good-bye with Kate, I’d gone back to my room alone. I should have invited her back, but as good as it felt being with her, there was a part of me that knew it was wrong considering everything that had happened with Jeanie. Kate made me forget my guilt, if only for a moment. I was still trying to decide if I deserved that reprieve. I looked at the clock—it was well after midnight—probably someone with a noise complaint. I stretched, yawned, and they knocked again, more forcefully. I rose from the bed. I tried not to hope it was Kate, but the thought was like wind trying to bluster past what my mind crammed down. I pulled open the door. She stood in the hall in a tight white T-shirt and a pair of even tighter yoga pants, my denied fantasies becoming real. Considering she wasn’t wearing a bra, my fantasy wasn’t even close to how amazing real was. I couldn’t stop looking at her perfect tits curving through the fabric, her nipples popped at attention and begging for me to put one of them in my mouth. My pulse thumped in my groin. "I came to finish what we started," she said, pushing past me into the room. "And I’m stone cold sober, so don’t even ask." I finally managed to shut the door and my mouth as she settled herself on the edge of my bed. Her hair was down and flicking like golden flames against her shoulders, her eyes wide and firmly fixed on mine. "Maybe I’m coming on too strong," she said, "but I couldn’t sleep and I kind of thought after the car today, you probably couldn’t either." Any questions I had fell away. The certainty she had to be mine became my only answer. "I never want to finish what we started," I said, the words the only truth that mattered in that moment, "I never want this to be over." My body could do nothing but move next to her on the bed and kiss her. My heartbeat seemed to make the mattress vibrate below us. It was the only thing I could hear, her breath and my heart and our lips and tongues swirling against each other at the same tempo. "This is progress," she said, pulling back to cup my cheekbone. I considered telling her why I hadn’t been able to go through with what she was pushing for. Why I’d made her stop earlier—the reason aside from my past. Because it had been so long since I’d been with someone, the thought of it was almost too much to take. When she touched me earlier I almost exploded. So not cool. So not the guy I hoped to be for her. But that would have made me feel like a child, like someone she needed to lead. She deserved to know how badly I wanted her, too. She wasn’t pushing me to do anything. I ran my thumb along her palm, against each finger, her blood sliding hot as lava underneath. I kissed her again and took her shirt off in one quick motion. I ran my hands over her tits. The skin was so soft, her nipples getting harder as I stroked, seeming to beg for me as my fingers wandered. She let out a moan that echoed in the back of my throat, her tongue pushed against mine, hungrier, harder. Her penetrating kisses became as insistent as the only words in my head—I need to be inside her. Our bodies fell against each other with no barriers, only hot, searching skin. Just the two people we were when we were alone together. No pasts, no secrets, solely enveloped by the truth of our need, our want. She pulled back and curved her hands over the muscles of my chest like she was trying to cement her decision. I was glad she stopped. I didn’t want this to end too quickly for a lot of reasons. The least of which was embarrassing myself. She rose from the bed and stood in front of me, allowing me to take her in. Her half-naked visage was too much, I had to touch her again, the pull as raw as a magnet. Forget going slow. I reached out for her, the temptation seared like a hot poker in my groin. She shook her head and slid off her pants, revealing she wasn’t even wearing panties. A rush ran through me, so strong I could barely breathe. She’d known exactly what she wanted to do when she walked down our dorm hallway. I made myself inhale and exhale. She was way too hot for me to keep my cool, but I had to try. I could barely sit still, barely speak. "Wow," I said my eyes darting seemingly everywhere, to her smooth stomach, the bow-like curve of her tits and ass, her long legs, her gentle shoulder blades, and back again to those perfect tits. "I told you you’d never forget." "I mean it," I replied, practically whistling. "Just FYI," she smiled. "I haven’t been wearing them all day." She indicated her empty pants below her. "If I would have known I would never have been able to stop you earlier." It was true. I was drowning now with her next to me, so ready, so willing. So mine. "No, I’m glad you did," she said. "This is perfect." Feasting on her silhouette against my desk lamp, I had to admit it was. "You are perfect," I said, standing to join her. She went for the button of my pants, her eyes glued to mine, wanting to enjoy my reaction as she took me into her hand. My whole body trembled at her touch, but this time I would be able to do something about it. I was dizzy as she continued to stroke me, a flash that made me blind. It’s not like I’d been a monk for three years, but I hadn’t been with anyone else. Having her hands on me was like a drug I hadn’t even known I was addicted to. I couldn’t wait anymore. I picked her up and she wrapped her legs around me as I entered her. Her soft warmth was searing and shook me. With each thrust I felt more and more like I was floating, flying, like she was holding me above the ground. The two of us were suspended in each other, like a tornado, spinning. Her breath quickened. Her chin on my shoulder, her lips on my neck. "More," she said, her words no match for my pumping jugular. I obliged, giving her everything. Thrashing against her with so much force the back of my thighs ached, my hips burned. She was about to come. I pulled back, teasing her, teasing myself. She bit down on my shoulder and wailed seconds before her whole body shook. I echoed, coming like a freight train, three weeks of want and three years of isolation hitting me all at once. I held her against me, listening to her breath—there was nothing else but her and me in this whole world. I kissed her lightly, tasting her mouth. "That was worth waiting for." She could have no idea I’d meant for more than our three week ballet. I’d meant all my three years of solitude. I’d meant all my life. Her brown eyes were wild and shining, her cheeks blushed pink as if she was my palette and my touch was her paint. My drought, as Tristan had called it, needed to be broken by a woman deserving of a flood. Who could make me drown and save me simultaneously? "Worth doing again?" she asked, snaking her hand down to see if I was ready.
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Lisa Burstein is the author of Pretty Amy, The Next Forever, Dear Cassie, Sneaking Candy and The Possibility of Us. Again is her self-publishing debut. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats.
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