Angela Carling was raised in Palm Springs California, but lives Arizona with her husband, three kids and five felines. She loves reading and writing for the young adult genre and has published Unbreakable Love, Shackled, Becoming Bryn and the first three books of the Secret Keeper series. In 2012 Shackled won the silver IPGA award and has since been optioned as a screenplay. She always eats the frosting off her cake and leaves the rest, and can be caught singing in public bathrooms. When she’s not creating stories, she’s mentoring teen writers, making pizza with her family or dreaming of taking a nap, not necessarily in that order.
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For months, Jesse has been envious of her twin sister Bryn and even has a crush on Bryn’s gorgeous, popular boyfriend, Quinton. When Jesse awakens from a coma to learn that everyone thinks she IS Bryn, the option of actually taking over her sister’s life is beyond tempting, but there’s a downside. She’d have to give up her relationship with Ethan, her best friend and the only person she trusts. Could she actually live s Bryn for the rest of her life? And if her family and friends found out, would they ever forgive her?
My shirt was covered with long brown runs of chocolate ice cream. I began trying to at least dab the extra ice cream off the soft cotton fabric. Unfortunately, the pastel pink showed every stain with perfect distinction. Soon, most of my shirt was wet and sticking to my body. I’d already used up all the towels I’d brought with me. I stepped into the main area of the back room at the same time Ethan walked in from the other side. He took one look at me and a shameless smirk spread across his face. “It’s not funny,” I said, thinking about how terrible I must look. Ethan walked the length of the room and grabbed some more towels from above the sink. He turned on the sink and after dampening the towels, gave several to me. I wasn’t dripping ice cream anymore, but now I felt so sticky I could have been the floor of a New York taxi cab. Seeing Ethan’s smirk change to compassion let me know it was okay to smile. “Guess that was kind of funny,” I admitted. Ethan’s smirk returned as he looked me over. His gaze was gentle but playful. “Where to start?” He posed the question as if I was an unfixable disaster. His words, his tone, everything about our interaction felt eerily familiar yet different than it had ever been before. I’d seen Ethan in lots of different situations before. Yet somehow, this situation, standing so close to him in the backroom of an ice cream shop, felt intensely intimate. Using the warm, damp towels, Ethan began wiping off my arms. In long slow strokes, he wiped every sticky inch clean. Sometimes, his fingers would touch my moist skin and I would be surprised when my heart rate would flutter. What was happening? I’d always thought Ethan was hot, but this chemistry was new. When my arms were clean, Ethan moved to my neck. By folding the towels in half, he created smaller cloths and began cleaning the little bits of ice cream and pineapple off my neck. “Look,” he whispered as he lifted a piece of hair that escaped from my ponytail, “You even have it in your hair.” I knew I should stop him. I was perfectly capable of cleaning my own neck and arms but I found myself pulled in by his tenderness and locked in by the colony of butterflies that had erupted in my stomach. Thoughts of Quinton passed through my mind, but my budding desire for Ethan was undeterred. Ethan had stepped closer and I caught a fresh whiff of his cologne. When had Ethan become intoxicating? I made a feeble attempt at conversation to clear my head. “That cologne, is that the one Jesse gave you?” I could feel his breath quicken on my neck at the mention of my name. Stupid, stupid, stupid, I thought when he pulled back a little but not far enough to put any real distance between us. A rush of terrible selfish relief followed. Ethan met my eyes with his own expressive ones. He was searching, but I didn’t know for what. All I knew is in a few hours everything had changed. I wanted to kiss Ethan, more than I’d wanted anything in a long time. I stood there looking at his lips. They were gorgeous, completely kissable. It’s not that I hadn’t thought about what it would be like to kiss him before, you know, when we were friends. I just figured it would never happen. Now, we were inches apart and I knew it could happen, and I wanted to feel his lips against mine. Subconsciously, I ran my tongue across my lips in anticipation. That was all it took. Without a trace of noise, the washcloth fell to the floor and with his now free hands he cupped my face in his warm fingers and purposefully brought his lips to mine.
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