Next to Me
Author: Allie Everhart
Publication date: January 2nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
After losing her parents and brother in a car crash, Callie dropped out of college and went to live in the small town where her family used to spend the summers. A year later, and struggling to move on, she keeps to herself and wants to be left alone. So she’s not too happy when her new neighbor keeps knocking on her door.
Nash Wheeler, a 25-year-old construction worker from Chicago, inherited the house next to Callie’s and is living there while he renovates it. Outgoing, confident, and never one to back down from a challenge, Nash sets out to get to know his new neighbor, inviting her over for dinner and offering to fix things around her house.
As much as his persistence annoys her, Callie finds herself attracted to the tall, muscular guy next door. And the more time she spends with him, the more she realizes how much they have in common. Like Callie, Nash has experienced loss, but when he opens up to her about it, she’s not willing to do the same. It’s too personal.
Nash is just her neighbor. Just some guy living there for the summer. But is that really all he is? Or is he the one person who can finally help her move on?
Nash turns the TV on and flips through to a reality show where some guy tries to survive in the wild. “How about this?”
He smiles. “Callie, I was joking. I didn’t think you’d actually want to watch some guy trying to catch fish and make a fire for an hour. I’ll find something else.” He flips through the channels.
“Nash, really. I don’t care. You came over to watch TV so watch whatever you want.”
He mutes the TV and looks at me. “That’s not why I came over.”
My stomach clenches as I prepare for him to confront me about my mini breakdown. God, I can’t believe I did that.
“Then why’d you come over?” I ask, lifting my legs onto the couch and hugging my knees to my chest.
He has that same concerned look he had when we were at his house. “Because I—”
“Don’t,” I blurt out.
“Don’t say whatever you were going to say.” I pull my knees even tighter to my chest.
He notices my closed off body language and his face turns from concerned back to his normal, casual, smiling self. “I was going to say that I like hanging out with you. You’re strange, but in a good way.”
“I’m not strange!” I extend my leg out and jab him with my foot.
“I said in a good way.” He laughs and grabs my foot, moving over a little so he can set it on his lap.
“Let go of my foot,” I say, trying to yank it back.
“You like foot rubs?” He kneads his thumb into the base of my foot and, holy crap, that might be the best feeling ever. I relax my leg and let him continue. “Is that a yes?”
I nod. “Yes.”
He chuckles. “Sink down a little. It’s not as good when you’re sitting up.”
Before I can analyze if this is a good idea or not, my body slides down on the couch. Nash turns the sound back on the TV but lowers the volume. Then he wraps both hands around my foot and massages it, his thumbs making long deep strokes from my heel to my toes. My head relaxes against the throw pillow and I close my eyes, focusing on how amazing this feels. One of my boyfriends in college gave me a foot rub one time and it was horrible. It hurt, and then tickled, and then hurt even more, so I never let him do it again.
But this? This is incredible. Nash is only touching my foot and yet I can feel it affecting other parts of my body. My head’s relaxing. My arms. My legs. And…oh, God, how did that happen?
“That good, huh?”
“What?” I open my eyes.
“The foot rub.”
“What about it?”
He smiles. “You were, uh…making some noise just now.”
“I wasn’t making noise,” I insist. I try to sit up but he holds my foot so I can’t move.
“You were moaning,” he says as he runs his thumb up the center of my foot. Shit, that feels good.
“I was NOT moaning.” I prop up on my elbows. “Who moans over a foot rub? That’s ridiculous.”
He eyes me, a sly grin on his face, and then his thumb goes to that spot again. The one that is somehow able to cause a tingle between my legs.
“Oh, God,” I moan, my head falling back.
I hear him chuckle. “Yeah, that. That was it. Sounded like a moan to me.”
Shit, he’s right.
My eyes pop open. “How did you do that?”
“Do what? This?” His thumb returns to that spot.
I tense up, trying to hold myself back from lunging forward onto Nash’s lap and having my way with him right here on the couch.
“Stop it,” I say, trying to wiggle my foot out of his grasp.
“Why?” He smiles. “What does it do to you?”
I’m breathing hard, although I’m trying not to. “Nothing. It’s just…” I relax back on the couch as his thumb moves to the middle of my foot, massaging it with long, steady strokes.
“Would you prefer I do this instead of that other thing?”
Now that I’ve experienced the ‘other thing’ I want more of it. But that would lead to something we shouldn’t be doing, so I answer, “Yes. You should probably just stick with that. What you’re doing now. That’s good.”
“If you ever want the other thing, just let me know.” He shoots a flirty smile at me, then turns back to the TV.
Allie Everhart is a hopeless romantic who writes books about love. Allie has authored fourteen novels, including The Jade Series, a college romance that follows the story of Jade and Garret as they deal with numerous obstacles trying to tear them apart. Her other series, The Kensingtons, is a romantic suspense series. After writing two series, she’s now working on several standalone books, including her latest book, Next to Me, a new adult romance.