Title: Loved You Always
Author: Natalina Reis
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: November 19, 2016
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Designer: Claire Smith
She’s moved on and is in a serious relationship with someone else. But the universe—and her kooky sister—have other ideas.
Thrust into an unexpected and dangerous adventure together, Em is forced to confront her unresolved feelings for Jem and decide what kind of life she really wants. That is if they both survive.
Together forever; that was our motto. Jeremy and me, best friends forever. Come hell or high water, nothing would ever separate us. We met in preschool when my parents moved to Jem’s neighborhood, and we weathered elementary, secondary, and even college together. We completed each other; Jem with his blond, curly hair, me with my pale skin and straight hair. His six feet two, my five four; his love for fast food, my love for everything gourmet. We were as different as humanly possible, and maybe because of that we fit together like two halves of a whole.
Throughout our childhood and early teen years we had shared everything; every thought, every feeling, every doubt. It felt right to share our most intimate selves with each other and, at some point, we were completing each other’s sentences. At thirteen, Jem confided in me when Janet, the neighborhood beauty, bestowed upon him his first kiss. Soon after, I returned the confidence by telling him about my “lip encounter” with Steve, the school jock. When he got to second base with Alice, Jem ran home to call and tell me all about it, and when Sam accidentally touched my breast during a movie, I almost skipped the end of the feature to call Jem. Jem’s shoulders had always been there for a good cry and vice versa. We were so close that people in our families began calling us the Siamese twins, Jem and Em. Even our names rhymed.
All of that changed—at least for me—when we were about sixteen. That summer, Jem went on vacation abroad with his parents; I stayed behind and worked all summer at a local pharmacy, saving money for college. Upon his return, Jem had a suitcase full of stories to tell me, as usual. Camping out in my room that weekend, we settled to share our summers like we had always done before. However, as Jem recounted his whirlwind romance with a pretty, young French girl, my feelings about sharing radically changed. This was different; this did not make me feel like I was a part of it.
This hurt, and made me feel left out and lonely.
I didn’t want him to share the details of his sexual encounters with this foreigner; neither did I want to hear about how sad he was to leave her behind. I wanted to hear how he had missed me and how he had been unable to enjoy himself without me. I felt guilty for that, and then angry at myself. By the time it was my turn to share an account of my summer I had decided I was not willing to share certain things anymore, so I shared innocuous events without ever touching on serious feelings. I needed time to get used to this new twist in our relationship.
It took me a few weeks to fully realize I was in love with my best friend.
Natalina wrote her first romance in collaboration with her best friend at the age of 13. Since then she has ventured into other genres, but romance is first and foremost in almost everything she writes. Her novel, We Will Always Have the Closet, is her first published romance.
After earning a degree in tourism and foreign languages, she worked as a tourist guide in her native Portugal for a short time before moving to the United States. She lived in three continents and a few islands, and her knack for languages and linguistics led her to a master’s degree in education. She lives in Virginia where she has taught English as a Second Language to elementary school children for more years than she cares to admit.
Natalina doesn’t believe you can have too many books or too much coffee. Art and dance make her happy and she is pretty sure she could survive on lobster and bananas alone. When she is not writing or stressing over lesson plans, she shares her life with her husband and two adult sons.
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