Lila and Austin have known each other since she befriended his younger brother when she was a toddler. In fact, since her parents moved from her hometown, Lila’s lived with Austin’s family. The two are friends, though more of the teasing, taunting breed than the BFF variety.
But all it takes is one moment for everything to change…
For Austin, that moment comes when Lila performs a rumba in the school’s auditorium to qualify for the state dance competition, the young woman on stage so far-removed from the little girl in his memories.
For Lila, the moment is a reflected image of Austin preparing for prom, the guy standing in front of his mirror hardly resembling the child that spent so much of his youth pestering her.
Will they find a way to admit to themselves and their families that their feelings are deeper than friendship? And can Lila focus on this building relationship – and deal with her unstable ex – and still win the dance contest?
Lila rolls her eyes, then peeks my way. “This is my friend, Austin. My ex-boyfriend was a jerk, and Austin was nice enough to let me tag along with him tonight.”
I don’t like that she said “friend” where “date” should be, but I really have no right to expect anything different. We’re not involved, and I have a girlfriend. I nod at Beth. “Nice to meet you.” I shift my focus to Trent. “Did she really gain weight?”
Lila smacks my shoulder with the back of her hand. “Not you, too!”
Trent groans, his expression filled with humor. “Like ten pounds.”
“I didn’t gain ten pounds!”
Trent just shrugs.
“I didn’t,” she insists again.
One of his brows lifts, and he takes another sip of his drink.
Then she scoffs through the smile that’s been fighting to break free since they started pestering each other. “If I gained ten pounds, how did I fit into my prom dress?”
“They let it out,” he offers. “And you went vegan for a few days.”
I’m not annoyed with their banter at this point. Instead, I’m chuckling, and Lila spares me an extremely fake scowl. “What’s so funny, Austin?”
“Nothing,” I rush to reply. “Nothing at all. Obviously, Trent’s delusional.”
Trent snorts. “Wow. She’s already got you whipped.”
I decide not to argue, mostly on the grounds I’m finding little evidence to refute the claim.
Lila, on the other hand, isn’t quite as docile about Trent’s commentary. It’s fairly easy to tell because she throws a napkin at him and resumes her complaints. “That was sarcasm, you dolt.” After she finishes her insult, she’s turns to playfully glare at me. “Which I don’t appreciate.”
I’m staring at her now. I know I am, and I know people are watching, and I still can’t make myself stop. She’s so beautiful with the teasing glint in those too-blue eyes, too beautiful to not mention it. “Even if you did gain weight, it didn’t make a difference. You’re the prettiest girl here.”
Nervousness immediately surfaces on her features, eyes wide and mouth slightly gaping, and she draws in a quick breath. “You haven’t seen everyone here.”
“Don’t need to,” I assure her. “You have them all beat. I knew that before we left the house.”
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Connie L. Smith spends far too much time with her mind wandering in fictional places. She reads too much, likes to bake, and might forever be sad that she doesn’t have fairy wings. And that she can’t swing dance. Her music of choice is severely outdated, and as an adult she’s kind of obsessed with Power Rangers. She has her BA from Northern Kentucky University in Speech Communication and History (she doesn’t totally get the connection either), and is currently working on her MA.
Blog/Main Site: http://clsmithbooks.blogspot.com/