(First and Last #2)
by Laurelin Paige
Date Released: June 14, 2016
St. Martin's Griffin
A Note from St. Martin's Griffin
In 2013, Laurelin Paige self-published her first novel. Her husband was just laid off, she had three kids, one with special needs, and they had just filed for bankruptcy so she needed this novel to work. Less than one year later, her debut novel, Fixed on You, was at the top of the bestseller lists and was named one of the top ten selling books of 2014 by Publishers Weekly (the only self-published book to do so) and a Top Ten Favorite Read of 2014 by People Magazine. Her successive self-published novels have been smash hits with readers.
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Fixed trilogy released her first print book with a major publisher in December, First Touch. The first novel in a suspenseful and sexy duology, where a young woman’s race to find her missing friend leads her to passion and danger, hit the USA Today bestseller list and became a fan favorite. This June comes the second book in this game of cat and mouse duology, filled with dark desires and dangerous secrets. Last Kiss (St. Martin’s Griffin; June 14, 2016) is the follow-up that will tantalize and satisfy readers.
With the start of the duology praised as “explosive” (Kirkus Reviews) and “carnal, erotic and emotionally raw” (RT Book Reviews), the second takes the dangerous romance to all new heights.
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About Last Kiss
A game of cat and mouse filled with dark desires and dangerous secrets...
Emily Wayborn has made a decision.
She might not fully trust handsome and deadly Reeve Sallis, but he is the one person that gives her what she needs. With Reeve she can finally be herself. Submitting to him is the only thing keeping her grounded as the rest of her life falls apart. But the hotelier is a master at keeping secrets and as she continues her quest for answers, someone is making sure she doesn’t find them.
Time is running out and she is questioning everything she thought she knew about friendship and love. She must now make an impossible choice that will determine if she will survive with her heart...or her life.
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Read my five-plus-starred review of Last Kiss.
Add Last Kiss on Goodreads.
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An Excerpt from Last Kiss
“Oh, hi! I didn’t see you there.” I sounded flustered and on edge. “Sorry to have surprised you.” The man’s head tipped toward me. “Emily, right?” he asked, as he exhaled a puff of smoke.
I squinted at him, trying to place him, but I couldn’t. In fact, I was certain I hadn’t seen him before. He had to be one of the ranch guests, which didn’t explain how he knew me. “That’s right,” I said tentatively. “I don’t think we’ve met.”
He tilted his head as he took another slow draw from his cigarette. “Nope. We haven’t.” Even in the dark, I didn’t miss the hungry way his eyes groped my frame.
He took a step toward me, and I readied myself to run. Just then, the front door slammed open. I looked up to the porch to see a couple of Reeve’s men leaving the house. W hen I turned back, the man wasn’t there anymore. I glanced around and caught sight of him circling around behind the building.
A man didn’t run off that easily if he hadn’t had ill intent.
I shivered. I wondered if all of the guests were that creepy. No wonder Reeve was wary of them. Suddenly, I wanted to run and tell him about the encounter.
Then, at the top of the stairs, I noticed his door was shut, which meant he was in there. But what if he wasn’t alone? What if the conversation with Amber at dinner had led them to his bedroom?
Before I let myself get worked up, I looked to Amber’s door. It was shut too. It was the first time I’d seen it closed since her arrival, and my mind jumped to a hundred different possible conclusions. Maybe she was exercising her new babysitter-free status. Maybe she was puking again in the bathroom and wanted privacy. Or she was making out with one of the ranchers. Or crying over whatever Reeve had said to her after I’d left them.
Or she wasn’t in there at all.
I could easily knock on her door to find out, but I wasn’t sure I could face her if she answered, and I was absolutely sure I couldn’t take it if she didn’t.
Hoping I would be better equipped to handle the situation after a good night’s sleep, I retreated to my own room with a sigh of resignation.
Though it was late enough to go to bed, my emotions were too frazzled for sleep. And I was cold. My evening walk had set a chill in my bones that lingered even in the warm house. While I wished it was Reeve warming me up, a hot shower would be just as effective at raising my body temperature and would also calm my nerves.
I stripped, tossing my clothes onto the chair in the corner of my room, then went to start the shower. I turned the water on without getting in, sticking my hand under the stream until it was hot enough. Then I crossed to the linen closet at the other end of the bathroom and picked out a couple of towels. When I shut the door, I turned back toward the shower and nearly jumped out of my skin. “Reeve!” I patted my breastbone, trying to calm the thudding
in my chest. “Goddammit, you scared the hell out of me.” Between his sneaky arrival and the lurking cowboy outside, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I was on my way to a heart attack.
His lip curled up with amusement.
I scowled. “I’m glad you think sending me to an early grave is funny.” But I wasn’t really irritated by his arrival in the least. I was glad, and I was certain the accelerated tempo of my heart rate had as much to do with his appearance at all as it did with the element of surprise.
He leaned his hip against the vanity and folded his arms across his chest, a position that highlighted both his broad shoulders and toned biceps. “You like it when I keep you guessing,” he said dismissively, not an entirely inaccurate statement, though it was a bit discomforting that he knew it so well.
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Laurelin Paige is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Fixed trilogy. She's a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there's kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters.
Connect with Laurelin
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A Q&A with Laurelin Paige
1. What was your inspiration behind the First and Last duet and what made you decide to go with a duet instead of a standalone or trilogy?
For a long time, I’d wanted to write a story about a love triangle where one of the characters wasn’t present. Much like the book Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier or Jane Eyre. At one point, I’d thought it would be a sweeter take on the story. Something where the memory of a dead friend permeated a current relationship so thoroughly that it placed a burden on the characters.
I also wanted to write something in the vein of Gone Girl and Girl on a Train – a psychological thriller, but with romantic elements. I’m very fascinated by characters motivations and a psychologically suspenseful plotline just intrigued me to no end.
I thought, at first, that these were two different stories, and I hadn’t quite figured out what either of them would look like exactly until I read a description of a book that was about to be published (I don’t remember what it was) about a woman who had to go to extreme lengths to look for her sister who’d gone missing. The pieces started to click together, and soon I had the idea of a woman setting off in search of a friend/sister in a dangerous place that required her to face her own psychological demons as well as some very real threats. Next thing I knew, the plot to First Touch had been born.
And the reason I made it a duet? Well, because I wanted that awesome cliffhanger, of course. Also, the story I wanted to tell was constructed very much to be before a particular event and after. It’s a very clear dividing line and it felt like the best way to tell it was in two acts.
2. If the books were made into a movie, who would you cast as Emily Wayborn, Reeve Sallis, and Amber Pries?
I had Colin Egglesfield in mind when I wrote Reeve, but I’d love to see him played by Michael Fassbender.
Emily has always been Charlotte McKinney. And a blonde Mandy Moore is who I picture as Amber.
I’d also love to see Collin Farrell as Joe Cook.
3. Who was your favorite character to write in the First and Last series and why?
My favorite character in First and Last is probably Reeve. He continually surprised me with his intensity and depth of emotion. He made me feel things I didn’t think he’d make me feel.
But I also really enjoyed writing Joe. He got to ask all the questions that I wanted answered and he was sincerely committed to his cause.
4. Did you have a favorite scene to write in Last Kiss? What about a favorite scene to read?
I really liked writing the first scene in the whole book, where Reeve and Emily meet. It was such fun to explore the superficial aspects of these characters, to have them flirt and tease while hinting at deeper agendas for both of them. At that point in the book, I knew everything and the readers knew nothing. I got to drop whatever clues I felt like dropping and that was just fun.
I don’t particularly enjoy reading most of what I’ve written. I’m too anxious about it. Too critical. That being said, I really don’t mind reading the porch scene in Last Kiss. It’s sweet and sexy and gives me all kinds of feels.
5. What words of inspiration would you give aspiring authors who look to you as their inspiration?
Oh, goodness. It’s so mind-blowing to think of myself as an inspiration to anyone else. The first thing I’d want to say to them is I’m just like anyone else, which is maybe not very exciting, but, on the other hand, it also means that anyone can become a successful author. The only thing you have to do is commit. Sit down, write every day. Finish your book. Then keep trying to get better. It’s not easy and I know there’s a lot of luck involved. Fortunately, I believe a lot of luck comes around just from putting yourself out there over and over again.
Note: Thank you to Laurelin Paige for taking the time to answer my questions and to Brittani Hilles for facilitating. ♥
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