Just Friends, the third book in the Johnson Family series, is now available! It’s the story of Trenton Johnson and his best friend, Alannah Bailey. So far, it’s the longest book in the series. After the introductory sale price of $2.99, it’ll go to the regular retail price of $4.99.
By the way, if you want to see the models I thought perfectly represented the characters, I shared their pics on Facebook. For the heroine, I chose Kirby Griffin and for the hero, I chose Isha Blaaker.
There are two ways you can win an autographed copy of Just Friends!
First, I’ve set aside copies just for newsletter followers only. Entering is easy peasy. Just drop your email address in the form below. I’ll use the list randomizer at random.org to choose the winners. NOTE: Make sure you enter the email address you use to subscribe to my newsletter.
Prize: 4 autographed copies of Just Friends (3 for U.S. entrants and 1 for international entrants)
Eligibility: You must be a subscriber to my author newsletter. If you’re not, click here ==> SUBSCRIBE.
How to enter: Use the form below.
Deadline: 11:59 pm EST on March 31st. Winners will be posted in the comments after the 31st.
Second, if you’re on GoodReads, use the link below to enter the giveaway I have going on over there. Click the link below.
==> GoodREADS GIVEAWAY LINK <==
Should they risk their friendship for a chance at love?
Alannah Bailey is tired of being the boring best friend of Trenton Johnson and decides on a makeover. After the changes, she starts dating, but instead of being happy, Trenton acts like he wants to keep her under lock and key.
Trenton is used to partying and having his pick of women. Such an advantage comes with the Johnson name, their money, and his own good looks. When he needs downtime, he depends on his best buddy, Alannah. But he doesn’t like the changes he sees in her lately, and by the time he figures out why, it might be too late.
Note: This story takes place during the same timeframe as Perfect, Book 2 of the Johnson Family series.
Alannah turned to face him, and her hazel eyes met his hesitantly. “I’ve been doing some thinking. I’m not getting any younger.”
“None of us are.”
“And…well, I want to make some changes in my life. So…you know what, it’s better for me to show you than tell you.” She removed the bonnet from her head and released her hair. Running her fingers through the strands, she sifted them loose until they tumbled past her shoulders. “What do you think?”
Trenton took a good look at her. He walked over and lifted a few soft strands and rubbed them between his fingers. “You colored it.”
“Yes.” Alannah bit the inside of her bottom lip. “What do you think?”
“I like it,” he said slowly. The vibrant auburn brightened her light amber skin tone. “Brings more attention to your freckles.” Rust-colored spots lay splattered across her nose and cheeks. He grinned and tweaked her nose.
She slapped his hand away. “Really? Ugh.” She hated her freckles, but he thought they were cute. She turned around so he could see her hair from the back and pushed her fingers through the shiny strands, shaking her head so the thick mass rippled back and forth across her back. “I had it cut in layers, too.” Turning back around, she said, “I know it’s pretty drastic. Well, for me it’s drastic, but I only had a few inches cut off. The craziest thing is the color. Auburn. Can you believe it? After having dull brown hair all my life, I went with auburn.” Her eyes brightened and filled with the excitement of the change.
“It’s an attention getter,” Trenton said evenly. “Hey, where are your glasses?” Being nearsighted, she seldom went without her glasses. Every time she took them off, she walked around squinting.
“Oh, that’s the other thing.” She pointed to her eyes. “Contacts.”
“Yes. I have the long-wearing ones that you can sleep in. It took me a while to get used to them. Sometimes I still reach for my glasses and then realize they aren’t there. It’s crazy, but yep, I’m wearing contacts now. I’ve had them for a week already.”
Trenton scratched the back of his head. “I don’t understand. What’s going on with you? What’s with all the changes?”
Alannah shrugged and started spooning food onto the plates again. “Like I said, I’m not getting any younger. It’s time for me to act and look like a woman.”
“I liked the way you looked before.”
She smiled briefly at him over her shoulder. “That’s sweet, but you’re saying that cause you’re my friend. I want to know what a man thinks.”
“I’m a man.” What the hell?
She giggled on her way to the refrigerator. “You know what I mean. You’re more like a girlfriend than a man.”
Trenton stiffened. Since when?
As Alannah poured lemonade—hers was good and tart because she made it with fresh lemons and none of that powdered stuff—into two glasses, he paid closer attention to her. She didn’t just look different, she was acting different. She displayed more confidence than usual. And the shorts had to be the shortest pair of shorts he’d ever seen her wear. They put her legs on display in a way that made him take notice. Had her legs always been that long?
She was small up top but thick on the bottom, and the contrast was never more noticeable than today. Her butt appeared round and full, and her hips looked as if they’d widened since he’d seen her last. Not likely, but still.
“No comment?” Alannah handed him a glass of lemonade.
Trenton blinked. “About what?”
“About everything. My new look?” Her voice fell off into a soft, disappointed whisper. She’d expected a different reaction, and for the life of him he couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t excited for her.
“You look nice. I mean, you know, it’s different. The changes will take some getting used to.” Trenton took a large swig of lemonade, wishing the glass contained something stronger.
She nodded and handed him a plate of brown rice, seafood with panang curry, and three basil rolls.
“Hey.” He stepped closer, studying her downturned face. “You took me by surprise, but you look really nice.” This change couldn’t have been easy for her to make. She wasn’t the kind of person to bring attention to herself. She preferred to be quiet and in the background, so auburn hair really was a drastic change.
“You’re not just saying that?” She looked up at him with uncertainty.
“From one girlfriend to the other, I’m not just saying that.” He grinned and she grinned back. “Come on, let’s go watch that movie you promised me. It better not be a foreign film, either.”
“You liked the last one,” she said, following him into the living room.
“Just because I liked it doesn’t mean I want to see that mess all the time.”
She sighed dramatically. “This one is a South Korean thriller.”
He groaned. “So I have to read subtitles?”
“Oh my goodness. What a horror. You have to read.”
“That mouth of yours is going to get you into serious trouble one day.”
Plates in hand, they piled onto the sofa and set the drinks on the table closest to Trenton. Alannah folded her legs beneath her and turned on the television. A few presses of the remote and the opening scene rolled out, immediately capturing their attention with an explosion.
Trenton forked a shrimp into his mouth. He chewed slowly, ruminating on Alannah’s altered appearance. “What brought on all these changes? Are you really worried about getting older?”
Her hesitation caught his attention. “Well what? Are you seeing someone?” He stared at her.
“No.” She ducked her head and her hair fell forward, hiding her face so he couldn’t see all her features.
“Are you sure that’s a no, or do you really mean yes?” Discomfort set up residence in his stomach. She hadn’t mentioned she was seeing anyone, and if she was, he’d certainly never seen her go to all this trouble for a man before.
Alannah moved rice around on her plate with the fork. “I’m not seeing anyone, but there is a guy at work. I don’t know…he’s attractive and seems nice.” She shrugged.
“What guy? I didn’t know there was a guy.” They told each other everything, but she’d been holding out on him.
“It’s not a big deal. He doesn’t work in my department. I noticed him, that’s all. And I think he already has a girlfriend, anyway.” She bit into a basil roll, the crispy vegetables crunching between her teeth.
“Do I know him?” He’d been to her job plenty of times and knew a lot of her coworkers.
“No,” she said shortly.
“Hold up, what’s going on?” Trenton set his plate on the glass coffee table. “If your mystery man is with someone, why are you going through all these changes?”
She sighed. “Can we watch the movie, please?”
“No.” Trenton picked up the remote and paused the movie.
She shot him an annoyed look.
“Talk to me.”
Alannah gave him the silent treatment and stared at the TV screen.
“What happened in Arizona?” Trenton asked.
She tilted her face away from him, again keeping her expression hidden.
“Hey.” Trenton grasped her chin and forced her head back around to him. “What’s going on, Lana? What happened? Did somebody hurt you?” The thought of anyone hurting her filled him with rage. One hand clenched into a fist, and he leaned in, paying close attention to her body language.
She shook her head. “Nobody hurt me, and nothing happened in Arizona. It’s…everything, Trent. I’m tired of being me. I want to be noticed.” Watery eyes looked up at him.
“What’s this?” Trenton took her plate and placed it beside his. Then he pulled her into his arms and she pressed her face into his chest. “There’s nothing wrong with you, knucklehead.”
She sniffled and swiped a tear from her cheek. “I know there’s nothing wrong with me—not anything major, but I want to stand out.”
“Well, auburn hair will do it,” he said. She lightly punched him in the stomach and he laughed, giving her an affectionate squeeze. “It’s a compliment, dipsh*t.”
“Promise. I like the color.”
“Terri suggested it,” Alannah said, referring to one of her close girlfriends.
He had reservations about her friend’s influence but kept the comment to himself. He kissed the top of her head. A new scent. Liking it, he smiled a little and took a bigger whiff.
“Your hair smells different.”
“I’m trying a new shampoo. It’s honeysuckle scented.”
Trenton took another whiff. He really liked that scent. Stroking her hair, he asked, “Nobody messed with you, though, right?”
“No, Trent.” She sat up and away from him, breathing heavily, an annoyed sound. “I’m not eight years old anymore. You don’t have to keep protecting me.”
His throat closed up, and the discomfort he’d experienced earlier reappeared and filled all the corners of his stomach. He’d always been there. For twenty-two years, they’d always been there for each other. He didn’t know any other way to behave.
“That’s bullsh*t. We have each other’s back.”
Her shoulders slumped. “I know,” she said quietly.
He took her hand, rubbing a thumb over the slenderness of her wrist and the delicate, narrow fingers. “We look out for each other. That’s what we do.”
“Yeah.” Her upper lip trembled but she forced a smile. “Best friends forever,” she said, repeating the mantra they’d said for years.
“Forever,” he confirmed. He squeezed her hand.
Instead of happiness, Trenton thought he saw sadness in the depths of her eyes. But before he could properly analyze the emotion, she averted her gaze, picked up her plate, and restarted the movie.
“Yay, I’m really looking forward to reading this movie,” he grumbled.
Alannah rolled her eyes. “Give it a chance,” she said, past a mouthful of seafood.
He picked up his own plate, set his feet on the coffee table, and reclined against the back of the sofa.
But Alannah’s minor meltdown stayed with him for a long time after the movie started. Every now and again he watched her from the corner of his eye. She appeared normal enough, back to her old self, yet he suspected she hadn’t told him everything. The makeover and what she’d said worried him. He had a feeling even bigger changes were coming.
And he wasn’t going to like a single one of them.
Just Friends is 40% off until March 31st! It’s only $2.99 and goes to the regular price of $4.99 on April 1st. Get your copy early and save!
Save $2.00 on your print copy of Just Friends when you pre-order at $7.99. It goes to the regular price of $9.99 on April 1st. Get your copy early and save!