Shy Kinda Love
by Deanna Eshler
Publication Date: February 4, 2015
Cover Designer: The Book Cover Machine
Genre: New Adult Romance
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Excerpt: Captain’s Surprise
“I’ve been up since 4:30 thinking about spending time with you,” he says, with a playful smile.
I roll my eyes. “Your room is right next to mine, and our walls are paper-thin. I heard your alarm, asshat.”
He shrugs, as if saying I tried. “Anyway, what do you mean by this?” he asks, now waving his hands between us.
“Talking, hanging out, friendships, relationships. All of it; I don’t do any of it.”
He narrows his eyes. “You have two friends in there that I’ve seen you talk to and hang out with.”
I can’t help the frustrated grunt that escapes. “I didn’t want friends, but they showed up looking all comfy with their marathon biker shows, and stayed at my house all day… Keegan’s all straightforward and Gemma’s so damn cute… I tried to say no.”
I’m rambling and I know it, but I can’t seem to stop. I’m looking everywhere but at Kade, and one of my legs is bouncing nervously.
“Then they keep making me go out… where I meet new people… and I have to talk to those people too… and they say funny stuff and make me smile… so I feel bad telling them I don’t want friends… then the next thing I know I’m living here and I have two best friends.” I let out one final huff, then make eye contact and plead, “I just want to be by myself, with my horses, alone in my own head. I don’t want to laugh and have fun. I want to go back to being cranky and alone, at least for a few hours.”
“You know that social isolation can alter functioning of the brain? Can lead to depression, health issues, and even impulsive behavior.”
I raise my eyebrows, unclear what he is saying.
Kade attempts to explain. “It’s like your horses. They’re social animals, so if you separate one from the herd, what happens to it?”
It becomes depressed and/or highly agitated. I don’t answer out loud, because it’s clear he already knows.
“They become extremely agitated,” he says, proving me right. “After an extended period of time of separation, the stress will begin to affect their health and they will even injure themselves in an attempt to get back to the herd.”
This is true. I’ve seen a horse go through fences to get back to its herd.
I gesture for him to get off my truck. “Okay, thanks for the lesson on isolation, but I have hungry horses waiting for me.”
Kade’s expression changes to hurt. “I just want to get to know you.”
Now I stomp my foot, getting frustrated at my failure to chase him away. “Well, I don’t want to get to know you,” I spit. It’s harsh, but I’m desperate to get away from him. Away from all the things he makes me feel.
Kade lifts both hands in surrender. “Okay, I’ll let you go play with your horses and be grumpy in peace.”
He jumps down off the tailgate and dusts off his pants. He takes a few steps, then stops when he’s next to me. He places his hand on the small of my back and leans in, so that his mouth is only an inch from my ear. “If you feel like trying the friendship-slash-hanging out thing later, I’ll be home all day.”
Surprisingly, I don’t feel the all-consuming anxiety take over my body at his touch. I clear my throat and step away. When I turn to lift my tailgate, I realize Kade left his bowl of cereal and pick it up with one hand, then instantly cover my mouth with my other hand. “What is this?”
He reaches out, retrieving the offending object from my hand. “I call it Captain’s Surprise. When I can’t decide what kind of cereal to eat I just dump them all in.” He looks down into the bowl. “Now it’s just Soggy Surprise.”
“That’s disgusting,” I say, with my hand still covering my mouth, I’m trying to hide my smile. When Kade smiles back, before turning to back into the apartment, I know I failed.