Title In The Now
Author Jennifer Ann Shore
Genre New Adult/Adult Romance, Music Fiction
There’s a reason why I haven’t been home for ten years.
There are many reasons why I haven’t been home—family drama, small-town gossip, and my career probably take up the top three spots.
But when my career stalls and I get devastating family news, I’m back to the very place I ran away from a decade ago. The last thing I want to do is pick up right where I left off, and as I'm drawn to Noah, my terrifyingly gorgeous high school bully, I know that things have certainly changed.
I was supposed to run away and never look back, but I’m stuck dealing with my past and planning for the future. But all I want to do is live in the now.
“In The Now” is an enemies to lovers, second chance new adult romance by Amazon bestseller Jennifer Ann Shore.
It’s almost showtime when we arrive.
Of course, once my identity is revealed, they upgrade our seats from one of the middle rows to the third row of the orchestra pit. I catch a glimpse of the chandelier and lights on the ceiling before they dim, and I think about how many thousands of people have craned their necks to look up at them over the years.
When the show starts, I’m immediately lost in the colors, choreography, and singing. I’ve seen a few musicals here and there over the years, and I’m always awed by the performances and the people behind them.
I’m blown away by the love and dedication they have for what they do. I know from personal experience that doing six shows a week is no joke, and it’s on another level when costume changes and dance numbers are involved. Thankfully, I usually stick to one outfit for each set I’m performing.
Scott falls asleep after the third song. Noah and I exchange small smiles when there’s a lull on stage, and we both can hear his heavy breathing.
After Noah and I lock eyes, I find it difficult to pay attention to what’s happening on stage.
I remain facing forward, but my mind refuses to focus on anything but the man sitting on my right. Out of my peripheral vision, he seems engaged with the storyline, and I’m a little disappointed he seems to be able to fall into the story while he encompasses all of my thoughts.
By intermission, I’m fidgeting. I need a little bit of distance, so I nudge Scott awake to let me into the aisle and excuse myself to go to the bathroom. The only bathrooms in the theater are downstairs, so I walk as quickly as I can on my heels.
I’m accosted by two teenage girls who ask if they can have a picture with me the millisecond I step out of the stall.
“Of course,” I say. “But maybe I can wash my hands first?”
They laugh like it’s the funniest thing they’ve ever heard. I’m just hoping they didn’t hear me pee.
I hide out in the corner of the bathroom in front of the mirror until the five-minute warning bell sounds. The line for the snack table is only a few people deep, and I grab a bag of sour candies, wishing we had time to eat dessert at the restaurant.
Once I find my seat again and the lights dim for the second act, I watch Scott attempt to fight off sleep. He finally succumbs to it about halfway through the first scene, and I’m just relieved he doesn’t snore.
“Maybe he’ll stay awake for a baseball game,” Noah whispers in my ear.
I’m startled by how close Noah is, but thankfully, I don’t show it.
It’s ironic that one of the characters on stage is singing a song with the lyrics “What did I ever see in him?” because I’m questioning my own sanity. I’m trying to be rational about my attraction to him, but it’s hard when I am close enough to his lips to see the pronounced cupid’s bow and how it’s surrounded by a little bit of stubble.
He backs off, only slightly, and I look at him while I tear open the sour candy with my teeth. I dump a few in my mouth at once, enjoying the tartness.
I hold the bag up, offering it to him, and he doesn’t drop my eyes as he reaches over, takes a piece, and slowly raises it to his lips. Whatever reaction he wanted, he apparently got, because he fixes his gaze forward back to the stage, and I see him chew through the ghost of a grin.
Is he…being playful?
Or is he just teasing me about how clear my attraction to him is?
I’m not sure either scenario is ideal, so I focus on inhaling the rest of the bag as a distraction. My teeth rebel against chewing and my tongue burns, but the pain manages to keep me grounded.
I am not a woman who needs to ache in anticipation of the man sitting beside her. I don’t need to silently will him to feel, touch, and explore every single part of me or tremble in desperation. The seventeen-year-old Olivia might have let Noah dictate her emotions, but this grown, successful, and independent version will not.
I toss the wrapper onto his lap when I’m finished, just because I can, and cross my arms across my chest, forcing his elbow off the arm rest.
Pettiness suits me.
Noah remains still for the next song, but when the next talking-only scene begins, he starts to shift toward me. It’s a small movement, but I don’t miss it because I’m so begrudgingly attuned to him at this moment.
I could probably use his inhales and exhales as a metronome.
Noah once again crosses the arm rest, the dividing line between us. As the audience laughs at what’s happening on stage, he drags his knuckles across my thigh, tracing the skin exposed by the slit in my dress.
I gasp, but it’s drowned out by those around us. I’m conscious of how many people are in this room, not to mention Scott still dozing away on the other side of me, while his hand moves.
The history between us should be enough to scare me away. It should be, but I don't know if it is. I grit my teeth, refusing to fall for this charade while desperate for an understanding of what he’s doing.
Waste of space.
But his hand is so warm against my skin. It has been too long since I’ve been touched like this, and I never would have guessed in one-million years that it would be Noah making me want to open up and fall apart in the best way possible.
My heart pounds in my ears as his thumb slips underneath the fabric, and my body stiffens.
I have to look at him. I have to understand what he is doing and if this is just another game to him, or if he is feeling this connection, too.
When our eyes meet, I’m not disappointed.
His expression carries an entirely new level of intensity as his gaze drops to my lips. His hand stops moving, but he’s gripping my leg tightly, as if to claim ownership of some part of my body.
We stay like that until the curtain drops and the applause breaks out.
Buy Links (including Goodreads)
Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KFXNP4G
Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08KFXNP4G
Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08KFXNP4G
Jennifer Ann Shore is a writer and an Amazon bestselling author based in Seattle, Washington.
She has written multiple fiction novels, including "New Wave," a young adult dystopian, and "The Extended Summer of Anna and Jeremy," a young adult romance.
In her decade of working in journalism, marketing, and book publishing, she has won numerous awards for her work from companies such as Hearst and SIIA.
Be sure to visit her website (https://www.jenniferannshore.com) and follow her on Twitter (@JenniferAShore), Instagram (@shorely) or your preferred social media channel to stay in touch.
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