on June 30, 2017
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I need you, Ava.
I am desperate. For you. For touch. For a kiss. For the scrape of your hand down my stomach. For the slide of your lips across my hipbone. The sweep of your thigh against mine in the dulcet, drowning darkness. For the warm huff of your breath on my skin and the wet suck of your mouth around me and the building pressure of need reaching release...I am mad with need.
Wild with it.
I cannot have you. I have lost you, as I have lost myself.
And so I go in search. Of myself, and thus the man who might return to you, and take you in his arms.
I loathe each of the thousands of miles between us, but I cannot wish them away, for I hope at the end of my journey I shall find you. Or rather, find myself, and thus…you. Myself, and thus us.
I am taking the long way home, Ava.
I’m losing my mind, and I don’t know how to stop it. I shouldn’t be writing to you, but I am. I’m friendless, loveless, and lifeless. You’re out there somewhere, and still you’re all I really have. I hate my reliance and dependence on you, emotionally and otherwise, and that reliance is something I’m coming to recognize. I hate that I can’t hate you as much as I want to. I hate that I still love you so much.
I hate that there’s no clear solution to our conundrum. Even if we could forgive each other, what then?
I hate you, Christian. I really do.
But most of all, I don’t.
Complicatedly (still) yours,
THE LONG WAY HOME is the story of a married couple, Christian and Ava, both writers, as they cope with the loss of their son and the damage that loss causes to their marriage. This moving story, alternately heartbreaking and heartwarming, is the first in a brand-new contemporary romance series by bestselling author Jasinda Wilder.
Enjoy a sneak peek into THE LONG WAY HOME by Jasinda Wilder #comingJune30th
Christine is looking forward to reading this one! Make sure to enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a signed copy of THE LONG WAY HOME (open international). Good luck!!!
An exclusive excerpt from The Long Way Home, by Jasinda Wilder. Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved, with the exception of short excerpts granted specifically by the author.
[Email from Christian to Ava; 12:33 p.m., August 13, 2015]
I apologize for the delay in my response, I was making the crossing from Jamaica to the Yucatan. I spent some time in Kingston, and now I’m in Tulum, which is a tiny little town south of Cancún. There’s not much to it, but it’s less crowded than Cancún. The accommodations are much less…well, everything, but since I’m on the boat, it’s a non-issue.
I appreciate the bluntness. Never filter yourself. Your honesty, even your sometimes crude unfiltered transparency is something I’ve always loved about you. I always know exactly where I stand with you.
Yes, I left you. I wish I could make excuses or give a better reason, but I can’t. I accept your hate, because I deserve it. I abandoned you, as you said, in your time of greatest need. But it was also my time of greatest need, and I was utterly alone. I remained with you, giving you everything I had for three months, and I got absolutely nothing in return except a couple blank stares, and that was literally it. Not a word, not a glance, not a touch. How was I supposed to cope? What was I supposed to do? Sit around waiting forever? Bring you food you never ate, 3x a day every day until you died of starvation? And then when you did finally start functioning like a human being again, you drank yourself stupid every day. I know, I know, I did too. I’m not passing judgment at all, I promise. But you did it alone, you didn’t talk to me, didn’t acknowledge that I even existed. And when you did, it was with a stare that made me feel like a bug.
It was torture.
I struggled to stay sane, literally every moment of every day for three months, and I just couldn’t do it anymore. It was utter hell. Because I was grieving, only I couldn’t give in to the grief, because you needed me. But…you didn’t, really, did you? You pushed me away. Shut me out utterly and completely. Why should I have stayed? For what?
Maybe I’m not the man either of us thought I was. I know I don’t feel like it. I feel…I don’t know, it’s hard to put it all into words.
If you want the raw, unvarnished truth, Ava, I cry myself to sleep some nights. I lay out on the trampoline between the hulls of my catamaran and I stare up at the stars and I miss you—as you were, once—and I miss Henry, and I miss us—as we were, once. I miss our life. I miss feeling whole. I miss feeling loved. I miss feeling like part of an us. I miss all of that, alone out here on the vast ocean, and I cry, as I have never cried in my life.
And another truth, since we’re disclosing them: if you are capable of shutting me out as you have, then you are not the woman I thought I knew, the woman I fell in love with.
We’ve both been altered by this, Ava. I accept the blame that is due to me. But it’s not all mine.
You don’t deserve this; I don’t deserve this; we don’t deserve this, as a couple. But yet it’s what has been placed upon us, and I think we’ve made a hell of a mess of it.
It seems we’re doomed to unburden ourselves of our darkest thoughts and feelings 500 words at a time, since I’m nearly done with this missive as well.
All that’s left to say is that I’m sorry, once again.
That I love you, once again.
But love isn’t always enough, is it?
Where do we go from here? I don’t know.
Also, for what it’s worth, I didn’t hide anything I was doing. You just missed it. You shut me out so thoroughly you didn’t notice me carrying loads of clothing and books out of the condo right in front of you. You didn’t hear me making phone calls from my office to set up the arrangements. You didn’t see any of it, because you blocked me out. I did it all in plain view, during the day. And I said goodbye to you, but you were too drunk to know what was happening. It was ten o’clock in the morning when I woke you to say goodbye. I told you I loved you. I begged you to wake up. If you had spoken to me, acknowledged me, given me the slightest reason, I would have stayed.
I would take a hundred punches and all the ugly crying you needed to do, if I could have one more kiss from you, or a single loving, affectionate touch. Do you know the last time you touched me? The last time you kissed me?
I dream of that. Of us…of you, Ava. I dream of the way you used to touch me, the feel of your hand on my skin. You were always so eager, so passionate, so fiery and fierce. Needy, hungry for me. The first time we progressed past kissing—do you remember, Ava? Your dorm room. We skipped class together. You skipped a lit class I think it was, American literature from Hawthorne to the modern era, possibly? I skipped an ethics class, the first time I’d ever skipped a class in my entire life. It was noon, broad daylight. We’d met for coffee before class and decided to go back to your dorm room instead of class. My heart was palpitating wildly as we entered your room. I wanted you so badly. You locked the door so your roommate couldn’t surprise us, and then you kissed me. I pushed you up against the door, and I buried my fingers in your hair—it was long, then, past your shoulders, and you had a purple streak in it. You dug your fingers into my shirt, and I thought you were going to claw into my skin and leave marks. You tore my shirt off as we kissed, threw it across the room, and it landed in the sink. And then you tore open my jeans and shoved them down, and I was so painfully hard I could barely stand. You saw how hard I was the moment my zipper was down. Your eyes went wide and you literally licked your lips in anticipation.
I couldn’t breathe, and my hands were shaking, and my knees were knocking—not because I was nervous, since it was neither our first times by a long shot, but because I needed and wanted you so damned badly. I wanted you naked, but you were a woman possessed. I tried to take your shirt off, but you just laughed and went after my underwear. I was still wearing those horrible Joe Boxers, remember? They were terribly uncomfortable, but it was what everyone was wearing, and I’ve always craved approval. You yanked them down so my erection sprung free.
At first, I was embarrassed, because I thought you were laughing at how small I was, but then I saw the look on your face. The awe, the lust, the raw hunger. I’ve never forgotten that look. You looked at my cock like it was the Holy Grail, Ava. And when you touched me? Jesus. I could have died and gone to heaven, in that moment. There are no words for the bliss I knew in that moment, at the touch of your hand. The way your delicate, pale fingers wrapped around me, stroked me. God, I’m getting hard as I write this, remembering. That touch, Ava. I remember it, vividly. I think of it, often. I dream of it. I wake up throbbing, aching, leaking, and I think of the way you touched me, that day. I warned you that I wouldn’t last long, and I didn’t. I told you again and again that if you kept touching me that I was going to come. I tried my damnedest to hold out. You stopped touching me long enough to let me get rid of your shirt, jeans, and bra, and that was my undoing. You, naked but for a pair of skimpy red panties?
It was my undoing. You touched me again, and I told you I was about to come, and you said you didn’t care. Do you remember, Ava? Do you remember the way you stroked me, slowly, deliberately, staring into my eyes, ignoring my warnings? Do you remember what happened, then? At the last possible moment, in the very instant of my orgasm beginning, you sank to your knees in front of me and you swallowed my seed, and I had never come so hard in all my life as I did then, watching you on your knees, naked, breasts swaying, fierce blue eyes wide and startled and lascivious and mischievous. I wasn’t expecting that, and you knew it. It’s why you did it, I’ve always thought. You wanted to shock me, and you succeeded.
And then, when I was weak-kneed and gasping, you led me to your bed, and you lay down and wiggled out of your panties, and you fingered yourself while I watched. But you weren’t content with that, and neither was I. You crooked a finger at me, and I crawled above you, and you shoved my head down between your sweet, pale, luscious thighs, and I devoured your essence like a dying man’s last meal. You came with a deafening scream.
I continued to devour you until you came again, and by that time I was hard for you once more.
We made love. I made you scream twice more, and someone in the room next to yours applauded, and we laughed together, and then I finally came again, buried deep inside you. Your legs curled around my waist, and you bit my earlobe as I poured into you. It wasn’t until after that I thought to ask if you were on the pill, and thank god you were, because I’d been so helplessly eager to feel you that we’d forgotten a condom.
Do you remember, Ava?
I relieve myself of the ache, reliving this memory.
I guess I had a bit more to say after all, didn’t I?
Don’t sign off at all, Ava. Think of this as an ongoing conversation, like we used to have. Perhaps we can get to know each other—and ourselves—as we are, now, in this strange, painful new world of ours.
As an aside, I will not use the phrase “I love you” again, until—unless?—I am able to say it to your face. It feels too disingenuous, at this point.
* * *
[Email from Ava to Christian; 8:23 p.m., August 15, 2015]
I really hate you, Chris. For real.
I absolutely hate you for making me relive that afternoon.
Do I remember? How could I forget? It was the single most erotic experience of my life. I’d expected you to be well-endowed, having obviously noticed the size of your hands, which are large enough to engulf mine almost completely. But I was in no way prepared for the reality. I was stunned stupid, TBH. I hadn’t intended to suck you off, actually; that was a shock for both of us. Once I got my hands around your big beautiful cock, I couldn’t stop. It was like…I don’t even know. Magical? Addicting? I wanted to have sex with you, that’s what I wanted. I wanted to come. I wanted you to touch me too. But then I touched your cock and I couldn’t stop. It was just so soft and warm and hard and big and you were groaning, making these rumbly bear-like sounds and your eyes wouldn’t stay open, and you just watched me touch you like it was the most amazing thing you’d ever felt, but all I was doing was touching you with my hand.
When I went to my knees, that was a spur of the moment thing, totally unplanned, because I realized at that last second that you were about to come, and I wanted to make you feel even better than I already had. When you came in my mouth, I nearly orgasmed myself. It was so fucking sexy, your groans, the way your hips flexed, the way you felt in my mouth, the way you looked at me.
God, I’m horny now. Which is why I hate you for bringing it up in the first place. Because I’m horny and I’m alone, and you know how much I hate masturbating. I hate you for being able to turn me on even now, from Mexico, via email. I hate you for not being here to touch me. I hate you for knowing exactly how to turn me on, how to make me forget how much I hate you—at least long enough to daydream about you, and touch myself while thinking about you.
Darcy must think I’m crazy. He’s sitting at the end of the couch watching me. I’m sitting here on the other end, my laptop on my legs, and I’ve got my fingers between my thighs. I’m stopping every few seconds to type a little, to tease myself, to draw this out, and then I put my hand back down there. I think about you. I think about all the times I would lay on our bed, checking emails and FB notifications from my phone while you showered, and I’d always stop and watch you as you got out and dried off. I’d watch the way your thick hard muscles shifted under your skin as you wiped yourself dry with the towel, and I’d watch you ruffle your blondish-brown hair and you’d scrub your junk a little, and I’d bite my lip when you did that, because I’ve always been so insanely attracted to you, always, always, always. The attraction never let up. I never took that for granted, or got used to how hot you are.
And sometimes, you’d catch my eye, see me looking, see the expression on my face, and you’d prowl from the bathroom to our bed, and you’d climb up and crawl over me, and you’d tug the sheet and blanket down. You’d be hard by then, because you know I always sleep naked. The moment you looked at me, from the bathroom, it was over. I was going to have you. It was always inevitable, from that first look.
The moment I met you, on the quad at Miami, I saw you tossing a Frisbee to some bro, your hair was all messy and perfect, and you had these amazing laugh lines and you were so tan and weathered, not like some douchey country club bro, but the tan and weathered lines of a man who has spent countless hours and days squinting into the sun, being blasted by the wind, and weathering rainstorms and who knows what else. That moment, that very instant I saw you, I wanted you. If you had walked over to me then and asked me to blow you, I would have. No questions asked. I would have fucked you, right then. That’s how bad I wanted you, instantly. And then you really did come over and say hi. You said your name was Christian, and did I want to go out with you. So hot, so confident. Rugged. You were wearing khaki cut-off shorts and a tank top, barefoot, no shoes anywhere to be seen. It was instant lust.
That has not abated a single iota since that day on the quad at Miami. Not a bit. Not during pregnancy or after, not during Henry’s illness and death, and not after.
I just…I’ve lost myself.
I was trapped, Christian; I am trapped, still.
And I have a question:
What happened to you? When did you become so pretentious and artsy-fartsy? Since when do you prance around the subject, use flowery language and use words like “missive” and “panties” and “seed”?
What happened to you? You used to be this man who was so different from anyone I’d ever met. You were practical, down to earth, a man who appreciated simplicity, a man who was present in the moment and enjoyed every second of life for what it was. You used to be a man who didn’t really give much of a shit about possessions. You were this guy who’d seen the world. You’d been to all these exotic places…Tortuga, Madagascar, Jakarta, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Tierra del Fuego, Rio de Janeiro. You talked about those places with authority because you’d been there. You would describe such amazing sights. Like when the pod of whales porpoised next to your boat for an hour. Or when the volcano erupted not half a mile away. You were truly worldly, in the realest sense of the word. Yet you were also educated. There was a hint of a Midwestern accent. You drove a Bronco you’d restored yourself. And by restored, I mean you rebuilt the engine and left the rest alone, so it was a squeaky, rusty, cracked-pleather, smelled like cigarettes, old ass piece of shit…which could haul some serious ass.
You would talk about Arthur Miller and Hemingway and Homer and Archimedes just as easily as you would chill on the beach drinking Natty Ice by the case. You rarely wore shoes. You would show up to class barefoot, and the professors would have to remind you to put on a shirt at least half the time. You would discuss Heisenberg with physics majors and some obscure biology principle with the biology students, and you would have long winding passionate discussions of Degas and Dali and Van Gogh and Pollack with the art majors, and you would gleefully geek out over Herbert and Clarke and Asimov and Heinlein. And then you’d go play Frisbee with the jocks and drink a shitload of beer with the frat boys and sorority bitches, and you never thought any of it was at all strange. You fit in everywhere, and you were effortlessly cool.
We would go out for coffee and end up at a bar six hours later, and we never ran out of things to talk about. We’ve never lacked for conversation, though, have we? Even up until recently, we could talk for hours.
Do you remember the conversations we’d have while I was pregnant? We’d go to our favorite little Italian place, and salads and pasta would turn into three desserts and you’d drink cup after cup after cup of coffee, and we would just talk and talk and talk for hours. What did we talk about? I can’t even recall the conversations, the subjects we discussed. Everything, right? Sex, politics, movies, books. You’d tell me about your books and I’d tell you about the stupid comment threads on my blog and Facebook group. You’d bitch about how slow the editing process is. It wasn’t a conversation, like one and then another, day after day. It was one conversation, interrupted.
You write melodramatic faux-suicide goodbye notes on personalized stationery with a $500 fountain pen. You drive a Range Rover and wear $600 sunglasses and $2000 watches and iron your Armani shirts to go grocery shopping for designer kale at Whole Foods. You’ve lost that adorable hint of an Illinois accent and you haven’t touched a Frisbee in years, or had a rambling conversation with a stranger about some obscure particulate of history or science or art.
You write in purple prose and speak in arch, pat phrases like a modern-day aristocrat.
We stopped talking, at some point.
I bet you felt proud of your dirty little email, and using words like cock or panties.
Never say “panties.” Never write “panties.” It’s a nasty, ugly, horrible word. Just as an FYI.
I bet you couldn’t write a dirty email without making it all flowery and eloquent. You’d try to make it a Pulitzer Prize winning piece of ART.
You used to write for the love of words, for the love of telling a story.
Who are you, now, Christian?
I want the old you back.
Also, xoxo? Really?
No. Just…no. You don’t get to xoxo me, not when you left me to go gallivanting about the Caribbean.
* * *
[Email from Ava to Christian; August 21, 2015]
I don’t know if I can do this, if I can survive the sexting-emails, whatever you want to call them. I fucking miss you, and I’m so angry at you, and I can’t sleep at night and I can’t stop drinking and I fucking hate you as much as I fucking love you.
How did we get here?
I don’t know. I wish I knew. I have no answers.
If you were here, I’m not sure what I would do. Beat you senseless, or fuck you stupid, or both.
Not just at you, though. At life. At God, or Fate, or Destiny, or who the fuck ever or what the fuck ever is in charge in this life, if anyone, if anything. I’m just angry and I don’t know how to cope. I miss you, and I don’t want to. I understand why you left, and I don’t want to understand. I want to wallow in my rage, but I get it.
I still wake up in the middle of the night, sometimes, and reach for you. Or listen for Henry. But then I remember that I’m utterly and completely alone.
Except for Darcy, of course, who now sleeps where you used to.
Everything is a mess.
Do you remember that time we both had too much to drink, and I couldn’t come because the alcohol had desensitized me, but you were hard and horny, so I told you I’d suck you off? I sucked you off like a damn champ that night, for real. It must have been a good ten minutes I spent going down on you, and then, on the spur of the moment, instead of swallowing, I took your load on my face and tits. You were so shocked, and you didn’t know whether to be turned on or disgusted, which was exactly how I felt. Equal parts of both, is what it was. God, what a mess.
I would do that again, right now. Take your cum all over my face. All over my tits. I would…god, Christian, I would do absolutely anything for another taste of you, for one moment with you.
But then all the other stuff comes back, and I feel this irrational hatred of you. I know it’s not your fault. It’s not, and I know that. I’m just as much to blame, and it’s also just one of those things that no one is at fault for, a horrible horrible awful tragedy no one could have prevented. But I still hate you for it, and I don’t know why, and I don’t know how to fix it.
I’m not blogging. I can’t. My readers expect humor, and I have none. None at all.
I think I’m going to need some time to figure things out, Christian. The tug of war between needing you, wanting you, loving you, and hating you, loathing you, reviling you…is just too strong and too painful. I need to figure it out. I need to decide what to do, how to get clean, how to live again, how to stop drinking, how to stop missing you. I want to beg you to come back, but I’m terrified of what I’d do if you did.
Nothing is okay, and I don’t know what to do, and emailing you, hearing your voice even through email is too painful, too difficult.
I’m not going to email you again. I don’t know for how long. I don’t know if I’ll ever get past all this.
I’m not saying goodbye, I’m just…I’m done for now. I don’t know what else to say. What else to do.
P.S.: that vacation to Iceland remains one of my top ten favorite memories of my entire life. Top five, and number two or three in that top five. Our wedding day is my number one favorite memory. We did it so cheap, a little arbor on the beach wreathed in white lace and white roses, you barefoot in your tux and me barefoot in that incredible Vera Wang I bought off the rack. I walked down the aisle to you to Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be” which was so great and ridiculous and just perfect. My parents were there, your mom, Delta, Lucy your agent, and that’s it. It was perfect. So romantic.
What’s number two? I’d really have to say the Iceland trip. We ate fish every meal, and I think I still have an entire storage crate full of wool sweaters. The locals thought we were so crazy for being so cold all the time, but sixty degrees is cold to us, whereas sixty to them is downright frickin’ balmy. I mean, I remember everything from that trip. Hiking for days, riding a motorcycle together around the coast, all the way around the whole island. Deep-sea fishing with Captain Didrik, but his name was actually spelled with that rune-letter-thing that looks like a “d” with a cross at the top of the upper part. Going out drinking, getting lost, and trying to find a cab to take us back to our B-and-B, but we couldn’t remember the name of it. Out of all that, though, yes, I remember the nights best. I was on my period for half the trip so we couldn’t have sex, but we had such an incredible, memorable time doing what we did, drinking and watching movies in that fucking frigid little room all night every night. It was amazing.
Number three is having Henry. Giving birth, I mean, they say you forget the pain, but I haven’t. It was so, so, so worth it to me, the moment I held that warm squalling, mewling, nuzzling little bundle of warmth in my arms. Fuck, now I’m crying because I miss him so damn bad. His little hands, his little feet. The way his chin would tremble when he cried, and his little fists would shake with outrage because he’d shit his pants for the twentieth time in 24 hours. I miss all of it.
For real. I’m done with these emails. I need time. I have all those fucking memories running through my head and I need you and I miss you and I love you, and then I remember that you FUCKING LEFT, and I’m just filled with rage all over again and I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do, Chris.
So, until I figure that out…I just can’t do this anymore. I don’t know. I don’t know anything. Don’t email back. Just…give me time and space. Please.
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