It's our stop on the Present Perfect blog tour today and we can't wait to share this gorgeous book with you! And, we're lucky enough to have an exclusive excerpt, read on and enjoy!
Present Perfect by Alison G. Bailey
Release Date: August 6th, 2013
New Adult Contemporary Romance
Amazing Book Cover by artist Robin Harper of Wicked by Design
I’ve been unsure about many things in my life except for one thing, that I have always loved him. Every single minute of every single day that I have been on this earth, my heart has belonged to him. It has never been a question, never a doubt. The love had taken on many different forms over the years, but it had always been a constant.
Everyone has their definition of love. There have been countless songs sung about it. A gazillion books, articles, and poems written about it. There are experts on love who will tell you how to get it, keep it, and get over it.
We’re led to believe love is complicated. It’s not the love that’s complicated. It’s all the crap that we attach to it and put in front of it that makes it difficult. If you’re smart, you’ll realize this before it’s too late and simplify.
Amanda Kelly spent her entire life trying to control every aspect of it, while striving for perfection. Her obsession with being perfect, along with her feelings of worthlessness, consumed her. The one thing she thought was perfect in her life was the bond she shared with her best friend, Noah.
Everything was going according to her life plan until she woke up one day and realized she had fallen in love with him. The one thing she couldn’t control was the affect he had on her. Noah had the power to give her one hundred lifetimes of happiness, which also gave him the power to completely devastate her. He was the one thing in her life that was perfect, but she couldn't allow herself to have him.
Her life begins to unravel. Events take over and force her to let go of her dreams and desires. She needs to realize that a person cannot control the events in their life, only their reaction to them...but will it be too late for her to save her relationship with her best friend? Present Perfect is a story of how past events have present consequences and how perfect your present could be if you stopped fighting and just allowed it to happen.
“What do you think?” Noah asked, while we sat at the picnic table in the neighborhood park.
This had become ‘our spot’. It was the end of summer vacation. This time next week, we’d officially be high school freshmen. I wanted to enjoy every minute of tonight because once school started, time spent here would be limited. I loved coming to ‘our’ spot at night. Tonight, there was a slight breeze so it wasn’t as hot as it had been. The crickets were singing in the trees all around us and you could hear an occasional ripple of water from the pond when the ducks would paddle by.
Noah was sitting very close to me. We were both wearing shorts and the feel of our bare thighs touching was something new and exciting. I noticed just before the summer, he had started being more affectionate with me. Noah had always been sweet, but recently he hugged me more, held my hand more, and sat closer to me. I liked it. A lot. My body tingled every time he was this close.
We were sharing his set of ear buds listening to music. Both of us were huge music fans; alternative, indie, punk, rock, etc. The music of our favorite band, Lifehouse, was pulsating through the ear buds.
“They’re awesome,” I said, swaying side to side, my eyes closed, letting the music flow through me. “The entire CD is brilliant. The song ‘Everything’ is my favorite.”
“Mine too. It reminds me of you,” he said.
I quickly glanced at him, not sure if I heard what I thought I heard. I looked down and closed my eyes again. When the song ended, I looked over at Noah and caught him staring at me with a slight smile across his face.
“What are you smiling at?” I asked.
“You, I like watching you listen to music. You get so lost in it.”
Our eyes locked as I sucked in my lower lip, running my teeth over it. I felt a warm blush start to creep across my cheeks. I smiled at him, as I handed back the ear bud.
“Do you think they’ll go on tour soon?”
Noah shrugged. “Maybe.”
“If they come to town we have go to see them. I bet they’re unbelievable in concert.”
Suddenly, he hopped off the table and stood in front of me. Reaching into the back pocket of his cargo shorts, he produced two tickets, and held them up in front of me. He tried to contain it, but the grin on his face was getting bigger and more adorable each second.
“Performing Arts Center, three weeks, you and me, Tweet,” he said excitedly.
It took a second for me to register what he had just said. This would be the first concert either of us had been to. It was hard to contain my excitement.
I jumped up and flew into his arms, causing him to stumble backwards, and fall to the ground with me landing on top, straddling him. We were out of breath and laughing.
“Noah Stewart, you are the bestest best friend a girl could have.”
“I am pretty awesome, aren’t I?” He shot a flirtatious smirk up at me and my insides melted.
“Yes you are,” I said in a low voice.
We laid there, so close our noses were almost touching as our eyes locked on one another again. Noah had the most amazing eyes. They were light blue and so bright, it looked as if they were lit from the back.
I wish I had eyes like that. Mine were a weird color. Mom always said they were teal. What kind of color is teal? I can guarantee the color teal is the least used crayon in the Crayola big box.
I realized I should have probably gotten off of Noah immediately, but I didn’t. He seemed perfectly fine with me staying put, straddling him. My palms pressed against his chest let me know how toned and solid his body was, under his t-shirt. Playing baseball since we were little kids had been very, very good to him. I could also feel how excited he was. I had never felt anything like that before pressed against me. Surprisingly, I wasn’t scared. It felt right.
My gaze fell to his mouth. When I saw his tongue dart out slightly and run across his lower lip, a warm sensation took over my body. The butterflies in my stomach were doing cartwheels. Our breathing had gone from shallow and quick, to deep and slow. I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on. Noah was my best friend. I had always been excited when I saw him and wanted to spend all of my time with him, but what I was feeling was more than what I had experienced before.
Noah’s gaze dropped down to my lips, slowly moved up my face, and back to my eyes. Raising his hand, he tucked some of my hair that had fallen against the side of his face, behind my ear. My cheek and the shell of my ear tingled as the tips of his fingers skimmed across them.
“You were extremely sure of yourself, getting those tickets without asking me first. What if I didn’t want to go with you?” I said, teasing him. My voice was so quiet, it almost sounded like a whisper.
“Impossible. I know my girl too well,” he said, smiling up at me. I loved it when he called me his girl. He cleared his throat and then said, “I guess we better get up.”
“Oh. Yeah. Sorry about that.” A rosy blush took over my cheeks.
I rolled off of Noah’s body and sat up next to him. He didn’t stand immediately. I guess he needed a little time to calm down, so did I.
When he stood, he held his hands out to me, and helped me off the ground. Once I was on my feet, he pulled me in close against his chest, and said, “That was fun. What would you do for tickets to see Green Day in concert?” He had a smirk on his face.
I don't know if this happens to others, but for some reason I end up going through periods where I read books of a similar nature. I don't mean the stories are similar, more that they have similarities in intensity, emotion and in conveying meaningful messages. Just now I've been reading books that have had me reeling across a full gamut of emotions - and Present Perfect had me swinging on a pendulum from one extreme to the other. Congratulations on your first book Alison G. Bailey - it was ... perfection.
Present Perfect is an absolutely beautiful story about the importance of the present, about living in the here and now, not fearing what might be, but grabbing what is with both hands and reveling in everything it brings, regardless of how short lived it might be.
Amanda 'Tweet' Kelly considers herself less than perfect. When she compares herself to her sister, Emily, there's a lot left to be desired (in her eyes). Not as sporty, not as academic, not as pretty - Tweet sees all her limitations and, sadly for her, lets her self assessment heavily influence choices she makes. Of greatest consequence are the choices she makes about Noah Stewart, her life long best friend.
I absolutely loved the way Bailey told the story of Tweet and Noah's friendship. Connected shortly after birth the two were virtually inseparable with one of those unique bonds that most of us don't get to experience. They shared so many things, all their 'firsts', and had in each other an unquestionable ally, confidant and protector. There comes a time in their friendship when both of them realize they have fallen in love with each other, not the friendship kind of love, but the all consuming, soul mate kind of love ... only Tweet's lack of self worth drives her to focus on protecting the friendship at all costs, rather than exploring the relationship.
The intensity of emotions I felt while reading Present Perfect was extreme. I'm not one to cry often when I read, but I did have a bit of a quiet tear here and there as I read. There were also some laugh out loud moments and sometimes they were wrapped so close together it was hard to believe I had jumped straight from one emotion to the other.
Dalton was a favorite character for me, with some of the most sage advice from one so young. I particularly liked:
"He deserves to know how he impacted your life. He gave you a gift. You know what it feels like to love someone. That doesn't come along every day, at least not the real kind. You need to go thank him for that before you have to say goodbye. Everyone deserves a thank you and goodbye."
oh, and "Ah young grasshopper ... perfection is an illusion nurtured by insecurities" - his was only a minor role in the story, but his contribution was profound. I would have loved a lot more Dalton.
There were so many things that happened in this gorgeous story, some wonderfully memorable lines and the ending had me reeling ... twice! I think Present Perfect is the kind of book that can teach us all something. I suspect I will return to it again and will find yet another pearl of wisdom. For now I will sit back and bask in the glow of having finished a fabulous story.
5 out of 5 stars
Alison was born and raised in Charleston, SC. As a child she used her imagination to write additional scenes to TV shows and movies that she watched. She attended Winthrop University and graduating with a BA in Theater. While at Winthrop she began writing one act plays which she later produced. Throughout the years she continued writing and producing several one act plays, but then life got in the way and she hung up her pen for a while. On the advice of a friend, she started writing again. In January 2013, Alison sat down at her computer and began writing her first novel, Present Perfect.
Alison lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, Jef, and their two furry children (dogs). She’s addicted to Diet Pepsi and anything with sugar.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Paperbacks
What an awesome giveaway!! Prizes include:
10 ebook Copies of Present Perfect
1, $25 Gift Card to Amazon OR Barnes and Noble
1 Kindle Fire Cover
1 Nook HD Cover
5 Handmade Present Perfect Themed Book Charms
5 Signed PaperbacksCopies of Present Perfect
And another giveaway, just for Into the Night Review followers!
Blog Tour organised by Literary Mania Reviews