Title: Tamara King
Author: Emily Wright
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: 10/04/2021
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Contemporary, lit, lesbian, bisexual, students, wedding, flashbacks, slow burn, friends to lovers, cheating
Sam Atlas’s hopes are at an all-time low. She’s tired of being the third wheel to her two best friends and her romantic life is nonexistent—until Sam bumps into the fiery and elusive Tamara King, and it changes everything. Sam learns quickly of Tamara’s unreliability, and their complicated relationship grows with them as they move towards their thirties.
In her search for closure, Sam’s friends support her through comedic rebound dates, defend her many drunken mishaps, and stand by her side right up until the event she never expected she would see—Tamara King’s wedding.
Sam learns how first loves often leave scars that are hard to heal, but finds that letting go can bring laughter, heartache, and unexpected love.
Emily Wright © 2021
All Rights Reserved
It was just a wedding.
At least that’s what I was telling myself, sitting on the cliff’s edge as the waves lapped at my calves. Happy place, happy place.
The water was always cold in England, leaving red bumps rippling across my skin like Braille. I longed for the water. For the cry of the gulls above, spiralling and diving over the people who meandered across the sand. The wind whipped at my face, carrying the thought that echoed in my head. It’s just a wedding…
“Hello, Sam? Are you even listening to me?”
The dress hung perfectly on my wardrobe door. I wasn’t sure how long I had been staring at it until my brother waved his hand in front of my face.
“Oh. Sorry. Yes, I’ll remember.” I rubbed my eyes. The dress lingered still, the image burned into the back of my eyelids. “Twelve o’clock.”
“Eleven!” Jake rolled his eyes. “I know you pride yourself on being fashionably late, but a wedding is no time for that.” His expression turned serious when I didn’t reply. “Hey, are you okay?”
My mind wandered idly back into the room, away from the damp sand and waves that were previously pulling my body towards the seabed. The sea often soothed me. But Jake’s deep voice was dragging me out of my happy place and back to the four walls of my bedroom. At this rate, I was prepared to suck my lungs full of air and drift away from the room on the current.
“Yeah. I’m fine,” I said, closing my eyes and moving further and further away, my head tilted back to the sky as the waves tipped me over the horizon.
“Don’t be nervous.” He placed his big hand awkwardly on my shoulder. “You’ve nothing to worry about.”
“I know. I know.” I tried not to look at the dress, but it was staring back at me. The same way it had been for the past few hours.
Jake followed my gaze. “Is it the dress you’re worried about?”
I didn’t answer. I didn’t know what to say.
“That is the least of your problems.” He flicked my arm when I didn’t reply.
I rubbed the spot absent-mindedly, still watching my dress hang loosely over the door. I briefly thought about dragging it into the hallway and letting Flic rip it to shreds with his claws.
“Come on, Sam. Lighten up. It’s a wedding, not a bloody funeral.”
He watched me for a moment and then shrugged and stood to leave. “I’ll be here at quarter to. Try not to have too much fun while I’m gone.”
I stayed still, perched on the edge of the bed until I heard him shut the door and drive away. He was right. It was just a wedding. A wedding I had been dreading for the last few months, but nonetheless, just a wedding. Besides, Ellie and Tom would be there, and I didn’t want to let them down, embarrass myself, or lose face. I held a deep breath in, promising myself that after I exhaled, I would start getting ready.
A fierce knock at the door pulled me back to reality. I forced myself down the hallway, almost tripping over one of Flic’s plastic toys. Despite tidying them up daily, they were always scattered around the house. I was surprised I hadn’t broken anything with the number of times I had fallen over them. I understood why some people believed cats were conspiring to kill their owners. Another knock.
It was the postman, delivering my last-minute gift purchase from the late hours of the night before. I inspected the contents, the packaging now scattered on the floor. Looking at it, I wasn’t sure it was a good idea. It seemed like the stupidest thing in the world.
I placed it next to the pre-existing present I had on the mantelpiece, wrapped prettily in silver paper and purple ribbon. My view flickered between them for a minute. Maybe it would be a nice surprise. Or maybe it would ruin the whole day. Surely a kind gesture couldn’t be interpreted as a bad thing, could it? I took the gift into my hand again and turned it over and over in my palm. Then I noticed the time on the clock and ran back to my bedroom to start getting ready.