Reaching Rachel – Author L.L. Collins
Release Date: January 19, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Living Again #2
Rachel has always been seen as a wild child, never committing or settling down. She wants it that way, so that no one ever finds out the truth. Deep down, she is crushed over something that happened years ago that resulted in losing the only man she ever loved. Then she meets someone who tries to convince her that she’s ready to commit again. But some things are not what they seem. Realizing too late that she’s in over her head, and with her life on the line, she comes face to face with her past in a way she never thought possible.
Devin was in love once, and it destroyed him, making him swear off love forever. After a promotion and subsequent move unexpectedly brings him into the middle of her dangerous situation, he must come face to face with his past and to the woman who broke him into pieces. But she needs help. Desperately. And maybe, just maybe, he didn’t know the real truth of their past. Can he help her survive the terrible ordeal she’s been through, and during it all, can he safeguard his heart from her? Or will the truth of the pain that has kept them apart show him that he can’t live without her after all?
About the Author
LL Collins is a teacher who loves spending her days in the Florida sun with her husband and boys, reading, and writing. Her love of writing has found a home in the self-publishing world. Living Again and Reaching Rachel are available on Amazon Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iBooks, in both eBook and paperback. LL has been writing since she was old enough to write. Always a story in her head, she finally decided to let the characters out and start writing and try to make her lifelong dreams of becoming an author come true. She has been a teacher for over ten years, a wife for 14, and a mom to two boys, 11 and 9.
Rachel lifted her face and pressed a kiss to her favorite arm her spot. “Devin, all of these years, I’ve been trying so hard to replace you, to make my mind forget by filling it with…men. But, every time, Dev. Every single time, I was disappointed. No one can ever be you because you are the only one for me. And to answer your question, yes. I’m more than okay. That wasn’t just sex, Devin. That was you, bringing me back to life. I want to do that over, and over and over again. And next time,” she rolled over to face him, a glint in her eye. “I want it like I know you wanted to do it this time. Hard, fast, and in whatever position you want it. We had some fabulous times together. Let’s do that again.”
“I want nothing more than to do it all,” Devin said, his voice low. “But don’t mistake what just happened for me just being gentle on you. I wanted to make love to you, to show you what you mean to me. I can tell you all day long, but I wanted you to feel it; feel me. My heart is beating only for you. My body is yours. I love you, Rachel.”
She climbed back on top of him, pressing her body against him. “Devin,” she said, her face even with his. Pressing kisses to his eyes, nose, then lips, her body started shaking. Why was this so hard for her? She knew it like she knew her own name, but saying it was so difficult for her. “I…” She dipped her head down and kissed his ear, running her tongue along it, then his neck. When goose bumps broke out on his body, she grinned against his neck. Going back to his lips, she put her hands against his face and looked at him in the eyes. “I love your eyes,” she whispered. “And your face. God help me, that body is to die for. But Devin?”
“What I really love?” Rachel paused, willing her body to stop quivering. “Is you. I always have.” There, that wasn’t so bad. “I have since the night I met you, and I’ve never stopped. All this time, all these years, it’s only been you for me, Dev. I know we have shit to work through. But, I love you. I do. I don’t think there will ever be a moment where I’m not completely and totally in love with you.”
Rachel hung up the phone, walking over to Devin. “We’re babysitting,” she announced, looking around the room. “Wonder what we should put away?”
Devin stood up, wrapping his arms around her waist. “This should be a lot of fun, babe. Kinda like playing house. Ooh, speaking of playing house…”
“Devin Putnam,” Rachel scolded playfully, swatting him. They laughed, and before they knew it, there was a knock on the door. “Saved by the bell.”
“Thank you so much,” Kayley said, breathless from getting the kids and all of their stuff into the house. “Ben should be by to get them in about an hour unless something happens at work. He’ll call you if he’s going to be later. Are you sure you’re going to be okay?”
Alexis looked at her mother. “Mom, I’ll help Auntie Rachel with Benji and Cierra. You don’t need to worry.”
Kayley kissed her daughter on the head. “Okay, then. Have fun, and be good.”
“Mommy!” Benji cried out as Kayley made her way for the door. She stopped and hugged him again. Alexis walked over, taking his hand and distracting him with his favorite toy.
Rachel turned, wondering what they were going to do now, and stopped in her tracks. Devin was sitting on the floor, Cierra in his arms. She was giggling at Devin as he made silly noises. Her stomach constricted with the sight. She’d never seen him holding a baby before, and it was making her feel something foreign; something motherly. It had been days since Devin’s little visit to Mark/Justin, and there was still no word. Spending time with Kayley’s kids was a nice distraction.
He looked over at her and smiled. “She’s so cute,” he commented, rubbing his nose against Cierra’s, who giggled again.
“She looks like me when I was a baby,” Alexis chimed in, sitting down next to Devin on the floor. Benji followed her, still sticking close to his big sister. “Mommy and Daddy said I was the cutest baby ever. Did you know I have two daddies? That makes me special.”
Rachel laughed. Alexis was something else, and of course was warming right up to Devin, too. Benji watched them, his big blue eyes still shimmering with tears.
“Do you want to play ball?” Rachel asked Benji, crouching down next to him on the floor. He nodded his head silently, and she held out her hand. He took it, and she moved him away from the other kids so they could roll the ball. He came alive, laughing and squealing as she missed the ball he rolled.
“Benji, look at how fast you are!” Rachel laughed.
“Me pway baw wif Daddy,” he said. Rachel rolled the ball back to him, watching Devin out of the corner of her eye with the two girls. Alexis was handing Devin a bottle for Cierra, the little mommy that she was. He settled Cierra back in his arms, and she took the bottle in one hand and held onto his hand with the other.
Their eyes met across the room, and they both smiled. This felt—real.
Excerpt 3 – The steamy one
“I’m safe,” Devin whispered into her ear, and she shivered. She wasn’t sure exactly which meaning he meant by saying that, but she’d take all of them. She knew he was. She had never felt safer in her life. Turning her head, she met his eager lips, and they hungrily sucked on each other’s lips and tongues as he pushed himself gently inside her. She gasped into his mouth as she felt the pressure of him inside her, and he stilled. Using her feet to pull him back towards her, he resumed without saying a word. Their kisses matched the rhythm of his pulses. Rachel’s head was reeling. It was so different, even though the action was the same. With him, everything was like seeing it, feeling it, for the first time. Her body started quivering, close to release already.
He broke their kiss to suckle her neck, then turned her quickly so she was on top, straddling him while he was still inside her. She smiled at him, loving him for giving her the control. “Rachel.” His hands caressed her breasts, then he used one to touch her where they were joined, causing her to throw her head back and groan in satisfaction. The man just knew exactly what to do. “I need you….I…” Devin closed his eyes, shifting his hands to her hips so he could rock her back and forth. She understood what he needed, because she needed it too. She began moving on top of him, the feeling of fullness stretching her, teasing her with sensation.
He continued to rock her hips with his hands as he watched her, his eyes wide. Her hair was loose and falling around her face, as he loved it. They locked eyes as she moved up and down, teasing him. They both knew what they wanted, and they were ready. She increased her pace, moving faster and harder. She leaned over so her face was even with his as they moved furiously together, both racing for the feeling they were craving. He removed his hands from her hips and used them to frame her face, kissing her deeply as her body began shuddering over him.
Author Interview Questions
What inspired you to write Reaching Rachel?
Well, Rachel is a character from Living Again, so I wanted to write her story to let everyone figure out why she was the way she was. There wasn’t a particular inspiration for her, though I know many women deal with situations like she found herself in, and I wanted to show that no matter what your circumstances, you can fight through and come out stronger.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve loved to write (and read) for as long as I can remember. I wrote stories when I was a young child.
What was your favorite part of Reaching Rachel?
My favorite part of the book was when Devin stays by her side, despite everything, after her traumatic ordeal (trying not to give spoilers)
What was the hardest part to write in Reaching Rachel?
JUSTIN! If you read the book, you’ll know why. He was such a hard character.
What book are you reading now?
Nothing :-(. I just bought Used by Lynetta Halat, but who knows when I will get to it. I work full time and write, so that leaves very little time.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
A ton. So many, I can’t list them for fear of forgetting someone. I love the indie community and how well we stick together. I love discovering new authors.
What are your current projects?
I’m currently working on Living Again #3 (title not announced yet), which is Ellis’ story (a character from Reaching Rachel), and Alex and Kayley’s novella, Always and Forever.
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes! I have two careers right now!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Reaching Rachel?
Do you have any advice for other writers? Stick with it, don’t let other people drag you down, and don’t write to a certain trend—be yourself and believe in your work.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I can never thank them enough for the support. I love every message and review I get where people felt something when reading my books. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here at all. I’m so very grateful.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
Starting out, I had no idea what to do at all other than what Amazon said you had to do in order to self publish. But, being the driven person I am, I set out to find out what I needed to know. It was a daunting task, learning the process of everything and connecting with people, but I’ve met some of the most amazing people along this journey. To this day, marketing myself is the hardest part. Between working full time and writing, something has to give when you need to spend time getting your name out there. Thankfully I now have a team of people there that helps me.
What is your character’s name?
Who does the character surround herself with?
Who are the people your character is closest to? Rachel surrounds herself by friends that don’t really know much about her personally. She tells them what she wants them to know, and nothing more. Who does the character wish he were closest to? She wishes she could tell everyone what has hurt her for years, but she doesn’t feel like she should, since she believes she ruined everything.
Where was your character born? Where has he lived since then? Where does he call home?
She was born and raised in Florida, and has lived there her whole life there.
Where does your character go when angry?
To the beach, to sit and watch the waves.
What is your character’s biggest fear? Who has the character told this to? Who would the character never tell this to? Why?
Being alone. She hasn’t told anyone, because she wants everyone to feel that she’s okay being single.
Does the character have any secrets?
Yes. She keeps a secret what really happened that broke her and her love of her life up 5 years prior.
What makes your character laugh out loud?
Her friend’s little girl, Alexis
When has your character been in love? Had a broken heart?
Yes. She has loved once, a cop named Devin that she met when she was only 19 years old.
Purchase Living Again (Living Again Series #1) on sale for $1.99!