K.L. McLoughlin ~ Best Man Instead ~ Release Blitz / Giveaway / Excerpt
Title: Best Man Instead
Series: Shellington Series #3
Author: K.L. McLoughlin
Release: September 1, 2021
Genre: Steamy Contemporary Romance
How could fate introduce me to the woman who haunts my dreams and take her away in the same moment?
Pete Conaghan’s dreams have been filled with visions of Kayla his entire life. Through many lifetimes they’ve loved and lost each other. She stars in every video game he creates: different eras, different roles, but the same bewitching eyes. When his childhood best friend, Dylan, invites him to dinner to meet the new girlfriend the last thing he expects is to meet Kayla, and to discover she’s real. The second surprise of the evening is that they ask him to be their best man. It’s crushing that he can get to know her but never be with her. But the old lady from his dreams insists this is the lifetime he and Kayla will finally be together.
When Kayla meets Pete, he’s the only one of her fiancé’s friends she actually likes. When they touch, she feels more than she should, more than she knew she could. The old lady from her childhood dreams is back and trying to tell her something. But will she listen? In this life, Kayla is determined to find her own way.
What happens when you miss the messages from fate? Will Kayla and Pete ever be in sync?
Best Man Instead is a steamy contemporary romance set in the fictional town of Shellington, MA. It is book three of The Shellington Series.
His dream stood flesh before him, yet still out of reach.
Pietro from the game Rulers of the Rivers
Pete froze at the sight of her. He blinked repeatedly; the air sucked out of his lungs. There she sat, across the room. Kayla. She was real. How was this possible? Everything around her blurred. All he could see was her. Her long wavy chestnut hair shone as it fell down her back, behind her shoulders. How long was it? To her shoulder blades like in his last dream or to her waist as in the one before that? Did it smell like wildflowers? Her heart shaped face framed a perfect smiling mouth. How many times had he brushed those lips with his own? Tasted the sweetness of her — in his dreams? He was too far away to see the color of her eyes, but he knew the piercing blue/gray of them as well as he knew anything. He’d been seeing those eyes in his dreams for as long as he could remember. Hell, those eyes had inspired characters in the video games he’d created for years. Was it really her?
The maître d’s voice snapped the world back into focus. The music from the string quartet in the corner soothed over the hushed conversations in the absurdly over-priced French restaurant Dylan had invited him to, to meet the new girlfriend on this October Thursday evening. He hadn’t seen Dylan in ages. There was no one he’d known longer but since they went their separate ways for college years ago, they’d grown apart. The invitation to dinner came out of the blue, but Dylan loved playing the big man and Pete happily obliged, especially if it meant eating well on Dylan’s dime.
“Yes.” Pete replied to the maître d, his eyes never leaving her. Who was she smiling at? He couldn’t see.
“The rest of the party is here. S’il vous plait, allow me to escort you to your table.”
Pete nodded before being led between candlelit tables with crisp white linen tablecloths and patterned china on golden chargers, under ornate crystal chandeliers giving an amber glow to the room. Closer and closer to her he moved. Before he knew what was happening, he stood before her.
“Voilà.” The maître d waved a hand at the table where she smiled up at him, sitting across from none other than his childhood best friend.
Dylan stood up to shake his hand and bro hug him. He wore an expensive Italian suit, looking as if he’d just stepped out of GQ. She stood as well wearing a spaghetti strap wine colored silk dress that clung to her as it fell to just below her knees. Pete swallowed as he tried to moisten his mouth.
“It’s you.” Did he really just say that? Way to make a first impression Conaghan.
Her whole face lit up when she chuckled at him. The sparkle in the purest eyes he’d ever seen gleamed at him.
“It’s me.” She gave him a quick friendly hug. A jolt of electricity burst through him. “I’m Kayla.” Her eyes clouded as she said it, not revealing a thing. Did she feel it? He couldn’t tell. Was he imagining it? Was he losing his damn mind?
I was raised outside of Ottawa, ON Canada and was lucky enough to have my horse in my backyard. The first thing I ever remember wanting to do was tell stories, but I was told that there was no money in it, so I moved on — to the incredibly lucrative career of elementary education. After taking a break from the work force while raising my boys, I returned (somehow) to work in securitized real estate: educating investors and keeping track of a lot of details.
I’ve lived in Massachusetts; Northern California; British Columbia, Canada; Southern California; and now Nevada. I love it here in Nevada and would really rather not move again for a long time. 2020 was an interesting year but what I’m most grateful for is that it allowed me to dive back into my passion for writing.
I’m blessed to be married to the love of my life and with our dog O’Malley we endeavor to live our best lives. I love to cook; you’ll see pictures of food all over my Instagram. I love dogs, horses, hiking, and writing. Nothing is more fun than when my characters misbehave requiring me to re-plot the rest of the book.