Conflicted Love (Needle's Kiss)

By: Lola Stark

First and most importantly my babies, for being what you have been and now are. It’s been a long hard road and it may never be smooth or without stepping stones, but it’s ours all the same.

So many people I need to thank this time around, some of who I won’t ever be able to thank properly. Becky, my editor, again and again, I’m forever in your debt for being patient and stretchy with me…keep that whip handy. Justine, Vanessa, Tamara, Holly, Kristine and all the wonderful girls who read my first drafts and notes, you girls kept this one flowing with your demands and pom poms. Bella, Bec, Sali & Belle, you all helped me through some sticky spots and put up with my whingeing. A few of you girls were there from the very beginning, and I owe you a million thank yous for that and many other things. You’ve each taught me some invaluable lessons that I will carry with me for as long as I’m able to keep on keeping on. Tara, for cussing at me and kicking my ass when I doubted my funny. C.c, for taking such a great interest in my pants; life’d be boring without you. Sissy, for being a sweet voice and smiling face. For sharing a world of care and consideration with me, and not getting cranky when I put my mummy shoes on.

Pebbles, I’m unsure you’ll ever understand just how much you’ve held me together and built me up to be what I one day hope to become. Words can’t express how much gratitude I have for the person you are and the absolute honor that it is to be in your world. Tighten the screws on the rocking chairs and gas up the oxygen tanks; these nightingales have tales to tell.

My Kiss it teamies. You ladies go above and beyond on a daily basis spreading the word and dragging new readers into our little cave. Each and every one of you are badass babes. The handful of girls who helped me stumble along the way, you know who you are, and I can’t thank you enough.

Bloggers far and wide, without your awesome sauce pimping skills and love for reading, I wouldn’t be where I am today. If you have shared a link or tweeted a teaser, clicked a cover or bragged about a book, you are a rock star. Cris, you are my own personal cheerleader and I love you to the moon, lady.

My readers, Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine my stories would become what they are. They have done so because you shared, one-clicked, read, loved and reviewed. You have changed one family’s hopes and dreams with the simple click of a button. I’ll forever be indebted to you all.

There you go; my eyes leaked. Happy? Great. Turn the page and get reading then…

This one is dedicated to a few people. As always, my little man angel, you will forever hold my words, my soul and my heart.

The people who held me together when my wings were broken. I’m still learning to fly, but my dreams are within reach thanks to you.

The people who broke me down, a special thanks goes out to you. You helped me to brush myself off and stand taller than I did before; I’m a stronger person for it.

“Scotch on the rocks,” I told the bartender before turning back to the party. Doing a quick sweep of the room, I took in all the crap hanging from the ceiling, streamers, paper bells and bird-shaped shit. The confetti and champagne glasses were strewn across every surface. It looked like cupid had walked in and puked on the place. The lovey-dovey shit was for the birds.

My eyes fell on Mace and Scarlett holding each other on the dance floor. Scarlett looking up at Mace like he’d hung the stars and moon. Mace looking down at her like she was God’s gift made just for him. The way they were with each other made me wanna poke my eyeballs out with a fork. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy for them. There weren’t two people I knew who deserved to be as happy as those two were, but the thought of being with one person for the rest of my life made me nauseous and claustrophobic.

Turning back to the bar, I picked up my glass and downed it in one hit. I’d need a good bit of booze to get me through the night, to deal with all the sweet-cutesy crap.

I scanned the room, again my gaze landing on Teeny sitting quietly on her own in a corner, smiling sadly at the happily engaged couple. As somber as she looked, she was still a knock out, and she still wasn’t speaking to me. Not nicely anyway. One night of stupid, drunken decisions and I’d royally screwed up years of carefully constructed friendship.

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