Natalie-Nicole Bates – March 2014

batestrs0314Natalie-Nicole Bates

2013 Finalist for Best Short Romance at the Festival of Romance Reader Awards.

Fifteen years ago, Bethany Minor fled her hometown after being left at the alter by Dane Brennan. After the sudden death of her mother, she is forced to return home and face her past.

The years have been hell for Dane, and seeing Bethany again only reopens wounds he long thought closed.

When they realize the flames of their past love never died, Bethany and Dane will need to confess all before they can have a chance to reclaim their life that once should have been.

But when the truth of the past is finally revealed, will they still stand as a couple?

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Reviews for Come Full Circle

“Come Full Circle is a deeply emotional novella about tragedy turned to triumph, that true love may very well endure over the years, and it is possible to have a second chance. One thing I love about Natalie-Nicole Bates’ stories is the emotional punch she is able to create. She is probably up there among the best with this skill. Dane Brennan’s transformation is fabulous. She has a unique style not readily seen these days. Come Full Circle is an amazing contemporary perfect for the Autumn season.”
5 Stars TOP PICK ~ Night Owl Reviews

 

Excerpt:

Dane felt strangely nervous about meeting Bethany. What could she possibly have that belonged to him? When he’d seen her earlier, at first she’d barely acknowledged  his presence.

But when she hugged him so hard it almost took his breath away, all of the old feelings came welling back up inside him, along with the regret of losing her, and the promise of everything a life with her would have brought.

The feelings of loss and sadness became so acute, that he could actually feel a pain in his chest. He’d made so many mistakes, and the gravity of those mistakes was still apparent.

Finally, he caught sight of her walking slowly up the street toward him. She was dressed only in a  loose-fitting old  sweatshirt and jeans, totally inappropriate for the cold, rainy weather. At that moment, he wanted nothing more than to take her in his arms, and beg her for a second chance. That, he would not do. He still had some semblance of pride and reality.

“Bethany, why did you walk here in the rain? I would have been happy to come to you,” he said, and dared to push a few errant strands of her dark hair away from her face.

“I need fresh air. Being in my mother’s house with all of her things…it was closing in on me.”

“I’m sorry. Would you like to get out of the rain? We could go somewhere and get a cup of coffee, and talk,” he  suggested hopefully.

“I’m not really to being around a lot of people, Dane. The funeral will be hard enough.”

“Would you like to come home with me for a while? At least you won’t be alone.” He made the offer, but from the look on her face, he already guessed her answer.

“No. Thank you for offering, though.”

Her refusal made it sound as though she’d said no to a business associate, not someone she’d once loved.

After a few minutes of silence, she spoke again.

“So anyway, here is what I came to give you.” She produced a small, familiar-looking box, from the front packet of her jeans.

He licked his lips. “I hope that’s not what I think it is.”

She lifted the lid, and as he feared, it was the engagement ring he’d given her, when he thought of her as his princess. The round diamond twinkled proudly under the harshness of the street lights.

“I don’t want it back,” he stated firmly. He didn’t ever want to see it again. The ring was a harsh reminder of what might have been.

“Well, I don’t want it either, Dane. It belongs to you. I thought my mother returned it to you after…after we broke up. It was wrong for her to keep it.”

She was trying to push the box into his hand, but he refused to open his hand and stepped back from her.

“Throw it into the garbage, Bethany.” He pointed to the public trash receptacle.

“I can’t throw it away; it’s too expensive!” she exclaimed.

“Then give it away, donate it, sell it! I don’t care!”

When she shrank back, he realized his tone was  harsher than he’d intended. Immediately, he stepped forward and pulled her into his arms. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he repeated over and over again.

He wasn’t sure exactly, how it happened, but his lips found their way to hers. He closed his eyes and basked in her familiarity, her taste, and his tongue gently parted her lips. As their kiss deepened, he became keenly aware of the contrast of the intense heat coming from her skin, and the icy coldness of her hand on his neck. In that one moment, he was ready to beg Bethany to escape with him forever.

“Hey, Mr. Brennan.”

The voice jolted him back to reality. A teenage boy  held the hand of a teenage girl as they passed by. They  looked vaguely familiar; most likely they were from the neighborhood.

“Hey,” he answered back.

“Hear that? If I’m Mr. Brennan, what does that make my father?” he whispered into Bethany’s ear.

Without a word, she tilted her head back and connected her beautiful espresso brown eyes―the eyes he’d fallen in love with―to his, and held him captive.

There was so much he wanted to say to her, but the words wouldn’t come. He touched a hand to her cheek, and found that her skin burned beneath his fingertips.

He then spoke the obvious.

“Bethany, you’re burning up with fever. You can’t be alone tonight. Come home, and let me take care of you,” he implored.

She blinked a few times, and he held a tiny hope she would agree to leave with him, but she reached up and ran her fingers through his beard, and said, “You know I can’t do that.”

“Well, at least, let’s go to the apartment upstairs at BFC. I lived there for a few years. It’s really nice.”

Her eyes grew huge. “I never want to go to that apartment again!”

Then she darted away from him, and hurried off in   the opposite direction.

For a moment, he simply watched her leave, perplexed at her final words. Why was she so upset at the mention of the apartment? It wasn’t as though she ever stayed there. It was mostly for interns from the mortuary college, who were on-call during the night.

He slowly crossed the street and walked to his car. Reaching his hand into the pocket of his jacket to get his keys, he  found the box with the engagement ring. A caustic laugh escaped his throat. While he was lost in their kiss, she’d found a way to return the ring.

 

About Natalie-Nicole Bates

Natalie-Nicole Bates is a book reviewer and author.

Her passions in life include books and hockey along with Victorian and Edwardian era photography and antique poison bottles. Natalie contributes her uncharacteristic love of hockey to being born in Russia.

She currently resides in the UK where she is working on her next book and adding to her collection of 19th century post-mortem photos.

Visit Natalie online at www.natalienicolebates.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BatesNatalie

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Natalie-Nicole-Bates/352610728138768?ref=hl

Blog: www.natalienicolebates.com

You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/natalienicolebates

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Interview with Holly Hewson

HH:  Natalie-Nicole, thank you for talking with us at The Romance Studio. Your featured book is Come Full Circle. Where did you get the idea for this emotionally-charged romance?

NNB: I always liked the idea of reconnecting to a former love after an extended period of time apart. I also wanted to explore the notion of forgiveness after a devastating betrayal.

HH: What do you like best about Bethany and why will readers like her?

NNB: Bethany, like my other heroines,  is a down to earth girl. She is loving and generous, but can stand on her own. She has also persevered through several tragedies.

HH: What do you like best about Dane and why will readers love him?

NNB: Although Dane had many foibles during his younger years, he matured into a man who accepted he made mistakes and did everything he could to correct the errors of the past. He was able to mature and transform.

HH: What makes this work different from your other stories?

NNB: This story has such a natural flow, that it felt to me like it wrote itself. It was a beautiful thing.

HH: What else do you have in store for lucky readers?

NNB: This year, I’m concentrating on paranormals. I’m currently writing an alternative telling of my paranormal, SEE ME. A sort of funked-up fairy tale. If things go to plan, I should complete three paranormal romances this year.

HH: What do you enjoy most about being an author?

NNB: I enjoy the freedom of being able to write my stories the way I want to write them. I enjoy sharing my writing with readers who like my style.

HH: What experience or experiences in your writing career have defined you to this point?

NNB: I think my body of published work after only being in the business for two years defines me as a writer.

HH: What goals have you set for yourself at this point in your career?

NNB: I tend not to set goals. I feel when there is pressure to perform, it takes away from the organic process of story creation.

HH: What do you enjoy reading?

NNB: It just depends on the day and my mood. I read a lot of biographies, mysteries, horror, and 1940’s books.

HH: Where can readers find you online?

NNB: Social Media Links for Natalie-Nicole Bates:

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