The Beautiful Now by M. Leighton ~ EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

Dane James worked my stepfather’s fields. He was the boy next door.


From the moment we met, we were star-crossed lovers—always wanting, never having. We loved each other for most of our lives, but right from the beginning destiny had other plans.  She knew we would fall in love.  She knew we would fall apart.  Over and over again, like the curse of a recurring nightmare.  Or the hope of a familiar dream.

Our past was tumultuous.  Our future was bleak.  But the one thing we always had was the beautiful now.

Until that was taken from us, too.



“Brinkley?” He leaned back on his hand, stretching one leg out in front of him.  His body, bigger than life in that moment, listed toward mine the slightest bit.


“Do you think about kissing me?”

I gulped.  For a split second, I considered lying again, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Not over this. “Sometimes it’s all I can think about.”

And it was.

I tried not to think about him, but I did anyway. I thought about him a lot.  More than I would ever have admitted to myself until right then.  I couldn’t seem to help myself.

I watched him at school when no one was looking. I watched him at the bus stop when he couldn’t see me.  I looked for him in the fields when I went out into the front yard.  And I dreamed of him.

More nights than I could count, I dreamed of him.

So yes, I thought about kissing Dane James. I thought about being with Dane James.  For real. In public.  But those were just dreams, too.  Different than reality.

But this—tonight, right now—isn’t a dream.

I was there, alone in the night, with the object of my forbidden desires, and all I wanted was to feel his mouth against mine.

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, M. Leighton, is a rarely ever comfortable speaking about herself in the third person, but here goes. Michelle is a former nurse who has always harbored a passion for the written word, a weakness for alpha males, and a profound love of all things romantic. Never in her wildest dreams did this Yankee-turned-Southerner imagine her life as it is today. She has the best job in the world, a husband who treats her like a princess, and a dog that’s so smart she may one day write a novel, too. You can often find Michelle hidden away in her cave, crafting a new story, or out in the sunshine enjoying some quiet time with her man. Movies, wine, and good food are frequently thrown into the mix, and exercise on days that start with Q. She loves laughter, chocolate, the color red, and you can find out more about her at Sign up for her newsletter here: She promises not to spam your inbox:)


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Also, if you like music, you might like to know that I do, too, and that it plays a big role in my inspiration.  For that reason, I create a playlist for each book I write, adding the songs that inspire me as I go. You can find all my playlists here on Spotify

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