**BLOG TOUR** The Space Between by Nikki Mathis Thompson

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The Space Between by Nikki Mathis Thompson Publication Date: March 17, 2015 Genres: Chick Lit, Romance, Women's Fiction

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Synopsis: Georgia Bristol’s life hasn’t turned out the way she’d imagined…but it’s a good life. Despite that fact, she finds herself yearning for something she can’t define. Haunted by the choices of her youth. Regrets. Everyone has them. What if? Everyone wonders at times. Lost in town a few heartbeats shy of deserted, Georgia encounters a mysterious woman who gives her a second chance to regain the life she thought she missed out on. Some say getting lost is the best way to find where you’re going. And sometimes everything must be stripped away before you realize that what you have, is what you wanted all along. The Space Between is one woman’s unconventional journey to regain what she holds dear, filled with heartbreak, friendship, and love. A thought provoking tale that will have you relating to her struggles and celebrating her triumphs.
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Excerpt
Georgia sank into the soft ground, crossing her bare legs. The bark of the large oak she was leaning against felt rough through the thin cotton material of her tank top. On the left, the lake glistened like ink in the darkness, and to the right, bright yellow flames sputtered and cracked. Her curtain of light brown curls shielded her from curious glances—some filled with pity and others, contempt. She hoped folding herself over her drink and keeping to herself would keep anyone from approaching her. 
So far, so good.
The dirt covered ground surrounding the bonfire was full of bodies—mingling, flirting, and drinking. She heard a shrill squeal and splash behind her. Why was she here again? Why wasn’t she under her covers reading, where she could be living Elizabeth Bennet’s life?  In theory, she should be enjoying herself. She was college bound after all, leaving the dregs of this podunk town far behind. But recent events had shaken her confidence. Recent events had made her question whether she had the strength to make it on her own, in college and a new city. A city that had more than a Shell station and a Dairy Queen. 
This new self doubt was grating on her nerves. She’d been dreaming of going to college since she was five. She’d walk around with the toy medical kit her aunt had given her for her birthday. Braids down her back, she’d wrap her stuffed animals in toilet paper and take their temperatures, a badge reading “doktr gorja” pinned to her favorite horse pajamas. When she turned thirteen, she begged the town’s only pediatrician to let her help him after school. He turned her down at first, but when she returned the next day with a chart proving how hiring her would improve his efficiency, he relented. 
Her recent jilted status was the the talk of the town, much to her utter humiliation. Brady Carmichael was her boyfriend. Was, as in past tense. Everyone admired him. He was an above average athlete, kind to old people and dogs. A regular boy scout—a very tall and good looking boy scout. He also made excellent grades. In fact, he’d missed Valedictorian by only half a point. Georgia knew that because she’d been the one to beat him by that half point. They’d always had a friendly rivalry when it came to grades. It started when they met sophomore year in honors Chemistry. It was as if the sea of mediocre minds had parted, and there he was.
Yep, Brady was going places…She’d thought those places included her. In fact, they were accepted into the same University eight hours away from their small town. She didn’t apply because of him. The school had the best pre-med program in the state, her boyfriend attending was just a comforting bonus. So, why was she second guessing everything, simply because the love of her young life had broken up with her?  She’d hoped she would have been above such feelings. Turned out she was as shallow a teenage girl as the rest. He’d been kind when he told her. That was one consolation, if one could be found. 

It was a Friday evening. They were lying in the bed of his truck watching the sunset. It was the cusp of spring and summer, so the air was just on the side of hot. Brady’s long muscular legs were hanging off the tail gate and Georgia was curled into his side—content. Her life was just how she wanted it, the love she’d always wanted. Everything was going according to plan. That should have been her first sign that the other shoe was about to drop.
She was kissing his neck below his ear as her leg inched over his thigh. She brushed her hand below his shirt. His warm skin felt good against palm.
“G…”Brady grabbed her hand and squeezed her fingers. She paused her kissing and lifted her head, marveling at the sparkle of gold in his brown eyes and the full plump of his lower lip. The breeze ruffled his dark hair and her thin cotton dress.“I’ve been thinking about college next year. About you and me.” He paused, looking grim. “I just…I just think it would be best if I had a fresh start, you know? No distractions…I plan to double major, maybe join a fraternity.”
“Distractions? What are you trying to say, Brady?” She sat up and frowned.
“I’m afraid…ugh, I don’t know how to say this…I just don’t think I’ll be able to give you the time and attention you deserve.” He kissed her on the head, breathing in the scent of her curls. Then whispered, “I love you, Georgia. Please don’t hate me.”
It took her a moment to realize she was getting dumped. 
She was stunned into silence—the seemingly romantic moment crushed under his out of the blue confession. She rested her chin on her knees, looking away from him. She found herself unable to speak, the lump in her throat was so thick she could barely swallow. The only movement was the tremble of her lips. 

The tears and pleading came seconds later, but to no avail. He’d stood firm in his decision and once that happened there was no going back. She humiliated herself for weeks; sending texts, baking him three dozen oatmeal chocolate chip cookies—his favorite, leaving a Hallmark store worth of mushy cards under his windshield wiper. 
The  peak of her groveling happened just three nights before. She’d snuck over to his house in the middle of the night. Her outfit, minimal, her plan, devirginization. She cringed at the thought now. How low could one person go? Trying to sex your ex into taking you back. What was she thinking? He politely turned her down, saying it wouldn’t be right. Damn him and his chivalrous gentleman tendencies. 
That was the moment she’d officially hit rock bottom. She decided she’d done enough begging and hadn’t contacted him since. And shocker, no incoming calls or texts from him either. Maybe he lost his phone, or maybe he was out of the country and had no signal…or maybe, and more likely, he was done with her. 
Well, maybe she was done with him, too. She took a long drink, cringing as she choked it down. 
Getting drunk in a dark corner, way to stick it to him.
She rolled her eyes at her idiocy. 
The party was starting to get rowdy. There’d already been one fight—testosterone and alcohol driven. One break up—cheating asshole driven. Apparently Aiden Hayes was caught making out with Jen Roberts. His girlfriend Sarah didn’t appreciate that, of course, especially since Jen was supposed to be her best friend. Sarah would’ve garnered more sympathy if it wasn’t a well known fact that she’d been messing around with Anthony Davis since the day he’d arrived home for summer break. 
Georgia thought it was all ridiculous. The most ridiculous was her hiding in the shadows like a bridge troll—legs covered in dust and a large stick threatening to impale her backside. She grabbed said stick and threw it into the water just as her prayer for invisibility was at last thwarted. 
“Hey, Georgie Porgie. I thought you looked lonely over here all by yourself.” 
She tried not to roll her eyes at the nickname she’d been saddled with since the second grade, nor the invasion of her private self-loathing session.
 “Hey, Nate,” Georgia replied without turning her head. Nate Bristol. Nice guy, handsome too, if you liked blue eyes and sandy blond hair, most girls did. But she preferred dark hair, brown eyes, no, not brown, that would be a paltry description. More like melted caramel…Holy hell, she needed a twelve step program. 
She knew she wasn’t being very friendly, but she was is no mood to be cheered up. She wanted to wallow in her self doubt and pity. Talking would only cut into the nice buzz she’d been working on for the past two hours. Oh, yes, that’s why she was here—to get blissfully inebriated. Everyone else seemed to enjoy getting wrecked with alarming frequency, so she thought she’d give it a whirl. If she could only get past the horrid taste. But interestingly enough, with each cup, she minded it less than the one before. And when ‘The Reason’ started playing from someone’s stereo speakers she didn’t have the urge to cry like she usually did. 
Yay, alcohol.
“You need a refill?” Nate asked. That got her attention. It was time to have some fun.
She vowed that Brady would play no part in tonight’s festivities, imaginary or otherwise. She gave herself a mental high five and took another swig.
“Now that you mention it, I would love a refill, Nate. Thanks.”
“Why don’t you come with me? I heard Bingham’s scored a bottle of tequila…If you think you can handle it.” 
Georgia looked at him for a moment. He had a really nice smile and intense blue eyes. There was a swirl of green in there too—almost like the Caribbean Ocean she’d seen on the Travel Channel. She’d been mesmerized by the patchwork of blues and warring shades of aqua…That was it, Nate had Caribbean blue eyes.
Drunk. 
“What?” he asked, amused. “Do I have a hanger?” His soft twang was adorable.
She laughed. “No, you’re all clear. I was just thinking how pretty your eyes are. I’m sorry to say I’ve never noticed before.”
“Uh, that’s okay. You only had eyes for another guy’s eyes…Shit, you know what I mean.”  She liked that he could laugh at himself. Brady took himself and life very seriously, that’s not to say he didn’t have a sense of humor per se. He was intelligent and that’s all that’d mattered to Georgia. He was the only boy she knew who could quote Lord Byron, hell, the only one who even knew he was. 
He would wrap her in his arms and whisper, “She walks in beauty, like the night. Of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that’s best of dark and bright. Meet in her aspect and her eyes.”
Then…swoon. Now…spew. 
The thought of Brady and his poetry regurgitating handsomeness made her jab her nails into her thighs. She was trying aversion therapy. So far, it hadn’t really worked.
She stood up, brushed off her backside, and with a smile, offered him her hand. 
Revenge was looking pretty hot at that moment. Really hot.
“Come on, Nathaniel. Let’s go do some shots.”
“Uh, it’s Nathan, actually.”
She waved her hand in the air. “Tonight you shall be Nathaniel.” Her voice taking on a slight accent.
He laughed. “Darlin, I’ll be whoever you want.”

Alcohol and a broken heart proved to be a toxic combination. In the months and years that followed she’d often wonder how her life would’ve been different if she’d stayed home or turned Nate down and kept to the shadows of the oak tree that night. But pondering the events that had already come to pass was an act of futility and never offered her anything other than frustration. 

Playlist / Soundtrack
1.The Reason- Hoobastank (Bonfire)
2.Three Libras- A Perfect Circle
3. No Surprises- Radiohead
4. Why Georgia- John Mayer (On the road)
5. Sleeping Lessons- Shins
6. Save Me- Muse
7. Sheep in Wolves Clothing- Little Hurricane 
8. Bad Dream- Keane
9. Side- Travis
10. Meant to Live- Switch Foot
11. Shake it Out- Florence + The Machine
*Bonus Track*
The Space Between- Dave Mathews Band


About The Author:

Nikki Mathis Thompson

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Nikki Mathis Thompson spent her formative years singing, dancing and creating her own world of make-believe. From an early age she developed a love of reading that has grown exponentially to near addiction. She has a business degree from the University of Texas at Dallas. Her degree looks great in the frame, but hasn't been utilized in years. She gladly left the cubicle life behind to raise her daughter and a son was added to the mix some years later. You can find her devouring a book while drinking a glass of wine, doing her part to save the planet or lip-synching to her favorite songs while running through her suburb. She lives outside of Dallas with her family.

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