Last Kiss, by Luanne Rice

Read an exclusive letter from author Luanne Rice to her readers about Last Kiss.

Last Kiss

Dear Friends,

The beach means summer to me, but so much more than just sand and swimming and salt air. It means love: in my case, gathering together at the summer cottage my grandparents built, sharing another season with family and friends. Hubbard's Point, the setting for Last Kiss and many more of my novels, is based on the beach area to which I return year after year. It is filled with beauty, hidden places, and a beautiful white sandy beach. People fall in love there; they just do. As one character says, "the very air of Hubbard's Point is an aphrodisiac."

I have to admit that I feel a very different love for the place. It's simple and summery, yet deeper than summer love. I am thrilled that Last Kiss is the All You Club pick, and I wrote about all these things in my guide to being a beach girl, a beach friend, in a special club edition of Last Kiss available only at Walmart. This novel means so much to me, and tells such truth about my summer friends, I'd like to invite you to be an honorary beach friend. Teenagers, grown-ups, it doesn't matter: you're all invited.

And because the beach is full of secrets, one revealed itself to me while I was writing my "Beach Girl Guide," and I had to write a new Last Kiss chapter just for you, which you'll also find at the end of the club edition.

Last Kiss is the story of Sheridan Rosslare, a single mother with one beloved son. She's a singer-songwriter who creates music that brings love and hope into other people's lives. When her worst nightmare comes true, all the dreams she's written about, sung about, all the goodness she has brought into others' hearts, drift into nothing―as if they'd never existed, as if she'd never believed them in the first place―and she shuts herself off from the world.

But beach friends are loyal and true, and one of her oldest friends finds his way back to her. Some questions can't be answered, but along with her son's girlfriend, he finds that he has to try in order to bring Sheridan back to life.

There's so much to talk and wonder about: how far can friendship go? Where does "helping" someone turn into "fixing" them? What role does personal history play in the present? If something happened when you were six, how will it affect you at thirty-six?

The characters in Last Kiss were inspired by my novel Beach Girls. So much in both stories comes from me, from my history and life and the deepest parts of my being.

Last Kiss ends with two favorite Beach Girls characters on the verge of something new and heart-breakingly wonderful. The new chapter at the end of the club edition answers one of those unanswerable questions. Once you read it, you'll understand what I mean.

I hope you all have wonderful barefoot summers, filled with happiness, friendship, and adventures with your best friends.

With love,

Luanne Rice