I love writing about the dynamics of a close-knit group of friends. It’s fun to play with how the group changes when new people are introduced or when old friends leave.
Over my life, I’ve had the privilege of being a part of several groups of friends. Most were close for a season. Others have been friends since high school. My favorite groups of friends have been ones that share the same faith as me.
In my new contemporary romance, The Air I Breathe, I write about a single mom named Kelly Sutton who moves to Arizona to start over. Her daughter’s father, Kyle, lives in Arizona. When Kelly needs help, the only guy she knows, Kyle, sends his roommate to help her out.
The roommate, Matt Dixon, helps her, of course, and then invites her to join his home group. What a strange mix of people in this group. There’s Kyle (Kelly’s baby’s daddy), his sister Marcy, Marcy’s husband Chad, Kyle’s new girlfriend Niki, Matt, Matt’s college buddy Joe, and Tori. The one thing they all have in common is a shared faith.
Even though this group of friends is diverse, they truly care about each other. When one is down, another steps up to help. They pray for each other. They get together for BBQs and fun activities.
The inspiration for this group of friends came from my group of church friends when I first moved to Arizona. We all shared a passion for youth ministry at the church we attended. And we all had our share of baggage. Yet we helped each other through some tough times, and we celebrated some great times—including the wedding of two of the group members!
Like many friendships, though, our group eventually disbanded as our seasons of life changed. I will always hold fond memories of those friends.
Enjoy this excerpt from The Air I Breathe.
Matt quickly loaded the dishwater and wiped down the countertops. After checking the hall bath, he fluffed the throw pillows on the sofa and neatly stacked the car magazines on the coffee table. A glance at the table made him frown. He grabbed some furniture polish to wipe down the smooth wood top.
“What’s got into you?” Kyle asked from the open door of his bedroom.
“Just picking up the place.” Matt tried to keep his voice light.
Kyle snorted. “Deep cleaning is more like it. You got a woman coming over or something?”
Matt froze as the words cut to the truth. There was nothing wrong with cleaning up a bit. It meant nothing.
“You don’t spend this much time cleaning up before home group,” Kyle added.
He felt his face grow warm as he nervously cleared his throat, the sound rattling in the silence.
“Kelly is coming over. I just don’t want the place to look like a bachelor pad.”
“It is.” Kyle laughed, and his eyes flashed with mirth. “Besides, Kelly doesn’t care.”
But I do. The admission concerned Matt. It wasn’t like he asked her to come over for a date. It was just coffee.
He pivoted back to the kitchen and turned on the Keurig. Then he restocked the k-cup holder with a variety of coffee choices. Because he hosted home group every week, he always kept lots of different flavors on hand.
The doorbell rang, and Kyle darted past him to get it. Drat, he thought as he fisted his hands at his side.
“Come on in. Don’t mind the cleaning product smell,” Kyle joked. “Matt was in a mood.”
Matt narrowed his eyes at Kyle’s back. Sometimes roommates were a pain.