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Read an excerpt from The Counting Downers by A.J. Compton

The stunningly poignant and life-affirming debut novel by A.J. Compton

Imagine if we could see how long everyone around us had left to live. But we weren’t allowed to know our own numbers… 

Trying to make sense of life after the death of her beloved father, free spirit Matilda Evans meets Tristan Isaacs and discovers a marrow-deep connection with him. 

No stranger to grief himself, lonely artist Tristan is in awe of Matilda’s fun and philosophical approach to life. With every second spent in her presence, he finds his views on life and loss changing, and begins to embrace the beauty of being alive. 

As their friendship turns into something deeper, lessons are learned, memories are made, and legacies are created. 

But with both of them knowing how long their soulmate has left in this lifetime, important questions have to be asked and tough decisions have to be made before time runs out.

The Counting-Downers is an inspiring story about life, loss, love, and making the most of every moment.


And suddenly, I realize that all those books and movies had gotten it wrong.

When you find your souls reflection in another, you shouldn’t be aware of anything other than their body, yours, and the space between.

You shouldn’t be looking for someone whose kiss causes you to escape reality by transporting you to another time and place. Look for the person whose kiss grounds you firmly in the moment, whose arms hold you safely in the now.

When your lips lock with your destiny, you should be aware of every prickle on your skin that rises to greet them, every strand of their hair that caresses your fingers, every gasp of air that reaches your ears.

Most of us kiss with our eyes closed. But that’s not always a good thing. It depends why they’re shut.

If you asked most people to imagine themselves in a situation, the first thing they would do is close their eyes.

You should kiss with your eyes closed to heighten your other senses and block out everything but the now, not to escape to somewhere else.

Reality should be better than your imagination.

Because when it’s right, like this is right, you won’t have to use your imagination at all.

In Tristan’s arms, with my legs around his waist, as we breathe in the salty air and the cool water laps against our lust-heated skin, I know I couldn’t have dreamed this moment better.

Each moan he makes reverberates through my bones until I can’t distinguish which one of us is making the sound.

With every press of his lips, every touch of his tongue, every stroke of his fingers, he is becoming an intrinsic part of me as I do the same to him. Our molecules melt together until they are one.

Behind us on the beach, people continue with their days and lives as if the world has not just been altered in a fundamental way.

Their world may be the same, but mine never will be. And neither will his.

We are forever changed, forever united. From almost-us to always us.

We kiss with our eyes closed but our senses open, infusing the spaces between with the elements of the other.

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About A.J. Compton

A.J. Compton is a 23-year-old Londoner, professional dreamer, and full-time over-thinker. She is the author of The Counting-Downers and a dozen other unfinished manuscripts which will hopefully see the light of day soon.

A University of Cambridge graduate, A.J. is currently in a polygamous relationship with an embarrassing number of fictional book boyfriends.

Those two facts are not related. Honestly.

She loves people-watching and exploring her observations in her writing.

She really hates writing about herself in the third person.

Connect with A.J. Compton via Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Spotify | Goodreads | Website

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