Just a Touch Away – Reading Companion
I put together a reading companion for my new novel Just a Touch Away so you can look at photos of the settings, outfits, and dishes described in the book and experience everything along with Winter and Hannah.
I hope you enjoy Just a Touch Away and this reading companion!
If Dawn from chapter 1 seems familiar, it’s because she’s a main character from one of my previous novels, Conflict of Interest, and its sequel, Next of Kin. I thought it would be great for my readers to see that Dawn is doing well—she’s married to Aiden by now and back to working in her old job, counseling survivors of rape and sexual assault.
In chapter 2, Winter visits her half sister’s office building. Here’s a look at Brooke’s lobby that Winter strides through as she leaves the building.
We’re meeting another familiar character in chapter 2. The lawyer Winter calls for legal advice is Abby Gardner, Claire’s former fiancée from my fake-relationship romance Just for Show. I’m hoping to give Abby her own book some day.
In chapter 3, Valentina mentions a donut shop that sells yummy apple cider donuts. She’s talking about Sesame Donuts, which is close to Hannah’s new apartment.
The apartment building Hannah and Winter inherit might seem familiar to you too. It’s the same building where Eliza from Wrong Number, Right Woman lived before she moved in with Denny. I took some liberties with the top floor because I wanted it to have a bay window too, but otherwise, this is what the building looks like (Photo: Cumberland Apartments in Portland, Oregon by Steve Morgan, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0):
And this is a floor plan of the apartment they have to share for 92 days:
In chapter 5, Hannah is using a squirrel-shaped tea infuser to see how Winter will react to it. This is what it looks like:
When Winter gets home, she realizes Hannah has not only bought a new welcome mat, she also decorated the entrance to their apartment with a plant. They are called Anthurium or flamingo plants and look like this:
Chapter 6 also has the Great Doormat War.
The first doormat Winter replaces Hannah’s with looks like this.
The neighbor who welcomes them to the building might seem familiar too. We first met Heather as Eliza’s best friend in Wrong Number, Right Woman.
If you’d like to try the chocolate chip cupcakes with cookie dough frosting that she brings Winter and Hannah, you can find the recipe here.
The pink fleece pajamas that Hannah wears for one of her cuddle sessions look like this.
Winter’s second attempt at replacing Hannah’s welcome mat looks like this.
At the end of the chapter, Winter buys cacti to replace Hannah’s flamingo plant. It’s easy to see why they are called Bunny Ears.
You probably noticed that Winter is a bit of a coffee snob. Here’s a video of how to make her preferred beverage, a Long Black, on the coffee machine she owns.
Winter takes a look at the book Hannah is reading, wondering if it’s a sapphic romance. I can confirm that it is. It’s actually my novel Damage Control. This is what the cover looks like.
When Hannah cuddles with one of her clients in the park, the cuddle position he likes best is the Lap of Luxury, which is an actual position professional cuddlers use. Check out this video that explains the position.
The other position Winter observes is called Through the Woods. It looks like this:
In chapter 11, when Hannah goes out with her friends, this is the green top she’s wearing.
The Irish pub they are going to actually exists. It’s Paddy’s, Portland’s oldest Irish pub. Their floor-to-ceiling bar looks like this (Photo: Paddy’s Bar and Grill by Visitor 7, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0):
All the dishes they are eating are actually on the menu. Hannah is having fish and chips:
Valentina is having bangers and mash:
Tammy is having Scotch eggs:
In chapter 12, Winter leafs through the Cuddle Sutra. That book actually exists. I’ll give away a copy of it next month.
This is what Splish Splash, the position Winter marveled at, looks like:
Hannah briefly considers starting with the Mama Bear (which is Tammy’s favorite position), but then rejects the idea and decides to start with Companioning. This is what Companioning looks like:
The position they try after the Companioning is called Koala in a Tree. Here’s a video that explains what that looks like.
In chapter 14, when Brooke googles The Cuddle Sutra, here’s the website she looks at.
After the elevator scene, Winter and Hannah attend the welcome party their new neighbors are throwing for them. I didn’t actually show the party in the book, but you can download it as a bonus scene titled “The Welcome Party” here.
In chapter 15, Hannah reads Write for Her by Kim Hartfield. It’s the only other book with an aphantasic character I’m aware of. The author doesn’t have aphantasia, but she got it right with a few small exceptions.
In chapter 16, Winter and Hannah drive across the Marquam Bridge to get to Shanice’s photo studio in North Portland.
Shanice’s photo studio is based on a studio that actually exists. You can take a look at it here.
This is what the photo setup area with the yellow backdrop looks like:
In chapter 17, Hannah and Winter are watching Legends of Tomorrow. Here’s a scene that shows you the two actresses that Hannah kept confusing.
And here’s the scene with the nipple-eating unicorn that Hannah refers to (She really wasn’t making it up!).
Their free-hugs campaign is taking place on Pioneer Courthouse Square. Here’s a photo that shows the square and the courthouse across the street.
On the way back to their apartment, they pass Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall with its big Portland sign. This is what the sign looks like:
In chapter 19, Hannah and Winter are watching Gentleman Jack. When the doorbell rings, they are in the middle of this scene.
I’ve never had to fix a leaky sink, but doing research for Just a Touch Away taught me how to do it. If you are confused about the different pipes and parts that Hannah handles, here’s a site with a good overview.
Winter compares their sizzling moment under the sink to the movie Bound. In case you haven’t watched it, here’s the scene she’s thinking about as she watches Hannah fix the sink.
In chapter 20, Winter follows Hannah to Bend, Oregon, where her mom is in the hospital. This photo gives you an idea of the landscape Winter travels through (Photo: Bend, OR, Panoramic by Cacophony, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0).
In chapter 21, Winter and Hannah spend the night in Hannah’s hometown, Sunriver, a little resort town. Here’s a video that gives you some impressions of what Sunriver looks like.
In chapter 23, Winter and Hannah watch yet another show with a lesbian couple, Motherland: Fort Salem. Here’s a compilation of their storyline.
In chapter 25, Valentina eats a blueberry bourbon basil donut. This is what it looks like.
The ice cream Winter makes Hannah after a tough session inspired the cover of Just a Touch Away. Please note the rainbow emergency sprinkles on top.
I hope you enjoyed Just a Touch Away and this reading companion!
Stay tuned for a free short story sequel that I’ll share with you soon. Feel free to sign up to my newsletter below to get it in your inbox.