Thursday, May 31, 2018

Cover Reveal: IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME by Kylie Scott

We are thrilled to bring you the cover for the next standalone from New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Kylie Scott.

IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME will release on AUGUST 7th!

   

"Addictive like all Kylie Scott books, you'll swoon, laugh, ache, put your life on hold, and compulsively read until the wee hours of the night—only to reread the whole thing the next morning. Perfection!" - Katy Evans, New York Times bestselling author 

 Returning home for her father’s wedding was never going to be easy for Adele. If being sent away at eighteen hadn’t been bad enough, the mess she left behind when she made a pass at her dad’s business partner sure was. Fifteen years older than her, Pete had been her crush for as long as she could remember. But she’d misread the situation—confusing friendliness for undying love. Awkward. Add her father to the misunderstanding, and Pete was left with a broken nose and a business on the edge of ruin. The man had to be just as glad as everyone else when she left town. Seven years later, things are different. Adele is no longer a kid, but a fully grown adult more than capable of getting through the wedding and being polite. But all it takes is seeing him again to bring back those old feelings. Sometimes first loves are the truest.      

PREORDER NOW

AMAZON | AMAZON UK | AMAZON AU | iBooks | B&N | KOBO

     

  kyliescottimage
Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. 

You can learn more about Kylie from http://www.kylie-scott.com/   FACEBOOK | TWITTER | FACEBOOK FAN GROUP | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS          

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Excerpt and Giveaway: THE ONE YOU CAN'T FORGET by Roni Loren

THE ONES WHO GOT AWAY was the first book that I read by Roni Loren and I loved it! So of course I'm excited to share the second book in this series - THE ONE YOU CAN'T FORGET.

See what the book is about, check out the excerpt, and then enter for a chance to win 1 of 3 copies of THE ONES WHO GOT AWAY.



Most days Rebecca Lindt feels like an imposter…
The world admires her as a survivor. But that impression would crumble if people knew her secret. She didn’t deserve to be the one who got away.But nothing can change the past, so she’s thrown herself into her work. She can’t dwell if she never slows down.

Wes Garrett is trying to get back on his feet after losing his dream restaurant, his money, and half his damn mind in a vicious divorce. But when he intervenes in a mugging and saves Rebecca—the attorney who helped his ex ruin him—his simple life gets complicated.

Their attraction is inconvenient and neither wants more than a fling. But when Rebecca’s secret is put at risk, both discover they could lose everything, including what they never realized they needed: each other

She laughed and kissed him. This morning she'd melted down. But somehow this man had her laughing and turned on only a few hours later. Everything inside her felt buoyed.

She felt…light.

She'd forgotten what that felt like.

Purchase Links
 B&N | iBooks | IndieBound | Amazon

“Absolutely unputdownable, delivers all of the feels! Roni Loren is a new favorite. Loved this.”
COLLEEN HOOVER, #1 New York Times bestseller



READ AN EXCERPT

     Wes parked the van in front of the house and cut the engine. “Well, I’ll take it as a good sign that your car is still here. If those guys showed up with your keys, they would’ve taken your ride.”

     Rebecca frowned. “No. I didn’t have my car keys with me since I walked today, but at least everything looks the same as how I left it. Plus, my car keys are hanging on a peg in the kitchen. They wouldn’t be hard to find.”

     Wesley eyed her. Her voice was confident, but she kept smoothing the leg of her scrubs, her hands like nervous birds not knowing where to settle. He had the weirdest urge to hug her and tell her it was going to be all right, to take that fear from her. But a sure way to freak her out even further would be for some strange dude she’d just met to hug her. He was freaked out enough for both of them that he even had that urge. “Hey, why don’t you tell me where your spare key is hidden, and I’ll go in and check the house for you first.”

     There. That was a reasonable, not weird way to help.

     She glanced his way, frowning. “If the alarm’s on, I need to turn it off, and I don’t want to sit out here. That’ll stress me out more than going in with you. I’m the only one who will be able to tell if anything’s been moved anyway.”

     “Fair enough. Whatever makes you feel most comfortable is fine. But the minute something seems off or out of place, we bail and call the cops. Pinch my arm or something to signal me.”

     Her frown deepened, a little line appearing between her brows, as if she couldn’t quite figure him out.

     He couldn’t stop his smile. “What’s wrong? You look like you’re trying to figure out a really hard math problem.”

     “I wouldn’t make this face for math. I’m good at math.” She let out a breath. “I guess I’m just trying to figure out why you’re being so nice to me. You don’t…know me.”

     “Does that matter? If I knew you, would I not want to help you out?”

     She stiffened. “What?”

     He tilted his head. “I mean, are you secretly some evil comic-book villain who’s about to take over the city? Or do you have plans to kill me and store my body in your basement when we get inside?”

     Her pinched expression flattened into something droll. “Austin houses don’t have basements.”

     “Whew.” He wiped his brow. “I’m safe.”

     She snorted and then covered her nose and mouth like she was surprised the sound had escaped. “You’re kind of strange, Wesley Garrett.”

     He shrugged. “I get that a lot.” And that was a helluva lot better than what most people probably called him these days. “Now, are we going to bravely search your house like two TV detectives? Because I am so down for that right now. I need to bang open doors and yell, ‘Clear!’”

     She laughed, the soft, husky sound filling the space between them and sending a pleasant ripple through him. The feeling was so unfamiliar that it stalled his breath for a second. How long had it been since he’d been around someone he could simply joke with and relax around? Someone who wasn’t looking at him like he was damaged goods? Or who wasn’t checking him for signs of a backslide?

     He didn’t get clean-slate conversations like this anymore. Not with his family. Not with friends. Not even with himself. Rebecca felt like a gulp of clean, fresh air. He wanted to close his eyes and inhale. In this moment, he could be a man with no past. He could be whoever he wanted to be. And right now, he wanted to be the guy who was making this woman laugh.

     She cocked her head. “You say that like you’ve been planning to do this TV detective routine for a while.”

      “It’s a life goal,” he said solemnly. “I mean, I’ve done it at home alone, but that really isn’t as fun. Plus, it pisses off the neighbors. All those banging doors.”

     She laughed again, and he felt like he’d won some kind of prize. She seemed like someone who didn’t give those laughs away easily.

     “Now all we need are weapons,” he declared.

     She reached into the bag of takeout and pulled out the eco-friendly cornstarch forks Dev used in place of plastic cutlery. “How’s this?”

     “Perfect. We can go for the eyes.” He took his fork and grabbed the keys. “Let’s do this.”

     “I’m ready.” Some of their playing around must’ve distracted her from her nerves because when Rebecca got out of the van, her shoulders seemed looser and there was a tentative smile on her face. She nodded toward the house and set her fork on the hood. He followed suit, since if he really had to take action, he’d need his hands free. “My extra key is by the back door.”

     They headed around the house and into the small backyard. She hunched near an overgrown herb garden and fished around, finally coming up with one of those fake rocks. She flipped it over and keyed in a three-digit code on a spinner combination lock.

     Wes snapped a leaf off one of her plants and inhaled the scent. “Mmm, lemon thyme. You’ve got quite a collection out here. Cilantro. Oregano. Italian parsley. I’m a little jealous.”

     She glanced over her shoulder at him. “I honestly have no idea what most of them are or what to do with all of them. I had the house landscaped when I moved in, and I guess the gardeners picked the perfect spot because they grow like crazy. Except the basil, which was the one I actually knew how to use. That one was a goner during the first hundred-degree day of summer.”

     “Basil is a sensitive soul.” It was on the tip of his tongue to tell her he could show her how to use the herbs, but he held the offer back. His brother had been right. Making her laugh was like some weird sort of drug to his starved system, but she didn’t need a guy flirting with her right now. It couldn’t go anywhere anyway. He didn’t date, for one. And even if he was doing the casual hookup thing these days, she didn’t strike him as the type who’d be down for that, especially with someone like him. He had nothing to offer her besides garden-care tips.


ENTER TO WIN THE ONES WHO GOT AWAY
(promotion wide giveaway hosted by Sourcebooks)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Release Day Launch: Samantha Young’s THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US Paperback - Review and Excerpt


From New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young comes a story of friendship, identity, and acceptance that will break your heart—and make it whole again. Grab your copy of THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US, now available in paperback, today!


About THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US: 

“I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.”

India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…



(originally posted 6/22/17)

I LOVED IT!!

THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US is about the the secrets we keep to protect ourselves. It's about the secrets we keep to protect the ones we love. 

Friends have recommended several books by Samantha Young to me, but this is the first that I picked up. The fact that it is her young adult debut may have had something to do with that. I didn't even finish the entire synopsis before I decided this is a book I wanted to read. I thought the cover was cute - my eyes were drawn to the three people under the umbrella, but it was the title that really piqued my curiosity. What was the Impossible Vastness? This is what I needed to know.


What I liked:

  • The portrayal of combining the families from different backgrounds - and the relationship between India and Eloise as they learn how to become stepsisters
  • The many moments of honest vulnerability - these feelings was captured perfectly
  • The massive amount of compassion and forgiveness and the willingness to understand motives and acceptance of the ones we love
  • Eloise!! Finn!! India!! - these characters grabbed a hold of my heart

With the many characters and their secrets, there was a lot going on, but it never felt like it was too much or that the story was overworked. We have many experiences simultaneously which we deal with, so why wouldn't that be the same for the characters. It just served as a reminder that being a teenager can be hard.
Favorite Quotes:


"A boy like that needs someone to shake him up a little. You’re so good at shaking people up.” - There's just something about India that makes others take notice.

"Not only had I moved across the country, I’d moved into a freaking Jane Austen novel." - This made me laugh out loud. India is so out of her element, in a world of money, formality, and etiquette and obligation that almost seems of a different time.

"Life is what you make it, no matter where you come from.” - This rings for true for many of the characters. They just need to realize they can make their own destiny.

"He gave me the things that would last long after everything else faded to an end." - 💗💗💗

What surprised me the most:
This story made me cry. A tender, but significant moment snuck up on me and the next thing I knew I was crying. 

Oh how I LOVED this book. (I'm afraid this review didn't do it justice.) India and Finn and Eloise prove that we are capable of more than we ever imagined - love, understanding, forgiveness, compassion. It's in all of us. THE IMPOSSIBLE VASTNESS OF US is by far one of my favorite young adult contemporary reads of this year!





READ AN EXCERPT:

“India, I’m not using her. I mean, I am, but it’s not like that. Eloise is getting what she wants out of this relationship, as well.”

“Like what?”

“I can’t tell you.”

“You are using her.”

“I’m not.” His chair screeched as he pulled it closer so our knees touched. His dark eyes moved over my face and I sucked in my breath at the open appreciation I saw there. “I’m not using her…but we are in a relationship together. I guess it just never occurred to me that I might actually meet someone in high school. Someone I…”

That feeling in my chest, that thick, hot feeling, threatened to overwhelm me at all the things he wasn’t saying. “Finn, Eloise is going to be my family.”

He looked so forlorn it took everything within me not to reach for him.

“What is it you’re hiding?”

“I can’t tell you. Please, just trust me.”

Hurt and frustration swept through me in equal measure but I tamped it down. It wasn’t my place to demand his secrets.

My frustration was suddenly mirrored in his eyes as he looked up at me. “I wish things were different.”

But they weren’t different. And yet they were the same, history repeating itself. I cared about someone and they didn’t care enough about me back to be honest about what was really going on.

I didn’t know if I was angry at Finn or just angry that nothing ever seemed to be easy for me. Everything was always a fight.

It felt like I lived in a constant clusterfuck.

I gave a huff of laughter. “Story of my life.” I shook my head, grabbed up my bag and, unable to look at him, said, “Thank you for your help tonight.”

“You’re not leaving without me.”

His protectiveness confused and pissed me off even more. “I’m not? Funny, it looks like that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

His familiar scowl was back in place at my sarcasm. “You’re also not going home alone after what happened here. I’ll give you a ride.”

“Finn.” I slumped, suddenly feeling exhausted. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Sadness flittered through his eyes before he managed a carefully blank expression. “I think I can handle driving you home.”

Still a trembling mess after everything that had happened, I gave in and followed Finn out to his car.

The tension that we’d shared before was nothing compared to how it was now. Now that Finn had in a roundabout way admitted he liked me and I’d realized that what I was feeling for him was attraction, the tension could not be mistaken for anything else but sexual.

I’d never felt anything like it before—it was the most frustrating, scary and exhilarating feeling in the world.

When we eventually pulled up outside the house, the guilt washed over me. I shouldn’t be feeling this way about Eloise’s boyfriend and he certainly shouldn’t be feeling this way about me.

I felt like we were to blame for the whole thing but I didn’t know why.

I hadn’t asked the universe to make Finn like me.

And I had definitely not intended to like him in return.

“India,” he said just as I moved to get out of his car. “I’ve never really cared what anybody thought of me before…but I really don’t want you to think I’m a bad person.”

I stared into his beautiful eyes. “I can’t imagine ever thinking you’re a bad person. I meant it earlier…thank you for coming for me tonight. I’ll never forget it.”

“This feels weirdly like a goodbye,” he said with a bitter twist to his gorgeous lips.

“Maybe it is. I guess we’re both just a complication the other doesn’t need.”

Slowly, so slowly my heart had time to increase in hard, steady thumps, Finn slid his hand over the center console between us and stroked his thumb along the side of my hand. I felt that simple touch in every nerve, my body reacting to it in a way it never had to the touches and deep kisses that had come before it.

I stared at our hands for a moment, wondering how different my life could be if Finn wasn’t Eloise’s boyfriend, if we’d just met as strangers at school, felt the inexplicable bond between us and were free to do something about it.

Suddenly very aware of how long I’d been sitting outside the house in his car, I fumbled for the door handle. “See you around, Finn.”





About Samantha Young:
Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows. Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook& hardback June 2017

Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for Hero. On Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015.

Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.



Saturday, May 26, 2018

Spotlight and Giveaway: LIFELINE by Abbey Lee Nash




LIFELINE
by Abbey Lee Nash
Published by Tiny Fox Press
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
292 Pages

About the Book

Popular high school senior Eli Ross has the perfect life. He’s captain of the lacrosse team at LionsHeart Academy, and he’s dating Savannah, the hottest, most popular girl at school. But that life comes crashing down when he overdoses at a party and is sent to LakeShore Recovery Center, an inpatient substance abuse treatment program where he’ll spend the next twenty-eight days.

It's there that Eli meets Libby, the sharp-edged artist, whose freshly tattooed scars mirror the emotional scars Eli tries his best to ignore. Eli soon learns that if he's to have any chance at a future, he'll first have to confront his past.


Read an Excerpt from ‘LIFELINE’

2:30 AM

The air outside hums with music. All the lights in the house are on. If Alex’s parents have gotten any smarter since the infamous rager we threw after Winter Formal, the neighbors are on the lookout for suspicious activity. Everything inside me says we’re going to get busted any minute, and I have the worst possible timing in the world.
But right now, I don’t care about the neighbors or the cops or even Savannah. I just...WANT.
A couple of minutes are all I need. And then I’ll get Savannah out of the house, tell her to get home before the shit hits the fan. Just a couple of minutes.
I scrounge under my seat for the empty CD case, then reach into the glove compartment for theBurger King straw I’ve cut down to size. I hook a finger under the mat and feel around for the baggie. My phone buzzes in my pocket, but I ignore it. Sweat beads on my upper lip.
I crack open a pill, sprinkle it onto the plastic case. It doesn’t look like very much, definitely not enough, so fuck it, I crack open another.
My hands shake as I cut the powder with my driver’s license, scrape it into twin tracks.
A distant siren sounds.
Hurry, hurry.
There’s yelling from the house, and somebody’s turned off the music.
I prop the case on my knee, duck my head, and snort the powder through the straw.
One line. Then the other.
I squeeze my eyes shut until the burn in my nostrils fades to a steady chemical drip at the back of my throat, and the surge of heat spreads through my frozen body like liquid sunshine.
A siren screams; blue and red stars light up the night. Bodies flood out of Alex’s house like it’s on fire.
I shut my eyes and lean back against my seat.
The noise from the house fades. My body melts like crayons in the sun, colors merging in a puddle of rainbow wax. And I…
...can’t…
...feel…
...anything.


About the Author

Born to parents with a serious case of wanderlust, Abbey Nash has lived in some pretty weird places, including a Christian farming commune in rural Georgia, above a third-world craft store in Kentucky, and on a Salvation Army retreat center in the Pennsylvania mountains. She currently lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband, two daughters, and one very rambunctious Australian Shepherd. She received her MA in English from Arcadia University in 2011 and currently works at Bryn Athyn College where she teaches writing and literature. She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. “LIFELINE” is her first novel.

ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF LIFELINE

Giveaway Details
Must by 16 or older to enter
US Addresses Only
Enter by Rafflecopter


Friday, May 25, 2018

Spotlight and Giveaway: FREEFALL SUMMER by Tracy Barrett

Amp up your summer reading with 
FREEFALL SUMMER by Tracy Barrett


FREEFALL SUMMER
by Tracy Barrett
Published by Charlesbridge Teen
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
272 Pages

About the Book

Clancy Edwards has always been "the good girl." Her father has watched her like a hawk ever since her mother died in a skydiving accident when Clancy was young. Between her dad's rules and her boyfriend's protectiveness, she's longing for an escape this summer, and her job packing chutes at the family-owned drop zone isn't exactly exciting stuff.
Clancy must also deal with unresolved feelings of guilt over her mother's death. Part of her healing process means being honest and following her passions, wherever that may lead.

Then Clancy meets Denny, a new skydiving student and college freshman. Clancy lets Denny think they're the same age—and that she's old enough to make her own decisions. But the lies snowball, relationships are damaged, and suddenly Clancy isn't the person she wants to be. If only making choices were as simple as taking a leap out of a plane. Before Clancy can make things right, one last act of rebellion threatens her chance to do so—maybe forever.


Add to Goodreads

An Interview with Tracy Barrett

What inspired you to write a YA novel about skydiving? ​

I’ve always wanted to write a skydiving novel, but I wanted skydiving to be an important part of the story, not just something added on for thrills. For a long time I couldn’t come up with anything. I also like to write retellings of fairy tales and Greek myths, and it occurred to me that a modern-day retelling of the myth of Icarus (the teenager who flew too close to the sun and died) could work as the basis for a novel. I started off playing with that idea, and without a clear idea of where the story would go. Pretty soon it veered off from the myth, and I let it veer! You can still see echoes of the myth here and there, though, especially in the names of the characters and the locations.

Have you ever been skydiving? What was your experience like?


​I’ve made eighteen jumps, seventeen of them when I was in my 20s, and one while I was writing Freefall Summer. I’m glad I did it, but I don’t think I’ll ever jump again! I never stopped being scared, and I figured that if the fear didn’t start going down after seventeen jumps, it wasn’t worth it. But I met my husband at the drop zone when he offered to help me pack my parachute! I never had any accidents and never saw a serious one, just some sprained ankles and things like that. Skydiving is actually a very safe sport, and it gets safer all the time as equipment and training improve. The fear comes not from a rational place, but from that instinct that has been telling you DON’T FALL ever since you were a toddler.

I love your epigrams from ​The Whuffo’s Guide to Skydiving​ in the book. What made you decide to add those?


​I knew that for the narrative to be authentic I’d have to use a lot of skydiving jargon, and I didn’t want the action to grind to a halt while I defined what a character was saying. I played with a few different ways to explain the terms I needed to use, but I’ve always disliked glossaries in novels (nonfiction is a different matter, of course), and Clancy struck me as the kind of nerd (takes one to know one!) who would keep a notebook like The Whuffo’s Guide to Skydiving. It was fun matching definitions and fun facts with the story action of each chapter.

Clancy and her dad have a really complicated relationship dynamic. How did this develop over the course of your writing process? ​


When I began to build that relationship, I was still basing the story on the myth of Icarus, where the father, Daedalus, both makes the wings for Icarus and cautions him about them. I really related to that, having raised teenagers myself. I know how much you want your young-adult child to be bold and independent, while simultaneously wanting them to be careful. It’s a hard balance, and Clancy’s father, while he goes overboard in his hovering, certainly has reason to be overprotective, as the reader finds out.

What inspired you to write a contemporary YA novel and move away from some of your previous topics related to myths and fairytales?


​I’ve written lots of kinds of books: nonfiction (mostly history and biography), historical fiction, a mystery series, an anthology of little-known Greek myths, fantasy, ghost stories, time travel, myth and fairy-tale retellings—you name it! I get bored easily and always want to try something new. I hadn’t written a contemporary YA novel, and of course skydiving has to be set in at least the twentieth century, so I went for it. Writing Freefall Summer was partially a challenge to myself to see if I could make an ancient, and strange, story relevant to today. It was a challenge, but I’m happy with the result!

How long did it take you to write ​Freefall Summer​?​


I wrote the first draft in 30 days during National Novel Writing Month in 2012. NaNoWriMo, as it’s called, is a challenge to write a 50,000-word novel (or 50,000 words of a novel) in the month of November. Needless to say, when you write that fast, what comes out is usually pretty bad, and that
was true in this case. So I took some time revising the messy manuscript I had written. I had other projects going on at the time, so whenever I had a few weeks where I didn’t have to work on one of my other books, I’d work on Freefall Summer, which at that time was called The Icarus Complex. I signed the contract with Charlesbridge Teen in the spring of 2016, and then of course I had lots more edits to do, so you could say I was still writing it for quite a while after that. Its publication date is April, 2018, so Freefall Summer took me either 30 days or six years to write, depending on how you look at it!


ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF FREEFALL SUMMER

Giveaway Details
Must by 16 or older to enter
US Addresses Only
Enter by Rafflecopter

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Chapter Reveal: ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE by Nicole Williams




June 19th 2018




AP new - synopsis.jpg


Fans of Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins, and Jenny Han will delight as the fireworks spark and the secrets fly in this delicious summer romance from a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.

When Jade decided to spend the summer with her aunt in California, she thought she knew what she was getting into. But nothing could have prepared her for Quentin. Jade hasn't been in suburbia long and even she knows her annoying (and annoyingly cute) next-door neighbor spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

And when Quentin learns Jade plans to spend her first American summer hiding out reading books, he refuses to be ignored. Sneaking out, staying up, and even a midnight swim, Quentin is determined to give Jade days--and nights--worth remembering.

But despite their storybook-perfect romance, every time Jade moves closer, Quentin pulls away. And when rumors of a jilted ex-girlfriend come to light, Jade knows Quentin is hiding a secret--and she's determined to find out what it is.


 
 Anything was possible. At least that’s what it felt like.
   Summer seventeen was going to be one for the record books. I already knew it. I could feel it—from the nervous-excited swirl in my stomach to the buzz in the air around me. This was going to be the summer—my summer.
   “Last chance to cry uncle or forever hold your peace,” Mom sang beside me in the backseat of the cab we’d caught at the airport. Her hand managed to tighten around mine even more, cutting off the last bit of my circulation. If there
was any left.
   I tried to look the precise amount of unsure before answering. “So long, last  chance,” I said, waving out the window.
   Mom sighed, squeezing my hand harder still. It was starting to go numb now. Summer seventeen might find me one hand short if Mom didn’t ease up on the death grip.
   She and her band, the Shrinking Violets, were going to be touring internationally after finally hitting it big, but she was moping because this was the first summer we wouldn't be together. Actually, it would be the first time we’d been apart ever.
   I’d sold her on the idea of me staying in the States with her sister and family by going on about how badly I wanted to experience one summer as a normal, everyday American teenager before graduating from high school. One chance to
see what it was like to stay in the same place, with the same people, before I left for college. One last chance to see what life as an American teen was really like.
   She bought it . . . eventually.
   She’d have her bandmates and tens of thousands of adoring fans to keep her company—she could do without me for a couple of months. I hoped.
   It had always been just Mom and me from day one. She had me when she was young—like young young—and even though her boyfriend pretty much bailed before the line turned pink, she’d done just fine on her own.
   We’d both kind of grown up together, and I knew she’d missed out on a lot by raising me. I wanted this to be a summer for the record books for her, too. One she could really live up, not having to worry about taking care of her teenage
daughter. Plus, I wanted to give her a chance to experience what life without me would be like. Soon I’d be off to college somewhere, and I figured easing her into the empty-nester phase was a better approach than going cold turkey.
   “You packed sunscreen, right?” Mom’s bracelets jingled as she leaned to look out her window, staring at the bright blue sky like it was suspect.
   “SPF seventy for hot days, fifty for warm days, and thirty for overcast ones.” I toed the trusty duffel resting at my feet.It had traveled the globe with me for the past decade and had the wear to prove it.
   “That’s my fair-skinned girl.” When Mom looked over at me, the crease between her eyebrows carved deeper with worry.
   “You might want to check into SPF yourself. You’re not going to be in your mid thirties forever, you know?”
   Mom groaned. “Don’t remind me. But I’m already beyond SPF’s help at this point. Unless it can help fix a saggy butt and crow’s-feet.” She pinched invisible wrinkles and wiggled her butt against the seat.
   It was my turn to groan. It was annoying enough that people mistook us for sisters all the time, but it was worse that she could (and did) wear the same jeans as me. There should be some rule that moms aren’t allowed to takes clothes from the closets of their teenage daughters.
   When the cab turned down Providence Avenue, I felt a sudden streak of panic. Not for myself, but for my mom.
   Could she survive a summer when I wasn’t at her side, reminding her when the cell phone bill was due or updating her calendar so she knew where to be and when to be there? Would she be okay without me reminding her that fruits and vegetables were part of the food pyramid for a reason and
making sure everything was all set backstage?
   “Hey.” Mom gave me a look, her eyes suggesting she could read my thoughts. “I’ll be okay. I’m a strong, empowered thirty-four-year-old woman.”
   “Cell phone charger.” I yanked the one dangling from her oversized, metal-studded purse, which I’d wrapped in hot pink tape so it stood out. “I’ve packed you two extras to get you through the summer. When you get down to your last
one, make sure to pick up two more so you’re covered—”
   “Jade, please,” she interrupted. “I’ve only lost a few. It’s not like I’ve misplaced . . .”
   “Thirty-two phone chargers in the past five years?” When she opened her mouth to protest, I added, “I’ve got the receipts to prove it, too.”
   Her mouth clamped closed as the cab rolled up to my aunt’s house.
   “What am I going to do without you?” Mom swallowed, dropping her big black retro sunglasses over her eyes to hide the tears starting to form, to my surprise.
   I was better at keeping my emotions hidden, so I didn’t dig around in my purse for sunglasses. “Um, I don’t know? Maybe rock a sold-out international tour? Six continents in three months? Fifty concerts in ninety days? That kind of
thing?”
   Mom started to smile. She loved music—writing it, listening to it, playing it—and was a true musician. She hadn’t gotten into it to become famous or make the Top 40 or anything like that; she’d done it because it was who she was. She was the same person playing to a dozen people in a crowded café as she was now, the lead singer of one of the biggest bands in the world playing to an arena of thousands.
   “Sounds pretty killer. All of those countries. All of that adventure.” Mom’s hand was on the door handle, but it looked more like she was trying to keep the taxi door closed than to open it. “Sure you don’t want to be a part of it?”
   I smiled thinly back at my mom, her wild brown hair spilling over giant glasses. She had this boundless sense of adventure—always had and always would—so it was hard for her to comprehend how her own offspring could feel any different.
    “Promise to call me every day and send me pictures?” I said, feeling the driver lingering outside my door with luggage in hand. This was it. Mom exhaled, lifting her pinkie toward me. “Promise.”
   I curled my pinkie around hers and forced a smile. “Love
you, Mom.”
  Her finger wound around mine as tightly as she had clenched my other hand on the ride here. “Love you no matter what.” Then she shoved her door open and crawled out, but not before I noticed one tiny tear escape her sunglasses.
   By the time I’d stepped out of the cab, all signs of that tear or any others were gone. Mom did tears as often as she wrote moving love songs. In other words, never.
     As she dug around in her purse for her wallet to pay the driver, I took a minute to inspect the house in front of me.
     The last time we’d been here was for Thanksgiving three years ago. Or was it four? I couldn’t remember, but it was long enough to have forgotten how bright white my aunt and uncle’s house was, how the windows glowed from being so
clean and the landscaping looked almost fake it was so well kept.
     It was pretty much the total opposite of the tour buses and extended-stay hotels I’d spent most of my life in. My mother, Meg Abbott, did not do tidy.
     “Back zipper pocket,” I said as she struggled to find the money in her wallet.
     “Aha,” she announced, freeing a few bills to hand to the driver, whose patience was wilting. After taking her luggage, she shouldered up beside me.
     “So the neat-freak thing gets worse with time.” Mom gaped at the walkway leading up to the cobalt-blue front door, where a Davenport nameplate sparkled in the sunlight.
     It wasn’t an exaggeration to say most of the surfaces I’d eaten off of weren’t as clean as the stretch of concrete in front of me.
    “Mom . . . ,” I warned, when she shuddered after she roamed to inspect the window boxes bursting with scarlet geraniums.
     “I’m not being mean,” she replied as we started down the walkway. “I’m appreciating my sister’s and my differences.
     That’s all.”
     Right then, the front door whisked open and my aunt seemed to float from it, a measured smile in place, not a single hair out of place.
     “Appreciating our differences,” Mom muttered under her breath as we moved closer.
     I bit my lip to keep from laughing as the two sisters embraced.
     Mom had long dark hair and fell just under the average-height bar like me.   Aunt Julie, conversely, had light hair she kept swishing above her shoulders, and she was tall and thin. Her eyes were almost as light blue as mine, compared to Mom’s, which were almost as dark as her hair. It wasn’t only their physical differences that set them apart; it was everything. From the way they dressed Mom in some shade of dark, whereas the darkest color I’d ever seen Aunt Julie wear was periwinkle—to their taste in food, Mom was on the spicy end of the spectrum and Aunt Julie was on the mild.
     Mom stared at Aunt Julie.
     Aunt Julie stared back at Mom.
     This went on for twenty-one seconds. I counted. The last stare-down four years ago had gone forty-nine. So this was progress.
     Finally, Aunt Julie folded her hands together, her rounded nails shining from a fresh manicure. “Hello, Jade. Hello, Megan.”
     Mom’s back went ramrod straight when Aunt Julie referred to her by her given name. Aunt Julie was eight years older but acted more like her mother than her sister.
     “How’s it hangin’, Jules?”
     Aunt Julie’s lips pursed hearing her little sister’s nickname for her. Then she stepped back and motioned inside. “Well?”
     That was my cue to pick up my luggage and follow after Mom, who was tromping up the front steps. “Are we done already? Really?” she asked, nudging Aunt Julie as she passed.
     “I’m taking the higher road,” Aunt Julie replied.
     “What you call taking the higher road I call getting soft in your old age.” Mom hustled through the door after that, like she was afraid Aunt Julie would kick her butt or something.
     The image of Aunt Julie kicking anything made me giggle to myself.
     “Jade.” Aunt Julie’s smile was of the real variety this time as she took my duffel from me. “You were a girl the last time we saw you, and look at you now. All grown up.”
     “Hey, Aunt Julie. Thanks again for letting me spend the summer with you guys,” I said, pausing beside her, not sure whether to hug her or keep moving. A moment of awkwardness passed before she made the decision for me by reaching out and patting my back. I continued on after that.
     Aunt Julie wasn’t cold or removed; she just showed her affection differently. But I knew she cared about me and my mom. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t pick up the phone on the first ring whenever we did call every few months. She also wouldn’t have immediately said yes when Mom asked her a few months ago if I could spend the summer here.
     “Let me show you to your room.” She pulled the door shut behind her and led us through the living room. “Paul and I had the guest room redone to make it more fitting for a teenage girl.”
     “Instead of an eighty-year-old nun who had a thing for quilts and angel figurines?” Mom said, biting at her chipped black nail polish.
     “I wouldn’t expect someone whose idea of a feng shui living space is kicking the dirty clothes under their bed to appreciate my sense of style,” Aunt Julie fired back, like she’d been anticipating Mom’s dig.
     I cut in before they could get into it. “You didn’t have to do that, Aunt Julie. The guest room exactly the way it was would have been great.”
     “Speaking of the saint also known as my brother-in-law, where is Paul?” Mom spun around, moving down the hall backward.
     “At work.” Aunt Julie stopped outside of a room. “He wanted to be here, but his job’s been crazy lately.”
     Aunt Julie snatched the porcelain angel Mom had picked up from the hall table. She carefully returned it to the exact same spot, adjusting it a hair after a moment’s consideration.
     “Where are the twins?” I asked, scanning the hallway for Hannah and Hailey. The last time I’d seen them, they were in preschool but acted like they were in grad school or something. They were nice kids, just kind of freakishly well
behaved and brainy.
     “At Chinese camp,” Aunt Julie answered.
     “Getting to eat dim sum and make paper dragons?” Mom asked, sounding almost surprised.
     Aunt Julie sighed. “Learning the Chinese language.” Aunt Julie opened a door and motioned me inside. I’d barely set one foot into the room before my eyes almost crossed from what I found.
     Holy pink.
     Hot pink, light pink, glittery pink, Pepto-Bismol pink—every shade, texture, and variety of pink seemed to be represented inside this square of space.
     “What do you think?” Aunt Julie gushed, moving up
beside me with a giant smile.
     “I love it,” I said, working up a smile. “It’s great. So great.
     And so . . . pink.”
   “I know, right?” Aunt Julie practically squealed. I didn’t know she was capable of anything close to that high-pitched.
     “We hired a designer and everything. I told her you were a girly seventeen-year-old and let her do the rest.”
     Glancing over at the full-length mirror framed in, you bet, fuchsia rhinestones, I wondered what about me led my aunt to classify me as “girly.” I shopped at vintage thrift stores, lived in faded denim and colors found in nature, not ones manufactured in the land of Oz. I was wearing sneakers, cut-offs, and a flowy olive-colored blouse, pretty much the other end of the spectrum. The last girly thing I’d done was wear makeup on Halloween. I was a zombie.
   Beside me, Mom was gaping at the room like she’d walked in on a crime scene. A gruesome crime scene.
   “What the . . . pink?” she edited after I dug an elbow
into her.
   “You shouldn’t have.” I smiled at Aunt Julie when she turned toward me, still beaming.
   “Yeah, Jules. You really shouldn’t have.” Mom shook her head, flinching when she noticed the furry pink stool tucked beneath the vanity that was resting beneath a huge cotton-candy-pink chandelier.
   “It’s the first real bedroom this girl’s ever had. Of course I should have. I couldn’t not.” Aunt Julie moved toward the bed, fixing the smallest fold in the comforter.
   “Jade’s had plenty of bedrooms.” Mom nudged me, glancing at the window.            She was giving me an out. She had no idea how much more it would take than a horrendously pink room for me to want to take it.
   “Oh, please. Harry Potter had a more suitable bedroom in that closet under the stairs than Jade’s ever had. You can’t consider something that either rolls down a highway or is bolted to a hotel floor an appropriate room for a young
woman.” Aunt Julie wasn’t in dig mode; she was in honest mode.
   That put Mom in unleash-the-beast mode.
   Her face flashed red, but before she could spew whatever
comeback she had stewing inside, I cut in front of her. “Aunt Julie, would you mind if Mom and I had a few minutes alone?
You know, to say good-bye and everything?”
   As infrequently as we visited the house on Providence Avenue, I fell into my role of referee like it was second nature.
 “Of course not. We’ll have lots of time to catch up.” Aunt Julie gave me another pat on the shoulder as she headed for the door. “We’ll have all summer.” She’d just disappeared when her head popped back in the doorway. “Meg, can I get  you anything to drink before you have to dash?”
   “Whiskey,” Mom answered intently.
   Aunt Julie chuckled like she’d made a joke, continuing down the hall.
   I dropped my duffel on the pink zebra-striped throw rug.
  “Mom—”
   “You grew up seeing the world. Experiencing things most people will never get to in their whole lives.” Her voice was getting louder with every word. “You’ve got a million times the perspective of kids your age. A billion times more compassion and an understanding that the world doesn’t revolve around you.  Who is she to make me out to be some inadequate parent when all she cares about is raising obedient, genius robots? She doesn’t know what it was like for me. How hard it was.”
   “Mom,” I repeated, dropping my hands onto her shoulders as I looked her in the eye. “You did great.”
   It took a minute for the red to fade from her face, then another for her posture to relax. “You’re great. I just tried not to get in the way too much and screw all that greatness up.”
   “And if you must know, I’d take any of the hundreds of rooms we’ve shared over this pinktastrophe.” So it was kind of a lie, the littlest of ones. Sure, pink was on my offensive list, but the room was clean and had a door, and I would get to stay in the same place at least for the next few months. After living out of suitcases and overnight bags for most of my life, I was looking forward to discovering what drawer-and-closet living was like.
   Mom threw her arms around me, pulling me in for one of those final-feeling hugs. Except this time, it kind of wasa final one. Realizing that made me feel like someone had stuffed a tennis ball down my throat.
   “I love you no matter what,” she whispered into my ear again, the same words she’d sang, said, or on occasion shouted at me. Mom never just said I love you. She had something
against those three words on their own. They were too open,
too loosely defined, too easy to take back when something
went wrong.
I love you no matter what had always been her way of telling me she loved me forever and for always. Unconditionally. She said that, before me, she’d never felt that type of love for anyone. What I’d picked up along the way on my own
was that I was the only one she felt loved her back in the
same way.
   Squeezing my arms around my mom a little harder, I returned her final kind of hug. “I love you no matter what, too.”



AP  new -about the author.jpg


Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.

Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.






ArdentProse_LogoMain.jpg


LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 
Imagination Designs