I turn to Andrew again, waiting for him to spit it out. A cold breeze rushes through my knitted sweater, and I hide my hands inside the sleeves.
“You have five minutes to throw all of your stuff in your bag,” he says, and my heart is beating erratically before he finishes the sentence. He taps his wrist where there is no watch. “Not a second more.”
“This isn’t up for debate,” he says. “Go get your stuff.”
I just look at him, face blank.
My theory was right, but I didn’t want it to be. I don’t want to go on the road…I mean, I do…but it’s not right. It’s just not right.
“You have four minutes now.”
“But we can’t just leave like this,” I argue. “It would be rude.” I point at Asher. “And Asher just got here. Don’t you want to visit with—”
“I can visit my big brother anytime,” Asher counters. “Right now, I think you better do what he says or you might end up on the road wearing the same panties for a week.”
A few more seconds pass and I still haven’t moved. I’m in a state of mild shock, I guess.
“Three minutes, babe,” Andrew says and is looking at me with a serious face. “I’m not kidding. Get up there, throw our shit in our bags, and get in the damn car.”
Oh hell, he’s back to his old self again…
When I start to argue again, Andrew’s eyes get all feral-looking, and he says, “Hurry up. Time’s running out!” and he points to the house.
Finally, letting down my guard and going with the moment as much as I can allow myself, I glare at him and say, “Fine.” I’m only agreeing to it because I know he’s trying make things better. But I feel guilty as hell.
Disregarding his playful five-minute demand, I turn on my heels and walk very slowly back toward the house, purposely taking my time, partly my way of silently arguing the situation.
I push open the bedroom door, set my bag on the bed, and start stuffing everything inside of it. Then I go into the bathroom and grab our toothbrushes and various bathroom necessities. I yank our phone chargers from the wall and then my phone from the nightstand and chuck it all into my purse. I make my way around the room, hoping that I’m not missing anything.
Looks like Andrew already packed his stuff at some point and I never noticed.
Then I just stand here, scanning every inch of the place around me but not really seeing any of it. I don’t want to do this, but maybe it’s the right thing.
I hear the horn honk three times, and it snaps me out of my thoughts. Grabbing my bag, I swing it over my shoulder and grab my purse from the bed.
J.A. Redmerski, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her three children, two cats and a Maltese. She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries and is a huge fan of AMC's The Walking Dead.
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“We should check out Ocean Avenue tomorrow,” Drew whispers close to my ear, amusement tingeing his deep voice.
“What? Are you serious?” Even though I’ve come to terms with being here, it doesn’t mean I want to linger and make it a serious vacation. Besides, Drew needs to get back home so he can resume practice.
“Well yeah, remember the spot where we kissed?” His eyes are warm as they search my face, filled with so much love I feel my heart swell.
“Yes,” I whisper achingly. “Of course I remember.”
“I want to go back there.” He tucks a strand of hair behind my ear, his index finger lingering on my skin. “I want to kiss you again in that little alley and remember how wet we were from the rain. How nervous I was. I was scared you might reject me.”
I’d felt the same way. We’d dealt with much of the same feelings and fears and hadn’t even known it.
“I want to take you to that store where you got the dress that just about killed me and buy you whatever you want,” he continues, his fingers drifting across my jaw. My eyes flutter closed as memories rush back at me. “I want to sit outside the dressing room and have you come out to show me every single thing you’re trying on.”
That he remembers all the little details sends a thrill of pleasure spiraling to the very depths of my soul.
“And then I want to wander off for a bit and let you do whatever you want, secretly hoping that you’ll send me a text that says marshmallow. Though if you don’t that’s okay because I’ll send you one instead.” He offers up a crooked smile and the sight of it cracks my heart wide open, overflowing with so much pure love for him I want to cry. “Because we made a deal. Whenever we see or hear that word, the other comes running. I’ll always be the one to rescue you, Fable. You never have to worry about that.”
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite. A wife and mother of three, she writes New Adult and contemporary romance for Bantam and Avon. She is the author of One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend.
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Excerpt from Forever Loved, Book 2 of the Forever Series
The bestselling story Forever Innocent (just 99 cents through Jan. 24) comes to its dramatic conclusion in Forever Loved, out Jan. 10 from author Deanna Roy.
In this scene, Gavin realizes that his ditching Corabelle has had grave consequences as she attempts to recover from pneumonia in the hospital.
I stepped out of the curtain space quickly and walked along the semicircle, praying Corabelle was in one of them. A teenage boy. A middle-aged woman. A man in traction.
Then I saw her. She slept, her dark hair tied up in a knot high on her head.
I almost dropped to my knees.
She had a tube going into her mouth, a blue one just like Finn’s. Her heartbeat registered on a monitor, as well as her oxygen levels. I tried to shake the vision of the NICU, but the noises were too similar, the wheeze of a ventilator and periodic beeps.
I stumbled toward her like a dying man. What had happened? My stomach felt lined with rocks. I sat on the bed and brushed back a wisp of hair from her forehead. She slept really hard, not shifting at all with my touch. They must have given her something to knock her out. Even the first two nights when she was sick, she would still shift around, sometimes making little sounds. Now she was so flat to the bed.
Like Finn had been after I’d signed the papers to disconnect him.
Remorse crashed over me like a wave. I had screwed everything up. Walked out on her. Gone to Mexico. And here she was, barely holding on.
“I’m so sorry, baby,” I whispered.
I shouldn’t be in her life at all. She’d been doing fine until I came along. Going to school, planning her future.
Now she was here.
The monitors continued their steady sounds.
I heard the nurse talking and panicked. I would not leave her now. The machines were to the left of the bed, so the nurse would probably approach there. I ducked to the opposite side and folded tight into a ball, tugging the curtain in front of me so that I sat between it and the concrete wall.
I couldn’t see anything, but the footsteps grew closer, paused, then faded away again. The maintenance cart began rolling, wheels clattering on the concrete floor.
When the room was quiet again, I peeked out. Corabelle had not moved. Her elbow was bent near the edge of the bed, and I shifted forward to lay my forehead against her cool skin.
I wished we could go back to that first night at the astronomy star party, when Corabelle stretched out beside me on the roof, and we realized the world had pushed us back together after four years. But I’d gotten angry, and taken off. If I could just do that night again, I wouldn’t have left then either. If we’d been better from the beginning, she wouldn’t have walked into that damn ocean.
I just kept leaving. I just kept walking away.
Until I figured all this out, I could not be the man who always stayed the course. I would continue to be the one who wasn’t there when things got tough.
I didn’t want to be that person.
On Writing Tear Jerkers
By Deanna Roy
Author of The Forever Series
For my first 27 years, I was considered something of a Pollyanna — one of those bubbly ultra-optimistic people who spout platitudes about silver linings.
The first chink in my happy-armor becomes evident in the pictures from Christmas 1997. My then-husband and I had been trying to get pregnant since April, and I had envisioned that holiday as very different with a baby’s imminent arrival. But I had not made any progress at all, only a pile of negative home tests collecting in the bin.
I don’t even fake a smile. I’m just sort of there, my hair all twisted up in a knot, standing by a tree I felt forced to decorate.
I didn’t know that in this picture, I am actually a few days pregnant, and that I had no idea — really, no clue — what sorrow really was.
In the next five years I would see three babies die in various stages of pregnancy. I would also give birth to two daughters, both under stressful conditions that were a far cry from the happy moon-belly experiences we are sold in maternity magazines.
I was a writer long before I was a mother, and it was a natural fit to chronicle my experiences. As I became more involved in the baby loss community, I heard many more stories, and so often I would think — I could not have survived that.
But survive we do, and I think when choosing a tear-jerker book, it’s that same catharsis at the end. If you have endured a lot in your life, you can think to yourself — I understand what this character went through. You feel camaraderie, a connection with a fellow traveler. If the book takes you someplace darker than you’ve ever been, you can feel as though you have been lucky, that life has smiled on you. Either way, you leave the book feeling a little differently about your own existence.
I knew that the first book in my series, Forever Innocent, was going to wreck people. It’s hard to imagine how it feels to disconnect the ventilator from a seven-day-old baby, but this book takes you right there.
With the second book, Forever Loved, I hope to step a little bit away from the tragedy and focus on the healing. Early readers say you cry just as much, but for a different reason. Watching two people take a bad situation and turn it around is a different form of emotional release.
I am so grateful to have had so many companions on my journey. If you are a baby loss mom, you can meet them at A Place for Our Angels. Book fans can chatter at the Facebook Page for the series or on Goodreads. If you want to read excerpts as I write my books, join the mailing list.
I know now all our lives will include some sorrow. I hope that yours finds joy in equal measure.
Book One -- Forever Innocent
On sale for 99 cents Jan. 12-24!
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Book Two -- Forever Loved
Release Date, Jan. 10
On sale for $2.99 through January 31
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Deanna Roy is a passionate advocate for women who have lost babies. She founded PregnancyLoss.Info in 1998 and runs many online and in-person support groups. She is the author of several two-hankie reads, including Forever Innocent, Stella & Dane, and Baby Dust.
Finding Charley (Full Circle #2) by Casey Peeler will release on February 18, 2014. I know that some of you are impatiently waiting the release. Here's a sneak peak into Finding Charley (Full Circle #2.)
SynopsisOne bottle of Jack and the words “I’m sorry” are all it takes for Charley’s world to turn upside down… again. Charley has a decision to make. Does she sink or swim? After Dylan reminds Charley that he always has the upper hand, she decides it’s time break free. But how? She uses her past, present, and what she hopes to be her future to find her freedom. With the help of Cash Money and the Kluft Girls, she devises a plan to take down Dylan. Will she succeed, or will she find that she will never escape his hold? Once this plan is put in place, who will be by her side when it comes to an end? And will this plan include Jackalope Joe?
Haven't ready No Turning Back?
After getting involved with Dylan, the bad boy of the Dixon High Swim team, Charley decides to stay close to home for college. It’s just safer that way. Later, she realizes it’s a mistake, just like dating Dylan. She decides to put the past behind her and leave the small hick town of Grassy Pond. There is only one problem; she makes this decision three weeks before the fall semester begins. Charley packs up her Honda and heads to Southern College. On the morning she’s about to leave, Cash walks back into her life. He has been her best friend since they were four and is the only one who knows the REAL Charley. She leaves her farm in Grassy Pond with all kinds of “what if” questions. Charley decides to live her college career to the fullest. She finds a great group of friends, joins the swim team, and meets a guy named Joe. He’s got eyes that make ya wanna melt! At college, she encounters a new problem. Charley has been away from home for only forty-eight hours before she breaks the two promises she made to herself. Will she be able to overcome her past? Find new love? What will happen with Cash now that he is back in her life? Will she find what she is wanting in Jackalope Joe? How will her first semester of college end? Joe, Cash, or alone?
It's #Free on Amazon TODAY only!
Giveaway of over 20 books both signed & ecopies a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the AuthorCasey Peeler grew up and still lives in North Carolina with her husband and daughter. Her first passion is teaching students with special needs. Over the years, she found her way to relax was in a good book. After reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston her senior year of high school and multiple Nicholas Sparks’ novels, she found a hidden love and appreciation for reading. Casey is an avid reader, blogger (Hardcover Therapy,) and now author. No Turning Back (Full Circle #1) is her debut novel released September 30th. Her goal is to one day be an author who is recognized nationwide like Jamie McGuire, Colleen Hoover, Tiffany King, and Amanda Bennett. When Casey isn’t reading, you can find her listening to country music, spending the day at the lake, being a wife and dance mom, and spending time with friends and family. Her perfect day consists of water, sand between her toes, a cold beverage, and a great book! More about Casey Peeler Website: http://authorcaseypeeler.weebly.com/ Facebook: www.facebook.com/caseypeelerauthor Facebook Author Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/219865574845739/ Twitter: www.twitter.com/AuthorCasey Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7106874.Casey_Peeler Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/authorcasey/ http://www.pinterest.com/authorcasey/no-turning-back-full-circle-1/ http://www.pinterest.com/authorcasey/finding-charley-full-circle-2/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0lmpt4hErNau1woOOsJOnw Add No Turning Back (Full Circle #1) to your TRB on Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/user/show/16117017-casey-peeler Add Finding Charley (Full Circle #2) to your TBR on Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/18596891-finding-charley
Learn more about the story by reading the 6 part prequel - One Day in September
One Day in September is a six-part prequel set the day before TICK to the TOCK, the second novel from Gritty New Adult Writer, Matthew Turner. One Day in September is told from the point-of-view of each main character in TICK to the TOCK
Visit Biblio Belles on January 13th for our stop on the Tick to the Tock tour, including Ava's Full review!
Find out more about the prizes HERE
My name is Matthew Turner: a Writer, Reader & Coffee Loving Fiend.
As a Storyteller, I embrace the tale in all its forms: Fiction (New Adult, Coming-of-Age), Non-Fiction (Entrepreneur, Artistry, Creative Thinking) & Blogging, Speaking, Vlogging, and more...
Have a most wonderful and tip-top day,
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She reaches for my fries with an undecided look on her face. “So I have a question.”
I slowly chew my food. “I’m not really sure I want to hear your question now.”
She picks a pickle off of her burger, pulling a repulsed face. “Well, I’m still going to ask it.”
I grab a handful of fries from the tray that’s on the table between us. “Go ahead and ask but it doesn’t mean I’ll answer.”
She props her elbows onto the table with her burger in her hand. “Why haven’t you ever talked to me before? I mean, we’ve walked past each other probably a hundred times, but never so much as acknowledged each other and then suddenly you’re stalking me.”
I pick up my soda and sip from the straw. “First off, I’m not stalking you. I just can’t seem to get rid of you.”
“You didn’t have to stop to pick me up.”
“Yeah, I did.”
“Why? You don’t know me—you’re in no way obligated to help me.”
“I know, but I wanted to.”
I shrug, setting my drink down. “Why not?”
She gives me a funny look, like I’m the most confusing person in the world, when really she should be looking at herself like that. “I don’t get it. Why would someone like you help someone like me?”
I open up the bun of my chicken sandwich to pick the tomato off. “What do you mean someone like me and someone like you?”
She points at me. “You as in a football player who has friends.” Then she points at herself. “And me as in the loner girl who could probably kick your ass.”
I choke on a laugh and my mouth full of food almost shoots out of my nose. “You could not kick my ass,” I cough, and then take a swallow of my drink.
She scans me over while scooping up some fries. “I beg to differ. I think you’re not as tough as you try to look.”
“Do you really?” If only she knew what really lay inside me. “Because most people think I am and for a good reason.”
“I think it’s all for show,” she replies nonchalantly and I can’t tell if she’s being serious or not. “I think that deep down you’re just a softy.”
“Are you trying to pick a fight with me right now?” I set my sandwich down on the tray and crack my knuckles. “Because I’m not going to fight a girl.”
“That’s such a typical guy answer.” She hurries and takes a drink, but I detect a hint of a smile before her lips wrap around the straw.
“You know what I think?” I cross my arms on the table and lean in, cocking my head to the side as I observe her closely. “I think you like arguing with me and that’s why you’re bringing this up.”
Her shoulders lift and descend as she takes a bite of her hamburger. “Maybe, but maybe I’m being serious.”
“You know that as a football player I have to tackle guys, right? It takes strength to do that.”
“Maybe you just run, though,” she counters. “Maybe you’re just good at running.”
The way she says it reminds me so much of my past and it’s like a kick to the stomach. “Maybe I’m not, though. Maybe I suck at running.” I sound choked and I decide it’s time to cut this conversation short, my brain seeking that potent taste of Jack and Tequila mixed with nicotine. I glance at my watch, pretending to check the time. “I just remembered that I have to meet Kayden somewhere in like a half an hour, so I’m going to have to take you back.”
She balls up the wrapper for her hamburger, acting nonchalant, but her shoulders are stiff. “Sounds good to me. I was done anyway.” She seems irritated and I have no idea why, other than she seems to be able to read through my bullshit and test me, which most people can’t and won’t even try. I’m supposed to be a closed book. A mystery. That way no one can see who I really am. It’s the way I’ve been living for years and it’s comfortable. Not ideal, but nothing is ideal.
We don’t talk as I collect our garbage and then walk next to her as she limps out to my truck. I try to offer her my arm and open the door for her, but she denies my offer, moving to the opposite door and pushing it open.
During the car ride, she barely says two words to me. I should be happy about it. That way there’s no room for sudden questions and statements that will set me off, however I find myself missing the bantering thing we had going and the way she pushed my buttons. By the time I drop her off, all I want to do is ask her to stay, talk some more, let me get to know her. But I don’t understand why. I’ve never wanted to get to know anyone before. I’ve never even been out on a date. Each woman I’ve been with, I’ve only been with once. Just sex. That’s all it’s ever about. And I’ve never wanted anything more.
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Jessica Sorensen, lives with her husband and three kids. When she's not writing, she spends her time reading and hanging out with her family.
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