Thursday, May 24, 2018

Whatever It Takes by Laura Farr





Title: Whatever it Takes
Series: Healing Hearts #3
Author: Laura Farr
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 24, 2018


Blurb

When Quinn Montgomery leaves the horrors of her past behind her, she never expects to run straight into the arms of a blue-eyed cowboy. Sneaking into the stables and getting caught in a life-threatening fire was never part of the plan. And neither was falling in love with the man who saved her life, Brody Parker. 

The two share an undeniable connection, and slowly Quinn begins to open up about her past. Putting her trust in the wrong person has burned her before, so when Brody asks her to stay at the ranch, she can't help but wonder if she’s about to make another bad decision by staying. A decision that could hurt everyone she’s come to care for. 

Will Quinn choose to run from the past that threatens to catch up with her? Or will she stay and fight, sacrificing whatever it takes for the man who sets her heart on fire?







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Oh my stars! I have really enjoyed this series but Whatever it Takes has my heart. Brody was just amazing as Quinn wins him over. The whole tragic circumstances that these two are thrust together is amazing and heartbreaking at the same time. Quinn has been through so much and Brody just wants to be there for her and comfort her. The one thing I really adored about these two is how they bring each other out of their shells. They find the way to live life together and it is so beautiful. I love how fierce Brody is with Quinn too. 
Overall, I think this is my favorite one out of the series. I loved how this series has developed and how we have watched the characters grow. Especially Brody. He was kinda annoy at the start of the series, but he soon became an amazing man. If you want a beautiful series that is unique and romantic, I highly recommend this one. This book was stunning!








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Author Bio


Laura Farr lives in Shropshire with her husband and two children. When she isn’t working, or being a Mummy she is pursuing her dream of writing. 

She is a romantic at heart and loves nothing more than writing stories with a happy ever after, even if there is the odd chapter of angst thrown in! Her desire to write came from her love of reading and when she isn’t writing you will find her attached to her kindle or spending time with her family.


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Rebel Heart by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland

 
   

Rush and Gia’s story continues in the gripping conclusion to Rebel Heir… How to screw up a great summer in the Hamptons: Sleep with your boss. Check. Blow all your money on a rental you can’t afford. Check. How to walk away from a man you fall in love with at the end of a summer: …I’ll let you know when I figure it out. Rebel Heir is the second book in the Rush Series Duet. Book One, Rebel Heir, is available for sale now.
           

REBEL HEART AVAILABLE NOW

Amazon ➜ Rebel Heart (Book Two) | iBooks ➜ Rebel Heart (Book Two) | B&N ➜ Rebel Heart (Book Two) | Kobo ➜ Rebel Heart (Book Two) | Google Play ➜ Rebel Heart (Book Two)




What a bang for the second book in this duet. It had me emotional through out as Rush and Gia try to figure out how to move on after the earth shattering ending of Rebel Heir. I love how Gia did not push Rush but I love how she was fighting for him as much as she could. While I was annoyed with Rush and his reactions, I honestly couldn’t blame him. Especially with how he was treated growing up. But their connection. Oh my stars. That connection that these two share is just beautiful and brings such emotions out! I adored how Rush was fighting his internal battles but still so protective of Gia.
Overall, this is one epic duet by Ward and Keeland. I was completely wrapped up in the world they created as always. The fluidity and the character build was amazing and I love how it all played out. What’s family without a little drama? Okay a lot! But it was worth it to fight those hurdles for these two. Their bond was that strong. I have to say that this is one of my favorite stories by them. I could not put down this one just like the first and it swallowed me whole as I was consumed by everything that is Rush. Pick up this duet. It is by far epic and no words can compare!

 

   
     

How to kick off a great summer in the Hamptons: Snag a gorgeous rental on the beach. Check. Get a job at a trendy summer haunt. Check. How to screw up a great summer in the Hamptons: Fall for the one guy with a dark leather jacket, scruff on his face, and intense eyes that doesn’t fit in with the rest of the tony looking crowd. A guy you can’t have when you’ll be leaving at the end of the season. Check. Check. Check. I should add—especially when the guy is your sexy, tattooed God of a boss. Especially when he not only owns your place of employment but inherited half of the town. Especially when he’s mean to you. Or so I thought. Until one night when he demanded I get in his car so he could drive me home because he didn’t want me walking in the dark. That was sort of how it all started with Rush. And then little by little, some of the walls of this hardass man started to come down. I never expected that the two of us, seemingly opposites from the outside, would grow so close. I wasn't supposed to fall for the rebel heir, especially when he made it clear he didn’t want to cross the line with me. As the temperature turned cooler, the nights became hotter. My summer became a lot more interesting—and complicated. All good things must come to an end, right? Except our ending was one I didn’t see coming. Amazon| iBooks | B&N | Kobo | Google Play | Amazon Paperback

       

 Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She grew up in Boston with five older brothers and spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor. Penelope resides in Rhode Island with her husband, son and beautiful daughter with autism. With over a million books sold, she is a seventeen-time New York Times bestseller and the author of over fifteen novels, including RoomHate which hit #2 on the New York Times bestseller list and #1 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. Other New York Times bestsellers include Stepbrother Dearest, Neighbor Dearest, Drunk Dial, Cocky Bastard, Stuck-Up Suit, Playboy Pilot and Mister Moneybags (the latter four co-written with Vi Keeland). Connect with Penelope Ward Facebook Fan Group | Facebook | Website |Twitter | Instagram 
     

 Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author. With millions of books sold, her titles have appeared in over ninety Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twenty languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six. Website | Facebook Fan Group | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram            

RELEASE BOOST- Beauty and the Beefcake by Pippa Grant




Title: Beauty and the Beefcake
Author: Pippa Grant
Genre: Sexy Romantic Comedy
 Release Date: May 17, 2018



Blurb

There are two kinds of women in the world – those I can bang, and those I can’t.
My teammate’s sister?
She’s a can’t.
I moved in with her to protect her from a nasty ex, not to be the next guy in line.
She’s the brains.
I’m the brawn.
She’s the fruit.
I’m the sausage.
She talks too much.
I don’t talk at all, if I don’t have to.
Should be easy to resist her.
But every minute I spend with Felicity is another minute she gets under my skin. She makes me feel like something more than a dumb puckhead with a big Zamboni pony. And it’s getting harder to remember why I need to keep my hands to myself.

Beauty and the Beefcake is a vegan-friendly standalone romantic comedy featuring a hockey player whose vocabulary is the only thing smaller than a hockey puck, a book smart but aimless ventriloquist with too many voices in her head, a dilapidated old house that may or may not be haunted, and no cheating or cliffhangers.







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AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited






Also Available


AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Always free in Kindle Unlimited



AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited



AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited



AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Free in Kindle Unlimited






Author Bio

Pippa Grant is a stay-at-home mom and housewife who loves to escape into sexy, funny stories way more than she likes perpetually cleaning toothpaste out of sinks and off toilet handles. When she’s not reading, writing, sleeping, or trying to prepare her adorable demon spawn to be productive members of society, she’s fantasizing about chocolate chip cookies.


Author Links

Cover & Excerpt Reveal: Monday Night Guy by Liz Lovelock

Release Date: June 21 2018
Cover design: Letitia Hasser / RBA Designs
Photographer: Lindee Robinson Photography
Models: Travis Bendall & Ali Abela
Genre: College Romance
 

Synopsis

 
Parker Kent . . .
Deliciously good-looking
Basketball captain
Complete and utter jerk
I made a vow—a vow to steer clear of guys like Parker. But when he shows up every Monday night at my workplace, that vow is torn to shreds. As much as I’d like, to I can’t ignore a customer.
At some point, a friendship forms. It’s not what I expected; he’s not what I expected. Those walls I put up are being torn down piece by piece, allowing Parker into my heart. Am I setting myself up for disaster, or is my Monday-night guy just the antidote my wounded heart needs?

Goodreads

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Excerpt

 
I race back to the dorm, quickly change, and grab the basketball from my cupboard, along with a water bottle. I take off to the basketball court to clear my head.
I enter the basketball building. It’s quiet. Lights fill the arena. I look around; it appears no one is here. Fantastic! Placing my water bottle down, I bounce the ball, and it echoes around the room. I stand at the three-pointer line and shoot. Shot after shot go in.
“Why didn’t you try out for the girls’ team?”
I spin around. Parker stands there with a ball tucked under his arm.
I shrug, turning back toward the ring and taking another shot. Damn it. This time I miss. “Basketball isn’t my life. When I was younger, Dad and I would mess around a fair bit, and it was good because Devon, my brother, became attached to the game and he’s even better than me.” I remember Devon trying again and again to get the ball in the hoop. His determination’s phenomenal. I’m sure he could easily get into college and play basketball.
Parker stands across from me on the line, taking shots and, of course, not missing any. I can’t help myself; I watch him. The muscles in his arms flex, and when he goes to take the shot, he jumps a little. Even though it’s a small jump, when he lands his muscles tense, defining his physique.
“Want a game of one-on-one?” he asks as he releases another shot.
Already knowing he’s going to win, I figure, why not? “Sure. First to five wins?”
“Yeah, but I have other stipulations.”
This isn’t going to end well for me. “What are they?”
He’s silent for a moment. “If I win, you have to be nice to me. Stop assuming I’m some jackass—”
“I thought that was what you were?” I cut in. Innocence chimes in my tone.
Parker chuckles and holds his hand up to stop me from continuing. “I wasn’t finished, little mouse.”
“Go on, hot shot.”
“Now, as I was saying, you have to be nice to me, and you have to let me take you out.”
I eye him skeptically. Is this some joke or trick to get back at Stacey or Hayden? I’m not in the market for revengeful dating. In fact, I should stick to my decision not to date guys like him. “Sorry, I can’t do the date. I’ve decided to refrain from the dating scene.”
“Well, don’t look at it as a date then. It’ll just be two friends heading out.” The last part of his sentence causes my stomach to plummet. Friends. He takes another shot, then holds the ball. His stare grips me, and somehow, I find myself nodding in agreement to his terms.
“What if I win?”
Parker erupts with laughter. “Don’t worry, little mouse. I’ll be sure to at least let you get one shot in,” he teases.
“Bring it on.” I place my ball down beside my water. I can feel the smile on my face—it’s one I haven’t worn in a long time. It’s as if there’s a brightness coming from within me. I love sports, but I’ve never really done anything with it, never joined a team. I know I’m sure to lose against the basketball captain, but what’s a bit of fun?
Parker tosses the ball to me. “Here, you can start. It might be the only shot I allow you to have. I’ll take it easy on you.”
“Not too easy, I hope,” I respond playfully. A smile that I’m sure mimics my own sits on Parker’s face.
“Stop stalling,” he says. I take a sneaky advantage.
I dribble the ball to the hoop. Parker comes toward me. I balk him to go one way, and instead, I go the other. He’s back on me within seconds. I hit the three-point line and take the shot. I don’t miss.
“Lucky shot.”
I toss the ball to him. He takes it back out to halfway then comes driving back in, only he’s coming right at me. I don’t move. Instead, I hold my arms out, and when he comes near I manage a sneaky tap on the ball and collect it from him. “Watch out there, Parker. You might just lose to a girl.” I laugh before running in, dribbling the ball.
Parker wraps his arms around me, stealing the ball. I become warm. My body craves his touch. He’s lit it up, and now my stupid body is betraying me. Yet again.
Parker releases me and dribbles the ball away, I say, “You can’t do that. I call foul ball.” Before I register what’s happening, Parker’s taken a shot, and through the hoop it goes.
“I’ll give you two foul shots then. Here,” he says.
I catch the ball he tosses me. I align myself on the foul shot line. Parker comes around from behind me. He’s stripped his jersey off. It appears the gods decided they would give him a body like theirs—one of pure perfection. He won’t get to me, I chant in my mind. I give my head a shake and keep my focus on the job at hand: kicking his ass.
Parker’s heat hits my back. My senses light up like a Christmas tree. A finger slides down my arm. I swallow the hard lump in my throat. Each and every part of me wants to turn and plant a kiss on his lips. I must refrain. It’s like the devil tempting Eve all over again. Parker’s lips are the most forbidden fruit.
I bounce the ball twice, bending slightly to take one of my two free shots. My ass hits his crotch. Parker’s hands land on my hips seconds later.
Oh, he’s so good at this. What a tease.
But two can play at this game.
   

Giveaway

One of Five ARC's for Monday Night Guy
 
 
 

About the Author

 
Liz Lovelock is from bright sunny Queensland in Australia. She is the mother of three little monsters, a wife to an amazing husband and very much a lover of everything books and reading. Liz has always loved books and, from a very young age she began reading comic books and then in high school her passion grew. She was given Tomorrow When The War Began by John Marsden for an assignment but, when that was done she continued to discover new books to fall in love with.
Liz always has a book she is currently enjoying and, a notebook beside her bed for in her hand bag for when inspiration hits at those crazy times. She is a stationary addict and will buy more notebooks and pens then what she needs. Her one click finger likes to go crazy as well.
 

Connect with Liz

 
Newsletter Sign Up: http://bit.ly/2qEsD7i
Facebook Author Page: http://bit.ly/2IBRsi1
Facebook Reader Group: http://bit.ly/2GGZnVs
Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/2s4D8mT
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2tMX4dV
BookBub Author Page: http://bit.ly/2kfbrEA
 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Cover Reveal: Blind Love by Kelly Elliott

      Harley and I had our whole lives planned out, until her plans changed, and those plans didn't include me. After years spent trying to get the love of my life out of my head and repair my too-damaged heart, I thought I was finally moving on…but life sure has a funny way of letting you know when those best-laid plans are about to be turned upside down. My entire world was rocked when Harley unexpectedly moved back to Oak Springs. Every miserable moment I'd spent trying to get over her and every hour I'd wasted trying to erase her from my life came back to haunt me the minute she walked into my office, fear in her eyes, and asked me for help. Would I…or better yet, could I walk away from her this time after all that she had put me through? What I really needed to know is would I be able to forge ahead with the future I had so meticulously planned—one that didn't include Harley—or will her return finally open my eyes to a future full of endless possibilities?   Blind Love is book five in the Cowboys and Angels series.      

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          Kelly Elliott is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling contemporary romance author. Since finishing her bestselling Wanted series, Kelly continues to spread her wings while remaining true to her roots and giving readers stories rich with hot protective men, strong women and beautiful surroundings. Her bestselling works include, Wanted, Broken, Without You, and Unconditional Love, to name just a few. Kelly has been passionate about writing since she was fifteen. After years of filling journals with stories, she finally followed her dream and published her first novel, Wanted, in November of 2012. Kelly lives in central Texas with her husband, daughter, and two pups. When she’s not writing, Kelly enjoys reading and spending time with her family. She is down to earth and very in touch with her readers, both on social media and at signings. To find out more about Kelly and her books, you can find her through her website. www.kellyelliottauthor.com

FACEBOOK | TWITTER| GOODREADS | AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

 

Piece of Work by Staci Hart

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Piece of Work, an all-new sexy and hilarious romance from Staci Hart, is available NOW!

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Marble isn’t the only thing that’s hard at this museum.
His body is as chiseled as Adonis. His lips are as sculpted as David. And his ego is the size of the Guggenheim.
You know the type—wolfish smile and the gravity of a black hole. The kind of man who sucks all the air from the room the second he enters it. My cocky boss thinks this internship was wasted on me, and he doesn’t hesitate to let me know.
But he’s wrong, and I’m going to prove it to him. If I can stay away from his devil lips, that is. Lips that cut me down and kiss me in the same breath, leaving me certain he’s on a mission to ruin my life.
And maybe my heart.
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Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!
Amazon Universal: http://mybook.to/PieceofWork
Add to GoodReads: https://bit.ly/2pT693W


Oh what a story that Staci Hart has given us this time. Unique. Emotional. Also very passionate. She built an amazing relationship with electric chemistry between a boss and an employee. The little twists and turns on top of the angst and drama that ensues, I found I could not put it down. The one thing I loved is the characters. Especially Rin. She is one of the most unique and one of a kind characters that you just adore. She is sassy but reserved. Quiet yet loud at the same time. I love how her character blossoms in this story. Then you have Court. Sin on a stick and very grumpy while hiding his emotions close. These two together was explosive and beyond amazing. You really feel their ups and downs in this story, getting gripped by their emotional journey. 
Overall, I think this is one of my favorites by Hart. She gives you a ride for your life as these two hit so many ups and downs. Misunderstandings to their heated emotions and banter. I found I could not put this book down and devoured it. There were moments I wanted to yell but there were moments I was cheering. I adored it so much. I highly recommend this one to anyone who loves something passionate and unique. You will be blown away!


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Excerpt:
He smirked and flipped up his sunglasses. Bastard. “You’re early,” I clipped. “I would have had my assistant text you, but she’s currently bedridden.” You could have texted me.” “I didn’t have your number,” he said simply. “Oh.” His eyes shifted to look behind me, and I turned to find my friends standing me in a row with my suitcase in front of them, my messenger bag on top, and fake smiles on all their faces, lips together, their judgment about as quiet as a foghorn. “These your roommates?” “Yup,” was all I said as I turned and took my suitcase, hugging each of them down the line with promises to text when we landed. And then I turned to Court, rolling my suitcase in front of me like like a riot shield. I tried to pick it up to carry it over the threshold, but it was heavy, and before I could get far, he’d swept it out of my hands like it was a loaf of bread and not fifty pounds of mascara and shoes. I waved at my friends, who offered encouraging smiles and hand gestures, and I closed that door, immediately regretting every decision I’d made to bring me to the moment I turned around. He stood at the door to the backseat, holding it open for me like a gentleman, which I knew he was not. But the look on his face of regret and deference, under the hard shell of his brooding, was almost too much to bear. So I did the only thing I could. I ignored him. I ignored his gorgeous lips as they tilted and the sleek cut of his jaw as I walked past him. I ignored the sight of his long legs as he climbed in next to me and the smell of him that made me want to grab him by the lapels of his jacket and bury my nose in his chest. The driver took off, and I busied myself in my bag, looking for my headphones and book. His eyes were on me. I pretended like I didn’t notice. “You’re not wearing lipstick,” he stated. Headphones, headphones, headphones. “It’s an international flight, Court. Of course I’m not wearing red lipstick for a ten hour flight.” A pause. “Rin, I—” Aha! I popped in my earbuds the second they were in hand. His lips flattened, his face unamused. Rin, his lips said, but I smiled and shrugged, pointing to my ears. “Noise canceling,” I said way too loud. His chest rose and fell with a sigh I couldn’t hear—I’d already turned on music, a playlist we’d built the night before geared toward resisting douchery and unwanted-slash-totally-wanted advances—and he reached into his own bag, a leather affair at his feet, his hand disappearing into the bag and reappearing with a book, which he handed to me. He watched me with his expression shrouded as I paused, my eyes on the offered book. An image of Penitent Magdalene by Tintoretto filled the cover, and I met his eyes, pulling my earbuds out by the cord. “I thought you could use this. For your proposal,” he said, giving nothing away. “I…A colleague of mine wrote it, so if you have any questions, I can connect you. If you want.” I took it from his hand, surprised and disarmed. “Thank you,” was all I said. He opened his mouth as if to speak again, but closed it, and with a nod, he reached back into his bag for his own book. Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake. I put my earbuds back in place, trying not to bite my lip, but it found its way between my teeth despite the effort at the sight of him sitting there, dressed like that, reading Margaret Atwood. After giving me a thoughtful gift, a book he knew I would want, one I would need for my dissertation. Court Lyons made about as much sense to me as a scrambled up Rubik’s Cube. I leaned against the door as I flipped through his gift, doing my best to sort through the rush of questions and confusion as Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s sang about being cheated by the opposite of love. And I found I knew exactly the feeling.
About the Author
Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics. StaciHart.jpg
Connect with Staci:
Join Her Reader Group Here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/stacihart/

Chapter Reveal - Almost impossible by Nicole Williams






























June 19th 2018
























































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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 cafĂ© 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.”







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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.







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