Saturday, January 31, 2015

Get Off On The Pain by Victoria Ashley Blog Tour

I live for the pain; it’s what drives me to keep moving. But there comes a time when one has to push the demons aside in order to survive.

I thought I buried them deep. I thought I was ready to finally live. Until… my brother, Alex; he throws me into the fire—right into the place I could never control myself, the one place I never want to be again.

When I put my hands on people, they get hurt. Things happen that bring me back to that night. The one that will forever torment me.

I’m doing fine, keeping to myself in order to ensure no one gets hurt by me. Then along comes Lyric, and all I want to do is touch her, to put my hands in places that I know will only lead to her being crushed by me.

She’s the rush that I crave. The darkest of poison running through my veins, killing me bit by bit; like a drug I can’t get enough of even though I’m almost down to my last breath.

And being around her only hurts more, but what she doesn’t understand is that I welcome the pain; I get off on it, which in the end leaves me with the hardest decision of my life—one that might get us all killed…

Goodreads’ Link

Cover Image Photographer FuriousFotog

Cover Model Shawn Dawson

Excerpt One:

I walk down the steps and call his name but he still doesn’t answer. I notice a light shining through the bottom of what I believe is the downstairs bathroom, so I throw his jacket on the queen-sized bed and look around me.
      It’s like a mix between a bedroom and a gym. Everything about this room tells me that Memphis is a fighter… or was. In the back corner there is a heavy bag, a speed bag, two long, heavy ropes, and some kind of bar hanging from the ceiling that must be for pull-ups. There is more random equipment sitting around, but I really have no idea what they are used for.
      You can tell he was heavy into training and staying fit: sexy and dangerous. Hand in hand they make a lethal weapon, and also one reason I should want to stay away.
      I look down at the jacket on his bed one more time before turning around to head back upstairs.
      The sight in front of me takes the breath straight from my lungs and for some reason refuses to give it back.  Damn you wine. Damn you.
      Memphis is standing there, dripping wet, with a small towel wrapped around his waist. One hand is shaking out his hair and the other is holding his towel together.
      Please let go. Please let go…
      I try my best to turn away, I swear, but I have to face it – it’s pointless at this point. My eyes slowly trail down his body, taking their time on each and every body part. Think he’d notice if I grabbed my camera? Holy hell…
      Every single muscle in that firm chest is dying to be licked by me. Oh fuck me. Those defined muscles leading down to his… I swallow. Oh my… that looks like a nice package.
      Where’s the wine?
      My mouth feels dry. I quickly bring my eyes up to his face right as he pulls the towel away to adjust it. I catch a quick glimpse, but hold my breath and try to pretend that I missed it, although, that is definitely hard to miss.
      “I… uh…” I point down at his bed. “Was just dropping off your jacket like you asked. You didn’t answer the door so I… never mind. I’m sorry. I’m leaving. I should have just left it upstairs.”
      I turn to walk away, but his voice stops me. “I heard you knocking, Lyric. I expected you’d come down here. I know you more than you think.” He steps up behind me and touches my camera. “I was hoping you’d bring this.” He grabs the strap and pulls it over my shoulder toward the front of my body, letting it rest against my front, then turns me around to face him.
      His icy blue eyes stare at me with an intensity that makes my heart skip a beat. “Why,” I ask softly, still trying to keep my eyes from wandering.
      “Because I like it.” He runs his finger from the camera up the center of my body, between my breasts, and looks into my eyes. “And fuck me, but I love you using it on me.”

Author Info:
Victoria Ashley grew up in Rockford, IL and has had a passion for reading for as long as she can remember. After finding a reading app where it allowed readers to upload their own stories, she gave it a shot and writing became her passion.
She lives for a good romance book with tattooed bad boys that are just highly misunderstood and is not afraid to be caught crying during a good read. When she’s not reading or writing about bad boys, you can find her watching her favorites shows such as Sons Of Anarchy, Dexter and True Blood.
She is the author of Wake Up Call, This Regret, Slade, Hemy, and Get Off on the Pain. Victoria is currently working on more releases for 2015.
Author Facebook page-
Excerpt Two:

Lyric steps away and laughs before walking over and stopping in front of me. She looks up into my eyes and licks her bottom lip. Her whole body is glistening with sweat now, and all I can think about is tasting every inch of her. “Dance with me, Memphis.”
      I pull my eyes away from her lips and flex my jaw. As much as I want to put my hands all over, I need to fight it, but this fucking liquor isn’t doing much to help it.
      “No, Lyric.”
      She takes a step closer and runs her tiny, soft hand down my arm. “Just once. It’s not even a big deal. It’s just a dance. It’s not like I’m asking you to fuck me. I’m asking you to touch me.”
      “You want me to touch you,” I growl. I roughly slide my hands over her hips before gripping her waist and slamming her up against the wall. Leaning in, I fist her hair in my hand and whisper in her ear. “Is this how you want me to touch you? Touching someone that I know always leads to them getting hurt.” I grip her waist tighter and press my body flush with hers. Her body trembles against mine and her breathing picks up as my bottom lip brushes over her ear. “I’m fucking tainted, Lyric. Running now would be your best option.”
      She looks up into my eyes and wets her lips, fighting to catch her breath. “I. Want. You. To. Touch. Me. I’m not running anywhere.”
      FUCK! Those words do me in.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Legend of Arturo King by L.B. Dunbar

My name is Arturo King, and I’m told I’m a legend in music. My band is called Nights and we got our start at the Round Table in New York City. Raised by a foster father, I didn’t know the extent of my inheritance until I was twenty-one, and it was all more than I bargained for. I wanted to play the guitar and rule the world with song, but I learned I have a mother from old money, a dead father who was once a real estate mogul, and a record company that needed some rebuilding. Mure Linn, my friend and mentor, has been by my side through it all, teaching me to play, strengthening my lyrics, and guiding me in the music industry. There was one area he couldn’t guide me, though, and that was love. Guinevere DeGrance changed everything for me, I suppose, including the reason I’m here learning the legend of my life without remembering any of it.
I was given an ARC by the author for an honest review.

I started this book after reading Colleen Hoover's latest book and I thought I probably would take a day or two before getting hooked due to that fact. Actually, it didn't and if I'm being honest if I read this prior to Colleen Hoover's book I would have taken longer to read hers. I was hooked from the first page for many reasons. 

Reason One: The descriptions and details. L.B. Dunbar doesn't use the cliché and typical descriptions I've often seen in many romance books of all sorts. I was quite pleased to see a new way of body parts or even hair being described. Most rock star romances tend to go to the same details and descriptions for everything however, Ms. Dunbar chose to go a different way, a way in which it got me to want more and actually finish the book. 

Reason Two: When you a read a rock star romance book you expect the typical- drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll. Yes, they were there but Ms. Dunbar added a couple twist to her story. She added kidnapping, an attempted rape scene and worst of all a cliffhanger (LOL). Cliffhangers are the worst. I don't think, to my knowledge, that I have read a rock star romance book that had a cliffhanger. So I was pissed this one did, LOL.

Reason Three: Arturo King. The New Hot, Badass Book Boyfriend. Enough Said. I absolutely loved this book. She goes through Arturo's background and how he got where he is now. When you get that much detail you have two kinds of people the people who feel it is to much and the people who felt it was needed. I felt the story wouldn't have been same or as good without it. To learn he was just naturally musically talented unlike his siblings who had lessons to gain their talent. To see his family history and learn about his childhood helped you see who he is as a man, you can't help but wish you were Guinevere.

Reason Four (the final reason: Guinevere. The name alone I loved. It's not the traditional female name being used. She, just like the rest of the book, wasn't your typical female. She could have been classified as off limits at one point. She had her own family history to surpass. Her dad being the guy all the bands want approval from. She was a caring, sweet, lovable girl. She is someone you would never expect to see be so sexually unafraid and to take charge, I know I never saw it coming. 

Ms. Dunbar takes you on a ride to dark side of rock star romances but, there are no cookies with this darker side just a cliffhanger. She takes you where you have never been when you read rock star romance books. I can't want to read the next book. 

5/5 rating

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ghost of a Promise by Kelly Moran

It might be love…but will they survive the night?

The ghosts of her family's estate on the coast of Maine never troubled Ava Trumble. When she finally inherits the historic mansion, however, there's a small string attached: Ava has exactly one year to solve a 200-year-old mystery of a missing girl, or lose her family's home...

The lead investigator for paranormal TV showPhantoms, Jackson Granger, is prepared for any metaphysical encounter—until now. It's not just the uncanny sense of "coming home" or even his reaction to the fiery redhead who seems to consume his every waking thought. No, it's that the ghosts are using Jackson and Ava's attraction to play out a centuries-old tragedy. Heartbreak. Loss. Overwhelming passion. Now Jackson and Ava must determine if they're sharing something real...or if they've been possessed by a love that never died.
I received an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review.

Paranormal romance takes on a whole new level. It's not the typical girl or guy falls for a paranormal creature. You've got Ava who just inherited her family mansion for a year. Yes, only a year unless she can solve the 200 year old mystery that has the mansion haunted. Then you've got Jackson, your new book boyfriend. He's the lead star of the TV show Phantoms, a ghost hunting show, whose come to the mansion to help Ava solve the mystery. Jackson has a connection to the mansion of his own as well as to Ava. 

Ava and Jackson have a strong romantic connection but the house doesn't like it. Ava has her own insecurities that stem from the house dealing with men. The best way to describe Jackson is he doesn't care he wants that romance with Ava. 

The paranormal aspects and Jacksons team from Phantoms doing their work with equipment you see on TV shows like the books ghost hunting show make the book stem to life. I mean a creepy life. I found myself unable to read much at night because I got so wrapped into the book that the little noise or movement in my house made me freak out. Kelly really did her research and brought so much realism to the novel you'll forget your reading and just may get creeped out as well. 

Can Ava solve her mystery? Will Ava and Jackson pursue their connection? If so, will the house let Ava and Jackson be a couple? Well, you'll just have to read the book to find out.

5/5 rating



Jade Conner is taking a big risk, working undercover as a drug buyer. His team is desperately trying to intercept and stop the importation of a wicked new drug into South Florida. In the middle of a buy, he meets a young woman, who seems utterly out of place.Alli Reed is helplessly trapped, having foolishly made the wrong choice. Now, she must deliver the drugs or die.Worse, she the sister of one of the team members: the case just took the worst possible turn!

 Jade is only $2.99 and is available through Amazon at the moment
(Will soon be on all major networks)

Buy Links:
US -
UK -

Social Links:
Facebook -
Twitter - @authorsreynolds
Email -
Website -
Goodreads -

Want to learn more about S. Reynolds?

Author Bio:

     Stephanie is a new indie author who loves to write and read. She lives in West Virginia with her two children and her dog.
     She has a BS in Criminal Justice and has spent her years reading about and exploring the mind. She has many projects scheduled for 2015 and beyond and hopes to also start a fantasy series this year.Her next project will be Ryker, Book 3 in the Special Operations Command Series.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Jade (Special Operations Command book 2) by S. Reynolds

Jade (Special Operations Command book 2) by  S. Reynolds

WARNING* Due to language, sexual content, this book is intended for readers of the age 18+ 

Jade Conner is taking a big risk, working undercover as a drug buyer. His team is desperately trying to intercept and stop the importation of a wicked new drug into South Florida. In the middle of a buy, he meets a young woman, who seems utterly out of place. 

Alli Reed is helplessly trapped, having foolishly made the wrong choice. Now, she must deliver the drugs or die.Worse, she's the sister of one of the team members: the case just took the worst possible turn!

was given this arc for an honest review and I would have to give this a really great review as it was a book that I could not for the life of me put down! If you thought the first book was good, you should read this one. This one was just as good as the first one if not better. When you read it you are actually brought into the depth of the characters. You get to have a feel of what is going on in Jade's life. It was a great job of getting you into the book. When you read about Jade and what is happening, you actually then get a look into Jaxon life as you get to meet his sister. You don't really hear much about any of their families in the first book, but in the second book you do get to hear more about the families. You also get to see what they are doing post CIA. In the point of view of the characters, you get to see what they are actually looking at. The author did a great job in doing research about what was written in the book. There is not one part of the book that you would get lost in and it does not trail off at all into other parts. These guys have a huge impact on what you think about and who you would really like to have in your life. The guys go through a lot and you can tell by the way they act in what their lives depend on, and that is protecting other people. Even though they are ex military, ex CIA, they still want to protect the American people. They still want to keep people safe even if they do not know they people or what kind of situation they might be getting into. These guys are even someone that I would love to see in my life. Great job on the writing and keep up with it. Hopefully their will be more books by this author that will go with this series. I want to know what happens to the other guys and about the families. Because where she left it off bring you to the point of wondering what was not said at the end when they finally got together at the end of the book. Great read, will recommend to all to read this book.

Nightingale by Scarlett Kincade

Nightingale by Scarlett Kincade


ET Synopsis

Lincoln Hawke has had a tortured past and he’s convinced, a tortured soul. His only constant in life, aside from his brother and sister-in-law, is the plethora of women that he won’t commit to. Demons guard his heart and capture his life, allowing no room for trust or commitments.

Ridley Nightingale is ready to embark on a new future when she transfers schools and relocates to Florida to be with her friends. Nothing can distract her from finishing her degree. That is, until Lincoln and Ridley are paired up for a class project and their boundaries are pushed. But things aren’t always what they seem and nothing easy is worth having.

Will Ridley be able to break down Lincoln’s walls and see past his playboy shell? Or will Lincoln’s past cause him to lose the one person who might help him overcome it all?



***Mature Content***


Buy Links:


(Other platforms are coming soon)

ET Author Bio


Scarlett Kincade is the name….creating romantic stories for you to enjoy is the game!

ET hosted by

Anyone But Him by Cassie Graham

Whitley Hayes is an ordinary girl with a gypsy heart. College is the only constant in her life. She’s made a lot of mistakes and she intends on keeping them in the past. 
Move on and forget. 
That’s her motto. 

Jennings Cohen is no ordinary man—not at all. He would have never imagined his life would turn into such a spectacle. The tabloids exploit him, fans stalk him and the paparazzi are relentless. It’s not always fun being Jennings. 
It doesn’t help that he has a secret. One that comes at a price he’s not sure he can pay.

Relationships get complicated and hearts shatter.

It’s not easy living a lie, but it’s easier than telling the truth.

OMG! Talk about book hangover. Whitley and Jennings will grab you heart strings and start playing puppet master with them. I loved how each chapter was either inside Whitley or Jennings mind. There was no wondering what the other felt.

The two plot twist, so to speak, that Cassie Graham threw in there were even better. Both Whitley and Jennings holding secrets from the other. Watching the story unfold you have no choice but to let the book play puppet master with your heart.

You'll get happy and excited or even sad and pissed off when they do. Whitley's character is easily relatable to people. Her being someone who has shut off her emotions and built up that wall from love is something I know a lot of people do. Jennings being a celebrity who has his publicist making him look like a uber dick who sleeps around, well minus the celebrity part I know some guys probably get the reputation of sleeping around when they don't.

This was an absolutely amazing book. I could not put it down whenever I was reading it. The ending left me all giddy and wanting more..

5/5 rating

Trouble Makers by Emme Rollins

When your best friend falls in love with a rock star, you either join her in her fixation, or you spend a lot of nights eating ice cream and watching Netflix by yourself. If you can’t beat them, join them, isn’t that what they say? 

While Bree—my best friend since forever—couldn’t get enough of “Trouble” and their lead singer, Rob Burns, I set my sights a little lower – and to the left. Rob’s immediate left, that is, at least on stage. Tyler Cook was Trouble’s lead guitarist, a tall, glorious, dark blonde, beautiful specimen of a man who could make ovaries explode and panties drop with just one twist of that smirky smile of his. 

Of course, it was all just in good fun, two girls going to Trouble concerts and screaming ourselves hoarse along with the rest of the fans. Bree’s fascination with Rob, and mine with Tyler, was a fun little fantasy, a distraction from our boring everyday lives, mine as a dental hygienist and Bree’s as an elementary school music teacher, until one day the “what-if” game Bree liked to play—and in, “what if we met Trouble some day?” and “What if they asked us to go on tour with them?”—actually happened. 

Actually. Happened. 

One minute we were going to see Trouble in concert, and the next, we were backstage, face-to-face with the real-live, sexy thing. I never expected to meet rock god Tyler Cook. I never expected to end up on a tour bus with sex god Tyler Cook. I certainly never expected to fall in love with the man, that beautiful, broken, wild man, or become so hooked I simply couldn’t give him up—no matter what it cost, or who I hurt, even myself. 

Because sometimes you have to stop asking yourself, “What if?” Sometimes you have to find out what happens next. 


When I heard the Trouble books had another coming out I couldn't have been more excited. Then, to find out its Katie and Tyler's story made it even better. To be able to see Katie's journey with Tyler was spectacular. Feeling all the emotions of her ups and downs with Tyler. Being inside Katie's head knowing at the beginning it was all "Am I dreaming? This doesn't happen in real life?" Told you this was going to have some sort real life thoughts and emotions. Especially, since there wasn't anything Katie wouldn't do for Tyler, including facing deep dark addictions like drugs. There are so many points when I was thinking I bet someone reading this can relate to it, even with dealing with a rock star. 

Emme Rollins really knows how to write Rock star Romance novels and make it seem like real life. I can't wait to see if she puts out more

4/5 rating

Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen. 
Complete strangers since this morning. 
He'll do anything to remember. She'll do anything to forget. 
I have no clue where to start. Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher pull you from the first paragraph. They've got you wondering why and how? I absolutely love reading this book. I had a hard time putting it down because I wanted answers. As the synopsis said they've been apart of each other's lives their entire life and now they are strangers. You really feel Silas' pull towards wanting to remember and figure it all out while Charlie wants to forget and doesn't believe she is who they say she is.

I loved how the chapters alternated between Silas' and Charlie's point of views. I feeling doing that allows you into both of their heads as they uncover clues, secrets and learn about themselves. The absolute only thing I hated was the cliffhanger ending. I hate cliffhangers but I strongly recommend reading this.

5/5 rating.

Time Out, Valentine by Melinda Dozier

Lexi’s life is one big dump. Or so she thinks. To keep her mind off her latest breakup, she stays busy with work. It’s no big deal, since writing for Time Out Portland Magazine is a blast…except for the one small snag – Grant Reeds. Grant, a shy but sexy computer geek, is new to Time Out, working as the Networking Director for the online magazine. Even though Lexi thinks he doesn’t notice her, he sure as hell does. The owners have a plan for their upcoming Valentine’s Special, pairing up the two to explore romantic date ideas around the city. Soon, Lexi and Grant learn that the old adage, “Opposites Attract,” can ring true.

I received a copy for review.

I loved this book. I mean, how can you not love a book where the first sentence is "Out of 100,000 sperm you were the fastest?" The love/hate relationship Lexie and Grant have is fun to watch as it unravels into a love relationship. I love how you have Lexie who has sworn off men, Grant who won't do office relationships anymore and their bosses who pair them up for a romantic project for Time Out.

This book had me happy, giddy, embarrassed and mad at times. Yet, I still couldn't put it. Grant and Lexie drew me to them. I could picture Grant as having the looks of Leonard from Big Bang Theory and Lexie being Penny. There was just something about them that made me think of that show and those two. I guess it was the unlikely couple duo.

Melinda Dozier did a fabulous job drawing you in. I only wish it was longer but OMG the ending I did NOT see coming. You're going to have to read it to find out what happens.

5/5 rating

Friday, January 23, 2015

Last to Know by Micalea Smeltzer Chapter Reveal

He was just a boy.
And I was just a girl.
But if that’s all there was to the story it wouldn’t be very interesting, would it?
Up and coming band Willow Creek is back in their hometown for the summer. For the drummer, Maddox Wade, this summer was meant for writing music and playing gigs.
Falling in love was not part of the plan.
One look at Emma Burke and those plans cease to matter.
Emma is quiet and guarded. She’s still hurt from her father walking out two years ago. She doesn’t want to trust Maddox, but with his dark hair, smoldering good looks, and infectious smile he’s impossible to resist.
Together Maddox and Emma embark on an unforgettable summer of adventures and first love.
Everything is perfect…or so Emma thinks.
There are things she doesn’t know, and when she finds out the truth it might shatter everything she’s built with Maddox.
No one said love was easy, and for Maddox and Emma it just might be impossible.

Add on Goodreads:

Release Date: February 9th

Chapter One
The grass crunched beneath my feet as I followed Sadie through the fair entrance. I hadn’t even wanted to come. I would rather be home reading or playing the piano, but Sadie, who’d been my best friend since we were in diapers, was relentless.
It was the first official day of summer vacation and she didn’t want me to lock myself in my house until school started in August and I was forced to emerge.
She called this fun.
I called it hell.
“Isn’t this nice, Emma?” She chimed, clapping her hands together. Her brown eyes were bright and happy.
“Uh…nice isn’t the word I’d choose.” I wrinkled my nose at the trash littering the grass. Some guy bumped into me, knocking me to the side. I reached up to keep my hat from falling off. It was one of those large black round hats that helped to shade my face from the sun. Sadie said it looked ridiculous, but I liked it. I’d never been one to take another person’s opinion to heart. My mom raised me to be a free spirit like her, so I always did my own thing.
“Emma!” Sadie groaned when she saw I’d been separated from her. “Taking you places is like having a child. I take my eyes off of you for two seconds and you’re gone.” She grabbed my arm, dragging me through the crowd. “Willow Creek is playing and I won’t miss this! I had to give Adam Carson a lap dance to get these tickets at the last minute.”
“Ew! Sadie! You gave him a lap dance?!”
People turned to stare at us with my exclamation.
“A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.” She gave me a look like I’d know exactly what she meant.
“I don’t even want to go!” I complained. “I don’t know who they are, and I won’t like their music anyway!”
“Well, we can’t all be freaks that listen to classical music, like Beethoven,” she argued.
“Why don’t you go on without me,” I pleaded, semi impressed that she knew who Beethoven was. “Look, food!” I pointed to a stand. “I’ll get something to eat while you go listen to them play and we’ll meet up afterwards.”
“You really don’t want to go, do you?” She frowned, her brows drawing together. Sadie wasn’t used to me balking at her plans.
“Not really,” I shrugged. “I’ll probably just get a headache and want to go home afterwards.”
She sighed. “Fine, you get something to eat, I’ll go to the concert, and then we’ll walk around for a while.”
“Great,” I said, prying my arm from her hold.
“I’ll see you in a little bit!” She grinned, skipping off towards the bleachers in front of the stage. Her wavy brown hair swished around her shoulders.
I headed for the area with the food vendors, thankful that I’d gotten out of going to the concert. Willow Creek was the star act this year at the fair. Some local band that was making it big. I didn’t know who they were or what they sang, and I didn’t care to find out.
I grabbed a hotdog and fries before finding a vacant picnic table.
I heard the music start up a few minutes later with a clash of drums.
I sighed. Yep, so not my thing.
After I finished eating, I grabbed my purse—a large messenger bag with tie-dye strings of fabric hanging off of it—and pulled out the book I was reading. I never left home without something to read.
I got sucked into the fictional world of fairies and completely lost track of time.
I was shocked when I looked up and realized the sun was setting and people were clearing off the bleachers.
Where was Sadie?
I looked around, scanning the crowd of people for her.
I started to panic when I couldn’t find her.
It wouldn’t be the first time Sadie had ditched me, usually for a guy.
Some people might think she was a crappy friend, but Sadie was just…Sadie. And when I really needed her she was always there for me.
I tucked my book back into the bag, grabbed my trash, and dropped it in the nearest trashcan.
All the while, I kept looking for Sadie.
I grabbed my phone sending her a text asking where she was.
Unfortunately, if she was with a guy I wouldn’t get a reply—and cell service was spotty on the fairgrounds anyway. I was so giving her a piece of my mind for this. I hadn’t even wanted to come! And of course I’d gotten a ride with her, so I was trapped at the frigging Clarke County fair twenty to thirty minutes from home. In other words, there was no way I could walk. And since my mom didn’t even own a cellphone it wasn’t like I could call her—and she’d be working in her studio at this time, which meant she wouldn’t even hear the home phone ring.
“Are you lost?”
I squeaked at the sound of the voice and took a few steps back. I almost fell in a hole and the guy reached out to steady me.
“Whoa, are you okay?” He asked, flicking dark hair from his eyes. It was slightly damp with sweat, as was his whole body. I wondered what he’d been doing to get that sweaty, but then decided I’d rather not know. While I watched him he pulled a baseball cap out of his back pocket and fixed it onto his head, pulling the brim down low so that half his face was shadowed.
“I’m fine.” I straightened my cardigan and squared my shoulders. “I’m…I’m waiting for someone.” I didn’t want to give this guy the impression he could take advantage of me.
He grinned crookedly, tilting his head. “Something tells me you’re lying.” He scratched his stubbled chin. He couldn’t be more than two years older than me, maybe nineteen or twenty at the most, but something in his silvery gray eyes made him seem so much older. Like he’d had a rough life or something. It made me a little more trusting of him. I could relate to rough. My dad was an alcoholic and before he walked out on us things had been bad. “I promise I don’t bite.”
“I can’t find my friend,” I shrugged. “I’m sure she’ll show up eventually.” I looked around—for the thousandth time—hoping Sadie was about to jump out from behind one of the stands and scream, “Gotcha!” But she didn’t, of course.
“Would you like me to wait with you?” He asked, tapping his fingers along his jean clad leg.
I looked around at all the people milling around and decided there wasn’t much this guy could do to me in public.
“That would be great,” I smiled. “Thank you for offering.”
His lips twisted, almost as if he was trying not to laugh at me. “I’m going to grab a bottle of water and then we can find a table.”
“Okay.” I fell into step beside him. I checked my phone and wasn’t surprised to find nothing from Sadie.
He bought a bottle of water from one of the vendors and cheese fries—the kind with the liquid cheese that grossed me out.
“Come on,” he tilted his head towards a free picnic table. “Let’s just sit down for a while and look for your friend. What exactly does she look like?”
“Tall, brown hair, pretty,” I shrugged.
He laughed. “You just described half of the girls here. Although, none of them are as pretty as you,” he winked.
My cheeks heated and I looked down. I wasn’t used to being called pretty. Most of the people that I went to school with, guys and girls, thought I was weird. I was different, and people didn’t seem to understand different. It was all to easy to pass me up as odd.
“Surely you know you’re pretty,” the guy added. “I think I might be developing a crush on your freckles.”
When I was little I hated my freckles. None of the other kids had them and I’d been embarrassed, but as I got older I learned to love them because they were a part of me. My mom always told me there was no point in not loving yourself, because you can’t change who you are and might as well embrace it.
“What’s your name?” I asked him, wanting to steer the topic of conversation away from myself.
“Maddox.” He answered, wiping his cheese covered fingers on a napkin. “Yours?”
“Emma,” he repeated. “I like that.”
“Um…thank you?” It came out as a question.
He chuckled, like my awkwardness was cute or something. “Are you from around here, Emma?”
“About twenty or so minutes from here,” I shrugged.
“Winchester?” He asked.
“Uh…yeah…how’d you know?”
“Don’t worry,” he laughed, “I’m not a creep, it’s just where I’m from.”
“Oh,” I relaxed.
“We have a lot in common,” he continued, eating another heart attack inducing cheese fry.
“We do?”
“Yeah,” he nodded.
“I don’t see how we have much in common except where we live…”
“Really?” He quirked a brow. “You look like you don’t want to be here and I don’t want to be here either. That’s another thing we have in common.”
“I don’t like crowds,” I mumbled.
“What a coincidence,” he grinned widely. “I don’t either!”
I narrowed my eyes at him.
“What?” He frowned. “You don’t believe me?”
“I don’t know you,” I countered. “How could I tell if you were being serious or sarcastic?”
“Then why don’t you get to know me,” he suggested. “Go on a date with me.”
I gaped at him, unable to form a coherent sentence. “You’re very presumptuous.”
“I’m not asking you to go to bed with me, that would be presumptuous. A date allows two people to get to know each other in a no stress environment.”
“No stress?” I laughed. “I hardly consider a date as no stress.”
He tapped his fingers against the top of the table. I was beginning to wonder if it was a nervous habit or something.
“So…are you saying no the date?”
“Yes. No. I don’t know,” I stammered. “You’re making me nervous.” My hands wrung together beneath the table where he couldn’t see.
He chuckled, taking off the hat and running his fingers through his hair before replacing it. “I make lots of people nervous.”
“I’m only seventeen,” I warned, the words tumbling out of my mouth before I could stop them, “so if you’re like twenty-five you might want to give up now.”
“Do I looked twenty-five to you?” He laughed.
“No,” I squirmed.
“I just turned nineteen,” he supplied. “Is that too old for you?”
“I don’t date,” I mumbled, hoping he’d get tired of me and just leave.
“I find it hard to believe that a girl as beautiful as you doesn’t date.” He flicked the plastic top to the water bottle into the grass and I almost felt like scolding him for it, but I couldn’t find the words. “And I hardly think one date is that dangerous.”
“You’re annoyingly persistent,” I mumbled.
He grinned widely, his teeth perfectly straight and white. “I guess I just don’t want to get old and look back on my life and wonder what would’ve happened if I asked the pretty girl with freckles that I met at the fair out on a date,” he rambled.
This guy? Was he for real? And yet I found myself succumbing to his charms. “Fine, I’ll go on a date with you,” I mumbled, agreeing mostly to get him to shut up. As soon as I finished speaking I realized I’d just agreed to go on a date with a virtual stranger.
“Excellent,” he grinned, and I couldn’t stop my smile, “and wear that hat, I like it.”
Wait until I told Sadie that one.
“Any word from your friend?” He asked, eyeing my phone that lay on the table.
I checked it even though I knew there was no message. “Nothing,” I mumbled.
“You need to find a better friend,” he joked.
“I think you might be right,” I frowned.
He stood up and held his hand out for me. “Well, we’re already here, we might as well have fun.”
I eyed his hand like it was a live grenade that might detonate at any second. He wiggled his fingers, trying to coax me. Instead of accepting his hand I stood up to follow him. He let his hand drop to his side and smiled to show that he wasn’t offended.
He started to walk away, assuming I would follow, and I called, “Maddox!”
“Yeah?” He turned around.
“Your trash…are you just going to leave it?” I frowned.
He narrowed his eyes at me. “Are you one of those girls that’s always preaching about saving the environment and won’t eat meat?”
“No,” I scoffed. “I’ll have you know that I can devour a cheeseburger in three seconds flat.”
He laughed. “Good.” He came back and picked up his trash, discarding it. “Coming?” He called over his shoulder.
I hurried after him.
“Nice boots.” He pointed to my flowery Doc Martens styled shoes.
“Thanks,” I smiled.
“What do you want to do? There’s pretty much everything.” He shoved his hands in his pockets. “There’s the carnival setup over there,” he nodded his head, “or the track…although it’s probably too late for that. Or we could take a look at the different booths—we might find something interesting there.”
I found Maddox’s rambling endearing.
“I don’t know, this isn’t exactly my scene,” I shrugged.
He chuckled, grinning crookedly. He peered down at me and I realized now how much taller he was than me. His white t-shirt stretched taut across his muscular chest, making his tanned skin seem even darker. My eyes ventured further down and I saw that he wore black jeans with a studded belt and boots.
“Are you checking me out, Emma?”
“What? No! Of course not!” I flailed.
He chuckled, rubbing his jaw to hide his widening smile. “You definitely were. It’s okay. You can look, but no touching below the belt…yet.”
I gaped at him. He did not just say that.
He laughed, continuing to play with me. “I like to know girls a little better before I unleash the beast. It might scare them.”
I didn’t know what to say and I kind of felt like running away.
He reached out, wrapping his arms around my shoulders, drawing me against his muscular body. “If you’re going to go on a date with me, you better get used to my sense of humor.”
“I’m not sure I want to,” I mumbled.
“Oh come on, I’m delightful.”
I wasn’t sure delightful was the word I’d use to describe Maddox. Then again, I’d only met him thirty minutes ago.
“You say delightful, I say crude.”
“Oh, you wound me.” He grasped his heart with his free hand.
“I doubt your ego is bruised.” I couldn’t help smiling at him. There was something about him that was infectious and easy to like.
“Don’t doubt my affection for you, Emma. I promise you it’s more than bruised. It’s downright shattered.”
I couldn’t contain my laughter.
“You know what, forget this madness,” he waved his arm to encompass all the roaming people. His other was still slung around my shoulder, a heavy and warm reminder of his presence. “You wanna just talk for a while?”
“Yeah, you know, where you move your mouth like this,” he mimed with his hand, “and words come out.”
“Uh…isn’t that what we’ve been doing?” I asked, confused.
“Yes, but I think it’s imperative that we get to know each other better before our date so that we can avoid the obligatory awkward first date and get to the fun stuff.”
“The fun stuff?” I repeated. “This isn’t the below the belt stuff is it?”
“Of course not, Emma. What kind of man do you take me for? I’m offended.”
“Hey, you were the one that brought that up before,” I defended.
He steered me away from the crowd and towards the now empty bleachers. A crew was packing up the stage equipment and loading it onto a truck with the Willow Creek logo—a willow tree with a tire swing.
“Anyway,” he continued, leading me up to the very top of the bleachers and sitting down, “I figure if we know each other a little better tonight, then the hard part is out of the way for our date.”
I was still shocked that I’d actually agreed to go on a date with him, but he had a point.
He stretched his legs out on the bleachers in front of him. “So, tell me a little bit about yourself.”
“There’s not much to tell,” I shrugged, playing with a strand of my wavy blonde hair.
“You really suck at this whole getting to know each other thing.” He grinned.
“You’re right,” I frowned. I guessed I’d spent too much time avoiding people that now I didn’t really know what to do. I took a deep breath and tried to think of something to tell him that wouldn’t be too personal or exposing. “I play piano. Does that suffice?”
“It does,” he grinned. “I happen to play the drums.”
“Really?” I asked, surprised. “You’re not just telling me that so that I’ll think you’re cool, are you?”
He laughed, ducking his head so that the brim of the baseball cap hid his face. “Not at all. Scoot over.”
I slid away from him and he leaned over, plucking drumsticks from his back pocket and hit them against the bleachers—creating a beat. “Believe me now?” He quirked a brow.
“I believe you.”
He continued to drum, spinning one of the sticks around his fingers in a fancy trick. “I can keep going if you don’t believe me,” he grinned boyishly.
“I said I believed you,” I laughed.
He smiled, and the drumming ceased. “Ah, that’s what I wanted.”
“What?” I asked confused.
“To hear your laugh. It’s beautiful, just like you.”
“You’re full of all kinds of cheesy lines,” I laughed.
“Cheesy?” He faked that he was offended. Removing the baseball cap he said, “Most girls eat that stuff up.”
“I’m not most girls,” I stated. I wasn’t like most people my age and I was fine with that. I was happy to be a free spirit like my mom.
“I’m beginning to see that.” He smiled, closing the space between us so that our legs touched.
I hadn’t even wanted to come to the stupid fair, and I’d been pissed at Sadie for abandoning me, but sitting here with Maddox made me glad I had come. Even if he was a bit cocky, I liked him for some reason.
Looking out at the dark sky, I frowned. “I better call for a taxi,” I mumbled. Since apparently Sadie had left I had no choice. She was getting a mouthful later.
“Taxi?” Maddox’s eyebrows furrowed together and he looked at me with a perplexed expression. “Why would you call for a taxi?”
“Uh…” Now it was my turn to look at him weird. “Because I need to go home. It’s getting late.”
“I can take you home,” he offered.
“No, that’s not necessary.” I waved away his concern.
“Don’t be silly,” he stood up. “I’m heading that way anyway. We’ll go together.”
“I don’t know,” I frowned.
I might like Maddox, but I didn’t know him. Getting in a car alone with him could be dangerous.
“Come on,” he coaxed, “I’ll find my brother and we’ll head out. What do you think?”
Brother? So we wouldn’t be alone. I guessed that made it better. “Yeah, sure.”
“Great,” he grinned. “Here, let me help you,” he held a hand out to me.
“It’s just my hand and these steps can be shaky, plus it’s getting dark. Just let me help you,” he pleaded.
He was right and I was being stupid. He just…he made me nervous.
I placed my hand in his and he helped me off the bleachers. There’d still been enough light when we climbed up them that I hadn’t had a problem, but now I was glad for the security his hand provided.
When we were on solid ground again he released my hand. For some reason I missed the feel of it.
He pulled his phone out of his pocket, texting his brother I assumed. A few seconds later his phone vibrated with a response.
“He says he’s at the entrance.”
“Cool,” I said for lack of anything else to say.
“So, you said you were seventeen?” When I nodded, he added, “Does that mean this is your last summer before you’re a senior?”
“It is,” I nodded.
“Have you decided what you’re going to do after school?”
“No,” I admitted. “I’m still contemplating between a few things. Are you in college or working?” I asked, tilting my head back to look up at him.
“...I guess you could say I’m working.”
“You guess?” I questioned, confused.
“It’s complicated,” he shrugged.
I wondered exactly what he meant by complicated, but I didn’t think he was likely to answer if I asked.
“I see him,” Maddox pointed up ahead.
I squinted, not sure if I was seeing right.
“Uh…” I paused, looking from his brother to him. What the actual fuck? Were they clones or something? I guessed the more plausible explanation would be that they were twins, but a Maddox clone sounded a hell of a lot cooler.
We stopped in front of his brother and Maddox introduced us. “Emma, this is my twin brother Mathias.”
“Hi, nice to meet you,” I smiled.
“Whatever.” Mathias rolled his eyes, and strolled off towards the parking lot.
“Sorry,” Maddox frowned. “He doesn’t like people…or animals…or living.”
I laughed. “Is there anything he likes?”
“Of course,” I sighed. I should’ve known that would be his reply.
“Just ignore him. It’s what I do,” he shrugged, and we followed after his brother.
Mathias stopped in front of a gray Nissan sports car I’d never seen before. “What kind of car is that?” I asked, pointing. It looked futuristic, like it could take flight to outer space or something.
“Nissan GT-R,” Maddox answered, “isn’t she gorgeous?”
What was it with guys and cars? Honestly.
“Looks nice to me,” I shrugged. In my humble opinion a car was a car and nothing more.
Maddox looked at me like my simple statement was downright murderous. “Nice? Nice? This car,” he reached out and lovingly stroked the hood of the car, “is what dreams are made of.”
“If you say so.”
“Can we get in the fucking car?” Mathias asked, sticking a cigarette between his lips and lighting the tip.
“No smoking in the car,” Maddox warned with a raised finger.
“Fucking killjoy,” Mathias rolled his eyes, tossed the cigarette on the ground, and opened the car door. I was surprised when he slid the seat forward and climbed in the back.
“Milady,” Maddox extended his hand towards the car, “get in.”
I gave him a smile and got in the car. Even though I wasn’t that tall I had to practically sit on the ground to get in the low vehicle. Who the hell wanted a car like this? Well, obviously Maddox.
He started the car and caressed the steering wheel, making a sound that could only be described as a moan. “Do you hear that purr?”
Was it too late to run away?
“You’re scaring the poor girl,” Mathias said from the backseat. “Shut up and drive or I will light a cigarette in here and good luck ever getting the scent out of the leather.”
“Asshole,” Maddox groaned, turning on the headlights and speeding out of the parking lot.
“Whoa,” I grabbed onto the door.
“Sorry,” Maddox gave me a sheepish smile. “I should’ve warned you about the power she has.”
I’d never been in a car like this before. I drove an old 1972 Volkswagen Beetle that didn’t start half the time, and it sounded like the engine was going to go up in flames anytime I actually drove it. This one sounded nothing like that. Maddox was right, it did purr.
Since Mathias was in the car we didn’t really talk. Maddox turned on the radio and let that fill the silence.
When we got close to Winchester I started giving him directions, leading him to the simple brick one-story house that I called home.
To someone else it might’ve seemed like a dump, but I loved it.
My mom and I did our best to keep it up and decent looking. The front windows had white shutters and flower boxes overflowing with purple petunias. The grass was freshly mowed and green, instead of brown like the other houses on the street.
“Thanks for the ride,” I reached for the door.
“Wait!” His warm hand wrapped around my arm and I turned back to look at him. “I don’t have your phone number.”
“Oh, right,” I mumbled, rattling off the numbers so he could enter them into his phone. “I’ll call you.”
“Yeah, call. Is that a problem?” A single dark brow rose.
“No, not at all,” I stammered nervously, “I just assumed you’d text.”
He chuckled. “If I text you I wouldn’t be able to hear your voice and that would be a damn shame. Texting is so impersonal.”
“Oh,” was all I said.
I’d never met a guy like Maddox before and I hadn’t quite decided yet if that was a good or bad thing.
“I’ll see you soon,” I smiled at him. “Nice meeting you Mathias.”
I heard a grunt in reply from the back of the car. Mathias was clearly a guy of few words. Besides their looks the twins were clearly polar opposites.
I was surprised when I closed the car door and heard another one close.
I looked over the top of the car and saw Maddox.
“What are you doing?” I asked, perplexed.
“Giving you a proper goodnight,” he shrugged. “Did you really think I’d just drive off without knowing you got inside okay?”
“I-I don’t know,” I stuttered. Maddox had left me flustered.
We walked up the pathway together and stopped outside the front door while I fumbled for my house key. Once I got the door opened I expected him to leave, but he didn’t.
Instead, he lowered his head and whispered, “Thank you for making tonight worth remembering. Goodnight, Emma.” He pressed his lips to my cheek and walked away, leaving me standing there flabbergasted.
I forced myself to move and stepped into the house.
I leaned my back against the closed door, my mouth parted with surprise. I raised my shaking fingers to press them against my cheek and closed my eyes. A part of me was convinced that tonight had been a dream and I’d wake up in the morning and find that Maddox didn’t exist. And that, surprisingly, left me feeling heartbroken.

Author Bio

Micalea Smeltzer is a bestselling Young and New Adult author from Winchester, Virginia. She’s always working on her next book, and when she has spare time she loves to read and spend time with her family.

Follow on Facebook:
Twitter: @msmeltzer9793
Instagram: micaleasmeltzer