Currently Reading

Hey everyone!! I am here to talk about what I have read so far this week and what I am currently reading!

So yeah I have read 4 books so far this weeks! I finished Heir of Fire Monday morning and of course I have it a full 5 stars! It was amazing!! I’m so excited for Queen of Shadows! And then I read the graphic novel Here by Richard McGuire. It was interesting but it didn’t blow me away sadly. I think I gave it 3 stars out of 5.

And then I finished the audiobook of Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell and I gave it a 4 stars! It was really good! I enjoyed it a lot! It was a bit predictable but still interesting! And I read Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige and I actually DNF’ed it because I was bored honestly. I wasn’t interested and I felt the writing was that great. I feel bad. I just did not like it at all. I didn’t. I gave what I read a 2 stars.

And I will mention that I have two parts of the currently reading books this week. I am currently reading two books and have started and kind of dip into randomly three other books. If that makes any sense.

So the two books I am actively reading are Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller and it’s good so far! I liked it!! It’s interesting!! And I finally started the audiobook of Frost like Night by Sara Raasch! I am a bit confused by this all in the plot again because it’s been so long that I have been in this world so its taking me a bit longer to remember everything but I’m slowly remembering everything little by little!

So here are the books I have started and haven’t finished but I just randomly pick up and read like 100 pages in! I’m like 100 pages into Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas and it’s amazing as usual! I don’t expect anything less from Queen Maas! And I am also currently reading Once A King by Erin Summerill. I loved her previous novels so I am happy that I get the chance to read this! Expect my review on release day! I’m excited to share it with you!

And if I have a chance I am planning on reading Hotshot Doc by R S Grey! I got an arc and I want to read it so badly! So I am excited to hopefully start it this weekend! Wish me luck! I have huge plans! Maybe too many plans!

What are you currently reading????

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Weekly Reads TBR & Wrap Up

Well it’s been a hot minute!

Whoops!

But again here I am to talk about what I read last week and what I want to read this week! I have some homework to catch up on so I’ll be trying to get that all sorted out alongside reading! But I have some plans that I hope to get done this week! Wish me luck!!

So let me mention the books I read last week first! I only read two books but mainly I was too busy working and doing some serious relaxation during my Thanksgiving break!

I finished the audiobook of Wayfarer! Finally and wow! I loved this book! So much!! And then I read Heir of Fire! It was so good! As usual I am in love with Sarah J Maas’ work!

I was hoping to finish more books but again I got busy with other things going on!

But here are my plans this week so far with what I want to potentially read!

So far I finished two books this week! I’m happy with my progress!

I read Here by Richard McGuire and I finished the audiobook of When She

And here are the other books I want to read this week as well!

Here are the audiobooks:

I have enjoyed Danielle Paige’s books in the past so I hope I end up liking this book! And I have made Frost Like Night a priority since I read the books like two years ago and stopped before Book 3! So my goal is to finish book 3 this year!

And here are the physical books I want to read this week:

I am like 50 pages into Once a King by Erin Summerill! And I am so excited to read it!! I’ll let you know what I think next week it comes out! And I also am about 25 pages into Queen of Shadows so I think this week that will be the book I read from Sarah J Maas! And I got approved for the ARC of Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller on Netgalley so again my thoughts will be released on the book’s release day!

And those are my bookish plans this week! Besides work and school, I have big reading plans! So let’s hope I read most of these! I don’t think I’ll be able to read them all but I can try!

What are your reading plans??

Lines Release Day Blitz

Lines by Anna B. Doe is LIVE and $2.99 for a limited time or #FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

“Once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down.” – Goodreads reviewer
“I just absolutely loved this book! It made me remember why I love YA Romance so much!!!” – Under cover book blog
 
“Lines is the first book of the Greyford High series and it starts off with an amazing enemy to lovers story that will leave you anxiously awaiting to see what happens next.” – Goodreads reviewer
 
“It has been a while since I’ve read a YA romance but Lines made me remember why I love the genre so much. I experienced all the feels while reading this book; the good and bad.” – Yasmin’s Bookish Things
 
 
BOOK INFO
Title: Lines
Author: Anna B. Doe
Series: Greyford High, book 1
Genre: YA sports romance
Release date: November 23rd
Cover Designer: Najla Qamber from Najla Qamber Designs
Graphic Design: Little Miss Tease
 
 
Blurb:
Senior year.
Three girls. Three guys.
Hockey and rivalry.
Mean girls and friendships.
Old loves and new chances.
One more year of being invisible.
One more year to win it all.
The countdown begins.
Senior year can’t come or end fast enough for Amelia Campbell. For the shy, nerdy girl-next-door that she is, high school is torture and all she wants is for it to be over. Having her heart broken by a popular, womanizing boy all those years ago doesn’t help the matters. Nor does his best friend who still has a habit of mercilessly teasing her. Now, she only has one year left, one year to be invisible before she can move on with her life.
Derek King doesn’t do drama, but his life is all about drama once Maximillian Sanders steps foot into his town, his school, and into Amelia’s life. Max is always around, and he is making her smile again. But the boy who once broke her heart isn’t ready to let her go. Older and wiser, Derek isn’t about to let someone take away what he wants, and he wants Amelia.
She’s set on not believing in him and on not getting her heart broken once again. He is set on showing her wrong.
She says she hates him, but maybe the line between past and present, love and hate is thinner than she ever realized.
 

 

Read & Review Lines for a chance to win a signed paperback!

 

 
 

 

Buried Release Day Launch

Today we are celebrating the release of Buried by Brenda Rothert. This is a contemporary romance, standalone that is available to read for FREE in KindleUnlimited. Read an excerpt from the book below and join Brenda’s reader group for exclusive details!

Read it for FREE in KindleUnlimited

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Buried by Brenda Rothert


Book Blurb:

Do you believe in fate?

I didn’t. I’d worked since childhood to become an NFL starting quarterback. All the blood, sweat, and tears were about to pay off with my name in the record books. Setting an NFL record was going to be the crowning achievement of my career. Hell, of my life.

But then fate, the cagey bitch, threw me a curveball I never saw coming. I ended up trapped in a doomsday bunker with four strangers, my chances at that record slipping away as days turned into months.

I never would’ve given Erin a second look. She was gorgeous, sure, but not my type. I liked women who were strong. Fearless. Resilient. Not to mention that she hated me.

But I was so wrong about her. And in that bunker, I fell in crazy, stupid love.

I thought a record would be my greatest triumph. But now, all I want is a shot with Erin. I’ve faced down massive linebackers intent on ending me. For her, I’ll go toe-to-toe with fate.

Read it for FREE in KindleUnlimited

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Excerpt:

 

I sigh softly, willing my heart to stop jackhammering in my chest, and walk over to the large, opened steel door in the ground.

Kenna white knuckles the black steel ladder that leads straight down, scrambling to get her heels situated. I wonder again why she’s wearing a business suit and heels out here.

“Do you work here?” I ask her.

She gives me a sharp look. “I’m Derek’s personal assistant.”

“Oh, got it. And he must be the football player who owns the place?”

Kenna gawks at me in disbelief. “You don’t know who Derek Heaton is?”

I shrug. “Isn’t he a football player?”

“He’s the best quarterback in the league. Also the highest paid.”

“Huh. Well, good for him,” I say dismissively.

Kenna shrieks as one of her feet slips on the metal ladder.

“You okay?” I ask her.

“I’m fine.”

I peer down into the dark hole, trying to think about anything other than going down there. Even after years of therapy, the panic is so strong I want to run away.

Just make it about the groceries, I tell myself. Think about getting the delivery where it needs to go as quickly as possible. You can do this.

I take a deep breath and then follow Kenna down the ladder. I start sweating immediately as my self-preservation instincts kick in. But I ignore it, descending the ladder to a small landing and then taking a staircase the rest of the way down.

For a moment, my fear is forgotten. The bunker is nothing like I was expecting. It’s open and expansive, the kitchen done with stainless appliances and warm wood cabinets. The floors are also wood, and there’s a large leather sectional in a living area.

“This way,” Kenna says, motioning impatiently from in front of a doorway.

I tear myself away from looking at the rich, slightly rustic décor and join her in a large white room. Fluorescent lights glow overhead, illuminating walls lined with shelves. About half the shelves are filled with supplies ranging from toilet paper to giant containers of tapioca pudding.

“Right here,” Kenna says, grabbing a clipboard and glancing down at it.

She stands in front of an empty section of shelves. I wait a couple seconds as she reads something on her list, but then I can’t take it anymore. I refuse to be down here for one minute longer than I have to.

“I’ll go get my first load,” I say, turning.

“I need it shelved in groups,” she says as I depart the room. “Keep all the peanut butter together, all the trail mix together, and so on. And make sure you fill the entire shelf all the way to the back.”

“Okay,” I call over my shoulder.

I hear male voices from somewhere in the bunker, but I ignore them, practically sprinting to the stairs out of this death trap hole in the ground.

When I get to the truck, I stuff my backpack with as much of the supplies it back hold, then grab another box to carry in my arms. Surveying the flatbed load, I realize it’s going to take at least twenty trips to get all this into the supply room.

Just great. I have to make myself go down that ladder over and over again.

As I reach the end of the stairs, I see three men in the living room area of the bunker. One is kneeling by the floor, looking at something. The other two are talking.

One of the two looks pretty young, maybe college-aged. His skin is deeply tanned and his hair is hidden beneath a baseball hat. The other one looks like a young Russell Crowe, very tall and all muscles and chiseled jaw line. He’s wearing shorts and a plain gray t-shirt.

He has to be the football player. He’s got arrogant pro athlete written all over him, from his biceps straining the sleeves of his shirt to his perfect smile.

——————-

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Wattpad | Amazon

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Exquisite Taste Release Day Launch


We are so excited to be bringing you the release of EXQUISITE TASTE by J.D. Hollyfield. If you love your romance with a side of naughty humor, then this is the book for you–be sure to grab your copy today!

 

About EXQUISITE TASTE

He was a dare she couldn’t walk away from.

She was a game he was determined to win.

Jensen Stone was thriving in her first year of college. So thirsty for success she could already taste the achievements on her lips. Nothing would get in the way of her dreams, not even the social pressures of pledging. Until one night, she finds herself in the lion’s den of sorority row, accepting a dare she knew she couldn’t complete.

Damien Cross was bored. He no longer craved the dominance and control he had swirling in the palms of his powerful hands. He was determined to walk away from the empire he’d spent the last ten years building. What he didn’t factor in was the unexpected distraction. He might be angry at her inconvenient timing, but the urge to break the new toy dangling in front of him was all consuming. It wouldn’t hurt to play one last time.

One night. His rules.

Will she obey his demands to fulfill a dare?

Or will she realize his dark tastes are anything but exquisite?

Add EXQUISITE TASTE to your Goodreads TBR!

 

Grab your copy of EXQUISITE TASTE today!
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Read all of J.D. HOLLYFIELD’s hotcoms!

Passing Peter Parker | Creed’s Expectations | Exquisite Taste

 

About J.D. HOLLYFIELD

J.D. Hollyfield is a creative designer by day and superhero by night. When she’s not cooking, event planning, or spending time with her family, she’s relaxing with her nose stuck in a book. With her love for romance, and her head full of book boyfriends, she was inspired to test her creative abilities and bring her own stories to life. Living in the Midwest, she’s currently at work on blowing the minds of readers, with the additions of her new books and series, along with her charm, humor and HEA’s.

J.D. Hollyfield dabbles in all genres, from romantic comedy, contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, fantasy and erotica! Want to know more! Follow her on all platforms!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Ten Thousand Skies Above You & A Million Worlds With You

Ten Thousand Skies Above You & A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray

Published: November 3rd, 2015/November 1st, 2016

Publisher: HarperTeen

Rating: 5-star-rating-clipart-1

Summary: Ever since she used the Firebird, her parents’ invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions.

Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared.

So I love this series! I have been hooked on this book series since book one! It’s been a wild and fun ride and now that I am finished with this series, I cannot believe I thought about giving these books up! I mean I thought they weren’t going to be my style and I am so glad to be proved wrong! I just never wanted to put these books down and so I am happy in the end that I got the chance to read them! If you love science fiction and adventures, you’ll love this series! 

I thought the time travel was so fun in this novel! And the idea of multiple people was fun too! If you jumped into one dimension you jumped into your body in that dimension! Gah! 

I didn’t feel like the second book lagged or anything, like you found out so many secrets in this book and it was insane to see them all come to play! Like many things were revealed and it was crazy. I know second books tend to be slower than the first and third, but I didn’t feel that with this book. I felt that this book was just as strong as the first and last! I’m glad that I didn’t have to wait to read the third book, because that cliffhanger was insane! Wow! Wow! WOW! 

I did feel bad for Theo with what Bad Theo did to him. It was sad what his other self made him do, and now he is suffering for that in his life. It was sad that Paul was suffering for doing what he could for Theo, and he ended up getting in trouble, so now Marguerite is stuck trying to save both her friends! But wow Marguerite is strong! She is able to handle a lot! Seeing her romance with Paul in multiple time-lines was amazing! If seeing her with Paul in Russia was intense, seeing her with other Pauls, especially monk Paul was great! I mean Russia Paul is my favorite romance! 

Going into the third book, that one was also action packed! I had moments where I didn’t wanna read because I was nervous with how things were going to end but overall I’m glad I did read it! I loved following Marguerite and her journey to save herself and how many times she jumped was fun and seeing the other Marguerites were fun as well! I enjoyed them all! 

I do think that while I loved all the traveling, it did confuse me at times because they jumped to so many different places in a short amount of time! I would have to take a bit to orient myself in the certain dimension they jumped in. I did love every world they visited in this series, and obviously I have some that I love more *coughRussiacough* but yeah it was hard when some of the worlds were so similar I would have to remember which world was which. I was sad that we didn’t get to see more of certain worlds, like the Egypt world was really fascinating! I liked that one a lot! But sadly we didn’t really get to read much about it which was real bummer town. 

It was kind of sad seeing Paul going through the tough times after what happened to him in the second book. He kind of went through a phase where he was saying Marguerite was too good for him, and he wasn’t sure he was mentally stable enough to be with her. It was sad seeing him go through it and fight what he thought he was. 

I mean overall this series was really fun! I loved it! I am so sad it’s over and I wish we got more stories from these characters. The ending was tied up well, things were great, and I highly recommend this series for anyone interested in science fiction! This is a fun YA Sci-Fi novel! 

Have you read this series? What is your favorite Claudia Gray book? Which do you think I should read next? 

The Heir & The Crown

The Heir & The Crown by Kiera Cass

Published: May 5th, 2015/ May 3rd, 2016

Publisher: Harper Teen

Rating: 4-stars

Summary: Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she’d put off marriage for as long as possible.

But a princess’s life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can’t escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.

Eadlyn doesn’t expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn’s heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she’s always thought.

Honestly I liked Princess Eadlyn at the end. I mean I love America more, but I thought Eadlyn was a good character for the most part! I think what made me annoyed at times with her though was that every few paragraphs it felt like she was like “I don’t need no man!” I mean that isn’t a bad thing, but it was obvious that the author was trying to be feminist, which isn’t bad I appreciated it but at the same time it was a bit over the top. I understood it the first time she said it, there wasn’t a need to say it every page, especially since Eadlyn doesn’t want to get married, and tries to foil her family’s plans.

I think what also bothered me was her attitude towards the guys; she was rude and mean to them at times when they didn’t really deserve it. They came at the wishes of her father, having been picked to join the Selection. I didn’t see the need to be the way she was with them, they were people too with feelings. She shouldn’t have blamed them for coming. A lot of the men were nice guys, like Kile, Henri, and Hale. But I did like how in the Crown, she got closer to a lot of them and they were really friendly to each other. I think that’s what I liked about both America’s story, and Eadlyn’s. That in the end the chosen in the Selection had really great friendships and were able to be kind to each other during their time together. Like Hale and the others learning Henri’s language to better speak to him and include him in their conversations; having a fun cooking night together, and such things like that.

Overall out of all the men I think my favorites were Henri, Hale, and Fox; because they were always kind and friendly with everyone.

I also think a great show of companionship was when America ended up in the hospital after what happened at the end of The Heir. All the boys came to sit outside America’s room, and offer their comfort and strength to the family.

And I think at the end of The Crown, the ending was pretty convenient  for this series. I mean I was happy with who she ended up with, but I also knew that in the end she would end up with who she fell in love with. It was pretty predictable. But I loved it all anyways, you know? I do wish we got more of the ending, it just kind of ended and I wish we would have seen more of Eadlyn and her choice later on.

Overall I loved the representation we saw in the men, and I thought the characters were interesting. I think while I liked America better, I did like Eadlyn’s selection choices better. There was definitely more diversity with the men, one was gay, one liked to sew, one had an interest in architecture, and one cooked etc! I loved them all! I liked the growth that Eadlyn did in the storyline of both books and that in the end she learned to become a better leader of her people, even before she chose her Selection choice.

Highly recommend you read this series if you’re looking for an easy, fun romance series. Start with The Selection before you get to this series following Eadlyn. It spoils everything from the other series!

Which character was your favorite?

 

 

Currently Reading

Hey all!! I’m sorry I’ve been horrible at posting on this blog recently, but I’ve been busy with work and school so yeah. But I got to read some books and I’m currently reading a couple books! So I’ll talk to you about then now!

So here’s what I have read so far!

I’ve read Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas! I enjoyed this book so much and while it wasn’t 5/5 I loved it the same! I’ll explain in my review which will hopefully come soon!

AWickedThingARE_Cover

And I also read A Place in the Sun by R S Grey! I absolutely loved this! One of my favorites for sure!!

Full Wrap (1)

And here’s what I am currently reading!!

I am reading Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas and also annotating it! I’ve been busy so I haven’t had a chance to read it but I hope to finish it this weekend! Or most of it this weekend!

And then I am currently reading Passenger by Alexandra Bracken and I’m enjoying it a lot!! I’m hoping to finish it tonight and start Wayfarer tomorrow!

Alexandra-Bracken-Passenger

and here are the books I want to read the rest of this weekend! I only have two since I know I’ll be busy with school and work so yeah. But yeah so I know I won’t be able to get far in either of them but I want to at least try and read most of them so I can finish them on Monday!

I want to read Wayfarer! I think I can finish it since it’s an audiobook and I tend to read audiobooks kinda fast. Plus this duology is getting good so I want to know what happens!

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and then I want to start my next R S Grey book that my friend and I are reading together. It’s called With This Heart by R S Grey! We are slowly and surely making our way through her books and we are loving them!

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and that is my reading plans for this weekend and what I have read so far! What have you read so far this week? What are you currently reading?? Let me know!

It Happens Cover Reveal

Zee + Annmarie and Tan + Jubilee.

Forever. No exceptions.

They were to have the picture-perfect life together. Everything was all planned out.

Jubilee was to marry Eitan and Ezekiel was to marry Annmarie. That’s how it was always supposed to be from the moment that they met. Textbook, right?

Wrong.

Eitan and Annmarie die in a freak accident that never should have happened, leaving the two survivors reeling.

Sixteen years later, Jubilee and Zee can’t even be in the same room with each other before things begin to deteriorate. Too many memories. Too much pain. Not enough forgiveness.

They’re like hellfire and holy water, and neither one of them is willing to admit that they’re wrong.

Then one day things change, and all of a sudden, they’re looking at each other like maybe they aren’t each other’s enemies after all.

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Lani Lynn Vale is a USA Today Bestselling Author of over thirty titles. She is married with three children, two dogs, two cats, a donkey, and a couple (a couple also meaning over twenty) chickens.

When she’s not writing, you can find her curled up in her favorite chair reading.

Lani is married with three children and lives in the Great State of Texas.

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You’re the One I Don’t Want Release Day

Today we are celebrating the release of the newest standalone title from Carrie Aarons. YOU’RE THE ONE I DON’T WANT is now live and available to read for FREE in KindleUnlimited. You will not want to miss this second-chance romance. Be sure to follow Carrie for exclusive updates about her releases.

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You’re the One I Don’t Want by Carrie Aarons

Read it for FREE in KindleUnlimited!

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Purchase in Paperback

Add the book to Goodreads

Book Blurb:

Love is weakness.

Which is why Annabelle Mills vowed a long time ago to never let it destruct her. A former pageant queen with a bite equally as lethal as her bark, she’s interning at her dream job on the set of the highest-rated home design show on television. Everything in Annabelle’s life, though it may be cold and isolated, is going exactly as she always planned.

Until her ex-high school sweetheart moves to town. The same boy that she cheated on, once upon a time, essentially breaking both of their hearts. But no one knows the full story, and being vulnerable enough to open up about it is not on Annabelle’s checklist.

Hate is fuel.

The kind that courses through Boone Graham’s veins and allows him to shut out everyone around him. As the hottest rookie on Austin’s professional baseball team, he should be spending his days hitting homeruns and signing jerseys. Except he’s seen dreams ripped right out from under those closest to him, leaving them with nothing.

Without a college degree, he’ll never take the risk of pursuing his real dream. But when he runs into the girl who took a mallet to his heart and stopped it beating, attending the same university might just be the biggest challenge he’s faced yet.

As the semester unfolds, the line between love and hate is blurred. And with the amount of baggage stacked between them, together is the last thing they want to be.

That’s the thing about hearts, though. They develop plans all on their own.

EXCERPT:

Boone

I only have an hour in between my workout and the film session that the hitting coaches want us to attend.

My entire schedule since moving to Austin has been busy as hell and completely out of whack. Between getting my class schedule figured out, sprinting across campus to get to the buildings, dealing with my moving company, figuring out where to park my car in front of my building, practicing with the Triple-A affiliate team I was drafted to and everything in between … I’m fucking wiped.

I’ve been scouted for the major leagues since my sophomore year of high school, so I thought I’d been semi-prepared for what was to come, but my mind feels like it has been put in a blender for the last two weeks. I had so not been prepared. It was as if I was hobbling around in the dark in my new reality, trying to grasp at things before they moved on me.

I needed to get it the fuck together. I am a professional now and having a career as a professional baseball player would only get harder from here.

From the few times I’d visited Austin for tournaments or the odd family trip, I remember we’d gone to Big Cheese’s Grill. They boasted the best burgers in town, and it was close enough to campus that the place was always packed with students and professors alike.

I open the door to the restaurant while glancing at my iWatch to check the calories versus fat burned during my workout.

And I slam right into a body.

I bounce back, shocked at the person who just rammed into me. I fumble to hold on to them, to keep our gravity from sending both of us flying. I fail, and the body falls backward, the door slamming into my back. I absorb that blow and keep upright, thank God, or I would have been sprawled flat on top of whoever just plowed into me.

“Seriously?! Watch where you’re going!” An angry, high-pitched tone fills my ears.

My head is down, trying to collect its scrambled thoughts, as I reach for whoever I just knocked to the ground. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize you were coming out—”

The air and words leave me as I pull her up. Her hand is still in mine as we stand face-to-face, my surprise mirrored back at me. Those lips, the lashes, the eyes a rich, deep, soul-searching brown. The freckles across the bridge of her nose that make her look more innocent than she actually is.

A current of tension radiates back and forth between our interlocked hands, and I can smell the glass of wine she must have just drunk on her breath. It’s sweet with a bite of alcohol, and my mouth waters for a drink. I haven’t thirsted for alcohol in five years, yet in one chance meeting, Annabelle has me reaching for a bottle. She’s poison to me, makes me want to do crazy things. I drop her hand as the thought crosses my mind, as if she’s burned me.

“You should really watch where you’re going. Or did you knock me down on purpose?” Annabelle sniffs.

I scoff, “Right, I often go around pushing women to the ground on purpose. I see the cold hard ice hasn’t melted off your personality, Annabelle.”

And a woman she is. So much more grown up than I remembered her. She’d always been beautiful but gone was the gangliness of teenage years. This is a woman who stands in front of me, curves abound and an unseen knowledge of the world to match. I couldn’t help but get that jab in there.

“And I see you’re just as focused on yourself as ever. You never did care what anyone else was doing, did you, Boone?” She folds her arms over her chest and my eyes stray to her boobs in a sizzle of heat between us.

We’re like a bunch of children fighting like cats and dogs out in the street. How can she still pull out every insecure and immature trait within me? My brain is moving seconds slower than it usually does, and I know I’m standing here staring too long. Even though I hate Annabelle Mills, I can’t help but memorize every detail about her for the first time I’ve seen her in about five years.

“Move.” Annabelle pushes past me, not using any manners, and starts to stalk down the sidewalk.

Talk about rude. She’d always been aggressive, harsh, and just a little bit more high-maintenance than any of the other girls. It’s what had drawn me to her. And then seeing those glimpses of vulnerability, that’s what had made me stay. It was addicting feeling like you were the only one who got to see the nice side of the mean girl.

I should walk into the restaurant. I should pick up my to-go order and drive back to my apartment where I’ll eat a quick lunch and change and go to the practice facility.

But a flash of Annabelle in the bar the other night dances through my head. And her callous words just now piss me off even more.

She always did have the perfect way of getting under my skin and driving me wild. When I’m around her, I forget who I am. I turn into some raging bull, with a fuse shorter than the bombs Itchy and Scratchy use on each other.

The stupidest thing I could do right now? Stomp after her, yelling, in the middle of a crowded downtown street.

So that’s exactly what I do.

“You really haven’t changed a bit!” Oh, fuck. What am I doing?

Annabelle rolls around, her eyes sparking with rage. “Nope, still the same cold, heartless bitch you dumped.”

“Yeah, like I said, I can see that.” Lord, my mama would be so disappointed in me agreeing with a woman that she was a bitch.

“Well, no one said you had to be around it. You’re the one who moved to my city. You’re welcome to leave.” She waves around like I should just get out of here.

I fist my hands in my hair. Christ, she’s so aggravating. “No can do, I’m getting paid to be here.”

She rolls her eyes. “Like I’m not? Have you watched TV lately? Or did you take one too many fly balls to the head? I know there weren’t a lot of brain cells in there to start.”

Fuck her. Now it’s time to really piss her off, get under her skin like she’s under mine. “Oh, you mean that show you play house on or whatever? They’ll get bored of you when the next eye-candy pageant queen comes along.”

I swear Annabelle could spit nails at me if she willed it right now. “You’re an asshole, Boone Graham. You’ve only ever cared about yourself and where you want to be. It was silly of me to think you’d ever think of someone but yourself.”

I drop the anvil. “Says the girl who cheated on me. Who lost her virginity to another guy.”

People around us are starting to stare, to really look at the two people arguing openly on the street. It’s not a good idea for me to stick around any longer; people know who I am on a national level and being seen fighting with a girl, who someone will inevitably social media stalk and find out is my ex, is not good publicity.

Except I can’t stop staring into Annabelle’s eyes. They are furious, yes, but there is something more there. I’ve really … hurt her. I’m shocked, to be honest. I didn’t think I could remotely hurt this girl, who self-identifies as a cold, heartless bitch.

But there it is. The raw flash, miss-it-if-you-blink second of real pain that flickers through those mocha pools. I open my mouth to say something, to take it back, maybe apologize, but she speaks first.

“You have no idea.”

Her tone pulls at my heartstrings, it’s low and somber. And then she melts into the crowd, giving no explanation of what I have no idea about.

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AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Author of romance novels such as Red Card and Privileged, Carrie Aarons writes books that are just as swoon-worthy as they are sarcastic. A former journalist, she prefers the stories she dreams up, and the yoga pant dress code, much better.

When she isn’t writing, Carrie is busy binging reality TV, having a love/hate relationship with cardio, and trying not to burn dinner. She lives in the suburbs of New Jersey with her husband, daughter and dog.

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