Monday, 20 October 2014

Divinity by Michelle L. Johnson

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Spencer Hill Press and NetGalley.
Divinity
Blurb (from Goodreads):
When Julia climbs into a flaming car to save a trapped child, she's left wondering why either of them survived. Then she learns that her father is the Archangel Gabriel, and that she is half human, half Archangel. With guidance from Michael, the most powerful Archangel, Julia sets out to discover her own history and explore her angelic powers. But her journey is cut short when an evil force, invisible to human and angel alike, tears her world apart. Now Julia must fight through her despair, harness her newfound gifts, and risk her very soul to stop the A'nwel and protect the family she never knew she had. What she doesn't know is that Archangels have secrets too."

Divinity by Michelle L. Johnson

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


Divinity(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Spencer Hill Press and NetGalley.)

This was an interesting angel story, but the pace was on the slow side.

I liked Julia in this and I felt really sorry for her. It must have been so hard for her to have no-one to support her, and to lose everyone who she loved. What an awful place to find yourself! She had obviously done quite well for herself somehow though, somehow managing to end up owning a restaurant? That is pretty good for a girl who was basically out on the streets on her own!

The storyline in this was pretty good, but the pace was really slow. Thankfully I enjoyed the story so the pace didn’t bother me too much, but it was still very slow. There were a couple of twists that were thrown in that I didn’t see coming, and Julia did become far more powerful than I expected.
There was a little romance in this one, but it wasn’t the main part of the story, and didn’t factor at all after a point.

The ending was pretty good, and also left us with a teaser as to what we can expect in the next book. I did enjoy this book overall, and it will certainly be interesting to find out what happens to Julia next.
7 out of 10.


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Judgment Day by Coleen Liebsch


Judgment Day
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Prophets have predicted it. Movies have depicted it. Is it possible that life as we know it could end within the next few decades? YES!

While no one can pinpoint the exact date of the apocalypse, one thing is for certain. Every one of us will die within the next 125 years.

Whether the earth continues to spin or the sun continues to glow, our days on earth will end. In fact, your own personal apocalypse is guaranteed to occur within your lifetimes. We can even predict with absolute certainty the exact day it will occur... your last.

Judgment Day is a story about one woman's journey from death to eternity.


Judgment Day by Coleen Liebsch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Judgment Day(Source: downloaded for free from Amazon.co.uk)

This was a really interesting short story about Christian values, and the way that people’s actions, even unconscious, reflect on who they are, and show them to not be doing what is right, when there seems to be something to gain from doing something wrong, or doing nothing.

I did find the ideas in this story very interesting, and I have to say that I personally have argued that reading the bible and often hiding behind it does not a Christian make. Seeing a lost child and ignoring it for personal gain, then going to church on Sunday, does not reflect well on a person, and is maybe less Christian than saving the child, but not going to church.

I did have some issues with the way the story ended. I personally would expect God to be forgiving, no matter what the person had done, but I’d also have expected the main character in this story to have repented rather than making excuses. If she had really been a Christian at heart she’d have felt sorry for what she had done and would have repented, so she maybe did get what she deserved.

Overall; really interesting short story about Christian values, and doing what’s right,
8 out of 10.


Saturday, 18 October 2014

Whisper the Dead (The Lovegrove Legacy #2) by Alyxandra Harvey

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) and NetGalley.
Whisper the Dead (The Lovegrove Legacy, #2)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Cousins Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope are all dealing with what it means to be a Lovegrove. For Gretchen, it means she often feels like her head is going to explode. As a Whisperer, Gretchen constantly hears the whispers of other witches' spells. And while this does help her to know when one of her own spells is going wrong, the incessant buzzing and pain the whispers cause makes it difficult to use her gift.

But when something evil begins to menace Mayfair, Gretchen must find a way to master her power. Along with her cousins, a madcap named Moira, and the icy yet irresistible Tobias Lawless, Gretchen faces deadly threats and unimaginable loss in the hopes of preventing the terrible Greymalkin Sisters from rising again.

The second book in The Lovegrove Legacy trilogy, Whisper the Dead will leave readers spellbound.


Whisper the Dead by Alyxandra Harvey

My rating: 3.62 of 5 stars


Whisper the Dead (The Lovegrove Legacy, #2)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) and NetGalley.)

This was a good sequel, although what a cliff-hanger ending!

I liked Emma and Gretchen in this book. Emma was as feisty as ever, and Gretchen showed just how ready to fight she was. I also like how determined Emma was to get her father back from the underworld, no matter how dangerous.

The storyline in this was pretty good, and I liked the action. There were some twists thrown in, and it wasn’t easy to predict what would happen next! I liked the way Gretchen found a way to use her gift, even though it wasn’t easy for her, and she became quite important in this story.
There was a touch of romance, but not a lot. I didn’t really care all that much for the romance though, I didn’t really get much of a feel for Tobias.

The ending was a huge cliff-hanger, so I definitely need to read the next book now to find out what happens next!
Overall; good YA, paranormal story,
7.25 out of 10


Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas


Dangerous Boys
Blurb (From Goodreads):
Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder?
Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…

Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


Dangerous Boys(Source: I own a copy of this book.)

This was an interesting story, but I felt like the answers couldn’t come fast enough!

The characters in this were all very different, and all had their pros and cons. Chloe seemed like a fairly sensible girl, and it was very noble of her the way she deferred school at stay home and look after her mother, but she also seemed to have a bit of a dark side, not unlike Anna from ‘Dangerous Girls’.
Ethan seemed like quite a sweet guy, and he seemed to genuinely care about Chloe, and it seemed a little degrading the way Chloe kept describing him as ‘fumbling and eager’. I felt like if she had really cared about him she wouldn’t have thought of him that way.
Oliver on the other hand came across as a little creepy, and I didn’t really trust him. He also had a dark side, and it was not as well hidden as Chloe’s.

The storyline in this was pretty good, and the way we got glimpses of the future upped the anticipation. Knowing that someone was going to die made me constantly wonder who it would be, and how it would happen, and I really wanted to get to the end to find out what was going on!

There was some romance and it was a little awkward at times. I wasn’t sure what Chloe was thinking, but she ended up in a very bad position with Oliver, which wasn’t what I was expecting.

The ending to this was pretty good, but I was once again left wondering a little just how honest Chloe was, and it seemed like she definitely mirrored Anna from ‘Dangerous Girls’ in that respect also!
Overall; interesting murder/mystery story,
7 out of 10.


Friday, 17 October 2014

Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Harlequin (UK) Limited and NetGalley.
Let's Get Lost
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.


Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Let's Get Lost(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Harlequin (UK) Limited and NetGalley.)

This was an okay story, but it was a bit crazy in places!

The characters in this were varied, and I didn’t like some of them. Leila seemed to be really easily led, up for anything, and destined to get herself in trouble. She seemed to like to shift the blame onto someone else, and then do whatever crazy idea the next person she came across had!
Another character that I didn’t really like was Bree. She was seriously crazy, and the things she wanted to do were really illegal! So not impressed by her.

The storyline in this was split into 5 parts, following Hudson, Bree, Eliot, Sonia, and Leila. Each had their own story, and some were worse than others. Hudson’s story was more odd than anything, and I felt a little sorry for him when Leila told him that everything was his own fault!

Bree was crazy and her story was quite bizarre. Why Leila felt the need to go along with her ridiculous and illegal plans I don’t know, and I thought this story was quite silly.

Elliot’s story was about unrequited love, but was kind-of forgettable.

Sonia’s story was okay, but the way that Sonia and Leila tried to get across the Canadian border was just ridiculous. You can’t just sneak across the freaking border like that!

There was some romance in this book, but to be honest I thought it was a little unbelievable, and I didn’t like it.

The ending was mainly about explaining Leila’s behaviour to us, which was enlightening, the real ending revolved around the romance though, which I wasn’t overly happy about.
Overall; an okay story, but a little crazy in places,
6.5 out of 10.


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Queen of Someday (Stolen Empire #1) by Sherry D. Ficklin

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Clean Teen Publishing and NetGalley.
Queen of Someday (Stolen Empire, #1)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
ONE GIRL WILL BRING AN EMPIRE TO ITS KNEES...

Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophie will have to survive her social-climbing mother’s quest to put her on the throne of Russia—at any cost.

Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family—and herself—Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.

Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.

In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme?


Queen of Someday by Sherry D. Ficklin

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


Queen of Someday (Stolen Empire, #1)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Clean Teen Publishing and NetGalley.)
Sophia is going to Russia with her mother as a potential bride for the Empress’s son Peter, although she is bound to have competition.
Can Sophia win Peter? And does she really want to?


Let me just start by telling you that I know very little history, and therefore have no idea how factually correct this book is. That being said, this was an enjoyable story, and I loved Sophia’s little deception at the end!

Sophia was a real kick-ass girl in disguise. While her mother tried to fob her off, and get her married for status, Sophia spent her time more productively on knowledge and physical skills, to the extent that she was able to cleverly plan her moves, and defend herself when necessary; skills that served her well!

The storyline in this was pretty good. It did have a bit of a feel of ‘The Selection’ to it, with several girls all competing for one prince, and there was a little bit of politics in there, but thankfully not enough that I was bored (I don’t like politics). I loved the way that Sophia was able to manipulate a situation to her advantage though, even if some of her decisions were not good ideas at all.
There was some romance, although it developed into a love square? Let’s just say that there were a lot of different potential couples in this book, and it was a little complicated at times!

The ending was really good. Sophia’s deception at the end was just brilliant, and I really want to read the next book in the series to find out what happens now!
Overall; clever little historical romance,
7 out of 10.


Book Blitz and #Giveaway - Follow Me Home by Monica Goulet


Follow Me Home
Release Date: 09/16/14

Summary from Goodreads:
16-year-old Kelsey thinks her new house far away from Tulsa is the perfect place to escape her past—until she meets Jay, the boy who used to live there.

After a series of mysterious break-ins at the house, Kelsey discovers the culprit is Jay, but before she can confront him, Jay inadvertently sets in motion a series of events that leave Kelsey and her family devastated and wind Jay up in juvie.

Desperate to fix things, Kelsey confronts him only to discover Jay’s not the delinquent she expects, but a boy with a past more messed up than hers. Against her better judgment, the two of them form an unlikely friendship she keeps secret from everyone.

Then Jay asks for a favor she didn’t see coming – one that leaves Kelsey torn between her growing loyalty to Jay and throwing away the new future she worked so hard to build.

About the Author
Monica Goulet writes and lives in Oshawa, Ontario with her husband. She graduated from Brock University with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Professional Writing.

In her other life, she’s an instructional designer and a mother-to-be who likes ice cream, running, and losing herself in a good story.
Author Links:
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GIVEAWAY:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized by:
@monicagoulet

Excerpt 2:
I sit on one of the hard metal chairs in the middle of the room, but change my mind and stand up again. Don’t they have those barriers in these places where you have to talk to the person through a phone on the other side of a window? Shouting echoes from somewhere down the hall. Where did the guard go?
A shadow fills the doorway, and I jump.
“You’re not my sister,” Jay says.
The light grey uniform catches me off guard. He looks like a criminal. One I willingly let into my house. I try to swallow, but my mouth is dry. I glance around him and spot the guard standing just outside the door.
“No,” I say. “I’m not your sister.”
Jay stops a few feet away from me and puts his hands in his pockets. He seems different up close. Scared, even. I clench my fists at my side and try not to let him soften me.
“I’m Kelsey.” I unclench one fist and stick my hand out. I think it’s shaking, but I try not to look at it. He doesn’t move from his spot. “My house,” I say. “Did you do it?” I stare at the freckles around his nose so I don’t have to look at his eyes.
He’s silent. I wait for him to turn around and walk back out. But then he looks up.
“It was my house too,” he says.
I try to hold his gaze without letting the sadness get to me. “I know. You used to live there, right?”
 He nods, and I stare at the pink and green braided friendship bracelet on his left wrist. The kind I used to make with Julie when we were eleven. I still had dozens of them in a drawer when we moved. One of the many items from Tulsa that ended up in the trash.
“So did you do it?” I sit again and tuck my hands under my thighs.

 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) by Sara Raasch

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.


Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
16-year-old Meira is a headstrong refugee of Winter, who wants nothing more than to fight to take her kingdom back, even if she’s unprepared and incapable.
Can Meira help to get the Kingdom back?


I started reading this book hoping for action, adventure, and a fantasy that I could really sink my teeth into, unfortunately, that wasn’t what I got.

Meira was just immature and reckless in my opinion. She did what she wanted, when she wanted, and paid little attention to those in authority. While you might say that I have admired this in heroines previously, in Meira I did not like it. Her rule-breaking and stubbornness was petty, reckless, and most likely to get her killed! She seemed to have no respect for anyone but the boy she fancied, and boy did she moan.


The moaning, whining, and repetitiveness of ‘poor me, why won’t they let me kill people? Sure I can’t even beat my best friend in a fight, but I should be allowed on the front lines!’, which then changed to ‘But I don’t want to do that!’ when she was given an important job that she was capable of, really got annoying. Grow up already!



The storyline started out alright, but I soon lost interest. Whether this was because of the slow pace, Meira herself, or the constant info dumping, I don’t know, but although I liked the odd bit of action, I got really bored with this book. There were a few twists, but I thought some of them were pretty obvious, which made me like them less unfortunately.

I do sometimes have trouble with fantasy books, and the lack of world building in this was just so irritating! I didn’t think that the Kingdoms? What every they were supposed to be(!) of winter, summer, spring and autumn were explained well at all, even though we got so many info dumps about them. I didn’t really understand why this fighting had really started, and boy was all this confusing! I wanted something more like ‘Throne of Glass’ by Sarah J. Maas, or Defy by Sara Larson, but unfortunately this wasn’t like either of those.

There was a touch of romance, but again – obvious, and I just couldn’t get into it. In fact this then developed into an unnecessary love triangle later on, and I didn’t like that either.
The ending was okay, but more than anything I was just glad that this was over. I was glad there wasn’t a cliff-hanger, because I really don’t want to read another 400+ pages with such an immature main character.
Overall; irritating main character, slow pace, and confusing world building,
4.5 out of 10.


Echo Bridge by Kristen O'Toole

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Full Fathom Five and NetGalley.
Echo Bridge
Blurb (from Goodreads):
For popular theater star Courtney Valance, high school was a breeze. Beautiful, talented, and driven, she was the envy of her classmates and the prized girlfriend of Belknap Country Day’s most eligible bachelor, Ted Parker. But that was before Ted’s best friend, Hugh, was found dead. Before Courtney went missing. Before the clothes she was last seen in washed up on the banks of the Souhegan River.

Now everyone believes Courtney is dead, too—and her eligible bachelor is the number one murder suspect. Before the day of Ted’s trial, Courtney’s sister Anna receives a mysterious package with a note in Courtney’s handwriting. Does that mean Courtney could still be alive?

One thing is clear: Courtney’s picturesque life was not what it seemed. She needed an escape…and that’s exactly what she got.


Echo Bridge by Kristen O'Toole

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Echo Bridge(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Full Fathom Five and NetGalley.)
17-year-old Courtney is raped by her boyfriend’s best friend (Hugh) whilst at a party, but can’t confess what happened to anyone, especially when Hugh claims that he will tell people she wanted it.
How can Courtney find peace after what Hugh did to her? And will Hugh do the same to someone else before she can stop him?


This was an interesting story, but the pace was a little slow.

Courtney was an interesting character, and I felt really sorry for her. I understood why she felt like she couldn’t tell anyone about the rape, but I really wished that she could have done something about Hugh before he raped anyone else.

The storyline in this was good, and I liked the mystery element of how the girls would pay Hugh back. The pacing did feel a little slow though, and I would have liked for it to have been a bit quicker.
There was some romance in this, but not a lot. The story was much more focused on the rape and its consequences rather than romance.

The ending to this delivered a couple of surprise twists which were good. This book was enjoyable overall; I just wanted things to move a bit quicker.
6.5 out of 10


Book Blitz and #Giveaway - Losing Track (Living Heartwood #2) by Trisha Wolfe


Losing Track (Living Heartwood #2)
Release Date: 10/15/14

Summary from Goodreads:
Sometimes you have to lose your way before finding the right track.

The roar of a bike engine. The vibration between her thighs. The feel of cool darkness kissing her skin as she coasts along twisty back roads at night—Melody Lachlan lives for these things. Ever since Mel and her best friend Darla escaped their small, backwoods town, they’ve traveled the countryside in search of fast rides, tatted bikers, and good times.

A self-proclaimed poet and lover of all things free, Mel views her life as one long bike ride—with pit stops along the way to numb the pain. But she never saw herself as a junkie. Party as hard as you ride. That’s her motto…until a tragic night steals her soul. Then she’s forced to delve below the surface, to where her demons rage.

When she meets recovered drug addict Boone Randall, she’s more likely to deck him than kiss his dimple-adorable face. She doesn’t want his help; doesn’t want to own up to her part in that night. She just wants to do her time and keep her promise to her friend. Yet Boone challenges Mel, and soon she doesn’t mind sharing the road. Only when Boone’s own secret demons threaten their newfound, fragile security, Mel’s course becomes rocky, and she must decide if letting her well-worn track marks fade is worth finding a new path. 

Told from Dual point of view from Melody and Boone, this is a New Adult Contemporary Romance intended for readers seventeen years of age and older.

 

Only $.99 for a limited time only!

Companion to:
The Darkest Part (Living Heartwood )
by Trisha Wolfe
Release Date: 08/06/13

Summary from Goodreads:
Pressing the boundaries of both the psyche and the heart, Sam and Holden embark on a dangerous journey that will test the limits of love.

Sam Wintry’s life used to be almost perfect. She was engaged to her childhood best friend and high school sweetheart, Tyler Marks, planning an amazing cross-country honeymoon during her college break. But after a hit-and-run leaves her in ruin, she begins seeing Tyler’s fractured, ghostly presence, and her family believes she’s losing her mind. Not until she completes their journey, stopping along the way to scatter Tyler's remains, will Tyler be able cross over. Only...is Sam ready for him to leave her?

When the black sheep of the Marks' family, Holden Marks, returns to check on Tyler's case, Sam convinces him to give her his brother's ashes. Despite their shaky history, she needs him...plus, he owes it to Sam and his brother. What she doesn’t count on is Holden’s relentlessness to go on the trip.

On the road, Holden realizes just how unhinged Sam has become. Dealing with her psychosis forces him to confront his dark past, making it harder to keep secrets hidden that should remain buried. Especially from Sam, the only woman he’s ever loved. And as Sam starts to unravel the truth, she begins to question if the brother she's unwillingly falling for again is in an even darker place than her.

New Adult Contemporary coming this year.

Only $.99 for a limited time only!

About the Author
I’m the author of the YA Steampunk DESTINY'S FIRE (Omnific Publishing), ASTARTE'S WRATH NA Historical/Supernatural, and the upcoming YA Utopian FIREBLOOD from Spencer Hill Press, October 2013. My NA Dark Fantasy OF SILVER AND BEASTS available May 2013.
I’m the creator of YA Bound, a promotional site for the Young Adult genre. Also a member of SCWW and The Apocalypsies.
A proud business owner, I'm partnered with my partner, my husband. When I’m not busy doing all of the above, I’m a wife and the mother of a gorgeous teen boy who's the sounding board for my male characters.


Author Links:
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Book Blitz Organized by:
@trishwolfe #losingtrack



Excerpt 2: Boone

She sniffs hard and clears her voice. But doesn’t say anything.
            I do. “What’s wrong?”
            There. Two simple words. Could be any two people meeting in a hallway, asking the same thing, and it’d mean absolutely nothing. But for us, those words break through every barrier we’ve assembled.
            Her choice: answer something noncommittal, like “nothing,” and give me the brush off. Securing our casual friendship remains the same. Or, answer honestly…changing everything.
            I’m not sure which I’m rooting for. Just as I wasn’t sure yesterday if I wanted her to accept my rejection—or push past all my barriers and tell me to fuck off, she was taking control. I lied when I told myself I was relieved; I wanted this girl to scare the shit out of me, to make me react.
            Her throaty voice cuts through the suffocating fear creeping over me. “I got a letter. From a friend. He’s just been released from jail.”
            I notice the folded paper in her hand. Her fingertips pinching the paper, holding it away from herself. “That’s good news.” It’s not a statement; it’s a question.
            She nods. “Yeah.”
            Silence thickens between us.
            “Walk?” I offer, hoping I can get her out of whatever funk this friend has caused.
            Nodding again, she picks herself off the floor and folds the letter to make it smaller. She stuffs it into the back pocket of her jean skirt before saying, “So how did you fair with the blue balls yesterday? You seem to be walking all right.”
            A chuckle slips out. I know she’s avoiding. Doesn’t want to talk about the letter or her friend, so I can roll with her punches. “Worst case I ever had.” And that’s no lie. I thought long and hard about jerking my dick to kingdom come, but I settled for blue balls. An extra little dose of punishment for almost fucking up.
            “And that’s the best compliment I’ve ever had. Thanks, Boone.” She nudges me with her shoulder as I shake my head.
            As soon as we step outside, I drop my shades over my eyes and instantly regret my idea. For the seconds I was entranced with Mel’s pain, with her, I forgot about the sky-high heat index. “Shit. If there was ever a month to get the fuck out of Florida,” I say.
            “No shit,” she agrees. Turning to face me, she adds, “You do have a bike. Well, sort of. Not sure I classify your Bonnie bobber as one, really…” she trails off, and I let the slight against my bike slide. I figured her for an all American girl. “But we could Bonnie and Clyde our way to Sturgis. Pun totally intended.” She winks. “There’s always, like, a crazy aftermath of drag races and parties following the rally.”
            I want to think she’s joking. But I have a sure feeling in the pit of my stomach that if I offered her to leave right now, she’d hop on the back of my bike. No questions. And suddenly, there’s a sickness gripping my gut to match that feeling—I want that.
            At some point, whether it was the moment she touched me, the heated look in her eyes, or the second I saw the hopelessness forming around her in the hall…a line was crossed. There’s no walking away now.
            This girl will break me.
            And I’ll beg her to do it.
            We reach the benches near the basketball court and she slides onto the top seatback. I lick my lips, thankful for my shades as my gaze travels up her creamy legs to her thighs. I imagine running my hand up that same course. Under her skirt…
            Fucking hell. At some point, I’m going to have to wear my dick out. I should beat the hell out of it each time before I see her. I’m like a horny teen getting a taste of porn for the first time. It’s embarrassing.
            I’ve gone almost a year with no real temptations. Where the hell did this girl come from? She blindsided me.