one plus one by Jojo moyes

one plus one\

“The only thing Jess really cared about were those two children and letting them know they were okay. Because even if the whole world was throwing rocks at you, if you had your mother at your back, you’d be okay. Some deep-rooted part of you would know you were loved. That you deserved to be loved.”
Jojo Moyes, One Plus One

“Because she knew that something happened to you when your mother didn’t hold you close, or tell you all the time that you were the best thing ever, or even notice when you were home: a little part of you sealed over. You didn’t need her. You didn’t need anyone. And without even knowing you were doing it, you waited. You waited for anyone who got close to you to see something they didn’t like in you, something they hadn’t initially seen, and to grow cold and disappear, too, like so much sea mist. Because there had to be something wrong, didn’t there, if even your own mother didn’t really love you?”
Jojo Moyes, One Plus One

“You see, he had once known a woman who had told herself she could do anything – and then decided she could do nothing; a woman who, finding herself at her lowest, did her best to push everyone away. And he realized in that moment that he had to make things right. He felt her injustices more fiercely than he had ever felt anything for himself. He realized, as he held her to him and kissed the top of her head and felt her cling to him, that he would do anything he could to make her happy, and her kids, and to keep them safe and give them a fair chance.”

Jojo Moyes, One Plus One

My rating: 5 stars

Jess is a single mother of two children , Tanzie and Nicky. Jess is working two jobs struggling to make it and still have time to spend with her children.When Jess comes in contact with Ed , a wealthy man in the middle of a career turmoil he becomes a huge help in getting Tanzie to her math competition and helping Nicky fight bullies. Along the way the once cold hearted man Jess couldn’t  stand is turning out to be her one true love. I love the relationship between Jess and Ed and how Jess was willing to do anything for her children.


The Way of the wombat: The quest of the gray Ironbark cover reveal

The Way Of The Wombat: The Quest for Gray Ironbark

Author: AdriAnne Strickland
Release Date: February 2, 2015
Reading Level: Middle Grade
Publisher: WhomBatz, LLC




Which Way would you follow?

When Laz, a young wombat, goes from playing a game with his friend Kita in their idyllic tribal village to witnessing the nightmare of a Tasmanian devil attack, he reacts in the only way he can: he fights back. He accidentally kills a devil while trying to save his sister, but his sister is still taken captive. To make matters worse, the tribal elders banish Laz, Kita and Zeeg—the three youths who fought back—for failing to follow the way of the wombat.

Frustrated and adrift, the three friends embark on a quest through red rocky deserts and deep eucalyptus jungles to discover their own way. With a cheerful koala warrior as a guide and a wise platypus as their trainer, they hope to survive long enough to find a legendary weapon that could save their tribe and Laz’s sister from the devils. But danger lurks around every tree…

Find your own Way at!




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About The Author: author

AdriAnne Strickland was a bibliophile who wanted to be an author before she knew what either of those words meant. She shares a home base in Alaska with her husband, but has spent two cumulative years living abroad in Africa, Asia, and Europe. While writing occupies most of her time, she commercial fishes every summer in Bristol Bay, because she can’t seem to stop. Her debut YA sci-fi/fantasy, WORDLESS, launched in 2014 from Flux Books. THE WAY OF THE WOMBAT is her first foray into the world of middle grade fantasy adventure. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, or over at her website.

Giveaway Information

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1 Winner will receive a finished copy of the The Way Of The Wombat: The Quest for Gray Ironbark and a WhomBat Thorn in their choice of color, red, blue or black.


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Breaking Series Cover Reveal

Breaking Free (The Breaking Series, #1)
(Previously titled BREAKING THE REINS)
Genre: NA contemporary romance
Warning: strong language, domestic violence, sex scene
Word Count: 110,000
Release date: August/2013
Cover: Najla Qamber Designs
Horses, mansions, tea parties, and lies are twenty-year-old Hannah Taylor’s life. To others, her family and her relationship with Eric is perfect. But she knows the truth. She lives it.
After a fire takes her grandma’s life and kills her horse, Hannah’s immaculate life spirals out of control. Her father disapproves of her decision to run her grandma’s ranch instead of focusing solely on learning the family business; Animal Control brings her Argus, a mistreated horse that she can’t turn away even though she’s not ready for another horse; and her boyfriend, Eric Bennett, a world famous polo player, becomes possessive and authoritarian. Despite her best efforts to disguise it, Hannah grows wary of him.
Then, Leonardo Fernandes struts onto the polo scene. A cocky rookie with a messy life of his own, he’s drawn to Hannah and isn’t afraid of showing it, even when Eric makes it clear she is his and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep it that way. Hannah suffers for Eric’s jealousy. The abuse only gets worse when Leo steals the title of best polo player in the world from Eric.
But the title isn’t enough for Leo. He wants Hannah too, and she can’t deny her attraction to him either. Somehow, she must find a way to break free from abusive Eric before he breaks every bone in her body.
Breaking Away (The Breaking Series, #2)
(Previously titled BREAKING FENCES)
Genre: NA contemporary romance
Warning: strong language, bullying, sex scenes
Word Count: 95,000
Release date: June/2014
Cover: Najla Qamber Designs
All Beatriz “Bia” Fernandes wants is to prove herself—to her family and friends—though it’s hard to prove anything with an overbearing father and three famous polo-playing older brothers. After her acceptance into college results in a heated family argument, the Brazilian girl leaves everything behind to find her own American dream.
College life away from home is perfect until the people she believes to be her friends turn on her. With lies and rumors threatening to suffocate her, Bia turns to her only freedom. Riding. But one thing gets in the way of her escape. Garrett Blackwell and his bad cowboy attitude. Working at the ranch is his obligation, bugging Bia is his newfound hobby. His thick skin and easy grin don’t hide what Bia already knows—this misunderstood and lonely cowboy fights his own demons. Brushing horses’ coats and mucking out stalls shouldn’t be this sexy, and it isn’t long before he becomes a part of her distraction.
However, escaping won’t solve her problems, and it’s up to Bia to break down the fences around her and prove her strength—not to her family and friends, but to herself … and for Garrett. Because standing on her own doesn’t have to mean standing alone.
** Companion novel of Breaking Free. Can be read out of order.**
Breaking Through (The Breaking Series, #3)
Genre: NA contemporary romance
Warning: strong language, sex scene, mentions of rape and domestic violence
Word Count: tbd
Release date: June/2015
Cover: Najla Qamber Designs
From the outside, Hilary Taylor has it all—beauty, money, a caring family, good friends—but inside she’s struggling, full of fears. Events from the past forever changed her, and though years of therapy have helped, she still has a long way to go…. No matter how much progress she’s made, Hil isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to trust men again. Especially one who sees her as nothing more than a pretty face. But Hil knows it’s time to face her fears, and the best way to do that is to start small.
To Guilherme Fernandes life is about three things: polo, parties and pretty girls—only one of which he takes seriously. Gui is too focused on his polo career to waste time on relationships, however he can’t help but be intrigued by the beautiful yet troubled Hil. So when she decides she’d like to learn more about horses, Gui is happy to find himself in the right place at the right time. But what was supposed to be a one time thing, soon turns into a weekly date.
As Gui helps her discover a new found love for horses, Hil’s guard begins to crumble. The more support Gui offers, the more she wants to accept…and the more the lines of friendship blur. Despite knowing better, Hil can’t help it as Gui slowly breaks through the walls she’s built. Now she has to decide if she’ll stop him there, or if she’ll finally let her fear go and allow Gui to reach for her heart.
** Companion novel of Breaking Free and Breaking Away. Can be read out of order.**
While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting–but equally gratifying–life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in Connecticut and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.

Co-founder and contributor at NA Alley (

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Giselle Cormier
Giveaway: The author is hosting a giveaway to celebrate the reveal, you can use the code below if you would like to share it with the cover:
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Home to Seaview Key by Sherryl Woods

home to seaview key

My rating : 3 stars

After returning to Seaview Key Abbie finds herself falling for ex soldier Seth Landry and she may just be what he needs to heal his broken heart..I received this from first reads in exchange for an honest review. Although it was flawed I did overall enjoy this and felt a connection with all the characters. My main issues was the slow paced dragged out feeling the book had and although I understood their reasoning It seemed like Seth and Abbie had the same conversations over and over and jumped through the same hoops 500 times before they seriously acted on their feelings for each other.

Panic by Lauren Oliver


my rating : 3 stars

“It was so strange, the way that life moved forward: the twists and the dead ends, the sudden opportunities. She supposed if you could predict or foresee everything that was going to happen, you’d lose the motivation to go through it all. The promise was always in the possibility.”
Lauren Oliver, Panic

“She knew, now, that there was always light—beyond the dark, and the fear, out of the depths; there was sun to reach for, and air and space and freedom.
There was always a way up, and out, and no need to be afraid.”
Lauren Oliver, Panic

“The Bravery was in moving forward, no matter what. Someday, she might be called on to jump again. And she would do it. She knew, now, that there was always light–beyond the dark, and the dear, out of the depths; there was sun to reach for, and air and space and freedom.

There was always a way up, and out, and no need to be afraid.”
Lauren Oliver, Panic

“They had their own language, their own jokes. They were constantly touching each other too – pushing and shoving, pinching and hugging, like kids flirting on a playground.”
Lauren Oliver, Panic

panic is the legendary game in the small town of carp where the contestants play a high stakes game of facing their fears in order to win the jackpot.I have so many mixed emotions about Panic, It was extremely slow paced in parts but overall I constantly had the edge of my seat anticipation of what crazy challenge they would have to do next. I did feel like slapping the panic contestants the vast majority of the time for their blatant stupidity, selfishness, immaturity, greediness. I did feel like they showed almost a suicidal craziness at some parts, It’s like Hello you can’t spend the money if you’r laying there dead!!

The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle

my rating: 5 stars

“That was the night I learned that the things we don’t ask about – ignore, walk by – those can be the most deadly of all.”
Rebecca Serle, The Edge of Falling

“I understand, now, that your own identity, your past, has nothing to do with the way others see you. Being a hero isn’t about someone else’s definition. Not Abigail’s and not Constance’s. Not the Post’s. Not even Claire’s. Being a hero is about one thing: the way you see yourself.”
Rebecca Serle, The Edge of Falling

“I’m trying hard to remain composed. His face slackens, smooths out, and I can’t help but run my eyes over his cheeks, his ears, the freckle on his face. I think about how many times I’ve kissed that exact spot. When someone breaks up with you they should take their memories with them. It shouldn’t be possible to remember someone when they’re no longer there.”
Rebecca Serle, The Edge of Falling


“I’ve been working on my honesty this summer. I’ve told such a big lie, such a massively irreversible one, that I figure I need to somehow even the score. But the thing about lying is that it’s not so easy to stop. Lies need one another, like a school of fish. If you start to separate them, they’ll be killed off one by one. Sometimes the only way to keep lies alive is to tell more of them.”
Rebecca Serle, The Edge of Falling

Caggie grows up in the wealthy part of Manhattan and her whole world changes when her younger sister drowns while Caggie is supposed to be watching her.Grief effects everyone differently , there is no right or wrong way to grieve as long as you don’t let it over power you. Caggs is grieving the loss of a loved one , holding a huge secret tight to her heart and not as close to her friends and loved ones as she used to be. She meets Astor a mentally disturbed young man who has one foot in the grave dreaming of the past and her life takes a dangerous spiral downward. Such an amazing book and I loved the ending!

The Missing by Necole Ryse Blitz

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The Missing (The Birthright Trilogy Book 2)

by Necole Ryse

Release Date: 12/16/14


Summary from Goodreads:

Reeling from her boyfriend’s disappearance, Raevyn Jones is shocked to learn that she is considered suspect number one. To make matters worse, rumors are swirling that golden boy, Jeffrey Donnelly, isn’t just missing…he may never be coming back.

And Raevyn is being framed.

Her second semester at Benjamin Wallace Fitzgerald University, the nation’s first Ivy League institution for African Americans, is full of twists and turns.

Soon Raevyn will learn not to trust anyone, not even the people she calls friend.


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Book One:

The Legacy

by Necole Ryse

Release Date: 06/17/14


Summary from Goodreads:

Nineteen-year-old Raevyn Jones has never worn a designer gown. She’s never had access to unlimited champagne or chauffeured limo rides.

But when she is dropped in the midst of the Black Ivy League–against her will–she has to pretend that everything is normal, as if she belongs.

When her new friends start to question her sketchy past and her shaky legacy at Benjamin Wallace Fitzgerald University, Raevyn realizes she will have to rely on her street smarts more than ever before.

Raevyn starts to receive cryptic text messages and emails from an anonymous sender and she soon discovers that not only does someone want her to leave B.W.Fitz–someone also wants to end her life.


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The Missing Excerpts:

Excerpt #1:

I got about halfway across campus to my class when I noticed Detective Douglas. I was hustling towards the Economics building when I saw him, standing, as if he had been waiting for me to cross his path. Everything in me wanted to bolt the other way but I had to show him that I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t guilty of anything and he had no right to be here. He stomped out a cigarette and blew out a large puff of smoke when I approached. His dark hair made his face a ghostly white. The bags around his eyes were more prominent than the last time we’d seen each other.

“This qualifies as stalking.” I hurried past him as a few passerby looked on curiously. This was not what I needed right now.

Detective Douglas picked up speed and fell into step beside me. “I’m not violating any of your rights, sweetie.” He reeked of stale cigarette smoke. His hair peeked from under his hat, falling into his eyes. He brushed the curls away, but they stubbornly fell back into place. He couldn’t have been making any progress in the investigation if he was still questioning me.

“Instead of following me around why don’t you find out who actually kidnapped my boyfriend? Thanks, by the way. Now everyone knows.”

“Not my problem.” He shrugged. “You shouldn’t keep secrets.”

“I did nothing wrong.”

“On the contrary, Miss Jones.” He stopped when I reached the steps of the Economics building. I took the steps taking two at a time. “I think you did something very wrong. And I promise you, I’ll find out.”

My blood turned into ice. I dashed inside just as he yelled, “I’m watching you, Raevyn!”


Excerpt #2:

“C’mere,” Brandon said. And when he reached for me, I felt myself stagger into his body. He was soft, but solid. His body was unfamiliar, stronger, much stronger than Jeffrey’s. Jeffrey. Was it possible to miss someone so much it hurt?

Brandon wrapped his arms around me and I felt his fleshy lips land on my forehead, soft and gentle like falling into a pillow.

I didn’t realize I was crying until I heard a sob fill the empty hallway. He brought his finger to my chin, exactly how Jeffrey used to. My stomach stirred. My heart stumbled out of my chest, landing in a broken clump on the carpet. Carefully, he brought his face closer to mine like if he handled me any differently I’d break apart. His breath danced on my lips when he said, “You don’t have to cry about him anymore.”


Excerpt #3:

“Are you positive?” Regina whispered to Corrine that night. The three of them were in their usual meeting place, the phone room, after hours. I was wide-awake when I heard the suite door click closed and three sets of feet scurry down the hallway.

The only sound in the hall was the hum of the refrigerator. I was thankful that it covered my heavy breathing and the knocking of my knees.

“Yes,” she hissed. “He said they’re doing interviews. Here at Fitz, tomorrow!”
“That’s impossible.” A yawn cut through Andrea’s words. “They buried him. Case closed.”

“Yes, but homicides are usually, I dunno, investigated!” Corrine shrill-whispered.

“Okay, calm down.” Regina ran interference between the two. “We just have to stick to the story. We were getting initiated that night. We don’t know anything about it. There are twenty other Xi Nu’s who can corroborate that.”

I heard someone blow out a frustrated breath.
“I don’t know,” Corrine said. “This has gone way too far.”

“We made a pact,” Regina declared. “No matter what happens tomorrow, we keep the same story, got it?”


Excerpt #4:

Stars exploded behind my eyes when I hit the ground. Fear and pain slashed through my body like a hot knife. A scream tore my throat in two. I bit down hard on the inside of my cheek until I tasted blood pool into my mouth.

She crossed the room and sat on the bed. She wiped the blood off her fingers on the dusty sheets.

“You know,” she said in a chilling voice. It was totally different from how she usually sounded. “I spent so many summers here.” I tried to concentrate on breathing, my mind was moving in a million different directions. She fell back on the bed and the dust from the aged linen swirled around the both of us, stinging my eyes. She peeled back the rest of the wallpaper with a smile in her voice when she said, “This was my room, you know. But I guess you figured that out.”

She sat up quickly and cocked her head, looking down at me pitifully. Who was she? Those eyes—I knew those eyes. They felt like home, but now they were cold, almost like they belonged to someone else. She poked her bottom lip out. “You know I can’t let you walk out of here, Raevyn.”

About the Author
Necole Ryse graduated from Towson University with Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications.
Bored with life as an adult, Necole decided to follow her dreams to write fiction and she hasn’t looked back. She joined theWinslet Press family to release her first novel, THE LEGACY.

She enjoys chocolate covered pretzels, Criminal Minds marathons, and all things Harry Potter.


Author Links:




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Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

cruel beauty

My rating: 5 stars

“Where you go, I shall go; where you die, I shall die, and there will I be buried.”
Rosamund Hodge, Cruel Beauty

“You deserve all that and more. It made me happy to see you suffer. I would do it all over again if I could.” I realized I was shaking as the words tumbled out of me. “I would do it again and again. Every night I would torment you and laugh. Do you understand? You are never safe with me.” I drew a shuddering breath, trying to will away the sting of tears.

He opened his eyes and stared up at me as if I were the door out of Arcadia and back to the true sky. “That’s what makes you my favorite.” He reached up and wiped a tear off my cheek with his thumb. “Every wicked bit of you.”
Rosamund Hodge, Cruel Beauty

“They said that love was terrifying and tender, wild and sweet, and none of it made any sense.
But now I knew that every mad word was true.”
Rosamund Hodge, Cruel Beauty

“His hands tightened around mine. “I love you,” he said. “I love you more than any other creature, because you are cruel, and kind, and alive. Nyx Triskelion, will you be my wife?”
I knew it was insane to be happy, to feel this desperate exultation at his words. But I felt like I had been waiting all my life to hear them. I had been waiting, all my life, for someone undeceived to love me. And now he did, and it felt like walking into the dazzling sunlight of the Heart of Earth.
Except that the sunlight was false, and his love was real.
It was real.
Very deliberately, I pulled my hands out of his. “You’re a demon,” I said, staring at the ground.
“Most likely.”
“I know what you’ve done.”
“The exciting parts, anyway.”
“And I still don’t know your name.” My hands trembled as I undid my belt, then started to unclasp the brooches. It seemed forever since that first day when I had ripped my bodice open so
easily. “But I know you’re my husband.”
The dress slid down to land on the ground about my feet. Ignifex touched my cheek very gently, as if I was a bird that might be startled into flight. Finally I met his eyes.
“And,” I said. “I suppose I do love you.”
Then he pulled me into his arms.”
Rosamund Hodge, Cruel Beauty

“And you would know so much about women, locked up in your castle.”

“Locked up with eight wives. And sometimes I make house calls for my bargainers. There’s many a lovely woman desperate enough to bargain with me.”

This idea had never occurred to me before. “You touch another woman and I’ll cut your hands off,” I snapped.

He looked delighted. “I thought you were afraid of hurting me.”
Rosamund Hodge, Cruel Beauty

“The fire roared down upon us. It curled through our hair, then wrapped around our wrists and faces, trying to drag us apart. It seared across my skin, hotter than the Heart of Fire, and yet more painful was how it seared through my mind. The fire burned away my memories, taking back his name and mine, both of my pasts and all of my hopes, the sky and the sparrow and the world itself. I clung to somebody I did not know, could not imagine knowing, but I still knew beyond all doubt that he was mine.

We fell until we had been falling forever and always, and always would continue falling, because nothing existed outside this chaos of fire and shadow.

But I held on to him.

And he held on to me.”
Rosamund Hodge, Cruel Beauty

Nyx has been betrothed since birth to the evil ruler of her kingdom and is determined to kill him and save everyone.As Nyx is searching for the hidden secrets she desires and a way to kill Ignifex for good she finds herself falling for the monster she has always loathed. since Such a sweet re-telling of beauty and the beast. I felt like I was falling in love right along Nyx. I was hooked from the very first sentence ” I was raised to marry a monster.” I felt like it was pretty easy to figure out the mystery of Ignifex and his orgins. I adored Ignifex and Shade , by the end you could see the softer side of Ignifex and think of him less as a monster. I would love to see a little mermaid retelling .

Big Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Miller


My rating: 4 stars

Kendra and Hutch do make a good couple .I love a story of rekindled flame .Although they did start flirting and talking to each other not long after he left Brylee at the altar so I’m surprised that didn’t end up as more of a scandal . I’m glad it wasn’t a scandal , there was defiantly no running around on Hutch’s part. I loved how sweet Hutch was to Madison and how good he was to her. I’m looking forward to reading more from the Parable series.

Rook and Ronin series by J.A. Huss Blitz




free promo

(Rook & Ronin #1)

By JA Huss

Publication 5-15-2013
How far are you willing to go to start over?
Rook Walsh is homeless, jobless, and down to her last ten bucks when opportunity knocks her in the head and delivers a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Internationally renowned photographer, Antoine Chaput, knows the minute he spies Rook in his studio that she’s got The Look. The dark and desperate look he must have to land the exclusive TRAGIC media contract.
Rook is paired up with top model Ronin, and he knows exactly what to do to make her blush for Antoine’s camera. Her luck changes in an instant and suddenly she’s got more attention and exposure than she can handle—both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.


FREE at Amazon:

MANIC – 99¢ through DECEMBER 14th

(Rook & Ronin #2)

By JA Huss

Publication 7-30-2013
TRAGIC is over and Rook is ready for the future—Spencer Shrike and the STURGIS contract!
It’s three months of body art modeling! That means three months of Spencer Shrike’s paintbrush all over her body, three months in front of Antoine’s camera, and three months of twenty-four-hour filming for Spencer’s Biker Channel reality show.
Wait a minute… what reality show? Maybe she should’ve read that STURGIS contract a little closer?
Sure, Rook’s bank account is overflowing, but Ronin is angry, Clare is trying to escape rehab, Antoine is a worried mess, and Elise is just trying to hold everyone together. Rook’s new family is about to fall apart before she even gets the chance to enjoy it.


99¢ at Amazon:


(Rook & Ronin #1)

By JA Huss

Publication 10-15-2013
Rook is chasing her dream—film school and a chance at a life beyond the one she ran from six months ago. But before she can become the girl she wants to be, she must deal with the girl she left behind.

Ronin is also chasing his dream—a family of his own and a life away from erotic modeling. And he too, has a past he’s trying to forget. A past that makes Rook question everything about their life together.

Lies, secrets, and shocking truths will rock the foundation Rook and Ronin have built. Can they put the past behind them and move forward together? Or is this just another too good to be true relationship that will crash and burn in the end?


The Rook and Ronin Series has SEVEN books TOTAL
(4) SLACK: A Day in the Life of Ford Aston
(5) TAUT: The Ford Book
(6) BOMB: A Day in the Life of Spencer Shrike
(7) GUNS: The Spencer Book


$20 GIFT CARD AND Signed set of Rook & Ronin (new covers) Ends 12-15-14


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tragic 1

tragic 2



The girl catches me staring and I hold my breath. But neither of us turns away. We stare, unabashed, until Antoine’s direction pulls her back into the shoot and she’s lost again—guarded and unhappy, frowning and resigned. She’s a blackbird sitting in a tree staring out at the world, daring the wind to come and knock her off the swaying bough.

She is wrecked, Elise is right. But she’s not down yet. The look on her face is defiant.

When I look over at the clock it’s well past five. Antoine has been shooting her for almost two hours. Elise left a while back but whether she’s still here in the studio or up in her apartment, I have no idea. I lost track of her because my eyes are only on the girl.

Antoine does pretty well until the end. It’s clear he’s finished shooting and the girl is starting to look uncomfortable when he asks her what she was thinking about during the shoot.

I cringe. No, you don’t ask them! You make them want to tell you, you idiot! I want to pull him aside and stop the crash and burn that’s coming, but it’s too late. She snaps at him and he pulls back when he realizes his mistake.

He turns the conversation to business and this is where it really gets interesting. She tells him she’s not a model and has no portfolio. I’m just about to laugh when she starts yelling about pictures as payment.

I look back towards Elise’s station and realize she forgot to explain the terms to her.

We are so off our game today. One tragic girl has disrupted all the carefully laid plans and protocols we’ve had in place for years.

The tragic girl storms off yelling. Antoine walks over to me and we wait together as she rants to Elise.

“You better fix this, Antoine,” I say calmly, but inside I’m screaming too. “Pay the fucking girl, she needs the money.”

He snorts like a fucking Frenchman. “I do not pay for test shoots.”

“This,” I say, turning to face him, “was no test shoot and you know it. You’ve got hundreds of shots in that camera. Pay her and make sure she comes back or I won’t do the contract. I want her. I’ve put up with hundreds of stupid girls over the years for you and I’ve never asked you for a favor like this. I want this one, or I won’t do it.”

He fishes through his pocket and pulls out the cash that Clare never earned.

The studio door slams and we are all reminded that two models have walked out on us today.

“Elise!” Antoine calls, thrusting the bills out at her. “Catch her, pay her, and invite her back on Monday.”

Elise grabs the money and flies out the door.

“We’re in trouble, Ronin. She is trouble.” He turns a little to look me in the eye, something he rarely does unless he’s serious and wants me to consider his advice. “You should stay away from her, keep it professional. Or it might get messy.”

I shrug. “I’ll do what I want. And staying away from her isn’t even in the top million things I want to do with that girl.”

“Elise will hurt you if you ruin this one, Ronin. She won’t tolerate another Mardee.”

Fuck you, is what I think. But I don’t say it, I just sigh and we wait in silence for Elise to come back.


manic 1




“You scare me, Rook.”

“Why?” I ask, puzzled.

“Because your future is making itself right now, this very moment. And you have no idea it’s happening. I want you so completely it hurts. But you and I are in two totally different places.”

My whole body shivers with a chill as I absorb his words. I swallow. “That sounds like the beginning of a break-up speech. Are you breaking up with me?”

He scoots my bottom closer, thrusting himself inside me a little more. “I love you, Rook. I’m not breaking up with you. But it’s all bad timing, you know?”

I shake my head. “No, not really.”

“My career started when I was seventeen. I’ve done everything you’re just getting a taste of now. I’ve traveled all over the world, I’ve made a shitload of money, I have pretty much everything I want.”


“Except the only thing I really want.”

I wait for it, but he lets out a long sigh and holds it in. “Is it a secret?”

He lets out a soft laugh and rocks himself into me again. “No, it’s not. I already told you that night we went to the zoo.”

“A family,” I say, a little breathless now because what he’s doing, this serious conversation combined with the sensual lovemaking, is making my heart pound.

“Yes. I’m done, Rook. I can live off the money I’ve made for decades. I’m ready to do something else. Start something new.”

“Well, how is that a problem for us?” I ask, lifting up and slipping down on him. It’s his turn to become breathless. “I’m not against the idea, you know.”

He smiles as his hand reaches up to cup my breast.

I shiver again, but this time it’s a good one.

“Not against the idea is not the same as on board.” His fingers stop and his hands wrap around my waist as he slides me back and forth across his lap. My whole body flushes with heat and I tip my head back and close my eyes.

“I’m looking for a partner.”

I swallow. “I’d like to be that partner, but—”

He waits.

I open my eyes. He’s watching me very closely, his hands still gliding over my body, slowly—so, so slowly. My clit throbs against his friction.

He waits.

“I’m scared too, Ronin. But of very different things.”

He wraps his arms around me completely and buries his face in my neck, tasting the water on my skin left over from the misting shower spray. “I’ll take care of you, Rook.”

I take a deep breath and let it out. “I want you to take care of me, Ronin.”

His palms slide up underneath my wet hair and then he fists it, just a little, like a claim. It makes me hesitate, but then he pulls me forward until my cheek touches his. “Then let me, just let me put it all together for us. I can make you happy.”








My phone beeps an incoming text just as I settle back on my couch and turn on the TV.

My heart flutters a little as I read the text.

Dear Rook (AKA Gidget),

I’ve never had the urge to write a love letter but I’m lying in bed, looking over at your side, wondering if I can somehow change your mind about this whole deal and talk you into coming the fuck home. (I’m a selfish asshole, I know.) But I get that you need this so I’ll just say this instead: I felt like I was leaving a piece of my soul behind the moment I left. And every second that passes, I miss you like that, times a million.


Ronin (AKA Larue)

I press call under his name and he picks up on the first ring. “Ronin Flynn, you are like a door.”

He laughs. “It was that touching, huh?”

“Not a window where you can see through to the other side and be sure of what’s coming. But a door, still closed and leading to every opportunity imaginable and requiring a leap of faith that the risk is worth it. You are my doorway to endless possibilities and I’m ready to take that risk.”

I can hear him swallow on the other end and when he’s done his words rumble out in his deep, sexy voice. “Rook, I’m not a risk, I’m a sure thing. You’re the only girl I want to build a future with. Ever. You’re the one, Rook. The love that only comes around once in a lifetime and I refuse to settle for anything else.”

He’s perfect. Simply perfect. “I love your love letter, Larue. It made me sigh like a schoolgirl.”

“Well, you are a schoolgirl, right? I think I’m gonna have to go looking for a little tartan skirt and some knee socks. Dress you all up in a sexy outfit this weekend.”

“If you do that, I might have to be bad on purpose, Mr. Flynn.”

“Don’t tease, Gidget, or I’ll spank you.”

“You promise that so much and never come through. I hardly get excited about it anymore.”

He guffaws this time and I can practically picture his gorgeous smile lighting up his electric blue eyes. “I can’t fucking wait until Friday.”

I giggle a little as I picture our Friday. “I might just ditch class early, Mr. Flynn.”

“And that will earn you two spankings, Miss Corvus.”

“Promises, promises.”


J. A. Huss likes to write new adult books that make you think and keep you guessing. Her favorite genre to read is space opera, but since practically no one reads those books, she writes new adult science fiction, paranormal romance, contemporary romance, urban fantasy, and books about Junco (who refuses to be saddled with a label).

She has an undergraduate degree in horses, (yes, really–Thank you, Colorado State University) and a master’s degree in forensic toxicology from the University of Florida. She used to have a job driving around Colorado doing pretty much nothing but shooting the breeze with farmers, but now she just writes, runs the New Adult Addiction and Clean Teen Reads Book Blogs, and runs an online science classroom for homeschoolers.

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