Monday, February 29, 2016

Too Hot To Handle by Tessa Bailey


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When Rita Clarkson's Suburban takes its last breath on a New Mexico roadside, rescue roars up on a Harley in the form of smooth-talking honkey tonk owner, Jasper Ellis, a man as mysterious as he is charming. Rita's cross-country journey to New York City--with her three estranged siblings in tow--is only beginning, but now that Jasper has found Rita, his plans do not include her leaving. 



Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.
Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.
She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.


Beautiful Boss by Christina Lauren

Title: Beautiful Boss
Author: Christina Lauren
Series: The Beautiful Series, #4.5 (9th total)
Release Date: March 1, 2016

The ninth work in the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling series that started with Beautiful Bastard. In this e-novella, Will Sumner and Hanna Bergstrom (from Beautiful Player) find that a wedding and everlasting love were just the beginning.

One Player tamed. One nerd girl satisfied. And one more major life decision to make. When Will fell for Hanna, her quirky sense of humor and fierce dedication to her career were part of the attraction. (Not to mention her coy newbie attitude toward sex and her willingness to let him teach her everything.) But when the job offers start rolling in for her—and oh, they do—Hanna has trouble deciding what she wants, where they should live, and how much she should burden Will with the decision. Magic between the sheets is only one part of a relationship...getting on the same page is quite another altogether. 


Hannah and Max are newlyweds and Hannah is taking interview after interview trying to decide where she wants to work. She has choices on the West Coast and East Coast, as well as different countries.  So now they have to navigate  their new marriage and figure out where they’re going to spend the rest of their lives together. 


I don’t think I’ll ever be disappointed with anything written by Christina Lauren. I truly struggle with reading novellas because of the lack of development and choppy writing, but that is not the case with any of Christina Lauren’s novellas. The story is so well written that even though it’s only 115 pages the story was fluid and fulfilling. 

When a novella comes out, it’s like a mini reunion. I love the chemistry and friendship all the characters continue to contain. I hope the authors NEVER stop writing about them. 

*Complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review!

A novella by Christina Lauren is always a treat. 

This one is about Hanna and Will. It begins just before their wedding. Hanna and Will are in love. Together they made sense. They seem in awe of each other and can't believe they are going to be husband and wife soon enough.

The day of the wedding everything is just perfect. All their friends and family are there with them sharing their happiness. A beautiful moment in time. 

Now, one week later, trouble.....Hanna still hasn't decided which job to take, for that matter which country she is picking.  Will feels excluded.

I completely understand Will's frustrations with Hanna. He felt like his input was not needed. He wanted Hanna to share everything that was running through her mind about the move with him. He wanted to feel part of the process since his life was going to be affected by her decision too. He was willing to move anywhere for her, in exchange he just wanted a little trust. 

Fans of this series will enjoy seeing the crowd together one more time. I know I did. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I can never go wrong when picking up any book written by Christina Lauren. Will and Hanna just so happen to be a favorite couple in the Beautiful Bastard Series so I was ecstatic to get this novella.

 Will and Hanna are taking the dive and saying their vows, but there is much more stress to come even after the wedding. Hanna is interviewing for positions all over and will soon be making the decision on which position to accept. Will is on edge because that means they might be moving. With all that going on they are trying to navigate being married and all that that entails.

This novella was so beautifully written. Christina Lauren never fail to bring tears to my eyes. I constantly found myself biting my lip in anticipation and swooning over Will. I love every character in this series but Will has captured my special attention. I got to see the entire gang together again! It was such a perfect reunion that I'll love pick up again and again.

If you haven't started this series, what the heck are you waiting for? Do it now! Hurry!

4.5/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided in exchange for an honest review. 

Flirting with Fame by Samantha Joyce

Title: Flirting with Fame 
Author: Samantha Joyce 
Publisher: Pocket Star/Simon & Schuster 
Release Date: February 29, 2016 
Genres: New Adult, Romance 
Pages: 352 
Format: eBook

Elise Jameson is the secret author behind the bestselling, cult hit Viking Moon series. But when a stranger poses as Elise, the painfully shy, deaf nineteen-year-old starts to see how much she’s missing. Can she really hide in the shadows forever? This clever, coming-of-age debut is for anyone who has ever felt unsure in their own skin.

After a freak childhood accident leaves her deaf and physically scarred, nineteen-year-old Elise Jameson retreats into a world of vibrant characters she creates on her laptop. She is shocked when her coping mechanism turns into a career as a phenomenal bestselling novelist. Fans are obsessed with Elise’s Viking Moon series and its author—a striking girl with zero resemblance to Elise who appears on the back covers. Elise sent the randomly Googled photo to her editor following a minor panic attack. Now, horrified to learn she is expected on set of the television pilot based on her novels, Elise tracks down her anonymous stand-in. To Elise’s surprise, Veronica Wilde has been taking credit for Viking Moon for years. She eagerly agrees to keep up the charade if Elise will pose as her assistant.

It’s hard for Elise to watch a stranger take credit for her work and get all the perks she desires, including admiration from the show’s heartthrob star. Edged onto the sidelines of her own life, Elise reconsiders her choice to stay anonymous. Is she ready to come to terms with her true identity—and with the long-buried secrets that could cost her her career, her fans, and the few precious friendships she’s made?

What other authors are saying:

"A charming story of learning to embrace and love those things about ourselves that set us apart from others. I don’t think I stopped smiling once throughout Elise's journey except during the moments that squeezed painfully at my chest." 
- Molly McAdams, New York Times bestselling author of To the Stars

"With a sprinkle of book fandom and dash of yummy romance, Flirting with Fame is the perfect story for every book lover." 
- USA Today bestselling author, Tiffany King

"A sweet and poignant story about finding yourself and falling in love along the way, Flirting with Fame will steal your heart." 
-Chanel Cleeton, author of Flirting with Scandal

"We don't get many chances to live this life. Make sure the one you're livin' is your own." 

Elise Jameson is a nineteen-year-old girl. She's starting college but she is completely terrified of doing it. When she was younger, she was in an accident which left her deaf and with visible scars on her body and face. Elise became almost a reclusive. While dealing with the aftermath of her accident, Elise threw herself into writing. She wrote three books and published them under a pen name. She also used someone else's photo for her author picture. To her surprise, her books became an overnight success, with so many loyal fans and with the show pilot soon to begin shooting. Elise freaks out when her agent sends her an email telling her that they want her input during filming and that the lead actor is Gavin Hartley, who Elise has a crush on. In her desperation, Elise tracks down the girl she took the picture of (Veronica) and offers her a deal. 
Meeting Gavin is nothing like Elise thought it would be. Despite being the current heartthrob with women in love with him all over the world, Gavin is nothing but nice to Elise. 

This story had a lot of interesting characters.

I liked Elise from the very beginning. She was just a young girl who was shy and was self-conscious about her appearance. I didn't particularly agree with all of Elise's decisions but I understood why she tried to hide from the world. She made mistakes but she was not scared to apologize for them. 
Jin and Cowboy were both incredible secondary characters. They both were great friends to Elise and they accepted her just as she was. Flaws and all.

Reggie turned out to be a good friend and I couldn't stop smiling when she was describing her favorite author and book series.  I can recognize a fangirl when I see one. 
As for Veronica, she was really not a nice person. She was so bitter and mean. I do wonder what made her that way.

Overall, I was very pleased I read Flirting with Fame. It had romance, coming of age situations and great secondary characters.

"Nice screen saver, he signed.
Must be a virus, I signed back.
A virus that puts a half-naked picture of me on your desktop?
Yeah, it's going around." 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was in the mood for a light and fluffy romance, and this book was exactly what I was looking for. This story was a coming of age story mixed with cute romance, great messages, and strong friendships. Even though some of the events in this book were a bit cliche, it was still a fun book.

I really liked the main character, Elise, because she was sweet and adorable. However, she did some really dumb things, but at least she always owned up to it. I wanted to shake her for doing those dumb things, but I was glad that she realized how dumb she was being. I just wish Elise wouldn't have made as many stupid decisions as she did, because it lead to some unnecessary drama. 

I felt bad so for Elise, and I really sympathized with her. She went through some tough things in her life that really scared her. I was glad that those issue were addressed in the book. It was nice to see her learn from those things, accept them, and become a stronger person.

Elise had a great group of friends by her side, and I loved them all! Jin, Reggie, and Clint were a diverse set of characters that added a lot of humor and warmth to the story. I liked seeing Elise's friendships with each of them. I thought it was great how they always supported Elise throughout the book, even though they got into some fights along the way.

The romance in this book did feel a little like insta-love. I didn't really feel the connection at first. I thought it was a little bit too sudden. However, I thought Gavin and Elise had some really cute moments together. Gavin was so understanding and supportive of Elise. I loved how he made her a more confident person and showed her that she is perfect the way she is. They had a cute and fluffy romance, even if it was a little rushed in the beginning.

I thought this was a fun and a light romance that ended up being really enjoyable.I loved the message about loving yourself! For being a debut novel, I think Joyce hit this out of the park.

4 / 5 Fangs

*This ebook was given to me in exchange for an honest review. * 

Flirting With Fame is one of those books that I had no intention of reading but as soon as I read the synopsis I couldn't not read it. 

Elise is going through a lot, she and her best friend are starting their freshman year of college in different schools, that isn't very uncommon right? What is uncommon though is having to start college and also having to be on set for filming the television show based on her very own book series. Once Elise finds out she is being impersonated by the person she put on the back of her books she comes up with a plan she thinks will help her. The only problem with that is that things don't always go how we want them, especially when having to lie to friends. 

When I got to the meeting of Veronica I was so upset that I almost stopped reading the book all together. I despised her right away, but I decided not to let Veronica get the best of my feelings and kept reading. I'm so glad I did because I feel in love with the characters. Clint was probably my favorite character of the bunch! He had so much personality I just couldn't stop my from smiling whenever he had page time. 

After hiding from most people for years Elise is finally discovering who she is and what she wants out of life. This story had such an inspiring message behind it. 

4/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided in exchange for an honest review. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Title: Truthwitch 
Series: The Witchlands #1
Author: Susan Dennard
Publisher: Tor Teen
Published: January 5, 2016 

In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden - lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

“It wasn’t freedom she wanted. It was belief in something—a prize big enough to run for and to fight for and to keep on reaching toward no matter what.” 

What a freaking surprise Truthwitch was for me!

In the beginning, I felt like the story was too slow-progressing, by the middle I was completely enthralled and by the end, it was nail-biting time....

I have never read a book like Truthwitch. The premise of witches with so many different talents. There are Windwitches,  Ironwitches, Threadwitches, Tidewitch, Bloodwitches, and of course, a Truthwitch. 

Safiya is a truthwitch, someone who can tell when anyone lies. Her best friend Iseult is a Threadwitch. They actually have become Threadsisters. Safiya has lived her life under the tutelage of Mathew and Habim. She and Iseult have been taught to fight. Safiya believes her uncle to be a drunk who doesn't care for her.

After a stint goes wrong with a Guildmaster, Safiya and Iseult find themselves being persecuted by the Bloodwitch Aeduan. He can sense the blood of anyone he's in contact with, making it easy for him to follow his prey. 

For Safiya, the danger comes from hiding her witchery. A Truthwitch is a great commodity for any reign to have. If Safiya is discovered, her life as she knows it will end. She will be nothing more than a prisoner, a pawn in the hands of whoever captures her. When her worst fears become true, Safiya and Iseult have nothing else to do but run. Safiya lands herself on the ship with Prince Merik.

Prince Merik is desperate to start trade with anyone before his people starve to death.  Having Safiya to deal with, is something he didn't plan to do. Safiya and Merik fight, butt heads but they can't deny their attraction to each other. 

Iseult, on the other hand, runs to her childhood home. Yet, things have changed drastically and not everything Iseult thought she knew was true. During her run, she does meet with the Bloodwitch Aeduan a couple of times, making me excited to see where this relationship goes.

Aeduan is still a mystery. He's supposed to be evil but I know I would love to get his backstory.  What made him leave the monastery? Also, I thought his power to be the best! He could do so much. He was almost invincible. 

I almost forgot to mention the cleaving. If you get it, you pretty much become a zombie. 

I'm going to be dying to read the next one. I'm just sad I have to wait a year for it.

Cliffhanger: Yes

5/5 Fangs

Holy cow, I don't think I have ever felt as much as a badass as I did while reading this book. I know I wasn't doing anything badass, but this book made me feel like I could! This book showed that women can be just as kickass and powerful as men! Talk about an awesome message. 

I was expecting to like this book, but I wasn't expecting to LOVE it as much as I did. I figured it would be good, but I didn't think it would live up to the hype building up about it. I was proven wrong because this book blew all of my expectations out of the water. Truthwitch left me speechless. 

First of all, the characters were fantastic. I became invested in every character's storyline and connected to each character in a unique way. Susan did a great job at giving each character a lot of depth, but not giving away everything about each character. She left some mystery behind the characters, and I am so excited to delve into those secrets throughout this series. I care so deeply about the four main characters, and my heart will be broken if anything bad happens to them. Safi, Iseult, Merik, and Aeduan have all taken up space in my heart.

In a lot of books, we don't see a lot of strong female friendships. This book had one of the greatest female friendships I have ever read. Iseult and Safi are the definition of friendship goals. I loved how loyal they were to each other. It honestly brings tears to my eyes to think about their friendship. Safi and Iseult are great on their own, but they are phenomenal together. 

Iseult and Safi are also so badass! They made everything so exciting. I loved reading about them creating plans to get out of crazy situations and then be awesome ninjas to carry out the plan. Their fighting scenes were always so thrilling and kickass. I would not mess with Iseult and Safi. 

The romance in this book was great because it didn't take away from the plot. The romance only added to the plot. Susan had some swoon worthy moments, but they weren't all the book was about. I really appreciated that, especially in a fantasy novel. I don't want to spoil anything by saying who I ship, but I ship two couples SO HARD. It is insane how hard I ship them. The slow burns are fantastic, and I am sure they will kill my heart. It is going to be a beautiful and painful journey. I cannot wait.

The plot was interesting the entire time. I was never bored with this book! Everything about the plot kept me glued to the pages. The plot combined with the character developments, dialogue, and action scenes consumed me. I was obsessed with this book and I still am obsessed with it. I do think that the first couple chapters of the book were a little confusing. It felt like as a reader I was just kind of thrown into this confusing world of witchery with all these different characters (which had difficult names to remember). It was a lot to get my head around at first. However, after a few chapters, I was able to understand what was happening and I started plowing through the book.

This book was so freaking amazing. I want everyone to read this book so we can fangirl about it together. I guarantee this book will not disappoint. 


I leave my review with this question: 

who runs the world? 

5 / 5 Fangs

Friday, February 26, 2016

Curvy by Alexa Riley

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Release Day is Tuesday March 1st, but you can add it to your goodreads shelf now.



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The first time Flynn Long sees her, she's lying on a bed in lingerie. The picture is soft, just like her curves, and instantly he's obsessed.

Cali Carr is at the end of her full-figure modeling career when she's hired for a new campaign. But when the owner of the company steps out of the shadows and starts calling the shots, a job is the last thing it feels like.

Love at first sight isn't supposed to be real. One touch isn't supposed to ignite so much. A single picture isn't supposed to drive a man insane. But luckily for us it's happening in Curvy!

Warning: Over the top isn't strong enough for what this short story is. It's velvety sweetness coated in insta-love cheese, and it's waiting for you to take a bite.

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Chapter 1 *Flynn*
“You told me you had this under control. That was the only reason I agreed to invest in a women’s lingerie line.”
I look down at the sales charts of Curved Intimates, a company we invested in over six months ago. It’s bleeding money, and I’m close to just scrapping the whole project and be done with the headache. I have enough on my plate as it is.
When you invest in as many things as Breakstone Corp does, you can’t be surprised when not all of them work out. But I had agreed with Mark when he brought this proposal to me. It was supposed to be the next Victoria’s Secret. The pitch was good and the women’s market wasn’t one we had worked our way into yet. Mark said it was something he really wanted to take on, so we went for it.
I know shit about fashion. I pay someone to shop for me and pick out my clothes. I know even less about women’s undergarments. Fuck, I can’t even remember the last time I saw a real woman in her underwear.
I run my hands over my face, trying to relieve some of the tension headache that’s starting to build. It’s already six o’clock and it looks like I’m going to be here another four hours at least.
“Lynn from marketing is waiting outside. She seems to think she’s come up with something.” Mark shifts uncomfortably, probably scared I’m going to fire him. But this is the first time he’s ever missed the mark like this before. He’s eager and good at his job, but if I had a wife and three kids, I’d probably worry if I fucked up, too. You can’t win them all, and I can’t fault him for wanting to try to branch us out to something new. It showed enthusiasm, and it’s the very reason I’d hired him
I flip through the last marketing ads in the folder again. They look standard, but there’s nothing special about the pictures, nothing that draws attention. They look like every other ad for women’s underwear you’ve ever seen. There’s no clear branding and nothing that stands out about this line.
“I hope it’s better than this shit.” I toss the folder back across the desk at him.
“I’ve been working with marketing. They have a few ideas I really like and—”
I cut him off. I want to get this show on the road. “Mark, calm down. I’m not going to fire you over this. We’ll hear marketing’s ideas, and we either do them or we drop the whole fucking thing.”
Mark nods before heading over towards the door, letting Lynn into my office. She shuffles over to my desk clutching a pile of binders so high I can’t even see her face. The stack almost looks bigger than her. I’m not sure how she’s made it all the way up here with them.
“Sir, can I get you or anyone else a drink?” Sally, my assistant, asks as she stands in the doorway to my office. I know the only reason she’s offering is because other people are in here. She stopped getting me my coffee years ago, telling me she didn’t have a degree in business so she could waste it on fetching coffee. She’s an expensive pain in the ass I couldn’t live without. Luckily for me, her kids are off in college and her husband doesn’t seem to mind the long hours I often need her to work. I have a feeling she’s made me dependent on her on purpose. There’s no way I could fire her or her smart mouth.
“I’m good, Sally.” I look to Lynn and Mark, who both say, “No, thanks,” before Lynn goes back to trying to get her binders in the order she likes. One falls off the top, landing open, making my whole body go still at the image.
The woman in the photo is lying on a bed, her legs in the air and crossed at the ankles. She has on fishnet stockings that lead up her legs to her thick thighs. She’s wearing high-waisted black underwear that shows off her wide hips, giving her an old-school pinup feel, and a sexy bra that barely contains her full breasts, the material just covering the essentials. Every part of her is thick and luscious. All the blood in my body flows to my dick. I’ve never had a reaction like this to a woman. I’m too old to get a fucking hard-on from seeing a woman in a picture. She’s not even naked. Just the sight of her in her underwear has me nearly bursting in my slacks.
I see Mark out of the corner of my eye as he takes a step towards my desk to see what’s caught my attention. I slam the binder closed, not wanting him to see her. Possessiveness flows through me, and I look at Lynn, who’s still going through the binders. When I look at Mark, he has his eyebrows raised in question.
I pick the binder up and open it to show Lynn. When Mark takes another step to see what I’m showing her, I can’t hold back.
“Don’t,” I bite out, making him pause, the confusion on his face growing. “Who is this?” I demand, needing more information on her. Anything.
“Oh. Just an idea I was thinking about. Going a little old school with some of the looks and appealing to all body types.”
“Her name?” I push, and she reaches for the binder. I pull it back, not wanting it taken from me. Almost like a toddler with his favorite toy.
“If you flip a few pages, it should be in the front. Before her pictures start,” she says, seeing that I’m not going to give her back the binder.
I turn the book around to me and hurriedly flip through the pages until I get to the front.
Cali Carr.
Measurements: 40”/32”/48” (Bust/Waist/Hips)
Dress size: 14 Shoe Size: 8
I turn the page, hoping there’s another picture of her. The one on the bed made it hard to see her face. I flip to the next page, and I literally have to sit down in my chair. She’s smirking in the picture. Her full lips are just as lush as the rest of her. Her skin is flawless, a creamy white making the little freckles that sprinkle her upturned button nose even more noticeable.
But what really got me are her stunning eyes. They’re a deep green like nothing I’ve never seen before. In contrast with her red hair, they are unmissable.
“Sir,” I hear Lynn say, and I look up at her. I have no idea how long I’ve been staring at the picture.
“I want her.”
“Okay. I’ll put her on the list. I have a few more for you to look at.”
She tries to hand me another binder, but I have no desire to look at pictures of other women. What would be the point? They’d all pale in comparison. I’ve just seen perfection and I know nothing could beat it.
“No. I’ll leave it to you and Mark to handpick the rest of the girls for the shoot.” I stand up from my chair.
“Or course, sir. We’ll get it all worked out.”
“The shoot will be next week,” I tell them. I want to see her as soon as possible.
“I don’t think—”
“It will be next weekend. If the model’s photographer or something can’t make it, book someone else. But she,” I hold up the binder with her picture in it, “better be there. I don’t care what it costs.”
Standing up, I hold the binder in front of my crotch to hide my erection. I click the intercom.
“Sally, can you call my driver? I’m going down,” I inform her.
“Leaving already?” I can hear the shock in her voice.
“Yes.” I release the button. “Feel free to use my office until you’re done. I’ll see you tomorrow, Mark.” I head for the door with the binder still in front of me, hiding my very prominent arousal. I stop before I exit. “Send me any and all information you have on her, Lynn.”
“You’ll have it this evening,” she says, looking at me with big eyes.
I nod before exiting my office. I had better things to do tonight than spend it in my office. I have a binder half-full of pictures of my Cali.

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Alexa Riley is two sassy friends who got together and wrote some dirty books. They are both married moms of two who love football, donuts, and obsessed book heroes.
They specialize in insta-love, over-the-top, sweet, and cheesy love stories that don’t take all year to read. If you want something SAFE, short, and always with a happily ever after, then Alexa Riley is for you!
Author Links

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Collared by Nicole Williams

When a seventeen-year-old girl vanishes,
A community is shaken.
Parents turn desperate.
Friends hold vigils.
And the boy who loves her searches.

When a year goes by,
The community is recovering.
Parents feel hopeless.
Friends feel helpless.
And the boy who loves her continues his search.

When ten years go by,
The community has forgotten.
Parents cling to the past.
Friends move toward the future.
And the boy who loves her . . .
Brings her home.
Jade Childs spent ten years in captivity, but now that she’s back, the real battle for survival begins. The media shadows her. Flashbacks haunt her. Her old life evades her. Her so-called new life rejects her. She spent too many years in the dark to recognize the light. She spent too long repressing her feelings to remember how to express them. She spent a decade abandoning hope and cannot dare letting it back into her life. Jade’s not just defined by what happened to her—she’s collared to it.

When the twenty-seven-year-old woman is found,
A community wants to know the story,
Parents want to forget the story,
Friends want to be a part of the story,
And the man who still loves her faces the greatest challenge yet: letting her go.

He holds my eyes, not letting them wander away from him. “Why have you been avoiding me?”
I wander my room, not sure where to go now that he’s here. I’m not sure where I fit now. I’m not sure where I belong in his life.
“You know why,” I say quietly.
“I want to hear you tell me.”
“So I can change your mind.” His hands slide into his front pockets, and the sunlight catches on his dad’s watch and casts golden beams through the room. It lights up like someone just lit a million candles at once. “I can’t do that unless I know exactly why you don’t want to see me.”
He wants a reason? I’ll give him a whole list of them.
“Because I don’t want to drag you into my mess of a world any more than I already have. Because I don’t want to smear you through the mud on the media’s march to burying me. Because I don’t want to hurt you—again—and because I want to protect you.”
“I can protect myself from them.”
I shake my head and cover my chest with my hand. “To protect you from me.”
Torrin’s jaw hardens. He works it loose the moment after. “I don’t need protection from you.”
“Everyone needs protection from me. There’s something dark in me now, Torrin, and I can’t get it out. It’s growing, spreading, and I don’t want it to infect the people I love.”
He pushes off the closet doors and crosses the room before I know he’s coming. “There is nothing dark in you, Jade. Nothing.” He backs me into the wall and stares at me, unblinking. “There is light and good in you. There always has been. There always will be.”
“That’s gone. He took it from me.”
“No, he didn’t.” Torrin’s hand slams into the wall beside my head. “It’s still there. You had to bury it to keep it safe, but it’s still there. You’ll find it. I know it.”
I want to believe him, but that doesn’t make it true. “You can’t find what isn’t there, Torrin.”
“Dammit, stop talking like that,” he says, his jaw tensing. “It’s there. I know it.”
“I’ve tried. I can’t find it.” Even as I say it, I start to feel different. It’s because of him being so close, saying what he is in the way he is. He’s the tether that keeps me from floating away.
His eyes lower to mine. “I’ll help you find it.”
I feel my heart again. My lungs. Everything else. I feel it waking up. “What makes you so sure you can find it?”
“Because when I look in your eyes, I still see it.” His other hand fits against the wall beside my head. “Because when I’m close to you like this, I can still feel it.” He leans a little closer, and I feel something too. “It’s there, Jade. It’s not gone. He took ten years of your life—ten years.” The corners of his eyes crease as an emotion fires in his eyes. “Don’t hand him the rest of it by believing that kind of shit.”

Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time. 
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.