30 July 2013

Cover Reveal: Perfect Mess by Zoe Dawson

Good Evening Bookies! I'm sorry for the double posting today, I guess I overbooked myself a little huh? Well for the second post today we have a cover reveal for Perfect Mess by Zoe Dawson. Here's the cover!

A Perfect Mess by Zoe Dawson
I know what you did last summer.

Aubree Walker, the perfect girl most likely to succeed, is sure there’s only one person who knows what she did.

Booker Outlaw, one of the three Outlaw brothers—all identical, all gorgeous, all from the wrong side of the tracks, and all pure bad boys. He was always the unpredictable one, the one who would be brash enough to make it big self-publishing horror novels on the internet. He promised never to tell, but everyone knows you can never trust an Outlaw.

Then a year later, in the middle of the night, she receives a phone call at Tulane. Her aunt, who took her in after her mother’s death, has passed away under suspicious circumstances. Now she has to face that one person who knows all about what she did that summer—sexy Booker. 

Returning to Hope Parish to lay her beloved aunt to rest, stirs up all those ugly memories. When Aubreestarts getting threats, she can’t help but wonder if what she did last summer was tied to her aunt’s death. Afraid, she turns to the only person who knows the truth and Booker doesn’t hesitate to offer his broad shoulder for her to lean on. But Booker has a secret of his own that could crush their fledgling relationship.

As the hot, sultry summer days move on, she finds that even a perfectly smart girl can lose her heart to a perfectly bad boy. What is she going to do when someone starts asking questions Aubree doesn’t want to answer? She’s knee deep into a terribly dangerous, wholly life changing, who-can-she-really-depend-on perfect mess.

A Perfect Secret Series: Three perfect girls, three perfect secrets, one unholy trinity

Meet The Author:

Zoe Dawson is the alter ego of Karen Anders, award winning, multi-published author. Her writing journey started with poetry and branched out into fiction. With a couple of college English courses under her belt, she penned a historical, then moved onto contemporary romance fiction. Today, she is happy producing romantic suspense, romantic comedy/mystery, new adult, and urban fantasy. The words feed her soul and the happily ever afters feed her heart.

Find Zoe:

So, what do you guys think of the cover? Let me know in the comments! and don't forget that this Cover Reveal was brought to us by AToMR Tours

Escaping Me Release Day!

Escaping Me by Elizabeth Lee
Synopsis: All she wanted to do was forget. Forget the memory of walking in on her boyfriend in the middle of, well, another girl. Forget how she had her entire life planned out. And, forget about being perfect all the time. Unfortunately, she was Whitney Vandaveer and despite the fact that she moved to the middle of nowhere—she couldn't.

He always knew he would never be more than nothing. No job, no money, no future. Cole Pritchett had accepted the fact that he would always be the screw up and he was okay with it. Until he met her.

Here's the thing they quickly found out—sometimes we all need a little help escaping who we think we are.

Meet The Author:
When I'm not writing or playing the part of wife and mother, you can find me dancing back-up for Beyonce, singing back-up for Miranda, or sunning myself on the beach with a drink in hand.  Here's the thing about being born and raised in a small town—you have a very vivid imagination!  Now, I channel it all to create stories where the girl always ends up with the right guy, first kisses are magical, and a happy ending is just that!

Find Elizabeth:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

29 July 2013

Review: Ruby's Fire by Catherine Stine

Ruby's Fire by Catherine Stine
Publisher: Konjur Road Press
Release Date: June 9, 2013
Book Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 254
Rating: Check out new rating system below!
Synopsis: If everything about you changes, what remains?

Seventeen year-old Ruby, long-pledged to the much older Stiles from the Fireseed desert cult, escapes with only a change of clothes, a pouch of Oblivion Powder and her mute little brother, Thorn. Arriving at The Greening, a boarding school for orphaned teens, she can finally stop running. Or can she? The Greening is not what it seems. Students are rampaging out of control and as she cares for the secret Fireseed crop, she experiences frightening physical changes. She’s ashamed of her attraction to burly, hard-talking Blane, the resident bodyguard, and wonders why she can’t be happy with the gentler Armonk. She’s long considered her great beauty a liability, a thing she’s misused in order to survive. And how is she to stop her dependence on Oblivion to find a real beauty within, using her talent as a maker of salves, when she has nightmares of Stiles without it?

When George Axiom, wealthy mogul of Vegas-by-the-Sea offers a huge cash prize for the winner of a student contest, Ruby is hopeful she might collect the prize to rescue her family and friends from what she now knows is a dangerous cult. But when Stiles comes to reclaim her, and Thorn sickens after creating the most astonishing contest project of all, the world Ruby knows is changed forever. This romantic fantasy set in 2099 on earth has a crafty heroine in Ruby, and a swoonworthy cast, which will surely appeal to the YA and new adult audience.

My Review:
I received Ruby’s Fire by Catherine Stine from the author, and this is my honest review.

Ruby’s Fire is the highly anticipated (for me anyways) sequel to Fireseed One, In book two we meet the main character Ruby, it takes place many years after book one and Ruby is determined to escape from her homeland with her little brother Thorn. Together they come across a school that they didn’t know existed and the owner Nevada decides to take the siblings in. From there things get crazy.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about the sequel because I knew it was more of a companion novel to book one rather than a sequel, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. I loved meeting all the new characters and going through the motions with them. Ruby is a strong character who's been through a lot. She feels unsafe with her life so she takes her little brother and escapes, which shows major bravery because what she ran away from was intense. Thorn was such a cutie! He didn’t talk much in the book but thats what made me like him because he was so unique and he chose to communicate only with his sister in his own ways. There brother-sister relationship was just one of the cutest I’ve seen so far.

When these two arrived at the school they met a fellow traveler named Armonk who at first they thought was a threat but he turned out to be a great friend to both Ruby, and Thorn. I loved Armonk’s character as well because he was so determined nothing could bring him down, that’s definitely the way to be. 

Then there are the other students at the school, at first all of the students were territorial and very very rude which I hated. But I gave it time and I’m glad I did because some of the students started to warm up to the new comers and some didn’t. I’m glad though that not all the students warmed up because if everyone was all friendly and stuff the story would have been quite boring. 

The setting is one of my favorite parts of these books because it’s set in the desert in the future. So everything they’re used to is so different from what we’re used to know. Like these characters absolutely cannot go outside without a burn suit or else the sun will burn them to a crisp. Imagine what that would be like not being able to go out and feel the warm sun on your face or back? I liked how Stine added in Ruby and Armonk finding an old house because they found things that connect to how we live our lives today and they were so fascinated by everything so I thought that was cool.

The only thing that I was a little disappointed about was there wasn’t many appearances from the characters in book one. We got to see Dr. Varik a little bit but nothing of his story was really referenced other than his amazing creations. I was hoping to see how him and Marisa were doing and there was only a minuscule mention of their relationship but all in all the book was great. 

With the ending of this book, I’m not sure if there will be a sequel but that was my feelings at the end of Fireseed One as well and I got a sequel that I pretty much loved so I’m excited to see what else Catherine Stine has in store! Everybody should check out this series both books are definitely 5 out of 5 stars! 


25 July 2013

Review: How To Make Friends and Monsters by Ron Bates

How To Make Friends and Monsters by Ron Bates
Publisher: Zonderkidz
Release Date: July 22, 2013
Book Format: ARC 
Number of Pages: 347
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars 
Synopsis: Howard Boward, a 13-year-old boy-genius with a chip on his shoulder is too smart for his own good. He has troubles making friends---possibly because he complains so much. Until one day a science experiment goes haywire, and Howard creates a best friend for himself---Franklin---who also happens to be a monster. Creating Franklin was an accident, not like Howard was playing God or anything---or so Howard tells himself. Franklin and Howard are having so much fun, Howard decides to create more 'friends, ' using DNA from kids at school. Only, these friends aren't quite as friendly. Soon there's a major mess and Howard has to sort it all out before the monsters destroy their human counterparts. But terminating the monsters proves harder than he imagined. They didn't choose to be monsters; they can't go against their innate nature. Howard finds himself facing consequences for playing God. Getting rid of the monsters means learning to tame his own inner beast, and Howard begins to understand the meaning of free will and true friendship

My Review: 
I received How To Make Friends and Monsters by Ron Bates from the publisher, and this is my honest review.

How To Make Friends and Monsters was a breath of fresh air compared to the YA and Adult i’ve been reading. In this story we meet Howard who doesn’t really have many friends. So throughout the book we follow him on his journey to somehow making friends, and let me tell you it wasn’t not easy. Howard is a 7th grader and he is what most people would call a nerd I guess and he doesn’t have many friends. His solution to this problem is to use what he knows best (science) and make himself a “friend” many things went wrong but many things went right as well.

I don’t normally read Middle Grade books but lately i’ve been giving them a try lately and so far I’ve been liking what I’m reading. This book was so breezy and fun. I loved it because it brought me back to the days when I was in Middle School which are times I miss dearly so I’m glad the book could take me back like that.

Howard was such a cute and sweet character. I loved how nerdy he was because I’m a nerd myself so I liked reading him try to make his way through middle school being himself. I also loved the way the author made the book fantasy but very believable I’m always impressed when books are believable.

Can we just talk about how much I loved Franklins character! He was supposed to be big and scary looking but he was such a sweetheart even when Howard was being rude he was so innocent. I hated the part in the book where they fought I felt so bad for Franklin, but I’m glad everything worked out.

I also enjoyed Howard’s character because he was a very creative young boy. I mean he had to have had an amazing imagination to create all those monsters!! In the end Howard did the right thing and I just enjoyed how well the book played out with the monsters and everything, this gets a solid 5 out of 5 stars.

I hope you all enjoyed this review! Let me know what you think in the comments :)

24 July 2013

Nearly Broken Tour

Nearly Broken by Devon Ashley
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Synopsis: We’d both gone missing at one point, but Claire had one thing I didn’t. Someone to notice. So why was I the one still here and she the one still gone?

Nineteen year old Megan Smith has spent the past year working in a small town diner in the middle of nowhere. Life is quiet, simple, safe. Then comes the news that her look-a-like has gone missing.


Still damaged both physically and mentally, Megan's not looking to be noticed. Wherever she goes from here, it's a road she needs to take alone. But when Nickolas Ellis takes the job as the new nightshift cook, it scares her how easily her defenses crumble down, down, down for him. But there are secrets she can't bear to share with just anyone, unspeakable acts that continue to haunt, and when the similarities of Claire’s abduction couples with the fear of an unwanted visitor in town, the urge to run before it all happens again intensifies, threatening the only happiness Megan's ever found.

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16301141-an-endless-summer

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Nearly-Broken-ebook/dp/B00D4C3US0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1374123153&sr=1-1&keywords=nearly+broken

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/nearly-broken-devon-ashley/1115466951?ean=2940016793481

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/Books/nearly-broken

Meet The Author:

Devon Ashley was born in Huntington Beach but has spent most of her life residing in Texas. She spends a great deal of her time taking care of her husband and son but always seems to find time to write, knit and create unique decorative pieces. She particularly likes to write Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.
Interesting Fact: Devon Ashley shares her birthday with her favorite author, Jane Austen.

Guest Post:

Book Playlist
I actually had to focus on this one for a bit.  Normally, I have a playlist already created that I listening to while I write, but for some reason (maybe a certain demanding 2 year old wanting to fill the void with Cars and Tinkerbell movies), I didn’t really listen to music this time. So the only track I had set aside for Nearly Broken was the one I regarded as the theme song: Jason Mraz’s I Won’t Give Up. Everything about this song screams Nick and Megan. 
The rest are additional tracks that make me think of Nearly Broken in some way or another.  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section! Avril Lavigne’s song is definitely my fave of the group!
Avril Lavigne – Slipped Away: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kodr0nR5ULs
Christina Perri – A Thousand Years: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9ayN39xmsI
OneRepublic – Feel Again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JAElYCiFCM
Zedd (featuring Matthew Koma) – Spectrum


So Blogger is being pretty difficult and it won't let me embed the rafflecopter into this post so I'm just going to leave the link for you guys instead. 
<a href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjM0OGI5ZGJmNWUwNzllYTYzNjAyYzhhZGU0MDc0OjEzMA==/">Giveaway!</a>

23 July 2013

Review: Perfection by J.L. Spelbring

Perfection by J.L. Spelbring
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Book Format: ARC
Number of Pages: 320
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Synopsis: The personification of Aryan purity, Ellyssa's spent her whole life under her creator's strict training and guidance; her purpose is to eradicate inferior beings. She was genetically engineered to be the perfect soldier: strong, intelligent, unemotional, and telepathic. 
Only Ellyssa isn't perfect. 
Ellyssa feels emotions--a fact she's spent her life concealing. Until she encounters the epitome of inferiority: a dark-haired boy raised among renegades hiding since the Nazis won the war a century ago. He speaks to her telepathically, pushing thoughts into her mind, despite the impossibility of such a substandard person having psychic abilities. 
But he does. 
His unspoken words and visions of a place she's never visited make Ellyssa question her creator. Confused and afraid her secret will be discovered, Ellyssa runs away, embarking on a journey where she discovers there is more to her than perfection.

My Review:
I received Perfection by J.L. Spelbring from Spencer Hill Press for review, and this is my honest review.

Perfection is about a girl named Ellyssa who is different. She is considered human but what people who meet her don’t know is that she has the ability to read anyones mind, and she also shows no emotion. Her mission is to get away from her father, and his evil plans. On her mission to get away Ellyssa comes across people who are called Renegades (people who are against Hitler, and his people)

Oh yeah did I mention that this book is based back when Hitler was in power? When I first found out about that I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the book, but to be honest I think the whole historical reference thing interested me because I knew what they were talking about. I’ve never read anything like this book, I have read dystopians before but this book was different.

One man created his 5 children all to look perfect and have special abilities.Each child, or teenager has their own ability but they also have one alike feature which is that they are trained to not show any emotion at all. That I thought was really interesting because it has to be pretty hard to write not only one but a bunch of characters with absolutely no emotion. I have to say it was pretty impressive.

Another thing I enjoyed about this book was the reference of a few classics. Spelbring mentioned Of Mice and Men which I got excited about because I have read that book, and loved it too pieces. The other classic mentioned was Frankenstein which I have not read but I liked how Ellyssa compared herself to the book saying her father created her a monster, but Doc reassured her that she was not the monster her creator was. That was one of my favorite parts.

I enjoyed this book 100% there were so many references in the story that I connected to which made the reading experience great. Plus the ending was really what I wanted it to be which made me love the book even more. Definitely 5 out of 5 stars.

I enjoyed this book quite a lot and I hope all of you do too! Let me know what you think in the comments :)

22 July 2013

Review: Taste The Heat by Rachel Harris

Taste The Heat by Rachel Harris
Publisher: Entangled: Bliss 
Release Date: July 8, 2013
Book Format: e-ARC
Number of Pages: 220
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 
Synopsis: One sexy fire captain. One Cajun chef, One combustible kitchen…

When chef Colby Robicheaux returned home to New Orleans to save her family restaurant, the last person she expected to reconnect with was her brother’s best friend and her childhood crush. As tempting as a sugar-coated beignet, Jason is one dish she doesn’t want to taste. Colby is counting down the days till she can leave the place where her distrust of love and commitment originated and go back to Vegas. 

Fire captain Jason Landry isn’t looking for love, either. He knows he should focus on finding the perfect mother for his daughter, but when he first sees Colby, all grown up and gorgeous, he can’t help but be drawn to her. And when she suggests a no-strings-attached fling, Jason doesn’t want to say no. 

As their relationship grows more intense, Colby finds that Jason isn’t as easy to leave behind as she thought. Could turning up the heat on something real be worth the possibility of getting burned?

My Review: 
I received Taste The Heat by Rachel Harris from the publisher for review, and this is my honest review.

As you know if you have read anything on my blog before, it is mostly YA. Which means I do not read many adult books, but after reading this particular adult book I am so picking up more adult books because I have never devoured a book so fast in my life! Taste The Heat is about a chef named Colby who has come home for a few months to help out with her family's restaurant. While she’s there she becomes reacquainted with her old crush, and her brothers best friend Jason Landry. Lets just say from there things get good!

Lets start off from what grabbed my attention in the first place. Colby being a chef, and Emma being an aspiring chef, and just Jason knowing how to make something tasty! I thought that was so cool because my first dream after writing was to be a chef which is why I started taking cooking classes. So the whole food thing being incorporated was very awesome for me.

I loved the mix of emotions in this book when we first meet Colby we see a strong guarded woman who does not want to get hurt and I admire how strong she was. But throughout the book we see her change and open her heart which I loved seeing because it was so sweet. There were a few like emotional moments in the book and I teared up over everyone of them and I am not a crier people! Rachel Harris obviously did something right.

Another thing about the story that I loved was how close all of the characters were. Jason and Colby were not strangers so if they were to fall in love during the story it does not seem awkward because they had already grown up together which in my eyes makes a better lovestory than high school sweethearts. Also Jason was not just close with her but with her whole family because of him being her brothers best friend and all.

I honestly cannot say that there was anything about this book that I didn't love because literally I loved every second of it and I’m in need of book two like now! This definitely earned its title of 5 out of 5 stars. I knew Rachel’s writing would not disappoint!

I hope you all enjoyed my review! I really loved this book and I hope you will too! Let me know what you think in the comments!! 

18 July 2013

Author Spotlight Thursday: James Patterson (Special Review)

Good morning bookies! As you all know today is Thursday which means it is Author Spotlight Thursday, and I have decided to feature and author that I can't get enough of. Are you ready to see who it is? *Drum Roll Pleaseeeee*

James Patterson!
I've been reading Patterson's books since I was in 7th grade and I'm a senior in High School now! Can you believe that? I can't, but anyways instead of just a book spotlight I decided to do something special. I recently finished his last book in the Maximum Ride series which is Nevermore so I decided that In honor of it being the end to one of his most famous series in my mind I would share my review of the last book with you. I hope you all enjoy it. 

Nevermore by James Patterson
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Release Date: August 6, 2012
Book Format: Hardcover 
Number of Pages: 344
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Synopsis: Maximum Ride and her faithful friends stand ready to face the two greatest threats that humankind has ever known--now combining forces in an unbeatable plot to destroy life as we know it once and for all. And this time, the enemy truly can't be stopped. The danger mounts just as the boy genetically engineered to be her "perfect match", Dylan, has finally worked his way into Max's heart--and just as her beloved Fang unexpectedly returns to the flock. An explosive confrontation between the two boys with a claim to Max's heart ensues, and the entire world hangs in the balance.

In this powerful and moving finale to James Patterson's epic fantasy series, fans will finally get the answers they've been waiting for--and an ending full of shock, surprises, and the greatest conclusion you never saw coming.

My Review:
I bought Nevermore by James Patterson on amazon when it was released and this is my honest review.

Okay so as any other book reader would do to the last book in one of their favorite series I put off reading the last book in the Maximum Ride series for a very long time. The reason being? I simply did not want to let the story and the characters go it was just too hard to even think about. But last week I realized it was time, so I did it. I read the last book and I loved it...

It was a little hard to remember what happened in Angel which was the book before this one so I kind of wish that Patterson could have added some hints to make it easier to remember, but after talking to a fellow reader my memory became a little less foggy which made reading this a lot easier. So in the beginning of the books my feelings were clear. Fang was gone Dylan was here and I needed to learn to love him just like Max was having to do. This let me tell you was not easy but I got to the point where I liked Dylan a lot. Also Angel was dead and I had forgotten how she died, which made me feel like a terrible reader but when a certain someone got their own chapter a few times I started to feel less guilty.

I have to say that there were a few changes in Max's character and I liked it quite a bit actually. She didn't change a crazy amount but when she started letting her guard down a little around Dylan I liked it, it was cute and there were some really sweet moments. As always I enjoyed the smaller characters of Iggy, Nudge, and Gazzy there all cuties and I love them!

Lets talk about some things I didn't like. How about when Fang got his own chapter with his new flock and his clone of Max! Seriously! was that really necessary? Because it made me so mad! I guess the ending of the story made up for it but still! Also I just need to say something that confused me a little this may have happened in the last book but for some reason I thought that Ella who is Max's half sister was young like Angel young and then all the sudden she's kissing Iggy? So she must not be as young as I thought huh? Or maybe I just forgot that Iggy isn't that old? I'm not sure but either way it confused me.

Either way though the book amazed me all the way through, from the ups and the downs the deaths and the reunions I loved every second of it all and that is why the book gets a 5 out of 5 stars. I feel at peace with the series ending even though I am going to miss it a lot.

Thanks for stopping by everybody! Let me know what you think of todays special feature in the comments! :)

Creatura Cover Reveal

Good Morning Bookies! Guess what is in store for you today? Yep! It's a cover reveal. I hope you like it :)

Creatura by Nelly Cab
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal
Isis can control her dreams. Or she could-until recently. The creature in her nightmares has been haunting her for months. As if being dumped wasn’t bad enough, now she dreads going to sleep. She decides to confront the creature and win back some of her peace; only, she finds that he’s not a monster and he’s not a dream.

A sacrifice for love, a shocking discovery and a jealous ex-boyfriend blur the lines between reality and dreams, making it hard to tell who the real monsters are.

Who would’ve known…that sometimes love is lethal?

Meet The Author:
Nely Cab was born on December 9, 1974, in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. She has lived and resided in a small, quiet South Texas town most of her life. Putting her Computer Accounting skills to use, Nely worked in banking for several years. In 2001, the author relocated to Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, where she dedicated time to the study of culinary arts and the art of oil painting. After her return to the U.S., Nely resumed her employment in banking and later transitioned to the field of Social Work.

Today, Nely Cab writes from the comfort of her home, where she lives with her husband and son. Her life goal is to check-off Bucket List Item No. 95,623,351: To conquer the world. While she aspires world domination, Nely continues to work on her debut series Creatura.


So what do you guys think of the cover? I personally love it!!! Tell me what you think in the comments :)

15 July 2013

Book Blitz: Breaking Glass

Breaking Glass by Lisa Amowitz
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release Date: July 9, 2013
Synopsis: On the night seventeen-year-old Jeremy Glass winds up in the hospital with a broken leg and a blood alcohol level well above the legal limit, his secret crush, Susannah, disappears. When he begins receiving messages from her from beyond the grave, he's not sure whether they're real or if he's losing his grip on reality. Clue by clue, he gets closer to unraveling the mystery, and soon realizes he must discover the truth or become the next victim himself.

Meet The Author:

Lisa has been a professor of Graphic Design at her beloved Bronx Community College where she has been tormenting and cajoling students for nearly seventeen years. She started writing eight years ago because she wanted something to illustrate, but somehow, instead ended up writing YA. Probably because her mind is too dark and twisted for small children.
BREAKING GLASS which will be released in July, 2013 from Spencer Hill Press, is her first published work. VISION, the first of the Finder series will be released in 2014, along with an unnamed sequel in the following year. LIFE AND BETH will also be released in the near future, along with graphic novel style art. 


“So where is he?” She cranes her neck, trying to spot Ryan in the crowd.
Heart pounding, my mind hiccups through its storehouse of facts. I reposition myself to block her view. There’s no time to try texting Ryan a warning.
I could tell Susannah. Tell her how Ryan has been sneaking around behind her back for over a year, even hooking up with two college juniors in a motel room during one of our out of town meets. But defying the Morgan machine by pointing this out takes too much energy. Instead I blurt, “Did you realize the Watch Hill carousel was once part of a traveling carnival?”
She laughs and shakes her head. “What? Jeremy, sometimes you can be such a--”
But her voice trails off as her gaze wanders past mine, her smile crumpling like a paper bag. I follow her line of sight and I know this is it. The crowd has thinned around Ryan, enough for her to see him with his mouth smashed against Claudia’s.
“Oh, man,” I gasp. I turn to comfort Susannah, but she is already gone.
I stand, dithering; wanting to run after her and apologize for letting her walk into this ambush.
But, no. This is something Ryan needs to take care of. I might have signed on to sweep his mess under the rug, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to clean up after him. I push through the crowd to get to him.
“What? She what? Did you know she was coming back early?”
I feel my face heat. “No.”
Ryan pushes Claudia off of him, his stage makeup still glistening and thick, traces of Claudia’s lipstick smeared on his lips. “Good job, Jeremy. You could have at least texted me.”
My hand curls into a fist. I stuff it in my jacket pocket. “She ran out,” I say. “Maybe you can catch her.”
Ryan shrugs, and without a coat, stalks out of the theater into the night. I wait a few minutes then follow. Susannah’s car is gone, and so is Ryan’s. I try to call Susannah, but she doesn’t pick up.
I get in my car and focus on resisting the water bottle’s siren call, panicked glimpses of my waking nightmare crashing through the floodgates, the terrifying memories swept through with it. The rain and the torrents of water sweeping past, draining into the Gorge, forcing me to remember. To relive it. No. Not now. I need to stay clear.
Since eighth grade, when I discovered that liquor dulls my terrors, I have been a master thief and spy.
Not even Ryan knows.
Just a sip to calm my shaky nerves. One tiny sip to beat back the rising waters that threaten to drown me. I can do it. I pride myself on my steely self-control. My ability to remain stone-cold sober even when the track team holds a victory keg party. They call me Jeremy the Teetotaler. Jeremy, the History Nerd who never partakes.
I snap open the glove compartment. The innocuous silver bottle is shoved behind the owner’s manual, gas receipts and a collection of power bar wrappers. I raise it to my lips and gulp once, twice, three times; the cold liquid igniting as it hits my throat. It takes two, three more gulps to slow my heart to normal speed. The bottle is nearly empty. I cap it and return it to the compartment, warmth flowing to my cold fingers. I’d need to drink three times as much as that to lose focus.
Swerving the deserted black roads slick with rain over ice, I follow my usual running circuit. This is familiar turf. My backyard, practically.
Yes. I can do this. Susannah knows my route so I hope she’s come this way and parked, knowing I’d find her. She wants me to find her. To comfort her. I’ll tell her everything. How I’m sorry for lying to her. For letting Ryan hurt her. And maybe at last she’ll accept that it’s not Ryan she wants, but me.
But there’s no sign of her.
After driving and searching fruitlessly, my mind churning with outcomes, the now driving rain blurring my windshield, I can’t stand it anymore. My heart is racing. Just one last sip to fortify myself is all I need.
When I round the next hairpin curve, my headlights flash on Ryan’s car parked behind Susannah’s, engines running. I squint through the rain and mist and spot them behind the guardrail, illuminated in the headlamps’ cone of light. There’s no shoulder on this side of the road, so I pull over when I can, about twenty yards past them.
When I finally get out of the car I can hear her shouts over the racket the rain makes. My head is buzzing, but my thoughts are clear.
In fact, they’ve never been clearer, as the roots that entangle me fall away.
The damp air smells like freedom.
Susannah screams, and pounds at Ryan’s chest with her fists. He shoves her hard and she falls backward. I don’t see her get up again. Raucous arguments were nothing new between Susannah and Ryan, but I’d never seen him hit her before.
There’s a steep decline into the woods where they’ve chosen to have their argument and I worry Susannah could have gotten hurt. Ryan disappears now, too. What the hell are they doing?
I begin to run at full tilt. I still have some distance to cover, but that’s no problem for me, even with the Absolut pumping heat through my veins. But my boot heel catches on a wet leaf then slides out from under me.
I’m flying, but I land softly.

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