Cover Reveal (3):Final Day Before You

Before You revised

Synopsis:

Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.

Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.

It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don’t care.

Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn’t stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.

At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.

Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.    

What other authors had to say:

“Beautiful and evocative!” ~New York Times Bestselling author Sophie Jordan

“Fresh and unique…will hook and hold you.” ~Bestselling author K.A. Tucker

Author Bio:

7265942

Amber Hart grew up in Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. She now resides on the Florida coastline with family and animals including, but not limited to, bulldogs, a cat, and dragons. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She’s the author of BEFORE YOU, AFTER US, ECHOES, and ECHOES’ sequel (untitled as of yet). Rep’d by Beth Miller of Writers House.

Website //Facebook//Twitter //Pinterest//Goodreads

Bonus

4

Diego

She sees right through me? What does that mean? I wonder for the twentieth time as I enter the cafeteria. I managed to avoid my peer helper after my first few classes, rushing out before she could meet me. Did she really think I couldn’t get another class schedule? Maybe next time she won’t underestimate me.

A sweet smell hits my nostrils as I pass the fruit section. It smells like my peer helper, and I’m reminded of my disgust for her. She thinks she knows me, but she knows nothing. She’s a snob, trying to prove something. They’re all the same.

Girls like her don’t know what it’s like to struggle, really struggle.

She’s probably never gone so hungry her stomach knots. Never roamed the streets wondering if she’ll have a safe place to sleep. With a face and body like hers, she’s probably never had to work for anything in her life. The people she represents, the life she lives, it’s all fake.

Javier, my cousin, warned me about her. She’s one of the Big Five, the ones who think they rule this school. Even with her perfect boyfriend and flawless life, she isn’t fooling me.

I hear Javier before I see him. “Diego, aquí.”

Through the crowd, I spot my cousin sitting with a group of Latinos. With his six-foot, two-hundred-pound frame, he’s hard to miss. I approach him. One of his friends mumbles something in Spanish about how tall I am.

“Hey, what can I say? They make ’em big in mi familia,” Javier says, laughing.

Truth backhands me. I realize now that I never actually thought I would see Javier again. After … after … no. I shove the thoughts away. Not here.

Not here.

“What’s up, ’cuz?” Javier says.

Nada.” I force a smile, though my relief is real. It’s good to see family.

¡Siéntate!” Javier says.

I sit. Sitting is usually an indulgence for those who can afford to relax. I pretend for a moment that I’m one of them. My cousin takes a minute to introduce his friends.

“Diego, this is Ramon, Esteban, Juan, Rodolfo, and Luis.”

Ramon and Esteban, with their slight overbites and similar features, must be brothers. Juan has a large head for his small frame; he’s covered in tattoos. Rodolfo has a smile full of white teeth and a dimple on the left side of his cheek. What happened to the other dimple? It’s as though God had an asymmetrical look in mind when He created him. Next to my cousin, Luis is the biggest. He has lots of freckles, splattered on his face like paint, seeping into his skin.

“Welcome to los Estados Unidos,” Juan says, biting into his burger.

“Gracias,” I reply.

My stomach growls, an animal hungry to live. Javier notices.

“Come with me.” He motions for me to follow him through the crowd.

As we walk to the lunch line, I spot my peer helper at a table, surrounded by her friends. There’s one of her kind at every school. The girl everyone hates to love and loves to hate. She’s probably been stabbed in the back countless times. Not that she would know, since everyone acts fake to her face. Her friends remind me of worker bees, buzzing for the queen’s attention. I wonder if she knows that the workers eventually kill the queen.

“When you get to the front, show them your student ID,” Javier says.

The guidance counselor already explained that I get one free lunch a day because of our low income. As we pass the food selections, I cannot believe the prices.

“Are they for real?” I ask. “Six dollars for chicken and fries?”

I have an image of Faith Watters taking out her designer wallet and easily paying for one of the pretentious lunches.

“Yep. Gringos,” Javier says, eyes hardening. He remembers what it was like in Cuba, the struggle.

Just by looking at the lunchroom crowd, it’s clear who the haves and have-nots are. Surprisingly, though, there are more Latinos than I expected.

I grab a burger and make my way to the register. As I pull out my ID, football players in letterman jackets glance my way. Part of me wishes I had it easy like them: popular, at ease, able to pay for things.

I shouldn’t want to be like them.

I don’t want to be like them.

Yes, I do.

Some days.

The bigger part of me knows that a life like that will never happen for someone like me. It’s just the way things are.

I grab a water bottle and head back to the table with Javier. Do people here know that most of the world doesn’t get water from a bottle, but from a stream or river or muddy ground?

“So, you fittin’ in well?” Javier asks.

“Yep.” For the most part. No one has singled me out for being new.

“Latinos blend around here. One of the good things about Florida,” he says.

We pass a beautiful girl on the way back to our seat. I take a moment to look. She smiles.

“That’s Isabella,” Javier explains. “Sexy, but taken.”

“Too bad,” I say.

I’m not looking for a girlfriend, but it would be nice to have a little fun. I’m almost at the table when someone steps in front of me.

“What’s your problem?” my peer helper asks, one of her friends in tow.

Momentarily shocked by her boldness, I quickly regain my hard stance. Just like earlier, she doesn’t seem fazed by me. She’s either tougher than I thought, or she puts on a great front.

“I don’t know what you mean,” I reply. I try to feign confusion, but a smile creeps through.

“Oh, you think this is funny?” she asks, hands on her hips. For a second, she looks kind of beautiful, eyes hard and old. Wisps of hair fall out of her ponytail and around her face like angel feathers.

“A little.” I grin.

She huffs. “You weren’t there to meet me after your classes this morning. If I report you, you could lose your chance to attend this school.”

Is she threatening me? “Like I said, I already have a mamá. I don’t answer to you.”

I hand my tray to Javier. He sets it on the table so I can deal with her.

“You’re being difficult,” she says.

“So are you.”

What is your weakness? is what I want to ask.

She doesn’t back down. “I’ll be there before the end of your next class. Don’t even think about ditching me again.”

I have to, don’t you see?

“I’m serious,” she says.

This girl is asking for it. I glance at her blond friend, who’s eyeing Javier, not paying us any attention. I wish my peer helper was as easily distracted.

Being tough does not scare Faith Watters. Time to change tactics. I relax and flash a grin.

Mami, why don’t I help you loosen up a little?”

She blinks, but doesn’t show any outward evidence that my words have affected her. I move close, very close. When I look down at her, she doesn’t look away.

Her eyes remind me of stained glass, bright and cutting.

“We could have a good time, you and me,” I say, mischief punctuating my voice.

“I don’t think so,” she says coldly.

I will not let her upstage me. I give her a long, slow onceover. She dresses older than she is, like she doesn’t belong in high school. I wonder what makes her so uptight.

What are you hiding, chica?

I usually don’t have to try with girls. It’s one of the very few advantages life has thrown my way.

“Oh, come on. You might like Latino if you tried it,” I say, voice low. The guys behind me laugh, egging me on.

“When you’re done with him, I’m available, mamacita,” Juan says. “I don’t mind leftovers.”

She sneers. Good. That’s progress.

“Let me take you out,” I say.

I’m not really going to take her anywhere. I just want to make a crack in her icy shield.

Why do you have a shield, anyway?

“Why?” she asks suspiciously.

Because I know it annoys you when someone else has control. “Because it would be fun,” I say, bending close to her face. “And I can promise you one thing.”

She looks cautious.

It’s a look I know well.

“What?” she asks.

That one night with me will relax you.

Girls like her love bad boys, whether they admit it or not. I imagine it’s similar to visiting a haunted mansion. Exciting, at first. One foot slips through the door, then the next. Heart hammers. Blood races. It’s a rush. A fix. Never knowing what’s around the next corner, through the closed door, beyond the shadows. Trying to find a way out. Not really wanting to leave. Wondering how close a person can come to danger before something bad happens. Looking for the moonlight at the end of the tunnel, an exit.

Sometimes there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

I can show her excitement like she’ll never experience with that boyfriend of hers.

But I don’t say any of those things. Instead I let my lips brush her ear lobe as I answer.

“That you will leave satisfied.”

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TAKING SOMETHING – Excerpt Blast! (1)

TakingSomething Excerpt Blast

A special thank you from Elizabeth:

To celebrate the release Elizabeth is giving away an advanced copy of TAKING SOMETHING! You can enter the Goodreads giveaway here:

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Elizabeth is also setting up something very special for readers! You GIVE Nick a shot and add TAKING SOMETHING to your Goodreads TBR and in return you can TAKE home GIVE ME SOMETHING for FREE!!!  That’s right…FREE!

Once TAKING SOMETHING hits 1,000 Want To Reads on Goodreads, Elizabeth will drop the price completely on all digital formats of GIVE ME SOMETHING and give you a chance to see where it all started and get ready for the February 18th release of TAKING SOMETHING!

Taking Something -Front Cover

About TAKING SOMETHING:

 I know what you’re thinking. “You were such a jerk, Nick!”  Believe me, I know I screwed up the best thing I had going in my life, but that was kind of my thing. I’d learned how to run cons before I could even form complete sentences, and I’d always been selfish.  But I changed.  Lila forgave me, my brother and I were getting along, and I was trying to make a name for myself in the music world.

At least that was what I was trying to do when I negotiated my way into the recording studio with pop superstar Sadie Sinclair. I thought it would be a piece of cake—charm my way into her heart and into her record label’s good graces.

Just when I thought I had it all figured out, I got mixed up in a web of lies, manipulation, and deception. A web that had me questioning my motives and desires altogether.

Was the fame and fortune really worth the price?

Excerpt:

“How about you pour me a cup of coffee, sweat pea?” I finally spoke, breaking the trace her graceful hands had on me and pointing at steaming coffee press in between us. She sighed and placed the knife she was holding down on the counter. With her empty hands firmly placed down on the marble, she looked up at me.

“Look, sweat pea,” she lipped. “I’ve got enough people to wait on and one of them actually pays me for it. If you want a cup of coffee, I suggest you get up off your self-entitled ass and pour one.”

My feet were on the floor and leading me around the counter to the cabinets before I had a chance to realize what I was doing. It must have been the look in her eyes or maybe I just felt like not being a jerk. I needed to be on her good side before I asked her the question I’d been thinking about all night.

“Mugs are in the one next to the fridge,” she told me, picking up her knife to continue her job.

“Thanks,” I replied, grateful that her civility was quick to return, and grabbed mug. I moved over next to her. The sweet smell of the fruit coupled with the scent of her shampoo, or soap, or maybe it was just her, had my mouth watering. Then she looked over and smiled at me, watching as I poured the coffee. Barely any make-up and her chocolate hair flowing down to the middle of her back, un-styled. Not my normal type, but something about her had me swallowing hard. And apparently daydreaming, because as I was watching her I decided I was going to fill my hand with scalding hot coffee instead of the mug it was holding. “Son of bitch,” I seethed.

Gia reacted quickly, pulling a washcloth from the drawer and soaking it with cool water. She was at my side quickly placing it on my stinging hand.

“Let me see,” she said sweetly, her eyes full of concern. She pulled back the rag and pulled my hand up. “I don’t think it’s going to blister.”

God, she’s beautiful. The look of concern on her face. The feel of her hand in mine. I had to remind myself to take a breath. I wanted more than anything to reach out and touch her face. Her warm, caring, concerned face.

“Thank you,” I said, pulling the rag from her hand and placing it back on the burn. She released her hand from mine and I took a step back. There had only been one other person who looked at me the way Gia was and we all know how that ended. I couldn’t let myself get wrapped up in the idea that another person could actually care about me. And I sure as hell didn’t deserve her compassion. I had been a total dick to her.

“That’s beautiful,” she said, reaching over and trailing her fingers across the moon tattoo on my right forearm. I wanted her to run her fingers over my skin again. All of it.

Author Photo

Elizabeth Lee Bio:

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!

Buy Links for GIVE ME SOMETHING:

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Links:

Facebook//Twitter//Website//Author Goodreads//Novel Goodreads

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Book Cover Reveal(3): Day 3 Before You

Before You 03

Synopsis:

Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.

Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.

It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don’t care.

Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn’t stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.

At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.

Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.    

What other authors had to say:

“Beautiful and evocative!” ~New York Times Bestselling author Sophie Jordan

“Fresh and unique…will hook and hold you.” ~Bestselling author K.A. Tucker

Author Bio:

7265942

Amber Hart grew up in Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. She now resides on the Florida coastline with family and animals including, but not limited to, bulldogs, a cat, and dragons. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She’s the author of BEFORE YOU, AFTER US, ECHOES, and ECHOES’ sequel (untitled as of yet). Rep’d by Beth Miller of Writers House.

Website //Facebook//Twitter //Pinterest//Goodreads

Bonus

3

Faith

“Hi, I’m Faith Watters.”

Those are the first words I speak to the new Cuban guy in the front office. He grimaces. He’ll be a tough one. I can handle it, though. He’s not the first.

I can’t help but notice that he looks a lot like a model from the neck up—eyes the color of oak, strong bone structure. Everywhere else, he looks a lot like a criminal. Chiseled, scarred body … I wonder for a second about the meaning behind the tattoos scratched into his arms.

One thing’s clear. He’s dangerous.

And he’s beautiful.

“I’ll show you to your classes,” I announce.

I’m one of the peer helpers at our school. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but it counts as a class. Basically I spend the first two days with new students, introducing them around and answering their questions. Some parents with kids new to the school voluntarily sign their students up, but it’s only mandatory for the international students, of which we have a lot. Mostly Latinos.

This Cuban guy towers over me. I’m five six. Not tall. Not short. Just average. Average is good.

This guy’s not average. Not even a little bit. He must be over six feet.

I glance up at him, kind of like I do when I’m searching for the moon in a sea of darkness.

“Looks like you have math first. I’ll walk you there,” I offer.

“No thanks, chica. I can handle it.”

“It’s no problem,” I say, leading the way.

He tries to snatch his schedule from my hands, but I move too fast.

“Why don’t we start with your name?” I suggest.

I already know his name. Plus some. Diego Alvarez. Eighteen years old. Moved from Cuba two weeks ago. Only child. No previous school records. I read it in his bio. I want to hear him say it.

“You got some kinda control issues or somethin’?” he asks harshly, voice slightly accented.

“You got some kind of social issues or somethin’?” I fire back, holding my stance. I won’t let him intimidate me, though I’ll admit, he’s hot. Too bad he has a nasty attitude.

The side of his lip twitches. “No. I just don’t mix with your type,” he answers.

“My type?”

“That’s what I said.”

“You don’t even know my type.” No one does. Well, except Melissa.

He chuckles humorlessly. “Sure I do. Head cheerleader? Date the football player? Daddy’s little girl who gets everything she wants?” He leans closer to whisper. “Probably a virgin.”

My cheeks burn hot. “I’m not a cheerleader,” I say through clamped teeth.

“Whatever,” he says. “Are you gonna give me my schedule or not?”

“Not,” I answer. “But you can feel free to follow me to your first class.”

He steps in front of me, intimately close. “Listen, chica, nobody tells me what to do.”

I shrug. “Fine, suit yourself. It’s your life. But if you want to attend this school, it’s mandatory for me to show you to your classes for two days.”

His eyes narrow. “Who says I want to attend this school?”

I take the last step toward him, closing the gap between us. When we were little, Melissa and I used to collect glass bottles. Whenever we accumulated twenty, we’d break them on the concrete. When the glass shattered, the slivered pieces made a breathtaking prism of light.

I cut myself on the glass by accident once. It was painful, but worth it. The beauty was worth it. It’s funny how the bottle was never as beautiful as when it was broken.

You will not shatter me, I silently tell Diego. Somebody already did.

“If you don’t want to be here, then don’t come back,” I say.

A taunting smile spreads across his face. My first thought is that he has nice teeth, but then I scold myself for thinking about him like that.

“My name is Diego,” he says, like he’s letting me in on some kind of secret.

“Well, Diego,” I say, “better hurry. Class starts in two minutes.” I step around him to lead the way.

While we walk to math, I feel Diego’s eyes on me. I don’t know what it is about him. All the other confident students had nothing on me, and I swear I’ve heard it all, but he seems different. He shines. In a dark way. When he looks at me, I get a tingly sensation, like I’m being zapped by electricity.

It doesn’t matter. He’s rude. And besides, I have a wonderful boyfriend. Jason. Think about Jason.

“Quit staring at me,” I say, glancing at him.

He laughs, and strands of black hair fall into his eyes. I imagine it’s a little like looking at the world through charred silk.

“Why? Does it make you uncomfortable?”

He’s messing with me to get under my skin, like a pesky little splinter.

It’s working.

“Yes,” I answer.

In his white shirt, Diego’s skin is dark. Perpetually tanned by heritage.

I keep Diego’s schedule out of his reach. He inches closer, no doubt to grab it and run. I try to concentrate on the newly painted beige walls and tiled floors. Every few feet hangs a plaque about achievement or school clubs or tutoring programs.

When we come to the door, Diego rests an arm on the wall and leans toward me.

“I have a proposition for you,” he says in a sultry voice.

It’s hard to seem unaffected.

“I don’t do propositions,” I say dismissively.

He grins, his mouth arching up like the curl of a wave.

“But you haven’t even heard me out,” he says.

“Don’t need to.”

He ignores my comment. “What do you say we forget about this thing where I follow you around like a little dog? And when the guidance counselor asks, I will say you were superlative.”

“Big word,” I mumble. This guy did not do well on his entry exams, but he says things like superlative? What’s with that?

He glares at me; I sigh.

“You know, it wouldn’t kill you to drop the tough-guy act for two days. You’ll be rid of me soon.”

I turn to leave but Diego grabs my arm gently. My breath catches.

“It’s not an act,” he says, jaw hard.

I wave him away nonchalantly, like his touch didn’t just do all kinds of crazy things to my body—things that make me want to forget about the warning blaring in my mind.

I need to stay away from him.

I need to forget him.

Will you touch me again please?

I walk away. He watches me go.

“By the way,” I say as I flick a look over my shoulder at his hardened face, “I see right through you.”

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Book Cover Reveal(3): Day 2 Before You

Before You 02

Synopsis:

Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.

Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.

It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don’t care.

Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn’t stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.

At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.

Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.    

What other authors had to say:

“Beautiful and evocative!” ~New York Times Bestselling author Sophie Jordan

“Fresh and unique…will hook and hold you.” ~Bestselling author K.A. Tucker

Author Bio:

7265942

Amber Hart grew up in Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. She now resides on the Florida coastline with family and animals including, but not limited to, bulldogs, a cat, and dragons. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She’s the author of BEFORE YOU, AFTER US, ECHOES, and ECHOES’ sequel (untitled as of yet). Rep’d by Beth Miller of Writers House.

Website //Facebook//Twitter //Pinterest//Goodreads

Bonus

2

Diego

 

 

“Diego, vamonos.”

I can’t help the frustrated sigh that escapes my lips, hurled at mi padre, my dad, like a gust of wind that threatens to flatten our house of cards. It’s my fault. I should have built something stronger with the cards I was dealt. But I didn’t. I didn’t know how.

“Go away,” I say. “Vete.”

I’m not planning to attend school today.

In fact, I didn’t plan to be in the States at all.

Vamonos. Let’s go,” mi padre repeats in his heavily accented voice, yanking me off of the couch. “You will not miss senior year.”

He has this new thing where we have to speak English as much as possible now that we live in the States. I almost wish I weren’t fluent. Several trips to Florida, and I am.

With a grimace, I pass him, reluctantly moving toward my room. It feels like my feet are sinking, like I’m walking over sticky sand instead of thick, dirty carpet.

How did I get stuck in this place?

I open my dresser drawer and pull out faded jeans, a white T-shirt, and my Smith & Wesson.

“No,” mi padre says, grabbing the gun.

I take a step toward him, challenging. He does not back down.

“This is why we left,” he says.

Hypocrite. Under his bed is a similar gun, waiting. Just in case. But he’s also the one who taught me how to fight. I’m bigger than he is, but he has more experience. And the scars to prove it.

Not that I haven’t been in countless fights myself.

“Fine,” I say through clenched teeth, and turn toward the bathroom.

The hot water heater goes out after five minutes. The tiny two-bedroom apartment—this hole we now call home—is the only thing mi padre could afford. It’s not much, but it’s inexpensive. That’s all that matters. The plain white walls remind me of an asylum. Feels like I’m going crazy already.

Our jobs keep us afloat. They’re our life vests, our only chance of survival in a sea of ravenous sharks. Mi padre found a job with a lawn crew a couple weeks ago. Not many people would hire him with his scarred face and tattooed body. A restaurant offered me work part-time. Two shifts as a cook, one as a busboy. They promised a free meal every night that I worked. Couldn’t pass that up.

“Don’t be late for school or work,” mi padre says as I step out of the house.

School’s only ten minutes away. I walk, staring at the graffiti-covered sidewalk that stretches in front of me like a ribbed canvas. Latinos roam the block. It didn’t take moving to the States for me to know that’s how it is. The gringos, white people, live in nice houses and drive cars to school while the rest of the world waits for a piece of their leftovers. I’m trying not to think about how screwed up it all is when a Latina walks up to me.

Hola,” she says. “¿Hablas inglés?

“Yeah, I speak English,” I answer, though I’m not sure why she asks since both of us speak Spanish.

“I’m Lola.” She smiles, sexy brown eyes big and wide. She reminds me of a girl I knew back home. Just the thought, the image of home, makes my guts clench.

“What’s your name?” she purrs.

“Lola,” a Latino calls from across the street. She ignores him. He calls again. When she doesn’t come, he approaches us.

One look tells me he’s angry. He has a cocky stance and a shaved head.

“Am I interrupting something?” he snaps.

What’s this guy’s problem?

“Yep,” Lola says, turning her back on him. “My ex,” she explains, brushing a strand of curly hair out of her face.

Perfecto. Just what I need. I didn’t even do anything. Not that I’m going to explain.

“She’s mine,” the guy says, staring me down. “¿Entiendes, amigo?”

“I’m not your friend,” I say, gritting my teeth. “And you do not want to mess with me.”

Lola is smiling. I wonder if she enjoys the attention. Probably. I’ve met too many girls like her. She fits the type.

“You don’t know who you’re messing with,” he says, stepping closer.

A few guys come out of nowhere, closing in on me. Blue and white bandanas hang from their pockets like a bad-luck charm. I know what the colors signify. Mara Salvatrucha 13 Gang, or MS-13.

I turn to Lola. Watch her smile.

This is all part of the game. What I can’t figure out is if the guy really is her ex and she doesn’t care that she could be getting me killed, or if he sent her to see how tough I am, to help decide whether he wants to recruit me.

I turn to walk away, but someone blocks my path.

“Going somewhere?” another gang-banger asks.

This whole time I’ve wondered if I’d end up fighting at school. I hadn’t thought about the fact that I may never make it in the first place. I silently curse mi padre for hiding my gun. He wouldn’t get rid of it completely, though.

“What do you want?” I ask.

The original guy laughs, looks me up and down. The number 67 is tattooed behind his right ear in bold black numbers. It only takes me a second to figure out the meaning. Six plus seven equals thirteen.

“What are those markings?” he asks, eyeing my tattoos.

“Nothing,” I lie.

If they wanted to fight me, they would’ve done it already. This is a recruit.

“Where you from?” he asks.

I don’t answer. Members of MS-13 stretch around the globe like fingers. They can easily check my past. I’m not gonna give them a head start.

“Swallow your tongue?” one of the guys asks.

I’m trying to figure out if I can win a fight against the five guys who surround me. I look for weak spots, scars, old injuries. I look for bulges that might be weapons. I’m a good fighter. I think I can take them. But at the same time, fighting will guarantee me a follow-up visit from MS-13.

Just then, someone speaks behind us. “Is there a problem?” a police officer asks from the safety of his car.

Everyone backs away from me.

“Nope,” one of the gangbangers answers. “We were just leaving.”

“See you around,” 67 says, throwing an arm around Lola.

I turn my back and walk the last block to school. The police officer trails slowly behind, like a hungry dog sniffing for scraps. He leaves as I enter the double doors.

I think about what my dad said. Moving here will give you a brighter future.

His words sit heavily on my mind, like humidity on every pore of my skin. His intentions are good, but he’s wrong. So far, moving here has done nothing but remind me of my past.

happy reading

jess

 

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Top Ten Tuesday (12)

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So this is a weekly post hosted By The Broke & The Bookish.

This list is not in any set order. Most these are more like moments that I would not want to live through what these characters went through.

Top Ten characters I would not want to Trade places with!

☆Lena from Delirium By Lauren Oliver☆

Why?

I would never want to have live taken away from me.

☆Nina from XVI By Julia Karr☆

Why?

I wouldn’t want to be branded as someone who was old enough to do things. Ibwouldnt want to deal with all the crazy things she went through.

☆Violet Eden From The Violet Eden Chapters☆

Why?

I love Violet dearly shes amazing. It makes me sad that fate seems to keep distroying her life.

☆Emma from Heartbeat By Elizabeth Scott☆

Why?

This one is simply because its a hard thing to deal with. I couldnt deal with all of the anger she had to deal with.

☆Sandy from XVI by Julia Karr☆

Why?

Id hate to have my whole life ended because someone wanyes to hurt the people I love.

☆Gwen Frost in Crimson Frost & Midnight Frost by Jennifer Estep☆

Why?

I cant live with the heartbreak and nightmares she went through.

☆Lenobia from H.O.N. By P.C. & Kirsten Cast☆

Why?

I couldnt live the life she had and come out as strong as she had.

☆Dragon from H.O.N. By P.C. & Kirsten Cast☆

Why?

I wouldn’t want to have my grief manafest as dragons had and become a monster almost.

☆Jassamine Lovelace from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare☆

Why?

I would hate to be her simply because love was her undoing.

☆Eve from Morganville Vampires in The First Day of Rest of Your Life By Rachel Caine☆

Why?

The reason I say this because I couldnt handle the loss of the people I love like she had and have loved.
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Book Cover Reveal: Day One Before You(3)

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Synopsis:

Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.

Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.

It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don’t care.

Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn’t stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.

At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.

Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.    

What other authors had to say:

“Beautiful and evocative!” ~New York Times Bestselling author Sophie Jordan

“Fresh and unique…will hook and hold you.” ~Bestselling author K.A. Tucker

Author Bio:

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Amber Hart grew up in Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. She now resides on the Florida coastline with family and animals including, but not limited to, bulldogs, a cat, and dragons. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She’s the author of BEFORE YOU, AFTER US, ECHOES, and ECHOES’ sequel (untitled as of yet). Rep’d by Beth Miller of Writers House. 

Website //Facebook//Twitter //Pinterest//Goodreads

Bonus

So as a fun bonus with this cover reveal there will be excerpts from Before You with each day leading up to the cover reveal I will be posting the a chapter a day with each cover reveal. Hope you enjoy.

1

Faith

My closet is a place of secrets.

This is where I change into Her, the girl everybody knows as me. Searching through hanger after hanger of neatly pressed clothes, I find the outfit I’m looking for. A black knee-length pleated skirt, a loose-fitting white top, and two-inch wedge shoes. Looking good at school is a must. Not that I do it for me. It’s more for my dad’s reputation. I have to play the part.

I am stuffed into a borrowed frame. One that fits too tightly. One that couldn’t possibly capture the real me.

“Faith,” my stepmom calls. “Are you joining us for breakfast?”

There is no time. “No,” I reply, my voice carrying downstairs.

I quickly dress for school, catching my reflection in the closet door mirror. Waking sun shines off my hair, highlighting a few strands brighter than the rest. Everybody has a favorite body part. Mine is my hair, which is the fiery-brown of autumn leaves. My best friend, Melissa, swears my eyes are my best asset.  Ivy-green, deep-set, haunting. Like they go on forever.

Speaking of Melissa, her horn blares outside. Beep, beep, pause, beep. That’s our code. I race downstairs, passing my dad, stepmom, and little sister on the way out.

“Wait,” Dad says.

I sigh. “Yes, Dad?”

He glances at my outfit, pausing at my shoes. If it were up to Dad, I would wear turtleneck shirts and dress pants with lace-up boots forever. The perfect ensemble, it seems. As it is, I dress conservatively to protect his image. I’m eighteen. You’d think he’d stop cringing every time he saw me in anything that showed the least bit of skin.

“Hug,” he says, waving me over.

I hug him. Place a kiss on my five-year-old sister’s jelly-covered cheek. Then, grab a napkin to wipe the sticky jelly from my lips.

“Bye, Gracie,” I say to her. “See you after school.”

She waves a small hand at me and smiles.

“Take this.” Susan, my stepmom, hands me a bagel even though I already declined breakfast. It’s poppy seed. I’m allergic to poppy seed.

As usual, I don’t put up a fight. My frame feels especially uncomfortable at the moment. It’s always the same thing. I learned early on that it’s easier to go with the flow than to be different. Different is bad. Standing out attracts attention, something I try to avoid at all costs. Unfortunately, being the dance captain makes that more difficult.

“Have to go,” I say, shoving the bagel in my bag.

The screen door swings shut behind me.

Melissa waits in my driveway. We live in a modest, yellow-paneled house in Oviedo, Florida. The majority of the people here are middle class. We fit in well.

“What’s up?” Melissa smiles. “Took you long enough.”

“Yeah, well, you try waking up late and still looking as good as I do,” I joke.

Melissa whips her blond hair into a ponytail and puts her red Camaro in reverse, careful not to hit my Jeep on the way out. I have my own car, but since Melissa lives three doors down, we have a deal where we alternate driving to school. She takes the first month; I take the second, and so on. Saves gas.

“You look smokin’,” Melissa says, lighting a cigarette.

I roll my eyes.

“Liar.”

She’s always hated the way I dress.

Melissa laughs. “Okay, true, the clothes need to go. But your hair and makeup are flawless. And no matter what you wear, you still look beautiful.”

“Thanks, you too,” I say, eyeing her tight jeans and sequined top. Melissa is effortlessly beautiful with her sun-freckled face and athletic build.

“Prediction,” Melissa begins. This is something we have done since ninth grade: predict three things that will happen during the year. “Tracy Ram will try to overthrow you as dance captain, once again, but you’ll keep your spot, of course, ’cause you rock. You’ll quit dressing like an eighty-year-old and finally wear what you want to wear instead of what society dictates is appropriate for a pastor’s daughter. And you’ll come to your senses and dump Jason Magg for a hot new boy.”

Melissa always predicts that I’ll dump Jason, has done since Jason and I began dating freshman year. It’s not that she doesn’t like him. It’s just that she thinks my life is too bland, like the taste of celery. What’s the point, she figures.

“First of all, I do not dress like the elderly,” I say. “And second, I don’t know what you have against Jason. He treats me nicely. It’s not like he’s a jerk.”

“It’s not like he’s exciting, either,” Melissa says.

She’s right. What I have with Jason is comfortable, nice even, but excitement left a long time ago.

“Prediction,” I say, turning to Melissa. “You will not be able to quit bugging me about dumping Jason, even though last year you swore you would. Despite your doubts, you will pass senior calculus. And you’re going to win homecoming.”

Melissa shakes her head. “No way. Homecoming is all you, girl.”

I groan. “But I don’t want to win.”

Melissa laughs. “Tracy Ram would have a heart attack if she ever heard you say that.”

“Great,” I say. “Let her win homecoming.”

We grin. Melissa and I have been friends since kindergarten. Memories come to me suddenly. I’m in elementary school, and it’s sleepover night at Melissa’s. In my overnight bag, I carry a small stuffed bunny, my steadfast companion since forever. People would laugh if they knew, me carrying around a stuffed baby toy, but Melissa never tells. Fast forward to middle school. The braces on Melissa’s teeth are still so new that the silver catches the light from the fluorescent fixtures when she smiles. The headgear is huge, cumbersome, and no one lets her forget it. But I relentlessly defend my friend. She’s so beautiful, can’t they see? Sometimes I leave flowers stolen from a neighbor’s rose bush at her locker when no one is looking. That way people will know that she is loved. High school. Melissa and me, same as always.

“What do you want to bet?” Melissa asks.

Whoever gets the most predictions right wins.

“Hmm,” I say. “If I win, you have to quit smoking.”

Melissa almost chokes. “Pulling out the big guns, are we? Okay, then. If I win, you have to break up with Jason.”

“Deal,” I say, knowing that she won’t win. She never does.

Melissa purses her lips and gives me the stink eye. She knows I have a better chance.

“Faith, I will find a way to break you out of your mold,” she says.

I laugh, partially because of the determination in my friend’s eyes, but mostly because of the absurdity of her statement. Everybody knows that girls like me never break free.

happy reading

jess

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P.S

Cover Reveal Stops

It’s Monday! (17)

 

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Finishing Up

 

Fire flowerBeing destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn’t exactly awesome–especially when Alexandria’s “other half” is everywhere she goes. Seth’s in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom–so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do–and sacrifice–for her. When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies–lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon–and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn’t blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude–or killing her. When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone.

 

15827004For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

 

Starting Soon

Untitled-1Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.

 

18050015A mighty flame follows a tiny spark.

Cora Sandoval’s mother disappeared when she was five and they were living in Ireland. Since then, her dad has been more than overprotective, and Cora is beginning to chafe under his confines. But even more troubling is the colorful light she suddenly sees around people. Everyone, that is, except herself—instead, she glows a brilliant, sparkling silver.

As she realizes the danger associated with these strange auras, Cora is inexplicably drawn to Finn, a gorgeous Irish exchange student who makes her feel safe. Their attraction is instant, magnetic, and primal—but her father disapproves, and Finn’s mother orders him home to Ireland upon hearing he’s fallen in love. After a fight with her father, Cora flees to Ireland, both to follow Finn and to look for her missing mother.

There she meets another silver-haloed person and discovers the meaning of her newfound powers and their role in a conspiracy spanning centuries—one that could change mankind forever…and end her life.

Scintillate is the first book in this lush and exciting new trilogy, full of romance, adventure and metaphysical mystery.

 

16065712Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

 

Fire flower“History is on repeat, and things didn’t go so well the last time. ”

Alexandria isn’t sure she’s going to make it to her eighteenth birthday–to her Awakening. A long-forgotten, fanatical order is out to kill her, and if the Council ever discovers what she did in the Catskills, she’s a goner… and so is Aiden.

If that’s not freaky enough, whenever Alex and Seth spend time “training”–which really is just Seth’s code word for some up-close and personal one-on-one time–she ends up with another mark of the Apollyon, which brings her one step closer to Awakening ahead of schedule. Awesome.

But as her birthday draws near, her entire world shatters with a startling revelation and she’s caught between love and Fate. One will do anything to protect her. One has been lying to her since the beginning. Once the gods have revealed themselves, unleashing their wrath, lives will be irrevocably changed… and destroyed.

Those left standing will discover if love is truly greater than Fate…

 

13605727Aiden St. Delphi will do anything to save Alex.
Even if it means doing the one thing he will never forgive himself for.
Even if it means making war against the gods.

 

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18844839What if all the legends you’ve learned were wrong?

Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she’s spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard. As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age.

But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse. Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be—because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again.

happy reading

jess