Spotlight & Giveaway: Halfway Perfect-Julie Cross & Mark Perini

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Title: Halfway Perfect

Authors: Julie Cross and Mark Perini

Release Date: May 5, 2015

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Genre: Young Adult

cooltext1889161239 copyBestselling author Julie Cross teams up with Ford model Mark Perini to pen a poignant and gritty YA novel about love and the dark side of modeling and the fashion industry.

Eve’s time as a fashion model nearly destroyed her-now she’s determined to build a career behind the camera lens. But landing a coveted photography internship brings her face to face with her dark past-and her ex.

While Eve is snapping pictures, up-and-coming male model Alex is launching his career-which, for him, involves maintaining a fake relationship with his co-star, Elana.

But Alex is falling for Eve, and Eve won’t let herself get hurt again. If Alex can pull off a fake love with Elana, can he convince Eve to risk a secret affair with him?

cooltext1921345213 copyWhen I finally give the rack a closer look, I start to weigh the options. There’s a varying array of briefs, boxer briefs, and pseudo banana hammocks with full backs in every color under the sun—black, neon green, pink, yellow, gold, red, navy, bright fuchsia. As the stylist is looking through the rack and sizing me up, probably trying to match my coloring, I’m silently chanting, boxer briefs, boxer briefs…

He’s reaching a hand toward the banana hammock rack and I suck in a breath, trying to look cool with whatever.

But seriously. No one is cool with whatever.

“Nah, not these, they’re not relatable enough to the G.P.” the stylist says.

I let out a sigh of relief. But no sooner do I look back up and he has a pair of black briefs with neon green micro-polka-dots.

“These are perfect. You’re ready to be pounced on by the woman of your dreams,” he says.

“Great. Can’t wait to…try these suckers on.”

“You’ll look amazing.”

Yep. A dude just told me I’m gonna look amazing in skimpy underwear.

He hands me a robe and leaves without waiting for a response.

After a quick change and after they’ve lubed me up with some makeup and self-tanner, I’m off to set. The thing about shooting underwear shots is the light is important. Janessa has two guy assistants as stand-ins testing everything. I resist the urge to go talk to Eve and instead sit down on the couch. I’m not about to ask her out while wearing neon polka dots. That’s got failure written all over it.

As soon as Janessa sees me on the couch, she ushers me over to fill in for one of the assistant stand-in guys. I ditch the robe and feel the awkwardness Richter scale skyrocket. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot Eve standing out of Janessa’s line of sight. She’s trying not to smile, but she’s doing it anyway. At my expense. I decide it’s time to look the beast in the eye. I wave dramatically at her, like I’m flagging her down.

Janessa follows my wave all the way to Eve, who turns completely scarlet.

“Eve!” Janessa says. “Step in for Daniel. You’re closer to Elana’s height.”

Her eyes get really big and round, but her voice stays totally even. “Okay.”

Well, this should be interesting. Of course it would be much more interesting if she was also wearing neon polka- dot underwear.

“Guess your time in the spotlight isn’t over after all,” I say when she appears in front of me.

“This is not exactly the spotlight, nor do I have any choice in this matter,” she whispers, leaning in close so I get a whiff of her hair and something that smells like cinnamon.

Janessa interrupts us by shouting some directions. “Get really close!” I can totally do that. Just give me my pants back. “Alex, dip her down like you’re going to kiss her.”

I love pants. I will never take them for granted again. When I get the fragrance campaign, I’m donating a bunch of money to a pants-related charity.

But in the meantime, I don’t have a fragrance campaign and I’m not about to show any signs of fear. Fashion people can smell it a mile away and then ruin my chances.

“You heard the boss lady,” I say to Eve before hooking an arm around her waist and tugging her closer. My fingers brush over a strip of bare skin on her lower back and it sends my pulse racing so fast that I’m sure she can feel my heartbeat. And for a good long second, I don’t even care. Let her figure it out if she hasn’t already. I hadn’t planned on playing hard to get or any other equally frustrating mind games.

I move my hand up to the back of her neck before I lean her backward. My eyes are still locked with hers. I’m fighting the urge to undo her ponytail and run my fingers through her hair.

For the cameras. Of course.

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Julie CrossWebsite/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads

Julie Cross is the international bestselling author of the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy. Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. Her knowledge of the modeling and fashion world comes from viewings of the movies The Devil Wears Prada, and Zoolander, and her unwavering devotion to the first three seasons of Ugly Betty. On a recent trip to NYC, she also took the time to walk past both the Gucci and Prada stores, spending at least 15 seconds viewing items through the windows.

MarkPeriniWebsite/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads

Mark Perini is a New York City-based author debuting his first YA novel, Halfway Perfect. Additionally, Mark is a featured author in the NA anthology, Fifty First Times.

Mark began his career as an international fashion model ten years ago, while simultaneously obtaining a business degree from Seton Hall University. He has a passion for traveling the world, and he’s made a blood pact with friends to see all seven wonders of the ancient world before he’s thirty. Four down, three to go.

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ARC Review: Life Unaware-Cole Gibsen

Young Adult Book Madness

20613726Goodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBooks

Release Date: April 28, 2015

Publisher: Entangled Teen

cooltext1712921505 copyRegan Flay has been talking about you.

Regan Flay is on the cusp of achieving her control-freak mother’s “plan” for high school success―cheerleading, student council, the Honor Society—until her life gets turned horribly, horribly upside down. Every bitchy text. Every bitchy email. Every lie, manipulation, and insult she’s ever said have been printed out and taped to all the lockers in school.

Now Regan has gone from popular princess to total pariah.

The only person who even speaks to her is her former best friend’s hot but socially miscreant brother, Nolan Letner. Nolan thinks he knows what Regan’s going through, but what nobody knows is that Regan isn’t really Little Miss Perfect. In fact, she’s barely holding it together under her mom’s pressure. But the consequences of Regan’s fall from grace are only just beginning…

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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Between Dreams-Cynthia Austin

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Between Dreams by Cynthia Austin
The Pendant Series #1
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Genres: Fiction, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

cooltext1889161239 copySidney Sinclair was living the dream of any eighteen year-old girl…

A handsome rock star boyfriend, a closet full of designer clothes, a limousine service at her beck and call, and a mansion in the hills of Los Angeles.

Even will all of that glamour and excitement at her fingertips, she still feels as if she’s been missing something in her life so she decides to leave.

While trying her best to put her dysfunctional romantic relationship aside and tend to her beloved Granny, Sidney unexpectedly stumbles upon an intriguing emerald pendant boxed away in her grandmother’s closet.

Soon she learns it once belonged to her long-lost mother who committed suicide when she was just a baby. Suddenly feeling emotionally connected to the woman who had birthed her, Sidney begins to wear the necklace.

This sends her on a whirlwind journey that alternates between fantasy and reality…

Almost immediately, she starts having dreams linked to the mysterious pendant. As danger begins to seep into her life, Sidney refuses to remove the necklace and instead documents each dream to help her further understand them. However, she soon begins to wonder if they are dreams meant to bond her to a mother who she never knew?

Or a subconscious warning that threatens her very life?

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Cynthia Austin

Cynthia Austin lives in Northern California with her husband, two boys, and Olde English Bulldogge named Count Dogula. They love all things horror, gothic, and Victorian which prompts her friends to dub them as “The Adams Family.”

She is an avid reader who may be slightly obsessed with music. She hears music in a way that she believes the artist intended it to be heard: visually, with a storyline that follows. Listening to the songs by her favorite artists, she was inspired to write her first series titled “The Pendant.”

Cynthia has been published twice in The Writer’s Monthly Magazine as well as the online news site, Yahoo! Voices. She currently attends Diablo Valley College, in Pleasant Hill, California, where she is working to achieve her degree in English.

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Release Day Blitz & Trailer: Off Book-Jessica Dall

Off Book Tour

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cooltext1889161239 copyTwenty-year-old Eloise has learned all she can from the School, where characters live until joining their novels. No one knows genre and plot structure better than her, but despite her knowledge, she’s yet to be assigned to her own story. All her friends are off starting their lives with their authors—and if Eloise doesn’t get assigned soon, she’ll fade away, forgotten by all.

When she is suddenly offered a job at the Recording Office, she takes the chance to write her own future. Suddenly living among the post-storied, Eloise meets Barnaby Fitzwilliam, a former romance novel hero who hasn’t lost any of his in-story charm. But just as their relationship begins to get serious, everything Eloise has been taught gets turned upside down when she’s sucked into a novel she was never meant to be part of.

Now, caught where the only rules are made by the authors and truly anything is possible, Eloise must find her way back home—or else her life might end before she ever gets the chance to live it.

Set in a world dictated by Authors, OFF BOOK explores the story beneath the stories we all know and love, taking readers and characters alike on an adventure just waiting to be written.

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Jessica DallTwitter/Facebook/Goodreads

Jessica Dall finished her first novel at age 15 and been writing ever since. She is the author of such novels as Grey Areas and The Bleeding Crowd, the Broken Line Series, and a number of short stories which have appeared in both literary magazines and anthologies. When not writing, she works as a freelance editor and creative writing teacher in Washington, DC.

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Release Day Blitz: Seeker-Amy Reece

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cooltext1889161239 copyAlly Moran has always just known about things—things she shouldn’t really be able to know…

Suddenly when she starts having vivid visions about a former friend who is in desperate trouble, the adults in her life think she might hold the key to an ancient mystery.

Jack Ruiz has a troubled past, but is trying to make a fresh start at a new high school…

He just wants to keep his head down and graduate, hopefully before he turns 20. The last thing he needs is to get involved with a feisty redhead and her psychic visions.

While Jack valiantly attempts to keep Ally at arm’s length, she is equally determined to be a part of his life. Who will win this battle of wills?

More importantly…

Can this unlikely couple work together to find answers to Ally’s visions before someone gets killed?

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AmyAmy Reece lives in Albuquerque, NM, with her husband and family. She loves to read and travel and has an unhealthy addiction to dogs. She loves wine and friends, in that order. Stay tuned for the rest of The Seeker Series, coming Summer and Fall 2015.

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Release Day Blitz: Omega City-Diana Peterfreund

Coming this April 28th, Diana’s first book for readers eight and up is a thrilling adventure story, perfect for people who like their books with a side of rocketships and hidden treasure. Find out what secrets are hidden beneath the Maryland countryside in…

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cooltext1889161239 copyGillian Seagret doesn’t listen to people who say her father’s a crackpot. His conspiracy theories about the lost technology of Cold War-era rocket scientist Dr. Aloysius Underberg may have cost him his job and forced the family to move to a cottage in the sticks, but Gillian knows he’s right, and plans to prove it.

When she discovers a missing page from Dr. Unerberg’s diary in her father’s mess of an office, she thinks she’s found a big piece of the puzzle–a space-themed riddle promising to lead to Dr. Underberg’s greatest invention. Enlisting the help of her skeptical younger brother, Eric, her best friend, Savannah, and Howard, their NASA-obsessed schoolmate, Gillian sets off into the ruins of a vast doomsday bunker, deep within the earth.

But they aren’t alone inside its dark and flooded halls. Now Gillian and her friends must race to explore OMEGA CITY and find the answers they need. For while Gillian wants to save her dad’s reputation by bringing Dr. Underberg’s secrets to light, there are others who will stop at nothing to make sure they stay buried…forever.

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WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

“With seamless writing, a thrilling plot, lots of engaging science puzzles, and remarkable characterization, Peterfreund’s exciting tale keeps the adventure solidly in the foreground. Young readers looking for a page turning quest should get into this planned series on the ground floor.” — Booklist *Starred* Review

“Peterfreund’s focus on character development is complemented by the equal attention she gives to the vast underground city itself. Gillian’s instincts to protect her friends and clear her historian father’s tarnished name are admirable, but Peterfreund gives every character the opportunity to grow, revealing themselves for who they really are.”Publishers Weekly

“With nonstop action, sly humor, and nothing short of the end of the world at stake, Omega City is the alpha book in a new series that mashes up mystery, scifi, and action/adventure into a thrilling novel you’ll want to devour in one sitting. I did, and I can’t wait to read what comes next!”Peter Lerangis, New York Times Bestselling author of the Seven Wonders series

“Peterfreund’s boundless imagination takes on a new and exciting adventure!”Jessica Day George, New York Times Bestselling author of Tuesdays at the Castle”

“Diana Peterfreund takes us to an underground city that’s utterly mind-blowing, yet disturbingly possible. A knockout of a story that will have readers cheering straight through to the final, shocking, twist.” — #1 New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman

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DPeterfreund-smallpicDiana Peterfreund has published ten novels for adults, teens, and kids, including the four-book Secret Society Girl series (Bantam Dell), the “killer unicorn novels” Rampant and Ascendant (Harper Teen), For Darkness Shows the Stars (a post-apocalyptic retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion), and Across a Star-Swept Sea (inspired by the classic series The Scarlet Pimpernel). Her newest novel, OMEGA CITY, is a contemporary adventure novel for younger readers set in a secret bunker city somewhere under modern Maryland.

Her works have been named to the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age list, the Capitol Choices (metro DC-area) reading list, and the Texas Lonestar List, as well as having been named to Amazon’s Best Books of the Year. In addition, she’s written several critically acclaimed short stories and a variety of non-fiction essays about popular children’s literature. Diana lives outside Washington D.C., with her family.

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Release Day Blitz & ARC Review: Discovering April-Sheena Hutchinson

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Release Date: April 27th
Publisher: SL Hutchinson Publishing
Genre: New Adult Romance
Cover Art: www.CoverMeDarling.com

cooltext1889161239 copyApril Landau thinks she has everything she’s ever wanted. Her high school sweetheart, a house she can’t afford, her bipolar tabby cat, and she’s all set to begin her Junior year of college. Just when she least expects it, her life gets thrown for a loop. When things between her and her long time boyfriend unravel, she becomes stuck in a downward spiral of emotion. Finally, opening her eyes to the fact that she may have given up more than she ever could have imagined in this relationship. She finds herself struggling to keep her head above water.

Enter April’s next door neighbor— Jared Hoffman. He’s her complete opposite. A high school drop out who was forced to take over his parent’s business after their untimely death. It’s no surprise this tragedy affected him greatly, causing him to recede almost completely from society.

But he has one secret. A secret he’s been carrying around for years.

What happens when their worlds collide? Can an old friendship be the one thing that brings these two back to life?

A new adult love story filled with drama, sex, death and the complications of all of the above.

cooltext1889171582 copy3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review.

April Landau is my spirit animal-my soul sister. For anyone who has been through a breakup that has ripped you to shreds, made you feel lost and empty, like half of you is missing, Discovering April is the best kind of therapy. 

PROS:

  • Discovering April is a heady mixture of heartache, lessons learned, and epiphany. That devastating moment when you realize that in your efforts to maintain the peace and keep someone else happy, you’ve sacrificed a part of your soul, is out in full force and it’s brutal. I just got out of a relationship of 3.5 years and 2.5 before that of solid friendship-he was my best friend. Six years of thinking I was happy and everything was perfect. Watching April go through the motions, participating in activities she didn’t want to to appease Hunter, hanging with people she hated, and jilting traditional things like dates for frat parties, from the outside, it’s hard to understand how she could be so blind. Hunter is a total tool and treats her like crap yet she stays. Sheena Hutchinson gets it. When your life is so invested in someone else’s, when it’s over it’s a slap in the face when you recognized how much you’ve lost and how little you know about yourself, who you used to be. You became an “us” instead of an “I”. I don’t think I’ve ever read a more honest portrayal of a relationship.
  • April is a mess after Hunter. She doesn’t know how to function; she doesn’t know how to live again after. April kind of stumbles through life, wasting away in a toxic cloud of nostalgia. It’s a nightmare of anguish, hyperventilation, and agony that’s borderline Bella Swan in New Moon. April goes through her heartbreak in stages and comes to shocking realizations about herself. Rekindling her friendship with Jared awakens something in April that she’d buried for her life with Hunter-her fire and passion. Underneath the broken, robotic girl is an adventurer who’s kind of BA. She’s not afraid to knock a guy out or put people in their place. April is fun, magnetic, she goes with the flow and as the story progressed she finds out who she is and what she wants out of life. 
  • Jared and April are playful, hilarious, they flirt and tease like nobody’s business. They’re absolutely adorable together and so right, everything just flows smoothly. Jared gets April to venture outside of her comfort zone and April helps Jared open his heart. 
  • Jared is gorgeous and hyper masculine. He works with his hands and it’s sexy, well that and the motorcycle. Jared is thoughtful, sometimes awkward, but he knows April and goes out of his way to comfort and make her happy. Jared is mature, he’s had a lot to deal with but he knows what he wants and has the patience of a saint. Totally romantic. Swoon.

CONS:

  • It was a nice change to have a male as the antagonist in a non-romantic way. Typically there’s some girl on girl carnage and jealousy, it was refreshing to see the negativity come from a guy friend. However, this plot point got lost and was sort of bizarre. There are times in the story when April feels paranoid, in danger, and when the antagonist’s threats are very physical but April is passive and doesn’t say anything. It was off that a girl who is so punch-happy and resorts to violence pretty often didn’t stand up for herself. Eric’s creep factor fizzles out and leaves the reader questioning whether April was just overreacting or if someone else was being a creeper.
  • The subplot with Jack and Sera. WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT? For a second I though the story was going to take a paranormal turn. All the descriptive signs about Sera pointed to siren or vampire, and the way Jack was withering away and retreating, the appearance of odd bodyguards…it detracted from the main plot and felt like two very separate stories.
  • One of the biggest critiques of New Adult books in the tendency to shirk plot for sex; towards the end of the story, sex became every other scene. April and Jared’s relationship was developing strongly and growing into something beautiful, soul-deep, and while the sex was steamy, provocative, and wonderful to read, I found myself thirsting for more of their non-carnal interactions. I loved them together, their laughter, their happiness; I wanted more talking, more getting reacquainted with each other.

cooltext1921345213 copyLong Excerpt:

My head is still pounding when my eyes flutter open the next day. My brain is throbbing inside my skull and I punch the pillow underneath me, scaring Jinx out of his slumber. He meows in protest before hopping off the bed. Looking around, I’m in my bed. How did I get here? I groan in pain as I prop my pillows up and lean my head back against them. It’s then that I feel the eyes on me. Tilting my head straight again, I glance out my window. My eyes lock with those big brown eyes of Jared’s across the way. He looks down to his phone and back up again. My phone chimes with an incoming text.

“UGHHH!” I moan, blindly reaching for it. It slips a few times before I grasp it between my fingers and look down to read.

How are you feeling?

Closing one eye, I text back, Like someone ran over me with a truck, then backed up and ran me over again.

Lowering my phone, I watch as he smiles from my text and disappears from view. I’m trying to piece last night back together; it’s like a fragmented mirror that has shattered all over the corners of my mind. I remember laughing with Ro about her sexual conquests and then I remember red and blue lights and… Jared. Starting to feel hot, I throw the covers off of me and lay like a starfish, trying to get my mind to focus. Glancing down, I notice I’m wearing my pajamas. Before I can process any further, the door to my room creaks open. Jared walks in with a cup of water and a closed fist.

“How did you get in?!” I yelp, trying to sit up in bed, and pulling the covers back over my braless tank top.

“I left the back door open when I left last night,” he informs me as he opens his fist to show me he brought a hand full of Advil.

“You brought me home last night?” I rub my head before reaching for the pills and water.

“Yup, after you called me to pick you up from the police station.”

“I WAS WHERE?!” I scream as water comes spraying out of my mouth.

“Police station. Apparently, you popped a guy in the face.” He smirks.

I squint my eyes, vaguely remembering the heavyset guy that tried grabbing my ass in front of the bar.

“Whoa!” I have to lean my head back against my pillows when the information begins to become too much for me. “If you took me home, how did I get into pajamas?!

The smile that crosses Jared’s face is a mixture of a blush and a sly smirk that makes my insides twist with anticipation and excitement. “Jared…”

“That… you did on your own. I had nothing to do with that!” He holds his hands up in surrender.

“What? I just stripped in front of you!”

“Well, once you got your shirt off, there was really no stopping you…” he teases and my eyes widen in embarrassment.

“Oh my God!” I slump down, pulling the covers back up to my face. “Did we… ya know…” I mutter, completely mortified now.

“Uh, that would be a no.”

“Oh, thank God!” I sigh.

“Thanks a lot!” He comes to his feet now, turning to look out the window.

“Not like that, it’s just … I don’t like to do things I’m not conscious for.”

“Yea, completely plastered girls that get arrested and throw up in bushes are really sexy!” His voice drips with sarcasm.

“I threw up?!This just gets better and better.

“Twice.”

“Twice?” I’m mortified, staring at his amused face.

“Well, after the first time I thought maybe you needed something to eat.”

“Oh no…”

“Yeah… I’ve never seen someone eat a Big Mac that fast before…” He stares at the wall as if remembering my weak moment.

“Oh my God!” I groan, throwing the covers over my entire body. I curl up in a fetal position, planning to never come out again. The room grows silent. It’s starting to get hard to breathe under the sheets when I feel the mattress by my feet cave slightly.

“Come on, it’s not that bad. We all have our moments.” He pats my feet through the sheets.

“Just when I think I’ve reached rock bottom, things just seem to drops out from under me and I’m at an all new low!” I roll over, trying to pull the covers with me, but Jared’s weight prevents it. My head comes peeking out as I roll over, facing away from him.

“April, I think I just determined your major.”

“What?” I curiously twist to look at him again.

“Drama. You’re such an actress. Now, put your big girl panties on and get up!”

I stare at him for a second; did he just say what I think he said? He waits about two seconds before getting up and opening a drawer to my dresser. “Are they in here? Nope!” He closes it and opens another.

“STOP!” I scream, stumbling out of bed, horrified.

“How ‘bout this one?”

“Okay! Okay! I’m up!” I slam the drawer closed just in time to save myself further embarrassment when Jared eyes my plain old undergarments. I sigh when the pounding in my head launches my stomach into action and I collapse onto the corner of the bed.

“You okay?”

“I refuse to puke again!” I respond, taking another deep breath. “Jared…”

“Yea…”

“I could use some donuts.”

“Okay.” He pauses for a few seconds, looking down at his feet before adding, “I’ll be outside then.”

And he leaves me alone in my room.

Short Steamy Excerpt:

“Why, Jared Hoffman, do you not want this?” I tease, slowly unbuttoning his shirt.

He smiles, his hands bracing themselves on the bed at either side of my head. “I didn’t say that… it’s just I don’t want to rush anything.”

Jared’s shirt falls open when I finally reach the last button. His perfect abs are shadowed and defined by the moonlight. My eyes start up his chest. “Rush?” I whisper softly as my hands graze their way up his biceps that frame my face. “Jare… this has been seven long years in the making. I think we’ve waited long enough.”

He pauses for a second. I hear his breath hitch in his throat as his dark eyes study my face. For some reason, I’m surprised when I feel Jared’s lips on mine. The passion between us is renewed at my admission. It’s my turn to moan against his lips. My legs automatically slide up and down his, causing my dress to hike up slightly before my legs wrap themselves around his waist. His hands make their way up my side slowly as if ingraining into memory the curve of my body. My hands have automatically found their way to his belt. I slip my fingers through it and release the hook, swinging it open. Before I know it, I’m unbuttoning his jeans. That’s when I feel his hands squeeze me tight. His lips leave mine for the first time since I spoke, and I feel them slowly trace their way down my neck. My fists clench against the skin on his waist.

“Oh, Jared,” I groan.

His body freezes above me for a fraction of a second. His head lifts out of the crook of my neck to meet my eyes again.

“Do you know how long I’ve waited to hear you call my name like that?” he whispers.

My hands find their way to his face and mingle with his hair. “There’s more where that came from.” I shoot him a sexy smirk before pulling his lips back to mine.

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cooltext1889178114 copySheena is a born and raised New Yorker, even her writing can’t seem to hide her hard sarcasm. She claims destiny has lead her back to her true passion for writing.

She constantly strives to be a positive role model and writes stories that empower and inspire. Sheena always roots for the underdog, believes in love at first sight, and that everyone should have their happily ever after.

While God is currently still writing her love story, she continues to put all her effort into her writing as she is constantly getting new inspiration.

Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ TSU

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