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Today’s premiere New Adult authors combine their talents to tell four original stories from inside one house.
When four girls decide to live off campus together as juniors at a college in Michigan, they expect it to be their best year yet. Little do they know, it’s a year that will change the rest of their lives.
BEHIND HER EYES by A.L. Jackson
Unable to live down her ex-boyfriend’s deception, Misha is determined to avoid betrayal. When, the new guy next door, Darryn starts to get under her skin, her defenses start to crumble. But trusting Darryn seems impossible, especially if he’s not sure he can trust himself.
SAVING ME by Molly McAdams
On the outside, Indy is always ready for a party—but inside she’s breaking. Kier makes a weekly routine of saving the girl next door from herself on Saturday nights… but when will she be ready to remember him on Sunday morning?
FOULING OUT by Tiffany King
Working at a sports bar, Courtney has become a pro at sidestepping propositions from arrogant jocks—which makes her a more elusive catch for campus basketball star Dalton than he expected. But when he falls for the saucy waitress, Dalton will have to rethink his game plan to prove he’s not the jerk Courtney expects.
BENEATH YOUR LAYERS by Christina Lee
In order to ace her fashion internship, Chloe must team up with local college dropout and set builder, Blake—much to her chagrin. But after some “hands-on” experience, Chloe will have to ask herself if Blake factors into her carefully laid plans…
Four books. Four different stories. Four college roommates who had no luck in love.
Enter our four ladies – Misha, Indy, Courtney and Chloe. All busy with college, part time jobs and planning for their futures.
None had the time nor inclination to go looking for boyfriends and love. That doesn’t mean love was waiting for them.
One after the other – and I have to note here that I adored how the stories flowed one after the other in time frame – they all had their time; overcame their issues and insecurities and found their missing pieces to their puzzles.
Misha and Darryn – match made in hell or so you’d think. Misha had been burned badly by her ex and vowed never to fall for some cheesy lines and perfect acting on the man’s part. She didn’t count on the boy-man-God that moved in next door! AL Jackson wrote the back story to Misha perfectly and I really felt her pain from her childhood dramas to the most recent heartache she had experienced. Darryn was the ideal bad boy and had something about him that, as a reader, just drew you in. His change from arrogant and seemingly withdrawn from humanity changed once he realised his feelings for Misha and once he vowed to protect her from all who wanted to do wrong by her he was a goner.
Indy had never had the perfect upbringing and her life had been on a downhill spiral for two years. Thanksgiving was never going to be a good time for her again. Kier was the quiet neighbour that spoke to no one. Or so Indy thought. When she drank to forget her life and her woes, Kier was the one there to be her safe haven and protect her from anything bad. All he wanted in return was to be remembered. For 18 months he’d been watching her and saving her from herself to be forgotten about subconsciously the next day. A cycle that appeared to never break but Indy eventually woke up and starting moving forward with her life knowing that Kier was her safe place. He wasn’t without his own dark and tormented past and once they shared their innermost secrets, fears and doubts the union they forged was unbreakable. And it was beautiful to watch and read. Molly McAdams has done it again!
Courtney and Dalton have a past. One from a very long time ago, from a much different time in their lives. Once the best of friends, parents, goals and dreams (albeit shattered and altered) got in the way. Courtney was struggling to survive but knew her way out was coming once finishing college. Her mom is the most important person in her life alongside her beloved and faithful car, Lucy! She worked hard and kept her head above water scholastically and financially – but only just. Sundays were her day with her mother. Dalton was a jock. Not in the technical sense but he was a huge deal to the university and particularly the basketball team. A star player and one that had been pushed upon him by his controlling father from a very young age. Called a Fairy Boy by his father for having a girl best friend the two young students drifted apart as Dalton’s father increased his practices to be the next big thing in basketball.
When they reunited her reception towards him was short of Ice Queen status. He worked hard and fought for her friendship, earned her trust and quite literally jumped through hoops to get to know this girl once again. Naturally, the old friendship bloomed once more and it turned into more. There was such a chemistry between them that the pages, were they paper, would have sizzled!! Tiffany King wrote of their hardships and daily struggles well and despite it all, their love and devotion for one another was beautiful to read.
Lastly, but my no means least we have my favourite of the boys, Blake. There’s something about a good boy who looks like a bad boy that makes me tingle all over and Christina Lee nailed that one on the head. (I’m full of the puns today!) A construction worker by day, good nephew by night helping his aunt out by aiding Chloe to create a masterpiece of a pop up shop for a part of her college internship! Chloe, for what first impressions and appearances made, was uptight and acted like she was better than everyone else. Needless to say it was just a front she had to protect herself from douches. And Blake had the appearance of a douche. Their first impressions of one another left no desire to spend time together and work alongside one another to bring this project together. But they smashed down their walls and forged an easy friendship. Chloe was someone for Blake to talk to about his home life in confidence. Blake was someone to help Chloe overcome her fear of things that couldn’t be scrupulously planned. Through games of truth and dare their friendship shifted into something more serious and I was jealous of Chloe getting to spend more and more time with Blake. But it appeared their lives were heading in a different direction. After one heck of an evening together (and not the construction and planning kind!) they went their separate ways. No phone numbers had been exchanged. No promises were made. What came next surprised me and made me swoon for Blake all over again! I have a new found love for sticky notes!! And a deep seated envy for Chloe. Blake is mine!!
Four short stories that left me wanting more after each one. I, typically, am not a fan of novellas because once I’m invested in a story I need more, I can’t just finish and move on. But in the case of When We Met, I knew I had more stories to turn to which featured the previous couples! Definitely want more Blake though please, Christina!!
Behind Her Eyes by AL Jackson
Now I could feel him, his eyes all over me, caressing me slowly, up and down.
I let all my insecurities drift away as I swayed in time to the music, in sync with the throb of the crowd and the intermittent lights that glowed against my lids.
A charged moment passed, before strong hands found my hips and gripped them from behind. For a beat, I stiffened, before I again gave in to this sublime release. And again, he felt good. Right. All this intense energy that ricocheted between us wrapped me up in a frenzy of nerves, alight and alive. The smell of him took me whole, all soap and man and sex.
My heart beat frantically, racing to keep up with my thoughts that were spiraling out of control.
A shimmer of fear slithered through me, before he pulled my back into the safety of his firm chest.
And that was what I felt.
With him, and I didn’t know why, and I was searching inside myself for resolve, for the commitment
I’d made to never allow myself to be so easily played again.
But it was just out of my reach.
Darryn held me close, our bodies moving in time, like we shared the same breath, the same space.
I leaned back, my head on his shoulder as his face found the curve of my neck. Chills sped, spinning my body into a violent cataclysm of need. He let his hands roam, palms pressing hard as he ran them down the front of my legs, spanning them wide as he trailed them back up to my hips and over my stomach.
Fingertips dipped into my ribs as he slid them up the curve of my sides, and he lifted my arms as he went, in the same fluid motion fastening my hands around the back of his neck.
All those butterflies scattered, a clash of discordant wings that fluttered haphazardly through my insides, leaving my stomach in a coiled mess of confusion and need.
Why him? Why now?
Holding me close, he brushed his mouth over the shell of my ear, his whispered words injected directly to my manic heart. “Goddamn, Misha. What are you trying to do to me?”
I suddenly found it impossible to breathe, because it was him who was slowly undoing all the fibers of reservation woven through my weakened spirit.
“Can’t get you off my mind.” He leaned in closer, his hand sweeping up my stomach. Fingers brushed between my breasts, and I released a sharp gasp.
“Been dying to touch you,” he murmured low.
Saving Me by Molly McAdams
“I’m about to embarrass the hell out of myself, but I don’t care anymore. I feel like when I’m near you, I’m safe, and it makes no sense to me. It is the weirdest feeling to have with someone I only know three things about.”
My eyebrows rose at that and I turned to fully face her. “Three?”
“Yes. Three things. Your name is Kier, you’re extremely quiet, and you are the biggest puzzle I’ve ever tried to figure out.”
“I’m the puzzle?”
“Yes!” she said in exasperation.
That had to have been the most backward statement I’d ever heard. “And why am I a puzzle?”
“Because of what I just told you. I don’t know you, you don’t even talk to anyone, and I feel safe when you’re near me! Why is that? I feel like I’m going crazy because all I’ve been able to think about for these past two weeks is you, and how every time you open your mouth it’s like déjà vu, and I just—I don’t know what’s happening.” Her green eyes were massive and she looked like she was on the edge of losing her shit.
I took a few steps toward her and lowered my voice. “Calm down, Indy. You’re fine.”
“I just don’t understand,” she said loudly, the pitch of her voice rising. “Do you believe in past lives?” she asked suddenly.
I paused, a laugh slipping past my lips. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Past lives? Like that whole stupid YOLO saying is really just bullshit, because we’re about to get another shot down the road?”
I tried to contain my smile, but she was really fucking adorable when she was like this. “What does that have to do with what you’re freaking out over?”
“In stories with soul mates they find each other no matter what in every life. And it’s like they have a weird connection they can’t explain.”
I closed the distance between us and dropped my head so I was looking directly into her eyes. “Are you saying we’re soul mates?”
“No!” she said, horror lacing her voice, her cheeks filling with heat.
“I think you were,” I teased.
“I wasn’t, I was just saying that in stories . . . I don’t know what I’m saying, okay? But I don’t get what’s going on with us!”
“So now there’s an us?”
“Oh my God,” she whispered. “I need to stop talking.”
I laughed and took a step back. “I’m teasing you, Indy. And no, I don’t believe in past lives. I think we have this one, and that’s it.”
She sighed, and her body visibly relaxed. When she spoke again, she sounded exhausted—and in a way, defeated. “I don’t, either, but I can’t figure out how to explain this feeling like I know you.”
I ground my jaw for a few seconds as her green eyes held mine. “Because maybe you do know me. You’re just not ready to remember why.”
Fouling Out by Tiffany King
The warmth inside the building was soothing after walking from the car outside. I felt mildly disappointed when Dalton dropped his arm from my shoulders, until he reached for my hand. As we strolled along, I became hyperaware of how something as innocent as handholding could become somewhat erotic while sipping wine together. Dalton slid his thumb across the top of my hand in slow methodical strokes before gently caressing my pulse point. The hairs on the back of my neck felt as if they were standing on end. Each sweep of his thumb was a sensual dance with my sensitive skin, making it tingle.
It was becoming apparent to me that it might have been a bad call on my part to skip lunch. Between the scent of Dalton’s cologne and the alcohol I was consuming, I was already feeling slightly intoxicated. I nibbled on a few cubes of cheese to attempt to alleviate the buzzing in my head. Dalton’s breath teased my neck, making me shiver in a good way. I should have put some distance between us so I could regain my bearings, but instead I snuggled closer to him, wishing we were somewhere else with a lot fewer people around.
All the air escaped my lungs as Dalton slowly captured a bead of wine from my bottom lip with his finger. I watched with bated breath as he moved the finger to his own mouth, sucking the drop of wine. It was all I could do not to moan as my insides turned to putty.
“You need to stop looking at me like that,” Dalton murmured in my ear.
“Like what?” I licked the rest of the wine off my lip with the tip of my tongue.
This time it was Dalton who groaned softly. Placing his hands on my hips, he slowly backed me into a dim corner, away from prying eyes. “Like you’re thinking how great it would feel if I hoisted you up on that wine barrel table over there with your legs wrapped around my waist.”
“Are you sure that’s not you thinking that?” My hips responded almost instinctively as he pulled me snugly against his body. I could feel him, rock hard, pressed to my stomach. The wanting desire I had been keeping at bay from the moment he showed up at my house looking practically delectable with low-riding jeans and a black V-neck sweater that accentuated his well-toned chest was threatening to explode.
I motioned for the bar. “Want me to get you a soda or a water?”
Chloe stared at me for another long moment before she said, “No, thanks.”
We listened to the next song quietly standing beside each other, lost in our own thoughts. Until she turned to me and said, “Truth or dare?”
“Dare,” I said, almost breathless. Given her mood, maybe she’d give me something good this time.
“Your turn, Blake,” she said. “Do something spontaneous.”
My fingers trembled from wanting to touch her so badly and all I could think about was doing just that.
“You sure that’s what you want?” I said, turning and backing her against the wall.
“Yes,” she breathed out.
“Something spontaneous or something I’ve been thinking about doing for days?” I said, my lips coming closer to hers. “Maybe weeks?”
Her breath caught. “It . . . it’s your call.”
My head swung forward, our foreheads practically touching. Fluttery breaths were escaping her lips. I place my arms on either side of her head and she bit down on her lip.
My heart thrashed in my chest and all I could think about was how desperate I was to kiss her, but how nervous I was to blow this opportunity.
So I attempted to read her signals and they were definitely mixed. Her eyes flitted between panic and lust.
When I pinned my hip against hers, I could’ve sworn I heard a low moan in the back of her throat.
“Please,” she rasped out. “Please . . . don’t . . . Blake.”
My stomach was in my throat. Fuck, either I’d scared her or I’d been reading her wrong.
I leaned back to give her space, but her fingers suddenly skimmed across my waist, clenching my shirt and drawing me nearer.
“Don’t what?” I asked in confusion. She was so fucking messing with my head.
“Don’t . . .” She was panting now. “Don’t stop.”
About the Authors:
A.L. Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of Take This Regret and Lost to You, as well as other contemporary romance titles, including Come to Me Quietly, Come to Me Softly, Pulled, When We Collide, and If Forever Comes.
She first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student. She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.
Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.
To stay up to date with important news on A.L. Jackson, including new releases, sales, and exclusive specials and excerpts, text “jackson” to 96000 to subscribe!
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Molly grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband and furry four-legged daughters. When she’s not diving into the world of her characters, some of her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and long walks on the beach … which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes. She has a weakness for crude-humored movies and fried pickles, and loves curling up in a fluffy comforter during a thunderstorm … or under one in a bathtub if there are tornados. That way she can pretend they aren’t really happening.
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USA Today Bestselling author Tiffany King is a lifelong reading fanatic who is now living her dream as a writer, weaving Young Adult and New Adult romance tales for others to enjoy. She has a loving husband and two wonderful kids. (Five, if you count her three spoiled cats). Her addictions include: Her iPhone and iPad, chocolate, Diet Coke, chocolate, Harry Potter, chocolate, zombies and her favorite TV shows. Want to know what they are? Just ask.
For information on any of Author Tiffany’s titles, visit her blog!
Where to connect with Author Tiffany:
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She’s addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. She believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.
Author of the Between Breaths series from Penguin. ALL OF YOU, BEFORE YOU BREAK and WHISPER TO ME available now, PROMISE ME THIS on October 7th, 2014.
Also Adult contemporary romance TWO OF HEARTS coming from Peguin/NAL on May 5th 2015.