Entangled’s 25 Days of Holidays Steals: Day 20

Entangled Publishing is celebrating the holidays with 25 Days of Holiday Steals. They will be spotlighting a special steal of a deal each day from December 1st through December 25th. So be sure to check back each day to see what special offer is up for grabs that day!

Today’s Steal is… 

The Twelve Days of Seduction by Eva Devon is FREE!

So be sure to grab your copy today!

Alexander Hunt, Eighth Duke of Berresford, is aware his ward’s governess misrepresented herself to gain employment, and he’s quite displeased, even if she is one of the most intelligent women’s he’s ever met. His ward deserves a reputable governess, so he threatens to give Adriana the sack mere days before Christmas.

Desperate to convince the sexy duke not to tear her from the little girl she’s grown to adore, Adriana challenges him to prove she’s not the reputable governess he believed he hired. If he can seduce her before the Twelve Days of Christmas have come to an end, she will leave without protest.

But when they find the challenge more difficult than either imagined, can they face the consequences of their decisions?

 

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Entangled’s 25 Days of Holiday Steals: Day 19

Entangled Publishing is celebrating the holidays with 25 Days of Holiday Steals. They will be spotlighting a special steal of a deal each day from December 1st through December 25th. So be sure to check back each day to see what special offer is up for grabs that day!

Today’s Steal is… 

Get 4 great stories for one low price

The ‘Tis the Season Bundle including novellas from Amy Andrews, Aimee Carson, Heidi Rice and Kate Hardy is just 99¢!

Grab your copy today!

‘Tis the Season to Kiss Santa by Kate Hardy
With the help of a sprig of mistletoe and some snow angels, a recently single pastry chef teaches a highly successful and sexy Scrooge the true meaning of the holidays on a snowy Christmas Eve that quickly heats up.

‘Tis the Season to Get Lucky by Heidi Rice
When a Christmas Day blizzard strands an up-and-coming marketing manager and her boss’s very off-limits, very hot playboy son in his department store, the two toe the line between naughty and nice as they unwrap their holiday presents—and each other!

‘Tis the Season to be Kissed by Amy Andrews
A down-on-her-romantic-luck kindergarten teacher plans to drown her New Year’s Eve sorrows in a gallon of spiked eggnog, but the arrival of her best friend’s sexy brother threatens to melt the snow piling up outside the tiny Vermont cabin.

‘Tis the Season to be Tempted by Aimee Carson
After the worst year ever, a jilted music manager rings in the New Year alone, swearing off men forever. But things get complicated when her brother’s best friend, the perfect man with the perfect body, tempts her to break her vow—if only for one hot night!

 

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Entangled’s 25 Days of Holiday Steals: Day 18

Entangled Publishing is celebrating the holidays with 25 Days of Holiday Steals. They will be spotlighting a special steal of a deal each day from December 1st through December 25th. So be sure to check back each day to see what special offer is up for grabs that day!

Today’s Steal is… 

Saving the CEO by Jenny Holiday is just 99¢!

Grab your copy today!

A 2015 Golden Quill Winner in the Series category!

Rules were meant to be broken …

Real estate mogul Jack Winter has rules. Lots of rules. After all, a man doesn’t build an empire without a little discipline. And on page one of the rulebook? Don’t sleep with your employees. Especially when there’s a multi-million dollar real estate deal at stake…

Luckily for Jack, Cassie James isn’t really his employee. She’s a hot bartender who just happens to be the math genius he needs, and if they share a wicked chemistry? Well, that’s just a sexy little perk. So they strike a deal: Cassie helps Jack with the merger. And until the deal goes through at Christmas, they can indulge every sexy little impulse they desire.

But the more rules Jack makes, the more he seems to break…

 

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The Rising Series by Holly Kelly #BookBlitz

The Rising Series Box Set
Holly Kelly
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: December 12th 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult

A magical underwater realm awaits! Own books 1-3 of the Best-Selling Rising series by acclaimed author Holly Kelly.

This value-priced boxed set includes the first three novels in the best-selling Rising series: Rising (with an exclusive bonus scene), Descending, and Avenging. Beautifully packaged with brilliant new cover art, this set is perfect for any fan of Greek Mythology and Mermaid Romance stories. Order the Rising series today and submerge yourself in an underwater world full of passion, romance, intrigue and adventure.

Rising: Contains a newly released scene! In a war between the humans and the inhabitants of the sea—humans will lose. Xanthus Dimitriou—the most lethal Dagonian to rise from the ocean—is on a mission to save mankind from annihilation. There’s just one thing standing in his way: the life of a beautiful young woman…

Descending: When Xanthus cashes in a long-standing favor, Kyros is faced with doing two things he thought he’d never do—protect a mermaid and live on land.
Avenging: Two thousand years ago, King Triton witnessed the slaughter and total annihilation of his merchildren. Devastated by the loss, he vowed to never again father a child. Powerful, handsome, and eternally youthful, Triton was no stranger to seduction—yet his resolve was unwavering…until he met Nicole.

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EXCERPT:

He knew what he had to do, what he’d done countless times before. As a trained soldier, he had a sacred duty to protect his people, guard their secret, and uphold the law. This female’s presence here was not only a criminal act, but it also presented an imminent threat. And because of that, his course was clear.

He had to kill her.

His plan lay clearly before him. Blanketed in the shadows, he’d enter her apartment window. Moving silently, he’d strike fast. Before she could cry out for help, he’d have her throat slit wide open. With her blood flowing swiftly, she’d be dead in mere seconds. The fact that she bathed at this time added to the ease of the execution. Clean up would be simple. Before the night ended, it would be as if she’d never existed. The Dagonian threat of exposure would be wiped clean from the human world.

Xanthus stood, his feet rooted in place under her window. Her sweet scent surrounded him as he listened to her pitiful sobs. Then, in that moment, he did the most shameful thing he’d ever done in his life.

He hesitated.

No, he didn’t merely hesitate. He halted. Fingering his blade in his holster, he willed his feet to move, but they seemed unwilling to obey. Then his mind latched onto a thought. It was no crime to wait for a more opportune time or a more secluded place to strike. He didn’t need to act rashly. True, finding her here in the human world shocked him, but he needed to be clear-headed and sure when he killed her.

He made his way back to his vehicle and climbed behind the wheel. He leaned his head back against the seat, closed his eyes, and attempted to clear his head.

He’d be back and she would die. She deserved to die. She may have the voice of an angel, but that was a lie. She was a traitor, a threat to their people. No other explanation made sense.

Xanthus looked toward the little female’s apartment building across the street. Could she have found a more dangerous place to live? This Dagonian female probably felt at home with these bottom-feeders.

Probably? Aw Hades. He cursed himself and the doubt in his mind. He doubly cursed that he couldn’t seem to stop himself from caring about her welfare. He’d be killing her himself, after all. The traitor had to die, regardless of his feelings and no matter how appealing she was. Of course, if she died by a human’s hands then he wouldn’t…

No.

He shook his head at his own idiotic thoughts. If a human killed her, then her body would be taken to the morgue, for the humans to see. He couldn’t let that happen. He had to be the one to kill her and carefully dispose of her body. And he would, soon.

Just not tonight.

 

Author Bio:

Holly Kelly is a mom who writes books in her spare time: translation–she hides in the bathroom with her laptop and locks the door while the kids destroy the house and smear peanut butter on the walls. She was born in Utah but moved around a bit, living in Kansas, Texas, and Hawaii where she studied marine biology. She’s now back in Utah–“happy valley”. She’s married to a wonderful husband, James, and they are currently raising 6 rambunctious children. Her interests are reading, writing (or course), martial arts, visual arts, creating Halloween props, and spending time with family.

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Entangled’s 25 Days of Holiday Steals: Day 15

Entangled Publishing is celebrating the holidays with 25 Days of Holiday Steals. They will be spotlighting a special steal of a deal each day from December 1st through December 25th. So be sure to check back each day to see what special offer is up for grabs that day!

Today’s Steal is… 

Defying Gravity by Kendra C. Highley is just 99¢!

Grab your copy today!

Disclaimer: This book contains enough sexual tension to melt snow, the hottest near-kiss in the history of near-kisses, and a sexy snowboarder determined to win the heart of the girl he loves.

Zoey Miller lives for her holidays in Aspen. Her time up on the mountain with the Madison brothers, Parker and Luke, is everything. But for the first time, it’s not enough. This time, she’s determined to win one of the brothers’ hearts. But the brother she has in mind is a renowned player, with hordes of snow-bunnies following him around Snowmass resort. And the other…well, he’s her best friend and knows she deserves better. Namely him. And he’s going to win her heart.

Get Your Copy

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And don’t forget to check out the rest of our holiday fun here!

 

Entangled’s 25 Days of Holiday Steals: Day 14

Entangled Publishing is celebrating the holidays with 25 Days of Holiday Steals. They will be spotlighting a special steal of a deal each day from December 1st through December 25th. So be sure to check back each day to see what special offer is up for grabs that day!

Today’s Steal is… 

Crashed Out by Tessa Bailey is just 99¢!

Grab your copy today!

His inspiration. His torment. And his temptation…

Jasmine Taveras is the reason Sarge Purcell grabbed his six-string and bailed the hell out of New Jersey four years ago. She’s the fuel for every song he’s ever written—each one laced with bitter, hard-edged, hungry lust. Now, with his hugely successful band on temporary hiatus, Sarge is determined to prove to Jasmine that this “kid” turned into every inch the man she’s always needed…

Men are slim pickings for a single factory girl in Hook, New Jersey…until tall, broad-shouldered hotness walks—or rather storms—into Jasmine’s life. Sarge’s return shouldn’t affect her this way. He’s her best friend’s much younger kid brother, and the kind of rough, gritty, sexiness Jasmine has no right to taste for herself. Even if he lets her.

But lust is a blinding, insatiable force. And when it crashes, it will take both Sarge and Jasmine down with it…

 

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My Review

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Entangled’s 25 Days of Steals: Day 3

 

Entangled Publishing is celebrating the holidays with 25 Days of Holiday Steals. They will be spotlighting a special steal of a deal each day from December 1st through December 25th. So be sure to check back each day to see what special offer is up for grabs that day!

Today’s Steal is… 

This steal is perfect if you are ever snowbound and need a great holiday read.

Snowbound with Mr. Wrong by Barbara White Daille is on sale for just 99¢!

So be sure to grab your copy today.

Worst. Day. Ever. After Lyssa Barnett’s sister tricks her into reprising her role at Snowflake Valley’s annual children’s party, she doesn’t think anything can be worse than squeezing into her too-small elf costume. Then tall, dark, and way too handsome Nick Tavlock shows up to play Santa…and an unexpected storm leaves them snowbound in the isolated lodge.The last thing Nick wants is to spend a cozy Christmas Eve with a trio of kids and the woman who dumped him. But as much as Lyssa frustrates him, he can’t stop thinking about her. And soon, he’s fighting very un-Santa-like thoughts of kissing a certain sexy Miss Elf under the mistletoe. As Nick starts to fall for Lyssa all over again, he knows it will take nothing short of a miracle to have Lyssa in his arms on Christmas Day.

 

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  1. And don’t forget to check out the rest of our holiday fun here!

Six Degrees of Scandal by Caroline Linden #Excerpt + 50 Ways to Sin

Enter to Win a Print Bundle of the Scandalous Series Books 1-3, 
Includes LOVE AND OTHER SCANDALS, IT TAKES A SCANDAL 
and LOVE IN THE TIME OF SCANDAL
SIX DEGREES OF SCANDAL by Caroline Linden
Scandalous #4
Releasing March 29th, 2016 from Avon Books
Olivia Townsend is in trouble and out of options. Pursued by a desperate man in search of a lost treasure, which she doesn’t have, she’s got only two things in her favor: her late husband’s diary, which she was never meant to see… and the man who was her first-and only-love. Losing him broke her heart, though she’s been careful to hide it for the last ten years. But when he comes to her aid and vows to stand by her this time, no matter what, she can’t help but hope things will be different this time.
James Weston has blamed himself for letting Olivia down when she needed him years ago, and he will not do it again. Fortunately, his unusual life has equipped him well to outsmart the villain chasing Olivia. Unfortunately, being so near her again threatens to expose every secret in his heart…even those that should stay hidden forever.

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Caroline Linden was born a reader, not a writer. She earned a math degree from Harvard University and wrote computer software before turning to writing fiction. Ten years, twelve books, three Red Sox championships, and one dog later, she has never been happier with her decision.
Her books have won the NEC Reader’s Choice Beanpot Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and RWA’s RITA Award. Since she never won any prizes in math, she takes this as a sign that her decision was also a smart one. Visit her online at www.carolinelinden.com.

You can enjoy the first issue of 50 Ways to Sin at Caroline’s website by clicking on the picture below:

A tapping beside her broke into her thoughts. She glanced out the window and saw the boy who had lured her into trouble, grinning as he crouched out of sight next to the carriage. “Do you walk in the woods?” he whispered.

Alarmed, she shook her head, even though she did walk in the woods every chance she got. Telling him that would only cause her more trouble.

Disappointment flickered over his face. “Oh well.” He stepped back. “Good-bye, then.” He walked back to his family. Olivia eyed them curiously. The father was tall and lean, and his wife was very pretty, with a gloriously beautiful gown. Two girls about Daphne’s age stood beside her, although the blond girl was fidgeting in boredom and ran up to her brother as he approached them. He laughed at whatever she said, the carefree sound floating back to Olivia’s ears. Neither of his parents reproved him for laughing on Sunday.

The Herbert coachman finally snapped his whip and set the horses in motion. Olivia watched the Westons as the coach drove away. Upstarts they might be, but they looked like happy ones.

She had almost forgotten the impudent boy several days later, when she finished her lessons and was able to slip out of the house. Mother wouldn’t approve, but Mother had gone into town to the dressmaker, and Miss Willets, the governess, was fond of sneaking a glass of sherry and having an afternoon nap when Mother was away. This suited the girls quite well. Daphne retreated to the nursery with her dolls, where she fashioned new dresses for them out of scraps of Mother’s discarded gowns, and Olivia stole a book from the library and headed for the woods. Mother said Shakespeare was vulgar and too exciting for ladies, which made Olivia eager to read his plays, even though she was forced to hide away to do so.

There was a quiet little glen not too far from Kellan Hall, the Herbert home, with a fallen tree and enough sun to be pleasant without being hot. Settled on the tree, with her feet propped on a nearby stone, Olivia had just reached the magnificent scene where Romeo revealed himself to Juliet and professed his love in words that would rend the heart of any sentient being . . . when someone spoke behind her.

“I thought you didn’t walk in the woods.”

She gave a little scream and dropped her book. “You—you,” she spluttered. “I am not walking!” It was a stupid thing to say, but he had interrupted at a very inopportune moment. Would Juliet return Romeo’s love?

“Oh, did you come into the woods by carriage?” He jumped over the tree trunk and scooped up the book. “Romeo, eh? Do you like it?”

She glared at him and reached for the book. “Yes.”

He handed it back. “It wasn’t one of my favorites. My sisters wanted to act it out, but Penelope kept giggling when she was supposed to be dying.”

Olivia’s eyes widened. Dying? Which character died? She hoped it wasn’t Juliet. “Don’t tell me any more!”

“I liked that Henry V, though,” he went on. “Smashing good battle. I’m James, by the way. James Weston.”

She gave him a reproachful look. It wasn’t proper for a gentleman to introduce himself to a lady, and he ought to know that, even if he wasn’t a gentleman. “I know.”

He grinned. In the sunlight his brown hair had an auburn hue, and his eyes were sharp and lively. He couldn’t be much more than thirteen or fourteen, but he was already tall in Olivia’s view. “And you’re Miss Olivia Herbert of Kellan Hall.”

“Yes.” She lowered her gaze to her book, hoping he would go away.

“So,” he said after a moment, “if you only walk in the woods to find a place to read, you must know about the waterfall.”

Her eyes stopped taking in the words on the page. “Waterfall?” she asked, intrigued in spite of herself.

He tilted his head and gave her a sly smile. “I can show you.”

Slowly she closed the book. “Is it far?”

“No.”

And before she knew it, she was following him along a winding track through the trees, to where a small stream splashed over a fall of rocks. It was no taller than Olivia herself, but it brought a smile to her face. She’d lived at Kellan Hall all her life and never discovered it.

Eighteen (18) by J.A. Huss #BookBlitz


Eighteen (18) Based on a True Story
J.A. Huss
Publication date: November 18th 2015
Genres: New Adult Taboo Romance

Eighteen is hard.
And so is Mateo Alesci.
He’s hard to read, hard to predict, hard in every way that counts. He wants things from me.
Dirty things, nasty things, forbidden things.
And I have to give in.
His attention is completely inappropriate, but I can’t say no. The way he looks at me… the way he watches me through my bedroom window… the way he drags me deeper and deeper into his completely forbidden fantasy world just… turns me on.
He knows it turns me on.
He holds all the power. He holds all the cards.
He holds my entire future in his hands.
And I have to give in.
Because Mr. Alesci is my teacher.
And I need everything he’s offering.

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EXCERPT:

“You came,” he says, after a few moments of rest. His eyes open and he looks straight at me. “You came in my mouth.”
I just stare back. Unable to talk. Unable to comprehend what he’s saying. “You’re a liar.”
He smiles. “But I’m a good one, right?”
“What?”
“You believed me. And you know why you believed me, Shannon?”
“That never happened?”
He scoffs. “Please, how drunk would you have to be for me to suck you off and never wake you up? Do you know why you believed me?”
“You’re a psycho,” I say, floored.
“Because you want to believe me.”
I shake my head slowly. “I don’t believe you. You’re a very good liar, Mateo. And that’s not something to be proud of.”
“Right. So why are you so sure Danny Alexander is the nice one, and not me?”
“Because look at you,” I scoff. “You’re such a fucking freak.”
“I’m sitting here in a chair, masturbating as I tell you a fantasy, Shannon. It’s hot.” And then he laughs. “You know it is.”
“It’s weird,” I say. “I’m speechless with you most of the time because you’re blowing my fucking mind. You make no sense to me. You don’t follow the rules.”
“Whose rules? Your rules?”
“School rules, for one. You’re my fucking teacher!”
“Technically, no. I’m a subcontractor. But ethically, yes.”
“It’s the ethics that count, don’t you think?”
“So walk out. Report me to Bowman. Call the police. Do whatever the fuck you want.”
My thoughts are racing around in my head. “Maybe I will.”
“At least you’d be invested. At least you’d stop just sitting here, begging me to get you out of this.”
“Beg you!” Holy shit. “To get me out of what?” I just want to punch him in the fucking face right now.
“Life.”
“OK,” I huff. “I’m done here.” I push my chair back to stand, but his words stop me.
“You want to skate through school, you said, take tests and call it learning. You want the prize without the work that goes into it. You want things you don’t deserve.”
“You don’t know what I deserve,” I say quietly. “You have no idea what I deserve.”
“I know,” he says, nodding. “But I do know what you don’t deserve. And you can deny it all you want, it won’t change the fact that you didn’t earn it. I’m asking you to earn it.”
“Earn what, Mateo? You make no sense.”
“It.” he replies. And then he lifts his hands up towards the ceiling.
“What’s any of this,” I say, lifting my hands up in the same way, “have to do with sex?”
He just smiles. “Nothing at all. It’s got nothing at all to do with sex. I just like you and I want to fuck you, and tease you, and play you. Not like that,” he says, seeing the anger inside me building. “Not like a victim, Shannon. Like an instrument.”
He reaches over for a roll of paper towels sitting on the table next to him, rips one off, and cleans up the mess on his stomach. He throws it into the trash, stands up, and puts himself back together.
“If you want to walk away,” he says, grabbing his book from the table, “go ahead. Report me to Bowman, tell the police, do whatever the fuck you want. But I’m trying to tell you, I’m invested. So go date Danny Alexander if you want. You can quit this class and drop out of school. You can fuck everything up. You’re a grown woman, you can make whatever choice you feel is best. But when you look back in ten years and wonder where it all went wrong, don’t blame me, Shannon. Because I gave a fuck and you walked out.”
And then he walks out. He’s got that stupid book in his hand and he just walks out and leaves me there.
Stunned.

650everything_is_Hard


Author Bio:
JA Huss is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty romances. She likes stories about family, loyalty, and extraordinary characters who struggle with basic human emotions while dealing with bigger than life problems. JA loves writing heroes who make you swoon, heroines who makes you jealous, and the perfect Happily Ever After ending.
You can chat with her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AuthorJAHuss), Twitter (@jahuss), and her kick-ass romance blog, New Adult Addiction (www.newadultaddiction.com).
If you’re interested in getting your hands on an advanced release copy of her upcoming books, sneak peek teasers, or information on her upcoming personal appearances, you can join her newsletter list (http://eepurl.com/JVhAr) and get those details delivered right to your inbox.


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Rebel by Elle Casey #BookBlitz


Rebel
Elle Casey
(Rebel Wheels #1)
Publication date: October 29th 2013
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR, ELLE CASEY brings readers Book 1 of 3 in the New Adult Romance Series, REBEL WHEELS.
Teagan Cross, college senior, rebel, and wiseass extraordinaire, goes from princess to pauper in a single phone call. Overnight, her life of privilege becomes one of survival, and no matter where she turns, it seems like the world is out to get her. She’s not going to fall apart, though. She’s a rebel and she’s strong … determined to live life on her own terms … and nothing’s going to stop her from getting things done and making things right. But when a twist of fate brings her to the doorstep of a different kind of Rebel, she’s forced to figure out when something’s worth fighting for and when something’s worth letting go.
Content Warning: Contains sexy adult situations, creative foul language, and some mild violence. May not be appropriate for younger readers.

Grab it FREE for a limited time only!


EXCERPT:
My name’s Teagan. I know, I know … the name. Twenty-two years ago, my mother thought a Welsh name for her only child would be beautiful. Teagan means pretty, so it should have fit perfectly. Who has an ugly baby, right? I guess I did okay in the looks department. I’m not too short, not too tall. Eating chips and gummy bears every day has no effect on my somewhat athletic frame, and I’ve been told my green eyes compliment my pale complexion. The problem with the name Teagan is my mom never considered the creative names kids would morph it into.

“Yo, Teabag, what’s up?”
I flip Perry Spitler off, but he just laughs as he passes on by.
He and I have an understanding; when we see each other on campus, he insults me, I flip him off, and we never actually talk. It suits us both just fine. Making out with him and then ralphing on his shoes in freshman year was one of the best moves I’ve ever made in my climb up the social ladder at UCLA.
“Why do you even talk to that douche canoe?” asks my friend Quin as she brushes out her long, black hair. Quinlan is her real name, but she refuses to answer to it. We both have a thing with names, which is only one of the many reasons we get along so well. “I hear he puts toy cars in dark places on weekends.” She puts away her brush and takes a bite of an energy bar, chewing it like a cow and waiting for my reaction.
I’m both intrigued and disgusted. “And by toy cars and dark places we mean…” I twist my longish, wavy brown hair up into a bun and stick a pencil in it to keep it from falling to my shoulders again. It’s frigging hot out here in the student union today. Dry heat, my butt.
“Literally. Like that movie Jackass. He put a toy car in his asshole at a party the other night.”
I snort in disbelief and disgust. “He did not.”
Quin puts up her hand like a girl scout. “Swear. Guy’s an asscar driver.”
I’m really happy I barfed on him now. Really, really happy. The kiss we shared? Well, we’ll just tally that up to a serious lapse in judgment on my part. In my defense, there were copious amounts of beer involved.
I can’t help but stare at his butt as he goes by. “Remind me not to accept any rides from him in the future.”
We collapse in immature giggles that have Perry turning around and frowning. Watching his face and imagining that I can see he’s walking with a slight limp only makes it worse. By the time I can see clearly again, he’s gone.
“Man, I totally needed that.” I can feel the good mood drugs floating around in my brain. Now the upcoming Summer of Doom doesn’t seem quite so bleak.
“You ready for summer break?” Quin asks, crumpling up the wrapper to her energy bar and throwing it on the ground.
I lean down and pick it up, sighing as I stick it in my bag. This is her thing. This is my thing. This is how we roll, with her being a pain in the ass and me picking up after her. “No. I’m not ready. I want to stay here and hang out with you and all the cool people.”
“No, you don’t. Do you know how hot it gets here in the summer? Ugh.” She brushes crumbs off her lap. “I am going to literally cook in my own skin, like a poached egg.”
“You forget, I’ve lived here for almost four years now, and No Cal isn’t that different.”
“But you always leave in the summer, and No Cal is different, so that doesn’t count. By the time you get back this September for your very last semester – by the way, you completely suck for graduating before me – all the poaching will be done.”
“You should come with me. Silicon Valley’s got a drier heat than LA.” I’m lying, but she’ll never know.
She faces me, not smiling. That’s a rare expression for her, as Quin-grins come frequently and often without provocation. We’re not much alike in that way; my smiles are rationed for only truly happy moments.
“You should invite me, and maybe I would,” she says.
“I always invite you.”
“No, you don’t. You just say, ‘You should come.’ That’s not the same thing.”
“What do you want, an engraved invitation?” A tiny spark of hope glimmers in my chest. Summer would only suck half as much if Quin were with me back at my father’s place.
“Yes. That would work.” She sniffs and looks off into the distance.
“I’ll seriously do it, if that’s what it would take to finally get you up there.”
“No, don’t bother. I can’t go.”
“Why? Because LA’s social scene would never survive without you?”
“No.” She stands, brushing off her legs. “Come on, we’re going to be late.”
“Late for what? My classes were all done as of twenty minutes ago.”
“I have an appointment with a milkshake over at McDonald’s House of Horrors. Come on. Your treat.”
We begin the long walk across campus. “I’ll pay for your ticket,” I say, testing the waters. I don’t know why I bother, though.
“Nope. I pay my own way.”
“Do you have the money?”
“No. You know I’m broke.” Quin is always broke. She lives off the kindness of others and a scholarship. I’m not even sure what the scholarship is for. Do they give scholarships for being a smartass? Because if they do, she qualifies for a full ride.
“Then let me pay,” I say.
“No.”
“You can pay me back.”
“No.”
I try a different tack. “It’s because you don’t like me, I know. Admit it.”
“No, that’s not it, and if you try and guilt me into doing it, we won’t be friends anymore.”
“That’s a lie.”
“Yes, it is, but still … I won’t let you pay.”
I give her my puppy dog eyes. “I’m going to be desperately lonely.”
“No, you won’t be. You’ll have a bodyguard babysitter.”
I sigh. “They always suck.”
“That last one didn’t.”
“The last one was like forty years old!”
“So? What do you want to do? Fuck them or just have them take a bullet for you?”
“Can’t I do both?”
We laugh, knowing I’m full of crap. I actually liked the last guy assigned to babysit me, the guy being paid to assuage my father’s paranoia. He actually believes there are people in silicon valley trolling the neighborhoods for executives’ kids, since according to him they’d make really excellent kidnapping targets.
Jim was the name of my last babysitter. Maybe I’ll get him again and we can play chess all summer like we did last year. I’ve never slept with one of my dad’s employees. They’re always married, ugly, old, or a trifecta of all three. Besides, my dad would kill us both if I did something that stupid. We don’t fraternize with the help.
That’s what my uber arrogant step-mother says, anyway, although I’m not so sure she hasn’t put that rule to the side from time to time with the pool boy. Seriously … I’m not kidding. The pool boy.
“What are you thinking about right now?” Quin asks me. “I.O.U. for your thoughts.”
“I’m thinking how much I hate The Heinous One for being such a bag of dicks.”
Quin smiles. “I’m really looking forward to meeting your step-mother at graduation, you know that? I’m totally going to call her that to her face.”
I smile back. “Me too. Some day.” When I find a way to support myself and don’t have to worry about my father cutting me off.

Author Bio:
Elle Casey is a prolific, NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling American writer who lives in Southern France with her husband, three kids, and several furry friends. She writes in several genres and publishes an average of one full-length novel per month.


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