Date Archive

May 2013

The One with the THIRD Garrick Bonus Scene

GUYS!!!

FAKING IT comes out SOOOOO SOON. Like just days from now. And we’ve hit our third pre-order goal, which means another bonus scene! Read it below and then keep scrolling to find out how to get the very last Garrick bonus scene :)


The One Where He Changes His Mind

I could die happy watching Bliss dance. She held her hands up to her chest, opened her mouth in a silent scream, and bounced from side to side. She shook her head, her hair whirling.

Just watching her made me feel younger, happier. And I loved that she could be this girl—carefree and exuberant—and also put forth the kind of performance she’d given yesterday at auditions.

Her performance burrowed under my skin and tore me open. She transformed on stage, and she took us all with her.

Last night had been the hardest night yet to stay away from her. Seeing her out with her friends, celebrating, I had wanted her to be with me.

I tore my eyes away from her waist and the strip of skin revealed there as she danced.

I said, “I’m guessing you saw the list.”

She froze, and it was so hard to hold in my laugh. I imagined the blush creeping across her skin, and then got to see it a few seconds later as she turned.

“Hi Garrick.”

I would never get tired of hearing her say my name.”

“Hello Bliss. Congratulations.”

She ran her hands through her hair, taming it, and I had to fist my hands to keep from assisting.

Every morning when I woke up, I told myself this wasn’t a big deal. I could handle it… resisting her. But then I would see her in person, and it would be so much harder than I anticipated.

She said, “Thank you. I’m ,uh, pretty excited.”

“As you should be. Your audition…” There were so many things I wanted to say, but all of them seemed too telling. I stepped closer, and lowered my voice so no one else could hear. “Your audition was fantastic. There was no competition.” Then again, I was biased. I never saw anyone else when she was around.

Her voice was breathy and tempting when she said, “Thank you.”

“But Friday night…”

“Oh God—“

There were so many things I wanted to say about that night. How much I’d hated seeing her with Cade, how tempted I’d been to accept her invitation and join their party. I chose the most innocuous of my thoughts.

“As ridiculously cute as you were, please don’t get that drunk again. Eric will need you to be at your absolute best for this role.”

“Of course.” Her eyes were wide and panicked. “Absolutely. I promise.”

“And… I was worried about you too.”

Mostly that.

“Oh.”

I looked from the circle of her lips to the wisps of hair that still stood out of place and down to the leg she’d burned on my motorcycle.

“I don’t like being worried about you.”

She looked up at me from beneath her lashes, and I couldn’t resist not touching her in some way. I restrained myself to just touching a curl instead of her skin.

She smiled, and it devastated me. Leveled me completely.

“You should probably worry about yourself. Calling me ‘cute’ again is bound to get you injured, possibly maimed.”

I loved when she got cheeky. With how she made me feel, I might willingly let her maim me.

Like her skin was magnetic, my hand in her hair swayed in, and my knuckles brushed against her cheek.

I should have held my tongue, but I had impulse-control problems where she was concerned. “Since I can’t very well call you the alternative here, ‘cute’ will have to do for now.”

I’d just have to call her sexy in my mind. And maybe someday…

I cleared my throat and put a few feet between us. That was dangerous territory, thinking we had any possible future. I was her teacher, and she had Cade, and that was only the beginning.

I said, “why don’t you go take a seat for class?”

She left and I took a few moments to collect myself and put on my teacher persona before I had to face her again.

When class ended, I was eager to escape up to my office for a break, but then Bliss re-entered the theatre with Eric. I’d forgotten he wanted to talk to her about callbacks tonight.

She took a seat right beside me, and I concentrated on not reacting to her presence. The last thing I needed was for Eric to detect whatever was going on between us. Or not going on.

I looked at her, and her expression was strained, lined with fear. I wanted to take her hand and put her at ease, but I settled for a smile instead.
Eric said, “Bliss… I have to admit I’m surprised.”

She exhaled sharply, her hands fisted, and I realized what had her so scared. She thought she was in trouble. She thought we were in trouble. I wanted to assure her, but she didn’t look at me again. Her dread-filled eyes stayed locked on Eric. I hated that I’d even put her in a situation where she felt she had to be afraid.

When Eric began talking about her audition and callbacks, she released an audible breath. I didn’t realize how tense I was until she relaxed, and I allowed myself to follow.

That evening she took a seat in front of me in the theatre while Eric went to grab a few last minute things before callbacks started.

She sat stiff and uncomfortable. I leaned down, wanting to say something to diffuse the tension, but she beat me to it.

She said awkwardly, “Hey… friend.”

I laughed. How was it that even when she was adorable, I found her irresistibly sexy?

I said, “Not quite believable, but A for effort.”

She scoffed. “Someone’s an easy grader.”

“Someone just has a soft spot where you are concerned.”

She shivered slightly and tipped her head to the side. My eyes went to the neck that had fascinated me from the beginning, and I clutched the back of her seat to keep my hand occupied.

I had to learn how to hold my tongue around her.

“Sorry,” I said. “Sometimes I forget.”

Wishful thinking, mostly.

One of these times that wishful thinking was going to get me into serious trouble. Or slapped. If I were a better man, I would have backed off by now.

Instead, I leaned closer. I cleared my throat and said, “I have to ask you something.”

“Okay.”

Before I could let reason catch up to my impulses, I said, “Cade.”

She turned, and the scent of her hair nearly did me in.

She raised an eyebrow and said, “That’s not a question.”

Ah, hell. I’d already gone this far.

“You’re still with him?” I asked.

“With him?”

Damn, she was really going to make me say it.

“I just—I can’t tell. You still sit together in class, but it’s different now. So, I thought maybe you two had broken it off.”

Hoped was the better word. I had not business hoping for that kind of thin, but it was one of those things you just couldn’t fight. Like the sun rising in the sky, the coming of spring, the fall of rain. Hope wasn’t something I could turn off; no matter how much easier it would be to do so.

She said, “There was nothing to break off.”

“What?”

“Yes! Cade and I aren’t together. We never have been.”

That hope burned so bright that there were two suns for just a moment.

I tried to make sense of everything that had happened. I thought for sure it all had stemmed from Cade—her leaving the night we first met, that crazy cat excuse, all her odd behavior since then.

She insisted, “I didn’t run out because of Cade. I had to get my cat…”

I signed. “Bliss, I’m not an idiot.”

“I have a cat! I do! Um… she’s gray and adorable and her name is… Hamlet.”

My brows furrowed. “You have a cat named Hamlet?”

“I do.” She was so confident. “I definitely, definitely do.”

Maybe I was completely off. I hadn’t exactly had the best judgment as of late. It was possible I’d misjudged everything. Maybe.

“Fine. So, if you’re not dating Cade, what’s going on between the two of you?”

Her cheeks began to pink before she even answered, “Nothing.”

So maybe I wasn’t so far off after all.

“You’re a terrible liar.”

“It’s nothing. It’s just something that happened Friday when I was… how do you British people say it? Pissed? Sloshed?”

My stomach sank like it was weighted with concrete.

“Did you sleep with him?” I asked.

Just the words made me nauseated. If I let myself think beyond that, I’d go mental. I didn’t realize I had a death grip on the back of her chair until she said, “What? No!”

The relief was overwhelming.

“Good.” That was an understatement.

“Garrick…”

I was so glad I couldn’t even conjure an ounce of guilt. I was tired of beating myself up over this.

“What? Just because I can’t have you right now, doesn’t mean I’m okay with him having you.”

God, it felt good to be honest.

She blinked and shook her head. “I’m going to pretend you didn’t just refer to me like property to be owned.”

“Can’t we own each other?”

If I was going to go around feeling guilty all the time, I sure as hell intended to do something worth feeling guilty over.

“What has gotten into you?” she asked. “I thought you promised me we wouldn’t do this again.”

Now that Cade was out of the picture I was having trouble remember why I made that promise.

“I don’t know. I just… I’ve been going crazy thinking about the two of you together.”

“We kissed. Nothing else.”

Those words stung like a slap, and I flinched back.

She added, “It was just a kiss. It didn’t mean anything.”

“I don’t want anyone else to kiss you.”

Just knowing my lips hadn’t been the last to touch hers made me want to do something bad… something I definitely should do when Eric could walk back in at any minute.

“Garrick…” I didn’t like that exasperated tone she kept using, but I’d take it as long as she kept saying my name.

“I know I’m not being fair.” The way things had happened between us… that wasn’t fair either. “I’m being a right bastard actually. I keep telling myself to leave you alone, but the truth is… I’m not sure I can. And now that I know you’re not with Cade…”

“What are you saying?”

I was tired of saying everything. Words just got in the way. Words made me think I had to stay away from her, and for what? A job that was only lasting a few more months anyway?

No, I’d had about enough of words.

I’d always been an action kind of man anyway.


 

 

Yay! Now we only have a few more days to meet our last pre-order goal. So tell your friends, post on facebook and twitter, spread the word however you can.

Because the last scene, titled “The One Where Bliss Gets Her Way” is not one you’re going to want to miss. :)

Also, you’ve got less than a day left to enter to win a signed ARC of FAKING IT here!

The One with the SECOND Garrick Bonus Scene

My loves! We’ve hit another FAKING IT pre-order goal! And that means that you all get another Garrick BONUS SCENE! If you have no idea what this is all about go here. If you missed the first Bonus Garrick Scene go here. Otherwise… DIVE RIGHT IN.

The One Where They Meet… Again.

When I woke Monday morning, I thought maybe I’d dreamed her. That she was the strangest, most elusive siren ever. Or maybe that the universe was punishing me for breaking Jenna’s heart.

Mostly, I spent my morning guzzling coffee and resisting the urge to walk back over to her apartment and knock on the door.

I would give it a few days, and then go back. See if I could make sense of whatever the hell happened the night before. It was obviously an excuse, but I just couldn’t understand why. I’d given her several opportunities to get out, but she’d been the one to keep pulling us along. So, either I’d done something wrong or… I had nothing. I had to have done something, said something that made her change her mind, to make her literally run away from me.

I left bright and early to get to the university. As I settled onto my bike, I couldn’t help but think of the burn on her leg, and wondered how it was.

That could be my excuse to check in on her. Maybe tonight. That would be long enough, right?

Damn it.

I made myself focus on the road.

It was strange to pull onto campus and not have to join the hoards of students circling the parking lot like vultures for a spot near the Fine Arts building. Instead I zipped around the lot and pulled into one of the reserved faculty spaces.

I pulled off my helmet and shook the hair out of my face.

Faculty. Jesus.

I was less than an hour away from being a professor. People in their twenties, only a handful of years younger than me, were going to call me sir or mister. I could almost hear the ominous slasher movie music playing behind my thoughts.

I had a real job. I was a real adult.

And I’d done it by accident.

I’m not sure if everyone feels this way or just actors, but I felt like I was in a movie as I entered the building, and made my way to my office. Well, Professor Jackson’s office anyway. I kept expecting to see a camera out of the corner of my eye or a catchy and yet appropriate song underscoring my movement. It was that surreal.

Sometimes in life you make these tiny little choices that at the time seem miniscule in the grand scheme of things. But you veer a little left, then a little more, and more, and then suddenly you’re facing an entirely different direction and have no idea where you’re heading.

My first class of the morning was a group of graduating seniors in their last semester. What could I possibly offer them? I’d been out of college just long enough to rack up even more debt in the form of a post-graduate degree, work less than a year in the regional theatre scene before mangling my personal and professional life into an unrecognizable carcass of failure.

My first lesson plan should be called: Life. No one knows what the hell they’re doing.

I sunk into Professor Jackson’s chair, surrounded by his books and his files and his things, and rubbed at my eyes.

I had to believe there was a reason.

I had to believe that even though nothing about my life made sense at the moment, I was getting to where I was supposed to be.

I had to believe that even though I couldn’t see the map, and I was making wrong turns and taking not-so-short cuts—the destination was there.

Maybe I was supposed to be here. Maybe I was supposed to lock myself out of my apartment, and meet Bliss. And as bizarre as it seemed, maybe it was a good thing that she’d run out on me.  I liked her. She was sweet and silly, and when everything else seemed complicated, being with her felt simple.

There was more than a one off there.

A knock on the office door pulled me out of my thoughts, and I sat up straighter at my desk. The department head, Eric Barnes stood filling up the doorway, his hands in his pockets. He was a lanky man, twice my age, and had taught me theatre history and directing in my days here, among other things.

“You get all settled into your place?”

I smiled, trying not to think too much about last night, and said, “Yes, of course. Thank you.”

I stood, and he leaned over the desk to shake my hand.

I felt again, like this was some movie, rather than my life. Five years ago, I’d been getting sloshed and doing impressions of him and the other professors in a room full of college friends. Now, he was my boss.

“I thought I’d go down to your first class with you to get you all introduced. Most of the students will have heard the rumors of your coming by now, but I’ll be there just to get you settled.”

“Of course. That would be great. Thank you.”

I felt like a bobblehead, nodding along and just spouting ‘thank you’ every few seconds.

He said, “I think you’ll like this group. They came in the year after your class left, and they really stepped up. They’re a strong group.”

“Good. That’s good.”

God, I hoped I was better at figuring out what to say during class.

“ I think you’ll have a blast teaching them. But make sure to hold your ground, too. They’ll push the line as far as you let them. But be firm, and keep them on track, and you’ll do fine.”

“Right.” Be firm. God, I was going to make a bleeding mess of this whole thing.

“You’re looking a little yellow, Garrick.”

I forced a smile and said, “Just a bit of nerves, that’s all.”

“You’ll be fine. You may not feel experienced enough to do this, but you’re still light years beyond these kids. Most of them leave college, determined and passionate, and half of them give up within the first year. You’re past that phase. You’re in the trenches, but you’re still hanging on. Your perspective will actually be more valuable to them than a seasoned professor who has forgotten what it’s like to go on a dozen auditions a week. This is a clean slate. These kids don’t know you, and you don’t know them. Just tell them what you wish someone had told you when you’d been sitting there. It’s a simple as that.”

It did seem simpler when he put it that way.

I didn’t have to have all the answers. I just had to get them past the first hurdle.

I nodded. “Thanks Eric. That helps a lot.”

He gave that cheesy teacher shrug that said, ‘I do know what I’m talking about.’ He clapped a hand on my shoulder. “Let’s go down and get you settled. You’re in the blackbox.”

My nerves spiked, and I turned to my desk, desperate for anything to stall. I grabbed a pen. What I was going to do with it, I had no idea, but I felt better holding something.

“Okay,” I said. “Let’s go.”

We descended the stairs in silence, and as soon as we entered the theatre wing, I could hear the students in the green room down at the far end of the hallway. They were laughing and screaming, and someone was playing music, and I envied them. I missed being where they were… not just in the green room, though I did miss that. I missed being on the cusp of things. That feeling before you jump when you know you’re going to fly, so falling doesn’t even cross your mind. I missed feeling like I had all the time in the world.

We entered the small theatre, and I smiled. I inhaled the familiar scent of dusty curtains and old furniture and props. Black, moveable curtains encircled the entire room, and the flexible seating was set up in a thrust style with risers on three sides of the audience. A prop table had been pulled to the middle of the room, along with a chair. I took a seat, but that didn’t feel right, so I stood. Then I tried leaning on the table, but it tipped under my weight, so I settled for standing with my hands in my pockets.

Eric laughed at me, and said, “It’s actually kind of refreshing to see you like this. You’ve always been very confident and comfortable, even as a student.”

I cleared my throat.

Yes, well. I was a bit off my game lately.

I uttered, “I’m fine,” just as the door swung open and students started filing in.

“Eric!” A few of them called as they piled onto the chairs in the center section. A pretty redhead turned toward Eric and said, “Did you miss us over the holidays?”

Eric laughed. “I’m saving my missing until you’re all gone for good.”

She held a hand over her plentiful chest and frowned, “I’m hurt. You’re going to cry for days when we graduate. Admit it.”

I cleared my throat, and pulled my eyes away from her. The last thing I needed was to get caught ogling a student. I squeezed the pen in my hand and tried to clear my head. Last night had really done a number on me. The sooner I saw Bliss again and got things settled, the better.
For the most part, the students ignored me.

Well, they stared, for sure. But they went back to their conversations, talking about who had said what and who was seeing whom. It was like looking into the past and seeing my class right before we graduated.

I started labeling them as my friends from college. The red head was Emma definitely. Spunky and pretty, but a little bit off-putting. There was another guy they called Dom that was hands down Jack from my class. He tried too hard to be cool, and every time he spoke I saw half a dozen eyes roll.

This was simple. I could do this.

By the time nine A.M. came, and Eric introduced me to the class, my nerves had all but disappeared. This would be no different than the conversations my friends and I used to have before graduating. We debated the pros and cons of graduate school and regional theatre and moving to New York. Only now, I had the added benefit of having already made those decisions, as had my friends. At least now, I knew what the hell I was talking about.

He was mid-sentence when the loud theatre doors creaked open. Those things had ruined many of my own attempts to sneak in and out of class in college.

Eric called out, “Late,” and two girls called back, “Sorry, Eric!”

They pushed through the curtain, snickering, their coffees held in front of their bowed faces.

The first was blonde, again pretty.

I hadn’t anticipated this particular issue with teaching.

Eric took and breath and started talking again, but I didn’t follow what he said. The second girl had lowered her coffee, and even though her head was bowed searching through her purse, there was something about her that pulled my eye.

Something about her hair and the curve of her back was familiar, and I wondered if maybe she was the little sister of someone I’d gone to school with. That happened a lot, family legacies.

Then she lowered her bag and leaned back in her chair, casting light onto her face. I knew when I saw her lips, those lips that I’d spent so long staring at the night before, but I told myself it wasn’t possible.

But as I took in her pale skin, her small nose, and her faintly pink skin, my world flashed hot and then cold. I squeezed the pen in my hand, and felt the plastic crack under my palm.

A roaring filled my ears, and it took me several long seconds to realize it was the students clapping, and not my world coming apart at the hinges.
Then her eyes flicked up to mine, blue and wide and so familiar that my whole body tingled with recognition.

Her jaw fell open, and it was like there was a wall in my brain that I couldn’t get a thought past. I knew I should look away. I knew I should acknowledge whatever Eric had just said and the other students in the class.

But more than all of that, I knew her. Bliss.

And I wished to God that I didn’t.

I was back in that surreal world, like a movie. And everything that had seemed simple and right turned out to be a complicated bloody mess.


 

Yay! Now don’t forget to Pre-order FAKING IT! And to tell your friends! Just 11 days until the release! EEEPP!

I’ve got two more Garrick Bonus scenes waiting in the wings, and if you want them we’ve got to get this pre-order thermometer going! <3

Also, you’ve got less than a day left to enter to win a signed ARC of FAKING IT here!

Faking-It-pb

The One with the FAKING IT Giveaway

Oh my lovely, lovely friends.

How much do I adore you all? SO MUCH.

We’re SO CLOSE to the release of FAKING IT (*cough* Sixteen days! *cough*).

There’s been a great deal of excitement in the last week or two. For one, we’re holding a FAKING IT pre-order campaign, and more pre-orders means Bonus Scenes from LOSING IT in Garrick’s POV. We’ve already got the first one all about when he meets Bliss for the first time, and we’re getting SUPER close to the next threshold and the next bonus scene. So what are you waiting for? Go Pre-order! Go make your friends pre-order! And go here to read the first bonus scene or learn more about the campaign.

And as if that weren’t enough Garrick related excitement… Did you see the announcement about KEEPING HER? It’s a novella from Garrick’s POV that is a sequel to LOSING IT! It’s got lots of kissing, more British men, and a trip to London! It releases August 13th, and is available for pre-order now!

But now to what you’re really here for… FAKING IT! I promised an ARC giveaway when we hit 5,000 likes on Facebook, and we did it! So, it’s time for some FAKING IT love.

But first… did I mention that you can read the first two chapters of FAKING IT here. EDIT: Whoops. had to wrong link for this at first. Has been fixed! <3

And you can read Cade and Max’s first kiss here.

And in case you don’t know what FAKING IT is all about:

Mackenzie “Max” Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they’re expecting to meet a nice, wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.

Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he’s kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they’re forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel. 



And now that you’ve stuck around this long… here’s your giveaway. It’s only open for a few days so I can get it to the winner ASAP, and they’ll still get to read it prior to the release. So, don’t wait to enter! And be sure to come back and tweet daily for more chance to win! 

AND IF YOU LIVE IN THE NYC AREA, I’ll be signing ARCS of FAKING IT at BEA on June 1st at 1PM. You can find more info on the BEA website


The One with the First Bonus Scene!

We did it! We reached our first Pre-order threshold for FAKING IT!

And you know what that means! MORE GARRICK! Here is the first excerpt, which covers the first two chapters of LOSING IT in Garrick’s POV. There’s still three other Garrick Bonus Scenes left. The more #FakingIt Pre-Orders, the more Garrick you get!

Note: This scene is unedited, so please forgive any typos or errors.


The One Where They Meet

When the bartender asked me what I wanted, I almost told him one of everything. Getting mind-numbingly pissed wouldn’t bode well for my first day of work, but it would make me feel better.

So, I settled for a bourbon and took a seat in the back of the bar.

I laid the book containing the complete works of Shakespeare on the table, and fixed it with a glare.

I couldn’t believe I was teaching Shakespeare. When Eric had told me, he looked at me like he expected me to throw a damn parade. I suppose all Brits are supposed to love the guy, or Americans think that anyway.

So I’d bought the stupid book, threw it in the saddlebag on my motorcycle, and then put off making lesson plans for that class until the last possible minute.

Lesson plans.

What the hell had I gotten myself into?

My life in Philly had gone up in flames, and I’d thought this job was my way out, my open window. I was only thinking about getting away when I jumped, not about the pavement I was hurdling towards.

When I couldn’t put off reality and lesson plans any longer, I’d gone out to my bike to get the book, and I’d forgotten that the door to my new flat automatically locked behind me, and left my key inside.

So while I waited on a locksmith, I decided a drink was in order. Or several. Anything to help me swallow down a bit of Shakespeare before I had to teach it tomorrow.

Life, meet pavement.

I opened to Romeo and Juliet first, and then immediately flipped another chunk of pages. No, thank you.

Macbeth.

At least that one was bloody.

If I remembered correctly, it was the shortest Shakespeare play, and I’d still never managed to get all the way through it. The history of the play’s cursed performances was infinitely more interesting than the play itself.

I dragged myself through the first act. The writing in this damn book was tiny, and every time I turned to a new page filled with miniscule print, I had to battle thoughts of suicide… and book burning.

I’d just gotten to the scene where Macbeth hallucinates a floating dagger as a sign that he should kill Duncan.

I swallowed a yawn.

I could go for a floating dagger right about now.

“If that’s supposed to be a way to pick up girls, I would suggest moving to an area with a little more traffic.”

A voice broke through my boredom, and I looked up to something much more preferable to a floating dagger.

I said, “Excuse me?”

My distraction was brunette with pale, almost porcelain skin that nearly glowed against the tiny black top she wore.

She said, “Shakespeare. No one reads Shakespeare in a bar unless it’s a ploy to pick up girls.” People actually did that? Jesus. “All I’m saying is you might have better luck up front.”

She put a hand on her hip, and gave me the cheekiest smile.  I took it as a sign from the universe that I could be done with Shakespeare for the evening.

I smiled and said, “It’s not a ploy, but if it were, it seems to me that I’m having great luck right here.”

A faint blush chased across her cheeks, and that tempting smile froze on her face. I used a napkin to mark my place in Macbeth. Her eyes went a little wide, and the hand on her hip dropped. Her back straightened and she said, “You’re not trying to pick up a girl?”

Confusion crept across her eyes as the blush crept from her cheeks down her neck. It was a lovely neck.

I said, “I wasn’t.”

But this seemed like a much better use of my time.

Her eyebrows lifted, and I couldn’t help my grin. She’d come over blazing, and now she looked like I’d pulled the rug from beneath her feet, and maybe the floor too.

I turned my head to the side, trying to figure her out. Her outfit matched her bold approach, but as my eyes were drawn back to her face, I noticed how little makeup she wore. Maybe that was why her blush was so vivid.

“What’s your name, love?”

She pressed her lips together for a moment, like she was trying to keep herself from speaking, but then she said, “Bliss.”

I eyed her, trying to decide if she was playing with me.

“Is that a line?”

Her blush migrated to her collarbone, drawing my eyes to the curved neck of her shirt. My mouth went dry. I cleared my throat, and dragged my gaze away from her chest.

She said, “No, it’s my name.”

For months, I’d been pushing any interested girl away. Because even though Jenna and I had been split up, I knew it would make our already messy issues messier if I started seeing someone else. And despite the fact that she’d turned all our friends except for Spencer against me, the last thing I wanted to do was hurt her more. For the thousandth time, I wished I’d never crossed that line from friends to lovers. If I hadn’t, I’d still be in Philly. I’d still be acting, instead of running away here to teach. I’d still be happily ignoring all things Shakespeare.

But I wasn’t in Philly anymore.

Jenna wasn’t going to walk past or hear it from a friend.

There was one benefit to letting my former best friend run me off, and she was standing right in front of me.

Bliss. I smiled. What a name. Maybe the universe thought I was dense, and decided to be especially overt with its signs.

I said, “Lovely name for a lovely girl.”

I pushed the Shakespeare book over until it sat forgotten at the corner of my table. I’d spent long enough wallowing over the disaster that was my life in Philly, and I’d carried that over to my new life here.

Sure, being back in Texas at the same Uni I’d attended wasn’t something I’d ever thought I would do, but I had some ideas about how to make the most of it.

I told her about the mishap with my apartment key, and then talk turned to Shakespeare. She looked intrigued, so I tried not to grimace too much.
I said, “Don’t tell me you’re a Romeo and Juliet fan?”

For a brief second, my stomach dropped. It wasn’t that I was against the idea of love, but I just didn’t get their relationship, or the way women fawned over it. Romeo goes to that party obsessed with another girl, and then somehow in a matter of hours, he and Juliet fall so deeply in love that they’re willing to risk everything just to be together?

Doubtful.

Bliss answered, “Othello actually. That’s my favorite.”

Now that was a relationship that I bought. Obsession can be an even more powerful motivator than love.

“Ah. Fair Desdemona. Loyal and pure.”

Looking at Bliss, I understood that obsession even better. The way her skin flushed set my blood pumping. I wanted to trail my fingers across her collarbone, just to see if her skin was as soft as I imagined it would be. But I had a feeling that I wouldn’t be able to stop there.

She started to stay something, but stuttered over her words. Flustered, she was even more attractive. She was real, unlike half the bints I’d dated over the years.

Finally, she managed, “I like the juxtaposition of reason and passion.”

As a soon-to-be teacher, I probably should have been impressed by her thoughts. As a man, I was only really paying attention to that last word.
“I’m a fan of passion myself.”

I’d always been direct, probably because I’d grown up with a mother who never filtered her thoughts, not because she couldn’t, but because she didn’t like to. She liked to watch people squirm.

I’d quelled that directness with Jenna, and ignored the gut feeling that told me we were better as friends. I thought that just because I wasn’t initially interested in her didn’t mean I couldn’t be. Look where that had gotten me.

From now on, I was following my gut. And it was pulling me toward this girl in a way I hadn’t felt in a very long time.

I said, “You haven’t asked me my name.”

She cleared her throat, and I knew she was nervous. Nervous was a good sign.

She asked, “What’s your name?”

“Join me, and I’ll tell you.”

She took the seat across from me, and my lips spread in a victorious smile.

I told her my name and that I was going to buy her a drink.

“Then we can chat some more about reason… and passion.”

And then maybe we’d have time for some hands-on study, too.

I waived down an employee and asked for another bourbon. When the waiter turned to Bliss, he put a hand on her shoulder and said, “I remember—Jack and Coke right?”

A few strands of her caught beneath his hand and laced between his fingers. I stiffened.  I’d been thinking of touching her hair since she sat down, wanting to run my fingers through it, and now a waiter had beat me to it.

I’d never been particularly jealous, but when he winked at her, I felt the liquor sour in my mouth. Her eyes stayed locked on him the entire time he stood by our table, and I was fighting cave man impulses to pull her chair around to my side of the table and away from him.

He started to leave, but then said, “Should I tell your friend up front that you’ll be back?”

Still not looking at me, she said, “Oh, um, sure. I guess.”

When he finally left, I took a long, slow breath.

And then because I’d given my gut free reign, I said, “You know, sometimes I wonder if Desdemona was as innocent as she let on. Maybe she knew the effect she had on guys and enjoyed making them jealous.

Her eyes met mine, and she leveled me with her stare. I saw that brassy girl who first spoke to me step back into the ring.

“Or maybe she was just intimidated by Othello’s intensity and didn’t know how to talk to him. Communication is key, after all.”

That was definitely something I could give her.

“Communication, eh?”

“It could have solved a lot of their problems.”

It could have solved a lot of mine, too. But this was a new town, new leaf. Instead of cave-maning her chair over to mine, I picked mine up and placed it directly next to hers.

“In that case, I’ll endeavor to be as clear as possible.” She smelled sweet, floral. I resisted the urge to lean in to her ear and communicate exactly what I wanted to do to her. Instead, I said, “I’d rather you didn’t go back to your friend. Stay here with me.”

I tried to make it sound like a question, but my gut had other ideas. I was not going back to Shakespeare. And I was not giving her up to some friend. Or that damn waiter.

“Well, my friend is waiting. What will we do if I stay?”

I had to bite my tongue to keep from uttering something that would scare her off. Instead, I did what I’d been longing to do and reached forward to touch her hair. It was soft and the low light in the bar picked up strands of gold among the brown. I brushed it back over her shoulder, revealing that delicate neck that was still painted in tones of red. And I couldn’t stop myself from touching her there, too. I trailed my fingers over her skin, pausing at the place where I could feel her blood pulsing through her veins. Her heartbeat was almost as fast as mine.

This was what was missing with Jenna. I’d loved her. A part of me still did, despite how shitty everything had turned out. But there had never been this primal need to touch her, to keep touching her whatever the cost.

“We can talk Shakespeare.” It was a small price to pay, really. “We can talk about anything you want. Though I can’t promise not to get distracted by your lovely neck.” I trailed my fingers up smooth skin to her jaw. I followed the curve of bone to her chin, and narrowly resisted continuing up to her lips. I used a finger to crook her chin forward, drawing her closer to me. I felt her inhale, and it was like she’d sucked the breath right out of me. She was a distraction, every part of her. I said, “Or your lips.” She bit down on her bottom lip, staining it red. God, she looked good in red. “Or those eyes.” A deep blue green. “I could woo you with stories about my life, like Othello does Desdemona.”

“I’d rather not parallel our evening with a couple who ended with a murder-suicide.”

And she was funny. Even better. Maybe Texas wouldn’t be so bad after all.

“Touché.  I don’t care what we do as long as you stay.”

After a torturous pause, she said, “Okay.” Her voice was low and breathy, and I fisted my hands to keep from pulling her to me.

“Maybe I should lock myself out of my apartment more often.”

A small smile unfurled across her lips, and I was a goner. I couldn’t take my eyes off her lips, not even when her friend called. She took the call, but I didn’t hear what she was saying. Her mouth mesmerized me.

I liked her, enough that I wanted to see her again. Logically, I knew I should cool it and take things slow, if that was the case. But the part of me that wanted to see all of her and see it now spoke so much louder.

My resistance was shaved down to a miniscule thread when the waiter came back with our drinks. His eyes fixed on Bliss and barely left her as he set down our drinks. I slipped my arm around the back of her chair, and it took all of my restraint not to lower it to her shoulders.

When we were alone again, she asked, “Are you the jealous type, Garrick?”

Right now? Absolutely.

“Not really.” I shrugged.

She raised a disbelieving eyebrow, and I smiled. She didn’t seem angry, so I wasn’t about to feel guilty.

“Maybe this discussion of Othello has set me a bit on edge.”

I was halfway to obsession already.

When she hinted that we go back to my place to wait on the locksmith a few minutes later, halfway went out the window.

I kept up conversation as best as I could, but my mind was already wandering onto other things, like how the short ride to my apartment wasn’t short enough. Like the way her hair would look spread across my pillow, how her hips would feel in my hands, and what her lips would taste like.
It was akin to ignoring an itch. Every second that passed, my world seemed to narrow until I couldn’t focus on anything else, but how badly I wanted to close the distance between us.

And like a tiny pebble causing an avalanche, she looked up at me from beneath her lashes and gave me an opening, a window.

And I took it.

And the walls of self-control I’d been straining to hold up crashed completely. I took hold of her elbow, and pulled her to her feet. And I followed the pull in my chest straight to her lips.

She froze against me, and I wanted to bloody pummel myself. I waited for her to shove me away or slap me, but that didn’t come either. I’d already hung myself out to dry, what was the harm in tightening the noose a bit?

I pulled her bottom lip between my teeth, and felt her shiver. She swayed toward me, and her neck tilted back. I threaded a hand through her hair at the same moment that her mouth opened.

Another window.

The first taste of her would have been worth any pummeling she or I would have given. By the second, I was addicted. Her hands pulled at my back, and I was starving for her. I tugged her closer, until the curve of her chest pressed against me, but it still wasn’t close enough.

I needed more.

So, I slipped my hand underneath the hem of her top, sliding my fingers across her lower back.  Her skin felt like silk, and I traced the slight dip just to the side of her spine. I spread my hand, wishing I could touch more of her, sink my fingers deeper. A moan flowed from her mouth into mine, and I pulled back, wanting to touch more of her. My hand on her neck was heading for the hem of her shirt when my peripheral vision reminded me exactly where we were.

Damn it all.

I looked back to her lips, pink and slightly swollen, and God I wished we weren’t in public. She leaned closer, tempting me almost past what I could bear. I couldn’t look at those lips anymore. I dipped my head down toward her shoulder, inhaling her sweet scent.

My resolve broke for a moment, and I tasted the skin of her neck just for a few seconds.

With my eyes close, I tried to pull myself back together.

I said, “Sorry. Got carried away.”

EEEEP! I hope you enjoyed that!
Check out the thermometer below to see how far we have to go until the next scene:
You can keep track here on the blog with me. OR… the thermometer and bonus scenes will all be housed on my facebook page in the tabs section (right by the like button).

And if you enjoyed Garrick’s POV, don’t forget, KEEPING HER releases August 13th, and is an entire novella from his POV set after the events of LOSING IT.

The One with the Campaign

Need more Garrick in your life?

Well, you’re in luck! The FAKING IT Pre-Order Campaign has officially begun!

I’ve got a nifty little thermometer above and over on my FACEBOOK page that shows our pre-order goals and how far we have to go. There are four thresholds, and every time we reach one, I’ll be releasing an extra special scene from LOSING IT in Garrick’s POV.

The first scene is titled The One Where They Meet.

UPDATE: The first scene has been released and can be found here.

So, you can guess what happens in it! :)

So, please! Pre-Order! Tell your friends to Pre-Order! Share on your blog. The more pre-orders, the more content you get!

And if you’re on the fence about whether FAKING IT is your thing. Check out the first two chapters here.

If you’re a blogger, and would like to host the thermometer on your blog, leave a comment with your email, and I’ll get you the HTML tomorrow!

The One Where I Go Back to College

Hey Guys!

I’ve got two new Texas events to add to my schedule, but they’re kind of short notice.

But Molly McAdams (Author of Taking Chances and From Ashes) and I will be on a two-stop Texas college tour! Here are the details:

Both events will be a signing (with books for sale) along with a reading/Q&A!

May 11th 2PM
Southern Methodist University
Campus Barnes and Noble
Dallas, TX

May 15th, 4PM
Texas Christian University
Campus Barnes and Noble
Fort Worth, TX

Both events are open to non-students. If you live in the DFW area (or beyond) come see us!

In Awkward <3,

Cora