Being fearless has never looked so good . . .
Aubrey Evans needs to get her life back on track after her father is indicted for embezzlement. All she has to do to hightail it out of small-town Tennessee is save up money for college tuition and steer clear of hard-muscled boys on motorcycles. Yet there’s no ignoring someone like Zion. A knight in black leather, Zion looks like every bad idea she’s been told to avoid, but she can’t resist him. Whenever she’s in trouble, he’s there. Appealing as his rough exterior may be, it’s the protective, principled man beneath who tempts her like crazy.
Zion knows Aubrey doesn’t intend to stick around. She claims to want only friendship, but he senses there’s a naughty girl hiding on the inside—one whose intense desires match his own. For now, he’ll be patient and play by her rules. But he knows it’s just a matter of time before he weakens her resolve.
As they join forces to figure out who’s behind a local crime spree, it’s clear that the danger goes deeper than Aubrey guessed. And when she needs someone tall, dark, and undaunted to keep her safe, Zion intends to be there—now and always.
Synopsis: This final chapter in the fun and steamy New Adult trilogy by Noelle August (authors Veronica Rossi and Lorin Oberweger) features two aspiring musicians who must choose between their careers…and their sizzling attraction for each other.
Playing the occasional club gig just isn’t cutting it for twenty-two-year-old cellist Skyler Canby, who’s trying to support herself and her mother back home in Kentucky. Persuaded by her best friend Beth to accompany her on an audition for the first feature film launched by Blackwood Entertainment, she figures why not? Beth’s a shoe-in for the lead, but maybe Skyler’s newly dyed pink hair will help her stand out enough to score a small speaking part.
Never in her wildest dreams does Skyler imagine she’ll land the lead role or that she’ll have her shoes knocked off her feet by the kiss her audition partner, Grey Blackwood, plants on her—a kiss that feels very real and not at all “acted. ”
After throwing a party that causes thousands of dollars of damage to his older brother’s home, reckless musician Grey Blackwood gets roped into working off his debt on the set of his CEO brother’s newest project. Grey spends his days fetching coffee and doing odd jobs around the studio, but he lives for nights when he performs with his band. He knows if he can stay focused, success as a singer is just around the corner. But that’s tough with a distracting pink-haired girl occupying his every waking thought.
Skyler and Grey have every reason to resist each other. But, like a song neither of them can get out of their minds, they have no choice but to go where the music takes them.
Excerpt: Skyler’s Point-of-View, Chapter 20 “Good lord in a basket, it’s him all right. Grey. Illuminated by the golden lights coming on along Venice Boulevard. With suds and water sluicing off his ridiculously ripped body, cascading from his massive tattooed biceps, running down his taut muscled abdomen. His swimsuit sags dangerously low, clinging to his sturdy thighs, making, um, everything, pretty evident.
And evidently pretty impressive.
Probably, this would be a good time to actually speak some words, but even in a town full of hot, hot people, this is kind of stratospheric.
“Yep, it’s me.” Grey reaches back to turn off the shower, which breaks the spell, so I can at least avert my gaze like a decent person. Then he rubs a towel vigorously over his gleaming body and tucks it around his waist.
He has a strange look on his face—peevish, embarrassed, and it feels suddenly like we’re intruding on something. Or maybe it’s just me. I think about that moment in my trailer. His fingers on my skin. My wanting and not knowing what to want.
“Uh, so, what are you up to?” I ask in an effort to win the prize for most obvious question ever. “I mean, I can see what you were up to.” Seriously, Sky? “But, uh, were you just in the water? What brings you out here?”
“I’m crashing nearby. At the garage where my band rehearses.”
“Really?” asks Mia. “Why?”
Grey looks from me to Mia and then back to me, weighing something. Maybe whether or not he can trust us. He’s got this hot, coiled energy all the time, like he’s always holding back. Like he’s an animal caged inside a human body.
“Just staying there for a few weeks.”
“Because of your mom?” I ask. It was obvious from their interaction on set that there’s some bad blood there, though compared to my mom, she seems kind and thoughtful, whip-smart and curious without being overbearing. Which makes sense, given her offspring.
Then I remember that Grey’s not really her offspring. He said “stepmother,” and the way he said it really answers my question.
Which is good, because he doesn’t actually answer it. Instead, he gathers up his stuff—surfboard, wetsuit—and gives us a grin. “I gotta head out,” he says, as though nothing’s hanging there between us. He looks away for a second, following the path of a guy in an Obama mask as he weaves his way up the boardwalk on a ribbon-festooned unicycle. “Told some friends I’d hook up with them tonight.”
“Wait,” says Mia. “So, you’re just sleeping in a garage? Like on an air-mattress or something?”
Grey shrugs. “A couch. It’s okay.”
“And taking freezing cold showers out on the beach? That doesn’t sound great, does it, Sky?”
“No, it doesn’t,” I say, but I’m afraid of where she’s going with this.
“Can’t you stay at a hotel or something?”
He shakes his head. “Money’s a little tight right now. I’m giving Adam almost every penny to pay him back for the house, and I don’t really have…” Again, he goes silent, and I can feel, literally, the tension of him wanting to talk, wanting to say more to someone. Needing it.
“Why don’t you come stay at our place?” Mia blurts. We have that in common. The blurting thing. “I mean, I’m just about all moved out, so there’s room.”
Ay, dios. No. No.
But I can’t say anything. I can’t tell my best friend, who knows I’m talking to Brooks, starting to maybe, sort of, think about where that could go, that having Grey in my apartment, so close all the time, is a very dangerous, very bad idea.
Grey shakes his head. “Nah, I appreciate it, but I’m cool here. I promise. Thanks, though.” He takes a few steps toward a squat gray building with weather-beaten shutters and a tiny, shed-like garage in the back. “I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”
“Hang on,” says Mia, pulling me along. She gives me a look, tipping her head in his direction, like she’s tapping me in for the debate. “You’re cool with it, right, Sky?”
“Of course.” Not. In no way. “But it seems like he’s got it under control here. So, if—”
My words disappear, though, because Grey’s pulled up the garage door, the muscles of his broad back and shoulders shifting smoothly as he thrusts the door up along its rusting track.
“See?” he says, pointing to a lumpy white couch sporting what looks like a half-century’s worth of mystery stains—a perfect complement to the funk of beer and weed and sweat potent enough to make my eyes water. “Perfectly fine, right?”
But, like me, he’s lousy at hiding his feelings. Even turned away to shove some empty beer cans into a garbage bag, his body language tells me everything.
He doesn’t want to be here in this musty space, crowded with furniture and audio equipment, the only natural light coming in from the tiny half-moon windows set into the garage door, which faces a dim alleyway.
“You should come stay with us,” I say, surprising the hell out of us both. “I mean, this is…”
“It’s fine,” Grey insists. “I don’t need much, and I’m hardly ever here.”
I think how different he is from Brooks, who says what he means, tells you—without hesitation—what he wants.
“Come on,” says Mia.
“Seriously,” he tells us. “It’s really nice of you to ask, but I’m fine. I can’t afford—”
“I paid up on the place through the end of the lease,” Mia says. “You can just chip in on food and utilities. I’m sure you can manage that, right? It’s only for a few weeks. And you’d be rooming with two awesome, super hot girls. How can you say no to that?”
He looks at me, and I can see he’s worried about the same things I am. Rooming together. Being too close, constantly one second away from making a really dumb choice. He’s young and too reckless for me. And a musician, on top of it all. He’s everything I don’t need sharing my space.
But something tugs at me, makes me put all of those concerns aside. I see it in his smoke-gray eyes, which are so alive, so deep and full of thoughts. Some pain or fear lives there. Something that makes it so hard for him to accept. To take a simple kindness. It’s not just about me but about trusting. Anything.
Seeing that, I can’t let him spend another night in this crappy place. Just…alone.
“You should come home with us,” I say. ‘It will be…a lot better than this, I promise.'”– Noelle August, Bounce
About the Authors: Question: What do you get when friends pen a story with heart, plenty of laughs, and toe-curling kissing scenes? Answer: Noelle August, the pseudonym for renowned editor and award-winning writer Lorin Oberweger and New York Times bestselling YA author Veronica Rossi, the masterminds behind the Boomerang series.
Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days.
But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains. For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War.
Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.
For an excerpt of The Uninvited, please head over to USA Today’s Happy Ever After post → click here
About Cat Winters: Cat Winters’s critically acclaimed debut novel, IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS, was named a 2014 Morris Award Finalist, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013, a 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, and a 2013 Bram Stoker Award Nominee. Her second novel, THE CURE FOR DREAMING, was named to the American Library Association’s 2015 Amelia Bloomer Project, the 2014 Tiptree Award Longlist, and VOYA’s Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror of 2014. Her upcoming books include THE UNINVITED (William Morrow/August 2015), THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY (Amulet Books/March 2016), and YESTERNIGHT (William Morrow/Summer 2016), and she’s a contributor to the 2015 YA horror anthology SLASHER GIRLS & MONSTER BOYS. Winters lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids.
At sixteen, Annabelle Morgan hoped her crush on Jake Wilder was just a passing phase. Now she’s twenty-nine and nothing has changed—except Jake. The once-carefree Marine has come home with a giant chip on his shoulder. He insists a single mom like Annie deserves more than he can offer. Yet no matter how gruff his gorgeous exterior may be, Jake’s toe-curling kisses convince her that this attraction is definitely mutual.
Becomes the one who wants you back . . .
Butting heads with feisty Annie was always a thrill. Add other body parts to the mix, and Jake is in serious trouble. He can’t be a forever-and-family guy—and Annie’s not a friends-with-benefits kind of woman. But love has a way of changing the best-laid plans, and surrender has never been so tempting . . .
The outcome is truly sweet.
Excerpt: “She was older, wiser, and she’d learned to never back down from what meant the most. Jake meant something to her. He always had. He was far from perfect although he was perfect to look at. But she knew that deep down, beneath the shell of that gorgeous exterior; he was a man with heart, honor, and loyalty. He’d been raised to respect family and community. And she knew that just like his brothers, when he fell in love, he’d be a forever kind of guy.
The question now was . . . could he ever fall in love with her?
Maybe Paige was right. Maybe it was time to step up and find out. Wondering wouldn’t ever give her an answer. Determined, she smoothed her hands over her hair and down her skirt. At the window, she grabbed up Jake’s order and headed toward his booth. As professionally as possible, she set his Diablo burger, fries, and milk shake in front of him. He looked up at her, eyes dark, blue, and intense.
“If there’s anything else you want, anything at all, just let me know,” she said. Then she gave him a “Brace yourself, cowboy” smile and walked away.
When she glanced back, he was still looking.”– Candis Terry, Truly Sweet
About the Author: Candis Terry was born and raised near the sunny beaches of Southern California and now makes her home on an Idaho farm. She’s experienced life in such diverse ways as working in a Hollywood recording studio to scooping up road apples left by her daughter’s rodeo queening horse to working as a graphic designer. Only one thing has remained constant: Candis’ passion for writing stories about relationships, the push and pull in the search for love, and the security one finds in their own happily ever after. Though her stories are set in small towns, Candis’ wish is to give each of her characters a great big memorable love story rich with quirky characters, tons of fun, and a happy ending.
Dallas Lark is so close to achieving his dream of making it big in country music that he can taste it. Arriving in Nashville after signing with sexy, successful manager Mandy Lantram, his life goes from tragedy and turmoil to one lucky break after another—except it isn’t really luck because Dallas has sacrificed everything for his career, leaving behind his band, sister, best friend, and high school sweetheart, Robyn, in the pursuit of fame.
Robyn Breeland is a successful marketing coordinator and promotions specialist for a thriving liquor distributor out of Texas. She loves every aspect of her job: coming up with new ideas, traveling, hosting promotional parties and exclusive events—until it brings her face-to-face with the man who broke her heart, prompting her to erect a steel cage around it.
When their paths collide and they’re forced to work together, Dallas and Robyn realize that the old spark they thought they’d extinguished might still be a burning flame.
The universe must hate me. No, it must downright fucking despise me. Of all the concerts in all the world, she has to be at mine. In fucking Denver of all places. Literally the last place in the universe I would expect to see her. My mind can’t stop replaying our exchange. Or how lovingly that dress clung to her mouthwatering curves. Seeing her conjured up memories I keep firmly locked in the box of Robyn that I never open. Ever. Seeing her unexpectedly reminded me of the first time I ever laid eyes on her and practically transported me back in time.
“God, I love this song,” she’d announced the night we met. “Come dance with me.”
She’d grabbed my hand with surprising strength for a petite redhead who couldn’t have weighed a hundred pounds soaking wet. She had the kind of raspy voice that instantly made you think of dirty talk. Or maybe that was just me. I had just turned sixteen and was basically a hard-on with a pulse.
Gavin had raised his eyebrows and smirked as she dragged me closer to the truck blaring the music. She shook her sexy ass and sang at the top of her lungs, off key, but proudly off key. I couldn’t take my eyes or my hands off her. For several years.