Remind Me by Samantha Chase – Excerpt Reveal

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Title: Remind Me
Author: Samantha Chase
Series: Magnolia Sound #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 12, 2019

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It’s been years since Mallory Westbrook set foot in Magnolia Sound, but the death of her great-grandfather forces her back. Two weeks to get his affairs in order then she would return to her life in New York. The perfect plan, if not for Jake Summerford—her first love who broke her heart. 

Jake always regretted the way things ended with Mallory and now that she’s back in town, he’s hoping they can put the past behind them. As they reconnect, old feelings resurface and Jake realizes that friendship is only the beginning of what he wants from Mallory. 

With one foot out of the door, Mallory is looking for any excuse to leave Magnolia Sound behind. Forever. Will Jake’s plan to replace the old, painful memories help him finally show her their love deserves another chance?

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Excerpt:

“But we were already hanging out,” Mallory reminded him and the look Sam gave her bordered on hysterical. “What? What’s so funny?”

“We all know I’m the third wheel here and the two of you would like nothing more than to be alone, so…I’m leaving,” he said, walking back into the kitchen to put the beer back in the refrigerator. “I’m gonna go home and tell Mom what the plan is–I’m going out to be a good cousin, while you’re here doing…I don’t know…Jake.” He winked. “You two have fun!”

Jake knew he didn’t let out a breath until the back door closed and he saw Sam walk down the deck stairs from the living room window. “Well…that was…awkward.”

“Just a little,” Mallory agreed. “Ugh…why is my brother such a dork?”

Laughing, Jake shifted them until her head was on his shoulder. “I wouldn’t call him a dork, he’s just a little…”

“He’s a dork. Trust me. We’re twins and I’m allowed to say it.” She shook her head. “He’s going to be snarky about this until he leaves.”

“About what?”

“You and me. Us. The fact that he knows what we’re doing.” She groaned. “Now, every time I mention seeing you or doing something, he’s going to make some sort of doofus comment about how I’m doing you. I’m telling you, he’s the worst.”

But Jake couldn’t help but laugh. He didn’t have any siblings so he didn’t understand the dynamics, but from where he was sitting, it was all pretty comical. The fact that they each other and had such obvious affection for each other was a pretty amazing thing. Maybe it was because they were twins or something. All he knew was that he hadn’t met many siblings with the kind of relationship Sam and Mallory had.

Plus, he liked knowing Sam looked out for her when he couldn’t.

And that one single thought had him going still.

This wasn’t going anywhere–this was about passing the time and getting her out of his system. He wasn’t supposed to be thinking about his feelings or hers. This was temporary. They both saw the end before they started up again, so why was he suddenly feeling concerned about how Mallory was going to be when he wasn’t around?

“Jake?” she asked softly, looking up at him. “You okay?”

He nodded. Right now, he didn’t want to talk. Hell, he didn’t want to think either. All he wanted was to feel–feel Mallory’s body against his. Feel her skin under his hands. Feel her breath mingling with his.

Standing, he gently tugged her to her feet before plunging his hands into her hair and giving her a searing kiss. If she was surprised by the sudden change of events, she didn’t show it. If anything, she kissed him back with equal abandon.

So good, he thought. Kissing Mallory was always so damn good…

When he had invited her to come home with him earlier–before Sam showed up–Jake envisioned them coming in and talking and maybe sharing some lazy kisses before he seduced her into staying the night. But as Mallory pressed up against him and purred, he was pretty sure nothing was going to be slow and lazy, and that he was the one being seduced.

And he loved every minute of it.

Without breaking the kiss, they maneuvered across the room and down the hall, stopping once so he could back her against the wall and grind against her. She tore her lips from his and sighed his name like a plea. Reaching down, Jake lifted her until her legs wrapped around his waist and it took every bit of self-control he possessed not to take her right then and there. Her dress was bunched up at her waist and the barely-there panties would be gone with only the slightest of tugs…

“Bed,” he growled against her throat even as he continued to rub against her. “I want you in my bed.”

“Then take me there,” she said breathlessly.

Easier said than done, he thought, forcing himself to walk the last ten feet to his room. At the side of the bed, he simply let himself fall and kept Mallory in his arms. They laughed and rolled until they were comfortable and then he sank back into the kiss.

Mallory tugged at his shirt and once she had it pulled free of his trousers, her nails scraped up his back and it gave him chills. Sitting up quickly, he ripped the shirt off–buttons flying in every direction.

“Wow,” she panted. “That was incredibly sexy.”

“Oh, yeah?” he asked, his own breath coming out roughly. “How do you feel about this?” His hand snaked under her dress and he tugged her tiny panties off–the sound of the fabric ripping seemed insanely loud in the room.

“Oh!” she cried as her hips bucked off the bed. Jake knew what she wanted and he was more than happy to give it to her. In a flash her dress was off. He peeled her bra off with his teeth as she writhed beneath him. “Jake…”

Once he had her completely naked, his self-control completely vanished. His mouth and hands were everywhere. While he licked and suckled at her breasts, his hand was ruthlessly teasing her between her legs. Watching Mallory lose control was one of his favorite pastimes and as he urged her on, he knew it would always be this way. She cried out his name again and again and again and each time it ratcheted his own arousal up more and more.

He hated to move away from her even for a second, but he still had half of his own clothes to discard. Mallory reached for him as he moved away and he smoothed a hand across her stomach. “Soon,” he whispered. “I’m not going anywhere.”

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About Samantha Chase:

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Samantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance. She released her debut novel in 2011 and currently has more than forty titles under her belt! When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook, wearing a tiara while playing with her sassy pug Maylene…oh, and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.

 

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The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarros – Release Day Blitz + Excerpt

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Title: The Last Letter
Author
: Rebecca Yarros
Genre: Military Romance, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 26, 2019

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Beckett,

If you’re reading this, well, you know the “last-letter” drill. You made it. I didn’t. Get off the guilt train, because I know if there were any chance you could have saved me, you would have.

I need one thing from you: Get out of the army and get to Telluride.

My little sister Ella’s raising the twins alone. She’s too independent and won’t accept help easily, but she has lost our grandmother, our parents, and now me. It’s too much for anyone to endure. It’s not fair.

And here’s the kicker: there’s something else you don’t know that’s tearing her family apart. She’s going to need help.

So if I’m gone, that means I can’t be there for Ella. I can’t help them through this. But you can. So I’m begging you, as my best friend, go take care of my sister, my family.

Please don’t make her go through it alone.

Ryan

“I cannot imagine a world without this story.” –Hypable

“A stunning, emotional romance.” – Jill Shalvis, NYT Bestselling Author

“This story gripped me from start to finish. The Last Letter is poignant, heartfelt and utterly consuming. I loved it!” – Mia Sheridan, NYT Bestselling Author

“Hands down, the best book I’ve read all year.” – Fic Wishes

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Excerpt:

“Ella.” It was a plea to speak, to not speak. Hell, I didn’t know anymore.

“You don’t see me like that. I totally get it.” She reached for the TV remote.

“How exactly do I see you? Please, enlighten me.” I leaned forward, stealing the remote. She’d opened this box and had better well dish it.

She huffed in annoyance. “You see me as a mom. As Colt and Maisie’s mom. And of course you do, because that’s what I am. A mom with two kids.”

“Well, yeah,” I said. Her motherhood—that selfless devotion she had to her kids—was one of her most attractive attributes.

She rolled her eyes with a little sigh, and the metaphorical light bulb went off in my head.

“You don’t think I want you.”

She shot me a look that confirmed my guess and blushed the same crimson of her couch. “You know, you’re right. It’s late.” She faked a yawn. “Suuuuuuper late.”

“I want you.” Damn, it felt so good to say the words.

“Yeah, okay.” She gave me a goofy look and a thumbs-up. “Please don’t make me feel any more idiotic than I do right now.”

Yeah, enough of this bullshit.

I pounced in one smooth motion, taking her back to the couch, sliding over her as I gathered her wrists in one hand above her head and settled between her open thighs.

Home.

“Holy shit, you move fast.” There was no fear or rejection in her eyes, just surprise.

“Not in every arena,” I promised.

Her lips parted.

“Ella. I want you.”

“Beckett…you don’t have to.”

Yeah, that soft little sigh she did was going to be my undoing.

I let go of her wrists, letting my fingers trail down her arm until I had one hand weaving my fingers into the hair at the base of her scalp and the other at the curve in her waist.

“Feel this?” Then I slid forward, letting my dick stroke along the seam in her pajama pants hard enough for her to gasp at the contact. I couldn’t remember ever wanting to shred a piece of fabric so much in my life. “I’ve never wanted a woman as much as I want you.”

I moved again, and her eyes slid shut as she let loose the sweetest moan.

My dick throbbed, knowing everything I’d fantasized about for the better part of the last eight months was one decision away.

“Beckett.” Her hands found my biceps, her nails digging in.

“Don’t ever think that I don’t want you, because if things were different, I would have already been inside you. I would know exactly how you feel, and what you sound like, look like, when you come. I’ve thought about it at least a hundred different ways, and believe me, I’ve got a great imagination.”

She rocked her hips against me, and I locked my jaw to keep from giving her exactly what her body was asking for. “Ella, you have to stop.”

“Why?” she asked, her lips dangerously close to mine. “What do you mean if things were different?” Her eyes flew wide. “Is this because I have kids?”

“What? No. Of course not. It’s because you’re Ryan’s little sister.” Before I could do any more damage, I got the hell off her and sat back on my side of the couch.

“Because…I’m Ryan’s little sister,” she repeated, scooting so she sat upright, facing me. “And you think he’d, what? Haunt you?”

Three things: The letter. The cancer. The lie.

I repeated those in my head until I was certain I could look at her and not drag her back under me.

“Beckett?”

“When I was growing up, if I wanted something, I took it. Immediately. I had sex at fourteen with a girl in my foster home of the moment. I opened Christmas presents early if I was lucky enough to get one, and it was usually from my social worker or some charity.”

“I don’t understand.” She wrapped her arms around her knees again.

“I took it immediately because I knew if I didn’t, chances were I wouldn’t get it. It was a now-or-never kind of thing—there weren’t second chances.”

“Okay.”

“I can’t touch you, can’t talk about it, because I’m afraid I’ll act on it.”

“And why does that matter if I want you to?”

“Because I won’t get a second chance. And I’m crap with people, with relationships. I’ve never had one that lasted more than a month. Never loved a woman I’ve slept with. And chances are I’d do something to screw this up, because it’s not just my dick that wants you, Ella.”

That O popped right back onto her face, and I closed my eyes to keep from lunging across the distance and kissing her. Knowing she’d let me—that she wanted it—sent my need from a bullet to a nuclear missile.

“And when I’d screw it up, because it would happen, trust me, it would hurt Colt and Maisie, too. You’d be on your own again, because there’s no chance you’d let me hang around and help you out like Ryan asked.”

“And there it is.”

“There it is. You’re Ryan’s little sister.”

“There were only five years between us. Not so little, you know.” She reached for the remote.

“I’m well aware.”

“So if Ryan were still alive…” She shot one last look at me.

I let everything slip for a millisecond, letting her see it all in my eyes, how badly I wanted her, and not just for her body. “Everything would be different.”

“Everything?”

“Everything but the way I feel about you, which he probably would have killed me for. Where does that leave us?”

“You mean besides me being a dried-up spinster and you being honor-bound to a ghost?”

“Something like that.”

She rolled her head along the back of the couch, muttering something that sounded like a curse word under her breath. Then she sat up straight and powered on the TV with a click of her thumb. “That leaves us choosing a movie on demand. Because I’m not letting you walk out that door right now.”

“You’re not?”

“Nope. You walk out now, you might get all weird about this and not come back. Honor is a fabulous thing, but sometimes pride can be a lot stronger, especially when you convince yourself it’s for the good of the other person.”

Damn, the woman knew me.

“So movie it is,” I agreed. “Just…stay on your side of the couch.”

“I wasn’t the one who crossed the center line,” she teased with a smile that got me hard all over again.

Movie chosen, we sat and watched, both of us stealing sideways glances. There was that saying…the horse out of the barn. Yeah, the horse was out of the barn, and it wasn’t going back in. Not no way. Not no how.

That horse was running amok and screwing with my carefully constructed control.

But I didn’t complain when she moved over. Or when she pressed against my side. Nope. I lifted my arm and savored the feel of her curves, her trust. Still didn’t complain when she lay down in my arms. Hell no, I held on and memorized every second.

About Rebecca Yarros:

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Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and a lover of all things coffee, chocolate, and Paleo. She is the author of the Flight & Glory series, including Full Measures, the award-winning Eyes Turned Skyward, Beyond What is Given, and Hallowed Ground. She loves military heroes, and has been blissfully married to hers for sixteen years.

When she’s not writing, she’s tying hockey skates for her four sons, sneaking in some guitar time, or watching brat-pack movies with her two daughters. She lives in Colorado with the hottest Apache pilot ever, their rambunctious gaggle of kids, an English bulldog who is more stubborn than sweet, and a bunny named General Fluffy Pants who torments the aforementioned bulldog. Having adopted their youngest daughter from the foster system, and Rebecca is passionate about helping others do the same.

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The Stand-In Boyfriend by Emma Doherty – Excerpt Reveal + Giveaway

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Title: The Stand-In Boyfriend

Author: Emma Doherty

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: March 12, 2019

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Livy Chapman is in love with Jessie Stephenson. It’s that simple. She has been for years but he only see’s her as his best friend. His best friend who copies her homework, relies on her to bail him out of trouble and who he hooks up with other girls in front of.

Enough is enough and when Chase Mitchell, star of the soccer team, and all round Mr. Popular steps in and convinces her that they can do each other a favour by pretending to date, Livy is just crazy enough over Jessie to agree to it.

I mean, Chase is just her stand-in boyfriend. Nothing could go wrong. Right?

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Excerpt:

“What’s wrong? Everything going okay with you and Jessie?”

“I don’t know where he is.” My eyes flash around the room, but he’s not in here either. Where the hell did he go? He wouldn’t just leave would he?

“I’m sure he’s around. He must have gotten stuck talking to someone.”

I shake my head. For some reason, I have a bad feeling about this, but I don’t know why. I mean, yeah, I was gone for half an hour so of course he’s not just going to stand there on his own and wait for me, but there were a lot of people in the kitchen—he could have just joined them, and he said he’d wait for me. We had a connection, didn’t we? He wouldn’t just walk away. “Have you seen him?”

Sophie shakes her head. Her eyes narrow in concern and she takes a step closer to me. Anyone else would laugh and tell me I’m being stupid, but Sophie knows me too well for that. She knows I’m getting anxious and panicky. “Should I come look for him with you?”

I shake my head, glancing behind her at Mark and Jackson, who have been joined by more of their crowd. “No, no. You’re right, he’s probably back in the kitchen by now and I just missed him.” I force a smile then back out of the room. I turn back in the direction I came from, intent on returning to the kitchen and even trying subtly to do some of those breathing exercises the child psychologist I saw in middle school told me to do when I start to get anxious. I walk past the huge spiral staircase in Aaron’s hall.

I pause, my heartbeat hammering my chest, and I don’t know what makes me do it but I step up onto the first step, and then the next, and the next, until I’m heading upstairs with my eyes locked ahead of me. I know what goes on in the upstairs bedrooms at these parties. Every Monday morning, the Grove Valley High rumor mill is in full swing talking about who hooked up with who. 

But Jessie was waiting for me!

Jessie was looking at me like I was special, like he was finally seeing me differently and something was definitely happening, but that doesn’t stop the sickening feeling in my gut. Despite the fact that my heart is pounding and I can feel my hands shaking, I know I need to rule this out.

I get to the top and look down the hall just as a girl in my trig class emerges from the first bedroom on the right with a boy I don’t recognize. She smiles sheepishly as she passes me, the cocky grin on the guy’s face making it clear what they’ve been up to. I force myself to smile, ignoring the dead weight in my stomach as I take a couple of steps farther along the hallway.

I suddenly feel stupid. What the hell am I going to do now that I’m up here? I’m certainly not going to go knocking on any doors just to check if Jessie is behind one of them. The thought alone makes me blush bright red. He’s probably downstairs in a corner talking about his latest video game obsession and I’m stalking the halls of Aaron’s mansion. I almost laugh out loud at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation. I decide to try to find a bathroom now that I’m up here, hoping it’s obvious from the outside that it’s a bathroom and not a bedroom, and continue walking, assuming the bathroom will be at the end of a hallway. I take a right at the end (seriously, that’s how big Aaron’s house is—the hallway leads onto another), and that’s when I stop dead.

That’s when I feel my heart crack in two.

That’s when I find Jessie.

With Courtney. Making out against the wall.

Somehow I manage to not say a word as I watch them kissing…as I watch his hand under her top, groping at her body…as she makes these ridiculous noises like she’s in some sort of adult film, dropping her hands to his belt buckle and starting to undo it.
I feel like I’m going to throw up.

I start to back away, tears already in my eyes, and I swear, I swear Courtney looks my way for a split second and a smirk covers her face when she sees me standing here. Then Jessie reaches for the handle of the door she’s leaning up against and they both tumble into the room, slamming the door behind them.

I am so stupid. I am so, so fucking stupid. My body starts shaking and fresh tears roll down my face. How could I think tonight was going to be it? How could I be dumb enough to think Jessie might actually like me back? I swipe away at the tears, heartbroken that he’s just dismissed me after what felt like a new beginning, but at the same time angry at myself. I should have known. I should have known better than to think I might actually get what I want, and I can’t cover up the sob that escapes from my throat.

“Uh…” I jump out of my skin at the voice behind me. “Are you okay?”

I whirl around to see Chase Mitchell standing there, looking the most awkward I’ve ever seen anyone look. I turn my back to him and swipe at my face, trying to get rid of the tears, which won’t stop falling.

“Yeah,” I reply. “I’m fine.” It’d be more believable if my voice wasn’t cracking as I speak. I wait to hear his footsteps back away, sure the sight of a crying girl is enough to make him run for the hills, but instead he steps around me while I stare at my feet.

“Livy.” I shake my head frantically. I can’t look up. I can’t face anyone right now, not when it feels like I’ve just had my heart ripped in two. “Livy,” he says again softly, and something about his voice, the way there’s no mocking lilt and the concern in his tone make me look up at him. He’s standing by the door opposite the one Courtney and Jessie are in, and he pushes it open. “Come in here. It’s Aaron’s room—no one will see you in here. It’s been locked so there’s no one inside.”

I nod, because honestly what else can I do at this point? My body won’t stop shaking and I’m having no luck stopping the tears. I just need to sit down for a couple of minutes and pull myself together before I have to face the party again.

Once inside the room, I sink down onto Aaron’s bed and look down at my hands, twisting my fingers together in a desperate attempt to stop them from shaking. I can’t believe how stupid I am. I can’t believe I let Sophie convince me this time might actually be different. I’m in here feeling like my world has ended while Jessie is across the hall having sex with his ex.

“Are you okay?” Chase asks again.
I startle slightly at his voice. I wasn’t expecting him to stick around. I wish he’d disappear; I don’t want anyone seeing me like this.

I force a smile and look up, but it wobbles as fresh tears tumble down my cheeks at the memory of Courtney looking at me. She must have been at the party all along and seen me with Jessie in the kitchen. She clearly took my absence as her opportunity, and Jessie certainly didn’t look like he had any objections.

“Honestly, I’m fine. Something happened earlier at home and I was just thinking about it,” I lie.

Chase doesn’t look away from me. “I saw Stephenson go into that bedroom with Courtney,” he tells me.

And there it is. My humiliation is complete. Chase Mitchell is witnessing my meltdown after watching my best friend hook up with his ex.

I look away, swiping my hand across my face. God knows what I look like right now. My makeup is probably running everywhere. I let out a sigh and feel my shoulders sag even farther.

“He doesn’t see you, Livy.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I whisper. “I told you, I was just thinking about something that happened earlier.”

“Liv—”

“Chase, please,” I plead, another errant tear streaking down my face. “Just leave me alone, okay? I can’t deal with anyone seeing me like this.”

He doesn’t reply as I squeeze my hands and try to focus on pulling myself together, but after what feels like an eternity, I hear the door open then click shut behind him. I burst into tears all over again because not only is Jessie back with Courtney, now everyone in school will know what a pathetic loser I am.

Enter Emma’s giveaway here!

Prizes: two $20 Amazon giftcards and an ARC of The Stand-In Boyfriend

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About Emma Doherty:

Emma Doherty was born in Yorkshire, England. She attended university in Newcastle before moving to London. She loves to travel, write, spend time with friends and family and hear from her readers.

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Only A Breath Apart by Katie McGarry – Spotlight/Excerpt

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Title: Only A Breath Apart

Author: Katie McGarry

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Release Date: January 22, 2019

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Jesse dreams of working the land that’s been in his family forever. But he’s cursed to lose everything he loves most.

Scarlett is desperate to escape her “charmed” life. But leaving a small town is easier said than done.

Despite their history of heartbreak, when Jesse sees a way they can work together to each get what they want, Scarlett can’t say no.Each midnight meeting between Jesse and Scarlett will push them to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other.

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Excerpt:

JESSE

“So you’re the decision maker now?”

He waits too many beats before speaking or maybe not enough. “I took on this role because, believe it or not, I care. I won’t pretend to understand the pain you’ve gone through, and I won’t pretend to understand your connection to this land. I’ve watched you grow up. I know, for you, this farm is like a Band-Aid on cuts that won’t stop bleeding.”

If that was meant to make me feel better, it didn’t. “You’ll never vote for me. You’re biased.”

“I’m not biased.”

For days I’ve been a stick under pressure, being bent too far. Finally, I snap. “I know you told Gran not to take me in after Mom died and to put me in foster care. You told her I was too broken and couldn’t be fixed. I know because I heard you. Tell me now you’re not biased.”

Guilt flashes over his face, and he tries to hide it as he flips through the folder in his hands. “If it helps, that’s why your grandmother set up the tribunal and chose two other people to help make the decision. Majority vote will win, and she believed you’ll rise to the challenge.”

I’m not sure if I respect him or hate him for not denying what we both know is true regarding the foster care. I’m also not sure how I feel that he doesn’t apologize either.

“She chose people who will give you a fair shake,” he continues. “This isn’t a death sentence. It’s a wakeup call. It’s August, and you have until May to prove you’re responsible. You have time. Take it. Prove me wrong.”

A growing sense of purpose takes root within me, and I do my best to funnel my anger and grief into it. “Who, besides you, is on the tribunal?”

If I tell you then I run the risk of you putting on a show for those people. This is your chance to change for the better. Take advantage of it.” Marshall leaves the paperwork on the antique table, shoves his folder back in his leather bag, and stands. “If it’s any consolation, I want you to succeed, but I want you to truly succeed. I won’t vote for you to keep the land unless you show me you understand what it means to run a farm of this magnitude.”

It’s no consolation. That’s him attempting to ease his guilt for when he votes against me.

“I’m sorry for your loss, Jesse. If you need to talk or if you’d like to stop by for a meal, you’re welcome at my house. And if you get tired of being here alone, you can live with us. We have plenty of room.”

I don’t believe any of that, but I nod because doing so will get him out of my home faster. Marshall stares at me for a few more seconds, as if contemplating saying more, but he doesn’t. Instead he walks out, shutting the door behind him.

His engine purrs to life and rocks crack under his moving tires. Then there’s silence. Maddening silence. I drop into Gran’s recliner, lower my head into my hands and close my eyes. I’ve lost Gran, and now I could lose my land. The only thing left that I love. The only thing in my life that brings me peace. “Why, Gran?”

I strain to listen in the silence, and my gut twists that there’s no response. “I miss you.”

Still no response and my head begins to throb. My cell in my back pocket vibrates. I dig it out, expecting to see a text from one of my friends, but I pop my neck to the right at the sight of Glory’s name. You need to stop by tomorrow night.

Me: No

Glory: I know of your grandmother’s plan

Me: So do I

Glory: But I know who the people are who will be deciding your future.

Me—stone cold frozen.

Glory: Stop by tomorrow at nine. I should be wrapping up my last session then.

Me: I won’t be there.

Glory: Yes, you will.

About Katie McGarry:

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Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine’s 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

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Only A Breath Apart by Katie McGarry – Excerpt Reveal

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Would you dare to defy destiny? Are our destinies written in stone? Do we become nothing more than the self-fulfilling prophesies of other people’s opinions? Or can we dare to become who we believe we were born to be?

“A gorgeous, heartfelt journey of redemption and love” (Wendy Higgins), ONLY A BREATH APART is a young adult contemporary novel from critically acclaimed Katie McGarry. “Haunting, authentic, and ultimately hopeful” (Tammara Webber), ONLY A BREATH APART will be available on all retailers on January 22, 2019!

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Title: Only A Breath Apart

Author: Katie McGarry

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Release Date: January 22, 2019

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Jesse dreams of working the land that’s been in his family forever. But he’s cursed to lose everything he loves most.

Scarlett is desperate to escape her “charmed” life. But leaving a small town is easier said than done.

Despite their history of heartbreak, when Jesse sees a way they can work together to each get what they want, Scarlett can’t say no.Each midnight meeting between Jesse and Scarlett will push them to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other.

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Excerpt:

SCARLETT

I’m defying my parents by attending a funeral. Reckless and adventurous teenage behavior, I know. Most seventeen-year-olds lie to their parents so they can go on a date with a forbidden boy or attend a party where there will be questionable behavior. Me? I’m outright lying to my dad, and it’s because Jesse Lachlin’s grandmother died.

The entire way here I’ve questioned my sanity, but I don’t know how I’d live with myself if I stayed home. Jesse Lachlin used to be my childhood best friend. We were inseparable. We had the type of friendship people strive to have, and then, a few years ago, he cut me so deeply that I still bleed. But ten-year-old me would have never abandoned a hurting Jesse. So today I’m not only honoring the memory of Jesse’s grandmother, but also the memory of our dead friendship.

On my way to the funeral, the high grass of the field swats at my legs, but I don’t mind the sting. I love walking barefoot in grass, I love the smell of the earth and I love that brief feeling of freedom open spaces can provide.

It’s the dog days of August. The type of hot that starts when the sun rises and makes you sweat through your clothes within minutes. While my skin and palms are on fire, the pads of my feet are cool against the dirt. The heat is unwelcome, but the sky is deep blue and the sun is bright, and for that, I can be grateful.

Walking out of the field, I stop short of crossing the one-lane road to slip on the flats that dangle from my fingertips. My mother would be mortified if she knew I was entering a church in a cotton daisy-print sundress. It’s not one of the dresses with stiff fabric and impossible back zippers she would have picked for me at an overpriced department store. It’s the type that’s machine-washable and breathable. The type of dress Jesse’s grandmother would have given her stamp of approval.

I can practically hear my mother heavily sigh and mumble my name, Scarlett, as if it were her personal, private curse word. Mom believes there’s a certain way to dress and behave, and I’m breaking all sorts of her rules today. Watch out, world. I’m officially rebellious.

I smile to myself because I’m the opposite of rebellious. For the last few years, I’ve followed every rule. I’m the teacher’s pet and the girl with straight A’s. I’m the poster child of perfection, and have earned every snarky ice princess comment Jesse’s friends whisper about me in the school hallways because he and I no longer speak.

There are only six cars in the parking lot of the white church, and that makes me frown. I thought more people would have wanted to attend. Jesse’s mud-covered pickup is there, and so is an unnaturally clean black Mercedes that belongs to his uncle. This ought to be interesting. Jesse and his uncle have a mutual hate for each other that runs deeper than any root of any tree.

Movement to my right and I slowly turn my head. Shivers run down my spine at the sight of Glory Gardner. Even though I’m seventeen and too old for ghost stories, I still can’t shake the ones regarding this woman. Girls would whisper over lunch boxes that Glory was a witch. As I grew older, I understood that witch meant con artist. She claims she can read palms, tarot cards and “sees” spirits from beyond the dead. All for a glorious fee.

She’s a beautiful woman—long dirty blond hair that’s untamed, even in a bun, and she has an eclectic taste in clothing. Today she wears a white peasant shirt and a flowing skirt made of material that shimmers in the sun.

Glory watches me like I watch her, with morbid curiosity. I knew her as a child, back when Jesse and I ran wild in the fields near her home, but we haven’t talked in years.

She stands under the shade of a towering weeping willow. There are lots of those trees around here. Mom says it’s because there is too much water in the ground. I say it’s because the people in this town have cried too many tears. Mom doesn’t like my answer.

I tilt my head toward the church, an unspoken question if Glory will be joining me. She shakes her head no. I’m not shocked. According to rumors, Glory will go up in flames if she enters the house of God. But who knows? Maybe I will, too.

The church is one of those picturesque, historical, one-room school buildings squeezed between a cornfield on one side and a hay field on the other. A huge steeple with a bell attempts to reach the heavens, but like anything created by a human, it falls tragically short.

The foreboding wooden door makes no noise as I open it, and I’m able to slip in without a huge, squeaking announcement. Orange light filters in through the dark stained glass windows, and its struggling beams reveal millions of dancing particles of dust.

On the altar, there’s no casket, but there is an urn. My heart dips—Suzanne is dead. I used to wish she were my grandmother, and many times, she treated me as if I belonged to her. Suzanne was the epitome of love, and the world feels colder now that she’s gone.

Choosing a spot in the back, I drop into a pew, and as I scan the church my stomach churns. How is it possible that this place is so barren?

Besides the Funeral Brigade, or the FB, as I like to refer to them, there aren’t many people here. The FB are the older group of woman who attend every funeral in our small town even if they didn’t know the person. Attending funerals isn’t my idea of fun, but who am I to judge?

The FB sit directly behind the one person the town believes to be the lone sane member of the Lachlin family, probably because he isn’t blood related—Jesse’s uncle.

On the left side of the church is Jesse. Only Jesse. And that causes a painful pang in my chest. Where are his stinking friends? The anarchists in training who follow Jesse wherever he goes? Where is the rest of the town? Yes, Suzanne was polarizing, but still, where is any respect?

Quietly, so I don’t draw attention to myself, I slip from the right set of pews to the left. Someone should be on Jesse’s side, and it’s sad it has to be me.

A door at the front of the church opens, and the pastor walks out from the addition the church build on as a small office ten years ago. I would have thought any pastor assigned to this place would be as ancient as this church. Sort of like an Indiana Jones Knights Templar scenario where he lives forever as long as he stays inside. But no, he’s the youngest pastor from the main, newer church in town. His name is Pastor Hughes, and he’s a thirty-something black man with a fit build who is just cute enough that he should be starring in a movie.

The pastor looks up, and he flinches as if startled. I peek over my shoulder then sigh. Clearly, he’s surprised to see me. Flipping fantastic.

His reaction, and the fact he won’t stop staring, causes every person to turn their heads. Lovely. I’ve had dreams like this where I enter a room and become the center of attention. Only in my dreams it’s at school, it’s my classmates and I’m naked, but still, this is disconcerting.

Eventually, the FB and Jesse’s uncle return their attention to the front, but Jesse doesn’t. He rests his arm on the back of the pew, and it’s hard to ignore that he’s made me his sole focus, but I do my best to act as if I don’t notice.

To help, I concentrate on what my mom taught me as a child—to make sure the skirt of my dress is tucked appropriately so that my thighs don’t show. I then fold my hands in my lap and straighten to a book-on-head posture. I can be the ice princess people claim me to be.

Five pews separate me and Jesse, and it’s not nearly enough. My cheeks burn under his continued inspection. Jesse has done this a handful of times since our freshman year. Glance at me as if I’m someone worth looking at, someone worth laughing with a little too loud and smiling with a little too much. Then he remembers who I am and snaps his gaze to someone else.

But he’s not looking away now.

About Katie McGarry:

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Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine’s 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

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