Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Cover Reveal & Excerpt: Just One Cup

Hey guys!  So I have for you today the cover for Just One Cup, a novel by Cassandra Giovanni.  As some of you might know, I really enjoyed her YA novels, In Between Seasons (you can find my review here) and Walking in the Shadows (my review here). Just One Cup is her first NA, and Cassie has very kindly given an excerpt to share with you.  I've also seen quite few additional excerpts on her blog, and it was clear from the first that this promises to be another wonderful romance - oh.  Um.  I meant...another wonderful book.  Yeah.  Although, I can probably get away with saying romance, since this is a contemporary.  Also, the release date has been revealed, and that's below as well. :)

So.  Are you guys ready for the cover?

Title: Just One Cup
Author: Cassandra Giovanni
Publisher: Self-published
Released: 20th June 2013
 Emma Walker was a writer who'd lost herself to someone else's anger--who had given up on ever feeling like herself again.

Evan Levesque was a rock-god--the one all the woman wanted, but he'd never gotten used to the loneliness between the stage and real life.

With just one cup of coffee they'll begin a journey of self-discovery at each others sides, but can Emma handle Evan's fame while dealing with her own demons? Emma's checkered personal past, a bad relationship that haunts the edges of her memories, threatens to make everything implode on them when Evan takes matters into his own hands.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they'll destroy my soul--Can Emma handle being put back together and facing who she's become because of it?

For me, the more I look at the cover, the more I like it.  Greyscale covers really seem to be working for me, and I love how there's always a colour to contrast with it.  I think the fonts work really well, especially the one used for the author's name, and I like the added touch of the music at the bottom.

What about you?  What are your thoughts?  Leave your comments below!  And in the meantime, here is the promised excerpt.

When he came off the plane he was wearing aviators, a black button-up, dark wash jeans and those Converse shoes that I hated on anyone but him.  He lifted his sunglasses and broke into a smile as I ran into his arms.  He dropped his bag and spun me around as soon as I was in his arms.
    "How did you know?" he asked as he set me on the ground, his hands tangled in my hair.
    "You told me what flight you were on."
    He shook his head and held my chin in his hand.  "I've always wanted to have someone to wait for me - to spin them around and then do this."
    He pulled me chin up and tilted it until our lips touched - soft at first and then the reminder that we hadn't kissed in two months came over us.  The only thing that could pull us apart was the whistle that echoed through the terminal and then the incessant flash of cameras.
    "Crap," Evan hissed, his forehead pressed to mine with his hands on either side of my face so they couldn't get a good picture of me.  "You don't want them to know who you are yet, do you?"
    I shook my head but said with my voice shaking, "I knew the risk."
    He swallowed and then smiled.  "Tilt your head down so that your hair covers your face from view."
    I did what he said and then felt his hands slip the glasses over my eyes.  As I looked up his cocky half-smile made me laugh.
    "They look a hell of a lot hotter on you," he teased, throwing his duffel bag over his shoulder and wrapping his arm around my waist so that his fingers were in the front pocket of my jeans.
    "I don't think that's possible," I replied, breathless from the feel of his touch as my t-shirt rose, exposing the flesh of my hip to his warmth.
    "It's very possible with you," he whispered into my ear as we made our way past the flashing cameras.  "I can't wait to see the tabloids on this one."
    "It would be much better if we did something dangerous, like locked ourselves in a public restroom."
    He looked down at me through his eyebrows.  "Really?  That's not all that clean."
    "I haven't seen you in two months," I said, turning and stopping in front of him.  "I've thought about you every single day.  Do you know what that does to a girl?  Especially when pictures of you half-naked are strewn across the internet."
    "I see you found those."  His voice was edged with amusement, but his face was red in embarrassment.
    I pulled on the collar of his shirt before leaning up on my toes and whispering into his ear, "I need some real ones."
    "What do you need pictures of when I'm here?" he answered, his breath hot on my chin, voice seductive.
    "I need you to burn the images into my mind then," I said before gently biting his ear.
    His free hand drifted down the small of my back to my rear pocket.  "I thought I already had."
    "Mhmm...I need more."
    "I have to admit I kind of enjoy this."  He smirked down at me.  "But teasing me like this is just cruel."
    "Does the rental car have blacked out window?" I asked over my shoulder as I turned.
    I watched Evan's Adam's apple rise and fall.  "I sure hope so."

Friday, 26 April 2013

Rachel Caine Book Tour

Hello, everyone!

So yesterday I went out, not really thinking about the post or expecting anything exciting - not expecting anything, really.  But when I got home, what should have arrived but a copy of Fall of Night, the penultimate book in the Morganville Series!  Cue squealing and happy dancing.  (Not really.  I'm very mature that way.)  (No, I'm not.)

Now, I would be telling you all to be jealous (I wouldn't, I'm not that mean), but the link below will tell you where Rachel Caine is going to be from 10th May through to 20th May.  This is a UK tour, and I am already jealous of anyone who is going to get to go.  *gives evil stare as she surveys the crowd*  Although, she is in London a couple of times, so maybe I can beg or bribe her to come to my house... 

So anyway, feel free to check out the details, note down where she'll be and when so that you can prepare to stalk her.  And that's it from me today. :)


Thursday, 25 April 2013

A Voice from Beyond the Student Grave

Hey, guys.

So you may have noticed that my blog has been fairly empty lately, that I haven't been commenting on your blogs, and/or that, while I am on GoodReads, I haven't been commenting as much.  The sad, simple reason for that is, it's that time of year again.  Revision, exams, feeling like a total zombie...all of these things mean that time is even less on my side than usual.  I wouldn't even be reading if it weren't for the fact that I went insane a few weeks ago and borrowed too many books, and now I have to finish them by the due date.  (My library is appalling, so imagine my surprise when I found out it actually had a bunch of books I wanted to read.)

I've got 4 school weeks and one week off (except since I have to go in I'm not really off) until my exams start and, while saying it like that might make them seem far away, they're really not.  And in the meantime I've got loads to do.  Assuming I survive, of course.


That's not to say this is going to be a totally blank space in that time.  I do have some upcoming blog tours, and you can check those out by clicking the tab at the top.  There's also a cover reveal, and I'll be putting up a few extra reviews here and there, so do keep an eye out.

I'm really sorry, and thank you all so much for being so understanding.  Hugs to everyone. <3

Monday, 22 April 2013

Blog Tour: Excerpt: Faster We Burn

Hey guys!  Today I have for you an excerpt from Faster We Burn, second in the Fall and Rise series.  Be sure to stop by some of the other blogs involved; you can find the schedule here.

Title: Faster We Burn (Fall and Rise #2)
Author: Chelsea Cameron
Publisher: Self-published
Released: 20th April 2013
Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon US
Katie Hallman is done with douchebags. Done with guys who treat her like crap and leave her broken. But then Stryker Grant is there anyway. With his numerous piercings and bleached hair, he’s the polar opposite of all of her past relationships, which makes him the perfect candidate.

At first, Katie just sees him as a physical escape from her previous rocky relationship, and Stryker doesn’t seem to mind just being a distraction from Katie’s problems. But soon he’s getting under her skin, peeling back layers she’d rather keep covered. She tries to make it clear that she doesn’t want a relationship, but keeps breaking her own rules.

Then a tragedy sends Katie into the only arms who are there to catch her, and she’ll realize that she needs him more than she ever thought possible. But is she ready to let herself trust another guy with her already-battered heart? Or will she push him away to protect herself from getting hurt again?


I couldn’t find a good radio station, so I picked up my phone and put it on speaker, setting it in a little clip on my dashboard. I should have one of those headsets, but I thought they made people look like assholes, so I’d never gotten one.
    He picked up on the second ring.
    “Hey, I’m driving back and I just thought I would check in with my friend. How are you, friend?”
    He sounded like he was in a room full of people.  “I’m good, friend. How are you?” The voices faded, as if he was walking away from them.
    “You’re not in class, are you?”
    “No, I was just getting something to eat.”
    “When’s your next class?”
    “Not for a while. I’m all yours, friend.”
    “Well that is good to hear, friend.”
    He went on to tell me about all the things that I’d missed on campus, from someone getting thrown out for setting a couch on fire, to the frat that was on probation, to the professor who’d gotten caught smoking pot on campus with a few students.  It was all silly and mundane and distracting enough that I could get out of my own head for a few minutes. It was a blessed relief.
    He also filled me in on the crew. Lottie was dying to have me back and had stocked up on ice cream in preparation for lots of Law and Order marathons.  Trish had almost gotten fired from her job for mouthing off to her boss, Will and Audrey had finally kissed in public and Simon was trying to convince everyone to participate in some sort of charity event that involved running around campus in your underwear.
    “I’m not freezing my junk off, even if it is for charity,” he said as I pictured his junk. It was pretty nice junk, and I wouldn’t like it if anything happened to it, even if I wasn’t going to be using it anytime soon.
    It was all well and good to call ourselves friends over the phone, but in person, I had no idea how it was going to go.
    “How’s your mom?”
    “I guess she’s as good as can be expected. She goes from sobbing to cleaning like the Queen is coming over, then back to sobbing. I’m going back this weekend so Kayla can have a break.”
    “Do you feel guilty?” Stryker always had a way of asking the questions I didn’t want to answer.
    “Yeah. How can I not?”
    I waited for him to tell me that I shouldn’t, but he sighed.
    “You’re right.”
    “Wait, what was that?”
    He laughed.  “I said that you’re right. A little guilt is okay. It’s the big, soul-crushing guilt I’m worried about.”

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Blog Tour: Review, Sneak Peek & Giveaway: Astarte's Wrath

Hey, guys!  Today I have the honour of being part of the blog tour for Trisha Wolfe's Astarte's Wrath, and I'm hoping you'll enjoy the little sneak peek Trish has kindly shared with us.  If nothing else, don't forget to scroll down to enter the giveaway!

Title: Astarte's Wrath (Kythan Guardians)
Author: Trisha Wolfe
Publisher: Self-published
Released: 2nd March 2013
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Trisha Wolfe is one of those authors I've been very curious about for some time now, so when I got the chance to read Astarte's Wrath, I couldn't say no.  But I decided I wanted to read Destiny's Fire first, even though both of these are independent and can be read in any order.  And I'm kind of glad I did because, while DF impressed me, I did seriously love Astarte's Wrath.

This story takes place in Egypt, under the reign of Cleopatra.  The Kythan, comprised of Narcolym and Shythe, were created long ago to protect the Egyptian pharoahs and Astarte, or Star, now has the job of guarding Xarion, Cleopatra's son and the last pharoah.  When they were younger, before duty compelled them to step into their respective roles, they had been good friends.  Even now, Star's feelings for Xarion grow deeper, but she knows they cannot have a relationship. Things are complicated further with the threat from Rome and questions regarding a new breed of Kythan.  Ultimately, Star will have to choose between freeing the Kythan of their binds to the pharoahs, and ensuring the safety of Xarion.

It has to be said that I am not the greatest fan of Egyptian history.  I am a history geek, and as a rule I tend to find myself fascinated with pretty much anything I learn about the past.  But I can still remember my Year 4 History lessons - nine years ago now - and wishing I was studying something else.  Even now, the closest I choose to get to learning about Ancient Egypt is watching The Mummy.  I'm not really sure why; no doubt just one of my pecularities.  However.  In reading Astarte's Wrath, I found myself fascinated.  The novel is full to the brim of Egyptian lore, and it quickly becomes clear that Wolfe has done her research.  Rather than feel disconnected by the Egyptian background, I was drawn in further, soaking up the information with keen interest.  The coupling of this with the concept of the Kythan made for a truly imaginative world, and I was hooked.  The sole purpose of the Kythan's existence is to serve and protect, and it's not difficult to feel sympathy for them as a whole.

Neither was the world-building let down by the individual characters.  Star is a tough heroine, and very focused.  While I felt a little bad for Xarion each time she tried to push him away, it was easy to appreciate her sense of duty, loyalty that went beyond her binds.  Xarion is incredibly sweet when it comes to Star, and his love for her comes across clearly.  He is selfless, willing to sacrifice a lot just to have a future with her.  He also rarely commanded her to do anything.  When a Kythan is commanded to do something, they literally have to do it, the old magic forcing them to obey; it is a pharoah's prerogative to treat their slaves this way.  The couple of times Xarion did this I was upset with him, but because of the situations, I could sort of understand him.  Even as a person, a ruler, Xarion is extremely likeable.  Both he and Star are strong characters.  The secondary characters, too, are wonderfully fleshed out.  I adored Phoenix, one of Star's best friends, and even the brief appearance of Cleopatra is enough for you to connect with her.

Astarte's Wrath is not a simple story.  It has history mixed in with fantasy, and for even more flavour, a whole myriad of emotions.  There is love, pain, grief, happiness, hope, conflict, heartbreaking betrayal...and the most bittersweet of endings.  It is happy, and at the same time it isn't.  Trisha Wolfe has written something astounding here, rich with culture and feeling, making this a book that is not to be missed.

Sneak Peek: Bath Scene from Xarion's POV
Star narrows her eyes at me, her full, bottom lip puckering out the way it does when she's in serious thought - and though I'm listening to her words, all I want to do is trap that bottom lip between my teeth.  Nip it and caress it with my tongue.
    "I knew you'd say that," she says. "And that is precisely why I didn't want you to know." She raises her hand from my chest and swipes the wet hair from my forehead. Her body subtly moves against me with this action, and it drives me wild. "A possible retaliation by the guardians is just one more weighted burden on top of the many you already carry.  You don't need the added strain.  Let me deal with Candra and the Kythan.  They're my kindred.  As long as I'm their equal - in both power and status - I can protect you."
    This woman - the woman I've loved my entire life - is my protector.  She not only guards against physical threats, but watches over my mental wellbeing.  But I cannot allow her to carry all my problems alone anymore.  I want to be her guardian, to be the one to comfort her when she's fearful, and protect her against this world.
    I tilt my head and take a deep breath.  "This is why you won't be with me."  I want her to admit it.  If she finally confesses that our titles and her battle with the right course of action have been the only reasons for her kept affections, then by Gods...help me from laying her out on this tile and taking her - making her mine.  I won't stop.
    She nods.
    "This is the only reason."  She nods again, and that is all the confirmation I need.  "Then I refuse to let them keep us apart for one more moment."  I grasp her face between my hands and claim her lips with mine.
    Her lips are soft and warm as I achingly coax them into a fevered kiss, unable to hold back my desire for her.  I had planned for our first kiss many times, imagined it over and over.  The way I would caress her lips slowly and lovingly, conveying my affections.  But every emotion I have ever felt for Star rushes to the surface all at once, and I can't slow.  I won't.  I won't allow her a moment to question our actions, to reconsider us.  I'm going to kiss her senseless - kiss the reason right out of her infuriatingly rational head.
Help Trisha get to 50 reviews on Amazon for the full scene release of the “Bath Scene” on Trisha’s blog! You can bookmark the bonus material here!  (You want the full scene.  Trust me.) 
Trisha Wolfe is the author of the YA Steampunk DESTINY'S FIRE (Omnific Publishing), the NA Historical/Supernatural ASTARTE'S WRATH, and the upcoming YA Utopian FIREBLOOD from Spencer Hill Press, October 2013. Her NA Dark Fantasy OF SILVER AND BEASTS available May 2013.
She’s the creator of YA Bound, a promotional site for the Young Adult genre. Also a member of SCWW and The Apocalypsies. Check out www.TrishaWolfe.com for more on her books and bonus material. Follow Trisha on Twitter @TrishWolfe and like her Facebook page for updates.  

Giveaway time!

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Sunday, 14 April 2013

Review: If You Find Me

Title: If You Find Me
Author: Emily Murdoch
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Released: 26th March 2013
Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Carey and Jenessa are living in a camper in the woods, surviving on beans and whatever else they can find for food.  Used to their mother coming and going, often disappearing for long periods of time, they don't think anything different of this time - until she doesn't come back.  Instead, two strangers find them and take them back to the world outside.  If You Find Me is a story of two sisters adapting to a new life, facing the painful truth of their past and confronting their mother's behaviour, but also rediscovering what it's like to be loved and cared for.

This book was, in a word, heartbreaking.  Emily Murdoch has an incredibly subtle writing style which has the power to draw quite a lot of emotion from you.  Her tale crosses the emotional spectrum: it is one of sadness, loss, abandonment...hope, happiness and, ultimately, love.  It broke my heart to see the kind of life Carey and Janessa were leading; to see how, until they were effectively rescued, they could rely on no-one but each other - indeed, it fell on Carey's shoulders to look after both herself and her sister.  It broke my heart to see these two girls grow used to a life they should have had from the very start, and never had to give up.  And even seeing the love they got from their father and his wife, Melissa, was its own kind of heartbreak.  But Murdoch managed to balance the sadder elements with the more hopeful, and it was amazing to watch Carey and Jenessa realise that this was their new life and then really come to embrace it.

Looking back on it now, it strikes me that there is an awful lot of love in this book.  That it addresses different types of love.  Perhaps one of the most obvious is the romantic kind - and there is a romantic angle in here, although to be honest, it didn't really work for me.  I felt it could have taken some more time to develop, especially in the knowledge of the full story behind that romance.  But there was also friendship, a new thing for both Carey and Janessa.  Even the bond that Janessa formed with Shorty, the farm dog.  There was the familial love that came from the sisters living with their father and Melissa.  When Melissa made her first appearance, I think I thought that she'd probably end up being the evil stepmother-type figure.  But I couldn't be further from the truth, and it was incredible to just see her accept the sisters and, more than that, really love them.  Which brings me, finally, to what is arguably the most powerful, most moving bond in this story: that between Carey and Janessa.  I was astounded by how close they were.  How Carey never once resented Jenessa for being younger and for depending on her for everything.  How Jenessa sacrificed talking to protect Carey.  This relationship between the sisters was truly brilliant, and brilliantly written.

If You Find Me carries its own distinct voice that rises above the clamour of so many other young adult titles.  Its pages are a journey of two girls, finding their place in the world and, inevitably, your heart.

Sunday, 7 April 2013


Hey guys!

So finally I've gotten around to signing up with Bloglovin'.  It's sad that we have to wave goodbye to Google Reader, but Bloglovin' looks really good, so that's something. 

So anywho, follow the link below to find my blog!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Review: Just Remember to Breathe

Title: Just Remember to Breathe (Thompson Sisters)
Author: Charles Sheehan-Miles
Publisher: Cincinnatus Press
Released: 12th November 2012
Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Charles Sheehan-Miles has once again blown me away - more so this time.  Now and then it hits me that I read very few male authors - and yet this one has impressed me twice with his ability to create strong, layered characters and solid relationships, snatching me from my real life bedroom and dunking me into the worlds he creates, worlds where I have to periodically remind myself are not real even if they are contemporary, refusing to let me go until the very last sentence.  Even then, I am never truly allowed to leave.  If there is one thing you are not able to do upon finishing a Sheehan-Miles books, it's forget his characters.

Alex is at Columbia University, following the path that her parents have set for her. She keeps herself focused on her grades, not really interested in guys and the more social side of things.  One guy already broke her heart, and she's trying to forget about him.  Dylan is at Columbia University, an unexpected turn of events since he was in Afghanistan and came home severely injured.  He's determined to work his hardest and try to forget about the girl who broke his heart.  Not to mention the fact that she was out of his league, anyway.  The last thing either of them want is to see each other again...and yet they end up at the same university, on the same work study assignment.  Unable to do anything about it, they realise they need to come up with a way for them to work together in a manner more civil than hostile, one where they'll at least be able to look at each other without glaring.  The solution they come up with is to establish some ground rules.  Only trouble is, they keep breaking them...

Like A Song for Julia, this is told in dual POV.  Unlike A Song for Julia, I was very happy with the way these were done.  I could tell easily who was speaking and when, and I loved reading from both their perspectives.  Sheehan-Miles has a truly captivating writing style.  Through reading these alternate perspectives, I was made to feel.  A lot.  There are so many emotions in this book, and I had no control over what was happening to my heart.  Authors seem to have this expectation that whatever their books put us through, we'll recover.  How do they know that?  Maybe we're fine now, but how do they know that one day they won't eventually push us over the edge?  For me, not only was it painful having to read parts of this story, but it was also painful to finish it, to realise that my time with Alex and Dylan was up, and that the only way I'd get to spend a little more time with them would be to re-read it.  And make no mistake, that's exactly what I will be doing.  But this was beautiful and sad and tragic and hopeful and funny and light and serious and I didn't want to let go.

'When he finally got himself standing, he leaned close and said, "I think we need one more rule."
    He took a deep breath through his nose, and said, "Yeah.  Um, yeah...you need to get different shampoo."
    What.  The.  Hell?
    "What are you talking about?" I asked, suddenly very uncomfortable.
    "You still smell like strawberries, and it's breaking my heart," he said with a low growl.  With that, he turned, slung his bad over his impossible broad shoulder, and began to walk away.'

That last line from Dylan hit me hard when I was reading this.  Really hard.  Maybe it'll make more sense when you're actually reading it, but what he said there completely broke my own heart.  The thing is, Alex and Dylan on their own?  Amazing.  Both of them are these broken yet strong people, and they struggle to work through an undoubtedly difficult situation.  They both have their own insecurities - especially Dylan.  Unsurprisingly, his time in Afghanistan was hell, and he's working through that on top of their relationship issues.  But as a couple?  These two are just...incredible. They really fit together.  I loved seeing them try to be friends again and then watching with a smile when they broke their own rules.  I loved learning how they met; I thought it was different compared to the start of so many other romances that I've read.  I loved how when things suddenly veered off course again, Alex especially remained strong and did what she had to.  And I loved that ending.  Sweet, unique, breathtaking...perfect.  These two belong together, and to see them fighting the pain and the memories that their relationship has brought them thus far is really sad.  By not being together, each of them is completely destroying the other.

And then of course, my heart somehow found room to love some of the secondary characters and their own relationships.  Out of those, the relationship between Carrie and Sherman definitely trumped.  Carrie is an amazing supportive sister, and I'm really looking forward to reading her own story.  Sherman is a fantastic friend to Dylan, and he brought in some humour.   But it was easy to appreciate Kelly and Joel as well - and Joel isn't even present a lot of the time.  My only issues lay with the parents.  The blindness of some people will never cease to amaze me.

I kind of feel like this review is not as structured as I'd like it to be, and I'm really sorry about that.  Usually I try to keep from rambling and just writing down disconnected thoughts and sentences that maybe don't make sense, but it seems like at the moment, that's the best I can do.  Just Remember to Breathe was a truly stunning read and if you're a contemporary fan, Charles Sheehan-Miles is most definitely an author to check out.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Release Party: Excerpt & Giveaway: Unexpected

Title: Unexpected
Author: Faith Sullivan
Expected release date: April 2, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Category: New Adult
Ebook available at: Kindle / Amazon UK
Paperback available at: Amazon / Amazon UK

September 11, 2001.

A day that forever changes the destiny of college overachiever, Michelle Rhodes.

Shattered, confused and alone, no one understands the trauma consuming her until she meets Connor Donnelly.

A native New Yorker, he believes he can aid in getting her life back on track. But what if he's even more broken inside?

Offering her a chance at a fresh start, Connor convinces Michelle to move in with him. Hiring her to waitress at his bar, their mutual attraction only complicates matters.

As more details surrounding Connor's past emerge, Michelle uncovers the full magnitude of the loss he's trying to hide. Refusing to let her feelings for him hinder his recovery, she makes a decision that winds up hurting them both.

By sacrificing her heart, Michelle thinks she is helping Connor come to terms with his grief. Little does she know, Connor is gambling everything for the sake of having a future with her.

What happens is truly unexpected.

Excerpt - Chapter 6

“W...what?” I stutter despite myself.
    He gives me a crooked grin. “All night, I’ve been freezing my ass off out here waiting for you. I didn’t think you were gonna show.”
    If his first remark didn’t floor me, the second leaves me utterly confused. “Whoa, slow down, buddy. How do you even know my name?”
    Again, he laughs. “Does it really matter? I’m here to talk some sense into you.”
    The dimples in his cheeks distract me. He has such a cute smile. But I’m not letting him off that easily. “Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m done with New York.”
    “Really? You could’ve fooled me.”
    “And why’s that?”
    “Because you should never run from something that scares you.” His hazel eyes catch the moonlight as they bore into mine. “And this time, you won’t be alone. I’ll be with you.”
    This whole conversation is getting way too intense. Standing up, I wrap my arms around myself. I have to get out of here. This guy is crazy.
    I jump as the front door opens and my ex-boyfriend Tony emerges, giving me a hopeful look. We broke up after our senior year. He understood I wasn’t planning on sticking around, so I set him free. He met someone else over the summer, and I only talked to him once on the phone when I got back. But with the way he’s looking at me now, I can tell he feels sorry for me, and that’s something I won’t tolerate.
    Inching closer to the steps, I attempt to play it cool. “Oh hi, Tony. It’s good seeing you. I wish I could stay and chat, but I was just leaving.”
    “I don’t think so.”
    I whirl around. That’s it. Who does this guy think he is? “Listen, you little...” I begin, but Tony interrupts by grabbing my arm.
    “Michelle, calm down. There’s no need to freak out,” Tony says, slowly releasing his grip on me. “Do you remember me telling you about Sal, my roommate at school, the one from New York?” I nod, but I can care less at this moment. “Well, this is his older brother, Connor. I kind of told him all about you, and I thought it’d be a good idea if you two met.”
    I shake my head and sigh. “So you made him wait out here alone in the cold?”
    I can tell Tony’s nervous. He’s running his fingers through his hair. “I thought you’d bolt otherwise.”
    “She nearly did,” Connor chimes in.
    Frustrated, I slam my fist on the porch railing. “The both of you just stop it, right now! I knew it was a bad idea to come here. I don’t need some random guy from New York giving me advice on how to live my life.”
    Pushing off the swing, Connor gets to his feet. “Well, what are you doing with your life then? What’s plan B?”
    I advance toward him. “I don’t have a plan B, asshole. I don’t have all the answers, but apparently you do.”
    Connor closes the gap between us. “I wish I did, but I think you can figure it out. You were brave enough to take on the big, bad city once. Why not try it again under different circumstances?”
    Tony clears his throat, and for a moment, I forgot he was there. “Michelle, Connor owns a bar downtown. He thought you could go back and work for him. Give it another go.”
    “I’m no bartender,” I retort.
    “You sure aren’t,” Connor fires back.
    Tony holds up his hands in an attempt to keep the peace. “Just hear him out, Michelle.”
    “Fine,” I say glaring up at him.
    “Go on, Connor. Tell her about it,” Tony urges, knowing I may flee at any moment.
    Connor’s eyes find mine again, but I look away as he starts speaking. “My family’s owned a pub on Beekman Street for years. Not too long ago, my dad had a heart attack, so I took over. I can offer you a waitressing job plus room and board above the bar for as long as you want it.”For a minute, I stop and consider the possibility. It actually doesn’t sound that bad, and it’d be a welcome change from my original intention of becoming the next film school prodigy. It would be fresh start, and I wouldn’t be alone. But can I really go back there?
"And why do you care about what happens to me?" I ask, raising my eyes to his. "Because I was there that day, and so were you."
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