Sunday, September 30, 2012

Review: League Of Strays by L.B. Schulman

Title: League Of Strays
Author: L.B. Schulman
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Amulet (Oct. 1, 2012)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
 This suspenseful debut follows a group of teenage misfits in their delicious quest for revenge on those who have wronged them at their high school. When a mysterious note appears in Charlotte’s mailbox inviting her to join the League of Strays, she’s hopeful it will lead to making friends. What she discovers is a motley crew of loners and an alluring, manipulative ringleader named Kade. Kade convinces the group that they need one another both for friendship and to get back at the classmates and teachers who have betrayed them. But Kade has a bigger agenda. In addition to vandalizing their school and causing fights between other students, Kade’s real intention is a dangerous plot that will threaten lives and force Charlotte to choose between her loyalty to the League and her own conscience.

My Review: 
  I went into this story not knowing what really lurked in the pages. Not knowing that a mad man was there, just waiting for me to reveal his dark and twisted story.

This isn't really a story about bullies or lost souls banning together to form a bond of friendship. No.
This is a story about a clever little monster that wanted to have some fun.

A sociopath that fooled them least for awhile.

Wow. Really I am still trying to absorb this story. Still process all that I read and uncovered about Kade, Zoe, Nora, Charlotte and Ritchie. Honestly, I am sort of speechless. This book wasn't anything like I thought it would be. It was better.

It was dark and twisted ( I know, I know, I already said that, but those two words are so fitting for this story I had to use them again) and left me eagerly turning the pages wondering what was going to happen next.

This really will catch you by surprise and leave you reeling with emotion, both good and bad.

The author did a fabulous job crafting this and I give them props. This story was completely captivating in all its wrongness.

Charlotte was a great character and by the end of the story, I was really proud of her for standing up for herself, for her friends and for what she knew was right.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Review: Ironskin by Tina Connolly

Title: Ironskin
Author: Tina Connolly
Series: Book One in the Ironskin Series
Published By: Tor Books (Oct. 2, 2012)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
 Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.

It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin.

When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a "delicate situation"—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.

Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio...and come out as beautiful as the fey.

Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.

My Review: 
This really was reminiscent of Bronte's Jane Eyre, which, happens to be one of my favorite novels and I absolutely loved that about this book. I was afraid that the similarities would be a hindrance and maybe even ruin it, because let's face it, Jane Eyre is a hard book to contend with, thankfully that wasn't the case at all for me.

The author did a fabulous job with making this her own while still keeping the similarities of a much loved classic and adding a new and fun twist to the storyline, the fey.

She did a wonderful job in keeping with the ambiance of Jane Eyre, the slight dark almost gothic feel to it and adding a more modern world of steampunk to it.

The world and characters she created we very unique and richly told. The details in this one made you feel as if you walked the halls of the manor with Jane and were looking out into the forest as she did, fearing what darkness may still lurk there, waiting to be discovered.

I felt the pain and the depression that threatened to overwhelm Jane and her sadness and rage at others.

This stuck very much to the tortured soul of Jane in Jane Eyre and the complicated relationship between Edward and Jane. The sometimes confusing banter between the two, the flirting, the maddening hidden meanings behind their words and actions. And of course the air of mystery that both novels held. The secrets hidden away in the manor house and within the characters themselves.

My only regret is that while Connolly painted a very detailed picture of the manor and characters, we never really get the full story about the war with the Fey although we get small glimpses through Jane about how things started with the fey, we never really get a full story about them.  Why did the war end so abruptly? I knew there was a much more detailed story there and I really wanted to know it.

We know there are dwarves  because of Poule but, again, we  don't really know any of their secrets. Are there more creatures out there like them? More supernatural beings left undiscovered and unnamed? Who else lurks inside the forest that we don't know about yet?

There were quite a few secrets left unveiled and I can only hope that we will get more of them (as well as answers) in the sequel.

I really did fall in love with Jane and Edward and even Dorie and want to see more of them. 

I really liked how this one ended, while there wasn't a real conclusion to the story, this being the first in a planned series, it was a very satisfactory ending and did leave me wanting to read the next one, which I most definitely will be doing.  

Jane ended up being a very strong character and I think there will be many more challenges and adventures out there for her as her story continues and she tries to right all the wrong that the fey have done over time, before and after the war.

This was very well done and leave me excited for the next one.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Send Me A Sign Blog Tour, Book Review and Guest Post!

 Title: Send Me A Sign
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Walker Children's (Oct. 2, 2012)


Mia is always looking for signs. A sign that she should get serious with her soccer-captain boyfriend. A sign that she’ll get the grades to make it into an Ivy-league school. One sign she didn’t expect to look for was: “Will I survive cancer?” It’s a question her friends would never understand, prompting Mia to keep her illness a secret. The only one who knows is her lifelong best friend, Gyver, who is poised to be so much more. Mia is determined to survive, but when you have so much going your way, there is so much more to lose. From debut author Tiffany Schmidt comes a heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting story of one girl’s search for signs of life in the face of death.


About The Author:

Tiffany Schmidt grew up in Massachusetts where she spent a significant part of her childhood getting into mischief and sitting in the naughty chair. All those time outs turned out to be a blessing; they forced her to sit still long enough to hone her storytelling skills. Her audience was the family dog.

She now lives in Pennsylvania with her saintly husband and impish twin boys. She's repped by Joe Monti at Barry Goldblatt Literary. She still gets into mischief, she still has dogs, and she still tells stories. She very much hopes you like them. 

Guest Post:
 I am so excited to have Tiffany here today! She was kind enough to stop by and answer a question from me that I just had to ask her,

Do you believe in signs and if so, what are some that you have had that have affected your life?

Below is her answer:

See, here’s the thing. I’m not a superstitious person.
After writing SEND ME A SIGN, I feel like that needs to be confessed in a whisper… but I’m not a 17-year-old, blonde, cheerleader either. I don’t feel guilty about that. 
I think it’s because I feel like I should be superstitious. I’m an imaginative person; my job involves inventing people and convincing myself and readers that they’re realistic. I had a zillion imaginary friends when I was little. I believed in Santa long after my peers had moved on…and I let go of holiday characters one at a time. “The Easter Bunny too?” “Not the tooth fairy!” “Wait, does this mean that Mickey Mouse…”
And have I mentioned how susceptible I am to being permanently scared by things that scare me? I still insist on sleeping with my closet door shut (thank you, Poltergeist) and My Buddy and dolls similar to this will NEVER be allowed in my house (thank you, commercials for Chucky… I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen the movie).
So, I should be superstitious, right?
But I’m not. 
I had a Magic 8 Ball when I was little, but my favorite thing to do with it was shake it until the viewing window was filled with bubbles. Eventually I cracked it open to see what was inside – it’s not *magic*—it’s blue liquid that stains and a 20-sided answer thingamabob.
My sister had a rabbit’s foot. I did not think it was lucky. I thought it was terrifying. I was convinced that somewhere out in our woods was a 3-legged, angry, bright purple rabbit. 
I thought pennies on the sidewalk were fabulous—I still do! Free money! But I’ve never stopped to inspect whether they were head or tails side up before I pocketed them. 
My reaction to spilled salt is to sweep it up—throwing more over my shoulder just means more to clean.
I don’t have the patience to look for four-leaf clovers.
Cats are fabulous and things to cuddle—I don’t care what color they are.
And if I find a ladder, my immediate focus is can I climb it?—if that involves walking beneath it, so what?

…But, having said all this, if SEND ME A SIGN had released on a Friday the 13th, that would have made me just a little bit nervous. 

Thank you so much Tiffany for being here today and for answering my question, it was a pleasure to get to know you better and to read your book!

Send Me a Sign comes out October 2 and this is one book you don't want to miss!!

My Thoughts and Review on Send Me a Sign:

When I first started reading this I couldn't help but feel as if the story was familiar, almost like I had read it before, but of course, that couldn't be because this is an ARC and it hasn't even been released yet.

As the story progressed, I realized why it seemed so familiar. It has a lot of similarities to another book I read earlier this year. Similar but not the same (which is a relief).

Both books were about a cheerleader with leukemia, both heart felt and both managed to bring out a rainbow of emotions in me.

I really do love it when a story can manage to bring so many thoughts, feelings and emotions out in the reader. It truly is a sign (no pun intended) of a good storyteller.

I really loved Mia. She was a strong brave character and I had to admire her for that. I wouldn't want to be in her situation and make the choices that she did have to make, no matter what age I was. Cancer is never easy, not on anyone and she handled it well, she really did.

She not only was dealing with issues all teenagers have with trying to find themselves and where they fit into the world but she was fighting a horrible illness as well.

Gyver, Ryan, Hil, really this book was chalked full of wonderful characters.

This was a great coming of age story that will warm your heart, make you cry with joy and with sadness and leave you wanting more.

I so did not want this one to end.

I give this one 4 Stars!

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Guest Blog Post: Shadow Slayer by Laura A.H. Elliott

Shadow Slayer (Shadow Series #2) :
Shadows will do anything to become human. You see their influence everyday. You say things you don’t mean or do things that aren’t like you. You look, different. Friends you’ve known forever suddenly never call.

As a freshman, Roxie just wants to fit in which is impossible because she barely runs into her friends at her huge high school. Adrianne’s disappearance and Hayden’s attention rock Roxie’s world. But nothing rocks it like the most gorgeous guy at school, Drew. And nothing is more important to Roxie than astral projecting back to Planet Popular to solve the mystery of the map. But that changes when Drew invites Roxie to Homecoming. Hayden warns her that something’s wrong. Why would a guy like Drew like Roxie anyway? Drew must want something. Hayden’s right. Drew is...different. Planet Popular was just the beginning. Part of a bigger world, the Shadow World. There’s a war brewing between the world of humans and the world of shadows. When the shadow invasion begins at Roxie’s high school, she’ll not only fight for her life but the lives of her family and friends, when she discovers she’s the Shadow Slayer, the one human who can save Earth from the shadow onslaught. But, Roxie can’t even kill a spider. Oh yeah, there’s an evil English teacher, an enchanted play, a sword of Sandonian steel, a homecoming of horrors, and seven magic words too.

Laura A. H. Elliott BIO:
I love writing about enchanted road trips, shadow worlds, and alien romance while eating lots of popcorn. I live with my hubby and Oso, our aussie shepherd, in our tree house on the central California coast. After twenty-plus years as a freelance graphic designer/animator with clients including E! Entertainment Television and The Los Angeles Times, I crossed over into the world of publishing non-fiction and followed my heart to the world of fiction. Check out my other books at or find me on Facebook or @Laurawriting!

Shadow Slayer Teaser!
I pull some blush and mascara out of my makeup bag. I’m late, as usual. No one else is in here with me and it’s too quiet, too quiet for opening night. I try extra hard to keep the makeup off my dress, wedging scratchy brown paper towels all along my shoulder strap to protect it.
I glance over at one of the open, empty lockers. My sword hides in locker number 316, a row away from me. I thought about slaying every one of the shadows that had invaded in dress rehearsal but there was no way for me to ride the bus and sneak my sword in to school without a million eyes on me. Without getting noticed by some teacher who’d confiscate it and expel me for bringing a weapon to school. I had so much stuff to take for the play that Mom offered to give me a ride at the crack of dawn this morning. I hid my sword under my dress. Mom was so scattered because of her big meeting she didn’t notice anything and since it was so early no one was in the halls to give me a second look when I hid my sword in my locker. Note to self: early morning is a good time to hide stuff at school.
I stroke one cheek and then the other with blush and remember standing with Drew at the bonfire. The last night we went out as boyfriend and girlfriend. The last night he was human.
On your 13th birthday, you get the call. By your 14th birthday you find out what the call is.
Everyone I know is in the audience tonight. Ally, Mom, Dad, Brian, even Mitch because he came home for my birthday. We’re having our family dinner tomorrow night since tonight the cast party’s at Drew’s house, unless I decapitate him first.
“Roxie five minutes!” Hayden yells into the girl’s locker room. As usual I’m the last one out. I sweep my hair up to the side and try to remember my first line. For some reason it’s the one I always forget.
All hail, great master! grave sir, hail! I come
To answer thy best pleasure...
I open locker 316, grab my sword and just as I step outside of the locker room Wanda runs up to me and starts talking non-stop about her nerves and how they’re getting worse and worse.
“What’s that?” she asks. I stop cold in my tracks at the backstage door.
“There are lots of words for things that don’t exist––the unseen. Like monsters and aliens and dragons and vampires and ghosts,” I say sort of in a trance.
“Yeah, so?” Wanda says, wringing her hands.
“If they don’t exist, why are there words for them? All the stuff I thought was crazy really isn’t crazy at all,” I say, finally getting what Drew was trying to tell me at the bonfire at the estate at homecoming. What the human Drew said before I danced with his shadow. My role in the unseen, the shadow world. Still, I don’t know so many things. Like, what happens to a shadow once I slay it? And where do humans go when their shadows invade? How can I save my human friends?
“Roxie, I caught you! I was so late because Brian’s car got a flat. He fixed it so great, I couldn’t believe it. It’s like he went to bad ass school or something,” Ally says, laughing.
“Ally. Finally!” We hug. I swallow hard. Brian. Fixed. A. Flat. I mean it’s not brain surgery but believe me, if it doesn’t have an LCD screen Brian doesn’t think it exists. He doesn’t know how to fix a flat. O.M.G. Brian is probably a shadow too.

Amazon link for Shadow Slayer (Shadow Series #2):

And don't forget to check out the first book in the Shadow Series, 13 on Halloween, it is free right now on Amazon for a limited time in e-book form!

13 on Halloween (Shadow Series #1) :
Roxie has the best night of her life until the popular kids decide they want to celebrate her birthday in a way Roxie never expects––in her attic, with a gift that’s out of this world, and a pact to never tell a living soul what happens next.

Twelve-year-old Roxie wants to be like Adrianne, the popular girl who gets everything she wants––a flock to prowl around the mall with; invitations to parties; and for Hayden, the cutest guy in the eighth grade to, you know, notice her. When Roxie invites all the eighth grade peacocks (code word : popular kids) to her first ever thirteenth birthday party on Halloween, they all come and give her a gift that’s literally out of this world. Roxie astral projects to Planet Popular where she becomes seventeen instantly and gets everything she’s always wanted, but nothing is as it seems. Being a high school peacock is complicated and Roxie will risk everything to be who she thinks she wants to be. Oh yeah, there’s Prom, doppelgangers, a mysterious map, and lots of bad peacocks too.
13 on Halloween, (Shadow Series #1) is now available as an audiobook on iTunes, Audible or Amazon.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones!

Title: Death and the Girl Next Door
Author: Darynda Jones
Series: Book One in the Darklight Series
Published By: St. Martin's Press (Oct. 2, 2012)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Description:
 Ten years ago, Lorelei's parents disappeared without a trace.  Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home.  For Lorelei, life goes on.

High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be.  Until the day the school's designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it,  standing outside her house in the dark, night after night.  Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school.  Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity.  What does Jared know about her parents?  Why does Cameron tell Jared he can't have Lorelei?  And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real? 

My Review:
I absolutely love Darynda's adult paranormal series Charley Davidson so when I saw that she had written something in the YA genre there was no way in heck I was going to pass up the chance to read it early. I just knew it was going to be fantastic.

And while I really did enjoy this, it wasn't quite as enjoyable as the Charley Davidson series.

There is still some witty banter and nice one liners but it lacks the snarkiness of Charley that I love and was really hoping this one would have (although it does have some, it isn't completely without the snark, Darynda wouldn't dare do that to us and lets face it, it is hard to find anything that can live up to the greatness that is Charley!).

Does it mean that I didn't like this series? Absolutely not! In fact this was a really fun read.

There were lots of twists and turns and a new spin on Death and the Reapers and other things I don't want to give away that I really enjoyed. It was nice not to get the same ole' same ole' when it comes to the nature of this story.

Lorelei was a great strong heroine. She was curious and fierce, loyal and just kick butt.

Her two best friends Glitch and Brooklyn were just as great. I really loved the fun banter between them. They are loyal and supportive and just made of awesome.

Jared and Cameron? Even better. Two hot guys who are as different as can be in some ways but both protective of Lorelei (in different ways) and both have their good and their bad. Again, something I won't get into because I don't want to give anything away but know this, I think they are both very swoon worthy.

Are you rolling your eyes because now you are wondering about the love triangle? Well don't. Trust me when I say there is some super sweet romance in this one but thankfully (for you triangle haters), it does not involve three people, at least not in the way you are thinking.

But there very much is a romance and one that I absolutely loved!

Release Day Blitz: Shallow by Georgia Cates!

Going Under Series Book 2
By Georgia Cates

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Formats available: ebook

Cover Artist: Georgia Cates

Book Description:

Nick Hawke likes his car fast and his girls even faster. He blows through females quicker than his muscle car races down the drag strip in Collinsville and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Determined to avoid the devastation he has watched his father endure in the aftermath of his mother leaving, he believes there is no room in his life or his heart for a relationship lasting more than one night. He seeks happiness in things that won’t let him cars, parties and one night stands. To his absolute dismay, all of that changes when he unexpectedly runs into an old friend and is introduced to Payton Archer, the first girl he ever wanted for more than one night. There’s only one catch...she is completely immune to him and his smooth talking ways.

Payton Archer is looking for what Claire has with Jessie, but she has given up on finding least until she leaves for college in the Fall because she is certain that is where she will find the perfect guy to fit into her perfect world. She plans on Summer being nothing but three uneventful months of fun, but it turns out to be anything but ordinary when Payton is introduced to Nick Hawke, one of Jessie’s old Collinsville friends. She is shocked by her immediate and intense attraction for “Hawke” because nothing about him is what Payton is looking for. Sure, he’s hot and sexy but he comes from Collinsville and that is definitely not on her list of prerequisites. Everything about him makes Payton’s heart speed because he is exciting and dangerous, but his fast car and the dangerous chances he takes isn’t what scares Payton the’s the way Nick Hawke makes her feel every time he looks at her. Can Payton find that moment of total fearlessness and make the decision to leave the safe, shallow end of love to risk going under completely? 

About the Author:
Georgia resides in rural Mississippi with her wonderful husband, Jeff, and their two beautiful daughters. She spent fourteen years as a labor and delivery nurse before she decided to pursue her dream of becoming an author.
Blood of Anteros, Book One in The Vampire Agápe Series, was her first novel and it was released in September 2011. She decided to briefly step away from the paranormal genre to try her hand at a young adult contemporary romance when she wrote Going Under, but returned to the paranormal romance platform to complete the second book in The Vampire Agápe Series, Blood Jewel.
Her current works in progress are Shallow (A Going Under Novel) which will release on September 27th and Blood Doll (The Vampire Agápe Series #3), to be released in January 2013.

Chapter 1
Sex Tricks Jedi
Why the hell was I driving to Collinsville to watch Dane Wickam race? And better yet, how had I let him talk me into making a two-hundred dollar bet that he would win? I didn’t know jack about racing and if I had to guess, Dane didn’t either. Sure, his parents bought him a fast, new Porsche for graduation, but that didn’t mean he knew how to race it.
I came to a stop at a red light just before we entered Collinsville, Jessie’s old stomping ground, and looked up in my rearview mirror at him sitting in my backseat. “Hey, Jessie, do you know this guy Dane is going to race?”
Yeah, I went to school with Hawke at Collinsville. We were in the same class.”
Hawke?” I laughed and the only thing I could picture was some guy with a big hooked nose like a bad cartoon. “What kind of name is Hawke? His mom is wrong for doing that to him.”
His name is Nick Hawke, but everyone calls him Hawke and the name suits him pretty well. He’s well known as somewhat of a predator.”
That didn’t sound like a compliment. “A predator? You mean like a hunter?”
I watched Jessie laughing in my mirror. “No, girls are his chosen prey.”
Claire turned around in her seat to look at Jessie. “That’s funny because I was under the impression that the Collinsville ladies’ man left when you came to East Franklin.”
No, Hawke was always the favorite among the chicks. They love his pretty face. I swear he can sweet talk himself into any girl’s pants, so I want you to keep your distance from him. I don’t want you falling for any of his Jedi sex tricks.”
What tha’? I spun around to look at Jessie sitting in the backseat behind Claire. “Did you just say Jedi sex tricks?”
Somehow in the midst of turning to look at Jessie, I forgot I was the one in the driver’s seat and my foot accidentally slipped off the brake and pounded onto the accelerator.
Payton, look out!” Claire squealed just before I rammed into the back of the car stopped in front of us.
The whole thing happened in a split second. Shit. My parents were going to kill me. I didn’t have the best driving record ever, but at least I’d never gotten into an accident. So much for my clean accident-free driving history.
Jessie leaned toward me in the driver’s seat. “Yes, I said Jedi sex tricks.”
Shut up,” I barked as I looked at the car in front of us to assess the damage but I couldn’t tell anything from inside the car. I watched the driver sling his door open and get out to look at the back of his car before he turned and stared at me with narrowed eyes.
Oh. My. Gosh. I just mated my Lexus with a P.O.S. Camaro being driven by quite possibly the hottest guy I’d ever seen. The problem, other than the obvious? He was pissed about really pissed and he was staring at me like he could strangle me.
Uh, I don’t think you should get out of the car. He looks really mad. Maybe we should just call in the accident and wait on the police to come,” Claire suggested.
Nah, I’ve got this.” Jessie opened the door and was out of my car before Claire could object. He was Claire’s knight in shining armor and because I was the bestie without a boyfriend, he took it upon himself to be my protector as well. That was just Jessie.
I cracked my window as he walked by. “Hey, Kimosabe, do you think you can manage to not take a gunshot wound or knife to the gut? You know you don’t have a really great track record with confrontation.”
Without looking back, he flipped me off over his shoulder and I turned to Claire. “You really need to teach your boyfriend some manners.”
She rolled her eyes as she shook her head. “Apparently I’m not very successful at that. I haven’t managed to teach you any over the years.”
I have manners, but you know my motto. Why be difficult, when with only a little bit of effort, you can be impossible?”
Claire shifted uncomfortably in her seat as she watched Jessie put his hands on his hips and turn back to look at us in the car. “There are a lot of other things you could excel at besides being a smart ass,” she argued.
I'm sorry you find my normal behavior to be highly inappropriate, Princess.”
Nope, you know that you don’t get to call me that,” Claire protested. “Jessie is the only one with that privilege.”
Jessie turned from talking with ‘hot guy I just slammed into’ and walked around to Claire’s side of the car. She rolled down her window and Jessie leaned in with his arms resting on top of my car and looked at Claire. “Warning...This is going to go over like a turd in the punchbowl.”
I leaned around Claire to see Jessie. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
He says that he won’t sue if you’ll go out with him.” He was laughing as he said it.
I looked at Jessie and waited for the punchline. “You need to stop trying to be a clown because there’s not a circus in town.”
He held his hands up like he was an innocent party, but he was still laughing. “That’s what he said.”
Oh, hell to the naw,” I announced as I waved my finger in the pattern of an imaginary zig zag. I slung my car door open and said, “I only need a minute to take care of this.”
Be nice, Payton. You did just run into the back of his car,” Claire reminded me.
I slung my car door shut and straightened my short skirt before I walked toward Mr. Prince of Nothing Charming in my four inch wedge heels. This was going to be the most fun I would have all night so I better take advantage of it.
Damn. The closer I got, the more I realized how great looking this jerk was. His hair was dark and longer than I liked, but it fit him so perfectly the way the untamed tendrils curled and stuck to the perspiration along his hairline. He reached to shove a lock out of his face and his chocolate brown eyes pierced mine as though he saw straight through to my soul. My own heart betrayed me as it began to race without my permission and my breath was held hostage in the back of my throat as I wondered what his slightly scruffy face would feel like against my jaw.
Snap out of it, Dummy! I reminded myself that this guy was actually trying to blackmail me into a date.
Cars crept by and the occupants rubbernecked in our direction hoping to see something exciting. I stopped in front of him, crossed my arms and got down to business. “So, I have to go out with you if I don’t want to get sued, huh? Are you kiddin’ me, dude? That’s called blackmail.”
He gave me a big lopsided seductive grin and I was certain it wasn’t the first time he had used it to get what he wanted. “Some might call it extortion, but yeah...I think a date would be adequate compensation for any damage that may have occurred.”
I turned to look at the back of his car and saw that neither of our vehicles had suffered any damage during my unfortunate Jedi sex trick mishap. I could have argued that there was nothing to be compensated for, but I felt like having a little fun with this guy. “Do you have something I could use to write my contact information on?”
His lopsided grin oozed with satisfaction and turned up on both sides to reveal two of the cutest dimples I had ever seen. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell. “Don’t need it. I’ll put you in my phone,” he said as he stood there waiting to hear my digits.
He was going to add me in his cell phone, today’s version of the Little Black Book. He didn’t see the smirk on my face because he was busy looking at his phone while I called off, “5-5-5-3-9-8-5. Vivian Archer, Attorney at Law. She’s my mother and your attorney may contact her so they may discuss the conditions of your claim against me.”
Okay, that was a little bit of a lie. My mother had not practiced law in years, but he didn’t have to know that. His sexy little grin faded and mine spread bigger as I said, “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have money riding on a race and I’d like to be there to collect my winnings.”
Then his lopsided grin returned. “A race, huh? I heard about that. I hope you bet on Hawke instead of that spoiled rich kid from East Franklin or you can expect to kiss your money good-bye.”
So, he was a ‘know it all’ also. “As a matter of fact, I did not bet on anyone named after a bird. My money is riding on the brand new Porsche.”
In his fitted black T-shirt and dark washed jeans, he stepped back and leaned against his old black Camaro. He crossed his arms and I suspected he did so to call attention to his muscular, tanned biceps. Mission accomplished.
You placed a bet on a car with no consideration for the driver? That’s known as bad betting, Doll Face. I hope you didn’t wager a lot of money because you are going to lose.”
I shifted my weight to one leg and kept my arms crossed over my chest. “I have two Benjamins on the Porsche that is going to win.”
He let out a high pitched whistle. “Wow, you seem very confident in your car, so how would you feel about upping your ante since you’re so positive the Porsche will leave Hawke in the dust?”
I wish I could, but I didn’t have cash on me and I doubted this jerk took credit. “Sorry, no can do unless I can swipe my Visa up your ass crack.
He laughed as he said, “Wow, I didn’t expect anything like that to come out of that beautiful little delicate mouth of yours.”
His statement alone showed he didn’t know all he thought he did because it was a rare occasion that anything delicate came out of my mouth. “You’d be surprised.”
He cocked his head slightly and smiled, a sure sign that he was intrigued by my less than ladylike statement. “I love surprises.”
I heard a car honk its horn in the distance. “In case you forgot, we’re in the middle of the road holding up traffic,” I reminded him.
He displayed his lack of concern with the traffic by the wave of his hand in their direction. “They can wait. I have a proposal for you.”
I suddenly thought of Demi Moore and Robert Redford in Indecent Proposal. “A decent proposal, I hope.”
He smiled and I was pretty sure he understood my reference to the movie.
Don’t worry, Doll Face. It’s a decent proposal,” he promised. “I’d like to make a side bet with you. If your car wins, I’ll give you two-hundred bucks in addition to the winnings you’ll receive from the pot on the bet you have already placed.”
Wait for it. Wait for it. Where was the catch? “I’m listening, but I didn’t hear what you are proposing I wager?”
There was that seductive lopsided grin again. “I only ask that you agree to one night with me.”
Was he kiddin’ me? There was no way that could be considered a decent proposal. The way he said it was so seductive and I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by ‘one night with him.’ I was speechless. I was breathless. I was curious.
His expression became smug as he lifted one eyebrow and said, “I guess you’re not as confident as you claim to be or this would be a no-brainer.”
Shizzle, that eyebrow lift thing he did was sexy. I mentally pimp slapped myself and doused my face with ice water. I managed to gather some words but I wasn’t sure how convincing I sounded when I squeaked out, “I’m very confident that my driver is going to win.”
Okay, prove it then. Accept my bet,” he provoked.
There it was. He challenged me and totally got my competitive juices flowing. I knew I shouldn’t agree to it because what would I be proving? Nothing...but it sure would be funny to wipe that grin of his face and it never hurt to make an extra two-hundred bucks. “I’m not afraid, so I’ll take your challenge.”
He held his hand out to me and I looked at it like it was a snake in the Garden of Eden. I reached to take it and asked, “Can I safely assume that you will be at the race and that you won’t run off with my money after Dane wins?”
He laughed at me and I might have been pissed about it except I got to see his gorgeous dimples again. “There won’t be any running off with your money, Doll Face. I’ll be looking for you so we can settle up on our night together.”
His cockiness pissed me off so I was the one to pull my hand free from his. “I think you’ve delighted me long enough with your trash talk. I have a race to watch.”
And I have a race to win,” he said before he got into his car. He started the engine and it roared loudly, just like a race car. I stood frozen in the middle of the road and watched him pull away as I realized I never asked his name.
Shit! Was that Nick Hawke and had I unknowingly been preyed upon by the Sex Tricks Jedi? I did not want to admit it, but I think I had just been bested. I walked with my tail tucked between my legs and got into the car.
What’s wrong, Payton?” Claire asked when I didn’t volunteer an explanation.
Hell just froze over,” I said as I stared ahead at the spot once occupied by a Camaro and its driver.
Oh, shit!” I heard Jessie growl from the back seat. “I know that look.”
I turned around and said, “That was him, wasn’t it? Nick Hawke? Why didn’t you tell me?”
You didn’t give me a chance to tell you anything before you hopped out of the car with promises of man handling him. You said that you only needed a minute to straighten him out and I believed you,” Jessie reminded me.
I pinched the bridge of my nose and Claire recognized that as my signature move when I was stressed. “You’re pinching your nose. What’s wrong? What did he say to you?”
I felt stupid and played and I wasn’t telling them about my ignorant bet with Nick Hawke unless I had to...if I lost.
Nothing, Claire. Let’s just go watch this race and get it over with.” And hope Dane drove that Porsche like he stole it.