Category Archives: Teaser Chapters

Love is a Beach: Sneak Peek

Another book is coming! Another book is coming!

If you love to laugh and poke fun at the ins and outs of life, I think you’re going to really enjoy my next release, Love is a Beach. It’s a romantic comedy that focuses on two divorcees as they navigate the craziness of dating with children. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes tear inducing, hug-it-to-your-chest-and-sigh good (if I do say so myself 😜)

I wrote this one to give us all a lift after the intensity we visited towards the end of the Cartwright series. A giggle and smile to make us all feel a little lighter! It’s up for preorder now, but if you’re not sure about it, you can visit my website: https://www.lillianaanderson.com/love-is-a-beach-sample and read the first five chapters for free. If you’re smiling or laughing at the end of those, feel free to click on that purchase button so you can get the entire book delivered to your device on April 24th. I really think you’re going to enjoy this one.

If you don’t want to read the chapters, and just want the book delivered to your device, here are you links:

USA: https://amzn.to/2Uy3fnm

UK: https://amzn.to/2GcyeLM

AU: https://amzn.to/2GlQnba

CA: https://amzn.to/2Z8afWO

Apple books/Kobo/B&N: http://books2read.com/u/3L0zNX

Limited Edition Hardcover – https://www.lillianaanderson.com/shop

 

Happy reading!

Lilliana xoxox

 

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Filed under New Release, Teaser Chapters

One More Thing – The Beginning

 

 

BLURB

I never asked to slip on a piece of gum then fall in love with a man who would die before the ink was dry on our marriage certificate.

But that’s what fate had in store for me. It broke me. I vowed I’d never fall in love again.

Five years later, fate had one more thing planned. It wanted to play around in my life again. Its tool? Another blasted stick of gum. Same place, only this time, it was Jude Baker, a university lecturer, who slipped on the gum.

Despite being a pacifist, Jude wasn’t particularly happy about having gum stuck to his shoe and made his distaste abundantly clear.

But that stick of gum was the catalyst to a series of events where our paths would continue to cross. There would be a broken nose, a fractured hand, a cat on a lead and a crashed corporate Christmas party that would align our hearts and make me realise that I wanted to be happy again.

But there would also be tears. Many, many tears. Because falling in love was never easy, especially when you were still in love with another man.

 

 

~

Today is the day I made Sarah Kennedy smile. Well, a few things happened before that – first, I broke her ankle. It was an accident, and I feel like shit for it, so I swear to never eat a stick of gum again. But, that break led to one of the best afternoons I’ve had in a long time.

There’s just something about her, something that’s always made me wish I knew her, and for as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be the reason she smiles. I never cared about what any other kids thought about her. I just knew there was something going on behind those big brown eyes of hers that was far more interesting than your average person. As far as I was concerned, Sarah Kennedy was special, and she showed it every day when she turned up at school with her shoulders back and her head held high. No one could break her. I’ve always admired that.

Turning the scowl of hers into a smile has been on my list for ages. I’ve always wondered why, when I find it so easy to befriend most people, I couldn’t even approach her without breaking out into a sweat. But then, that piece of gum intervened and forced me to man up and talk to her. I should probably thank it.

I suppose I should explain the whole broken ankle and gum thing, right? Well, I was hanging out with the guys on our way to one of the last Uni classes we were ever going to have, and I was a jerk and spat it out on the pavement. It wasn’t long after that, that I heard a shriek and turned around to see a shoeless Sarah, sitting in the middle of what looked like a snow storm, but was really just her papers fluttering on the ground around her. Even lying in a mess on the ground, she looked beautiful.

In the back of my mind, I knew I probably should have let someone else help her and continued to stay out of her life. But, it was my fault she fell, and well, I don’t want to have any regrets in this life. I couldn’t let what might be my last opportunity to talk to her pass me by. So I knelt in front of her and the moment our eyes met, I felt this jolt in my chest.

I called her ‘sweetheart’ and her eyes flashed with annoyance and something else—denial perhaps? Longing? I don’t know what was going through her head in that moment. But I knew what was going through mine. I knew without a doubt that everything was about to change….

 

Excerpt from Tyler’s Journal

 

~

 

 

1

Thursday, 20th October 2016

 

LIFE WAS FILLED with numbers. It was ruled by them. Not just in finance, but everywhere. Numbers were the only real constant in this world—two followed one, three followed two, and so on. It didn’t matter what language you spoke, or at what stage of life you were in; the numbers were all the same.

One, two, three, four…

We used them to make lists, to tell time, to measure distance. Even our days were numbered.

Counting, counting. Always counting…until finally, we stopped. A heart stopped beating. Synapses stopped firing. And it was over. No more counting for you.

The rest of us, however, continued our never-ending count, measuring our moments, knowing how fleeting they really were.

They said life was a gift.

They said grief was the evidence of love.

Neither could be quantified by a number, and yet we counted anyway—the days we’d lived without, the days we’d lost our hearts—whether they added up to something or not.

I took a deep breath, filling my lungs. The air smelled of spring and the soft prickle of freshly mown grass brushed against my thighs uncomfortably. Nothing added up the way it did when Tyler was alive. I was here and he wasn’t. The numbers just didn’t make sense. How could everything keep going when one half of a whole was no longer there?

Releasing the breath, I looked up to the clear blue sky, squinting under the veil of the sun peeking over the roofs of the buildings surrounding me.

This was the place, a footpath in a Sydney University campus. -33.882346, 151.049078, the coordinates on the bracelet he gave me, numbers that marked our beginning.

Six years ago today was the moment. The moment. The moment that changed everything. And it was all because of a stick of gum.

With a sigh, I slid my hand inside my purse, pulling out a piece of spearmint gum that I unwrapped with careful precision. I slid it past my lips, the taste of it touching my tongue. Closing my eyes, I held it there, taking a breath as the sadness that seemed to never leave washed over me, weighing down my heart, burning my eyes, throbbing in my chest. Then I forced myself to chew, that sweet minty flavour flooding my mouth, conjuring images of a carefree boy with golden hair and the day he became a fixture in my life.

Tyler.

His name was a sigh in my heart.

I’d lived without him for almost five years. Five years without his perfect smile. Five years without looking into his beautiful ice-blue eyes. Five years without holding his perfect hands. Five.

One; the moments that passed each morning before I realised he was gone and the grief began again. Every day. One beat. One moment.

Opening my eyes, I fixed my gaze on the footpath in front of me, on the dark stain in the grey that forever marked the spot where I fell and broke my ankle. My fall was caused by a stick of gum spat out by the man I would fall hopelessly in love in with then lose some fifteen months later when the ravages of a horrendous disease took over his body and he asked me to help him die.

Zero; the moments after when I wasn’t wracked with guilt over what I did.

The sound of his voice, begging me to let him go, filled my head, reminding me that I helped him leave with dignity; I helped him have one final choice. Not that it made it any easier. We were dealt a shitty hand no matter how you looked at it.

Sitting on the grass beside a footpath chewing gum with my eyes closed, I forced myself to focus on the sound of his voice, hearing him call me ‘sweetheart’. At first I had fiercely objected to the pet name, but it quickly became my identity as I lost myself to him completely. I was Tyler’s ‘sweetheart’. The only sweetheart he ever had or wanted. The pet name meant I was special.

“God, I miss you,” I whispered under my breath just before I balled the gum in my mouth and spat it on the footpath in honour of the catalyst that brought Tyler and me together; something I would never regret.

“The fuck!”

A British accent cut my reverie short as a tall man with a slim build dropped onto the grass near me, a string of green gum stuck to his shoe.

“I can’t believe you spat gum at my feet. What the hell is wrong with you?” He took off his shoe and scraped it along the grass, the gum rolling and forming a grassy clump on the sole.

I covered my mouth, not knowing if I should laugh at the absurdity of it, or apologise profusely for spitting gum at his feet. Seriously, what were the odds of someone stepping on gum at the exact place and time, six years to the day of Tyler doing the same thing to me?

“At least you didn’t break your ankle,” I responded, my mind racing.

He scowled at me. “Is that what you were trying to do?”

For a fleeting moment, I allowed myself to believe in magic. Was this fate? Had Tyler somehow found a way back to me? Upon studying the man—his dark hair, his soft brown eyes wrinkled at the corners, his pale skin and glasses—I chided myself for being so naïve. The idea of Tyler’s consciousness leaping into the body of another man was the stuff of fantasy, especially when that man looked and sounded more like a nerdy version of Robert Pattinson and less like the Hemsworth brother Tyler had closely resembled. I imagined this guy was your stereotypical academic who found his excitement in the pursuit of knowledge and the written word. Everything the thrill-seeking Tyler would never have been. There was literally no comparison between the two men.

“I wasn’t trying…” I started to explain myself but thought better of it, standing to leave instead. “Listen, I’m sorry about your shoe. I simply didn’t see you coming—no malice intended.”

Reaching out, he found a stick in the grass and tried to force the offending goo to shift with a modicum of success. “This is just fucking brilliant.” He threw the stick and most of the gum over his shoulder then shoved his shoe back on his foot, standing up to dust himself off. “A perfect addition to an already fantastic day,” he muttered further as he scuffed his foot back and forth over the grass to remove the tackiness. “What could possibly possess you to do such a thing?”

I took a step backward, preparing to leave. “Listen, I said I’m sorry. I’m not sure what else you want me to do.”

“How about use a bin instead of spitting on the footpath like some animal?” His tone was shifting from annoyed to angry.

I lifted my hands in defence. “I’m leaving. Have a nice day.” Then I spun on my heels and headed toward the parking lot.

“Is this something you do all the time? Spit gum at people’s feet then just watch while they try to clean up your mess? Is it entertainment for you?” The voice was coming from behind me.

“Mate, I told you I was sorry. Get off my back.” I quickened my pace, seeing the Navara up ahead.

“Did your mother not teach you any manners at all?”

Stopping, I turned to face him, my hands out at my sides. “What the hell do you want from me? New shoes? I’ll get you new shoes.”

“How about some common courtesy and consideration for your fellow man? Or is that too much to ask these days?”

“I said I was sorry,” I repeated, my voice stern.

“Well, that doesn’t help me. You can’t do shitty things then expect to say sorry and have it all go away. Life isn’t like that.”

With a shake of my head, I turned away. “You need to calm the fuck down.”

“And you need to learn how to be a decent human being.”

Reaching the ute, I turned on him. “Stop following me,” I growled between my teeth.

“Don’t give yourself so much credit.” He walked straight past me and beeped open the next car along, a grey Honda Civic. Even his car didn’t have any personality.

For a moment I felt foolish. Then I just felt relieved and slid into the driver’s side of the black Navara with a sigh. “Looks like I should quit eating gum too,” I said, touching the GPS coordinate bracelet at my wrist as I remembered how angry I’d been when I’d tripped on Tyler’s gum. I guess I couldn’t really blame Mr Honda Civic for being so pissed. I’d lost my shit too.

When I reversed out of my space and saw him removing his shoes before getting in his car, I let out a laugh. This was all so absurd. But in a way, I loved it. It made me feel closer to the man I’d lost.

The smile didn’t leave my face until I pulled into the underground garage at home.

***

A flash of grey metallic paint passed through my rear vision as I parked the ute in its allocated space. “What the?” I grabbed the mirror and adjusted it, trying to catch a better glimpse.

Did that guy follow me home?

With my heart thumping against my chest, I got out and closed the door as quietly as I could. Standing still for a moment, I heard an engine cut followed by the creak of a door then footsteps. Shit.

Moving quickly, I headed through the automatic doors of the elevator bay. For a moment, I considered taking the stairs to our first-floor apartment, but every time something like that happened in a movie, the stairs were where the victim met their doom.

With my ears twitching, I tapped against the call button repeatedly, regretting my decision to take the lift with every second that passed and every footstep that drew nearer. My breathing picked up, my heart beat loudly in my ears as I saw the blurry reflection of his form in the metal doors. This guy was crazy!

My mind started racing. This was it. I was going to die, leaving my four-year-old son an orphan—all because of a stick of gum. I couldn’t let that happen. I couldn’t leave him alone. He needed me.

I was small, but I could fight.

Balling my fist at my side, I steeled my breath and prepared to circumvent the inevitable attack.

The automatic doors hissed open.

I spun to confront him, saw the annoyed recognition in his eyes.

My fist flew through the air, my meagre weight behind it, the words “Not today, Satan!” tearing out of my throat.

It connected with his nose.

I heard a crack, then a groan and he stumbled backward.

“The fuck!”

Like the gods answering my prayer, the elevator pinged then opened its doors. Pain radiated through my hand as I jumped on board, hitting the button that would take me to my floor, to safety. As the doors began to close, I chanced a look back. It was only then that I took in the scene fully.

He was on the concrete floor, his legs bent, his shoulders slouched, as he leant forward clutching his nose. There was blood. So much blood. On ground beside him, his glasses, keys, a briefcase and an archive box split open, papers spilling out. He didn’t look like a crazy man trying to get revenge for the gum on his shoe. He looked like a man who had a logical reason to be somewhere. He looked like a man sitting in the middle of the worst day of his life.

Guilt coiled from my belly and found its way into my throat. What had I done?

I hit the button to open the doors again. “Are…are you…um…OK?”

He glared at me, his eyes dark beneath his brows. “I think you broke my nose,” he said, his voice muffled under his hands.

Digging in my bag, I took out a pack of tissues, pulling the wad of them free from the plastic before holding them out to him.

“I’m sorry. I thought you were going to attack me.” I extended my arm like I would if I were offering food to a frightened animal.

He watched me like one, snatching the tissues with the caution of someone who didn’t know if they could trust the help on offer. “Attack you? With what? The papers I have to grade? My briefcase?”

“It’s just that you were so angry at the university. Then you followed me here.”

“I didn’t follow you. I live here.” He looked at me as though I was insane.

My stomach fell and I gulped. “You live here?”

He shifted to his knees, making an attempt to stuff his papers back in their box one-handed while grumbling about the ridiculousness of it all.

“Let me help you.” I knelt beside him, my face burning with embarrassment as I collected his things. I’d really messed up.

“Leave it,” he snapped, snatching what looked like a printed essay from my hands. “You’ve really done enough.”

I sat back, my mouth moving, searching for the words to convey how sorry I was for the gum and for hitting him. This whole situation was making me so grateful to Tyler for the way he’d handled my anger on the day his gum attacked me.

Tears burned my eyes. I missed him so much. Today was supposed to be about celebrating our beginning, instead it had turned into a complete mess and now I was probably going to be sued.

“You’re crying? Seriously? You are crying?”

Turning my face away, I wiped at my eyes, scowling as I shook my head.

“I’m just stressed.”

“Aren’t we all?” he muttered, slapping the lid back on his box. Then he stood up, hefting his archive box loaded with paper and his briefcase against his waist. For a single moment it seemed that he’d successfully gathered everything he needed while keeping the tissues wadded against his bleeding nose. Then the base of the box fell out.

I laughed. The sound burst from my mouth and echoed throughout the parking structure as his papers slid across the floor and the only things he held on to was his briefcase and the lid of the box.

He let out a sigh and I clapped my hand over my mouth to avoid angering him further. He shook his head. “No. You’re right to laugh. This day…it’s a comedic writer’s wet dream.”

The laughter bubbled out of my chest, nerves and stress turning into this crazy-sounding laughter. He chuckled along with me, this time letting me help with his things.

When we got into the lift, silence fell over us. I was carrying his box and he had his briefcase and the tissue wad against his nose. Without warning, my eyes started leaking. Silent hot tears streamed down my cheeks without my permission.

“I’m not going to sue, if that’s what you’re stressed about,” he said softly.

“I’m not. I mean, I am. But that’s not what I’m crying about. It’s just…it’s been a day.”

His soft brown eyes met mine, and I saw a spark of understanding.

The chime sounded to indicate my floor and I shifted the weight of the box in my arms. “This is me,” I told him, wondering what I was supposed to do with his papers and how he was supposed to take them from me. I stood in the space between the doors and looked toward the hall that led to my apartment then back at him. “Listen, I’ve got a first-aid kit inside and some tape to fix your box. Do you want to come in so I can at least stop the bleeding?”

His eyes moved between the box in my arms and me. We both knew that the only real options here involved me going with him to his apartment or him coming with me to mine.

“Will you cry again if I refuse?”

With a half smile, I lifted one shoulder. “Maybe.”

With a sigh he stepped off the elevator. “Lead the way.”

Once in my kitchen, I slid his box onto the granite bench top and told him to stay put. Then I headed for the bathroom to get my first-aid kid. The kit was extensive. With a four-year-old son who was bull at a gate even when quiet, I needed to be prepared for all emergencies.

I carried the red plastic toolbox-sized kit into the kitchen and placed it on the bench beside the man.

“Break a lot of noses, do you?” he asked, eyeing the large kit.

Pressing my lips together, I ignored the quip and opened the lid, pulling out some saline and gauze, along with a pair of disposable gloves.

“You can put the tissues in the bin over there,” I told him, indicating the stainless-steel push-pedal garbage bin in the corner of the room.

When he returned, he leaned back against the bench, a trickle of bright red streaking from his nostrils. Cleaning him up as best as I could, I checked his nose for any sign of a break.

“I didn’t catch your name,” I said, gently pressing on either side of his nasal bones.

“It’s Jude.”

I smiled. “Like the song.”

He made an unpleasant sound. “Exactly like the song.” I wasn’t sure if he disliked the fact or if he was objecting to me pressing against his nose.

“I’m Sarah.”

“I’d say nice to meet you, but our circumstances haven’t—”

“I get it.” Stepping back, I held up my hand, interrupting him. I was emotional over the events of the day. I’d already cried twice and knew that hearing him verbalise it further would only push out another bout of tears.

I turned away and busied myself rolling gauze to pack his nose. “It doesn’t seem broken. Or, if it is it’s only a fracture—the bones are where they should be. If the bleeding doesn’t stop you should probably go see a doctor.” Using a set of tweezers, I inserted the small cotton tube into his nostrils to stem the bleeding.

My hand was aching. And as I cleaned up and removed the gloves, I inspected my knuckles. They were red and swollen.

“You should probably ice that. Punching is rarely as easy as it looks in the movies.”

Moving to the freezer, I opened the door and took out two of the small icepacks I kept in there for Ty. They’re small and round and have Disney characters on them. I held out the one with a picture of Nemo to Jude and kept Dory for myself.

“Cute,” he said, lifting it to the bridge of his nose.

“They’re for my son.”

“I figured.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “I never told you I had a kid.”

“It’s kind of hard to miss.” He pointed a finger around the living space and added, “The toys.”

“Oh.” That guilty feeling rolled about again. I kept judging this guy and getting it wrong.

“Listen, thanks for…repairing the damage, I guess,” he said, indicating his cotton-stuffed nose. “But I should really get going.” He went to lift his box.

“Wait. The tape,” I blurted, spinning on my heel and rushing to the laundry where I dug through the junk drawer to find a roll of packing tape. When I returned to the kitchen, however, he was gone.

“Oh,” I said to no one, twisting the tape in my hands. I looked around the large empty apartment. The expanse of the open living area pressed in around me, dancing with memories of a time I couldn’t touch anymore, reminding me that I was left here…alone, the past more distant with every tick of the clock. I felt a stutter in my chest, my emotion catching in my throat.

Glancing out the floor-to-ceiling windows, I focused on the lights of the city around me, peeking through the lush green garden built to look like it had been plucked from the centre of an undisturbed rainforest. It was supposed to be a serenity garden. I remembered Tyler sitting out there when he wasn’t well enough to leave the apartment, complaining that he never felt serene because the sound of the traffic was too loud once you ventured past the double-glazing. He renamed it his disruption garden instead.

On days like these, when my emotions were raw and missing him was a state of being instead of a sensation I could live with, the quiet only served to remind me that I wouldn’t find serenity here either. Without Tyler, I was incomplete. I was lonely.

Swallowing the lump in my throat, I moved my thumb against the edge of tape wishing I hadn’t agreed to Ty’s sleepover at my mother-in-law’s house that night. It was meant to give me a chance for some quiet time, to be selfish in my grief, because this time of year was always hard for me. This time however, I didn’t want to be selfish. I didn’t want the quiet; not this type of quiet, anyway.

There was quiet you longed for—the few moments of peace you get when your day is done and child is tucked in bed asleep—and then there was the kind of quiet you feared.

Standing in a big empty space absent of adult conversation and childhood laughter, nothing to fill it but your best and worst memories taunting you until your stomach aches with regret for actions you can no longer change—that’s the quiet you fear. That’s the quiet I’ve lived with since Tyler passed away. Everything here reminded me of him. And yet, I couldn’t bring myself to look away.

Placing the tape on the bench, I walked over to the sliding door, pushing it open so wide that the sound of the street burst through suddenly. It was a welcome intrusion on my ears, reminding me that despite my grieving, the world was still turning. I was still here.

I breathed in deeply, sliding my hand into my pocket and pulling out my phone. The number I wanted was the first in my recent call list.

“Susan?” I said the moment it connected.

“What’s wrong? Has something happened? Are you OK?” Her questions came rapidly, a slight strain in her delivery.

I shook my head even though she couldn’t see. “I just…” I took a deep breath, calming myself. Having Jude leave so suddenly made me realise that I didn’t want to be alone. What I wanted was to feel the presence of life. What I wanted was to hold my little boy tight in my arms and breathe in his sweet smell. “Do you think I could spend the night too? I don’t want to be alone tonight, after all.”

 

One More Thing releases on 19th September books2read.com/u/m2XpzG

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Filed under New Adult Romance, New Release, Teaser Chapters

Drawn to Fight: Zac & Evie – Sneak Peek – Chapter One

If you are a part of my newsletter, you may have already seen chapter one of Drawn to Fight (I have tweaked it a little since then though 😉 ). But for those of you who aren’t on the list or missed it over the holiday period, here it is!

Preorder info is here – http://www.lillianaanderson.com/drawn-to-fight.html

Enjoy!

sp blog zac

(unedited and subject to change)

 

One

         Evie

“Where are you going?” my sister Rose whispers as I slip a shirt over my head and pull on a short denim skirt and my skate shoes.

“I’m going out.” I move over to the mirror and twist my dark curly hair into a high pony tail then change my mind and pull it out, letting it fall down to my shoulders in messy rings.

“Are you going on a date? Do mum and dad know?”

“No, and no. And there’s no need for you to tell them anything. I’m eighteen now. Legally, I don’t have to ask.”

“I’m not going to lie for. If they ask…”

“If they ask, tell them I went out. It’s the truth because I’m not telling you where I’m going.”

“Evie.”

“What is it, Rose?”

“Don’t get caught.”

Smiling, I move over to the window of her room and slide it open, popping off the screen before I slide out of it and land on the ranch style balcony that extends around the perimeter of our house. Then I creep along the wood, being sure to step in the quietest spots before I jump over the edge and make a run for the street where my friends Harry and Sisley are waiting in Harry’s car.

“You did it!” Sisley exclaims in a harsh whisper while quietly clapping her hands as Harry pulls away from the side of the road, and we’re on our way.

***

“Mate, if you bring those two in here, you’re the one responsible for them. Got it?” the big guy says, eyeing Sisley and I dubiously from where we sit in the back seat of the car.

We’ve been stopped at the gates of a large property in Londonderry, which is about an hour and a half west of Sydney. It belongs to the parents of some guy who used to go to our school. He’s long since graduated, but he still throws epic parties here on most weekends, charging a small fee for each car to gain entry. I think he says the charge is for parking, because otherwise, the cops would bust him for operating as a club without the right permits. I don’t know how it works.

“Honestly, dude, I think these two are more likely to be looking after me,” Harry jokes, knowing that both Sisley and I know how to take care of ourselves. We all met through my family’s Aikido gym when we were about twelve and they were sent to my grandfather for a self-defence class. The gym has undergone a lot of changes since then, but we’ve all remained, training in every martial art the gym offers and spending a lot of time trying to combine moves and styles for fun.

“Just keep an eye on them,” the big guy says as he takes our money and waves us through the paddock gate. The car bumps up and down over the uneven terrain and we park at the end of an enormous row of cars. I’d say a few hundred of them are already here, which bodes well in my opinion. Perhaps the rumours are true…

“What do you think?” Sisley asks, pulling her long, bright orange dyed ponytail over her shoulder as her dark almond shaped eyes, typical of her Chinese heritage, scan the mass of people all walking in the same direction. In the distance, we can hear the banging and crashing of a local garage band set up under a marquee, as well as some hooting and hollering from members of the crowd.

Leaning forward, I peer through her window and watch for a moment before I answer. “I don’t know. It could just be a party. But it’s worth checking out.”

“Parties can be fun too, ladies. It doesn’t all have to be about fighting.”

Sisley presses her pink rosebud lips together to create a flat line as she lifts her brow. “When you’re as obsessed with Ultimate Fighter as we are, a party in place of an illegal fighting ring, just isn’t going to cut it,” she says, to which I nod in agreement.

“Why don’t you two just get into UFC or MMA or something? You’d get to watch plenty of fights that way,” he adds as we all get out of the car.

“Harry, you’ve met my dad – do you really think he’d let me do that kind of thing? The only reason I’m even here tonight is because I snuck out.”

“He seriously thinks you go to bed at nine o’clock on a Friday night when your eighteen and could be out drinking?”

I shrug. “He trusts me.”

Harry shakes his head. “Shit, Evie. If he finds out…”

“He won’t find out, ok? Are you going to tell him?”

“Of course not. It’s just that if Damien Rhodes was my father, I sure as hell wouldn’t be lying to him about where I’m going to be. Your dad is one scary dude.”

“He’s not scary. He’s just…”

“Over-protective,” Sisley finishes for me from where she walks in between Harry and I. I can see him clearly over her head as I’ve inherited my parent’s height, so I stand at six-foot-one while Sisley is only five-foot-three.

“Yeah. He’s over protective,” I agree. “He’s not scary. He’s just intense because he doesn’t want any of us getting hurt.”

“Well, you come with a warning. You know that right?”

“Of course I know that. I’m a fucking social pariah. No one wants to risk hanging out with the girl whose dad went to prison for destroying a bar.”

Sisley nods. “And the fact he runs a tattoo studio doesn’t help your case much either. But people suck and we know better, right?” She nudges me with her right elbow and I nod, walking along in silence as my thoughts continue in my head.

My family is a loving one. We have our ups and downs and perhaps we’re a little unconventional with five kids who are provided for by the income from tattoos and a martial arts gym—and yes, my father was once in prison. But he’s been out for fifteen years and has continued to get help for his bipolar disorder. So he isn’t a danger to anyone.

In saying that, I also admit that, to many, he does seem pretty scary. He’s big and muscular, and his arms are covered in tatts. But that doesn’t change his wonderful heart. I mean, the man is strict, yes, but I have no doubt in my mind that he loves all of us unconditionally, and would do anything for us. He’s simply fierce in his love for all of us, which, when you have a background like his, is understandable.

You see, he lost his family at a young age and that sent him spiralling into a pit of darkness. It’s my mother who saved him. She gave him a reason to become the man he is today. I remember thinking it was gross how much they seem to love each other compared to other people’s parents. They’ve always hugged, held hands and kissed openly. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to view their relationship as this epic love story that I can only hope to have for myself one day — I just don’t expect to meet the man of my dreams any time soon, especially not while I’m still living under my parents roof and at a high school filled with people who love a good rumour better than they love the truth.

Once word got out about my family history, I began to attract boys. But they were the ones who wanted a ‘bad girl’ to suck their cock behind the school hall or let them do whatever the heck they wanted so they could brag about it. That girl was never me. So I put a blanket ban over dating anyone from school and left it at that. The only two friends I have are Harry and Sisley and that’s only because they met me when we were too young to care. Although, I like to hope that they would have been my friends anyway.

I glance over, as Harry slides his arm protectively around Sisley shoulders. I’ve recently become the third wheel in their emerging relationship as they finally admitted their feelings toward each other a few months ago.

Their relationship changes our group dynamics are little but, it’s cool. We’ve been friends for too long to let something like this get in our way. And I’m happy for them, they’re really great together.

“Want to line up and grab a beer?” Harry suggests as we get close to the crowd.

“You guys go. I’ll check things out. Text me when you’re done though,” I say, breaking away from them and heading to the edge of the crowd. I begin to push my way through, keeping my ears open for any piece of information on this fighting ring that’s rumoured to go down here.

Various groups stand together, drinking, talking, dancing to the crash of the distorted music that sounds more like noise than any sort of real song.

“Shit,” I hiss, as I stumble slightly, tripped by a stick on the ground that flicks up and nicks my ankle, causing it to sting and bleed. I knew I should have worn jeans and my Converse. But Sisley insisted I should wear a stupid fucking skirt and skate shoes to a property out bush. Granted, dressed this way, I almost fit in with the rest of the women here. But I feel ridiculous because this isn’t how I would normally dress. I wear pants. Always pants.

Seeing that the scrape is only small I right myself and push my dark curls out of my eyes then come face-to-face with a guy I’m sure I’ve seen somewhere before.

I tilt my head a little, studying him as he studies me in return. He has blue eyes like me, a strong jaw and straight brown hair that flops over his right eye when he moves. And on top of that, he’s beautiful.

He glances at my ankle then crouches down in front of me, reaching out to gently brushes his fingertips lightly over my ankle, as he assesses the damage. A heat travels up my leg where he touches me and it’s as if everything around us falls away and the crowd is no more, there’s just the two of us in a quiet clearing as I force my brain to place him in my memory.

“I don’t think it’ll bleed for too long,” he says, before releasing my ankle and standing. His eyes lock with mine and I open my mouth to speak but then he moves on without another word.

Turning my body, I continue watching him, following his movement with my eyes as if I’m somehow caught in his orbit. It feels weird, but I can’t look away, even when he turns back and catches me still staring at him. I just stand there – caught. It isn’t until Sisley clicks fingers in front of my face that I finally snap out of it.

“We got you a beer anyway,” she says, handing me a clear plastic cup and following my gaze.

“Jeez, I wonder what Zac Rivers is doing here? I thought he took off after year ten,” she comments, watching as his head moves away from us above the crowd because of his height. “Shame he’s such a weirdo, he’s really ridiculously good-looking.”

“Who’s good-looking?” Harry asks.

“You are, babe,” Sisley smiles, leaning up against his side.

“I wonder where he’s going,” I muse.

“Where who’s going?” Harry asks again, trying to catch up with the conversation.

“Zach Rivers” Sisley informs him. “Evie’s got the stares on him.”

“I have not got the stares,” I argue. “What are the stares anyway?”

“Yeah, what the hell of the stares?” Harry asks.

“When you can’t stop looking at some hot guy,” Sisley tells us.

“The stares? On Zac Rivers? Isn’t he some crazy or something? I remember him when he was still at school. Super freaking weirdo. He only hung out with his siblings — remember that? They used to call him Edward Cullen because they wouldn’t talk to anyone like the Cullen’s in Twilight. Totes weird.”

“I remember that,” Sisley laughs. So do I actually, he was in our grade at school and people used to give him and his siblings a really hard time. I think his siblings are still at school though… I wonder why he left?

“Well, he’s obviously not a vampire. But he is going somewhere. Look. People are following him.” I point out, jutting my chin forward as we see various people drop away from the main crowd and migrate toward the thick bush line.

“Wanna check it out?” Sisley asks, and I nod, stepping forward before being stopped by Harry’s grip on my arm.

“Wait. Do we really want to do this? I mean, what if we get caught? It could mess up our chance of getting into a good uni next year. And what if we go into the bush and get lost, or what if they’re just luring people in there to kill them and eat their flesh?”

“Jesus, Harry,” I laugh. “You watch way too much TV. You can stay here if you want. But I’m going to check it out. Come. Stay. Whatever. But I’m going.”

“Fine,” he sighs, following behind me with Sisley as I follow the trail of people towards the bush.

As we embark down a dusty walking track we see some dull flashlights held in the hands of men who are stopping everyone.

“Spectator or participant?” One asks us, although he’s mainly asking Harry, who is decently tall and built in his own right. He kind of just looks at me and Sisley, up and down, as if he’s just assessing our fuckability.

“Spectating,” I say, pissed that it’s not even a question for a woman.

“Ten bucks each to get in.” We dig around in our purses for the cover charge and hold it out to him. “Do you know the rules?” he asks as he chews gum and takes the money from each of us.

“Don’t talk about it?” I suggest, with a slight grin and a raised eyebrow.

“Cute,” he deadpans, not amused by me at all. “Spectators must stay away from the cage at all times. No interference will be tolerated. Or you’ll be escorted off the premises and never allowed back in – got it?”

Nodding, we hold out our wrists as we’re stamped with one of those black light images that can’t be seen otherwise.

I wonder what the purpose is, we’re not in a nightclub where black lights are just part of the scenery. But my question is answered as we continue down the path and are constantly checked by guards holding portable black lights to make sure with paid our cover charge.

“Shit, this is all very clandestine,” Harry comments, staying close to Sisley.

“It’s so dark out here. And what the hell is that red glow?” Sisley asks, raising her hand to point at the glow coming from between the tree line up ahead.

“Aliens,” Harry states as a matter of fact.

Our wrists get checked again and the guard, over hearing us, says, “First time?”

“That obvious?” I laugh.

“A bit. Listen, I’m not going lie, it gets crazy in there. Just stay back from the actual fight and stick together.”

“What’s the deal with the red light?” I ask.

“Visibility. White light would make us a big shining beacon. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you why that’s a bad thing.”

He looks at me pointedly, and I nod my response before moving on, feeling even more drawn to the light, and the yelling that can now be heard over the band we left back at the party.

I can’t help but marvel at how clever this whole set up is. I also can’t help but wonder how they getting away with this without cops finding out.

As I break through the tree line the smell of dust and heated bodies hits my senses as my world becomes bathed in red. We’re in a clearing. All around us are tall eucalyptus trees and a crowd of people that surrounds a makeshift cage. Two men wrestle in the centre, their shirts off and their skin glistening white under the red. One has his arm wrapped around the other’s neck as he pummels him in the ribs with his other fist. It’s surreal and feels a little dangerous. My heart thuds in my chest — not from fear, but from excitement. I step forward, wanting to get closer, drawn to the fight like a moth to the flame.

“Stay together,” Sisley yells in my ear, linking her arms with mine and stopping me before I can break away.

“Then come on,” I tell her, pulling her and Harry through the crowd in a train to get a closer look.

We’re jostled back and forth and I really need to fight for position. We make it as close as we can, until a wire crowd control barrier blocks our way.

The fighters hit the ground and break apart and I stand, watching with wide eyes as they jump back up and circle each other. The dirt from the ground sticks to their skin in a darker shade of red as they lunge at one another. The crowd roars different commands and when one lands a hit, the other’s head flicks to the side with such speed that a spray of what I hope you only sweat, lands on my arm.

I hear Sisley squealing in disgust as she hides behind Harry. But I don’t move. I’m transfixed by the man still standing. It’s something about the look in his eye, so primal and desperate. It’s as if he’s using the power of his will to keep his opponent on the ground and it isn’t until a guy with a bullhorn walks over and lifts his arm, that his gaze moves and somehow finds mine.

“Winner Zac ‘Steel Fist’ Rivers!”

“Holy shit, Edward Cullen can fight,” Harry says in awe.

I hear them talking in the background. I hear the crowd, the announcer, everything. But it’s all muted beneath the sound of my heart pounding in my years as I continue to lock my gaze with Zac’s. I can’t look away.

That’s it! Keep an eye out for more teasers as we get closer to release!

Preorder info is here – http://www.lillianaanderson.com/drawn-to-fight.html

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#Teaser – Partners by Lilliana Anderson. Full Chapter One.

partners blog teaser

 

 

TEASER TIME!!

This is chapter one from Partner (Fire & Lies Series, Prequel) releasing October 13. This is unedited and subject to change in the final version.

Enjoy!

Chapter One

Three years before…

“I think this is a bad idea,” he murmured, their eyes locked, his mouth only millimeters away from hers.

“Why is it a bad idea?” She leaned forward, brushing her full, soft lips against his. “You’re an adult, and I’m an adult.”

Gripping the back of her hair, he held her steady, keeping her just out of reach. “You’re the boss’s daughter.”

“Pretend I’m not,” she whispered, beseechingly, pressing herself against his hard body.

Looking down at her beautiful blue eyes, he fought with his primal urges to maintain his control. “I don’t want to pretend with you.”

 

Aiden

Present…

 

“Fucking hell, man. I wish I was you,” Jared says, as he walks into my office and drops a file on my desk.

I look at it and then at him with a frown. “What’s so lucky about this?”

He leans forward and splays his fingers over the top of the file like there’s gold inside.

That contains the details of the hottest fucking chick that has ever walked through these doors, and she’s only interested in you, man. She only wants the best.”

“Is that so?” I ask, trying to keep my face straight as my trainee talks himself into a hard-on over some chick that I’m assuming is in the waiting area.

“Yeah. I tried to offer my services. She wasn’t interested.”

At this point, I can’t help but laugh. At twenty-five, Jared seems to think he’s somewhat of a lady-killer. But those boyish good looks of his don’t get him everything he wants in life.

“What’s her deal?” I asked, opening the file and seeing nothing more than an appointment slip.

“She won’t tell me. Like I said, she’s only interested in you.”

Chewing my lip in thought, I nod and tell him to let her in as I look at the folder in my hands. It says that her name is Chloe Saunders. The name doesn’t mean anything to me on sight, but the last time I came across a woman called Chloe, it almost cost me my job. Although, in the end, she and her family cost me everything anyway…

“Here she is,” Jared announces, as he opens my door again and ushers the woman in. He’s so fucking big that he blocks the doorway, and all I can see is a peek of blonde hair over his shoulder and a whisper of a slender leg in those lethal looking pointy shoes that chicks love teetering around in.

Closing the folder, I place it on the desk in front of me and look up as the woman comes into view. The moment my eyes meet hers, all expression leaves my face and a pit forms in my gut.

“Get the fuck out of here,” I growl at her.

“Aiden,” she pleads. “I need your help.”

Glaring at her, my mind revisits the short time we spent together, the way she smelt, how soft her skin was under my fingers, how she tasted…

I break the stare, keeping my features still and cold as I focus my attention on the computer screen in front of me. “Leave, Chloe. I don’t have any help to give you.”

Refusing to look back at her, I don’t catch her expression before she turns around and leaves. But my eyes do stray enough to watch the way that arse of hers sways as she walks away.

Jared says nothing. He knows me well enough to know that now is not the time. Instead, he simply shuts the door and leaves me to work in peace.

The moment my door clicks shut, I sit back in my chair and run my hands through my hair as I blow out a slow breath. I would have thought that seeing Chloe again after almost three years wouldn’t affect me the way it did. But it fucking did, way more than I even want to admit to myself, and my dick doesn’t know well enough not to react to her.

Traitorous appendage.

 

PREORDER LINK – https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/partners-fire-lies-prequel/id910047049?mt=11&uo=4&at=1l3vpNB

GOODREADS TBR LINK –https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22999838-partners

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#TeaserTuesday – 10 days until DEVOTION releases!

I don’t normally go for the whole #TeaserTuesday and #ThrowbackThursday thing. But, I thought I may as well give it a go and forsake my random postings in favour of a little structure 😉

If you’re following me on Facebook and Twitter, you’ll have seen a few posts about Devotion: The Beauty in Between. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s the companion novella to A Beautiful Melody and A Beautiful Rock (available now as a two for one deal during the month of june only.) AND it’s releasing in TEN DAYS! So I’m pretty excited to share this Beautiful Series wedding with you all. There are a lot of ups and downs in the story – family drama, wedding drama and band drama. But essentially, it’s a celebration of the love Naomi and Theo share and shows us the strength in their union.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a little snippet of the conversation that makes this long overdue wedding happen. (Unedited and subject to change before the June 27th release)

“You know what you have to do, right?” Marcus asks.

“What do I have to do, Marcus? Enlighten me,” Theo replies, rubbing the bridge of his nose as if he has a migraine coming on.

“Get married,” both Marcus and Lisa say in unison.

“Get married?” I repeat. “What is it with everyone telling us to get married lately? Besides, how the hell are we supposed to organise a wedding right now? Matiari is about to tour the UK and Europe. We’ll be gone for the best part of a year. We can’t organise a wedding before then. It’ll have to wait until we come back. That was our plan anyway.”

“Sure you can have it early,” Lisa assures us. “Marcus organised ours in a day. With his connections, you can have the wedding whenever you want.”

Theo and I look at each other, mouthing words and gesturing to each other that we can’t manage a wedding right now. We both know that most of our finances are tied up in the tour. We’re not mega stars like Marcus and Lisa are. Our income is very modest considering our output for band expenses.

Theo clears his throat. “Guys, it’s just not going to happen. Our money’s tied up in the tour, and I’m not going to get a loan to go in debt for a quickie wedding, just because our mother is being a drama queen. Besides, in a month’s time, we’ll be gone for a year, and she’ll probably be over it by the time we get back.”

“Theo, don’t kid yourself,” Marcus adds. “She will torture the rest of us the entire time you’re gone.”

“Marcus, you totally deserve to suffer through a torture caused by me for a change. God knows, I’ve suffered plenty because of you.”

“Then if not for me, think of Lisa. She doesn’t deserve more than she’s already put up with. Besides, mum will call you while you’re on the road, crying about how much you’ve hurt her. You know what she’s like. This doesn’t end until something happens that will change it.”

“Fine. Then we’ll elope like you two did,” he says.

“Seriously man, don’t do that. We don’t regret our wedding at all, but we should have thought about what effect it would have on everyone else. Especially you two. We didn’t think and we kind of swooped in and got married before you two got the chance to have yours,” Marcus explains.

“We’re really sorry guys,” Lisa adds. “We should have waited until after you’d had yours.”

“Don’t mention it. It’s fine,” Theo says, even though I know the fact that Marcus is acknowledging that he did yet another shitty thing means a lot to Theo.

“Well, we are mentioning it because we feel really bad. We were going to wait until Christmas to do this, but since this has all happened, we thought we’d suggest it now,” Marcus starts.

“Suggest what?” I ask.

“We’d like to pay for your wedding,” Lisa says. Both Theo and I shake our heads while we both repeatedly say ‘no’ over the top of each other.

“It’s the least we can do after fucking things up for you guys. Consider it our gift to you. We wouldn’t know what the fuck to buy you two since you already live together, anyway. And we owe you guys. You’ve been amazing to us. Let us do this,” Marcus insists. “I’ll make a few phone calls and get back to you both tonight. Don’t plan anything for the next month before you go. We won’t have time to set up a big catholic wedding. But we can definitely do a wedding fit for one of Australia’s most recognisable music couples.”

“Marcus, no!” I yell into the receiver. But my protests are only heard by Theo’s ears. Marcus and Lisa have disconnected.

I glance at Theo, my eyebrows raised and my eyes wide. “What the hell just happened?”

Theo presses his lips together and gives me a lopsided grin before he pulls me into another embrace. “Well, we had planned to talk about the wedding tonight anyway,” he concedes.

“Yeah. Talk about it. Not plan it. How did we go from not knowing to getting married in a month?”

“Welcome to the family, babe,” he deadpans. “Prepare to have your life taken over.”

 

Want to know what happens from there and why Theo’s mother is so upset? Find out on June 27th when Devotion releases.

Preorder links below – Links will be up for Amazon on release day.

iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/devotion-beauty-in-between/id843321514?mt=11
B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/devotion-lilliana-anderson/1118942980?ean=2940045773386
Kobo – http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/devotion-the-beauty-in-between-a-beautiful-series-novella

 

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A Beautiful Rock – Teaser

Those of you following me on Facebook have already had the pleasure of seeing this teaser, but here it is for my beautiful blog followers –

A Sweet and Sexy teaser for A Beautiful Rock! (PG sexy! lol, we’ll save the good stuff for the actual reading experience  )

Sweet because it’s their first kiss and sexy ’cause they kiss! (plus, Marcus is involved so… yum!)

Enjoy!

Unedited and subject to change. (Pre-order on the iBookstore – http://bit.ly/1fGr6og)

MARCUS

“Stop. Lisa stop,” I say, grabbing a hold of her shoulders and turning her toward me to force her to stop moving.
“Leave. Me. Alone,” she growls out through gritted teeth.
“I already told you – no.” Then, I kiss her. I don’t know why, but it seems to be the only thing I can think of that might get her to stop and talk to me. If I let her keep pushing, I’m never going to know her.
I want to know her. So. Much.

LISA

One minute, I’m crying and yelling and the next, his lips are on mine and I stop fighting. A delicious warmth starts from the point of contact and spreads in curling tendrils, diffusing through my body until they reach the very tips of my fingers and toes and every part of me is humming.
His hands move from my shoulders to cup my face as he inhales and moves his mouth against mine. He uses only his lips as he sucks gently on mine and caresses my skin with his thumbs.
I feel light and breathless, and all thoughts surrounding my previous distress seem to float away out of my grasp as I melt into him and slide my arms around him, gripping the back of his shirt.
I think I could stay here forever, but the sudden click and flash of cameras causes both of us to snap away from each other.

(Available for pre-order on the iBookstore – http://bit.ly/1fGr6og)

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A Beautiful Melody – Excerpt (Prologue) + my 3000 likes Giveaway!

I know, I know – I kinda suck. Why? Because I promised this chapter over the weekend, and I totally spaced on it. My excuse is, that I have a cold and I was busy doing a read through before Melody got sent off for editing – please forgive me! 😉

Anyway! Something else also happened over the weekend as well – I announced the prizes for my 3000 likes on Facebook Giveaway. One lucky person will get a $50 gift voucher to a store of their choice (as long as I can purchase it online of course) and a package from me with some signed book swag in it.

To enter, VISIT MY FACEBOOK PAGE HERE

And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for (drum roll please!) –

A Beautiful Melody – Prologue 

Prologue

Five years ago…

Naomi

“Where did you get that?” I ask Erica as she passes a bottle of Bacardi Rum to Stephanie.

“I swiped it from my Dad,” explains Amy as she takes it off Steph, takes a swig and hands it to me.

I tip the bottle back and almost choke as the clear liquid burns my throat and makes my eyes water.

“Holy shit!” I splutter. “That stuff is horrible.”

“Well it’s just a little liquid courage. We need to go in there and act like we belong,” Erica explains.

“Yeah, don’t you want to see Marcus playing in his band?” teases Stephanie, who knows I’ve had a crush on him since the first moment I saw him in high school. He was the year above us, and I followed him around like a lost puppy.

I wouldn’t say we were friends. I’d just say that he tolerated me. He used to call me his favourite groupie. Although, I think he actually liked the fact that while he played his guitar and sang, I would sometimes join in with my violin. He wouldn’t let anyone else do that – just me. So it made me feel a little special.

But I haven’t seen him since he finished year twelve and started at university. We’re crashing a Sydney university party tonight, having heard about it via Erica’s older cousin. It’ll be the last time I get to see Marcus before I go to Canberra for the Australian National University’s School of Music. Not that it will matter. I doubt he’ll even notice me.

“Of course I want to see him. But I don’t really know if he’ll want me there. I haven’t spoken to him in over a year,” I reply.

“You have a vagina right?” asks Amy, in her usual blunt and deadpan way. “Of course he’ll want you there. Just don’t expect him to be talking to you tomorrow.” She grabs the bottle back and throws her head back, chugging down the last of it.

The rest of us exchange wide eyed expressions as she tells us all to follow her. It’s as if she’s a general leading the charge, so we follow along. Nervous about getting caught out, but excited about crashing a party.

Once we get in, there are so many people that we needn’t have worried, no one would have noticed us.

“There he is,” Stephanie whispers in my ear, nudging me with her elbow.

I look across the courtyard, and see Marcus setting up with the band on a makeshift stage. My heart does great big thumps against my ribcage as I watch him, his long toned arms showing corded forearms underneath his rolled up sleeves.

His head tilts forward as he focuses on the guitar in his hands. That’s what I’ve always loved about him – how important he finds his music. There’s a whole room of people around him, drinking and having a great time. There’s even people trying to get his attention, but he’s so focused on getting ready that he pays them no mind at all.

“Amazing,” I say under my breath, feeling completely in awe.

“What is?” Stephanie asks, just as this guy comes to stand in front of us with a tub full of various vodka mixes.

“Lucky dip?” he asks, offering us a drink.

“Sure,” we both say together, looking in the tub for a flavour we might like.

“No, no. You have to close your eyes and pick. It’s not fair if you look.”

“Oh ok,” I laugh, closing my eyes and reaching in. I pull out this red cranberry mix and Stephanie manages to get passionfruit, which is my favourite.

The guy moves off, offering the drinks to others as he goes along.

“You wanna swap?” she asks me, holding out the unopened bottle.

I smile gratefully, and switch drinks with her, loving that she knows me so well. I twist off the cap and take a mouthful, grimacing a little. “It’s flat,” I complain.

“You want to switch back? Mine’s fine,” she asks.

“No, don’t worry about it. I’ll just drink it,” I shrug, throwing the bottle back and taking a long thirsty chug. Even though we’re outside, it’s January, and in typical Sydney summer fashion, it’s really humid with only a light breeze blowing to cool us all down.

“Naomi?” I hear from behind me. Turing around, I find myself face to face with an old friend.

“Aramis!” I squeal, jumping up to wrap my arms around his neck and hug him tightly. “Oh my goodness, I’ve missed you so much! Still rocking the Goth look I can see,” I grin. Holding onto his arm as I speak to him.

Aramis is another ex-Australian Performing Arts Grammar School student. He was a couple of years above me, but we played together a few times in school productions, and we used to have a great time, sneaking into the music auditorium so he could play on the old piano in there. He loved the sound of it, claiming that it was far superior to the electric keyboards they had in the music rooms.

I’m a bit of a prodigy, and pick up musical instruments really quickly, easily understanding how they work and how the right notes can be produced. It’s like I speak music – like it’s a natural language for me. Piano and guitar, were really easy for me, but the violin took a bit more practise to master, which is why I’m such a big fan of it.

But with Aramis, I used to sit with him and play the piano as well while we worked through different pieces of music. It was always a lot of fun, and I loved spending time with him. Truthfully, he was my secret crush. You know that one guy you really like, but you’re afraid to tell your friends because they’ll think you’re crazy? Yeah. That’s Aramis.

To the rest of the school, he was considered a bit of a freak with his dyed black hair and pale made up face. But I’ve always thought him beautiful, I always enjoyed how quiet and reserved he was, despite his obvious talents. He was such a contrast to Marcus who was always so boisterous and sure of himself.

“How have you been?” he asks, his dark eyes concentrated only on me, making me feel like the only girl in the world.

“Busy with school. I got into ANU,” I tell him smiling, my eyes raking over him from head to toe, drinking him in.

“I heard,” he nods. “It’s well deserved. Congratulations,” he smiles, producing perfect white teeth, and slight crinkle around his eyes.

“What are you doing here tonight? Are you at the Conservatorium of Music?” I ask.

“No. I didn’t apply for uni actually. I travelled for a year and then came back home. I’m playing with the band tonight. On keyboards,” he states. Nodding toward the stage. “I’d better go. Maybe we can hang after the show? Come and find me.”

“I’d love that,” I call after him, pleased when he takes a moment to turn back and smile at me.

“Oh wow. Aramis is looking mighty fine from this angle,” Stephanie points out as we watch him walk away.

“Mmmhmm,” I agree, tilting my head as if it will give me a better angle.

“What about Marcus?” Stephanie murmurs next to my ear. “I thought you were here for him.”

“Who?” I ask, looking at her but not hearing what she’s saying. I’m still too busy watching Aramis as he climbs up on the stage.

Seeing him again has reminded me how much I loved spending time with him. How much I liked him. While I do like Marcus, I know that he’s a player. Nothing will ever come of spending the night with Marcus. But with Aramis… well, he’s different.

I tip my drink back, draining its contents before look around for something to put my empty bottle in. It’s at that moment that the band starts up, playing a cover of Muse’s Uprising. Amy and Erica come rushing over to us, holding more vodka mixes above their heads as they howl out their excitement and sway to the music.

“Just look at him up there,” Amy groans, as she hands me a fresh bottle. “He’s like a god on stage.”

“Yeah he is,” I agree, but I’m not looking at the same band member she is.  It’s like he’s faded into the ether.

I twist the cap off the new vodka mix and gulp a mouthful of its contents, feeling glad that this time the liquid is fizzy – even though it’s an orange flavoured one.

We do as girls do at parties and start to dance to the music. That’s the last thing I remember until I wake up the next morning and become a walking cliché.

Thank god I’m moving to Canberra.

A Beautiful Melody is releasing on November 30! Not long now!!! make sure you add it to your TBR list on Goodreads, or go to the iBookstore where it is available for pre-order. (All other ebook retailers will have the copy available on release day)

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First Two Chapters of Too Close

Prologue

“Oh god Trina. Open your eyes, please be ok,” I beg as I burst through the doors to the emergency room at Nepean hospital, carrying her in my arms like she’s a baby.

Frantically I look around, ignoring the shocked gasps. I’m so overwhelmed that I just yell. “Somebody help me!”

The entire room turns to stare at us, it’s as if all the sound is removed from the room for a moment and all I can hear is the sound of my own heart thudding in my ears.

Thump, Thump.

Then all of a sudden, the sound returns to me as Katrina is pulled from my arms and placed on a gurney being swarmed by people who are asking me questions that I’m only babbling answers to.

“Oh god! Trina!” I yell out as they wheel her away from me. I try to follow but there’s a man who’s holding me back. My hands go to my hair as I grab chunks of it, trying to somehow stop the thudding of my heart in my ears. It’s painful, and I desperately want to be with her. “Please tell me she’s going to be ok,” I say to the man in front of me.

“She’s in good hands mate. You look like you’ve been through a bit too, why don’t you let me have a look at you and you can tell me what happened.”

I nod once and follow him in to the general treatment area of the emergency room, where he gives me an ice pack for my swollen face and cleans up the cuts and scrape marks on my hands and arms.

“I can’t lose her. You don’t understand how important she is to me,” I ramble. I guess I’m in shock because all I can think about is the sight of all that blood over Katrina’s beautiful face. “She’s my world. I can’t lose her.”

***

I’ve been sitting in the waiting room for at least two hours now, I don’t think my leg has stopped bouncing once. I lean forward on my knees and that’s uncomfortable, so I sit back and rest my head against the wall, but that feels horrible too.

My guts just won’t stop swirling and I need to see her. But no one will let me – I’m not counted as family, even though I’ve known her virtually all of my life.

“David!”

I look up and see Katrina’s whole family rush through the automatic doors with frantic looks on their faces. After answering all of the questions I could about Katrina to the doctor, or nurse – I don’t know what the hell he was – I called them.

As they move closer to me, Mrs Mahoney gasps upon seeing my swollen face and blood stained shirt.

“Oh god, is that your blood? What happened?” she practically whispers.

I drop my head, feeling responsible for what happened and shake it slowly from side to side.

“Where is she?” her father asks urgently.

“I don’t know, they won’t tell me anything.”

Mrs Mahoney spins on her feet and heads straight to the reception desk, asking after her daughter, with Mr Mahoney hot on her heels. Her brother Tom stays with me.

“What happened?”

Closing my eyes as the images of that day’s events flash through my mind, I shake my head in an attempt to clear them away. “Christopher happened.”

“I knew I didn’t like that guy,” Tom says through gritted teeth.

“He came home early, and you know he isn’t a fan of mine. But Tom, I never expected him to lose it like he did. You should have seen his face. It was all twisted up and vicious. He decked me and threw me out of the flat, locked the door. Then I heard her scream…” the rest of the words seem to lodge themselves in my throat as a weakness overcomes me and I drop back into my seat.

“What happened?!” he repeats, more desperately this time.

“He put her through the glass sliding door. I’m sorry. I couldn’t stop it.”

Chapter One

I remember the first time I ever saw Katrina, I was probably ten years old at the time and she was a little younger than me – the new kid at the school. I noticed her because she was so much taller than all the other girls and she had two long plaits that sat over her shoulders and were tied with blue ribbons.

Something inside me, made me really want to either pull on her plaits or undo the ribbons. But I restrained myself – experience had told me that girls didn’t really like that. Even though it was all in good fun.

We both lived out in Cranebrook which was the last stop on the bus route travelling from Penrith Primary School and it took me a couple of weeks of watching her to finally decide that I was going to sit next to her.

She just looked too lonely to me and I figured that we may as well be friends since the bus was completely boring once everyone else got off.

“Can I sit next to you?” I asked her. She had her bag sitting on the seat next to her, it meant that she didn’t want anyone to sit there, but I was going to try anyway.

“I guess,” she said, bouncing her shoulders and pulling her bag onto her lap, hugging it close to her chest.

“I think you get off at the same stop as me,” I told her, even though I knew this for sure.

“Do I?”

“Yeah, I see you get off the bus before me every day.”

“Oh. Where to you live?”

“Etchell Place, what about you?”

“Tornado Crescent.”

“We’re only a couple of streets away from each other,” I informed her. “How come you don’t catch the bus in the morning?”

“My dad drives me.”

“Lucky you…” I commented, thinking for a moment before I came up with, what I thought, was a brilliant plan. “Hey, if we become friends, do you think he could drive me too?”

“I don’t know…maybe.”

“That settles it then. Besides, you look like you could do with a friend.”

“I do?”

“Yeah. I’ve seen you around school. You don’t really talk to anyone much.”

“I don’t have much to say.”

“I’m pretty sure you’ve got plenty to say. You just haven’t found the right people to talk to.”

“Maybe. Those girls don’t want to listen to me anyway.”

“I want to listen you. You can talk to me all you want,” I said, attempting to peer into her face. She shrugged and turned her head and was watching the world fly past us through the bus window.

“So how do you like catching the bus?” I asked, just trying to get her to talk a bit. I remember thinking it would be really cool to know someone from my school who lived near me. Not many kid’s parents were happy to make them travel so far for school, especially when there was a local one within walking distance of our house.

“I hate it,” she said, turning to look at me. “I hate that my parents moved so far away from my school. I hate that I have to catch the bus. It stinks. It smells like armpits and buttholes and rotten fruit. The fabric on the seats prickles the backs of my legs and itches. It sucks!”

I was a bit shocked when this tirade of words spilled from her mouth, but when she finished, I started laughing.

“What so funny?!” she demanded, her face set in a scowl.

“You’re right.” I laughed even harder at the indignant look on her face. “It does smell like armpits, buttholes and rotten fruit!”

She looked at me for a moment. I guess she was trying to decide if she was angry with me for laughing, or whether she thought it was funny too.

Thankfully she chose to laugh along with me, because it was that moment our friendship started.

Add to your TBR on Goodreads or visit the iBookstore to preorder – release date July 30, 2013

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Filed under Teaser Chapters, Work in Progress