Wednesday, July 30, 2014

First Excerpt from HARD KNOX!

My newest novel, HARD KNOX, is releasing August 12th and to give you all a taste of what the book will be like, I'm releasing one excerpt today, and one more next Tuesday before the book releases the following Tuesday. HARD KNOX is a New Adult/Contemporary Romance, and the first in a series entitled The Outsider Chronicles which will highlight other outsider-type heroes and the heroines who manage to turn their world around, upside down, or just plain hurl it into another galaxy! For those of you who've read the CRASH series, it is somewhat similar in terms of the angst and drama, as well as the roller-coaster ride of a romance, although this series will be more mature.

If you haven't yet seen the cover or read the blurb, I've listed those below for you as well, along with the excerpt immediately following. Can't wait to share the rest of the story with you all!

If you'd like to add it to your Goodreads to-be-read list, here's the link: 

And Bloggers, if you'd like to be a part of the HARD KNOX blog hop or review tour, here's the place to sign up: 

Knox Jagger. The name inspires resent in every male at Sinclair University, want in every female, and contempt in Charlie Chase. 

Charlie can be summed up in three words: independent, independent, and independent. To Charlie, Knox epitomizes everything that’s wrong with college males: prolific one-night stands, drunken senseless fights, and a body that hints at prioritizing gym time over study time. 

As an up-and-coming writer for Sinclair University’s newspaper, Charlie’s tasked with getting to the bottom of who’s been dropping little white pills into girls’ drinks at parties. In an ocean of All-American boys sporting polo shirts and innocent smiles, Knox is the obvious suspect. As evidence piles up against the bad boy of Sinclair, Charlie becomes more and more certain it isn’t Knox. But when her drink is dosed at a party and she wakes up on Knox’s couch the next morning, Charlie’s left with more questions than answers when it comes to Knox Jagger. 

How can Charlie ever hope to uncover the truth behind a guy so closed off he’s become . . .

Hard Knox.


Back out on the sidewalk, I followed the stream of students wandering around the back of the building. There was a bit of a line at the door, and while I waited, a muffled chorus of snickers trickled around me. Some of the more brazen students pointed at me and my date while guffawing. One guy slid up beside me, wrapped an arm around me, lifted Pop Prince to his genital region, made a rock on symbol, and had the girl he was handcuffed to take a picture. I was debating whether to beat him over the head with Pop Prince or stomp on his foot when someone solved my problem for me.
A tall shadow shouldered up beside me, towering over the photo-op dude. “Such an accurate depiction, Aaron. The only thing non-discerning enough to go down on you is an oversized pillow.”
            The crowd burst into laughter, pointing their fingers at someone else. The flushing guy bowed his head and stepped back into line.
“Sorry, Knox,” he muttered, all bravado long gone.
            “Do it again, and you will be.”
            Aaron raised his hands and backed away until he’d disappeared inside the building with his cops-and-robbers compatriot. Knox stayed beside me, stepping up in line as I did.
“Hello or hey is the generally accepted form of greeting a person,” he said after a moment, nudging me.
            The nudge almost made me jump . . . but why, I don’t know. “Hey.” My voice was high. “Hello.”
            “One is usually sufficient, but knock yourself out,” he teased with another nudge.
            “Keep it up, and I’m about to issue a 'Get lost.'” I glanced at him, trying not to think about what Neve had accused him of, trying not to think about the implications if it were true . . . Which it wasn’t.
            “I’m thinking about saying the exact same thing to you,” he said, all lightness gone from his voice.
            I glanced over to find his eyes forward and his forehead creased. Decked out in his typical ass-kicking attire, his expression matched the wardrobe.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked.
            “It means I can’t in my most out-there thoughts understand what you’re doing here all alone one week after someone roofied you. I mean, I’ve met plenty of not-smart girls in my lifetime, but you pulling this stunt might take the cake.”
            My shoulders stiffened. “The next time I want an assessment of my intelligence from the guy responsible for keeping the lingerie-store-that-shall-not-be-named in booming business, I’ll ask. In the meantime, I’ve got a job to do.”
            Two more couples were in front of us as we moved farther up in line.
“You know, it’s a relief there isn’t any awkwardness between us,” Knox said. “You know, the kind that stems from you being overwhelmed with gratitude for what I did for you and not knowing what to say or how to act when I’m around because you now think of me as some kind of higher power or something. It’s nice to know you’re comfortable treating me the exact same way you were before I swooped in to preserve your innocence.”
            I felt the blood boiling in my veins. “I think your interpretation of innocence is a bit skewed if you think I fall into that category. Might want to check one of those heavy, hard things with a lot of pages inside. Also known as a dictionary, if you were wondering.”
            Knox cracked his neck, rolled it to the other side, and cracked it again. “All week, I couldn’t figure out why my life felt so peaceful, so almost harmonic, but I just realized why.”
            When a couple seconds of quiet passed, I sighed. “Get on with the punchline already.”
            “It was so peaceful and serene because you weren’t in it.” He thrust his hand at me.
            “So why don’t you get back to your blissful state and leave me and my cynicism alone?” When I flailed my hands around, Pop Prince thumped Knox’s leg. Neither seemed to mind.
            “Because your cynicism can’t pull you off the ground and protect you if you find yourself in another bad situation,” he said in a firm tone as we stepped up to the door.
            When the two guys manning the entrance looked at me and Pop Prince, they shook their heads.
            “The only stipulation was that we arrive handcuffed with something of the opposite sex. It didn’t specify that it needed to be one that breathed.” I wiggled the pillow and waited.
            When they shook their heads again, Knox exhaled. “Ah, what the hell.” He yanked the pillow out of the handcuff before opening it and slapping it around his own wrist. “Happy now, hall monitors?”
            “Excuse me?” I tugged on the cuffs, trying not to give too much credence to the knowledge I was handcuffed to Knox Jagger.
            “Not another word,” he warned, making sure the cuff was locked. I was a millisecond or less from opening my mouth in protest again when his eyes cut to mine. “Not. Another. Word.”
            Instead of words, I hit him with a potent glare, but that was all the fight I put up. The truth of it was that I was partially relieved I didn’t have to go to this thing alone. After last week, I wasn’t eager to step into another party where the person who’d drugged me could be hanging out. Having Knox at my side made me feel safe, and after my latest life lesson, feeling safe was something I’d never take for granted again.
            “The key?”
Both of the guys were wincing as though they were waiting for Knox to pummel them into the ground, but the key requester looked closer to pissing his pants. Not that I could blame them because on a normal night, Knox could strip a person of their confidence and courage with one look. Tonight, he’d doubled up on his intimidating pills.
            Dangling the handcuff key in front of the guy, I dropped it into his palm. “Anything else?”
            The other guy grinned when he looked at me. Well, when he looked south of my neck. “Thirty-four E.”
            “Is that your future address at the trailer park?” I wondered if he’d failed to notice or just plain ignored the words stamped across my shirt. The “some people”, in this case, were his parents.
            “I’ve got an impressive record for guessing the size of a girl’s endowments, but I don’t think I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing yours.” The guy was either semi-drunk or missing a few links in his genetic code because he wasn’t seeing anything other than my “endowments”including Knox Jagger’s curled fists lifting his direction.
            “Craisins,” I said, driving my shoulder into Knox’s chest to stop his advance. Not only could I solve most of my own problems, but I could solve them with words instead of fists. When the guy’s brows stayed pulled together, I clarified. “You know, those little dried-up cranberry things? Smaller than a raisin but larger than the head of a pin?”
            “What the hell do Craisins have to do with my future motor-boating site?”
            Before Knox could flinch, I drove my shoulder deeper into his chest. “Nothing,” I answered. “They have nothing to do with your guess. Instead, it’s my guess.”
            “Your guess for what?” the guy said impatiently.
            Lifting a shoulder, I shoved by him. “The size of your testicles.”
            Knox was the only one chuckling behind me.            
            “You’d better watch your girl’s mouth, Jagger. If it isn’t around some dude’s johnson, remind her to keep it sealed.”
            The crack came right after. It was immediately followed by the mouthy guy’s pathetic cry, and the crowd’s chorus of Fight! Fight! Fight! Glancing back, I saw the chest-guesser was sprawled out on the lawn and, other than rubbing his jaw, wasn’t moving. Kind of made chanting for a fight pointless.
            “Sorry. I was too busy paying attention to your mouth.” 

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