Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Release Day: Right Next Door By A.J. Pryor

RightNextDoor RDL Banner

It’s release day for RIGHT NEXT DOOR by A.J. Pryor. I am so excited about this book, and am thrilled to share it with you! A.J. is sharing an exclusive excerpt with us, as well as a fantastic giveaway!! Be sure to check it all out!

RightNextDoor Final[6]

About Right Next Door:

My fiancé is officially a married man. The only problem is that he isn’t married to me. . .

Addison Peacock has been stuck in the same seaside town her entire life. When her college boyfriend proposes the night before graduation, she can finally see the future she’d always dreamt about. But the sudden illness of her father causes her to put that future on hold, and her soon-to-be husband leaves, with nothing but a promise that one day he’ll return.

Now, five years later, he’s kept that promise. There’s only one problem . . . he’s already married. Crushed twice by the same man, Addison needs a distraction, someone to get her back on her feet and mend her broken heart. As luck would have it, Damian Walker has just moved in next door.

Having rebuilt his own life after a drunk driver stole his career, his heart . . . everything, Damian knows what it’s going to take to get Addison’s life back on track. But he’s not going to be anyone’s rebound. His life is complicated . . . there’s no room for one-night stands. Until Addison knows what she’s looking for, neighbors are all they’ll ever be.

One shared wall, two sun-kissed balconies, and a chance at love...a twist of fate. Could the possibility of a future be right next door?


  Amazon | BN| iBook | Kobo 


Barreling out of her apartment in black leggings and a white tank that accentuates those perfect breasts I’m thinking this run, may be the death of me. I already want to trail my hands along the smooth curves of her hips and take those tight black pants right off her body. My breath gets shallow as I near her, my body reacting to what she does to me.

She seems tense, worried about something as I approach. Her top lip is securely hidden under her straight white bottom teeth and she’s eyeing me as I walk toward her.

“Loosen up, Addison. I’m not going to bite.” Running my hand along her ponytail, I give it a slight tug before heading down the stairs, assuming she’ll follow. “Unless of course you ask me to.”

I’m at the bottom of the staircase stretching, and she’s still waiting up top. Where’s the playful girl from ten minutes ago?

“You coming?”

Whatever had been bothering her seems to vanish as she puts her smile back on and bounces down to me. “Not yet,” she mumbles as she descends the stairs. It’s clear she was talking to herself, not realizing that her double meaning was loud and echoing in my own ears. I instantly get a semi erection at the image of those intense eyes glossing over in ecstasy, her lips parted and my name falling off her tongue.

Standing close, she places a hand on my shoulder for support as she grabs her foot to stretch. Her head is right under my chin, her soft scent surrounding me. Gently I hold onto her arms and keep her steady as she changes legs. The urge to lean down and kiss her overwhelms me as I hold her delicate shoulders, her bottom lip secure under her front teeth.

She’s stunning; her long dark hair is pulled back, her eyes deep in concentration on what she’s doing. I want to tell her how beautiful she is, caught up in this moment with her. The words are on the tip of my tongue when she steps back and pats my ass, taking off at a slow jog. I smile to myself and watch her from behind. Next time she touches my ass, I’m kissing her, no questions asked.

She’s keeping up with me stride for stride as we take off down the beach path. Her breath is coming in gasps, and a sheen of sweat has begun beading on her forehead. I’m barely breaking a sweat, but I’ll get my workout in tomorrow morning at the track, or if I’m lucky, maybe tonight between my sheets. Looking down at her from the corner of my eye, I’m happy to see that she’s now more relaxed.

“How’s the girlfriend search?”

I almost trip on that damn tree root.

“In progress.”

“That doesn’t answer my question.” She’s having a hard time talking, winded from our pace and I think I should speed us up further so she can’t talk at all.

“I’m working on a few prospects at the moment. If any of them pan out I’ll let you know.”

She rolls her eyes and I want to throw her in the sand and kiss her, make her forget she asked me a question in the first place.

“Do you always run at night?” she asks between labored breaths. What’s with the twenty questions?

“No. I’m a morning person.”

Her eyes dart in my direction, as a curious look crosses her face.

“You have a dirty mind, Green Eyes.”

Bumping into me, she argues the topic, barely getting her words out she’s straining so hard. “How do you know,” she takes in a big breath, “what was on my mind?”

“Everything you think is written all over your face. And for your information, yes, I love the mornings.”

She stops mid-stride and bends over in laughter, her arms across her midsection as she tries to catch her breath. Suddenly she’s in the sand not even trying to get a handle on the giggles erupting from the depth of her gut. Sand is in her hair and sticks to the sweat that’s covering her skin. Her cheeks were already a rosy color and now they’re turning bright red.

I sit down beside her, my arms propped up on my knees waiting for her to calm down.

When she finally gets a handle on herself, she lies flat on her back and stares up at the sky, her eyes suddenly far away, looking like they’re searching for answers to some unasked question. “My ex was a morning person too. I loved it. It’s quiet outside, and still dark in the bedroom. It’s like a secret time where you feel like you’re the only two people on the planet awake and you’re sharing a piece of yourself with each other. A silent communication that only the two of you can understand.”

Unexpected sadness washes over me listening to Addison long for a situation that clearly doesn’t exist in her life anymore. Whoever her ex is must be a real asshole.

She deserves better than an asshole.

She deserves me.

Lost in his thoughts

About the Author:  

IMG_5802A.J. Pryor lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters. If not home writing, you can find her at the beach, the yoga studio or the soccer field with her girls. An avid reader of contemporary romance, new adult and young adult novels, her Kindle is always within reach. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cover Reveal: And Then Forever by Shirley Jump

And Then Forever by Shirley Jump
Coming July 28th!

Welcome to Fortune’s Island, where the only rule is to follow your heart.

Love is an extravagance Darcy Williams can’t afford. She prefers the simple life, which includes waitressing at The Love Shack and avoiding temptation. But when a forbidden part of her past steps off the ferry, her safe, guarded existence is turned upside down.

Kincaid Foster has never gotten over his first love. When he sees the wild, beautiful blonde again, dancing her way around The Love Shack, the memories of Darcy’s soft skin, gentle touch, and heated kisses come rushing back. As the privileged son of a wealthy family, Kincaid was too young to stand up to his overbearing father when he and Darcy were together. Now, he’s back on the island—free of the family shackles—and the chiseled, big-time lawyer wants a second chance.

But, Darcy made a promise to keep a secret from Kincaid—a secret that is now a six-year-old girl who looks just like her daddy. If Kincaid finds out about their daughter, Darcy could lose everything. But, she can’t resist the man who stole her heart all those years ago. And it doesn’t take long before both of them realize that anything can happen on a hot summer night.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review: Beautiful Broken Rules By Kimberly Lauren

So I randomly picked a book to read and this is what came up, I literally read this in two days and it was amazing.  I have to now read the rest of the series, can't wait!

Beautiful Broken Rules
By: Kimberly Lauren
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Series: Broken #1

The most valuable lesson Emerson Moore ever learned was from her parents: never get too attached to someone else. That’s why this hard-partying college student plays by her own code of bedroom conduct, refusing to stay with the same guy for too long. She gets all the pleasure of having a good time without the messiness of a relationship. So what if frat house-hopping has earned her a certain reputation around campus? At least no one gets hurt this way—especially her.

When ridiculously gorgeous Jaxon Riley moves in next door, Emerson’s not sure how long her vow against emotional intimacy can last. Jaxon’s tattoo, muscles, and sexy voice make him tempting, but he also seems to really understand her…until his jealous ex-girlfriend and Emerson’s life-changing discovery about her parents get thrown into the mix. After everything she’s been through, can Emerson handle a real relationship? Or will breaking her rules just lead to a broken heart?


Swoon. Swoon worthy. I’m still riding the high after reading this book which left me happy, giddy, sad, just an overall rollercoaster of emotions, but in the end, love.  I loved this book, the author caught my attention from the beginning and I never wanted to put it down (even though I had to at some point go to sleep). 

I have three rules: never sleep with someone that a friend has feelings for, never sleep with someone who is in a known relationship (when this isn't disclosed to me, it is not my fault), and finally, never sleep with someone more than three times.

If these rules weren’t already a little crazy but so true to Em I wouldn’t have believed them but she lived by these rules, to the fullest.  That is until she meets Jaxon.  What an interesting first encounter, I love it when authors can give you a unique first meeting like this, because it doesn’t usually happen that often but it always can bring an extra smile on your face.  The two of them had some amazing chemistry and even if their attraction was mutual in the very beginning they became friends first, and that to me shows what a great author Kimberly Lauren is to understand in reality you have to be friends first, or form some kind of bond.

This book kept me on my toes wondering who was going to freak out first in their relationship together, but I thoroughly enjoyed Emerson’s journey in learning about her past and her growing as a person not only with relationships in general but overall.  When she cried, I felt her pain.  I wanted to be like Quinn and hug Emerson as well, I certainly was hooked on this character.  Quinn and Emerson have an amazing friendship along with being (step) sisters, hey have a bond that cannot be broken.  Speaking of bonds, I love the fact that Jaxon has an identical twin, super yum because they sounded amazing and they were sweet, add on the Texas accent, yup, I’m there.  Cole isn’t bad either and their friendship even though it was strong all five of them were like a little family. 

By the end of the book I didn’t feel as if I was left wanting between Jax and Em.  I experienced their happy, sad, angry, fun and private moments, they felt authentic and relatable.  There was a clear and concise beginning, middle and end and it was a rough journey.  Really amazing characters and all the secondary characters were just as wonderful.  The writing in this book was great, it flowed nicely and again kept me in anticipation of what was going to happen next.  I can’t wait to get on the next book in this series. 

I absolutely love the cover, I've always liked black and white pictures, but man is that guy super cute.  Sure I pictured Jaxon a little more buff than that picture, but still super-hot.  The girl is perfect because she looks so carefree and wild like Emerson with all her crazy rules. Super love this book. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

99 Days
By: Katie Cotugno
Release Date: April 21, 2015

Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

This story was very much a love triangle that left people hurt and some a little meaner than usual.  The author did a great job of showing how confused you can be when there are more than one person involved, sometimes it's just really hard to resist especially when there are so many factors at play and so much history between the three of them. 

We meet Molly who is back from being away after a year, too much drama caused her to leave and it's all because of her mother's book that was loosely based on her daughters love triangle between two brothers.  That family disliked her so much, everyone except the one Donnelly who was on her side and who was the one brother she hooked up with that wasn't her boyfriend.  Even though if you want to get technical like on the Friends show "We were on a break!".  he he.  Regardless Gabe bought her back into the fold and she tried to work things out with the family making amends as much as she can.  It wasn't easy, and really I don't think it will ever be the same.

The story of Molly and Gabe is sweet, and I love that the author did it in days, with each chapter being the next day.  I found that really interesting and the story was just great.  The brothers animosity towards one another I think digs a lot deeper than just the rivalry they have about Molly.  I think she just got caught in the middle of them.  But I definitely was rooting for team Gabe because Patrick the other brother who she had been with forever was a tad bit controlling and way too emo for me.  I can picture these brothers clearly and see how different they are, it's great to see the dynamics of their relationship.  

I can't really say much about the ending as you will have to read it yourself but I think it ended sweetly with a lesson learned that sometimes you have to remember the world is a large place, and there is more to your existence than just the small town you grew up in.  There is a whole world out there to experience whether you do it with someone or alone, there is more.  There is more.  That I think is the most important part, because remember the world does not revolve around one person.  

I really enjoyed this book from the beginning to the end and I definitely wanted more.  I hope we get more, Katie Cotugno do we get more?  Regardless it was a great book and I loved the characters, the setting, the drama and the writing style.  Can't wait to read another book by this author. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Review: Jayded by Shevaun Delucia

Release Date: April 10, 2015

Maxine Daniels was made an offer that she couldn’t refuse. She couldn’t think of a better time—after breaking things off with her fiancé—to change cities and merge her company with Saunders Literary Agency. At thirty-three, she isn’t getting any younger, so it’s time to start fresh and leave her past behind.

What she doesn’t anticipate is the diversion that lies ahead. Kyle Saunders is a catastrophic tsunami that enters her life and consumes her world in just a matter of minutes. Everything about him is telling her no, but her heart and the heat between her legs is screaming yes. He was never a factor in her divine plan—nor was she in his.
Kyle is the cliché bachelor; he is a twenty-four-year-old charismatic chick magnet who refuses to settle down. He’s dead set on living the carefree single life—that is—until Max comes strolling in. Then all his ridiculous rules fall to the wayside. Who knew that just one hello could alter their lives forever?

This was definitely an interesting read with lust at first sight and quite a bit of steamy scenes.  These two characters just clicked so easily that they formed a special bond with one another.  The author did a good job of showing this relationship growing from their first meeting until the very end of the book.

We meet Maxine who is out to discover a new life, not happy with the one she was living.  She’s very much a go getter and out to succeed in life, work is her life.  So of course its convenient when she goes for a new job and finds someone from the office, a hot young someone named Kyle, who also happens to be the son of the owners who are about to be her partners.  No, that does not promise any kind of drama at all … not! I think their main difference is their age, she’s much older than he is, but like the old saying goes ‘Age ain’t nothing but a number’.

You can definitely spot the differences though because Kyle reminded me of a stereotypical Bachelor from the city with an accent and a crassness that I reserve for my Jersey and New York boys, I know you know what I’m talking about.  ‘How you doin?’ Anyway even with all of that he begins to grow on me, a softer side is shown as his feelings begin to develop for Maxine without him even realizing it. 

I also really love the side story of his best friend, who is just like him but then begins to catch feelings for the quiet Elise, it’s cute.  And let's not even get started on Maxine's assistant Kinsley who is a firecracker of a friend who goes straight to the point. She is entertainment all by herself.  I can see a book all about her but the question is who would be the mystery guy because she doesn't seem to catch anyones eye or interest, hmmm makes you wonder.  All the characters were great and I could only imagine what it's like working at their company.  Although I could probably do without the stalker, you'll see who I'm talking about super creepy and delusional. 

Overall it was a great read with a story line that is relate able and will keep you occupied from beginning to the very end, with lots of great saucy scenes in between.  The ending will definitely keep you wondering where will the story take you. There's so many ways the story can continue but I hope to get a chance to read more about these characters. 

About the Author:


Shevaun DeLucia lives in upstate New York with her husband, four children, and two dogs. As a stay-at-home mom while her children were young, she fell in love with reading. She indulged in the small moments that took her away from the reality of her loud, overly rambunctious household, bringing her into a world of fantasy. When reading wasn’t enough to satisfy her, she turned to writing, determined to create the perfect ending of her own. 

I received this book from the author, so that I may give my honest opinion and a review. Whether it is good or not please do not let it discourage you from purchasing/reading the book yourself and forming your own opinion. What might be good for me may not be good for you and vice versa. With that said, Happy Reading Everyone!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Blog Tour: Schooled by Piper Lawson - Review

By Piper Lawson
Release Date: June 1, 2015
Series: Travesty #1

Twenty-one-year-old Alexis Caine is so close to her dream she can taste it. And it tastes like validation and Häagen-Dazs.

In a few months the quick-talking redhead will graduate with a shiny new business degree and launch a fashion label with her best friend Ava. All the planning, dedication, and saying ‘no’ to everything - and everyone - distracting will pay off.

Then Dylan Cameron, Ava’s tall, dark and broody younger brother, returns from the East Coast to start sophomore year at Lex's San Diego college. Lex has hardly seen him in years and given his reputation for partying and girls, that’s just fine with her.

But Dylan’s all grown up. And a night of unplanned confessions for both of them threatens to tear Lex’s carefully constructed world off its axis…

Because one sassy control freak + one prodigal son = chemistry that refuses to be ignored.


Sometimes in life you have to stop being so one track minded and realize there are other things out there in life and maybe, just maybe, you should be enjoying them as well.  That is what Piper Lawson brings out in her debut novel Schooled.  She of course brings this with some very steamy scenes and some great characters.

We meet Alexis who is determined to start her business upon graduation of college, and when I say determined I mean she doesn’t want to focus on anything but that, but then comes in her best friends little brother.  He’s not so little anymore and there is a fascination about him.  Heck even I’m fascinated by him and even though I don’t fully believe he isn’t that experienced I guess it could happen.  One thing leads to another and they kiss upon their reunion and this leads to many more explorations.  I get the whole older woman and younger man, but they really do not have that much of an age difference and there were times when I felt that Dylan was more mature than Alexis.

They definitely go through some ups and downs and keepings things on the hush are never a good thing especially when it’s your best friend’s brother.  But sometimes you have to when you are trying to maintain the peace and keep your promise about no boys.  It’s a critical time for Alexis and Ava who are about to graduate and are working on creating their own fashion label, again with the focus.  But Dylan definitely makes Alexis lose focus more than once.  Their relationship is sweet, very steamy and becomes very real to the both of them.  Although I did get a puppy dog feeling from Dylan maybe that just showed his immaturity to the situation. 

Overall this was a good book, it took me a minute to get into it again not believing such a hot guy could be as inexperienced as he said he was, semi thought he was lying about that, but regardless.  Once I got into the book I knew I had to finish it because things just got more interesting, so a great quick read that will definitely has the characters growing on you.  Maybe the next book in this series will focus a little more on Ava as she wasn’t a real focal point just kind of there, but I found her fashion mind appealing. Great start to a series. Go check the book out, you won’t be disappointed.

The cover is definitely cute, and it makes you wonder exactly who is getting schooled, is it Dylan the younger guy who is inexperienced or the older woman who needs to learn to let loose and not be so one track mind all the time.  Great read.

About the Author
Schooled is Piper Lawson’s debut novel. Piper loves reading and writing stories about sassy, sexy, smart women and the guys who fall hard for them.
Piper’s main household expenditures include books, shoes, and chocolate, not necessarily in that order. Coffee = life (and she’ll defend it accordingly, especially when cornered). Piper has two business degrees, neither of which she’s leveraged into a fashion label.
Home is Canada plus occasional sunny winter escapes.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Review Tour: The Broken Hearts’ Society of Suite 17C by LeighAnn Kopans - Review/Excerpt

The Broken Hearts’ Society of Suite 17C 
by LeighAnn Kopans
Release Date: 2015

Book Links:
Friends don’t let friends make the same horrible relationship mistakes twice. 

Rion, Amy, and Arielle, the three occupants of first-year dorm Harrison Tower’s Suite 17C have never met before the first day of school, but they soon discover they have one thing in common – being on the wrong end of an epically awful breakup. 

Heartbreak sucks, especially when the girls should have seen the trouble coming from a mile away. But there’s no better time than the beginning of college to take charge of your own love life, and nobody better than a roommate to keep you accountable. Over ice cream and pizza their first week, the girls vow never again to date anyone like the assholes who ripped their hearts out and smeared them across the quad. 

And that’s how the Broken Hearts’ Society of Suite 17C is born.

Now, if only Crash, the tattooed, pierced, and probably stoned guy who works at Rion’s newest job, wasn’t so damn sexy and sweet…

If only Matt, the thoughtful and driven pastor’s kid, would quit being so okay with just being Amy’s friend…

If only Lauren, the innocent small-town girl with her own set of issues, would stop finishing Arielle’s sentences and invading her dreams…

it would be a lot easier for the girls to keep their promises to the Society and to themselves.

If only.
I’ve never read anything by this author but I now feel the need to get every single book she’s ever written because this book was just so amazing in so many different ways.  From the characters, the settings, the situations everything was there.  I can even completely see this as being a TV show that’s for sure.  There’s so much going on and it was all beautifully written to keep you hooked from the very beginning. 

We meet three main characters that couldn’t be more different from another and they all have their own specific issues, especially with their significant others.  You have a girl from a broken home with a tough exterior and a tough attitude, another who is a complete Susie homemaker churchgoer who always does what she is told and lastly a proud lesbian who is really just trying to find a place to fit in.  Again, like I said, couldn’t be more different from one another, but they are now roommates and learn to love and help one another rather quickly.  It’s really beautiful seeing such different girls getting along so greatly when they wouldn’t have expected it to begin with.

Each girl has their own story and their own breakup and situation, I don’t want to tell too much because really you have to pick up this book, it’s worth the read.  But I have to say I don’t know if it’s the tattoo and the blue eyes but Rion and Crash’s’ story is by far my favorite of the three.  Rion is just someone I can relate to because she’s such a tough chick who does not have a filter and that is completely me.  And who doesn’t love a pair of hot blue eyes staring at you, it’s as if they are from another world sometimes.  Trust is an important thing in any relationship and this is undeniably their biggest issue.

But then you have Amy and Matt, who I adore because they are so sweet and innocent.  Plus the red on red is adorable.  I love Rion’s nicknames for Matt that’s for sure. You just have to read them, too funny.  Anyway their preaching ways help each other out, and Matt has got some great t-shirts too.  But you have to read about them.  Another great thing about them is their relationship is pure and Amy is just trying to find herself, without anyone telling her exactly what it is she should be doing.

Then there is Arielle who is the proud lesbian trying to find love and trust that they too will be as open as she is about her sexuality.  Sometimes it’s just harder for other people, but I loved reading her story about trying to fit in and find love and trust as well. 

Overall this book was an amazing read into the lives of three very different people starting their lives in college and working towards the real world.  I loved every minute of it. There were some really great moments between the three of them showing such solidarity and love for one another, again really beautiful.  There were also some wonderful moments between the characters and their significant others as well, like I said this book was an amazing read.

I have to mention the cover too, because if I saw this cover in the store I would pick it up immediately and wonder what it was about.  Super cute cover and very eye catching. GO check this book out!

“Oh my God,” Arielle moaned. “Pizza. You are the best. Seriously.”
A smile twitched at the corners of Rion’s mouth. “See? Things aren’t all bad.”
Now even Arielle cracked a smile. “It’s been pretty much the worst day of my life, but pizza always makes things better. Seriously, thank you.”
Yeah, me too.”
Arielle’s eyes went wide. “You got dumped too?”
“No, I just had to take a shit job I really didn’t want to take.” Rion had stormed out of the Studio determined to find some other place, any other place, to work. But all of them had online job applications that asked whether she’d ever been convicted of a crime. The little voice at the back of her head that said the Studio was the best opportunity she had was right. Dammit.

Rion needed to change the subject before she got all melancholy. That wouldn’t help anyone. “So which of these douchebag college guys do I have to murder?” The words were out before she thought about what she meant by them. Why did she give a shit about which Indiana Northern asshole had broken Arielle’s heart? It seemed like the crying was over, and hopefully so was the food-ordering. They could go about their lives going to different classes and moving past each other from the door of their suite to the doors of their rooms, and before they knew it, freshman year would be over.
But she still had some strange pull toward wanting to know. Wanting to care.
“None of the guys. But a two-faced sorority girl would be good.”
Ah, lesbian romance drama. Fucking fabulous. In the group home, Rion had seen more than a few gay girls making out one day and throwing punches the next, and that shit was never pretty.
Still, she caught herself guarding her words. Caring what Arielle would think of her. “Well, give me her stats and I won’t let her into the Suite. You have my word.”
Arielle cracked another smile as she reached for a pizza box. “Tall, willowy, straightened reddish-brown hair, wearing her sorority letters. Fucking gorgeous. And full of herself. You know, the usual.”
“Done and done. If you have a picture we can hang it on the wall and throw darts at it.”
But now the girl choked back a sob. “I have so many pictures.”
“Okay, okay. Too soon. Sorry.” Rion fumbled through the bags. “Look. I have ice cream too. It’ll be okay.”
And then the door to Suite 17C flung open, and the previously bubbly, bouncing, smiley Amy came in, her face dripping with tears and a total fucking mess.
Arielle had been just about to shove a bite of hot, cheesy comfort food into her mouth when the door swung open. Shoulders shuddering, Amy let the door slam behind her, and slumped against the wall. She slid down to the floor in time with the tears sliding down her cheeks, her purse softly thudding against the office-grade carpet a moment before her butt did.
The pizza dropped on the plate, leaving a hot smear of pizza sauce on Arielle’s hand, which she absentmindedly wiped on her clean yoga pants. She’d have to find the laundry room sooner rather than later, she guessed.
“Jesus fuck,” Rion murmured, slowly taking steps back toward her room
Amy gasped and whipped her head, with eyes wide with shock, over to Rion.
“She’s really…Christian,” Arielle mumbled at Rion while she moved across the room to slide her arm around Amy’s back and pulled her to standing. “Come sit on the couch,” she said to the still-weeping girl. The haze of the headache that her own tears had left behind minutes before still pounded behind her eyes. If Arielle thought she’d looked bad, Amy multiplied that tenfold. “Are you okay? What’s going on?”
Maybe she was called down to the lobby because there was bad news from home. Maybe one of her parents had been in a car accident or something. Arielle would lose her shit if anything happened to her mom, no matter how much the woman could annoy her sometimes.
“He…he…he said he loved me, but…” Amy managed, gasping, before she collapsed into tears again.
“Motherfucker.” Rion swore again, but when Arielle shot her another scolding look, she shrugged and slumped into a chair, watching Amy, who was beginning to calm down enough to hiccup instead of gasp.
“Oh, honey,” Arielle said, channeling her mom’s calming tone as much as possible.  Her hand hovered in the air above Amy’s back, uncertain as to whether she should rub it like Amy had rubbed hers. A couple girls back in high school had flinched any time Arielle’s hand came close to touching their bra – she’d learned to be careful with touching girls.
But when Amy let her head fall onto Arielle’s shoulder, the choice was thankfully made for her. Arielle put her arm around Amy’s back, and squeezed her shoulder. “What did he say?” She asked, softly. Carefully. She couldn’t repeat Rachel’s stupid excuses right now if she tried.
“He just said…everyone he had met had broken up with their girlfriends when they got here…and he wanted to see other girls? I guess? Because he prayed about it, and he’s pretty sure I’m the girl he’s supposed to be with, but he just wants to be totally sure?” Her voice twisted higher on the last few words, and she started to sob again.
“What is wrong with these nut-clutching, mansplaining dickheaded assholes?” Arielle and Amy went quiet at Rion’s outburst. “Well, seriously!” she said, throwing her hands in the air. “You,” she said, motioning to Amy, “were obviously like about to get married, and you,” she pointed at Arielle, “fucking transferred to this school to be with that dumb bitch.”
“She’s not a…” Arielle started, her stomach twisting instinctively at anyone referring to Rachel that way.
“Oh but she is,” Rion said. “Nobody can know you’re together? Suddenly lesbians are this horrible thing? Is she living in fucking 1994 or something?”
Amy’s stomach pulled in as she gave a short, slight laugh, and her mouth twitched up at the corners. Arielle had to admit she was right – Rion was outspoken, but at least she was making this a little more bearable.
“And your guy. Who does he think he is? You’re obviously pretty, and sweet, and the two of you had something really serious. And now he wants to fuck other girls, just because he saw all the fresh Indiana Northern meat?”
Amy’s mouth dropped open, and she stared at Rion. “You think he’s going to – I mean – do you think he’s wanting to make love to other girls?”
Arielle shot a dagger-eyed glance at Rion, and quickly but firmly shook her head.
“No…no,” Rion stammered, giving Arielle a panicked look. “I’m sure he just wants to…you know. Kiss them and stuff?” she checked her response with Arielle, who rolled her eyes at her when Amy wailed.
“Okay, look. Let’s just calm down, okay?” Arielle said in the soothing voice again. She had definitely learned more than she’d thought. Mom had Arielle’s back through a few crying sessions when she was fourteen and just starting to come out at school. Ninth grade girls could be brutal in their teasing, and Arielle had learned not to give a shit mostly by Mom teaching her how to deal.
Teasing was one thing, and Rachel was another.
After a few quiet moments, while the girls waited for Amy to start taking deep breaths again, Arielle put slices of pizza on napkins for each of them. She handed one to Rion first, with a slight smile, then nudged one down the coffee table in front of Amy’s face. “Eat,” Arielle said, smoothing her hand over Amy’s long hair before she pulled it away and picked up her own slice.
The girls ate in silence for several moments, and then Rion let her napkin drop to the floor, half the piece of pizza still on it. “Listen,” she said, leaning forward with her elbows on her knees. “Guys are assholes. Girls too, I guess. I swear to God.”
Amy whimpered.
“It’s like they don’t know how to be decent human beings. Do you know what happened to me, literally three weeks before I left to move here?”
Arielle and Amy waited for her to continue.
“I was with this guy, and he was cute, and fun, and really really good in bed, and he just happened to sell pot on the side. And then I fucking got stuck driving his car, with a trunkload of the shit. Nothing like trying to explain to the cops that it’s not your pot and knowing they don’t believe you.”
Arielle whispered “whoa,” and Amy’s eyes were the size of saucers. “So,” Amy’s timid voice broke the silence. “I mean…weren’t you smoking that stuff too? If he was? Or didn’t you at least know it was in there?”
“Of course you’d think that. Everyone else did. It makes sense.” Rion scoffed. “But no. I wouldn’t  touch the shit. My only real crime was being stupid enough to drive the car without searching it first. Anyway, I had to go to court. Got a ten thousand dollar fine. Lost all my federal loans. Asshole completely fucked me over. ”
“So you broke up with him?” Amy asked quietly.
Rion scoffed, weaving her fingers together and staring down at them. “Didn’t have to. When he saw me after I got out of court, he figured I wanted to kill him. He was right. But it’s hard to kill someone that you’re used to kissing, you know?” Now Rion’s voice had gone from hard to broken and quiet.
Arielle shook her head. “You loved him, didn’t you?”
“Well,” Rion grumbled, “I wouldn’t say…I don’t know. Maybe. Yeah. I lived in a state run group home for the last year and a half. He was kind of the only person I had.” Rion stared down at her hands some more, and Arielle thought she heard her sniffle, too. Clearly she was done with that conversation, for now at least. They were all quiet for a very long few seconds.
“Okay,” Arielle finally said, tossing her pizza down onto the coffee table with a dull thump. “This is pathetic. We are pathetic.”
Yeah, she still felt completely devastated, like Rachel had permanently poisoned the part of her that could feel happiness. But there was another feeling too, the one that insisted that this was utter bullshit.
Just like Rion, she knew she was worth more than this. And from what little she knew of Amy, and from what she could see of Rion, she knew the same thing about them.
“Jesus, give her a minute,” Rion said, crossing over to the chair next to Amy and sitting down. She looked the girl up and down, as though she was wondering what to do with her. Then she reached into the bag, pulled out a pint of ice cream, cracked the top off, and handed it to Amy, who took it, looking lost. Then Rion mumbled, “Sorry,” and pulled a spoon out of the bag, too. She barely had time to hold it out to Amy before the poor, sniffling girl snatched it and started to dig in.
“Seriously,” Arielle said, watching her two roommates strike up a camaraderie before her eyes. “People screw with us, and we cry and eat ice cream? What the hell are we doing?”
Amy sniffled. “You guys are swearing a lot.”
Rion snorted and pulled another pint out of the bag.
“I’ll be right back,” Arielle said, pushing herself out of her chair, “Be ready to hand one of those over to me.”
In her room, Arielle dug through one of the three huge duffels she’d crammed in her dad’s trunk before the drive up to Northern. She was a sucker for two things: color coding and office supplies, and even though she’d be using her laptop for almost everything in classes, she’d stocked up on a few cute notebooks and fancy pens. She found one that was absolutely perfect – a composition style, so that pages couldn’t be torn out – and had three birds in some artsy-collagey configuration on the front. She grabbed a pack of new gel pens and stalked back into the common room.
“We are not going to let this happen again,” Arielle said.
“And we’re going to do that with a notebook and cutesy pens?”
Arielle glared at Rion, but Amy cracked a smile.
“We all know this is bullshit, right? Sorry, Amy -” Arielle said as she wiggled her yoga-pantsed butt back over the cheap dorm furniture upholstery.
“We all know our exes -” she swallowed – “totally screwed us over. We know we didn’t deserve that, right?”
“And we’re never going to put up with anything close to it ever again,” Rion said.
“Exactly,” Arielle said, willing certainty into her shaky voice. Unfortunately, at this point, she promise she wouldn’t jump back into Rachel’s arms and pick right back where they left off on their happily ever after, given the chance.
But deep down, she also knew that that happily ever after had been totally destroyed by whatever it was that made Rachel embarrassed to be her girlfriend.
“Adam said…he said he thinks we belong together,” Amy’s voice cracked as she fought to get some volume into it. “He just wants to be sure. So probably, we’ll….”
“No,” Arielle interrupted, slamming her hand on the cover of the notebook, then fiercely opening the cover and tearing the cap off the pen with her teeth. “You will not be getting back together. I’m sorry, because I don’t really know you at all, but I know that any guy who promises a girl forever and then comes to college with her and then dumps her ass is not forever. He is not The One. ”
How much was she talking about Amy, and how much was she talking about herself?
Arielle shook her head. It didn’t matter.  “Listen to me,” she said, trying to infuse every word with conviction, “The three of us were put in this Suite together for a reason. I know we were.”
Actually, Arielle had been put in the Suite because she was a late transfer.
“My best friend backed out of our double last month,” Amy said. “Decided to start at the community college close to home instead.”
Rion swallowed another bite of ice cream. “And I’m here because -”
“Shut UP!” Arielle said, beginning to scribble furiously. “I’m serious. We’re all here for a reason, and I’m going to tell you what it is right now.” The ink from the green gel pen was especially shimmery, and it pulled a spark of happiness through the darkness threatening to take over Arielle’s whole experience at Northern. The words formed under her pen almost by themselves, and when she finished writing, she held up the notebook for the girls to see.
Amy blinked hard, clearing her eyes of the last of the tears, and Rion let out an exasperated sigh as she leaned forward to read.
“The Broken Hearts’ Society of Suite 17C?” Rion read.
“Yep. We’ve all ended up on the wrong end of some really bad breakups, and we’re having a hard time dealing. It’s true. And you know what that means?”
“We’re pathetic?” Amy offered.
“Yes, okay.” Arielle rolled her eyes. “We’re pathetic, today. That’s why we’re never going to let anything like that happen ever, ever again. We’re going to have such an amazing, jerk-free year, that we’re going to make our exes look like pathetic losers at the end of it. And we’re all going to hold each other accountable.” Arielle swallowed down the doubt rising in her chest. She doubted that gorgeous, confident, social butterfly Rachel could ever look like a pathetic loser, but now that she’d given the whole speech, she owed it to her roommates to at least consider it a possibility.
“So how are we supposed to do that?” Something like hope sparked inside Arielle as she heard a hint of willingness in Rion’s question.
“We’re going to hold a meeting. Every other Sunday. Just like this, with ice cream and pizza, but without the crying.”
“My mom only packed like a month’s worth of tissues anyway,” Amy joked, finally letting a real smile creep onto her face.
“It’s only going to work if everyone’s in. We all have to help each other.” Arielle looked straight at Amy, who swallowed hard, then nodded. She moved her eyes to Rion. She stabbed her plastic fork into the ice cream, taking a long time to twist out a scoop, then shove it in her mouth, then swallow. She looked up at the girls, letting her gaze shift from one to the other. “I’d probably have to listen to you girls talking about exes and crushes and dating and love no matter what, right?”
“Right,” Arielle nodded, keeping her face solemn.
“Fine,” Rion said, passing a pint of ice cream to Arielle as promised. “How’s this going to work?”
“Concentrate on your ice cream,” Arielle mumbled, trying to catch hold of the stream of words jumping up in her head like magic. She flipped open to the second page of the book and wrote so furiously her hand ached when she was done. The notebook made a hefty thud when she dropped it, open-faced, on the floor right next to the pizza.

About the  Author: 
Raised on comic books and classic novels, LeighAnn developed an early love of science fiction and great literature. As an adult, she rediscovered her love for not only reading, but also writing the types of fiction that enchanted her as a teen. Her novels are packed full of flights of fancy, first loves, unexpected friendships, and all the other things that make self-discovery stories so fun to tell.
LeighAnn, her husband, and four children live in Columbus, Ohio. When she’s not immersed in the world of fiction, you can find her with her nose buried in her Kindle, obsessing over the latest superhero movie, or using her kids as an excuse to go out for ice cream (again).
Email: LeighAnnKopans@gmail.com