Release date: May 7, 2013
Tour organized by: AToMR Tours
After numbing pain for the past five years with boys, alcohol, and all-around apathy, she finds herself on a Greyhound bus to nowhere Montana the summer after she graduates high school. Her mom agreed to front the bill to Rowen’s dream art school only if Rowen proves she can work hard and stay out of trouble at Willow Springs Ranch. Cooking breakfast at the crack of dawn for a couple dozen ranch hands and mucking out horse stalls are the last things in the world Rowen wants to spend her summer doing.
Until Jesse Walker saunters into her life wearing a pair of painted-on jeans, a cowboy hat, and a grin that makes something in her chest she’d thought was frozen go boom-boom. Jesse’s like no one else, and certainly nothing like her. He’s the bright and shiny to her dark and jaded.
Rowen knows there’s no happily-ever-after for the golden boy and the rebel girl—happily-right-now is a stretch—so she tries to forget and ignore the boy who makes her feel things she’s not sure she’s ready to feel. But the more she pushes him away, the closer he seems to get. The more she convinces herself she doesn’t care, the harder she falls.
When her dark secrets refuse to stay locked behind the walls she’s kept up for years, Rowen realizes it’s not just everyone else she needs to be honest with. It’s herself.
I'm a wife, a mom, a writer. I started writing because I loved it and I'm still writing because I love it. I write young adult because I still believe in true love, kindred spirits, and happy endings. Here's to staying young at heart *raises champagne glass* . . . care to join me?
I fell asleep to the sound of breaking glass and woke up to the sound of raised voices. They weren’t really raised. They were more like exploding.
“Didn’t expect to see you around this place ever again, Walker. Were you in the mood for slumming it?”
“So help me God, Garth! If you touched her . . . If you did anything to her, I will finish what I should have months ago.”
I knew the voices were Jesse and Garth, and I could tell they were behind me, but I was incapable of anything else. I couldn’t open my eyes, I couldn’t open my mouth, and I certainly couldn’t get up and go break up the on-the-horizon fight.
I was somewhat aware but totally immobile. The alcohol had been especially potent after my month of sobriety.
“You were a lot more fun to be around when you didn’t treat me like I was some bottom feeder preying on girls. I’ve never touched anyone without them wanting it, asking for it, or in a case you’re aware of . . . begging for it.”
“You son of a bitch!” I heard some shuffling and a dull crack that sounded like a fist connecting with flesh and bone.
Garth’s throaty laugh sounded next. “I like this whole anger thing you’ve got going on. You were boring when all you ever did was smile and play the part of Mr. Perfect.”
I heard Jesse take a few slow breaths before replying. “What is Rowen doing here?”
“She came to see me. She wanted to shoot the shit with someone who wouldn’t put her to sleep after thirty seconds of conversation.”
Jesse made some sort of noise between a huff and a snort.
“I know it must blow your mind that a girl would prefer me to you, but it wouldn’t exactly be the first time. Would it?” Garth’s voice was cool and removed.
I knew it was coming before I heard the next crack. Garth chuckled again before spitting. Jesse must have nailed him in the jaw.
“Stay away from Rowen. And stay away from me.” Jesse’s voice quivered with emotion.
“I have no problem staying away from her. She’s nothing but your regular, dime-per-dozen girl, but I can’t promise she’ll stay away from me.” After a long pause, I heard footsteps heading up a couple metal stairs. “Oh, and one more thing,” Garth said, his tone so overly innocent it sounded just the opposite. “If this trailer’s arockin’, don’t come aknockin’. Oh wait, you already know that, don’t you?” Another dark laugh sounded before a door screeched closed.
So much silence passed, I was almost passed out again when I heard a pair of footsteps shuffling my way. A moment later, two muscled arms glided beneath my body and lifted me out of the chair.
Jesse didn’t say a word and I still couldn’t, but even if I could have, I didn’t know what to say. I was drunk. I’d messed up. Jesse had been the one to find me eyeballs deep in both. It was what needed to happen. He needed to see who I was because that made everything easier. I could only push him away for so long before I caved, but after he saw what I was, I didn’t have to worry. His dimples wouldn’t be waiting for me at the kitchen table anymore.
That was what I did. That was how I protected myself. I pushed others away before they could do it to me. It was a self-preservation default, but as I nestled into Jesse’s arms for the last time, I knew pushing him away was the opposite of self-preservation.