Friday, July 26, 2013

Author #11: Insatiable Reads Book Tour & Giveaway: Always by Ellery Rhodes...

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A new university, a fresh start, and no falling in love.

After a freshman year from hell, Juliet Stowe's heart is in a million pieces. She transfers to a new school, determined to leave the past behind.
But when she's paired up with Lucas McNamara, the 'boy next door' all deliciously grown up, she knows she's in trouble. Back then she didn't understood why her mother, who used to work for Lucas' family, told her not to get attached. But they were inseparable -until her mother was fired because the McNamaras don't mix with the help.

He never thought he'd see her again...

Lucas McNamara knew there was something familiar about his biology partner and is floored when it hits him. She's 'Julie'--the barefoot beauty who was unlike any girl he'd ever met then or since.
While years have passed and he's far from the carefree kid that Juliet once knew, one thing remains the same. He wants her. He's always wanted her--but he's the heir to the McNamara multi-million dollar empire and his family is hell bent on keeping them apart.

Amazon / Barnes & Noble

I stood beside Kim in a little black dress that I swore was several sizes too small and tried to make myself disappear. All around me girls chattered excitedly, dressed similarly in outfits that screamed sex. Even in the uber short red number Kim looked like a model in some magazine. I, on the other hand, looked like I was trying too hard.
The crowd inched forward and I took a step toward the beefy looking bouncers, trying to pull the material down a few inches.
Kim looked up from her phone, scrunching her nose as she took in my dread-filled expression. “It’s a club, Juliet. Not your execution.”
You could have fooled me. My hands shook so hard that holding them at my sides just sent the tremors through my whole body. I was already sweating--and not that dewy sheen that girls in clubs have in the movies--but stickiness that plastered my hair to my neck. I swept the end of the ponytail over one shoulder, fiddling with the wet strands. "I’m just thinking all this might be too much. I don’t even look like myself."
She dropped her phone in her clutch and turned her big blue eyes on me. “That’s the point. Tonight you are someone else. You’re not Juliet Stowe with your nose stuck in a book. You’re dangerous. Adventurous. Hawt.”
My cheeks burned as she looped her arm through mine, probably sure the lil' pep talk went well.
Truthfully, I did feel like myself. Last year I had several dresses just like this in my closet that I wore when I went out with my friends. I had my bag with the little vial that looked like perfume on the outside but inside held a shot or two of liquor strong enough to put hair on your chest.
I’d walk in, feeling like a million bucks, knowing I looked a million bucks. Jared would show up, all eyes on him, and a collective sigh would ripple around the room. He'd stride over, gazing at me like I was the only girl in the room.
But it was all fake. As fake as the eyelashes I let Kim talk me into wearing tonight. Maybe studying on Friday night made me lame, but curled up in my dorm I was safe from those memories. Everything about tonight launched me face first into everything I wanted desperately to forget.
The gruff voice brought me back to the now and I jumped, garnering a raised eyebrow from the man standing in front of me. I gave him an awkward smile. Under different circumstances, I might have thought he was cute, but the smile on his lips, the heat in his ivy green eyes...all of it just compounded on my frayed nerves.
I thrust my ID at him and looked over at Kim. She already had her smiley face stamped on her hand. There was a line behind her but she was talking to her bouncer. Flirting. And he was eating it up.
The bouncer cleared his throat and held out my ID. I went to take it, but his grin broadened as he held tight, making me involuntarily jerk closer.
"You have a good night. And if you have any problems--”
I snatched the ID from his grip, not even bothering with niceties as I held my hand out for my under 21 stamp. He murmured something else but I ignored it and moved to my friend, pulling her through the door.
“They were cute, huh?”
“I didn’t notice.”
She gave me a look, but luckily the music snuffed out whatever scolding I was about to get. If there was any doubt as to what our mission was tonight, the squeal she let out when the song switched to a pulsing club beat told me exactly what I got myself into. We were there to dance. Whether I liked it or not.
She gripped my arm and drug me to the floor, plowing through the throng until we were sandwiched in the middle. Now that we were front and center and I would look weird booking it back the way we came, she let go of my hand and threw both of her own in the air, rocking from side to side.
I gaped at her, surprised the girl that loved to sing off tune and dance awkwardly around our dorm when I was trying to study actually had rhythm. She moved in time as she shook her hips and pumped her fists in the air.
She was kind of amazing and I could tell from the way the crowd tightened around us that they were feeding off her energy. I just rocked back and forth slowly, clearly draining it.
She stopped shimmying and took both of my hands, giving me no choice but to get caught up in the tide. The nerves coiling tight in my stomach slowly relaxed as I felt the music in my body. It poured through my veins and shot like sparks from my fingertips. I stopped worrying about everything except the beat that thumped in time with my racing heart. I was tossing my head back and forth, barely noticing the song melding into another or the guy in a ball cap that came up behind Kim. She tilted her head to the side, a smile on her lips as she continued to sway. I slowed down, the buzz dissipating.
Ugh. It was Blake Connolly, that dumb frat boy Kim pretended she wasn’t interested in. She clearly wanted to dance with him, but didn’t want to leave me swaying there awkwardly.
I opened my mouth to tell her it was okay and croaked when I felt somebody come up behind me. The faint hint of body spray wafted around me as the stranger's hands gripped my hips. Some random guy was touching me and I was seconds away from making him regret he had hands at all.
And then a familiar voice whispered in my ear, “I had no idea you could dance.”
I whirled around, meaning to extricate myself and give him a piece of my mind, but the crowd seemed to tighten and instead of pulling away, I moved closer. It was hard, too hard to think of something snarky to say with him looking down at me like I was the hottest thing he’d ever seen. And it sure didn’t help that his hair was begging for my fingers to run through it and he sported a shadow that gave him a bad boy edge. He looked like pure sin in a charcoal gray button down and dark wash jeans. And when he smiled, my body betrayed me.
I didn't stand a chance.
He licked his lips as one of the hands on my hips tightened, sending tingles spiraling to that place between my thighs that had been neglected for far too long. Mad at him? Right now all I wanted was to jump his bones.
The song had a trancy beat but he was rocking slow, turning it into a sultry tune for just us.
“Dance with me, Julie.”
I wanted to. In that moment nothing would have made me happier than giving in. But I glanced to the right and caught some girl drooling like he was a god come down from Olympus, just for her. And it wasn’t just her, it was a domino effect. Girl after girl were openly lusting after him. And of course he didn’t know or even notice. Just like Jared.
I put a hand against his chest. “Stop.”
He frowned, but kept his hands on me. “Stop what?”
Oh so now he was acting like he didn’t know what he was doing? I had so much I wanted to say, to yell, but I wasn’t about to do this with the music blaring. I wiggled away from him and pummeled through the crowd, not even caring about the ‘excuse you’s and glares that were thrown my way. I definitely ignored the deep ‘Juliet!’ that followed me out as I stomped onto the patio.
I wasn’t sure about a lot of things. If I should have let Kim talk me into this dress, whether I should have agreed to tonight without downing some liquid courage, and if I had enough money on my debit card for a cab.
I was 100% sure that he was following me.
I walked to the edge, looking out on the bustling downtown street. I wasn’t thinking about jumping but I was thinking about something that used to make me want to curl up and die.
I’d been so dumb. An idiot. Too trusting. Was I making the same mistake all over again?
I didn’t turn to him as he stepped up beside me.
“I’m sorry if I crossed a line. I just saw you’re beautiful, Julie.” I opened my mouth but he corrected himself. “Juliet.”
I chewed on my bottom lip, wondering if I could get away with saying nothing at all. But that would make me the bad guy. He just wanted to talk. And as long as our bodies weren’t pressed together and I wasn’t listening to the slit between my legs instead of my common sense, I could have a conversation with him.
“Thank you.” I gripped the rail. “You look nice too.”
“Just nice?”
I rolled my eyes. “Don’t push your luck.”
He chuckled. “Alright.”
Neither of us talked for a moment, the sound filtering in from the bar mingling with the downtown street. I’d been so sure of everything I wanted to say but right now, it was all a jumbled mess.
“You didn’t let me explain about what happened in class.”
“That’s because I don’t care.” I said tightly, only briefly happy he was the first to talk. I definitely didn't want to talk about this. “You don’t owe me anything. I’m not your friend, I’m definitely not your girlfriend--”
I couldn’t believe the guy who’d written the definition for 'player' even had the word 'girlfriend' in his vocabulary. Even more so that it sounded so easy on his tongue and didn't sound wrong to my ears.
I pressed my eyes closed, trying to shut out the crazy talk. The crazy everything. He was just a kid I used to know. An old friend I might have had a crush on, nothing more. But no amount of trying to convince myself that he meant nothing worked. He was more than some guy. After all of this time, I was still his.

Ellery Rhodes
Ellery Rhodes
I love to read and write romance. I moved from the East coast to California for love and stayed for the french fry burritos (though my fiance is pretty nifty too!).

Always is my first NA (New Adult) novel and I'm a part of the Insatiable Reads Summer Tour (

Likes-- Reading,Writing, Dark Roast Coffee, Thrifting, Pop Culture, Summer, Flavored Iced Tea, Road Trips, Music, Macarons, Classic Movies, Poetry

Dislikes-- Rain on your wedding day, a free ride when you've already paid, the good advice--I think you catch my drift. :)

Insatiable Reads Book Tour
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