Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Jackson POV, Oh my!

So, I promised I would write the shower scene in HOVER from Jackson's POV to make up for COLLIDE's move to January. The post went live in my newsletter last night, but because emails get lost all the time, I thought it only fair to post here. Enjoy!!


HOVER, Shower Scene--Jackson POV
By: Melissa West
I press my forehead against the stone wall of the shower, my body heaving in anger and frustration. At Zeus. At Ari.
At myself.
The hot water flows over my skin, stinging the raw ciphers, but I barely notice. My thoughts cut too deep to notice anything else.
There are only two people I care about in this world. Two. And Zeus has his fists around both of them, their lives in his hands. Anger rips through me again, building on itself until I feel like I might explode. I draw a breath, trying to calm down, and then the tension is too much, the rage, the fear, the ache in me to do something, anything, and knowing there is nothing I can do. Nothing!
I punch the wall as hard as I can, ignoring the pain that surges through my knuckles from the impact. I’m ready to do it again, eager to do it again, when I hear the shower door creak open. I flip around, my eyes widening as I take in Ari’s face, her resolve, that intensity that orders me to shut up even before I’ve opened my mouth to speak.
But I’m too angry to remain quiet, too rattled to keep still.
“Are you insane?” I shout, making sure to keep my back against the shower wall. She doesn’t need to see how disgusting the ciphers look before they’ve healed, the deep slits into my skin, blood mixing with water.
She inches toward me, her hands out like she’s trying to calm a wild animal. I feel like a wild animal. “Look, I refuse to fight,” she says, her voice softer than I expected. “Not now. Not ever. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about Mami. She asked me not to, likely to keep you protected. She loves you so much.” Her gaze drops for a beat. “I love you so much.”
The words hit me square in the chest, soothing the tension in my shoulders, reminding me why she’s my match. Through and through. Ari is mine. And I am hers.
I start to respond, when she says, “Which is why it hurts me to see you hurt. It hurts me to know that he’s hurting you and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. You won’t even let me see it. I just... Please...let me help you.”
I shake my head. “You can’t help me.”   
She steps up to me, and I feel my resolve faltering. She places her hands on my arms, and the sensation her touch sends through me is so close to hope that all I can do is stare. “Actually...I can,” she says. “I should have told you this sooner. I don’t know why I didn’t. I just...”
“What are you saying?”

Her eyes meet mine. “I can heal.”

“What do you mean?”

“Emmy taught me. I’m nowhere near as good as her or the other healers. But if you’ll let me, I can show you, I can try.” She starts to turn me, but I hesitate, my eyes on hers, but then I hear her words again in my head—I love you—and suddenly, I think I’d let this girl lead me into the fiery pits of hell if she asked. If it meant having her, I would go anywhere. Do anything.
I release a breath and turn around, my eyes clenching at the soft gasp from her lips, her hand shaking against my arm. I know what she’s seeing. How it looks. How every visible bit of skin, every inch, is covered in markings, some put in so deeply they look more like scars than tattoos. There are too many to count, many crossing over each other so my back is more green than tan. I swallow hard, my eyes lifting, and I wonder if I made a bad decision showing her this. Some things can’t be unseen.
“Why isn’t xylem healing it?” she asks as she moves her fingers easily around a fresh cipher on my right shoulder. The feel of her fingertips on my bare skin sends a shiver down my back despite the heat from the shower. Suddenly, I am hyperaware of where we are, me naked except for a thin river of blood coating my back. It takes everything in me not to turn around and pull her to me. I want to wrap my body around her and never let go.
I remember that she’s asked a question and have to order myself to focus so I can answer. Every nerve in my body is buzzing, tuned in to her fingertips as they glide over my skin, her slow, steady breathing. The feel of her body just inches away from mine.  
It’s too much.
“Ciphering is an old form of medicine,” I finally say, grateful for the first time that I’m not facing her. Else she would know—would see—my true thoughts without my having to say a word. “For a cipher to work, it has to heal on its own, once the skill or virtue becomes a part of us. Originally, they were used to gauge when the sickness they were intended to medicate no longer ailed the patient. Now, I think Zeus just enjoys knowing that we’re suffering in the name of greatness. A healer can...”
Her palm presses into my shoulder, and my body jerks with need so intense I have to rest my forehead against the shower wall to keep steady. Warmth spreads from her palm all around my shoulder, taking with it the pain. Driving me more and more insane.
I peer over my shoulder, to where the cipher used to be. “How did you do that?”
She doesn’t answer me just yet. Instead she asks, “How many do you have?”
Goose bumps rise on my skin as she presses her fingertips to my side, and I tense, aching for her to continue, yet desperate for her to stop. I don’t know how much longer I can hold on. “I stopped counting when I received my fiftieth,” I say, my teeth clenched to keep me from moaning.
“Fifty? How are there even fifty skills or virtues worth having?”
“Some are duplicates. I guess Zeus felt those skills were especially lacking.” I shrug, unsure of what I’m even saying at this point. I can’t think or process anything but her and me and this shower and all the things I want to be doing right now. None of which has anything to do with talking.
 “I’m sorry he’s done this to you,” she says as she makes her way to the small of my back where a large compass bleeds down over my ass. Her fingertips linger just there, resting in place, and it’s enough. This moment. What she’s doing. Every bit of emotion I have for this girl rises up inside me, and I can’t keep still another second.
I turn around and face her, shaken, even after all this time, over how unbelievably beautiful she is. “This, what you did, it’s amazing. You’re amazing.”
“No, I’m not. I’m reckless and prideful and selfish. And I’m scared, Jackson. I’m so scared.” Tears well in her eyes. “I should be focused and ready. I should be brave. But I’m not. I’m afraid of so many things right now that I can hardly breathe. I...”
“Shh...” I brush her soaked hair away from her face and place my hands on either side of her face. “There’s a reason why everyone comes to you, Ari. Why Emmy came to you. Why Mami came to you. We know that you can succeed where others have failed. So you may be afraid, and that’s okay, but you should know that the rest of us aren’t and it’s because of you.”
Her lip trembles. “But what if I can’t—”
“You will.”

“But it’s Zeus. He’s—”

“You will, Ari. You will.”
Her eyes lift. “What if I fail?”

“You won’t.”

I stare into her eyes, the passion and drive and everything that is only Ari staring back at me, and then before another word can pass, another second of hesitation, my lips crash into hers. For a second the kiss is gentle, tasting, experimenting with this new word love. But the moment is too raw, our bodies too close, and I’m pushing her drenched shirt off her shoulder, my mouth moving from her lips, to her neck, to her collarbone, my tongue sweeping across her delicious skin, and I want nothing in the entire world more than I want this moment to go on forever.
Ari’s eyes close and she moans softly as my palm finds her breast, my fingertips on her nipple through her thin shirt, and suddenly all thought is replaced with passion.
I yank her shirt off, tearing it in the process and tossing it to the floor, as I lift her up and wrap her legs tightly around my waist. Using the wall for balance, I take turns kissing her lips, then her neck, then her breasts, and back until I’m sure I’m going to explode.
With heavy breathing, I gently set her down and pull away, intending to ask permission for what I want to do next, but the words never leave my lips. Instead, I slide a hand down the curve of her waist and grip her hips tightly, my eyes darkening as they flick down to her pants and then back to her face. And then before doubt can seep into either of our minds, I unbutton the pants and slide them down, pulling her to me again, now nothing between us, just skin against skin, and I know that this moment will remain etched into my mind for the rest of my life. I love her with such an intense need that for the first time in my life, I feel whole, I feel right, I feel as though every flaw I have is now erased, filled by her. She is my perfect opposite, and I will love and protect her.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Release Day: FRENCH KISSED by Chanel Cleeton!

FRENCH KISSED by Chanel Cleeton

 December 1, 2014
International School Book 3
New Adult Contemporary Romance
 On the surface, Fleur Marceaux has it all. If only the facade matched reality. With one year left at the International School in London, Fleur’s struggling to graduate, her love life is a mess, and she can’t stop thinking about Max, her ex-boyfriend’s best friend. But all that pales compared to the blackmailer determined to destroy her. 

There’s a social hierarchy at the International School and Max Tucker is outside the velvet ropes. After watching Fleur break his friend’s heart, Max knows to stay away from trouble, despite the crush he’s had on her since freshman year. But when they’re partnered on a project, Max learns there’s more to Fleur than meets the eye, and she just might be worth the wild ride. 

The more time they spend together, the further Max falls. And when a kiss awakens a passion Fleur never imagined, she’s unable to resist Max, who she had thought was all wrong for her but might be the only thing that’s right. But will he stand by her when her secrets are revealed?

Don’t miss the final book in the International School series. This New Adult romance is recommended for readers 17 and up.
Max sat at a small table surrounded by books. He stared at me as I approached, his lips pursed together, his eyes full of something I couldn’t read but that looked nothing like lust. Where the freshman boys had looked at me like I was a piece of cake they wanted to eat, Max looked at me like I was something he didn’t order and wanted to send back.

He started at my feet of all places, at my shoes, his gaze traveling up one article of clothing at a time. He didn’t look hungry, didn’t look interested, he just looked as if I were a puzzle he was trying to figure out, and I stood there as if presenting myself for his approval. And I wasn’t. I totally wasn’t. I didn’t want him to like me, didn’t want him to want me, certainly didn’t want him, and yet, even as I repeated the words to myself over and over again in my head like a song on repeat, my body heard a different tune.

So while I stood there telling myself I didn’t care, that it didn’t matter that I’d spent an hour trying for perfect, for sexy, for irresistible and he was looking at me like he’d already passed, my nipples were tightening, a familiar heat settling low in my stomach. The pull of arousal at the sight of him shocked my system to the core.

Buy it:
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About Chanel:
Originally a Florida girl, CHANEL CLEETON moved to London where she received a bachelor’s degree from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Chanel fell in love with London and planned to stay there forever, until fate intervened on a Caribbean cruise and a fighter pilot with smooth dance moves swept her off her feet. Now, a happily ever after later, Chanel is living her next adventure in Asia.
Law school made Chanel realize she’d rather spend her days writing sexy stories than in a courtroom, and she hasn’t looked back since. An avid reader and hopeless romantic, she’s happiest curled up with a book. She has a weakness for handbags, her three pups, and her fighter pilot husband. 
She is the author of I SEE LONDON and LONDON FALLING, published by Harlequin HQN, the upcoming FRENCH KISSED, and FLIRTING WITH SCANDAL, the first book in a new three-book series to be released by Penguin/Berkley in 2015. 



Monday, October 20, 2014

Authors: where is your honor?

I've been thinking about writing this post for a while now, and the events of this weekend have frustrated me enough that I feel it's time.

There has been a lot of author related behavior that has given me pause. Lashing out at reviewers, mocking the writing preferences of other authors, and the list goes on and on. But nothing has made me as angry and disappointed as the three events that have occurred lately. A well-known reviewer and supporter of the industry is sued and authors laugh? A mega author makes light of downloading child pornography? An author freaks out over a bad review and stalks the reviewer and authors revere this behavior?

So I ask you: where is your honor? Where is your decency? Where is your stamp that says I'm an author and I will act appropriately?

Authors are a small group compared to many other industries, and one that automatically receives respect from the public. I tell people I have a master's degree, and they nod. I tell them I've been in business for ten years, and they nod. I tell them I'm an author, and suddenly their expressions change. They're impressed. They're interested. That level of respect deserves to be protected and cherished.

There are thousands who dream of being writers, who would never dare disrespect the title. To the authors out there acting like fools, hiding behind their creativity and mild celebrity, I'm ashamed of you. I'm ashamed of the bad name you are giving to the rest of us.

I have been writing for about three years now, and this December, I will have five books published, four more releasing in 2015. I have a day job and a family, and I still work myself to the bone for this title. I respect it and the people involved (including bloggers) that much. And so should you.

It's time we, as authors, are humbled. We are given an amazing opportunity to share our stories with the masses—stop taking it for granted. Appreciate that you can call yourself an author. I do.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

UPSIDE DOWN by Lia Riley!!

Happy Sunday! Today, I am super excited to participate in the blog tour for UPSIDE DOWN by the amazing Lia Riley. I had the opportunity to read the book early, and seriously, guys, I cannot recommend this book enough!

Excerpt of the book:

"A few meters more, you’re almost there."

It’s like we’re at the end of some old-school adventure tale, one where the heroes are stoic even as the blizzard rages, avalanches fall, and death hovers like a benevolent ghost.

Well, Bran is the hero.

I’m like one of the minor sidekicks who goes down during some important turning point. My death might even inspire the hero on his journey or teach him a valuable lesson. But at this point in the flick, the minor sidekick should be well and truly dead. Not white-knuckling a column of dolerite rock, thighs gripping the stone like it’s the world’s best lover.

"That’s it, Talia," Bran’s voice is encouraging. "You’re holding tight, that’s great. Now, I’m going to need you to release your left hand and reach up a few inches to grab the next hold."

I grit my teeth. The way he talks, you’d think I’m scaling Everest. Or at least Kilimanjaro. Instead—

"’Scuse, us, we’ll be by in a tic. That’s the way, Andy, right around the lady."

I’m the lady. Andy is a kid who doesn’t look a day over seven who scrambles past me in a flurry of Spider-Man shoes and gap-toothed smiles. His parents bring up the rear, smiling up at their wild monkey child with obvious pride.

And they aren’t the first group to pass me.

Five Swedish women, a couple, and a guy who looked to be in his mid-seventies have also shot past me during the course of the last quarter hour.

The top is so close I can taste it. Bran is being nothing but encouraging, but below me is a twenty-foot drop. Not enough to kill me, unless I fall with some sort of suicidal intent, but enough to make me feel incredibly uneasy about the boulder field.

Bran eases toward me. "Talia, take my hand."

"Can’t let go."


"No." This is it; this is the reason. Bran isn’t going to admit it here, while I’m bordering on a panic attack on a trail being conquered by elementary school children and senior citizens, but there’s no doubt this is A REASON to lose interest in me. I’m giving him a big capital-lettered reason, but I can’t stop. I physically can’t let go.

"Talia. Take a deep breath."

"Breath taken."



"Give me your hand, no bullshit. I want your fingers in mine. You’ll be safe. I’m going to keep you safe. I need you to trust me."

Somehow I do it. I give him my fingers. He assists me up. We’re doing this together. My head clears the boulder and I can see the steel marker that identifies the summit ahead. Holy shit, he’s right. I’m going to reach the top.

A few more steps, easy now, and we’re there. The kid in the Spider-Man shoes munches a Vegemite sandwich. I want to scoop him up in a smooshy squeeze. Except his parents would likely object, so I switch gears to give Bran a long and passionate kiss.

"I knew you’d get here," he says.

"I didn’t."

He turns me to see the view, his hands tight around my waist. "Your place is here, Captain, in the sun," he whispers in my ear. "Don’t ever forget that."

Buy me!!
UPSIDE DOWN by Lia Riley (August 5, 2014; Forever E-Book; $3.99)
If You Never Get Lost, You'll Never Be Found

Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to Australia. Everything is going to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He's never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . of if they were meant to live a world apart.
Buy Links:

About Lia:
After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, LIA RILEY scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. When not torturing heroes (because c'mon, who doesn't love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

PIECES OF OLIVIA releases today!

50% of my earnings for the first week of release goes to the charity, CASA!
Add it on Goodreads!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Another amazing blurb for PIECES OF OLIVIA!

I am super thrilled to share yet another amazing quote that PIECES OF OLIVIA has received, this time from NYT Bestseller, Monica Murphy!! I am just beyond right now. As I've mentioned here before, this book is super special to me. It's set in the South, includes an eclectic mix of characters, and is full of emotion. I love it to the core, and I am so thrilled that authors I love are not only enjoying the book, but willing to put their name along side it.

Big hugs to Monica for this amazing blurb!

Pieces of Olivia is both heartbreaking and hopeful, with the perfect amount of angst and sexiness. A must read!”
Monica Murphy, New York Times Bestselling Author

Find out more about Monica's books here! And you can pre-order PIECES OF OLIVIA on any of the major retail sites including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks. Look for its release on July 15th from Penguin/InterMix. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

PIECES OF OLIVIA cover quote!

So on Saturday, my editor sent me an email with the subject:

Jay Crownover cover quote for PIECES OF OLIVIA

I was coming home from seeing the Lion King with my family and immediately squealed like a little girl. I opened the email to find the loveliest comments imaginable from Jay and then a cover quote that rocked my world! I am a huge, huge Jay Crownover fan and feel blessed beyond measure that she took the time out of her busy schedule to read PIECES OF OLIVIA and then provide a cover quote.

Thank you, Jay!

This is what she had to say:

"Pieces of Olivia is touching, witty, endearing, complicated and full of all the things a reader wants in a great New Adult read. Olivia and Preston are going to tug on readers heartstrings in all the best ways."
Jay Crownover, New York Times Bestselling Author


You can read the description and pre-order PIECES OF OLIVIA on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iBooks

Add it to your TBR on Goodreads!

And if you didn't know, NASH by Jay has Crownover has just released! You can find it at any major retailer, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.

To celebrate and say THANKS to Jay, I'm giving away a digital copy of NASH (or BETTER WHEN HE'S BAD)!

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

COVER REVEAL: Make it Count by Megan Erickson!

Today I wanted to show off the amazing cover for Megan Erickson's June NA, MAKE IT COUNT. I was able to read an advanced copy of the book and it is SO GOOD! Now, want to see the amazing cover?


Kat Caruso wishes her brain had a return policy, or at least a complaint hot-line. The defective organ is constantly distracted, terrible at statistics, and absolutely flooded with inappropriate thoughts about her boyfriend’s gorgeous best friend, Alec…who just so happens to be her brand new math tutor. 
Who knew nerd was so hot?

Kat usually goes through tutors like she does boyfriends—both always seem to bail when they realize how hopeless she is. It’s safer for her heart to keep everyone at arm’s reach. But Alec is always 
stepping just a little too close.

Alec Stone should not be fantasizing about Kat. She’s adorable, unbelievably witty, and completely off limits. He’d never stab his best friend in the back…

But when secrets are revealed, the lines of loyalty are blurred. To make it count, Alec must learn messy human emotions can’t be solved like a trigonometry function. And Kat has to trust Alec may be the first guy to want her for who she is, and not in spite of it.



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

PIECES OF OLIVIA Cover Reveal + Excerpt + Giveaway!

I am so excited to finally be able to reveal the amazing cover for PIECES OF OLIVIA, my NA debut coming from Penguin/InterMix. I hope you like it!



Olivia Warren used to be a normal girl with a bright future. 
But on one fated night, everything changed.

Hiding the scars of her past up her sleeves, Olivia transfers her enrollment from Columbia University to The College of Charleston, determined to pursue her own dreams for the first time in her life.

She intends to allow herself a bit of alone time to heal... that is, until she meets Preston.

Preston is best friends with her roommate, completely hot, and off-limits. But the chemistry between them is instantaneous—and as the pair begins to spend more time with one another, their feelings for each other build into something undeniable, something powerful enough to heal Olivia’s deepest scars.

Olivia tries to put her own past behind her and trust Preston, but she discovers that his past might be more present than she ever bargained for…

Pre-Order it: Amazon (The rest of the buy links should go live soon!)
Add it: Goodreads



His eyes swept over my face, and I knew what was about to happen. I could see the resolve in his face. Feel the swift change in the air as the charge between us sparked. He leaned toward me, his eyes never leaving mine.
“I’m not going to kiss you,” I whispered.
“I didn’t ask.”
“Preston, we…”
He tucked my hair behind my ear and moved still closer. “I can’t promise anything. I have nothing in me to promise, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try.”
I swallowed, feeling the walls around me crumbling down.
“Let me be what you need.”
My breath caught, the fight in me diminishing with each spoken word. What was I so afraid of? I reached out, gliding my fingertips over his face and into his hair. Briefly, I thought of how often I’d dreamt of touching his hair, and then his mouth was on mine, and all thought was gone, except him and us and this moment. His lips took control, first soft and careful, and then full of urgency and need. Every unspoken word, every missed opportunity, was pushed into that single kiss.
Preston laid me back on the sofa, his body warm and inviting. My fingers gripped his hair, pulling him closer, and he left my lips, kissing a trail down my chin to my neck. A soft moan of pleasure escaped my lips, and he thrust his hips against mine in answer to my ache. Our bodies moved together, our clothes the only thing keeping us from taking this further.
I tugged his chin up so his lips were back on mine, the kiss growing to a frenzy of passion. His hand slid under the edge of my shirt, gliding over my stomach, before finding my breast. He groaned with pleasure, and I reached down to take his shirt off, eager to touch his impeccably toned chest and stomach. Preston slipped his shirt off and gripped mine, his intentions clear, when reality yanked me from pleasure and threw me into a sea of painful thoughts. I remembered my scars, Preston’s expression when he’d gotten a glimpse of them through my shirt at the pier. I shook my head, feeling myself tumbling deeper into sadness and farther from the moment.
Preston glanced down at me. “We can stop.”
“Olivia, you don’t have to—”
I bit my lip, forcing myself to push away the fear and sadness and guilt that riddled my mind and peered back at him. “I don’t want to take my shirt off.”
“Okay,” he whispered.
“And I don’t want you judging that I don’t want to take my shirt off.”
“Okay,” he repeated. I felt his heart beat against my chest, fast and sure and strong. A part of me wanted to disappear, embarrassed and ashamed that I’d yet again shown Preston Riggs just how crazy I was deep inside. But another part, a greater part, felt a surge of happiness that he’d stayed. He knew that I was broken and scarred and more than a little crazy, yet still, he didn’t run. He stayed.


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