EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Hopeless For You
by Hayden Hill
"If I am more alive because love burns and chars me, as a fire, given wood or wind, feels new elation, it’s that he who lays me low is my salvation, and invigorates the more, the more he scars me." ~ Michelangelo
Devon spent a few minutes downstairs chatting with my folks and then he joined me in my room. I'd wisely chosen to wrap his present first, and I was just putting the finishing touches on the ribbon. Gosh, ribbons could be such finicky things. I had to retie the thing three times. I wanted it to be perfect.
"Hey," Devon said, whispering in my ear. His warm breath ran down my lobe to the nape of my neck, where he planted a tender kiss. "You look amazing tonight, as always."
"Mmm," I said, pushing my head into him.
"Miss me for the long time we were apart?"
It had been a whole twenty minutes. "You know it."
We kissed. It wasn't a light peck. It was a long kiss that spoke of the years we'd known each other. The years of trust, friendship and mutual sexual discovery. I'd almost say it felt like a comfortable kiss, but it was far too arousing for that.
He started to unbutton my blouse. I stopped him.
Both our folks knew we were having sex. Still, I refused to let him seduce me while my parents were downstairs. It made me feel dirty, somehow.
"You know I won't have sex when my folks are home," I said.
"Come on." He tried for my blouse again. "It's not like they'll barge in on us or anything."
There was a knock at the door.
I gave him a self-satisfied look. "You were saying?"
My stepdad Bill poked his head in the doorway. "I'm not interrupting anything I shouldn't be, am I?" He was looking right at me.
"Well, if you were," I said. "You'd be staring at a pair of naked butts rocking it out right now."
Bill frowned. "Thanks for that image, Asha." He always called me by my full name, I guess to annoy me. "I meant seeing any presents I wasn't supposed to be seeing." He was already starting to close the door again. "I came up to tell you dinner is ready. Mario's really outdone himself this time." Bill had hired Mario away from a local Italian bistro to head our kitchen. His food was outstanding. "Wait until you taste his turkey souffle. You're gonna love it."
When he closed the door, Devon and I exchanged a disbelieving glance.
"Turkey souffle?" Devon said.
"Sounds really bad."
He gave me a light peck on the cheek and got up. "The weirdness that goes on at your house..."
"Tell me about it," I said, laughing.
The souffle was surprisingly good, and after dinner we sat down in the living room to open presents. Devon and I had decorated the tree, which was a freshly cut blue spruce about seven feet tall. Different colored lights spiraled near the trunk like glowing birds, while Tennessee-themed ornaments such as bears and mountains hung from the outer branches. We'd slathered the whole thing in shiny red and blue icicles so that altogether the tree looked a little like a big, hairy pinecone.
As usual, there were a ton of presents under the tree. They came in all sizes, but I knew most of them were just the usual filler items nobody asked for but got anyway: shirts, ties, socks, chocolates.
"Let's get started," Mom said eagerly. She always got excited at this part. Watching me open presents reminded her of when I was younger, I guess.
I was the self-appointed present giver. I liked being able to choose what presents were opened and in what order. I went to the tree and picked out one I'd gotten for mom.
She took it and read the label. "To Mom, from the Hillbilly Wonka Chocolate Factory."
I always had fun with the labels, and rarely signed my own name. Instead, I'd reference books we'd read in the past few months, or a movie we'd recently seen as a family. Usually I liked to sign something that hinted at what was inside, though sometimes I'd write red herrings just to keep everyone on their toes. Devon and I were the only ones who ever did stuff like that, but our handwriting was so different, everyone could usually tell which presents were from him or me.
"Well, it's certainly not chocolates," Mom said, shaking it. She knew all my tricks. I think she already realized what it was but she still took an agonizingly long time opening the present. It wasn't chocolate, of course, but one of the romance novels she'd asked for this year.
Bill's turn was next. Again, I gave him one of mine.
"To Bill," he read. "From Dan Brown. Hmm." He devoured the wrapping paper. Inside was the latest treasure hunt thriller from Dan Brown. "How'd you know I wanted this? Thanks, Asha."
I glanced at mom and she gave me a conspiratorial wink.
I figured it was my turn next and I decided to grab the gift Devon had gotten me. I knew which one it was because of the label.
To Ash, From Your Most Secret Admirer.
Devon looked at me apprehensively. "Maybe you should open that one later, Ash..."
"Why?" I shrugged happily and tore off the silver wrapping paper, revealing a small box. At first I thought there was a watch or an earring or something inside. When I opened it up, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
Praise for the Book
"I loved every single second of it. It flowed really well, it kept me engaged the while time. I know I’m in love with Kade … I’ll have to add him to the list of my fictional boyfriends!" ~ Crystal Taylor, New Adult Readers Writers Reviewers
"This was so great. I love books with drama … Not just relationship drama but life, adventure drama. This book has it all. Love the characters … Yummy Kade! And Ash was great… I thought she would be weak after what she went through but she was the strongest in the whole book. I loved her. Can’t wait for more!" ~ Jennifer Ramey
"Wow! That was fantastic … I loved the action, the romance, and the characters … They were very well developed and related well with each other … Kade was to die for. I’d love a sequel!" ~ Lisa Weir
"If you love new adult and anything romantic with a bit of adventure and side humor, this book is for you." ~ Shane Morgan, Itching for Books
"Completely in love with this story …" ~ J&M Book Diaries
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Hayden Hill is an avid blogger, cyclist, and photographer who resides in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Her New Adult Contemporary Romance, Hopeless For You, was released September 2014.
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