Thursday, December 14, 2017

"I’ve Been Looking for You" by Jennifer Dean

I’ve Been Looking for You
by Jennifer Dean

I’ve Been Looking for You by Jennifer Dean

I’ve Been Looking for You by Jennifer Dean is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Max: The new girl, the sarcastic asshole, the one who avoids getting attached to anyone.
Emily: The golden girl, the rule-abiding rebel, the one who unknowingly craves something more.
When fate brings the two girls together, life seemed to fall into place. Until their future plans are shattered the moment someone leaves drugs inside Max’s school locker.
While Max inevitably loses hope of escaping her new grim reality, Emily struggles to move on without the one she loves most. Especially when she’s the only one determined to find answers. But the closer Emily gets to discovering the truth, the harder it will be to stop her pursuit, even when it leads to dangerous consequences.

Book Video

Portland was the latest victim caught within my father’s nomadic web. A place I already pitied. Why? Because just like the others, no amount of lure would ever be enough. The coastal town of Maine was set up for failure from the moment we crossed the town line.
The only difference this time was when the clock ran out, and it was time to move on to the next unlucky place, I would no longer be forced to begrudgingly follow. My cheeks rose triumphantly at the reminder as I made my way down the hall. I slung my jacket onto my arms, grateful that my ten years of patience had finally reached its reward. Yes, in six months, I would graduate and then finally be free. “Should I make myself scarce by the time you come home with your latest conquest,” my father teased as he appeared from around the corner of the kitchen, curiously following my movement toward the front door.
“What makes you think I’m bringing someone home, tonight,” I said while reaching behind my neck to flip my long, brown locks out from my jacket’s trap.
I held a squinted gaze toward the man, who it felt had become more of a traveling roommate than a father, over the years. He lifted his left hand to scratch the unshaven whiskers that had lazily grown out the past couple of days before his lips rose upward into a crooked know-it-all smirk.
“Well, don’t worry, I’m sure by the time I’m back you’ll be passed out on the couch,” I said looking down toward the beer he held protectively in his right hand before back up to meet his exhausted, hazel eyes with a teasing flick of my eyebrows. The smugness lingered in my risen cheeks as I stepped out of the apartment, pulling the door closed behind me before he could voice any brewing comeback.
I walked across the parking lot, grateful for the windless night as my mind began to drift into the eagerness of my future. I chewed my bottom lip absentmindedly as I danced the line between excitement and fear of the new control I would soon be given. I had pushed down the hope for so long that I wasn’t sure I knew how to welcome it back into my life.
It wasn’t until I heard the small splash of choppy water that I realized how far my feet had been blindly exploring the streets of Portland. I looked up with intrigue to see the part of town I had ventured into, nodding as if giving approval while continuing toward one of the empty wooden benches. Each one was held within a spotlight glow, thanks to the bulbous lampposts that were evenly spaced down the boardwalk.
I sighed, taking a seat, as I reached into my jacket pocket, pulling out my cheap green, plastic lighter and a newly bought pack of cigarettes. It wasn’t a habit I particularly felt addicted to but an activity that I always welcomingly embraced. A treat that offered occasional release.
I squinted, taking in the barely visible glow of the water in front of me as I swiftly placed a cigarette loosely between my lips, tilting my head habitually before igniting the end. I closed my eyes with my inhale, feeling the tension temporarily slide off my shoulders as the nicotine rushed its way into my blood vessels. At least, that was until the sudden sound of footsteps caused me to snap my eyelids back open and reluctantly abandon my new calm. My lips blew out an exhale of smoke, letting my gaze watch it slowly drift up into the air as if being beckoned by the night sky.
I sighed heavily in hopes the person deciding to disturb my serenity would rethink their approach once they heard the sound that displayed their unwanted presence. Unfortunately, I knew I got the opposite effect when the bench creaked in protest of another body’s weight.
I brought the cigarette back to my lips as I turned my neck to take in the unwanted guest with an impatient glare. It was a cute blonde dressed in brown designer boots, a charcoaled pea coat, and a white, knitted beanie that matched a pair of gloves. Despite my annoyance, it would’ve been a lie to say her long flowing locks, flawless ivory skin, and shapely pink lips weren’t worth the glance. My mouth opened slightly to release another puff of smoke as my lips twisted with amusement at the way the blonde held her nervous gaze toward the ground.
“You know there are about twenty other empty benches to choose from, right?”
My words caused her to lift her chin, along with her gaze to reveal a pair of piercing, ocean blue eyes that involuntarily caused my chest to tighten.
“Can I have one of those?” The blonde asked softly.
I felt a chill run down my spine that wasn’t caused by the cold air as I subtly shook my head to escape the shocked state she had unexpectedly created within me. I held my cigarette loosely between my fingers as my left eyebrow rose once my mind registered her request.
“You sure?”
“Yeah,” the blonde politely confirmed.
I tilted my head, watching as she fidgeted uncomfortably with my few seconds of silence.
“You don’t seem like the smoking type.”
“How would you know?” The girl asked with narrowed eyes. “Just a hunch,” I said with a crooked smirk.
“I could smoke all the time, for all you know.”
“Oh yeah,” I said unable to resist a chuckle from my challenging tone as I watched the blonde delicately remove the glove from her right hand.
“Can I have one or not?”
I pinched my lips together to hold back my amusement of her growing temper before pulling another cigarette out from my pack and placing into her waiting hand. Now that she had succeeded, her confidence began to waver, causing her to shift her gaze from her palm over to my lite cigarette with uncertainty.
“Something wrong?” “I don’t have—”
“You mean an experienced smoker like yourself doesn’t have her own lighter?”
I shook my head mockingly before reaching back into my pocket and pulling out my own once again. I flicked my thumb effortlessly, noticing the curiosity of the blonde as I ignited the flame. My attention was drawn into her beautifully tense jaw before up to watch her blue eyes newly focus on the end of the cigarette she had placed cautiously between her lips.
My resistance to hold off a chuckle failed as her attempt to inhale lasted but two seconds before her truth was revealed. Immediately, she began to cough and flail her hands in the air—as if it would help her control her breathing back to normal.
“You alright?”
She nodded between coughs until she caught her breath. “Smoke all the time, huh?” I said smiling with a raised eyebrow. “Okay, so you were right. I’ve never smoked a day in my life.” “Shocker,” I said.
“What does that mean?”
“To be honest, you weren’t too hard to peg, Princess,” I said
turning my head to avoid blowing my exhale of smoke into her face.
“Don’t call me that,” she said defensively.
“Uh-oh,” I said with a fake pout. “Did I strike a nerve, princess?” “You don’t know me,” the blonde said with a glare that was
accompanied by a soft, insecure voice.
I looked up to the sky with a resisted eye roll as I took one last inhale before tossing my cigarette to the ground. My foot moved to stomp over it with a quick routine twist of my shoe before turning my body around to face the blonde squarely.
“Let me guess, you live in a nice big house with Mommy and Daddy who buy you anything you want. Including a closet full of designer clothes,” I paused, slowing eyeing the blonde’s outfit, twitching my eyebrows up in challenge as I met her uneasy stare. “And a nice, shiny new car—you probably got the second you turned sixteen, right?” I winked arrogantly, unable to stop the rise of my unprovoked venom. “You date the most popular boy in school.” I shrugged my shoulders. “But you still find the need to rebel because life just isn’t fair when Daddy makes you have a curfew.”
“You’re an asshole,” the blonde said.
“Tell me it isn’t true,” I challenged, leaning my temple against my left fist.
The blonde rose to her feet, throwing the cigarette angrily to the ground before stomping off into the direction of the distant parking lot. “Say hi to Daddy for me,” I said before leaning over to pick up her
lit leftover and place it between my lips.
Once the silence settled into the air I felt a sting of regret surface from my harsh words. What had the blonde done to get such judgement besides invade my privacy at the wrong time? Perhaps if she would have found me a few hours from now I would have been more inclined to show her my seductive flirty side instead of the asshole version she had encountered.
I shrugged my shoulders with an inhale as I moved to stretch out against the bench, resting my head where the blonde had previously sat. I closed my eyes, ready to take advantage of my solitude only to be met with a familiar pair of ocean blue eyes. I could feel a playful grin rise beyond my lips at the hope of getting to see them again.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“It was a fastpaced, interesting read, I quite liked and I’m sure I’ll pick up more books of this author.” ~ Cassie May on Goodreads

About the Author
Jennifer Dean
Jennifer was studying History and English at the University of North Texas when she discovered a hidden passion for writing. She has since written two other Young Adult novels, Bound and Blinded. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to a signed, personalized copy of I’ve Been Looking for You by Jennifer Dean.