Seventeen-year-old Danny Cummings’ life is far from a fairytale, but that’s okay since he doesn’t believe in happy endings. After spending a year in juvenile hall for maliciously beating his sister’s boyfriend, Danny embraces his badass image. Spending most nights drinking, fighting and collecting gambling debts for his Uncle, Danny’s life is out of control. His addiction to the bad boy lifestyle won’t let him do anything about it, even with his family begging him to go straight. But, when fifteen-year-old Lauren McIntosh stumbles into one of his nightly escapades, the self-proclaimed anti-romantic can’t concentrate on anything except Lauren and the fact that she’s on the same path his sister was on. Danny knows true love happening for the villain is as common as gamblers paying their debt on time, but he’s never backed away from a challenge before and he hates the idea that history will repeat itself.
Growing old with the man she loves-in the small town where she was born-is the only dream Lauren McIntosh has ever had; that is until her family is practically run out of town amidst rumors of arson and adultery. So, when she meets Danny at her new school and hears the rumors about his activities from her new friends, she wants nothing to do with him or the gossip that seems to follow Danny everywhere. After a dangerous and ill-fated attempt at sneaking out, she develops unwelcomed feelings for Danny that he seems to reciprocate. But, Danny’s unrelenting pursuit makes Lauren nervous, especially since he’s the only one that wants to know the secrets surrounding her family’s move. Lauren can’t tell if Danny’s intentions are true or if he has other plans for their newfound and unlikely friendship. The only way to figure out is to let him in and that could destroy everything, including the popularity and social acceptance she desperately seeks.
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- Uncle John enticed me into this world using sex, money and alcohol—it’s ironic that two of those things don’t thrill me anymore. Like most nights there’s a girl in my bed. I can’t remember how she got here, and I don’t know how she’s getting home. But, I can’t care about that now. I’m just waiting for the vodka to do its job so I can go and do mine and make more money that I’m really not even spending anymore. Sure, I went through a phase where I bought everything I could imagine—the newest phones, TV’s, video games—but that passed quickly. Most of the other guys in the crew waste their money on drugs but there’s no way I’d let myself go that far.
- I want action. I can’t just sit here. The vibration of the truck’s exhaust makes me want to drive around the rest of the night. I’m getting restless the more we sit here waiting for Aaron and Matt. The cocky morons probably won’t show up with the directions and that’ll really piss me off.
- That’s when Matt decides to tell me, “We already have it.” I glare at him and his fist full of money. Brandon and I stand there, covered in a mixture of their blood and our own, stare at the bodies of the guys lying around us. Matt and Aaron stare at us like two dopey dogs with their heads cocked to the side. I almost laugh, but truly, I want to kill them. I don’t know why I’m surprised. This is the kind of stuff they’re always pulling. Brandon starts laughing and it reminds me how insane he truly is.
- I feel like the big bad wolf trying to get her to open up to me so I can blow her house down. Her skin is rippled with goose bumps. I have no idea what to talk about. Something tells me regaling the fight at DJ’s isn’t an option and I don’t know what the latest pop-culture trends are. She looks terrified and talking is the best way to get her mind off things. Besides, strangely enough, I want to hear her voice.
- My heart is dangerously close to beating out of my chest to relocate to her body to give her strength and take away her pain. Tears trail long pathways down her cheeks, and I feel more like an ass than I have in my entire life. She’s being real, and I want to soak up every bit of the emotion she’s showing me—like a glimpse into her soul. I shouldn’t, but I stare into her bloodshot eyes fascinated, yet lost for the words to fix what I’ve just broken. This would be easier if I had taken another shot earlier when I had the chance, but I don’t want to forget a minute of tonight. I don’t want to forget one inch of her face or her letting me into her world. Closer to her, the real her—not the act she puts on at school.
Jordan Deen is a Young Adult and New Adult Fiction writer from a small suburb of East St. Louis, Illinois. Her novels are a mixture of urban fantasy, paranormal and edgy contemporary. In her free time, she loves to read, bake, attend concerts, travel and play with her two-legged and four-legged sons. She is known for her love of quirky clothes, multi-colored hair and has a fondness for tattoos, high heels and cupcakes. In addition, she is a tech junkie that can be found most mornings and early afternoons on her tablet talking to folks on Facebook and Twitter about books, current events and music.
Her debut novel, ‘The Crescent’ was a 2010 Reader’s Favorite Award Winner. Her third novel, ‘Breaking Lauren’ was a Texas Book Association Finalist in 2013.