Obsession and jealousy can be dangerous.
The Peace High School date auction is supposed to be fun, but Valerie Todd is dreading it. She knows who will win her date—Chris Burkeholder, the boy who’s been obsessed with her for years.
New in Peace, Liam Sloan doesn’t know that Chris is used to getting his way. When Liam outbids Chris for Valerie’s date in the auction, life gets more dangerous for the new couple.
Will Valerie and Liam survive Chris’ anger and jealousy?
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She scanned the room for Liam, pausing in her search to admire the white and navy blue paper streamers and balloons decorating the school gym. She felt a tap on her shoulder and turned around. Liam was standing behind her. He wore his usual leather jacket, but beneath it he sported a nice dark blue button-down dress shirt—not flannel—and a black pair of jeans. For the first time since she’d met him, he was without the hoodie and she got a clear, unobstructed view of his face. He was cute. His skin was a deep bronzy tan and his hair was as black up close as it had appeared from afar; short and stick straight. His almond shaped eyes were also dark, a brown so deep they were almost black.
He turned his head, distracted by something over her shoulder. The strobe light from the DJ stationed across the room swept over him. It lit up his face and glinted off an earring in his left lobe. A little thrill went through her body. Liam seemed like a good guy, but he was looking more than ever like a bad boy.
“So… now what?” he asked. His gaze darted around the room uncomfortably.
“Now we dance.”
His eyebrows shot up. “I don’t dance.”
Valerie laughed and grabbed his hand. “Everyone dances. Some just do it better than others. Don’t worry, nobody here can dance well.” She tugged his arm until he reluctantly complied. The DJ was playing an upbeat pop song by Kedaisha, former Peace resident turned superstar, and when they reached the outskirts of the dance floor she dropped his hands, raised her arms in the air, and fell into step with the beat. Liam shuffled awkwardly from foot to foot. She reached out again and grabbed both his hands in hers, trying to get him to loosen up. He was still stiff as a board, but she could see a smile tugging at the corners of his lips.
The song changed and a slow country ballad began. Liam dropped Valerie’s hands and ran one through his hair, sending it sticking up in sexy disarray. His gaze wandered around the dance floor and he rubbed the back of his neck. It was as though he were searching for an escape route. It was cute, she thought.
She reached out and placed her hands on his shoulders. His body froze in place and his eyes shifted back to meet hers.
“You’re supposed to put your hands on my waist,” she instructed softly, offering him a kind smile.
“Right,” he said. He gently placed his hands on either side of her body and they swayed to the music in a slow circle.
“So… why did you bid on me?” She bit her lower lip, then released it. She hoped she hadn’t smudged her lipstick. When he had spoken up and outbid Chris she’d been so grateful that there was a chance Chris might not win, she hadn’t even stopped to consider why Liam would throw away that much money on a date with a girl he barely knew.
“I hate guys like Chris.” He met her gaze. “When he placed that first bid, he had this cocky look on his face that made me want to punch him.”
“So I did one better. I bid against him. Besides, he really is a tool and you’re…nice. You shouldn’t have to be stuck with him for one minute, let alone a whole night.”
“Thank you,” she said.
Her voice was so soft he probably couldn’t hear her over the music. He must have figured it out though, because he said, “You’re welcome.”
They swayed silently for a few beats, then Liam said, “So… it’s not that I’m not enjoying this, but how long do we have to actually dance at this dance?”
She threw her head back and laughed, her arms still circled around his neck. “We can take a break after this song.”
His body visibly relaxed at her proclamation. She hoped he hated dancing in general, not dancing with her specifically. The song ended shortly thereafter and Valerie removed her arms from his neck. His hands lingered at her waist a moment too long before he dropped them to his sides.
About the Author
Caroline Andrus was born and raised in the St. Paul suburbs where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and Henry McCoy—a wild cougar trapped in the body of a house cat.
She divides her time between writing, Facebook, designing, and managing her household. Since 2011 she has been second in command for indie press Melange Books. She is head of acquisitions for their YA imprint, Fire & Ice Young Adult books, as well as web designer, formatter, and head of their cover art department. In her minimal spare time she enjoys reading, rocking out to the radio, and binging TV shows on Netflix.
She is passionate about both reading and writing teen fiction, and is pretty sure she will forever be eighteen at heart.
You can find her online at:
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What’s Next From Caroline
Caroline is currently working on the first in a brand new YA contemporary romance series.
It’s top secret right now, but she can tell you this:
- The first book involves a boy who isn’t very good at anything, and a girl recently diagnosed with Lupus.
- The series takes place in a fictional beach town in SoCal, and each follows a different couple, all of whom are introduced in the first book.
- The book will be published with Fire & Ice YA Books (fireandiceyabooks.com).
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