Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

between fear and hope - Days Like This by Danielle Ellison

Almost a year ago, nineteen-year-old Cassie Harlen had a lot to deal with. A stack of college acceptance letters waiting for answers, a proposal from the boy next door, and a mother whose most recent bipolar episode left Cassie hurt and confused.


Published: June 2nd, 2015

Sometimes the only thing standing between fear and hope is yourself.

Almost a year ago, nineteen-year-old Cassie Harlen had a lot to deal with. A stack of college acceptance letters waiting for answers, a proposal from the boy next door, and a mother whose most recent bipolar episode left Cassie hurt and confused. Tired of cleaning up the messes caused by her mother's disorder, of resenting her mother for not being there, and scared of being trapped by an inevitable future—which included marrying Graham Tucker—Cassie did the only thing she could think of to keep from ending up like her mother: she left.

Graham never knew why Cassie walked away. He woke up one morning and she was gone—along with the life that he’d created around her. After eleven months, Graham has a new plan for his future. One that doesn't involve Cassie Harlen.

When Cassie's mom nearly burns down her house, Cassie’s forced to return home. Back to a mother she’s tried to ignore and the guy she’s been unable to forget. Graham doesn't know how he's going to spend the whole summer living next door to the person who broke his heart without letting those old feelings push through to the surface.

Neither does Cassie.

“Close your eyes.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Last time I did that there was an RV.”
“I couldn’t fit an RV in here,” he said.
“I’m sure you understand my apprehension.” Surprises and eyes being closed didn’t really work out for me. Not last time, not eleven months ago. Even June knew I hated surprises. This was more evidence that Rohan didn’t really know me.
Rohan put a finger on my lips. “Trust me. Eyes closed.”
With my eyes closed, everything yelled at me to tell him that I was leaving. I couldn’t tune out the voices, or the longing. It couldn’t be that hard to say the words to a boy I didn’t love, not like I still loved Graham. I fluttered my eyes open, but Rohan pressed his mouth against mine and his hands ran down my back. I wanted to tell him, but I didn’t. Instead I tried to forget. I kissed him back, and eased his shirt over his head as he took off mine. He ran his fingers across my breasts before taking off my bra, and then all my thoughts were gone.
Three seconds. Then I lost control of my own brain and my body operated on autopilot.
Five seconds. The amount of time before my back was flush with his leather couch and it gently tugged at my skin, but I didn’t let it stop us.
Seven seconds. Then I didn’t feel guilty; I didn’t feel anything except him on top of me. I turned to dust and nerves and no words survived.
“Cass…” he whispered, his lips trailing down my stomach.
My body tensed up at the name, but Rohan didn’t notice. The weight of Graham’s name, of his voice saying it when we made love, of him on the phone before, the memory of it all came crashing back over me. It made me kiss Rohan harder.

 I knew Cass was coming. Hell, I was the one who called her, but until she was standing there refusing to make eye contact—it was hard to believe it was true. We’d barely said two words to each other since we left her house. I didn’t really know what to say to her. Well, I knew what to say to her, but I also knew I couldn’t. It wasn’t the time, and I wasn’t an ass. She made herself pretty clear last time I saw her. God, I wished she’d didn’t look so damn good. If she looked bad all this would be easier.
And maybe I wouldn’t want to kiss her so much.
God, I wanted to kiss her.
I had to shake that off. I had a girlfriend, and Cassie was here, but it didn’t change anything. I opened the door to the guest room, and turned the light on for her. In the light of the room, she was radiant. She’d always been beautiful, but today, there was something else, a sadness that rarely defined her, but now it seemed so engrained.
I knew right then what I really wanted for her: I hoped that when she left she found the thing that made her happy. That the sadness in her eyes was only the situation, and not what she had become. I cared too much about her to see her swallowed in sadness.
“This looks nice,” Cassie said. “Very different.”
When I met her gaze, I recognized a glimmer of the girl I used to love. What did she see in this room? The brown and blue paint that used to cover it? The pictures of her and me that used to plaster the walls? The Clash poster that hung on the closet door? The basketball trophies? The first time we fumbled our way through sex when we were sixteen on that very bed? We’d improved a lot since that first time. The last time I made her yell my name over and over, and it always felt awesome to be the one to make her come. I had everything I could ever want, and all of it was her, especially in that last moment we had together. I felt like a king as she called my name as I moved inside her, I caught a glint of my diamond on her finger. I’d thought in that moment that she’d be mine forever in every way possible. That’d we have this for the rest of our lives. The memory was as vivid as if it had been yesterday, even though it’d been months.

I cleared my throat. Stop thinking about that. “A lot has changed.”

About the author:
Danielle Ellison spent most of her childhood reading instead of learning math. It's probably the reason she can't divide without a calculator and has spent her life seeking the next adventure. It's also probably the reason she's had so many different zip codes and jobs. 

When she’s not writing, Danielle is probably eating cookies, fighting her nomadic urges, watching too much TV, or dreaming of the day when she can be British. She has settled in Northern Virginia, for now, but you can always find her on twitter @DanielleEWrites.

Author's Giveaway 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Jan Lee said...

Congrats on your release yesterday! :)

Amanda Sakovitz said...

thanks for the chance!

Wendy Hutton said...

sounds like a great read

Andrea Heltsley said...

This book looks really good! I'm going to have to pick it up asap!

Melissa Parkin said...

Thank you for the chance at the giveaway! :)

Dan said...

This looks like a good story. I hope that it is a big success!

Bridgett wilbur said...

I would love to read this book.