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One to Love by Tia Louise (Review)

21841965Title: One to Love (To Hold Series)
Author: Tia Louise
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Publish Date: October 9th 2014

Tattoos, bad boys, love…
Boxing, fame, fortune…
Loss.

It’s the one thing Kenny and Slayde have in common. Until the night Fate throws them together and everything changes.

Their chemistry is undeniable, their love blazing hot, but is history destined to repeat itself?

It’s a story about fighting. It’s about falling in love. It’s about losing everything only to find it again in the least likely place. And it’s about the one hit you never see coming.

A STAND-ALONE, ONE TO HOLD NOVEL. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

✮ Everywhere Oct. 9! ✮

In the meantime, check out the book planning board on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/AuthorTiaLou…

And the soundtrack on Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/user/authort…

AUTHOR’S NOTE: ALL books in the “One to Hold” series are stand-alone romances. The suggested reading order is One to Hold, One to Protect, One to Keep, One to Love.

 

~Karen Ponders~

He I sit in my thinking tree, reviewing the newest book by Tia Louise.  Trust me the climb up into the tree was long and hard.  So glad the book One to Love was worth it. The book is the newest installment in the One to Hold series by author Louise.  In getting ready for this review Ms. Louise provided me the book One to Keep, well I have to say the series is engaging and Louise has drawn me into the lives of the people loved and protected by the Alexander-Knight LLC.

One to Love is a heart-wrenching story about love, regret, loss,  forgiveness, and learning to live again after tragedy. The One to Hold series by Tia Louise are all stand alone books, but at the same time the characters and the relationships that they have with each other interconnect them. Kenny Woods was introduced in the book One to Keep, as a tattoo artist and friend of the main character Patrick Knight. She is bright and pixyish; but she has a tragic past that has formed how she lived since she was twenty-one.   She has been living in her hometown of Bayville New Jersey and working as a personal trainer. She really has shut herself off from experiencing a full life, since tragedy took her husbands life when she was twenty one. Enter Slayde Bennett, the new maintenance man for the health club where Kenny works. They are attracted to each other but Slayde has his defenses up and Kenny has be trying to live a more open life; and Slayde just happens to be the recipient of her new life outlook. Poor guy he didn’t know what hit him.  Slayde is learning to live with regrets.

The story that unfolds is both heart warming and heartbreaking as both of these characters open themselves up to love and the course of love doesn’t always run smoothly; and in this book it smacks the characters up side the head with a wake up call. Sometimes people make the wrong choices and those choices can devastate so many lives.  Learning to live with regrets can be extremely hard, but its better than living a half life.

 

 

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Meet The Author

Tia Louise is a former journalist, world-traveler, and collector of beautiful men (who inspire ALL of her stories… *wink*)—turned wife, mommy, and novelist.It’s possible she has a slight truffle addiction. And she will never look at a family restroom the same way again. ONE TO HOLD is her debut adult romance.

Connect With The Author: Facebook Twitter Pintrest

 

 

After cover

Release Day * AFTER by Anna Todd * Promotional Event * GIVEAWAY

There was a time before Tessa met Hardin, and then there’s everything

After cover

LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME

About AFTER:

Tessa is a good girl with a sweet, reliable boyfriend back home. She’s got direction, ambition, and a mother who’s intent on keeping her that way. But she’s barely moved into her freshman dorm when she runs into Hardin. With his tousled brown hair, cocky British accent, tattoos, and lip ring, Hardin is cute and different from what she’s used to.

But he’s also rude—to the point of cruelty, even. For all his attitude, Tessa should hate Hardin. And she does—until she finds herself alone with him in his room. Something about his dark mood grabs her, and when they kiss, it ignites within her a passion she’s never known before.

He’ll call her beautiful, then insist he isn’t the one for her and disappear without a word. Despite the reckless way he treats her, Tessa is compelled to dig deeper and find the real Hardin beneath all his lies. He pushes her away again and again, yet every time she pushes back, he only pulls her in deeper.

Tessa already has the perfect boyfriend. So why is she trying so hard to overcome her own hurt pride and Hardin’s prejudice about nice girls like her?

Unless . . . could this be love?

Anna Todd’s After fanfiction racked up 1 billion reads online and captivated readers across the globe. Now experience the Internet’s most talked-about book for yourself!

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My Thoughts:

I must have been living under a rock because I had no idea Wattpad was as big as the moon! After is a book that has caused shockwaves through the fan fiction world and since I’ve never read fan fiction online, I didn’t know this sensational book was out there. When we were given the opportunity to read an advance copy, I jumped at the chance because the synopsis was right up my alley of books I love to read. After by Anna Todd did not disappoint. Good girl meets bad boy. Good girl has no business wanting said bad boy, but of course there is no chance in hell she’ll stay away. Tessa and Hardin’s story is undeniably explosive. It is filled with drama, angst, that push and pull relationship that makes things sizzle, AND it is sexy as hell!

Read it, devour it, and get ready for the ride of a lifetime!

~ Yesi

After is book one of the series but the good news is you won’t have to wait long for books two and three to follow.

ABOUT ANNA TODD:

After author

 

 

 

 

ANNA TODD is a first-time writer spending her days in the Austin area with her husband, with whom she beat half the statistics by getting married one month after graduating high school. Between her husband’s three deployments to Iraq, she worked odd jobs from a makeup counter to the IRS processing center. Anna was

always an avid reader and boy band and romance lover, so now that she’s found a way to combine the three, she’s enjoying living a real-life dream come true.

Connect with Anna on Facebook | TwitterSimon & Schuster Anna Todd Page | Instagram

 *** Enter to WIN a paperback copy of AFTER by Anna Todd ***

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Release Day Launch * ROWDY by Jay Crownover * Excerpt * GIVEAWAY

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We are excited to bring you the Release Day Launch for ROWDY by Jay Crownover!! ROWDY is the fifth novel in her Marked Men Series published by William Morrow, and imprint of HarperCollins and you do NOT want to miss it!

 

Rowdy

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EXCERPT:

WHEN I PUT THE key he had given me in the door to his apartment it felt like the end of a long journey. Really it was only a little over twelve hours and I had stopped to nap once along the way, but it still felt like too long since I had seen his face or been able to touch all that toned and tattooed skin. Jimbo greeted me at the door when I pushed it open. His tongue lolled out of his mouth and he jumped up and put his paws on my legs. He was going to be huge when he finally grew into his fuzzy body and I was overwhelmed at how happy I was to see him. I dropped to my knees and rubbed my face in his neck as he licked me all over my face. I was obviously missed and I had to say it was just one more reason I knew I was finally where I was supposed to be. It was late, so the apartment was dark.

I checked the dog’s food and water, trying to be quiet in case Rowdy was already asleep. I was winding my way toward his bedroom when a haphazardly discarded sketch pad lying on the couch caught my eye in the dim light. I paused for a minute to pick it up and felt my heart stop and then start to race as I flipped through the first few pages. There were a couple of drawings that were obviously for clients, tattoos that hadn’t made it from paper to skin yet, but most of the pristine white pages were covered with images wearing my face. There was mermaid me, and naughty- sailor- girl me. There was sassy Indian girl me with long Pocahontas braids and there was sexy devil me standing next to angelic me. There were dozens of them all in different shapes and sizes, but every single image was undoubtedly modeled after my distinct look. I wasn’t sure if he had drawn them all over this last week while I had been gone or over the months we had been chasing each other in circles.

Either way it made my heart swell and the full certainty that I was it for him settle deep inside my bones. I set the pad down and tiptoed through the hall. Jimbo took one look at where I was going and huffed out a disgusted- sounding snort. The poor guy had learned early on that he wanted no part of what happened between his humans when they were together in the bedroom. The light was off and Rowdy was sprawled on his stomach across the covers. His blond hair was sticking up every- where and he hand one arm bent up under his head. The only thing that could have made the sight better would have been if he hadn’t bothered with the black boxers before crashing out.

Even with them obscuring the view, I couldn’t complain. I let out a breathless sigh and crept closer so that I could lean over and touch my lips to that anchor on the side of his neck. I felt his pulse leap and tasted the salt on his skin as he murmured sleepily and rolled over onto his back. Those infinitely blue eyes glowed at me in the dark as a grin pulled up the corner of his mouth.

“Hey.”

 

Rowdy Teaser 2

 

About ROWDY:

The New York Times and USA Today bestselling Marked Men series continues with this sizzling, sexy story of love, heartbreak, fate, and second chances.

After the only girl he ever loved told him that he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and set out to live up to his nickname. A good ol’ boy looking for good times and good friends, Rowdy refuses to take anything too seriously, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. Burned by love once, he isn’t going to let himself trust a woman again. But that’s before his new co-worker arrives, a ghost from the past who’s suddenly making him question every lesson he ever learned.

Salem Cruz grew up in house with too many rules and too little fun—a world of unhappiness she couldn’t wait to forget. But one nice thing from childhood has stayed with her; the memory of the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been head over heels in love with her little sister.

Now, fate and an old friend have brought her and Rowdy together, and Salem is determined to show him that once upon a time he picked the wrong sister. A mission that is working perfectly—until the one person that ties them together appears, threatening to tear them apart for good.

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Sensual portrait of beautiful girl with tattoo lying on bed.

 

Jay CrownoverAbout Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She also introduced the dark and sexy world of The Point in a new series this last summer starting with BETTER WHEN HE’s BAD. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

 

 

 

Website ** Blog ** Facebook ** Twitter

ROWDY Goodreads ** Jay Crownover Goodreads

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Liulf_CoverFULLsw

Liulf by Victoria Danann

Liulf_CoverFULLswTitle: Liulf: Alpha of the Mahdrah Ahlee (New Scotia Pack #1)

Author: Victoria Danann

Genre: Paranormal Romance 17+

Series: New Scotia Pack

Publication Date: October 18, 2014

Publisher: Andromeda LLC dba 7th House

Event Organized By: Literati Author Services, Inc.

 

 

 

Liuf

~ Synopsis ~

WHEN HE COULDN’T FIND HER IN HIS WORLD, HE WENT ELSEWHERE.

First of a series of three novellas about the Brothers Cu Ahlee.

USA TODAY Bestselling author, Victoria Danann, wrote this series as a follow up, based on Moonlight, Best Vampire~Shifter Novel of 2013.

For a thousand years the highlander werewolves of Scotia have enjoyed the protection of the fae monarchy, but the straining population has forced them to adapt or die. Or move.

Liulf has spent centuries waiting for a true mating while others settled for comfortable compatibility. When he emerged as the new alpha, little did he know he’d find her when he leads his pack to a new world.

 

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Purchase Links

Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** Smashwords ** Kobo ** iTunes

 
 

What reviewers are saying about Liulf.

“Victoria Danann has done it once again. I could not put this down until I was finished. It moved along at an amazing pace that was just perfect, the characters will grab you and you cannot help but fall in love with them and the story. Wow, this is an amazing read.”- Joy Whiteside

“I got so lost in Luilf’s world I forgot mine.” - Pam James

“…fulfills that hunky shifter kilt hunger from the get go.” - Nelta Mathias Baldwin

“…this is a spin off to (Knights of Black Swan) and I have to tell you I loved it.” - LIsa High

“As always Victoria Danann hits it out of the ball park with another amazing story.”Bobbi Kinion

 

 

Short Excerpt.

Liulf squatted on the castle parapet with his back to the sound of the ocean crashing against Girnigoe’s black craig cliffs. If he let himself think about the damp cold or the January wind that tried to penetrate flesh and bone, he’d start to shiver in a way that would rack his whole body…. So he’d learned to focus on other things. Looking east, over the land he loved, he felt a sense of pride and history. And memory. In his slightly less than four hundred years, he’d covered every inch of pack territory in wolf form and much of it in biped form as well. He knew he was blessed with good things, but that didn’t fill the underlying emptiness that he couldn’t quite pinpoint. Lack of purpose maybe. There wasn’t much satisfaction in guarding a border without an aggressor.

That very day a wolf had said it was easy for Liulf to make reckless choices because he didn’t have a mate. Liulf had kept his face passive, but inside the words had stung. It wasn’t as if he could control destiny. What Lycan didn’t want to find his mate? Well, perhaps Conn would prefer to be a bachelor wolf forever.

It was true that Liulf could have settled for a bitch who was merely compatible, as most did. But he hadn’t because he knew there was more. There was mating that was, well, magical. He wouldn’t say so out loud because his brothers would never stop razzing him if he did. But he lived with a constant yearning that never subsided, spoken or not.

All the carousing in the world wouldn’t take the edge off his desire. And he should know. All he had to do was keep from cursing the Fates until they saw fit to gift him with the one. The one he knew was out there.

MY NOTE ON LIULF:

A snippet from an early review says: “This is a wonderful off shoot of that series (Knights of Black Swan). In MOONLIGHT, we learned that wolf shifters were having a rough time. Humans were spreading into their lands and using high powered weapons to kill them in wolf form. Towns and cities were destroying the wild areas.”

This couldn’t be more timely since we learned just 2 weeks ago that the planet has lost HALF of its wildlife in just the past 40 years. Certainly the wildness of werewolves is a metaphor for that part of us that longs for the call of Pan.

 

 
 

 

~ About the Author ~

Victoria120x180

USA Today Bestselling Author

2013 Winner in the categories of:

  • BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES – Knights of Black Swan
  • BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE NOVEL (GENERAL) – A Summoner’s Tale
  • BEST PARNORMAL ROMANCE NOVEL (Vampires & Shifters) – Moonlight

My early work (eight-years-old) would be called fan fiction today. I began by writing my version of Bobbsey Twins novels on legal pads that my dad brought home from the office. As an only child – in the days before children became little electronic receivers – there was often not much to do other than seek amusement in my own head.

Childhood fantasies involved being the only girl (for some odd reason) at a ranch for wayward boys. Yes. I do realize this sounds vaguely familiar. T hose fantasies were supported by real life events because the boys included me in the afternoon neighborhood games whether it was cowboy/Indians or G.I. Joe.

When I left the Bobbsey Twins behind I didn’t write again until I was married with children and in my mid-twenties. I completed a paranormal romance and gave it to my spouse to read. After hearing his criticisms I didn’t write again for decades. At the time I didn’t understand that he’s the absolute farthest thing from my audience.

It turned out to be a blessing because during that time that I didn’t write, I lived an extremely full life. I traveled a lot, raised a family, got an education (I have an M.A. in Psychology.) and explored my compulsion to be a spiritual seeker. The fantasies were a constant companion throughout. The faces and names of the characters changed as I matured, but they remained a source of comfort. T hey helped me through hellraising teenagers and three near-death scares.

By the time I started writing again, I had something to say. I write cross-genre with uniquely fresh perspectives on paranormal creatures, characters, and themes. Add a dash of scifi and a flourish of fantasy to enough humor to make you laugh out loud and enough steam to make you squirm in your chair. My heroines are independent femmes with flaws and minds of their own whether they are aliens, witches, demonologists, psychics, or past life therapists. My heroes are hot and hunky, but they also have brains, character, and good manners – usually – whether they be elves, demons, berserkers, werewolves, or vampires.

If you’re interested in me personally, I am also a classically trained musician who defected to Classic Rock. This is Roadhouse, the very best in Classic Rock, taken near The Last Concert Cafe, Houston Texas, 2011. I’m the utility player which means I play rhythm guitar, keyboards, sing back ups and a few leads. I authored and illustrated Seasons of the Witch calendars and planners for fifteen years. I live in T he Woodlands, Texas, which is why I sometimes joke about being the witch in the woods. Married. Four children. One very smart, mostly black German Shepherd dog.

Connect with the Author

Website | Facebook | Goodreads Fan Group | Twitter | Pinterest

 

Giveaway

Swag Bag One Winner

Knights of Black Swan mousepad

Signed copy of A Tale of Two Kingdoms

Key chain

A set of Knights of Black Swan bookends

 

 

 

 

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Rowdy R-E Tour

Review Tour * ROWDY by Jay Crownover * Giveaway

Rowdy R-E Tour

Rowdy Cover

Release Date: October 21, 2014

New Adult Contemporary Romance

4 out of 5 Beautifully Inked Stars

Reviewed by Yesi

About ROWDY:

The New York Times and USA Today bestselling Marked Men series continues with this sizzling, sexy story of love, heartbreak, fate, and second chances.

After the only girl he ever loved told him that he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and set out to live up to his nickname. A good ol’ boy looking for good times and good friends, Rowdy refuses to take anything too seriously, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. Burned by love once, he isn’t going to let himself trust a woman again. But that’s before his new co-worker arrives, a ghost from the past who’s suddenly making him question every lesson he ever learned.

Salem Cruz grew up in house with too many rules and too little fun—a world of unhappiness she couldn’t wait to forget. But one nice thing from childhood has stayed with her; the memory of the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been head over heels in love with her little sister.

Now, fate and an old friend have brought her and Rowdy together, and Salem is determined to show him that once upon a time he picked the wrong sister. A mission that is working perfectly—until the one person that ties them together appears, threatening to tear them apart for good.

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REVIEW:

The Marked Men series has been and continues to be one of my absolute favorites. I was always a lover of the clean-cut suit or popular jock in my reads but when the talented Jay Crownover brought us Rule, I was instantly converted. My love for inked men in my romance reads grows more and more each day and I have to credit Ms. Crownover for that. The men in this series are unique not only in their style but in their personalities. Each man, starting with Rule, Jet, Rome, then Nash, and finally Rowdy, has brought their own special qualities to the table including a hotness factor like no other. Rowdy is the latest installment in the Marked Men series and it did not disappoint.

 “I was once again left behind by someone that was supposed to care about me forever. Salem left me gutted and hollowed out.” ~Rowdy

This is Rowdy and Salem’s story, it is a story about second chances, forgiveness, and healing. Salem and Rowdy were childhood best friends, both of them, along with Salem’s sister Poppy were inseparable during their preteen and teenage years. They lived in a tiny Texas town named Loveless where Salem and Poppy’s father was the local preacher and Rowdy was the boy next door. Loveless is the perfect name for that town because both Salem and Rowdy were already battling demons at an early age. They found comfort in each other and turned to each other for just about anything. Then, almost out of nowhere, Salem decides to leave Loveless behind without so much as a goodbye.

“I just wanted to go back to a point where I was happy pretending like the Cruz sisters were nothing but a distant memory I only dusted off when I had too much to drink or sentimentality snuck up on me and gave me a sucker punch.” ~ Rowdy    

Fast forward ten years and we see that  Rowdy has good life with his Marked Men shop family. He is a really good guy enjoying life with his friends, his job, and no commitment hookups. Until one day Salem Cruz comes crashing into his world again and soon all the anger and heartache is brought back to the surface. Salem has lived on the go the last ten years but when an opportunity for a great job near the man that she could never forget pops up, she jumps at the chance. When these two come together, it is explosive! Rowdy wants nothing to do with her and Salem wants him back in her life. They are forced to see each other every day and slowly but surely their connection begins to intensify. Eventually they just can’t hold back any longer. I loved Salem’s kick ass character and I loved Rowdy’s passion.

“It wasn’t a sweet kiss. It wasn’t a delicate kiss. I could taste the past and his resentment in it. I could feel that he was chasing down ghosts as his teeth nipped a little harder than they should have along the plush curve of my bottom lip. None of that mattered though because this was Rowdy and to me he felt like everything that had ever been good or made me happy in this whole entire world.” Salem

Rowdy brings back all of the good things that make the Marked Men series so addictive. He will capture your heart and you’ll never want him to let go. I enjoyed the push and pull, I enjoyed the angst, and I especially enjoyed the love story. The only reservation I had was that there was simply too much focus on Salem’s sister Poppy. I honestly was over her in the first 25% of the book, yet had to endure her presence for much, much longer. Overall, I think fans of this series will love Rowdy and Salem and will be satisfied with the latest addition to this great series. Jay Crownover continues to give us what we love and I already have my calendar marked for Asa. <3

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About Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She will also be introducing the dark and sexy world of The Point in a new series this summer starting with Better When He’s Bad. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.

Connect with her on:

Website ** Blog ** Facebook ** Twitter

Jay Crownover Goodreads

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Beautiful sexy glamorous girl with tattoos

COVER_THE INTERN

Book Blast: The Intern by Gabrielle Tozer

The InternTitle:  The Intern

Author:   Gabrielle Tozer

Genre: New Adult

Publish Date:   10/1/14

Publisher: Harper 360

Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.

 

~ Book Synopsis ~

Seventeen-year-old Josie is studying journalism and ends up at Sash magazine to do an internship. Josie has little enthusiasm for fashion and wants to be a serious journalist. But she has little choice. It’s Sash or the local cat fancier’s magazine.

Once at Sash, Josie comes to grips with the fact that the fashion industry isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Plus she has to contend with her fellow interns and the editor, Rae, who is in charge and arbitrary – one day Josie’s her hot new favorite, the next, who knows?

Country girl Josie also has to get used to living in the city, and sharing a small flat with her cousin Tim, and his hotter-than-hot roommate James, is an education. Things come to a head at Sash when Josie manages to connect with Billy, a troubled rock star. But a disastrous episode at a nightclub and the fallout on social media causes Josie to wake up and see the real person behind his glamorous front.

Josie starts to wonder if she’ll ever get the journalistic break she longs for …

 

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Excerpt 

Melons. The girls. Gazongas. I could rattle off every

nickname in the world for my boobs — oops, nearly

forgot jubblies — but it didn’t change the fact they were

small. Embarrassingly small. Think grapes over melons,

fun-size bags over fun bags, shot glasses over jugs.

Which was why I shouldn’t have been surprised when

my boobs were the catalyst for squeals of laughter from

my younger sister, Kat, on the eve before an important

day. A Very Important Day.

‘Geez, put those puppies away,’ Kat smirked from my

bedroom doorway. ‘Some of us haven’t had lunch yet and

I’d hate to lose my appetite.’

I paused from rifling through piles of crumpled clothes

on my bed. ‘What? I don’t know what you —’

‘Just look down,’ said Kat, tossing her jet-black

ponytail. I hated when she did that.

Following her instructions, I looked down and saw

my left nipple peeking out of my bra. ‘Argh!’ I yelped,

yanking at the faded material. ‘Kat, get out! Get out!’

 

Kat cackled, then plonked onto my bed, squashing the

heaving mass of clothes. Too tired to argue, I sat down

next to her and double-checked that my boob hadn’t

made another escape.

Kat fussed with her thick fringe. ‘So, found something

to wear tomorrow, Jose?’

Broken shoes, stained shirts and fraying dresses burst

from the wardrobe, spilling into an unwearable mess. A

personal stylist would’ve come in handy to tell me why

I shouldn’t tape my sneakers together instead of buying

a new pair, and how to dress like a normal seventeenalmost-

eighteen-year-old.

‘Yep. Well, maybe. Probably. No. I’m screwed. My

sister just saw my boob and I’m screwed.’

Cursing, I lay back on the bed. Kat reapplied her gloss.

It smelled of cherries, reminiscent of summery desserts.

‘Hey Jose?’ she said.

‘Yeah?’

‘I won’t tell anyone I saw your boob.’

‘Thanks.’

‘Well, except Tye,’ Kat added. ‘I tell him everything.

You know, boyfriend rules and all that.’

I sighed. One of those melodramatic I-hate-my-life

sighs, where the air rushed up from the depths of my

stomach and exploded with a raging ‘whoosh’. But if Kat

noticed, she didn’t show it.

‘Hey Jose?’ she said again.

 

‘Yeah?’

‘You’re going to have to look amazing tomorrow, you

know?’

‘I know.’ I know. I know. I know.

Amaaaazing. Seriously, tomorrow’s important. Mum’s

been yabbering to everyone about it.’

‘Heard you the first time.’

During the past few weeks, Kat had been firing off

tips about the Very Important Day. Wear this, don’t

wear that, do this, don’t do that, say this, don’t say

that. I knew she was trying to help me reduce the risk

of embarrassing myself, but it only made me more

panicked. You see, life loved handing me something

amazing, only to backhand me almost straight after.

It had always been that way. In Year Eight, after my

first kiss, the delectable Pete Jordan vomited from

food poisoning and hadn’t spoken to me since. At Year

Ten presentation night, I was named ‘Most Likely

To Succeed’, only to faceplant the ground as I walked

back to my seat. Some moron recorded my historic fall,

making me an overnight YouTube sensation. I won’t

even go into what happened at my Year Twelve formal,

although it involved a spiked punch bowl, ninety rolls

of toilet paper and a paddock of mud. I don’t know why

I thought the next day — the Very Important Day —

would be any different, but I was counting on a fairygodmother-

shaped miracle.

 

Most girls I knew, like Kat, spent their allowances or

pay on make-up, jewellery, fashion, music, phone credit

and magazines.

For me, magazines were a sparkly fantasy filled with

smiling, shiny people who looked too happy all the time.

That didn’t stop me from leafing through Kat’s magazines

when she was out, but instead of checking out the fashion

I was reading the feature stories, scoping out who wrote

them and looking for spelling mistakes.

I’d studied hard at high school for six years because

I was destined to be a news journalist at a newspaper

or radio station. So it had come as a huge shock to

everyone, including me, to discover I would be interning

at a magazine as part of my uni degree’s second semester

And not just any magazine. I’d been signed up to

(translation: pushed into) a one-day-a-week internship

at one of the hottest women’s magazines in the country,

Sash.

When I told Kat my news, she was thirteen per cent

excited for me and eighty-seven per cent envious. In her

world, my inability to use a curling iron meant I didn’t

deserve the intern position. Her warning of ‘Don’t say

anything stupid to the Sash girls and ruin my chances of

working there one day’ hadn’t filled me with confidence.

Unless I underwent the world’s first personality transplant

between here and the city, I knew I’d find a way to put my

high-heeled foot in it.

 

Kat picked up a ratty floral dress from the top of the

pile and threw it into the bin near my desk.

‘Hey! What are you doing?’ I said. ‘I’ve had that for

ages.’

‘Exactly,’ she shot back, rolling her blue eyes in a flurry

of mascara, eyeliner and eye shadow. ‘Tomorrow you

need to look hot and cool. You can’t wear your crappy

old clothes at a place like that. Now, here’s what I’m

thinking …’

I sighed and tuned out. I couldn’t handle another

one of Kat’s pep talks where she criticised my worn-out

sandals, mismatched socks, lack of bold lipstick, split

ends and under-plucked brows.

‘… so come on, it’s makeover time. We’re getting our

shop on,’ barked Kat, unaware that I’d been ignoring her

rant.

‘I’ll sort it. Trust me.’

Grunting in disbelief, Kat held up a daggy blue skirt

and waved it around. ‘This opportunity is wasted on

you — and your small boobs!’

She threw the skirt back onto the bed and stormed out,

her ponytail whipping behind her. I heard her bedroom

door slam — twice, just in case I missed the first. I held

the skirt up against my lower body and took in the

reflection grimacing back at me. Mousy brown hair,

scruffy but fine. Eyes, green and wide, easily my favourite

feature. Eyebrows, semi-unruly but manageable. Lips,

pouty and pink, no major complaints but occasionally

clownish. Nose, free from any wart-like protrusions so

doing okay. Boobs, small in size — obviously — but

apparently confident enough to jump free of brassiere at a

whim. Everything from the waist down blurred together:

hips, thighs and legs were all … just there.

I gazed at the skirt. Sure, I’d owned it for five years,

and it was a hand-me-down from my weird cousin

Tracey, but it was all I had. I needed another opinion.

‘Mum, can you come here for a sec?’

Moments later, Mum appeared in the doorway,

balancing an overflowing washing basket on one hip

and holding a bag of pegs. Her shaggy brown hair was

pulled into a loose bun at the nape of her neck and held

with a rusty peg. A fresh yellow daisy played peekaboo

from behind her right ear. Mum loved plucking flowers

from the garden and wearing them until they wilted.

Her dress — another bargain from the op shop — had

faded to a musky pink and clung to her body in all the

wrong places. But none of these things detracted from

her pretty features, which glowed without even a hint of

foundation, blush or mascara.

‘Yes, love?’ she asked, readjusting the basket on her

hip.

I held up the skirt. ‘How hideous is this? Would you

say it’s send-me-home-to-change hideous or let-me-staybut-

bitch-about-me-behind-my-back hideous?’

Mum shrugged, then patted me on the shoulder.

‘Josephine Browning, you always look gorgeous.’

‘You have to say that.’

‘Not true. When you were a child you had enormous

ears — reminded me of a baby elephant — and I was the

first person to point them out.’

‘Mum!’

‘But I do like that skirt.’

‘Kat reckons I need a new outfit — new dress, heels,

the works. You know, for tomorrow.’

‘Wait, is that my skirt? I thought I’d passed it on to

your cousin Tracey. I should’ve hung onto it if it’s back in

fashion, love.’

I forced a smile. Kat’s outburst about my lack of

options suddenly didn’t seem so hysterical. It was time to

admit defeat to the self-proclaimed fashion queen of the

house, which ranked number two on my Things I Hate

To Do List. (Number one: cross-country running.)

I knocked on Kat’s bedroom door with its Stay Out

sign sticky-taped above the doorknob. Rock music

pounded from within and I imagined her writing in her

diary about her ugly, frumpy, older sister. Either that, or

sneaking out the window to meet up with Tye. I doubted

she was dabbling in the rare option of cleaning her room,

although when it came to Kat I could never be sure.

The door cracked open. ‘Whaddya want?’

‘Um, what were you saying about the shops?’

‘Not another word, I hear your unfashionable cries

for help loud and clear,’ said Kat, scooping up a handbag

from the floor and swinging it over her shoulder. ‘Get

your wallet, Jose, because when we’re done you’re

definitely going to need it.’

I looked like a tarted-up pageant queen. As I stared into

the full-length mirror, all I could see was big green eyes,

big pink mouth, big bold jewellery, big bright patterns

and big high-heeled shoes. Everything was big, right

down to the price tags. I smelled like a perfumery and my

face itched from the foundation and bronzer caking my

skin. Kat beamed, admiring her work. She’d taken me on

a whirlwind tour of the department store, trialling makeup

products at every counter. Before I could stop her, she

called out to a saleswoman who was hovering nearby.

‘She looks amazing, right? Like, amazing,’ Kat said.

‘Oh yeah, amazing,’ gushed the woman, fuelled by the

anticipation of a sale. ‘Hon, you should seriously get that

whole outfit.’

I blushed, reminded of when Mum took me to buy my

first bra in Year Six and invited the shop owner into the

change room to admire my ‘growing buds’. Like Mum,

Kat had the intuition of a dead caterpillar when it came

to sensing my discomfort. I squeezed my wallet a little

tighter as the saleswoman circled me, eyeing me up and

down. She’d detected my fear the moment we’d walked

into the store and I’d cried out, ‘Is that a belt or a skirt?’

Mentally, I double-locked my piggy bank and buried it in

a safe three hundred metres below ground level, complete

with security guards and CCTV cameras.

I snuck another peek in the mirror and cringed at the

loud colours competing for my attention. The dress felt

tight, but Kat was convinced it fitted perfectly. I had to

admit, it was creating curves in places usually hidden by

baggy T-shirts or baby-doll dresses.

To my right, a mannequin wearing the same outfit,

down to the bright yellow peep-toes, was looking rather

fashionable. ‘How do you do it?’ I muttered to her.

‘Okay, I’ll say it: this is the best you’ve ever looked,’

said Kat. ‘Wear this tomorrow and you’ll kill it. That

dress is hot.’

‘Weren’t we aiming for hot and cool?’

Kat rolled her eyes. ‘Let’s not go crazy, Jose. It is you

we’re talking about.’

The saleswoman cleared her throat. ‘So do you want

to pay with cash or credit, hon?’

I ran through my wardrobe options at home one final

time. A montage of outdated playsuits, daggy dresses

and worn shoes danced in my mind, the blue skirt at the

forefront. I had no choice: I was getting the outfit.

‘Cash, thanks.’

I handed over the crumpled notes. There was no

turning back now.

 

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Author Photo_GABRIELLE TOZERAbout the Author:

Gabrielle Tozer is a senior features writer who has edited, sub-edited and written for several magazines, newspapers and anthologies throughout the past decade. In addition to Gabrielle’s work on Dolly, Cosmopolitan, DisneyGiRL, Mamamia and FamilyFun, she has also written for creative journals such as GOfish and Take It As Red. Born and bred in regional New South Wales, Gabrielle now works at Pacific Magazines and lives in the heart of Sydney.

 

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