Olivia is Anna Wintour’s worst nightmare, and she doesn’t give a shit. She’s wanted to go into fashion design her whole life, and nothing is going to stop her fabulous plus sized self. Not even her boss from hell, or the fact that she’s the fat Cinderella of the most exclusive lingerie store in Bushwick, Ohio. She’s sworn off dating, because she is focused, dammit, and will not get distracted by anyone in college. She has shit to do and places to go, be it on her own with the clothing she makes, or with the girls in Twelve Beats In A Bar, the all-female a cappella group she’s part of.
Why do group projects always have to ruin everything?
Thierry Acosta has it all. Shortstop on Bushwick University’s baseball team, amazing grades in college, everything he could want. When he gets paired with Olivia for a group project, things are only getting better. And then his dad loses his job, and Thierry’s life falls apart. He can’t manage to get himself to practice, to class… anywhere. He’s got the scars on his wrists to prove that this has happened before, but he thought he was better. He thought he could deal with something like this. The cuts on his thighs say otherwise.
Before they know it, Olivia and Thierry’s relationship has gone from casual project partners to not-so-casual more-than-friends. But when things take a turn for the worse, can they face the growing reality of a relationship that’s become much serious than either of them expected - or wanted?
“I’m just warning you, I’m not getting drunk tonight,” I say as I follow Gallagher to Sigma Theta. “I drank enough over winter break to poison the liver of everyone on the baseball team, not just me.”
“Dude. It’s cheat day. Don’t be a pussy.”
“Who said anything about pussies? I said I wasn’t getting blackout drunk tonight.”
“You’re a lame-ass, Acosta.”
“You’re an asshole.”
“Seriously, dude. Lighten up. It’s a fucking party, okay? You go, drink, hook up with a chick, the end. Not so complicated.”
How the fuck is this carahlo still on the baseball team, I have no idea. Oh, right. Because he’s a dick, but he can hit a ball.
“Move your ass, Acosta.”
“It’s moving. Shut up.” I follow him into the Sigma Theta house. The party’s started already—the music’s loud, and everything kind of smells like alcohol and peppermint.
“Well, look who decided to show up,” Scranton strolls over, beer in hand. “What’s up, assholes?”
“Same shit as usual.” I clap him on the back, actually happy to see him. “How’s Clayton?”
“Just as fucking amazing as you’d think it was. How was Cleveland?”
“Fly as hell.”
“So are you.”
“Yeah, well.” He grins. “What can I get you, man? Beer? Whatever the hell they mixed up?”
“Nah, I’ll take a soda.”
“Soda with what?”
“Not drinking tonight, Acosta?”
I shrug. “Nah. Coach is going to be kicking our asses tomorrow, and I’d prefer not to be hungover when that happens.”
“Damn responsible fucker. You’re going to make the rest of us look bad.”
I laugh. “Hell, Scranton, you don’t even get hungover. You make the rest of us look bad.”
“Shit happens, bro, and you were not dealt the magic hand that includes no hangovers ever.” He takes a gulp of beer. “Go drop your shit off somewhere, I’ll go check to make sure Gallagher hasn’t gotten into too much trouble yet.”
“Good luck with that.” I’m pretty sure David was pre-gaming, which means he’s probably got himself a nice buzz right about now.
What the fuck has gotten into you, Acosta? Since when have you been some sort of lame-ass who mopes in the corners at parties? I hide my coat on the top shelf in the closet, knowing that even if people come in here to fuck, they won’t be using my shit as a blanket.
A month at home with the extended Acosta family is not a walk in the park. Hell, I love my family—I really do. But six weeks of all of them is enough to kill anyone. It’s four sisters, their spouses, the cousins, the grandparents…it’s everyone. And every single one of them is asking the same questions, over and over for six weeks.
Hell, I need a vacation from my vacation.
I grab a bottle of Coke, and find an open spot on the couch. Fuck everything. I’ll be social again tomorrow. Fifteen minutes and then I’m out of here, and Gallagher can deal with his own shit.
“I don’t see him,” a girl says from behind me. “Do you?”
“Nope,” another one says. “I’m sure he’s around somewhere. Probably not too sober.”
“We just got here, Liv.”
“I know. I’m just predicting.”
“Is fortune-telling something else you do that you haven’t mentioned before?”
The second girl laughs, low and husky. “Nah. Letty might know someone who does, though.”
“Letty’s not here now, and you are.”
“And sadly, I didn’t bring the Magic-8 ball, either. Sorry, Zena.”
I close my eyes and lean back, ignoring whoever just sat down next to me. And then the perfume wafts over, and I try not to gag. Whoever the fuck thought selling that perfume was a good idea should be hung. Smells fucking terrible.
“I’m hiding the coats, okay? I’ll be back in a second.” Liv? Was that her name?
Seriously, dude? You’re at a fucking frat party and you’re eavesdropping on random girls?
The alternative right now would be opening my eyes and admitting to the girl sitting next to me that I’m not actually sleeping or passed out. Which would mean either talking to her or getting up, neither of which sound that appealing right now.
“I’m not going too far. Just getting a drink. What do you want?”
“Nobody’s drugging anything, Liv. You don’t have to be so paranoid.”
“Nothing to do with drug paranoia—I know what kind of shit goes into open containers. Hell, there’s probably semen floating around in anything open, and I’m not swallowing anyone’s semen before I meet them first.”
It takes everything I have not to burst into laughter. Whoever this Liv girl is, she sounds fun.
Come Back to Texas (Twelve Beats in a Bar, #1)
Everyone thought we’d be the ones who made it through high school. The ones who’d get married and stay married forever. The example of how young love can work.
We thought so, too.
Too bad life had other plans.
It’s been three years since Hayley and Nate broke each other’s hearts. Three years, and a lot has changed. Hayley’s a freshman in Bushwick University, and the only things keeping her sane are stress baking, and her a cappella group, Twelve Beats in a Bar.
Nate’s a Marine, stationed in Afghanistan. The only thing that’s keeping him sane is the last picture he has of him and Hayley, and the hope that maybe when the hell of deployment is over, he can find her again and apologize.
One explosion will change everything.
When a bomb kills all of Nate’s unit, leaving him missing a leg and eyesight in one eye, he’s sent back home to Texas. Texas, where he loved Hayley more than he could possibly imagine ever loving anyone else.
With seemingly endless amounts of free time and needing something to distract himself, Nate starts making YouTube videos, imploring Hayley to come back to him, and come back to Texas.
Hayley’s life is wrapped around the Beats, making sure she doesn’t flunk out of biology class, and babysitting Ohio’s smallest monster, Brandon. She doesn't want to admit it, but she misses Nate more than anything.
It’s too bad she doesn’t know just how much he misses her, too…
Hayley’s finally come back to Texas, and seeing her is everything Nate dreamed it would be. But three years apart means that everything has changed between them, and all the things that broke them up in high school have come back to haunt them.
Nate’s barely recovered from the explosion that lost his leg, part of his eyesight, and his entire squad. Being able to spend a week back in Leland was supposed to help him recover, yet all it has done is make everything worse. Everything still seems like a threat, nothing is safe, and Nate’s nightmares are only getting worse. His survivor’s guilt is crippling him, and ruining his relationship with Hayley. He loves her more than anything, but she deserves more than a broken man slowly losing his mind.
Being with Nate again is all Hayley’s wanted for the past three years. But reality isn’t exactly like her dreams. Nate’s fighting demons he brought home with him from Afghanistan, and Hayley’s scared that she’s not enough to help him fight them. When an unexpected ice storm and road trip stumble into their Christmas plans, Hayley and Nate are both forced to face their pasts and the unknown future.
It’s a love story that has spanned four years, over seven thousand miles, and countless YouTube videos, and it all boils down to a seven hour road trip.
Use the hashtag #LoveThisSpace and tell us what you love about yourself or your body. Random winners from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will be chosen so feel free to share it on all platforms! The grand prize winner will receive a hand-stamped penny necklace and 5 additional winners will receive an ebook copy of THIS MUCH SPACE.
Contest ends 4/3.
KK Hendin’s real life ambition is to become a pink fluffy unicorn who dances with rainbows. But the schooling for that is all sorts of complicated, so until that gets sorted out, she’ll just write. Preferably things with angst and love. And things that require chocolate. She’s the author of the NA contemporaries HEART BREATHS and ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG. THIS MUCH SPACE is the second book in her new series, TWELVE BEATS IN A BAR. KK spends way too much time on Twitter (where she can be found as @kkhendin), and rambles on occasion over at www.kkhendinwrites.blogspot.