Saturday, August 2, 2014

Excerpt and ARC signup: The Harder We Fall

This is an excerpt from a book that I just finished writing. It's the first in my new series Spotlight, and it'll be out in a few months.

Read on for an excerpt! Hope it gets you interested. :)


At first it was a simple job. Could I clean him up a bit, use the water and the towel to rub at the places he couldn't reach? Of course. And why not. He straddled a bench, bent over, and only the telltale twitching of those corded muscles let on that this was stinging a bit. I had no experience cleaning up wounds and apologized every time.
His skin felt so warm.
“No one else is concerned about you?” Not that I was complaining, but his buddies didn't even call for a break.
“Nah,” he said. “This happens a lot.”
When the water ran out I pressed the damp towel one last time against the very edge of the injury, already clean, and even he probably figured out that I was stalling. “Do you have bandages or something?”
“How bad is it?”
“You probably don't want it infected.”
“Is it bleeding?”
“No.” The worst of the gashes looked bad, but had started to clot. “But I'm not the expert.”
“There's a first aid kit in the bag. If it'll make you feel better.”
Did he say that with a smirk? I didn't see it but sensed it was there, and threw one of my own toward the back of his head. Indeed there was a small bag in there with Band-Aids that looked tiny and inadequate when held up against the expanse of his back...but as cover-up for the wounds, they'd do.
“I avoided majoring in investigative journalism because of this,” I couldn’t help but say, because the silence was stretching out for too long. “But blood keeps pulling me back in.”
He laughed a little, making his back muscles ripple and I had to pause. “Should I apologize?”
“Oh no, not all. I guess I can’t help it if my destiny is this.”
“You’re doing fine.”
“Am I?”
“You have very talented hands.”
Oh seriously. He couldn’t possibly…
“Good strategy,” I said, “kissing up to the person who has her hands on your blood and guts.”
“I’m not kidding. I bet you’d be a better full-back than Wilson.”
“I’m sorry for Wilson, but thank you.”
“What were you supposed to be doing? Before my injury rudely interrupted you?”
But this wasn’t a rude interruption at all, I thought. If anything it would be my Monday highlight. “I thought I’d be reading up on travel guides to Switzerland, Turkey, maybe Vietnam this week, to be honest. And maybe extra light reading on malnutrition and school food programs.”
“And yet she’s found watching boys chase a ball.”
“I know. But it’s important too, by the way. This is still my ticket to the multi-country trip. I need you boys and your balls.”
He snickered again, and I had to lift my hands up entirely, regrettably breaking contact. But that laugh made me feel good, in other places.
“Your name is?” he said.
“Oh god. Daria. Kramer. Sorry.”
“Just so I can thank you properly, Daria.”
It took three Band-Aids to adequately patch him up, and I applied each one nice and slow. “Do you go here?”
“I used to. Graduated last year. I guess you really don't follow our team then.”
“Yeah but don't take it personally. I stayed away from all kinds of sports.”
Should I have been more into it? Sports attracted guys with gorgeous, strong backs like this one. Without realizing it I had strayed from the injured part of him and pressed my fingertips against his spine. It tensed along with his sudden intake of breath, and I didn’t move them again, higher, until he relaxed. Higher up this bridge that held together this wall of muscle, higher up toward faint marks of other bad days on the field.
He was otherwise clear, no tattoos. I could tell, from the touching. And looking.
“So is everyone banged up like you, or are you just lucky?” I said, close enough to hear the new laugh he suppressed in his throat. 

The Harder We Fall will be available worldwide in 2014. Sign up to get a digital ARC for review.

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1 comment:

  1. aww clearly we had a picture of Daria and Nicholas :) nice :) - iryn