Just a few weeks left until the release of HARD CRUSH on March 6th!! And for those of you who are having trouble waiting... here's a little teaser just for you. THE WHOLE FIRST CHAPTER!!! Enjoy!!
“Not a chance. No fucking way.” Jack already worked me over until I agreed to tour the new sciences wing, but I’m not giving on the reunion.
We’re in Visitor Parking at Bearings High, and it’s close enough to the student lot to stir up the kind of memories I’ve been vigilant about putting behind me for ten years. Memories of waiting for the first bell in my beat-to-hell pickup… the windows steamed, my fingers tangling through a spill of dark silk. Her breath at my ear and—
“Pussy,” Jack grumbles, pulling me back from the place I don’t let myself go, and just in the nick of time.
“Resorting to name-calling? I’m disappointed,” I deadpan, when in reality, Jack throwing low blows is one of the few things that still gets me to laugh. Reminds me I’m human when the majority of the time I can’t afford the luxury.
More scowling and I’m tempted to whip out my phone for a picture, but then he’s climbing out of the car and giving the hood a pat as he starts toward the sprawling, castle-like brick behemoth.
I adjust my glasses and follow him up the walk. It’s been freshly paved, but I remember the splintered concrete and gravel that used to kick up when we were late.
Jack nods. “There’s money here now.”
Yeah, I know. “Money I wouldn’t have given if I’d known it meant getting dragged back here to have my nose rubbed in what I’d done.”
I’m joking, mostly, and Jack doesn’t bother to respond.
Inside the school, it’s like walking through a ghost ship. The halls are empty, but every now and then a voice carries from around a corner. A laugh. A whisper. The shrill screech of a chair moving across the floor.
Jack cuts me a sidelong look. “I’ll lay off about the reunion for now, but it’s important you see what you’ve done for these kids. There’s no press. No one ready to spring out of the shadows for a photo op or, God forbid, to try and thank you. So just relax.”
Easier said than done. My phone’s been blowing up since I left work with Jack an hour and a half ago. I’ve been in negotiations for a joint project with SpaceWalk for the better part of a year, and we’re weeks away from a deal. There’s competition—hell, who doesn’t have a multibillion-dollar tech conglomerate built from the ground up these days—but I make it a habit to be the geek bringing the most to the table, so I’m confident. Still, I don’t know what I was thinking letting this clown talk me into leaving. Especially to come here.
We turn down South Hall where a blood drive banner that looks like it might be the same one from ten years ago is strung high above the lockers, and I remember the way Jack used to get a running start to jump up and hit it as we passed. This time he walks under without an upward glance, proving what was never in question. We aren’t the same people we were ten years ago.
“Let’s get this over with,” I say, a bite in my words I can’t account for.
A classroom door opens on the right, and a lanky teen holding a bathroom pass slips out… followed by a quiet trill of feminine laughter that has me stopping short, pushing my glasses up my nose and turning back toward the source with a disturbed frown. Because that sound. It’s warm and rich and so damned familiar it wraps around my chest, stifling my next breath. And now I’m not thinking about meetings or contracts or the future or even the damn reunion on Saturday night. I’m slowly back-stepping until I’m in line with the classroom and looking through the rectangle of glass in the door.
No way it’s her. It’s just being back in the place where she was the center of my world for four years… right up until the day we realized my world getting bigger meant a world without her.
She’s bent over her desk, talking to a student who looks like he’s trying to help her with something on her computer. She brushes back her hair, still the same glossy dark brown and long enough to fall past her shoulders, and I can see the pink tinge of her cheeks and that one standout freckle against the pale stretch of her neck.
Her hands are moving in that animated way she always had when she was frustrated or excited. It makes me smile, makes me want to hear what she’s saying. It makes me want to slap my own forehead for not guessing she would be here.
For not giving that fucker, Jack, enough credit for knowing what it would take to get me to the reunion Saturday night.
With a helpless shrug, Abby turns to the Smart Board behind her.
I ought to keep walking. She hasn’t seen me, and we have a deal. But just like that first day after she transferred in, I can’t help myself. Instead I lean closer, a tingling in my veins as I strain to hear the words I know are coming next.
She looks at the kid who was trying to figure it out. “Run down to Tech and see if there’s anyone around to help.”
TECHNOLOGY HAS IT out for me.
First with the coffeepot overflowing everywhere this morning. Then with my phone dropping dead, the screen blinking out and no amount of charging, pleading, swearing, or mostly gentle clanking against the table being enough to woo it back to life. And now with this freaking Smart Board giving me its blinky red light and “No connection” business?
It’s one of those days where everything is going haywire and I’m on edge, wondering how technology plans to stick it to me next.
I take a deep breath. Calmly, discreetly. Because the one rule paramount in education is to show no weakness. These kids—and I love them, seriously, I do—they can smell a teacher on the brink from a mile away. And no matter how good a group they might be, that’s one temptation too rich to pass up. So I slowly exhale and smooth my unflappable smile back into place. Turning to the class, I flip through the worn copy of Lord of the Flies I’ve been using since I was their age, ready to pick up without the visual aid I spent two hours learning to make.
“Okay, guys. While we wait on Tech,” I begin, but a disturbance in the classroom brings my eyes up from the yellowed pages to the students whispering, shuffling in their seats as they lean forward, trying to get a better look at the man in the crisp suit who’s leaning casually, arms crossed, against the frame of my classroom door.
I blink. Shake my head as the room around me starts to spin.
No way. Even in my head, the words sound all breathless and trembly. Because no way is Hank Wagner standing in my doorway, the tousled mess of his perpetually overgrown hair still falling into the lighter brown of his eyes. Those sexy geek glasses still perched on the blade of a nose too straight to hold them in place.
“Heard you needed some tech support, Ms. Mitchel?” he asks with a smirk, and all the air leaves my lungs, taking any doubt there may have been with it.
I know that voice.
Only this doesn’t make sense. The new sciences wing was completed a year ago. He didn’t come to the ground-breaking ceremony or to cut the ribbon when the doors opened. He never took a tour.
Never came home…
Never looked back…
Never did anything but what I asked.
“Ms. Mitchel?” Clara asks from two rows back.
I turn my head in her direction, but I can’t quite give up my hold on the deep chocolate eyes locked with mine. They crinkle at the corners in a way they didn’t in high school. It looks good on him. Like the suit and the confidence coming off him in waves.
Why is he here?
“Uhh… Ms. Mitchel, are you having a stroke? Your mouth is hanging open.”
Someone else mutters that it isn’t a stroke if I don’t start to drool.
My jaw snaps shut and my cheeks heat as Hank pushes off the doorframe and strolls up to the front of the class, easy as can be. His mouth is tilted in the cocky slant I’ve only seen staring back at me from media clips, articles, and most recently, the four-month-old Men’s Health cover I’m ashamed to admit is still sitting on my kitchen table at home. It’s not the smile that used to be waiting for me outside of class ten years ago, and I’m surprised I still expect it to be. That I’d expect anything. That he would be here at all.
“Don’t mind me, guys,” he says to the class as he checks out the Smart Board. “Just go ahead and finish your lesson. I’ll have this fixed in a snap.”
The sound of gum popping from the third row reminds me who I am and what I’m doing here. I snap my fingers and point to the trash bin, where Sienna Delvino spits it out before returning to her seat.
“Hank?” I ask quietly, stepping closer. Close enough that I could reach out and touch him for the first time in ten years. Not that I do. I wait for those warm brown eyes to come up from where he’s fooling around with a cable. “What are you doing here?”
“Fixing your Smart Board. What’s it look like?”
I start to giggle, only it’s more panicky than delighted, because…
What. The. Hell?
The chatter is getting out of hand. Words like “tech god” and “billionaire” volley around the room. They can’t believe I know this man who has reached celebrity status with his innovations and antics.
Of course, I don’t. Not really. Not anymore.
It’s time to rein my class in, but whatever control I had has unraveled around me into a tangled mess, and all I can do is watch in disbelief as the heartbreak of my youth works less than two feet away from me. I’ve seen him, of course. In too many places to count. But not like this. Not since that last day.
A second later, the Smart Board is back online, my low-tech graphics on spectacular display.
“Yes!” I clutch my hands together and give in to a full-body sigh of relief before turning to Hank. “Don’t suppose you want to have a look at my phone too?”
“Dude, don’t even try,” Eric, one of the Neisen boys, pipes in from the back row. “Ms. Mitchel’s phones are not long for this world. I saw her drop this one out her car window last week.”
Dang it. I’d been hoping no one saw that.
Hank runs a hand over his mouth, covering a laugh that’s deep and gruff and has the long-dormant butterflies in my belly giving a few tentative bats of their wings. He turns to Eric.
“That’s nothing. I once saw her drop a phone out a second-story window.”
The class breaks into hysterics and I cough out his name, more embarrassed heat licking at my cheeks. First, because that phone wasn’t mine. It was his. And second, because the window was in my bedroom as I tried to help him climb out at two in the morning.
Hank holds his hand out to me, that big palm up, open and inviting. My heart stutters.
Even after ten years, I still remember how good it felt to have my hand in his.
He’s still waiting, and I look up into his eyes and get a little dizzy. He leans closer and I can feel his breath against the side of my cheek.
“Abby, your phone?”
Gah! He’s waiting for my phone, not my hand.
I’m the biggest idiot! I ought to tell him I was just joking about the phone, because I’m pretty sure my free pass to have this man pick the gremlins out of my electronics is well past expired. Instead I dive for the drawer with my bag in it, hoping he won’t read what I was thinking in the now-scorching burn taking over my face.
“H-here you go,” I sputter, not quite meeting his eyes.
It wasn’t like this before. I was never embarrassed with him and it’s not my favorite change the years have wrought.
Clara asks him how he knows me and then Aaron asks what kind of ride he’s got. Hank turns to me as the questions start coming in rapid-fire.
“Sorry to hijack your class, Abby.”
He looks so sincere and it’s just so good to see him, it doesn’t occur to me to ask again why he is here. And then he’s backing toward the door with another grin, this one closer to the smile I used to know.
“If you don’t need me for anything else, guess I’ll see you at the reunion.”
Nodding, I somehow manage to answer, “See you there.”
The door closes behind him and he’s gone, leaving me with a dozen questions and the memories I’ve spent years trying to put to rest.
“Abby, don’t do this. Please.”
Even with more than ten years to dull the edge, the memory of Hank’s last words that day cut at me.
I know I made the right choice. That confirmation hits me front and center every time I turn on the TV or open a paper and see his face.
And I’m doing great. I’ve got the life I waited too many years to count for and wasn’t prepared to give up when it became clear Hank was heading toward a different one. I live within a mile of the people who have been my mom and dad since I was fourteen. I teach at the school I attended. I have friends. I have Helen—and as unconventional as my neighbor might be, I love her dearly. I have everything I’ve ever wanted.
With one last glance through the classroom window to the empty hall beyond, I sigh.
Fine… I have almost everything.
* * * *
It's cover reveal day!! YAY!
We've still got a few weeks until HARD CRUSH hits the shelves, but if you've been dying to find out what Hank looks like... shirtless, lol... the wait is over!! You can find him in all his hotness, available for pre-order at the retailer of your choice :-)
And to celebrate the reveal... over the next few days we've got a sweet giveaway going on for a $10 Amazon Giftcard. Here's the rafflecopter link http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ba3ffd551763
Hey guys, hope you had a wonderful holiday season and Mother Nature isn't giving you too much of a hard time here in 2018!! It's a brand new year and I've got a brand new series!!
This March you'll meet Hank and Abby in HARD CRUSH, Back To You, book 1. That's right, this series of sexy standalones is all about second chances and so far the feedback has been amazing!
"This second chance to get it right story will run you thru a rainbow of emotions, fill
your heart with joy and put a huge smile on your face from the very beginning!"
"I'm very confident in saying this is a must read for not only Mirafans but romance fiction fans in general."
HARD CRUSH is a sizzling standalone romance from USA TODAY
Bestselling author Mira Lyn Kelly.
A jaded billionaire.
The girl who got away.
A second chance has never been so sexy.
Technology has it out for me. And I’m not talking about my ever-ailing phone or the temperamental Smart Board in my classroom. I’m talking about the internationally hailed “Tech Genius” formerly known as the boy I used to love.
It was bad enough seeing that cocky smile staring back at me from my newsfeeds, the gossip sites, and—fine—the scorchingly hot men’s fitness magazine I bought in a moment of weakness. But now he’s back home, teasing me with the memories I’ve tried to leave behind, crowding into my space and taunting me with the kiss I can’t resist. I know it’s only a matter of time before I lose him again. He’s already told me he isn’t staying, warned me he’s changed. I know better than to let him get too close, so why can’t I push him away?
They call me a visionary. An innovator. Hell, last week a headline touted me as the billion-dollar geek keeping Silicon Valley’s panties wet. Try living that down. Strip away the media BS, and I’m just a tech-minded guy with my eyes on the future and no time for a past I can't change. So what am I doing following the sweet sound of its laugh back to the woman who passed on our chance at forever?
I tell myself all I want is to say hello. To see her smile. Just a few minutes to pretend we’re still the “us” I thought would never end. But once I've had a taste of the too tempting woman she's become, a few minutes isn’t enough.
The man I am today is used to getting what he wants, and I want her.
The problem? She wants the guy I used to be.
Ten years later, all that’s changed is… everything.
Can't wait for you guys to get a look at HARD CRUSH!
The countdown is on! Max and Sarah hit the shelves next Tuesday and so far the early feedback has been AWESOME!!
Not only has Amazon selected THE WEDDING DATE BARGAIN as a June Book of the Month but here are a couple review snippets...
"A fun, flirty read . . . the
perfect balance between sweet and sexy." - RT Book Reviews (4
"A perfect light and very romantic read to kick off the summer wedding season." - Booklist
So excited for you guys to get your hands on this one!
Okay, and we've got a great giveaway going on too. Check out the home page and enter to win!!
Less than two months out for THE WEDDING DATE BARGAIN, book 2 in the Wedding Date series, and the early reviews are looking awesome!! So excited for you guys to meet Max and Sarah. I'll pop their blurb here at the end. But before we get to their June 6th release, anyone going to be down in Atlanta for the RT Convention in May? If so, message me--would love to meet up!!
Okay here's the blurb :-)
When Sarah Cole finds herself in Chicago with two months to kill before her New York promotion goes through, she decides it's time to take care of a few things—like the inconvenient issue of her virginity. Sarah knows the right guy for the job too: Max, the notorious lady's man she's been crushing on since college.
Max Brandt is all for a fling, just not with Sarah. She's way too good for him. He walked away from her once, but it wasn't easy.
Things are different now, and the plan is so simple. There's no way either of them would do something as silly as fall in love...
Wow, how time flies! It's already release day for MAY THE BEST MAN WIN, first in my sexy, new Best Men series.
Woohoo!!! NOW & THEN is out!! And it's getting awesome reviews--YAY!! Thank you, thank you to everyone who posted one!!
Okay, so looking to get yourself an ebook?? Here are there links to make it a wee bit easier, lol!
Hope you guys enjoy Ford and Brynn!!
Happy Holidays Everyone!!
I've got a little Holiday Season Giveaway running thru December 22. All US and UK Mira Lyn Kelly Newsletter subscribers are automatically entered in a drawing to win an Amazon $20 gift card. Not a subscriber? No worries!! Sign up here for your chance to win: http://eepurl.com/A-XKr
And don't forget NOW & THEN (Jan 19, 2016) is available for preorder now :-)
Hope all is good with you!