#NewRelease After The Fall

Another Rutledge boy finally gets to tell his story...

It's LIVE!!

Austin and Cassie's story is finally HERE for all readers!! Remember their story is a bit edgier than the other From The Wreckage novels. This is solidly in the New Adult Romantic Suspense genre. You CAN read After The Fall as a standalone if you haven't read the first three From The Wreckage books. 

iBooks: https://itun.es/us/9fnzbb.l
Amazon US: https://amzn.com/B01MAZFAL0
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MAZFAL0

I'll have links for B&N and Kobo soon. Check my Facebook page for those.

AUSTIN

She’s this enigma. 
A beautiful mess. 
A brilliant mind with a sharp tongue.
Our first meeting, she stopped me in my tracks.
But she wants nothing to do with me. 

CASSIE

He’s only a guy. 
Gorgeous with a million-dollar smile . . . 
But still, a guy.
I can ignore the unfamiliar softness of his brown eyes. 
I can ignore the way he walks, stops, and stares as though he’s waiting for something. 
He’ll lose interest. They always do once they know they’ll get nothing from me . . .

HAPPY READING!!

2,000 words from #AfterTheFall . . .

After the Fall and Austin went #LIVE on iBooks today! I'm so excited to get to share this edgier Rutledge brother story with y'all, but I know my Amazon/Nook/other readers are feeling a little blue at having to wait until 10/26 for their copy. 

So, I'm throwing you a small bone. The first 2,000 words of Austin and Cassie's story is below. Enjoy!!

**Fair warning: After The Fall is considered New Adult and the excerpt has some language in it. 


The Ending . . .


I blink, setting off a bomb of excruciating pain. A mirror has exploded within my head, the shards tearing fissures through my brain matter, chasing the lurking shadows from my mind.
“He’s waking up. Tell them he’s waking up.” 
A voice like a gunshot speaks from above me. Loud. Jolting. I turn away from the noise, and a click reverberates, filling my ears as a searing slice of pain screams up my neck, shooting into my jaw. 
The shadows return, pressing me down, down, down. I gasp.
“Hey, dude, don’t move.” I feel a sudden pressure on my forehead. “We’ve called 9-1-1. Stay still.” 
My mouth fills with sour bile as I attempt blinking again. My eyes won’t open, not completely. My vision is reduced to a slit of light. A glowing face. No. A face, lit by the glow of a cell phone, and outlined by the night sky. My mouth opens and nothing comes out. My tongue is thick, coated with the tang of metal. I swallow. Blood?
“Is that—” A feminine voice joins the deeper one above me. She’s further away. Standing, maybe? Her gasp is audible. “Ray, that’s Austin Rutledge.”
Ray’s gunshot voice startles me, “Holy—”
Yes. Yes, I’m Austin. What happened? Why won’t the words form? 
“What about the other—?” the female’s voice waivers. There’s sniffling. A sharp intake of air. Is she crying? The pressure on my forehead lessens. What did she mean by “the other”? What is “the other”? Answer her question, Ray. 
There’s a faint whir of sirens in the distance. 
“They’re almost here. Hang in there, man.” 
I attempt drawing in a deep breath, wheezing at the pain and lack of oxygen. What is wrong with me? Think, man, think. Where are you? 
A scream explodes in my head. A memory.
It’s female and blood-curdling. 
“Damn it,” the words tumble from my lips, blood pooling in my mouth. I twist, spitting out the thick warmth, gagging on it, and on the fear in her scream. Dread coils within my gut. 
“You shouldn’t move. You could have a spine injury,” the wavering female voice advises. Spinal injury? 
My mind scrolls through sounds and images in an attempt at figuring things out. There was a scream—she screamed, didn’t she?
Why can’t I remember?  
“What do you think happened?” the girl asks Ray. His reply is a low mumble, their voices fading as the sirens become louder as they come closer.
I blink. I have to concentrate to accomplish the simple movement—my forehead wrinkling, my teeth gritting. I have to force it. Each breath is an order, not an act of human nature.
Ray moves out of my line of sight and I focus on the sky. The night is black. No city lights or buildings. It’s dark pillows of gray clouds painted against an inky sky with pin prick stars peeking in and out of view.  
Red flashing lights break into the haze.
I grip at the cold grass beneath me, my fingers digging into the ground for leverage as I attempt sitting up. It’s pointless. My entire left side throbs with pain. I vaguely remember something striking my arm. Do I even have an arm left? I can’t feel it, but I’m pretty sure it’s there. I hope. I know it was there because earlier she was holding onto it. I see it. I see her—laughing up at me, holding my arm, making a joke.
“C-c-c,” the gurgled sound barely touches the air beyond my lips as fire and darkness press down me. Sirens fill the air, much louder now. Doors slam. New voices speak. My eyes slip closed as hands probe. I float between two worlds. Darkness and pain. Darkness fights harder, winning . . . except—
Her scream . . . her voice. 
I jerk awake, but don’t move. I’m tied down. Wincing, I force my head to clear. To see. To speak.
“Cassie.” Her name is stronger this time. My chest tightens as though my air has been cut off.
A face appears before me. “There you are. It’s going to be okay, Austin. We’re—”
“Cassie.” Blood dances over my taste buds as I raise my voice. “Where’s Cassie? Where is she?”
The face morphs into a frown, shaking back and forth. 
No, don’t shake your head at me. Where’s Cassie? 
My body goes weightless. A gurney. An ambulance. The pieces of the puzzle sort themselves, understanding sinking in. I’ve woken to a nightmare. I’m being loaded into an ambulance. I’m broken. The police are here. The medics are here. 
Cassie? 
She’s not here. 
I blink, forcing my eyes wider—and I vomit as the ambulance doors slam closed. A medic tilts the board I’m attached to sideways as the feeling of movement sets in. The ambulance drives away from the wooded field where my body was found, leaving behind the couple who found me. Leaving behind strobes of red and blue lights. 
Leaving behind a black body bag.

BEFORE THE FALL
Four months earlier . . .

AUSTIN


Every story has a beginning, 
But most of us walk in at the middle . . .

What a shitty day. Those legs, though. They have the potential to turn it all around. I lean my shoulder against the cool metal shelving to my right and stare, blatantly. This is the best damn view I’ve had all day.  
The legs aren’t long and lean so much as shapely and—thanks to the position of their owner—shown to perfection. She’s balancing atop a black stool, her body stretched from her toes to her fingertips as she reaches for the top of a ten-foot shelving unit. Her skirt—probably an acceptable length when standing flat—lifts dangerously high, allowing a glimpse of smooth thighs nearly up to where they met her ass.  
Hell yeah, the legs are worth the stop. 
I’m on a quick library run. Grab a book for class and head to dinner. Fifteen minutes, tops. I’m exhausted. My plan for tonight is to grab dinner, knock out my assignments, and throw my ass in bed. But, like everything else about this day, I have no luck. Apparently finding a simple book requires the freaking FBI. I searched row after row for fifteen minutes before giving up and heading to the student desk for assistance. Or I was seeking assistance before I passed the higher reference stacks near the back of the building and caught this pair of smooth legs near the end of the aisle I’m currently standing in. The angel on my shoulder—and I’m surprised he’s still there—reminds me of my original intent for being here. Go find your book, Austin. But the devil—oh yeah, he’s a sneaky son of a bitch—has me admiring the view with the appreciative eye of a connoisseur.  
The object of my attention, and a whole lot of lust, drops to the flats of her feet with a heavy exhale. She shakes her arms at her sides before stretching up once again. The girl is determined, and I’m transfixed. She can’t be more than five feet tall. Her body, like her legs, is shapely. All of her curves are in all the right places. A curtain of long hair conceals everything else, the dark curls bouncing side-to-side as she struggles. She grunts once more, flipping her head back, and the curtain parts. The strands slide behind her shoulder—a shampoo commercial couldn’t have caught the motion any better—and my breath catches. 
I know this girl. 
Neither her legs nor her ass hold my attention anymore. No, I’m caught by everything about her. I don’t know her name, but she intrigued me the moment I spied her reading at a corner table a few nights ago. Her focus is commendable. She sat entranced by her books for hours, never noticing the people around her. Four days into classes and I’ve seen her here three times. Always at the same table. Always focused. Always alone.
“Excuse me,” I call down the aisle before thinking better of it. “I’m looking for a book.”
Twisting my way, she braces her palms against the shelving unit, and my breathing becomes difficult as her eyes meet mine. “I’m sorry?”
Damn, I’m turned on by the mere sound of her husky, irritated voice. This girl could wrap me around her finger with one lusty sigh. I have no sense of self-preservation, so I move deeper into the aisle and close the space between us.
“The system says it’s in, but I can’t locate it.” I hold out the slip of paper with the shelving location.   
Dark brows lift under black-framed glasses as she studies me. I’ve seen her with and without those glasses. Either way, she’s adorable. It’s not the way I typically describe a girl I’m interested in, but that’s her to a T. Adorable.
“And?”
“And I was hoping you could check behind the circulation desk. You work here don’t you?”
Her cheeks puff, a disgruntled breath blowing from her mouth as her eyes roll heavenward and she lowers from her toes. “Actually, I don’t.” From the look on her face, I can tell she’s restraining herself from calling me an idiot, or worse. Her irritation with my interruption is palatable, and I grin.
“Oh, my bad.” I cock my head to the side. “I see you here all the time. I thought you must—”
“Of course,” she nods, her lips twisting as she returns her attention to the shelves before her. “A girl can’t possibly be at the library to study?”  
A witty retort slips through my mind as my hungry gaze locks on her stretched calves once again. The way her muscles bunch and lengthen, pure lust shoots through me as my mouth goes dry. 
“Here, let me give you a hand.” It’s either that or I grab some popcorn and enjoy the show. Moving toward her is a win-win option.
The heel of her blue flat pops off her right foot as she teeters on the stool. Her shield of hair flips over her shoulder. “You work here?” The sarcasm in her voice is thick as her brown eyes meet mine. “I mean, you’re here all the time.” 
I halt mid-step. Well, hell. 
“Touché,” I drawl, biting the edge of my tongue as she resumes her search. Stepping back, I linger, watching her. I swear she squares her shoulders as her head tilts sideways and she struggles, reading the titles inches above her eyeline. Okay, I’ll make her sweat. Make her ask for help. She can pull books down one by one until she finds what she needs, or she can ask me.
“Do you mind?” 
Her frustration propels me forward. “Not at all.” I reach up without permission, my fingers skimming the book spines on the top shelf as I move closer, brushing her back lightly with my free hand. “Which do you need?” 
Wobbling, she stumbles to the ground as though my touch repulses her. “I wasn’t asking for help.”
“Which do you need?” I repeat. 
“None, thank you.” She inches back, her tone formal. I grin, but my boyish smile doesn’t dent her facade. 
“Oh, c’mon, I’m a foot taller than you. Let me help find your book.” The words chase after her as she turns, hurrying down the aisle and out of sight.  
Well, that’s an ego crusher. 
Shoving my hands in my pockets, I return to the main aisle and glance around the nearby stacks. There’s no one around. No witnesses to my humiliating rejection. My phone vibrates in my pocket and I fish it out to find Jules’ face glowing up at me. For the first time since we ran into each other in July, I don’t answer her call. When she shoots me a text a moment later asking about dinner, I ignore it. All I can think of is the tiny little spitfire who blew me off moments ago, and it makes me question what I’ve been doing with Jules. 

 

A little art tease from #AftertheFall

Just a little #TuesdayTease from #AfterTheFall to get you by. It might seem like a simple conversation about art to you, but there's a point (hello, foreshadowing) to this.

“These pieces are so beautiful,” I sigh more to myself, but the student employee nods next to me.
“They are. My grandmother had a cameo brooch. I always loved it. These remind me of her.” 
“How are they made? It’s engraving in stone, right?”
“Engraving and carving. The artist uses chisels and acid, and all sorts of tools. Then they refine the piece and add all the little details. Look at this one for instance—” she leads me toward a plate I’d admired earlier.
It’s blue and white and depicts a woman painting a picture in a Greek setting. On The Terrace by Thomas and George Woodall. 
“See the detail? The buildings in the background at her feet, the canvas she is painting.”
I lean closer to the plate—it’s not much larger than a dinner plate—just skinnier and a bit longer—and she’s right. The Parthenon is in the background of the plate, and there are detailed lines in the landscape portrait the woman is portrayed as painting. “I didn’t notice them,” I breathe, studying the piece closer now.
“Most people don’t. Most people see the beauty on the surface, the obvious, but so often in art the beauty is deeper. You have to take the time to stare, to get to know it, to find it.”

FYI, the piece discussed in the book is actually located on the A&M campus in the Forsyth galleries in the Memorial Student Center - all places mentioned in After the Fall.

After the Fall, a New Adult standalone* is available for preorder on #ibooks now
https://itun.es/us/9fnzbb.l
Coming October 18th on ibooks
October 24th everywhere else

*This is the fourth book in the From The Wreckage series but CAN be read alone. Books 1-3 follow Jules and West. Book 4 (After the Fall) is Austin's story. 

Isn't this gorgeous? Can you see the little details?

Isn't this gorgeous? Can you see the little details?

The one with the beginning of After The Fall

Happy Tuesday, my friends! We're a little over a month away from the release of After The Fall

This New Adult romance is a tad grittier than the previous three From The Wreckage books. My goal for the spin-off character stories (Dani in Into The Fire, Cassie in After The Fall and Jess in Until We Crash-coming 2017) has always been to write 'wrecked' characters who overcome. In After The Fall you most certainly get a wrecked character in Cassie. Can Austin pick up her pieces? Get ready to find out come October! 

 Here's a sneak peek at the beginning of After The Fall . . .

The Ending . . .

I blink, setting off a bomb of excruciating pain. A mirror has exploded within my head; the shards tearing fissures through my brain matter, chasing the lurking shadows from my mind.

“He’s waking up. Tell them he’s waking up.” 

A voice like a gunshot speaks over me. Loud, jolting. I turn away from the noise and a click reverberates, filling my ears, as a searing slice of pain screams up my neck, shooting into my jaw. 

The shadows return, pressing me down, down, down. I gasp

“Hey dude, don’t move.” A weight touches my forehead, holding me in place. “We’ve called 9-1-1. Stay still.” 

My mouth fills with sour bile as I attempt blinking again. My eyes won’t open, not all the way. My vision is reduced to a slit of light. A glowing face. No. A face, lit by the glow of a cell phone and outlined by the night sky. My lips part, but nothing comes out. My tongue is thick, coated with the tang of metal. I swallow. Blood?

“Is that?” A feminine voice joins the deeper one leaning over me. She’s further away, standing maybe? Her gasps audible. “Ray, that’s Austin Rutledge.”

**This is a tease and not the final edit. It is subject to change.**

Every story has a beginning, 
but most of us walk in in the middle . . .

October 4, 2017, on iBooks (Preorder today)
October 13, 2017, everywhere

The one with the handy reading order guide

I am currently writing what we are calling From The Wreckage #4, After The Fall. After the Fall is Austin's story. It does have some Jules and West but it isn't being written to extend their story, it is for Austin. The reason we're calling it book #4 is that even though it can stand on its own, I wanted people to know that reading it first WILL obviously spoil the first three books to some degree. 

I've put together this handy dandy reading order guide for the series. Isn't it cute? If you've read From The Wreckage, Out of Ruins and All That Remains and still want more don't forget to check out West. West gives you a new insight into the events in book one and gives you more Austin. 
I'll be sharing a lot of Austin coming up so hang tight. Also, don't despair on the Jules and West front—if you're missing them and want more, stay patient. I have some ideas ;)

You’re damn lucky you’re alive, dude, cause now I don’t have to kill you.” I open my eyes to find Austin hovering above me. Reaching over my body, he grabs a pillow and smacks me across the back of my shoulders.
“Damn it, Austin. What the hell?” I growl, pushing blindly at his body.
“I’m happy to see you too, baby bro.” He punches my side as he sits on the edge of my bed, and I groan.
— West: A From The Wreckage Novel