<— *squeeeeee!!!* I’m a HUGE Jennifer L. Armentrout fan, as are so many of my fellow readers, and her next book (Fire in You) is coming out in just a month! This is the final standalone book in her Wait For You world, and it sounds SO good. It’s a second chance romance!
“✮✮✮ READERS OF THE #1 NYT BESTSELLING WAIT FOR YOU SAGA REJOICE! FIRE IN YOU is coming! SECOND CHANCES, HOPE, & RED-HOT CHEMISTRY… Don’t Miss Brock and Jillian’s passionate and richly moving story in this standalone contemporary romance releasing November 28, 2016! ✮✮✮
Jillian Lima’s whole world was destroyed in a span of a few hours. The same night her childhood love, Brock ‘the Beast’ Mitchell, broke her heart, her life was irrevocably altered by the hand of a stranger with a gun. It takes six years to slowly glue together the shattered pieces of her life, but Jillian is finally ready to stop existing in a past full of pain and regret. She takes a job at her father’s martial arts Academy and she’s going out on her first date since a failed relationship that was more yuck than yum. Jillian is determined to start living.
She just never expected Brock to be a part of her life again…”
Eeeeep!!! I’m already imagining the delicious romance-angst we’re in for!
And guess what? We are revealing the first THREE chapters of Fire in You (Wait for You Series Book 6) TODAY. Right NOW in fact. Are you in the mood to taste test it?
- Chapter One: Vilma’s Book Blog
- Chapter Two: Natasha is a Book Junkie
- Chapter Three: Maryse’s Book Blog
Shock held me immobile as I stared up at Brock, stunned into silence, because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There was no way he was standing in front of me. As far as I knew, he never came to Martinsburg. Ever. Because I was here. He had the entire world. I only had West Virginia.
Those were the unspoken rules.
Maybe I’d fallen and hit my head in the bathroom.
Because it was Brock, and he was so close I could smell the familiar cologne, the fresh mixture of burning leaves and winter wind.
How in the world was he in this restaurant and I hadn’t seen him? Then again, I never was all that observant, even more so now. But that didn’t explain how Cam, who was majorly obsessed with Brock, hadn’t zeroed in on his presence.
Cam was going to be so disappointed in himself.
“Damn,” he rasped out.
My lips parted, but I was at a loss for words. Brock looked the same as he had the last time I’d seen him, several years ago, but he was more…refined, more…well, everything. He was still a foot taller than me, but he was broader in the shoulders. The gray button-down pulled taut across his chest. Sleeves were rolled up, revealing those powerful, tattooed forearms. There was new ink on his forearm. New color. His waist tapered in and those pants were tailored to fit what I knew were still strong, muscled thighs.
I dragged my gaze back to his face. Gone was the spiky hair of a man in his mid-twenties. Now the dark brown hair was calmer, cut so that it was styled back from his forehead, and there was a day or two worth of scruff along his jaw and cheeks. He was older.
Well, duh. He would be thirty-four now.
Faint lines were etched into the sandy-colored skin at the corners of his eyes. His face was still all angles. High cheekbones and a full, sensual mouth. The scar on his lower lip was barely noticeable now, after all these years. The one under his left eye still stood out, the one his father had given him the night he’d run away, sending him on a collision course with my life.
Those eyes, the color of warmed chocolate, were just as I remembered, heavily lashed and sharp, and right now he was doing the same thing I was doing to him. Brock was checking me out.
His gaze had started at the tips of my boots, had traveled up the dark denim jeans and over the thin turtleneck. Over the years, my body had evened out. I’ll never be considered thin. My body was rather average, and I didn’t have the desire or willpower to spend two hours a day trying to shape it into something that resembled the women in magazines. I liked my fatty food, and I also liked lounging around and reading in my spare time.
But I remembered quite painfully the kind of women Brock had been attracted to when we were younger. Women with flat stomachs and toned legs. The type of girls where guys could wrap their hands around their waists. Someone who’d spend hours working out alongside him and still somehow looked sexy and amazing when they were sweaty and flushed red in the face. That was what he’d been drawn to. Still was, considering I knew who his fiancée was.
Then I stopped thinking about what I looked like compared to the random chicks he’d hooked up with—to the woman I knew he was engaged to, because yes, I did know that about him. None of that mattered now, because he was staring at my face, and it struck me that he hadn’t seen me in six years without my face being swollen or bandaged. Other than what my family had to have told him, this was the first time he was seeing me since I wasn’t a fan of pictures. Never had been, but even more so now. Any time he would’ve seen me would’ve been a rare glimpse from a distance.
His eyes were slightly wide as his gaze drifted from the left side to the right side of my face. The way he looked at me, a mixture of surprise and an emotion I didn’t want to see, something that turned the blood in my veins bitter, snapped me out of my stupor.
“What are you doing here?” I demanded sharply.
Brock’s gaze flew to mine. “Like, right now? Well, I was actually out here waiting for you.”
“Outside the ladies’ room?”
“That’s…that’s next level weird,” I muttered, glancing at the end of the hall. Avery and everyone had to be wondering where I was. “But what I meant is what are you doing in Martinsburg?”
“Having dinner,” he replied, his gaze never straying from mine. He held my eyes with the intensity that I found more than just unnerving. “You look…look amazing, Jillian.”
My breath caught at what appeared to be genuine sincerity in his voice, but then I realized that, compared to what he had seen, I looked like a million bucks. “So, you’re randomly in Martinsburg having dinner at the same restaurant I’m having dinner at?”
Brock blinked, obviously surprised by my snappy tone. Couldn’t really blame him for that. Back in the day, I pretty much smiled and nodded at whatever he said, so much so that my middle name could’ve been “Brock’s Personal Doormat. Welcome.”
And thinking that, I was suddenly thrust back to the night at the bar, when I stood in front of him in the dress I’d felt so grown up in, so hopeful, so in love, and so incredibly foolish.
One side of his lips kicked up, and it was that half-grin, the one that pretty much got Brock whatever he wanted. “Are you insinuating that I somehow found out about your dinner and purposely came here tonight just to see you?” He paused, eyes glimmering in the low light outside the restrooms. “Like I’m some kind of stalker?”
Well, that did sound ridiculous but wasn’t impossible. Mom knew I had this date tonight. I’d told her where we were going. Though I doubted she would’ve told Brock.
She had better not have told Brock.
“Or maybe not a stalker, but someone who is desperate to catch a glimpse of another person who has been avoiding them for years?” he suggested smoothly. “Six years this December.”
I blinked once and then twice. “What?”
That half-grin grew as he eyed me. “Or someone who just happens to be having dinner with a friend who also happens to live in the same vicinity as you?”
My cheeks started to heat.
“If I was stalking you, I’m doing a really bad job at it since I waited for you to come out of the restroom,” he continued on, obviously amused by my observation. “From what I know about stalkers, and trust me, I’ve had a few, they tend to be a little more inconspicuous.”
Anger flushed through my system. Did this amuse him—did I? Of course it did. I had always amused Brock. “I’m pretty sure most of the stalkers you’ve had in the past would’ve walked right into the men’s room instead of waiting for you outside, and you wouldn’t have had one problem with that.”
“Damn.” Brock tipped his head back and laughed. Air punched out of my lungs. God, I’d forgotten how his laugh sounded. Deep and infectious, he laughed without a care. He handed those laughs out to anyone and everyone while I thought they were just for me. A smile played at his lips. “You are not the Jillybean I remember.”
Brock using my nickname did funny things to me. Threw me back in time, to years ago, when we’d sit side by side on the old swing out in my parents’ backyard. Reminded me of how Brock would listen to me ramble on and on about all the places in the world I wanted to visit. It made me think of the way things used to be, and nothing could ever be like that again.
“No,” I told him, lifting my chin. “I’m not her.”
He dipped his head so he was suddenly in my space, his mouth nearly lined up with mine. “I know that.”
A startled gasp left me.
“I think I like this Jillian,” he said as if he were sharing some highly kept secret.
I stared at him, unable to process what that meant.
Brock’s head tilted to the side. “Who is that guy you’re with at the table?”
Jerking back, I about toppled over backward. “I…I can’t even believe you’re asking that question.”
His brows furrowed together. “Why? It’s a valid question.”
My eyes widened. “That is so not a valid question.”
Straightening, he leaned against the wall like he had all the time in the world and we weren’t standing outside of the restrooms. “Is he your boyfriend?”
Struck speechless once more, all I could do was stare at him while one part of me wanted to point out it was none of his damn business and the other half wanted to demand to know why he was even asking that question.
I did neither of those things.
“Excuse me,” I said, stepping around him. “I have to get back to my table.”
“Seriously?” He pushed off the wall, wrapping a large hand around my arm, stopping me. “We haven’t seen each other in years and you’re just going to walk away? No hug? No ‘how have you been?’ Nothing?”
“Sounds about right.” I pulled on my arm, and after a few seconds he let go.
He studied me for a moment and the teasing smile faded away into a grim line. “I guess I can’t really blame you.”
Every muscle in my body tensed. This is so wrong. I couldn’t help but think that, because Brock and I…we used to be inseparable despite the age difference. It was always us—me chasing after him, tagging along, and clamoring for his attention, and it had always been him letting me chase, including me in everything he did and focusing on me like I was the only person in the world.
Until that night.
Until I realized it had always been me wanting him and him wanting everyone but me.
“No,” I whispered, hating myself a little for what I was saying. “You can’t blame me.”
A muscle flexed in his jaw as he nodded. Heart pounding, I turned around and hurried back to the table without looking behind me. I had no idea how long I’d been gone, but guessing by how everyone was staring at me when I slid into my chair, it had been a little too long.
Avery smiled tentatively at me.
“Is everything okay?” Grady asked, touching my arm.
I started to respond, but before I could, I heard only part of what Cam said, “Holy shit.”
A shadow fell over the table, a shadow that originated directly from behind me. Avery’s eyes widened and her mouth formed a perfect O. The tiny hairs along the back of my neck rose.
No, he didn’t.
He so didn’t follow me back to my table.
Cam was rising from his chair, a look of pure adoration etched into his handsome face. “Holy shit, man. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you.”
He’d followed me to my table.
Looking to my right, I watched Brock clasp Cam’s hand and then they exchanged one of those one-arm man hugs. All I could do was sit there as Brock and Cam spoke to one another. I had no idea what they were saying, and it probably had nothing to do with my hearing. I was concentrating on not standing, picking up my chair and tossing it at Brock.
Then Brock was standing to my right, looking directly at Grady. He held the man’s stare like he used to hold the stares of his opponents during weigh-ins and before the matches, smiling narrowly.
Clearing his throat, Grady removed his hand from my arm.
My hands slipped off the table and fell into my lap.
Brock’s eyes were cold and flat as he extended his arm over my plate. He spoke, but it sounded muffled since he was speaking to my deaf ear.
“Grady Thornton,” I heard from my left, and I realized Brock had introduced himself. Grady’s hand was all but swallowed by Brock’s much larger one. “You know Cam?”
“We’ve met a couple of times.” Brock placed his hand on the back of my chair, the gesture oddly intimate and possessive. “I met him and his lovely wife through Jillian.”
I stared straight ahead, counting under my breath.
“Really?” Curiosity filled Grady’s tone. “How do you two know each other?”
“He works—well, worked for my father,” I answered before Brock could.
“Ah, come on, that’s not the whole story.” Brock chuckled, and I widened my eyes. “We actually grew up together. There’s barely a thing I don’t know about Jilly.”
What in the actual hell of all nine circles of Hell was this?
“And how do you know everyone here?” Brock asked, and since he shifted closer, I could hear him even though it sounded like it was at the end of a tunnel.
Grady’s gaze darted between Brock and me. “I’m a friend of Cam’s. We work together.”
“Interesting,” Brock murmured, still smiling. “You’re coaching soccer now, right?” When Cam nodded, Brock turned back to Grady. “Are you also a coach?”
“No.” Grady sat a little straighter. “I teach chemistry at Shepherd.”
The smile on Brock’s face went up a notch, and I wanted to slip under the table. “A professor? Wow. And how do you know Jillian?”
Oh my God, this was an interrogation.
Grady picked up his bottle as he smiled at me. “We just met, but I think we’re…going to be pretty good friends.”
“Good friends?” Brock chuckled, and my hands tightened into fists. “Sounds about right. Anyway,” he said in a way that dripped dismissiveness, “I don’t want to keep you all from your dinner. Just wanted to stop by and say hi. I’ll hit you up later,” Brock said to Cam before focusing on me in that intense way of his that made you feel like there was no one else in the entire world but you.
He tapped the tip of my nose.
Brock grinned. “I’ll see you again soon.”
He then stalked away, drawing attention from nearly every table as he made his way toward the front of the restaurant.
“That was unexpected,” Cam said with a laugh. “You didn’t know Brock was in town?”
I shook my head. My father had to have known Brock would be here, and he hadn’t warned me. Then again, my dad didn’t know what really had gone down between Brock and me. All he knew, all my family believed, was that Brock and I had simply grown apart from one another.
But I could never tell my parents, and I demanded of Brock that he didn’t, because if my father had known why I’d been where I had been and how I…how I got hurt, he would’ve straight up murdered Brock. It wouldn’t have mattered that my father treated him like a son or that he’d invested hundreds of thousands of dollars of time in Brock.
Brock would be a dead man.
“You have no idea whose hand you just shook, do you?” Cam laughed again with a shake of his head, sitting back in his chair. “That was Brock ‘The Beast’ Mitchell. God, he’s like, what, Jillian? Heavyweight Champion twice? Then once at Light Heavyweight. Damn.” Cam looked like he was about to pass out. “I can’t believe he’s not fighting anymore. Watching him in the ring was like seeing a damn Titan throwing a punch…”
I shifted in my chair, uncomfortable for a thousand different reasons as Cam updated Grady on the awesomeness that was Brock. Someone must’ve said something to me, but I didn’t hear them until I looked up at Avery.
Suddenly, I couldn’t do this.
I didn’t want to do this.
Not with Brock sitting in the same place as me, not after all these years, and all I could think about was that night.
“I’m sorry. I’m not feeling well.” Catching Grady’s startled stare and Avery’s concerned one, I hurriedly picked up my purse. “I have an upset stomach—a sensitive one.”
Oh my God, did I seriously just say that out loud?
There was no taking that back, like, in forever.
Cheeks blood red, I put some cash on the table, more than enough to cover what I had ordered, and rose, mumbling my goodbyes before I speed-walked my way out of the restaurant. It wasn’t until I was sitting in my car, the engine running and my hands gripping the steering wheel, did I realize what Brock had said to me before he sauntered off.
He’d be seeing me again.
And guess what else?!
Pre-Order a digital or paperback copy of FIRE IN YOU by Jennifer L. Armentrout, writing as J.Lynn, AND fill out THIS FORM, and get an exclusive bonus scene-an Epilogue featuring POVs from all the major couples throughout the Wait For You World!
Fire in You will be available in paperback and eBook November 28th, 2016!
Just enter your name, age, email address, and the order number from your digial or paperback pre-order receipt at https://a.pgtb.me/M7KhMC to receive your exclusive FIRE IN YOU bonus scene! All entrants will receive the bonus scene on December 5th, 2016 through email using the email given when the entrant filled out THIS FORM.
About Jennifer L. Armentrout:
# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. She spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.
She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.