New book sneak peek!

We are getting so close to the release of my new book! Sing For Me is the first book in a brand new series all about the grown-up offspring of the Ransom gang! I am SO excited for this series. The first book introduces a whole bunch of new characters and I already feel like they’re all friends.

Sing For Me comes out on Tuesday, August 11th, but you can pre-order it on Amazon now! I hope you’ll check it out!

In the meantime, here’s a little sneak peek of the first chapter. I hope you enjoy getting to know Will, Eva, Rose, and all the rest of the Ransom gang ❤

singme-schurig-ebooksmall-nm5nzv

Pre-order Sing For Me now on Amazon!

Chapter One

It’s so loud backstage that I’m pretty sure the walls are shaking. Over the pounding noise of the band’s instruments, I can hear the sold-out crowd screaming and cheering. All around us, roadies, venue staff, and random people I don’t recognize rush around.

It would be easy to get lost in a madhouse like this.

“Will! Rose! Wait up!”

Next to me, my cousin Rose huffs loudly enough for me to hear even over all the noise. She flips her long blonde braid over her shoulder as she turns her head. “Hurry up, RIVER. You said if we let you come you wouldn’t slow us down.”

I turn back to locate Rose’s brother. His white blonde hair, the same color as Rose’s, makes it easy to spot him, even as short as he is. River’s not that much younger than us—he turned eight a few days ago. But I’m just coming off a growth spurt, and Rose recently turned ten, which is really old. Next to us, Riv still looks like a tiny kid.

And if I let him get lost in all this craziness, our parents will kill me. Sure, Rose is the oldest, so you’d think they’d blame her, but I know that’s not how it would go. Rose is everyone’s favorite and she never gets blamed for anything. Besides, everyone will know that this spying mission was my idea.

Not wanting to get grounded for the rest of the tour, I turn back and grab River’s arm. “Such a baby,” Rose grumbles next to me. 

River’s face is red, the way it gets before he cries, so I ruffle a hand through his hair and grin down at him. “Stick with us, okay? We don’t want to get in trouble.”

“Speaking of trouble,” Rose says darkly, peering down the way we just came. “Someone’s going to notice us if we don’t get moving.”

“Let’s go then.” 

I lead my cousins down the twisting, crowded hallways of the stadium. It’s like a maze back here and I’m not exactly sure where the stage is. I figure if I follow the noise we’ll get there eventually.  

We make another turn and all three of us freeze at the same time. Standing just a few feet away, talking to a roadie, is our Uncle Levi. Great.

We must be lucky, because he seems pretty preoccupied with his conversation. But I know he could look up at any minute and then we’ll be busted.

“Run for it!” I hiss, spinning on my heel. My cousins follow suit, Rose keeping a firm hand on River’s elbow this time as we take off down the hallway.

“Will?” Uncle Levi calls from behind us, sounding confused. 

“Faster!”

Our sneakers pound on the concrete floors as we run down a long, crowded hallway. Being smaller than everyone else comes in handy for once—we can dart around the roadies and the venue staff. “Hey,” a man carrying a heavy looking amp shouts as River jumps right in front of him, making him stumble. A security guard makes a grab for me as we pass but I manage to pull my arm back at the last minute.

“We’re with the band!” I shout over my shoulder, and River gives a snort of laughter.

“Down here,” Rose cries, turning down another hallway. I manage a glance over my shoulder as I follow her. Our uncle is standing way down the hallway, his hands on his hips. But he grins at me when he sees me looking, shaking his head, and I know he’s not really mad. I grin back before I take the turn, running fast behind Rose and River.

“Shh,” Rose says suddenly, pulling up short. I skid to a stop behind her, out of breath, and look around. 

“Excellent,” I say, clapping her on the back. Rose has somehow managed to lead us directly into the dark wings around the stage.

“You think Uncle Levi is gonna tell Mommy?” River whispers to Rose.

“Probably,” she says flippantly, like she’s too grown up to care about getting in trouble. 

I catch the worried gleam in River’s eye. “Let’s hide,” I suggest, leading them over to one of the empty equipment crates. I push River in front of me, wedging us both behind the crate. Rose sighs behind me but follows us. With a little wiggling, we mange to squeeze into a pocket between the crates. From here we’re hidden from the rest of the wings.

We also can’t see anything.

“Shoot,” River mutters. “Why’d we go through all that trouble sneaking out of the bus if we can’t even see?”

I risk sticking my head up long enough to take stock of our area. There’s another crate right in front of us and beyond that I have a perfect view of the stage.

The noise actually hurts my ears this close to the speakers and the massive, screaming crowd. It’s so noisy it’s hard to even think.

“Let’s just go back,” Rose mutters.

“Nah,” I say, making up my mind in an instant. This is probably the kind of thing my mom always gets mad at me for. Impulsive, she calls me. I’m not totally positive what that word means but one time I heard my dad laughing with her after they’d yelled at me for getting caught sneaking into one of the hotel pools on the last tour. “Kid acts first and thinks later,” my dad had said.

“Sounds like someone else I know,” Mom said, laughing with him.

I’m pretty sure that’s what impulsive means—acting first and thinking later. And mom would definitely get real mad at me if she could see what I’m about to do.

I grip the edge of the crate and give it a huge push. It’s heavy but luckily it has wheels, and I manage to move it a couple inches.

“What are you doing?” Rose hisses.

“Giving us a way to see.” I push on the crate again, with my shoulder this time. It moves a little more.

“Awesome!” River calls softly. “I can see Daddy’s piano!”

“A couple more feet,” Rose tells me, crawling over to where I’m still pushing on the crate. She adds her shoulder to the side and we both give a good hard push—sending the crate sliding quickly forward, way faster than before. “The wheel must have been stuck!” Rose whisper-yells. 

We both watch in silent terror as the crate keeps on rolling until it’s right on the stage. In the middle of Ransom’s sold-out show.

“Get down!” I whisper, pulling on Rose’s arm. We crawl across the dirty floor before throwing ourselves behind River’s crate. “Did anyone see us?” I pant.

“Uncle Lennon looked over here,” River whispers back. “But I don’t think he saw you.”

Peering over the crate, I can see my dad standing just a few feet away. He’s in the middle of a guitar solo, not paying any attention to what’s going on backstage, and I let out a relieved sigh. Across the stage, Uncle Lennon keeps looking over at the crate, probably wondering where the heck it came from. Then a roadie darts out to pull it back into the wings and I let out a relieved breath. We got away with it.

Rose slaps a hand over her mouth, giggling. I grin at her. Sometimes it’s fun to almost get caught.

“Ooh, I love this song,” Rose says happily, settling in next to me. The three of us rest our chins on the top of the crate, careful to keep our heads low. It doesn’t matter—from here we can see just about everything. Our dads playing their instruments. Uncle Lennon with his bass guitar. The flashing lights reflecting on the stage. And the huge crowd filling up the stadium, yelling and cheering for Ransom.

“This is so much better than the box,” I say, excited. For most of the shows, that’s where we sit, in the fancy boxes up at the top of the stadium with our moms and all of our cousins. There’s more room up there for the babies to play and for all of us to spread out—we have a super big family. And there’s usually a waiter who will bring me as much root beer as I can sneak without my mom noticing.

But the boxes are really far from the stage. Nothing like this little hideout in the wings. I’m close enough to see my dad’s fingers on the strings of his guitar.

“It’s definitely louder,” Rose says, rubbing her ears. “Now I know why mom always makes me wear those headphones when we come close to the stage during a show.”

“Louder is what makes it cool,” I say, eyes glued to my dad’s guitar. “Rock music is supposed to be loud.”

“Can you see Uncle Reed?” Rose asks, twisting her body around to see the back of the stage.

“Nah, can’t see him from here.” But the pounding of his drum’s means he’s out there with his brothers.

“Someday, I’m gonna be out there, too,” I mutter, mostly to myself. I have it all planned out. When I get older, I’m going to be a guitar player, just like my dad. I already know a bunch of my chords, which Grandpa says is really good for my age. By the time I’m a grown up, I know I’m going to be just as good as my uncles. Then they’ll have to let me in the band.

“Not me,” Rose says, shaking her head. “I would hate to have all those people looking at me.”

“How many people are there?” River asks, craning his neck to see the crowd. “A hundred?”

Rose snorts. “No way, Riv. This stadium seats twenty thousand people.”

River’s eyes go wide, like he can’t even imagine a number that big. I kind of feel the same way. I have no idea how many people that is, all I know is that it’s a lot.

Because Ransom is the best band in the entire world and so, so many people want to come see them play live.

“I wish we were on the other side of the stage,” River says. “We can’t see Daddy’s face!”

Across the stage, my Uncle Daltrey is pounding on his piano keys while he sings, his back to us. 

“It’s good we can’t see his face,” Rose mutters. “You’d probably wave at him or something and then we’d be caught.”

“I would not!” River cries, way too loud. I slap a hand over his mouth.

“Just because it’s loud out there doesn’t mean the roadies can’t hear us,” I tell him.

“The roadies, huh?” a grown up voice behind us says, and we all freeze. “I think you kids have bigger things to worry about.”

Heart sinking, I turn to see my older brother, Wyatt, standing behind us. His arms are crossed over his chest and he’s got a serious look on his face. But when I look at his eyes I can tell that he’s not really mad. In fact, I think he might be trying not to laugh.

“We just wanted to see the show,” I tell him.

He glances down at his watch. “Pretty sure it’s a school night, kids. Which means you aren’t supposed to be anywhere near the show.”

Rose sticks a finger into her mouth, pretending to make herself throw up. “I hate school.”

“It’s so, so super boring, Wyatt,” River agrees.

Wyatt rolls his eyes. “I used to have school on the bus, too,” he reminds us. Wyatt is way old, like almost a grown-up. My mom had him a long time before she met my dad, so he was already almost ten when I was born. When he wants to tease me, he reminds me that he was the one who got to name me when I was a baby, and if I’m not careful he might change it to something really awful. Like Barney. 

But Wyatt doesn’t tease too much. He’s a really cool big brother.

Hopefully that means he’s not going to get us in trouble. “Are you gonna tell Mom?”

“You should have thought of Mom before,” he says, his voice suddenly a little sharp. “She doesn’t need to be chasing you down, Will.”

I hang my head, feeling a rush of guilt in my belly. My mom is really, really pregnant with our baby sister right now, and she gets out of breath and uncomfortable when she has to walk a long way. I picture her following us through all those winding hallways we just ran through and feel awful.

“Is she looking for me?”

“Nah, I don’t think she noticed yet.” He looks between the three of us. “But I do need to text your moms and let them know where you are.”

“Wyatt!” Rose cries, reaching for his hand.

“Sorry, Rosie,” he says, pulling out his phone. “If they see your bunks are empty they’ll worry.”

She scowls at him as he types into his phone. “This tour was more fun when you were still away at college.”

He laughs, tugging at the end of her braid. “When I’m at college, you’re the oldest,” he reminds her. “Maybe you should start acting more responsible.”

“Responsible sounds like another word for boring,” she says, and Wyatt laughs some more before he pockets his phone.

“Climb on out of there,” he says, holding out his hand to give us a boost. He eyes the crate. “Let me guess, the runaway crate was you guys?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I say, climbing out of our hiding spot. Wyatt slings an arm around my neck, pulling me close and messing up my hair. I squirm and try to punch him, but I’m just messing around. I never really get mad about Wyatt teasing me. Rose was wrong—I like tour much better when he’s here. My brother goes to a fancy college where he practices piano all day and I miss him a lot.

“Why don’t you guys come with me,” he says, letting me go to help Rose climb over the crate.

“Are you taking us to get in trouble?” River asks glumly.

“Nah.” Wyatt leans close to him. “I’ll tell you a secret—I used to sneak back stage when I was little too.”

“You did?” River asks, eyes wide, like he can’t believe a grown-up ever messed around like we do.

“Sure,” Wyatt says. “These are the best seats in the house.” He grins. “Well, almost.” He herds us away from the crates but we’re going the wrong way. Instead of heading back to the hallway, he seems to be leading us to—

“Wyatt, this is the stage,” Rose squeaks. 

“I know.” There’s laughter in his voice. “Check it out.”

We all look up to see that the song is over. Instead of moving right into the next one, the grown-ups on the stage are all relaxed. And they’re looking right at us.

“Oh, shoot,” River says, defeated.

“Don’t worry,” Wyatt says, pulling us out onto the stage. 

“Oh no, oh no,” Rose is muttering next to me, staring at the still-screaming crowd. Across the stage, Uncle Daltrey holds out his arms. He’s smiling. I let out a relieved sigh. Maybe they won’t be too mad.

River takes off immediately, beaming as he runs to his dad. The crowd goes even crazier when Uncle Daltrey pulls him up into his arms. He whispers something in his ear and River shyly waves at the fans. They erupt in another wave of cheers.

“Come on, Rose,” Wyatt calls over all the noise. He takes her hand, leading her across the stage to the piano. Before they get there, big arms appear in my vision, wrapping around me. My dad.

“You’re trouble, kid,” he says, but he’s grinning down at me. I grin right back, knowing he’s not mad. He gestures to one of the roadies before stepping up to his microphone. 

“So my son Wyatt was going to join us on piano for the next few songs,” he shouts to the fans, who scream right back. “But it looks like he brought a couple stowaways.”

Way out in the crowd I can see two of the huge screens that show what’s going on to the fans who are too far away from the stage to see much. Right now, the screens are showing River and Rose. My cousin slaps her hands over her eyes and Uncle Daltrey laughs. He gets both of them sitting in front of the piano, handing them tambourines. 

A roadie runs out on stage, carrying another guitar and three pairs of the big headphones our moms make us wear to protect our ears at concerts. On the screen, my face appears. My mouth hurts, I’m smiling so big. 

“Will,” my dad shouts over the noise, crouching in front of me, and I drag my eyes from the sight of my face on the huge TV to look at him. “Put these on.” He hands me a set of the headphones. “You don’t ever get this close to the stage without them again, you understand?”

I nod quickly. It doesn’t seem like we’re going to get in trouble for this so I’m pretty eager to do whatever he says to keep it that way. He helps me adjust the headphones on my ears and the sound immediately drops, no longer hurting my head.

My dad grins and holds out the extra guitar. I just stare at it. There’s no way he actually wants me to—

“You guys can sit in on this song,” he shouts. “One song. And then it’s straight back to the bus and into bed, you hear me?”

I can’t seem to close my mouth. I’m just standing there in front of all those people, staring at my dad like he’s lost his mind. He laughs and pushes the guitar into my chest. I finally snap out of it and grab the instrument out of his hands before he can change his mind. It’s too big for me, and heavy, but my dad helps me to adjust the strap around my neck then pulls a pick out of his back pocket.

“You remember the chords we worked on this week?”

I nod eagerly. Dad smiles at me. “Have fun, kid.”

When he turns back to the microphone, I snap my head over to Rose and River. They’re both wearing the big headphones too and Rose doesn’t look as scared of the crowd now. She gives me a huge smile and a thumbs up, like she’s happy for me. Rose knows all about my plans to be in the band someday.

“Looking good, kid!” Uncle Reed calls from behind me, and I spin around to see him grinning down from the drum kit.

This is so cool, I think, turning back to the front of the stage as my uncle counts off the intro behind me. Perfectly in sync, my dad and Uncle Lennon come in on their guitars. Across the stage, Wyatt is standing over the piano, his hands already a blur on the keys. Then Uncle Daltrey starts to sing from a mic at center stage and I remember that I’m supposed to be playing too.

For the next four minutes, I do my best to concentrate on playing my chords, trying to keep up with my dad. It’s hard to focus though—I just want to look around at everything.

Way too soon, the song is over. My dad takes the guitar from me and hands it off to a roadie. “Have fun?”

I throw my arms around his legs. “So much fun.”

He laughs, ruffling my hair. “Get back to bed now before your mom comes out here and kills me.”

I’m too happy to care that I have to go back. My cousins run across the stage to me, Rose grabbing my hand and pulling me towards the wings.

“That was the coolest thing ever!” I shout. “Did you see me play guitar?”

“Daddy let me play tambourine!” River is grinning just like me.

Rose flips her braid. “That was so scary! Did you see all those people? I thought I was going to throw up!”

“Don’t be a baby, Rose,” River says, and she pushes his shoulder.

I lead my cousins back to the hallway we came through. The sudden brightness hurts my eyes after the darkness of the stage area. It’s a lot easier to hear now, so we all take off our headphones.

“I want to do that every single night,” I tell them fervently.

“Think again, buddy.”

We all look up to see Aunt Daisy standing in front of us, her arms crossed over her chest. 

“Um, hi, Mommy,” Rose says, her voice too high. “We just went for a little walk.”

Aunt Daisy’s lips twitch. “You can drop the act, Rosie. I know all about it.” She looks between the three of us. “We’ll talk about it in the morning. Beds, now.”

I practically skip all the way to the busses behind the stadium. I’m already thinking of the next time I’ll be able to get on stage. Maybe I can convince my dad to make it a regular thing. Wyatt usually plays with them when he’s on a break from school. Why can’t I?

My excitement fizzles a little bit when we finally get on the bus and I see my mom standing in front of the bunks. She’s got her arms crossed too, and she looks a lot more annoyed than Aunt Daisy had.

She takes one look at my face and sighs. “Enjoy your moment, Will,” she says. “Tomorrow we’re going to have a long talk about the rules.”

“Sorry, Mom,” I tell her, but I can’t seem to wipe the smile off my face.

I rush to get my PJs on, eager to get into the privacy of my bunk where I can relive those minutes on the stage over and over. Before I can get my curtains closed, an upside down face appears next to my mattress. My cousin Everly, hanging down from the bunk above mine. 

“Go to sleep Lee,” I say, pushing on her forehead. 

She doesn’t listen, of course. Everly is seven and she thinks she’s the boss of the whole family.

“You’re in big trouble,” she whispers, and I can see her grinning even in the dark. Rose says Everly loves drama. “I heard your mom say you were going to get grounded tomorrow.”

“Big deal.” It’s not like I can go anywhere when the bus is on the road. We’re all stuck here.

“I bet she takes away your video game privileges,” she says.

Okay, that would be pretty bad. Playing video games with Rose is basically the only thing I look forward to when we’re all doing our school lessons on the bus.

But it’s hard to care too much about that right now, not when I can still hear the sound of the fans cheering for me. “It was worth it.” My smile is so big my cheeks hurt. “That was the best night of my life.”

Everly huffs and disappears back to her own bunk, leaving me alone with my memories of being on stage.

That’s going to be my life, I promise myself. Someday, I’m going to be a rock star, just like my dad and my uncles.

I can hardly wait.

PRE-ORDER SING FOR ME ON AMAZON NOW!

 

New Ransom series! Pre-order book 1 today

I have BIG NEWS!!

I’ve been hinting about this for a while and now I get to officially share the news here: I have a new series coming out! And not just any series–this one is super exciting for me because I get to revisit my favorite characters. That’s right, the Ransom gang is getting a new series! These new books are all about the next generation of Ransome kids, who are all grown up now and navigating the world as the off-spring of the most famous family in rock music. I can’t tell you how much fun it’s been to write these books and I’m so excited to share them with you!

Sing For Me PO

Book One, Sing for Me, is all about Will Ransome (Cash and Sam’s son) and will be released on August 11th–but you can pre-order your copy on Amazon now!

If you can’t tell, I’m crazy excited about this new series! I cannot wait to introduce you all to the extended Ransom clan–I already love them

Pre-order Sing For Me now!

Amazon

Amazon UK

To help the time pass more quickly while we wait, I’m going to be hosting a Ransom book club!Ransom Book Club!The Ransom book club will run for the next seven weeks. Each week we’ll read one of the novels from the original series and talk about ’em! Plus I’ll be sharing sneak peeks, exclusive content, and a couple contests. Want in on the fun? Come and join us! We’ll be getting started on Monday, June 22nd.

Join the book club here!

I’ll have plenty of Ransom news to share in the next few weeks! See you soon!

xoxo Rachel

A Ransom Christmas is available now!

You can pick up this brand new Ransom story at all the major ebook vendors! A Ransom Christmas is a holiday novella about the entire Ransom gang and what happens after the events of The Ransome Brothers. There’s lots of typical Ransom silliness, brotherly drama, and plenty of Christmas fun. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Amazon

Amazon UK

Kobo

Nook

Google Play

iBooks

ransomchristmas-schurig-ebook

Join the entire Ransom gang as they invade Vegas for the wedding none of them ever expected to happen—and plenty of Christmas surprises!

Amazon,  Amazon UK, Kobo, Nook, Google Play, iBooks

A Ransom Christmas is coming soon!

Did you know there’s a brand-new Ransom holiday novella coming out next week? I am so excited to share A Ransom Christmas with you!

ransomchristmas-schurig-ebook

Pre-order on Amazon Now!

Pretty much as soon as I finished writing The Ransome Brothers, I knew I wanted to do a Christmas story with the boys. I was really happy with the way their stories wrapped up in that book, but I also was super bummed out that I had to cut certain things just because the darn thing was getting SO. FREAKING. LONG. I have a very clear picture in my mind about the way a few things are going to go for the Ransom gang (hint: there might just be some more babies and weddings to look forward to) but there was just no way to fit it all into one book.

Also, Christmas is my very favorite holiday. You know the scene in Reed’s book where Paige drags them to that Christmas store? Yeah, that store is totally real and I go there multiple times a year because I LOVE IT. So I thought it would be really fun to give you a little glimpse of how the Ransome boys spend Christmas now that they’re all partnered up with their girls.

Bonus: there’s a Levi scene that makes me soooo happy! I didn’t get to include nearly enough Levi in the last book (again, longest book ever!) and I really wanted to give him and Karen a fitting happy ending. I can’t wait for you to read it!

You can pre-order A Ransom Christmas on Amazon right now! It will be available everywhere else on Monday, October 22nd. The book is about half the length of a normal Ransom novel and it’s filled to the brim with Christmas fun. I hope you’ll spend your holidays with my favorite rock star brothers!

Rescue is coming soon!

I’m sooo anxious and excited for you guys to read Lennon’s book! My editor has finished working on Rescue and passed it on to the proofreader. This is the last big step! I’m very hopeful I’ll be able to get the book out next week. If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, you can do that here and you’ll find out about the release date as soon as I have it.

In the meantime here’s the beautiful cover Najla made for me and a brief synopsis about the book. I can’t wait!

Rescue.v1-Final.Amazon

Photos by Lindee Robinson Photography
Cover by Najla Qamber Designs
Models: Elena Irene Papanastasopoulos & Marcus Filip

Lennon can’t remember what it feels like to be happy.

He might be one of the famous Ransome brothers, the bassist for the hottest rock group in the country, but fame and fortune can’t fix this. There are nightmares he doesn’t understand. Memories he can’t explain. And always, always the unshakable sense that he’s made a terrible mistake. A mistake that changed the course of his family’s lives forever. His brothers don’t know how to help him. His father doesn’t know how to help him. And he certainly doesn’t know how to help himself.

Then he meets Haylee Hunt, the lead singer of Ransom’s opening band. And just like in the best love songs, everything changes. With Haylee, Lennon doesn’t have to feel so afraid all the time. The guilt that haunts him seems to fade, just a little. Because Haylee, somehow, seems to understand exactly how it feels to be broken.

But the hazy memories refuse to fade away. The nightmares are getting clearer. And even Haylee won’t be able to help him when the past finally crashes back into his life.

RESCUE WILL BE AVAILABLE IN JANUARY 2016!

Chick Lit Author Blog Hop!

It’s Blog Hop time! Before I get into all the details about the hop, I just want to remind everyone that there’s still two days to enter to win the $25 Amazon gift card in celebration of the release of Lovestruck in London. To enter, head over to this post and leave me a comment about your favorite book character along with your email address and you’re entered! (The contest is only open to people living in the United States, sorry!)

As promised, there are more chances to win something cool this week and the next one is a BIG one! May is Chick Lit month and I am once again participating in an awesome blog hop. The theme this year is “What’s On Page 25?” so I’ll be giving you a sneak peak of one of my favorite scenes in the new book (which will be available TOMORROW!). During the blog hop there will be chances to win lots of ebooks or even the grand prize of a FREE Kindle Keyboard 3G, with Free 3G + Wi-Fi, and a 6″ E Ink Display. That lucky grand prize winner will also receive a “chick lit starter library” filled with great chick lit books written by the indie authors participating in the blog hop.

Learn “How to Hop & Win!” New to blog hops? Want to learn how to win the grand prize? Find complete information here.

I definitely recommend clicking on the link above for full rules but the basic rundown is this: Over the course of the next week you’ll visit 25 blogs and collect “Secret Words” from each blog. You’ll then use the words you collected to enter in the rafflecopter contest linked below. It’s pretty easy and it should be a good time. I know in the past I’ve found a lot of great new authors through hops like this one. I hope you do too!

Additionally, I will also be giving a free ebook copy of my new book, Lovestruck in London, to a lucky reader. Just comment below and you’re automatically entered. If you comment on all the blogs in the hop you have a chance to win lots of books!

Once again, if you want more details on the hop and how you can win the Grand Prize, head over here.

You can find the participating blogs here.

Here’s where you enter your secret words to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Okay, I think that covers the details. So without further ado, let’s take a look at WHAT’S ON PAGE 25! This is actually one of my favorite scenes in the book. Lizzie has only recently arrived in London for her study abroad. On her first night out on the town, she meets an up-and-coming actor names Thomas. They hit it off right away. Keep reading to check out one of their earliest conversations. And don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for my secret word!

I met Thomas at the velvet rope where he introduced me to a staff member named Bill. “Bill and I go way back,” he shouted in my ear as we shook hands. “He used to tend bar in my local.”

Bill unhooked the rope and stepped aside so Thomas could lead me up a short flight of stairs. I found myself in a small loft area overlooking the dance floor. We could still hear the music, but velvet drapes around our booth muffled the sound quite a bit.

“That’s better,” Thomas said, settling into the booth. “I can at least hear you now.”

“Do you come here a lot?” I asked, amazed that this section of the club existed without anyone below knowing it.

Thomas shook his head. “To be honest, this isn’t really my scene. I’m much more of a pub guy when I want a drink.”

I grinned, glad to hear it for some reason. Maybe Thomas wasn’t too glamorous for me after all. “What about you?” he asked. “Pub or club?”

“Uh,” I felt suddenly uncomfortable. “Pub, I guess. But I don’t really do much of either.”

“A university student who doesn’t go to the pub? I’m shocked.”

I shrugged. “I should warn you right now, I’m kind of a goody-two-shoes.”

“Me, too!” Thomas cried, looking thrilled. He leaned into me and spoke in mock confidential tones. “Would it shock you to know that I spent last New Year’s Eve in my flat studying lines for a film I was about to start shooting?”

I laughed. “I spent last New Year’s Eve at a party at my uncle’s house, so I’m not one to judge.”

“One time my brother convinced me to steal a Coke from the newsagent down the road,” Thomas countered. “He said he would tell all my friends I was a baby if I didn’t. So I did.”

“You returned the Coke an hour later, didn’t you?”

“Twenty minutes,” he said, grinning. “And I cried.”

I laughed, wondering why I had felt nervous about talking with him. He was wonderful.

“Tell me about school,” he said. “Why London?”

“I’ve always wanted to come to London,” I said.

“Are you enjoying it so far?”

“We haven’t seen much of the city. We were stuck in orientation sessions the first few days, and were suffering crazy jet lag at night. Then we had this whole apartment fiasco. It hasn’t been quite what I expected.” I paused, not wanting to admit the underlying disappointment I had been feeling about my London adventure so far. (Win the grand prize! The 12th secret word in the 25-word sentence is: lit) Anyhow. This is our first night really off campus.” 

“So you’ve been here all week and you haven’t seen the city yet? We’ll have to fix that.” The implication in his words made my heart thud in my chest. I couldn’t seem to wipe the smile from my face.

“I think the big draw for me was the literary history here,” I went on, trying to control the giddiness that threatened to overwhelm me. “My favorite authors are British; I couldn’t think of anywhere else I would want to study literature.”

“Funny, my favorite authors are mostly American,” he said, taking a sip of his beer. “Patterson, King, Grisham.” He gave me a rueful grin. “Not exactly high-minded literature.”

“There’s nothing wrong with genre fiction,” I said firmly. “Take it from an English major; people who only read the classics are usually boring and uptight.”

“Cheers.” Thomas rapped his bottle lightly against my glass. “Did you study literature at your university in the States as well?”

I nodded. “My BA is in English. I also have a teaching certificate.”

“A teacher, eh? My mother was a teacher.”

“So are my sisters,” I said, feeling depressed suddenly. “But I have a ways to go. This program is nine months long.”

“Nine months is a long time to be away from home. Where is home, by the way?”

“Detroit, Michigan. You know, where they make the cars. Motown, Kid Rock.”

“I’ve seen Eight Mile, you know. I’m quite familiar with Detroit.”

I laughed. “Well, I don’t actually live in the city. The suburbs. Sterling Heights, to be exact. Much more Pleasantville than Eight Mile.

“Thank you for putting things in movie language for me,” he said, winking. “Taking pity on the brainless actor is kind.”

“You started it!” I cried, smacking his hand as he laughed. “So where are you from?”

“I grew up in Surrey, but the family’s all up in Edinburgh now.”

“Oooh,” I sighed. “I can’t wait to get up there.”

“It’s a beautiful city,” he said. “They moved right when I started working in London, so I never lived there full time, but it’s really nice to be able to visit them now.”

We chatted for a while about family. I learned that Thomas is a middle child, his older brother is married and living outside Edinburgh, and his younger sister still lives at home. He seemed fascinated by the idea of my five siblings, and wanted to know all about my family, cousins and aunts and uncles included.

“My grandparents on both sides immigrated from Mexico,” I explained. “My mom’s mom moved back there after her husband died, and my dad’s parents are both gone. But we have a huge family all nearby, more than a dozen cousins, and I don’t even know how many second and third cousins. It gets pretty crazy when we’re all in the same place, which happens all the time. We have more family dinners and parties than anyone you’ll ever meet.”

“Wow,” he said. “I only have three cousins all together.”

I laughed. “Then your house is probably much more peaceful than mine at Christmas.”

“I think it would be nice to have a bigger family,” he said. “You must have had lots of built-in playmates when you were little.”

“I did,” I agreed. “My best friend is actually my cousin Sofia.” I felt a pang. It had only been a week but I missed Sofie like mad.

“It’s pretty brave of you, coming all this way on your own, for such an extended stay.” I looked up and saw that he was watching me closely, something about his expression making me think he could tell what I was feeling. Slightly embarrassed, I reached for my drink.

“I don’t know about brave,” I said, after I’d drained the rest of it. “But my family sure wasn’t thrilled about it.”

“They thought it was too far?”

“They thought I should be putting my hard-earned education to work getting a real job, not spending more loan money on something frivolous.”

“Higher education is frivolous?”

“It is to them.” I reached for my drink again, my hand coming up short when I realized it was empty. Talking about my parents’ expectations always stressed me out.

Thomas noticed and gestured for a waitress. “Another gin and tonic and another Heineken, please.”

“Thanks,” I said, grateful.

“You’re welcome. We can change the subject if you want.”

“No, it’s okay. I just have some guilt issues when it comes to my career,” I laughed lightly, hoping I didn’t sound too melodramatic, but Thomas only said, “I can relate.”

“My parents are big on stability. They saw their parents struggle so much when they came to America. My dad worked a bunch of terrible jobs before he got hired at Ford. For him, a job with a good union, good benefits, that’s like the holy grail.”

“Your brothers and sisters agree?”

“Oh God, yes,” I laughed. “Two brothers are at Ford with him, another is an electrician, and both the girls are teachers.”

“So you followed in their footsteps?”

I was saved answering by the waitress’s return with our drinks, and it was a good thing, too. I had been about to admit that the thought of teaching had lately filled me with a panic I couldn’t explain. I hadn’t admitted that to anyone, not even Sofie or Callie. What was it about Thomas that made me feel so chatty?

“What about you?” I asked, eager to stop thinking about my career prospects. “What did your folks think about acting?”

“They’re supportive, now. It was a different story at first. They sent all three of us to really good schools, education was really important to them. I think they had visions of all three of us becoming barristers, like my dad.”

“What does your brother do now?”

“He’s a barrister.” Thomas laughed. “He’s the good son. But my sister is making noise about wanting to give acting a shot. They’ll really kill me then.” He winked at me, making my tummy flip all over again. I found that I was staring at his eyes while he talked. They were the most expressive eyes I had ever seen, flashing and twinkling, their green depths seeming to darken depending on his tone. If I spent enough time with him I could read his mood in his eyes, I thought. Without him saying a word.

“You said they weren’t thrilled with the acting at first. Weren’t you really young when Darkness came out?”

“I went to an open call when I was seventeen,” he said. “I actually auditioned for Cooper.” When I looked blank, he laughed. “Jackson’s part. I take it you aren’t a fan?”

I blushed to the roots of my hair. “Um…”

He laughed again and patted my hand, the contact sending a rush of shivers down my arm. “Don’t worry about it. It’s actually pretty refreshing. Anyway, I went to the audition kind of on a lark. I really liked drama in school, and kept telling my parents I wanted to study it at university. I figured if I could manage a callback in a major show, they might take me seriously. I was blown away when I was cast.”

“And they let you do it. That’s pretty cool.”

“At that point, they couldn’t have stopped me,” he laughed. “I had visions of Hollywood superstardom in my eyes. I was impossible for months.”

Just then, my phone beeped. I groaned as I looked down at it. “The girls are leaving.”

Thomas sat up straighter. “I could take you home,” he said. Was I imagining the eagerness in his voice?

“Thank you, but I should go with Callie. The other girls don’t live on our side of town, and we’re too new here for me to be leaving her on her own.”

“You sound like a nice friend,” he smiled at me, and I noticed, for the first time, that he had dimples. Or maybe they only appeared when he smiled a certain way. I had already mentally catalogued at least four different smiles to obsess over when I was alone.

He stood with me to walk me down the stairs. As soon as we were out of our protective alcove, the club noise hit me all over again. I had to lean up to yell right in his ear for him to hear me, brushing my arm across his as I went. I wasn’t complaining. “Look, I’d introduce you but I’m afraid Callie will go all fan girl on you. Are you up for that tonight?”

“Hmm, can I take a rain check on the fan-girling?”

I laughed. “Sure.”

As I scanned the room for Callie, Thomas took my hand. I looked up at him, surprised, as a rush of warmth shot through my fingers. “I’d like to see you again,” he said, leaning down so I could hear him. “Would that be okay with you?”

I couldn’t speak. Being so close to his face, his hand holding mine so firmly, I was overwhelmed with the desire to reach up and kiss him. I’d barely have to stretch at all. Instead, I nodded wordlessly, earning another grin from Thomas.

Five distinct smiles, I thought to myself. I wonder what they all represent.

“Tomorrow?”

I nodded again, pretty sure that my grin had turned downright goofy looking.

Thomas squeezed my hand before releasing it. “Text me when you get home then, we can set a time and you can give me your address.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

He nodded across the room. “I think I see your friend. Talk to you soon?”

Before I could respond, he was brushing his lips lightly across my forehead, squeezing my hand one last time, and turning away. I stood gaping after him, still feeling his lips on my forehead.

###

If you have any questions about the Hop don’t hesitate to ask. Remember to leave a comment to enter to win a copy of my brand new ebook, Lovestruck in London. And don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter for the grand prize kindle!

Keep hopping! Click here to return to the list of blogs.