I’m thrilled to welcome you to my first of two stops on the blog tour for If There’s No Tomorrow. Today I have an excerpt to share but next month I’ll be back with a review as well. Make sure to check out TLC Book Tours for the rest of the tour schedule where you can find a mix of other excerpts and reviews!
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Release date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications, and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic—one of opportunities and chances.
Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.
Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened.
For what she let happen.
With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when she and her friends’ entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?
Chapter 9: Middle to End
My face caught aflame as I balled my hands into fists.
“Yeah, neither of you have a clue,” Abbi shot back.
Keith’s dark brows flew up. “Oh baby, I would get down on my knees right here and now if you’d let me prove to you just how good I am at getting girls—”
“That’s all I need to hear to know you have no idea what you’re doing.” Abbi raised her hand, silencing him. “If you did, you wouldn’t have to announce it.”
“She has a point,” Sebastian commented.
Keith laughed as he reached out, yanking on Abbi’s pigtail. “I can totally prove you wrong. Give me five minutes.”
“Five minutes?” She snorted.
Snatching the towel out of Sebastian’s hands, I shoved past him and walked over to where the patio led to the pool house and the horseshoe pit to avoid doing something like, say, punching him in the throat.
“That was kind of stupid, wasn’t it?”
I twisted around and saw Cody standing there, a bottle in his hand. Why couldn’t I just hide in my corner and marinate in my foolishness alone? Was that too much to ask?
“Yeah,” I muttered.
“You look pretty pissed over it,” he commented.
I took a deep breath and lifted my gaze. “Has anyone ever told you that you’re very observant?”
He laughed softly, raising the bottle. “Hey, I’m not the one who threw you into the pool like a basketball.”
Wrapping the towel around my shoulders, I mentally counted to ten. Cody hadn’t done anything wrong. “So, what are you up to?”
“Nothing really.” He took a swig from the bottle. “Trying to decide if I feel up to staying here or heading elsewhere.”
While I wasn’t in the mood for conversation, I wasn’t doing anything else. Abbi was still arguing with Keith, and Sebastian was with Phillip and Megan, by the lounge chairs. “What else do you have planned?”
“No idea. Just not really feeling it today, you know?” Crossing his legs at the ankles, he leaned against the side of the pool house, looking out toward the pool. “You’re missing a friend, aren’t you?”
I nodded. “Dary. She’s doing the family thing in D.C.”
“Sounds like fun.” He didn’t sound like he believed that. “How late are you planning to be here?”
Dusk was settling so I knew it had to be past eight. I’d already stayed later than I anticipated. “Not much longer.” I pretty much just wanted to go home and eat the Pop Tarts Mom had picked up.
“You’re obviously not feeling it either.” He shifted his body toward mine. “We could steal Sebastian’s keys and go for a ride.”
I swallowed my snort. “Yeah, I don’t think that would be wise.”
“What?” A playful grin tugged at his lips. “It would fun.”
“Uh-huh.” I kicked off my flip flops, hoping the stone walkway was baked with enough heat they’d dry. “First off, pretty sure you’re not going to be able to steal the keys that are currently in the pocket of his shorts.”
“You have such little faith in me,” he replied. “I have sneaky fingers.”
“I’m sure you do, but since I’ve heard you’re back with Jessica, I seriously doubt she will be happy to hear that we stole Sebastian’s car together,” I told him. “And I really don’t want that kind of drama.”
“Damn, news travels fast, huh?” Cody shook his head. “Jessica can be… feisty.”
“That is a really tame description of Jessica,” I said, laughing a little. “Not trying to be mean or anything.”
“Nah, I get you.” He nudged my arm slightly. “We’re about to get company.”
I didn’t get a chance to look behind me.
“Hey.” Sebastian said from behind me. “Am I interrupting something?”
Tensing, I refused to let myself turn around and look at him. “Cody and I are talking.”
“I can see that.” Sebastian moved to stand beside me, so close I could feel the warmth radiating off his body. “About what?”
“We were plotting nefarious things,” Cody answered.
Sebastian snickered. “Do you even know what nefarious means?”
“Damn, Seb.” Cody coughed out a laugh. Stepping to the side, he tipped his bottle at me. “Have fun with all of that.” He then pointed at Sebastian with the mouth of the bottle. He grinned. “Good to hear you got extra practice tomorrow with the coach. You’ve been gone all month. Don’t want to be holding the team back.”
“You don’t have to worry about me holding anyone back,” Sebastian replied.
“Sure, sure,” Cody said as he pivoted and walked away.
I glanced at Sebastian. “That was kind of rude, don’t you think?”
“Not really. Figured I’d come over here and save you from being stuck in a conversation with him.”
“I don’t recall sending up an SOS signal.”
“Wow.” He stepped in front of me just as the twinkling lights strung along the trees turned on. His brows were furrowed together. “That was a little—”
“I’d proceed with caution with what you’re about to say,” I warned, staring up at him. “Choose your words wisely.”
He opened his mouth and then snapped it shut. Turning sideways, he whipped off his baseball cap and thrust his fingers through his hair before he pulled the hat back on. “Are you ticked off because I interrupted you guys?”
Oh. Yeah. That was the reason. I could feel my cheeks heating up, and I was grateful that the outdoor lights weren’t that bright. Frustration swept over my skin like an army of fire ants. “Whatever.”
“Wait.” He laughed, but that sound was hoarse. “Are you, like, interested in Cody?”
“Are you into Cody?” he repeated.
I tugged the towel closer. I could not have heard him correctly. I’d just kissed him and he was asking me this? “Why would it matter if I was?”
He looked like I admitted to dropping out of school to pursue a career as a professional street performer. “Cody is a player, Lena. He’s been with half the school. He’s back with—”
“I know what he is, but what I don’t know is why you care,” I shot back, struggling to keep my voice low.
Sebastian stared down at me, disbelief etched into his face. “You’ve never been interested in him. Ever. And now you are?”
Okay, so I wasn’t interested in Cody whatsoever, but this conversation was ridiculous. “Why are we talking about this? Weren’t you hanging all over Skylar last night?”
Sebastian’s chin jerked to the side. “What does that have to do with the conversation we’re having?”
The breath I took scorched a hole into my chest, and I could taste the metallic bitterness and rancid jealousy, feelings that had existed beneath the surface for far too long. Feelings I’d hidden and pretended didn’t exist for years. But now it was like I was stripped bare, my skin flayed open, and there was just no more hiding.
He rubbed his palm across his chest, right above his heart. “I actually cannot believe we’re having this conversation.”
I jolted. “You can’t believe we’re having this conversation? You started it and, you know what, I don’t want to talk to you right now. I’m mad at you.”
“Mad at me?” His brows flew up. “About what?”
Dropping the towel, I looked down at myself pointedly. A small puddle of water had formed under me. I knew in the back of my head, that being pissed at him for throwing me into the pool had nothing to do with the actual act. Hell, he’d done that before. I’d actually pushed him into Keith’s pool a few times. But I wanted to be mad, because being mad was better than embarrassed and hurt and disappointed.
“You’re seriously mad at me for that?” He stepped back. “What the hell? Are you—?”
“I kissed you!” The moment I said those words, a knot formed in the back of my throat.
His jaw tightened as he lowered his head toward mine. “What?”
“I kissed you on Tuesday, and I… I didn’t mean to. It happened and before—before I could say anything, you practically ran away. And I thought you were going to kiss me when you threw me in the pool,” I said, breathing heavy and feeling a little sick. “That’s what I thought you were doing.”
In the failing light, his eyes looked like the ocean at night, a dark and deep endless blue. “Lena, I thought—”
He jerked back at the sound of Skylar’s voice and then he looked over his shoulder, chest rising and falling deeply.
Oh for crap’s sake…
She was coming down the walkway, clad in a strapless dress that skimmed the top of her thighs. She was walking so fast her hair lifted off her shoulders. It looked like she was prowling down a runway. “There you are. I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”
Pressing my lips together, I fought the urge to point out that we weren’t exactly hidden and not hard to find, so she seriously didn’t need to look everywhere.
Skylar had that Miss America smile on her face as she walked up to us. She placed her hand on Sebastian’s arm, and I focused on the ground. “Can we talk for a second?” she asked.
I briefly squeezed my eyes shut, knowing he was going to say yes, and it was time for me to end this conversation before any more serious damage was done. I shoved my feet into my flip flops. “I’ve got to go over… there.”
Sebastian turned to me. “Lena—”
“See you in a bit,” I cut in, forcing a smile at Skylar.
She smiled back, and I think she said something, but I didn’t hear her over the roaring in my ears as I hurried back toward the pool, immediately tracking down Abbi.
“You okay?” She was sitting on the edge of a lounge chair. Keith was leaning back in it, and at some point he must’ve decided the speedos had to go, since he was now wearing shorts and a tee shirt. It was a definite improvement.
“Yeah.” I cleared my throat. “Totally fine.”
She looked doubtful as she glanced back toward the pool house. She opened her mouth, but I cut her off. “We’ll talk tomorrow.”
“Okay.” She patted the space next to her. “Sit with me.”
I sat on the edge of the chair, with my back to the pool house, and I didn’t look over my shoulder. Not once. And as I sat there, listening to Keith and Abbi attempt to out-snark each other, I told myself that everything that happened with Sebastian wouldn’t matter. Tonight sucked. But tomorrow would be a better day.
Tomorrow had to be.
About the Author:
# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in West Virginia.
When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write. She shares her home with her husband, his K-9 partner named Diesel and her hyper Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent her time writing short stories, therefore explaining her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes Young Adult Contemporary, Urban Fantasy/Paranormal and Romance. She writes New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name J.Lynn.
She is the author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press) the Lux Series (Entangled Teen) and the upcoming YA Don’t Look Back (2014) and untitled YA (Fall 2014) from Disney/Hyperion. She is also published with Harlequin Teen and HarperCollins.