Cover & Excerpt Reveal
The Falling Book Two
Dylan’s not the only one Chasing Angeline—she’s on the run from her demons.
Angeline LeClézio is a business owner, a homeowner, and a dependable big sister and daughter. Her life isn’t perfect—or all that exciting, for that matter—but for the first time in a long time it finally feels secure—safe. Secure and safe are exactly what a girl with a past as dark as Angeline’s needs out of life. That was until a blue-eyed, smooth-talking, middle-school football coach sets his sights on her.
Dylan Miller has a lot in life he’s serious about: sports, being a mentor to the kids in his class, being a good friend. Women and marriage have never really made the list. Then again, no woman has ever given him the chase Angeline has. He can’t figure her out, or pin her down, and for some reason he likes that.
With their intense chemistry, it seems impossible not to give in to each other, but Angeline has a secret that might send the commitment-shy Dylan running for the hills if he ever finds it out; though it seems just as likely that if she doesn’t divulge her past, he’ll never understand her. Will her secret push Dylan away, or will he end up Chasing Angeline?
Genre: Contemporary RomancePurchase links: Amazon ARe Smashwords Kobo B&N
Content/Theme(s): Romantic Suspense, Football coach
Release Date: October 2, 2014
Publisher: Hartwood Publishing
Excerpt & More
“You know what?” Angeline stopped. The other two turned around to face her. “I need the bathroom. Where is it?”
Dylan looked between Selina and Angeline, seemingly torn on who to accompany where. “Let me introduce Selina to Derrick, and then I’ll take you.”
“I am not a child. I do not need a chaperone. I’m fine to go alone if you could just tell me where it is,” Angeline argued.
“It is over there by the concession stand,” Selina butted in.
“I’ll introduce Selina, and then I’ll meet you over there,” Dylan said to her, already retreating back. Angeline didn’t say anything but gave him a silent wave again.
Angeline walked herself down to the bathrooms, went into a stall, and let herself cool down. She thought she was stronger and ready for life, but every time she turned around she was getting knocked down.
She wanted to be happy and easygoing like Selina, like she used to be once. She wanted to be able to send quick witty coquetries to Dylan with ease. She had to be honest with herself, she wished she was woman enough for Dylan—but she just wasn’t, not with this metaphorical crack in her side. She was broken, complicated, and came with so much baggage that some days it was hard enough to carry it herself.
She finished her business and stepped out of the stall and over toward the sink. She heard someone coming out of the stalls behind her. She’d thought she’d been alone. Angeline looked up in the mirror and watched that leggy blonde French teacher come out of the teal-colored stall. Angeline gave her a polite smile and then hit the soap dispenser and went back to her business.
“I saw you talking to Coach Miller.” The blonde spoke in the fakest French accent Angeline had ever heard. Lots of people in Sudbury spoke French. None of them could have believed her French to be real. How had she even landed her job? It took an embarrassingly long second before one glance at the blonde up close had the answer dawning on Angeline. She was beautiful.
“Oui.” Angeline spoke in French because she was a little bit of a sore loser and wanted to rub her real French in Blondie’s face. “So were you, and a bunch of twelve-year-old boys,” Angeline pointed out.
“I wasn’t being rude. I was simply making conversation. Are you a family friend?”
“Why do you ask?”
“Are you a family friend?”
The blonde’s lip twitched up in a smile that bordered on a sneer. “I’ve had my eye on him for a while, and I just wanted to let you know that if you’re thinking of trying to get close to him. He’s already spoken for.” She eyed Angeline up and down crudely. “Though I don’t know what he’d see in you anyway.”
Angeline wasn’t frumpy. She wasn’t ugly. She just wasn’t showy. Her body held more curves than some. Her lips were too big and her cheekbones too flat, but she wasn’t ugly. Most days she’d even go as far to say she thought of herself as pretty.
“If he was really yours I don’t think you’d feel the need to warn me off in the bathroom, now would you?” Angeline had no idea where this sudden burst of assertiveness had come from. Probably from the sheer anger that had been hibernating inside her for the last couple of days.
“I think we both know if this were a competition who would win.”
Angeline looked at her and then caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. The woman was gorgeous with a slim, lithe body; long, toned legs; blonde hair; and pretty alabaster skin. Standing next to that Angeline did feel somewhat dowdy.
Maybe she’s right.
Instead of arguing even further about a man who Angeline had decided she couldn’t want, she simply turned and left. The cool night air hit her face with relief. With a deep breath Angeline decided she couldn’t return to Selina just yet. She would, once the stinging in her eyes and the pang deep in her gut began to ease.
She’d been stumbling this past week over this same feeling of inadequacy. Eventually she’d have to either succumb to it or fight it, but right now she just wanted to be at home hiding from it. Having been lost in her thoughts, only a few steps out of the bathroom, she walked herself right into a strong hard chest.
Her breath caught in her throat, but she still managed to sputter, “I’m so sorry.” She looked up to find herself wrapped around Dylan. He engulfed her. She tried to take a step back. “I should watch where I’m going.” She’d moved so she was no longer pressed against his chest, but he didn’t let her fully retreat. He left his hands on her hips. She felt her cheeks flame, and her mouth go dry.
Just then Blondie came strolling out of the bathroom, and Angeline was surprised at the delight she felt when the woman’s jaw fell open. Managing coherent thoughts with Dylan’s hands radiating heat through her clothes was difficult as it was, but now she’d have to try and think clearly enough to maintain composure in possibly another confrontation with this woman.
“Dylan, I don’t believe I’ve met your…” With a disdainful look she eyed Angeline up and down. “Girlfriend?”
* * * *
Dylan cringed. He didn’t want Angeline to get upset that people were getting the idea that they were together. Chasing Angeline was difficult enough he didn’t need other people adding to the reasons for her to turn heel and run. Before he could tell Jen that they weren’t dating, Angeline completely surprised him by extending her hand for Jen to shake.
Jen smiled politely and shook her hand. “Jen.”
“And we have met. In the bathroom. Just moments ago. Have you forgotten already?”
Dylan had no idea what was going on but sensed some serious undercurrents. After Angeline dropped Jen’s hand she placed hers against his arms, rubbing up and down his exposed skin. She made it look so casual like they’d touched each other so innocently, yet so intimately often. He wasn’t so cool, though. Her touch had him tightening everywhere. Like his jaw, his abs, flexing the biceps she rubbed, his hands on her waist, and a few other places.
Realization slowly crept into his conscious. He was shocked and delighted at Angeline’s actions. He was beyond amused and so turned on that he had half a mind to just end the conversation by leaning in with that kiss he’d held back on and devouring her, right here and now.
“I don’t recall. Are you sure? You must be confused.”
“No, I’m not confused. Maybe try some ginkgo biloba.”
“Yeah, I guess I’ll add that to my shopping list.” Jen laughed, but Dylan caught something dark pass between them.
“I don’t know how you could forget her.” Dylan tugged Angeline closer.
“Me either.” Jen spoke dryly. “Well, it was nice meeting you.”
“Twice.” Angeline smiled.
Jen’s face appeared pinched. “Good night, Coach. I’ll see you tomorrow.” She didn’t say it to Dylan—she spoke it directly to Angeline.
Angeline nodded apparently in agreement and turned those big soft brown eyes up at him. “Yeah, it’s getting late. What do you say we go home, honey?”
Dylan fought back a smirk. Jen was long out of earshot by the time Angeline had stopped watching her walk away and brought her eyes back around to his face.
In an instant he watched as embarrassment washed over her. She tried to move away, but he held her firmly in front of him. “Honey,” he teased her. “Care to tell me what that was all about?”
Angeline shrugged and because she struggled against him again he let her move away. “I don’t like her.”
“Why? She seemed nice just then.” He knew he was playing with fire, and if he didn’t the look in Angeline’s eyes made it very clear.
“Her accent is fake,” Angeline blurted. Dylan could tell that she’d instantly regretted saying anything. She averted her eyes, wrung her hands together, and bounced nervously on the balls of her feet. Sometimes they were just fine, easy together, comfortable, and other times Dylan knew he made her nervous. He just didn’t know why.
Carefully he insisted, “That’s no reason to hate someone.”
“I never said I hated her.” Something shimmered in her eyes that told him that if she ever let him in—really in—her passion would engulf him. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to ruin anything. If you’re interested in her—if you like her, I mean.”
“I don’t like her.” The look of sheer relief on her face was enough to bowl him over. He couldn’t explain it—didn’t even understand it, but he craved Angeline, and he needed for her to feel this same desperation for him.
“No,” he whispered and took two steps toward her again, bringing them toe to toe. “I do like you, though.” He moved even closer and to his surprise and delight Angeline didn’t shift away.
“I’m mad at you.” She shook her gaze loose from his.
“I know.” Dylan reached out and tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear. He watched as her breath caught and held. It eased his mind to know he wound her up about as much as she did him.
“Why—” Angeline was cut off by the sound of her sister’s laugh. She pushed lightly on Dylan’s hard chest, and he regretfully took a small step back.
“Hey, guys.” Selina smiled to find them together. “I’ve heard all I need to hear.” She grinned, turning toward the blond, shaggy-haired, greasy-faced DJ Derrick. “You’re hired.”
“Awesome. Thanks, and thank you too, Coach.” Derrick crossed his skinny arms over his concave chest.
“Yes, thanks, Coach.” Selina beamed. “Are you ready, Angeline?”
Angeline took a deep breath and a long haunted look in Dylan’s direction before she finally nodded. “Oui.”
Dylan wished he’d had just a half a minute longer to be alone with her or that he could come up with a reasonable excuse to drive her home himself. All he could do now was watch her walk away, but he hoped one day soon she’d be walking toward him instead.
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