I am so excited to get to share with you an EXCLUSIVE Chapter One excerpt from the upcoming novel by Tijan, ‘Hate to Love You‘! But first, read more about her newly released ‘Fallen Crest Home (Fallen Crest #6)’!
Title: Fallen Crest Home
Series: Fallen Crest #6
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult/Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 17, 2017
It’s been years since my mother was in my life.
I learned to accept love.
That’s all done. She was away, and now she’s back.
I’ve avoided her for a year and a half, but I can’t hide anymore.
Mason has an internship in Fallen Crest, so we’re heading back for the summer.
And when we got there—no one was prepared for what happened.
CHAPTER ONE EXCERPT
A sneak peek at something brand new coming from me in the fall of 2017! This has not gone through final edits, so read at your own risk! 😉 I reserve the right to change the title, so this one is temporary.
I hope you enjoy.~ Tijan
Hate to Love You – Releasing Fall 2017
Shay Coleman tanked my dream of going pre-law.
It’d been my dream through high school. I joined mock trial. I was a witness the first year. The second year, I graduated to head defense lawyer. I knew my shit. I knew the loopholes. I knew all the motions, what I could object to, what I couldn’t, but still would so the imaginary jury would hear what I wanted them to hear.
I was going to become a lawyer.
It didn’t matter to me that none of my new freshman friends wanted to take political science with me. It was the beginning of my law career. And when I marched into that first class, I got a secret thrill at the brick building it was in. It felt so Ivy League. I wasn’t at an Ivy League college, but the professors had been from those schools. It was good enough, at least for me. I was going to ace this class, and I was going to do it with flying colors. I was determined.
Then the class started.
I learned three things right away:
- Memorizing laws was boring. No, really. It was really boring.
- While I didn’t need to study in high school, I sure as hell did in college.
- I needed to learn how to study.
And another thing—I knew arrogant guys. I grew up with them. I had two as brothers, and I got a different view of their friends than the rest of my female classmates. I knew how they could beat the shit out of each other. How sometimes they’d sit in a room and laugh at their own farts, how it was some form of competition between them and especially in a vehicle. I knew how they’d clean their cars before a date, or not clean their cars on purpose. All of it. And I’d witness other stuff too, their swagger down a hallway, how ‘cool’ they had to look sitting in the back row of a classroom, the real crap they’d say about a chick behind her back. But one more thing I learned from Introduction to Political Science, they could be real assholes about academics too. That was something Shay Coleman delivered himself to me.
“Break up into groups of four or five.” The professor raised the worksheet in the air. “Go over these discussion questions, and one person will share with the class. And go.”
I glanced around, sitting in the second to last row. This was where I mentally cursed myself for not forcing any of my freshman friends to take the course with me, and also for not befriending at least one upperclassmen, because I’d learned after the first day that was who typically took this class. Apparently, I joined the one class that didn’t have any other freshman, and I gripped my seat, ready to turn it in one way, but nope. I looked to the right. Blondie who sat next to me was in a group. Her back was facing me. I glanced ahead, and the same thing.
I didn’t want to look left because I knew who sat there.
They sat there the first day of class. They were the reason I moved from the last row of seats to the second to the last row. Apparently, that row was code for the football row. As I sat in my seat, I watched one by one as those guys trailed in. Even if I hadn’t known who they were, and I did because my brother, Gage, made me go to the games with him last year when he’d been a freshman, I would’ve pegged them right away.
They were tall.
They were muscular.
They were gorgeous.
All six of them.
One was tall with broad shoulders, dark blond hair, blue eyes that looked lined with ice, trim waist, and the kind of cheekbones girl would melt into their seats and sigh about. He was model material, and it was so cliché, but of course he had to be the school’s quarterback. Gage pointed him out to me last year. He was starting as a sophomore, and I knew who he was when he first walked in. Shay Fucking Coleman.
The others were a starting defensive lineman, a wide receiver, a tailback, an offensive lineman, and the lankiest one was the team’s kicker. I knew this because Gage made me go to not one, two, five, but seven of the games. And he’d quiz me on their stats when we walked back to his dorm. It was the best part of my visit.
Note the sarcasm.
They all sat in that back row with me. The seats were divided into two sections. A left section, comprising of our individual desks, and a right section. I was on the edge with four empty seats to my left. They filled them. The fourth guy stopped, looked at me, and without blinking an eye, turned to the right section. The last two teammates filled in behind him.
I moved one row up the next day.
None of them noticed, or seemed to notice, except him. Shay Coleman came in, paused when he saw my seat empty, and his blue eyes flickered to where I was sitting, right in front of him. Or where I assumed he would sit. They filled in the farthest three seats on the left, and his two other teammates plopped down into the last two on the right side. They left the chair behind me open, so he would either have to make his roommates move down a seat or sit behind me.
His top lip curved up, like he was holding back a laugh, and I felt the mocking in his eyes.
Here was the thing. I could’ve stayed in my seat. These guys weren’t the type to bully me out of it, or hit on me. I felt their gazes the first half of the class, but when I didn’t flirt with them, when I didn’t laugh, giggle, flash my eyelashes at them—hell, I didn’t even look at them—they relaxed. I was young, but I knew I had that Nina Dobrev look. Slim body, long brown hair, and long legs that I used to go jogging as a stress reliever. I didn’t understand the appeal, but guys liked how I looked, or they did until they found out Gage and Brad Clarke were my brothers. Their opinions changed quick after that. But these guys didn’t know that. Dulane University was private, but it was big enough that I could go four years and never see my brother on campus unless I sought him out. Over fourteen thousand students attended here, so I had that going for me.
The other thing I had for me, I could be around guys. I’m sure they filed me away as some weird chick, but I could even convince them that I’m like a guy. It’s been done. My early years were evidence of that, but this guy, Shay Coleman, I couldn’t stand him. He wasn’t ignoring me like the others, hence the seat change, and now feeling that same gaze from him, I gritted my teeth. Grabbing for my bag, I tossed it to the empty seat on the right section. It was still on the row’s edge. I was just stepping over the walkway between the two sections, but if I stayed, I would’ve been sitting right in front of him. He would’ve been staring at my neck. He could’ve reached forward, touched my hair, and pretended something was in my hair. He could’ve checked my ass out the whole time since our backrests only covered the top half of our backs.
I couldn’t endure it.
My bag landed in the seat, and his eyebrows rose.
I grabbed my books, my phone, and I stood up. Dumping the bag onto the floor, I plopped back down. I moved right in front of him, and he stood there, holding his own books in front of him. After I sat down, I stared straight ahead. He didn’t move. I knew he was looking at me, and he was the only one.
No one noticed. There were some girls who watched his every move, but who was I to them? I was a freshman. It was something stamped on me. Upperclassmen just knew who they were, and I was dismissed because of it. My eyes flickered to the right, and I saw confusion on one of those sorority-type girls. She bit down on her lip, skirting from me to Shay until I felt him move past me.
My shoulders dropped. I felt relief instantly, until I heard him say, “Linde, switch seats with me.”
I closed my eyes.
The offensive lineman didn’t argue. He grabbed his things and took the seat I emptied from yesterday. Shay Coleman sat behind me, and I sucked in my breath. This guy shouldn’t bother me. I never talked to him. He never hit on me, or called me a bitch when I turned him down. He didn’t sleep and discard one of my friends. There was no reason for this instant loathing, but it was there, and it was like a bad joke. The only ones in that classroom who were aware of it were he and I.
How did I know?
Because he leaned forward and whispered, his breath teasing my neck, “Checkmate.” I heard his soft and low laughter. “I’m kind of excited to see where we’ll sit tomorrow.”
Our professor announced that day the seats we were in would be our permanent seats for the semester, and fast forward a couple of weeks where I refused to make eye contact, look behind, talk to anyone, and I was stuck.
The professor said to break into groups, and I was presently on my own.
The only place I could now turn was where those guys were.
I had an irrational hope that he had pulled into the group on my right. That would make sense, but no. When I remained there, the only one not in a group and still sitting forward in my seat, I heard him say, “You can join us, Clarke.”
Resigned, I grabbed the edge of my chair and began moving it around. He was pulled in as well, along with Linde, a girl who sat across from me and another girl too. Both of those girls started at the mention of my name, and I felt their curiosity right away. One was dressed in a tan sweater and skinny jeans. Her hair was piled high in a messy bun, and if she told me she was another sorority girl, I wouldn’t have been surprised. The other girl was her friend, but she was less flashy. A white sweater instead, skinny jeans as well, and her dark hair hung loose. Both wore natural-looking makeup, light pink lipstick and eye shadow, and eyeliner. The first was beautiful with her friend plainer, as her eyes were a little too wide for her face.
I skimmed a look over at Linde. He had a round face with laugh lines around his mouth and eyes. I’d heard him laugh enough over the two weeks to know they were there for a reason. He was large, built like an ox, but as I glanced at him, I had the urge to hug him like a teddy bear. Instead, all I did was ask from the corner of my mouth, “How’d you know my last name?” Did he know my first name too? Kennedy.
As soon as I asked, I knew. It was a gut instinct.
I heard him say, “Gage told me to look out for his little sister.”
I looked over and tried not to feel the gut punch to my chest. God. He was gorgeous. Those eyes were focused right on me. They weren’t looking away. All of his concentration was there. I fought against licking my lips for some annoying reason. “You’re friends with my brother?”
When did that happen? I doubted that was true. If it was, Gage would’ve been preening like a peacock over the weekend when we went home.
Those eyes were still laughing at me. He lifted his lips up in a slight smirk, slight grin. “He was at a party. We got to talking about classes. Told me to look out for you.” Those lips lifted the rest of the way in a smirk. “He said his sister would have a silent chip on her shoulder. Knew right away who he was talking about.”
Air escaped me. Gage was a shithead. I struggled to keep a mask on my face. “That’s hilarious.”
Linde lifted up the worksheet. “We’re supposed to talk about abortion.” He pointed it at the other two girls. “Guessing you two chicks are pro-choice?”
The prettier one rolled her eyes. “Shut up, Ray. Just because we have vaginas doesn’t mean we’re about abortions.”
“Yeah, but don’t you want to have the right to choose?” Shay moved his seat closer toward them and also closer to me. His large knees brushed against mine, then they moved as he leaned forward and rested his arms on his desk. “You know, in case you or someone you know is raped. You’d want to keep that baby?”
The prettier one didn’t say anything. Her lips pressed together, and her eyes shifted to her friend.
“Uh.” The wide-set eyed one coughed and jerked forward in her seat. Her elbows rested on her desk. “I mean, is that what the worksheet is asking us to discuss? Our individual opinions?”
Linde’s finger smacked at his sheet. “Number one.” He angled his head to read from it. “Discuss the abortion law.”
“That doesn’t mean we have to talk about our personal opinions.” The prettier one ripped the sheet from his hands. She hovered over the sheet, her finger moving as she read more of the question. “To further develop your own position on abortion, review the following points raised by a pro-life and a pro-choice view. Your group must come to a consensus and present it to the class.” She snorted and pushed the worksheet back to Linde. “Fuck that. I’m not presenting it.”
Linda looked warily at the paper.
“I’ll present it for us.” Shay leaned forward, his knee resting against mine again as he reached for the worksheet. “What about you, Clarke? What’s your opinion on abortion?”
I shrugged. I had no opinion.
“Come on.” The prettier girl raised her eyebrows in encouragement. “You have to have an opinion.”
A low chuckle came from Shay, and the prettier girl’s eyes snapped to him. He ignored the look, picking up a pen to write whatever she said. His leg could’ve lifted from mine again, but it didn’t. He kept it resting there.
He raised his eyebrows up too. “Hmmm, Becs? I’m ready to write.”
“Fuck you, Coleman.” She flushed. Her neck grew red, but his eyes were right on her, and she couldn’t help a little grin from showing. “I don’t know. What do you want me to say?”
“Say what you think and why,” Shay drawled. That smirk was still there, along with another twinkle in his eye.
Her cheeks were full on pink now and she looked down at the desk, shrugging her slender shoulders. She clasped her hands together, resting her arms fully on her desk so they fell off, like she was reaching towards him. “I don’t know. I mean, my family’s religious.”
“You’re pro-life then?” Linde asked.
“Yeah. What about you?” But she wasn’t asking him. Her eyes were right on Shay. It was obvious who her question was directed toward.
He lifted up his pen and grinned. “I’m just the reporter for the group. You guys tell me what to write.”
Linde swore, grinning and shaking his head.
Becs gasped in a flirty way. “Come on.” Her smile was broad. “You have to tell us.”
He grunted. “What about you, Amy?”
The plainer friend coughed. “It’s Aby, and I don’t know.” The two girls shared a look. “I guess I feel the same. My dad’s a pastor. I kind of have to be pro-life, you know.”
Linde’s eyes widened. “Your dad’s a pastor?”
Becs laughed, lifting her hands in a lowering motion. “Settle down. She’s got a steady boyfriend.”
“Who doesn’t go here.”
My own eyes widened, and Becs’s head went back to her friend. She asked, “What? Why would you say that?”
Aby shrugged again, tucking some hair behind her ear. “What? I mean, he doesn’t. He goes to Methal. It’s four hours away.”
“Isn’t Methal a Christian college?”
I glanced sideways to Shay. He had a serious look on his face, but not in his eyes. I saw the same look I saw the first and second day of class. He was laughing at these people. I had a feeling he was laughing at everything about this discussion.
“Yeah.” Both girls turned to him. Aby pulled out one of her sleeves, smoothing it down. “I’m sure he’s pro-life too.”
This was boring me.
No, that wasn’t right. I was losing attention because it was doing the opposite. It was grating on my nerves, and I snorted.
All eyes looked to me.
I could feel Shay’s smirk growing even as he asked, “Yes? You got a different opinion?”
I sat up straighter. “I don’t have an opinion, but it’s not because of who my dad is or if my boyfriend goes to a Christian college. I don’t have an opinion because it hasn’t happened to me yet. When it does, if it does, I’ll figure it out then. But it’ll be my opinion, and not because someone close to me told me how to think.”
Linde’s lip puckered together, and he leaned back. I thought I heard a, ‘well, damn’ from him before both Becs and Aby glared at me.
Becs inclined her head toward me. “Are you saying I don’t have a real opinion?”
I leaned back in my seat. “I don’t have to say that. You did.”
“Excuse me?” Her lips thinned.
“You said you’re pro-life because your family’s religious.” I held my hands out toward her. “You said it yourself.” I looked at Aby, but she already knew what was coming. She started to shift back in her seat. “You said the same thing. Your dad is a pastor, and you can’t think a different way. I’m not sure about the whole boyfriend point because you didn’t seem like you wanted to attach yourself to what might be his opinion, but you still used your dad as your defining point.” I spread my hands out toward them. “There you have it.”
Linde started laughing.
I turned to him. “How about you, Ray? What’s your opinion since Mr. Reporter is pleading the fifth?”
“Uh.” His laughter dried up, and his eyes shifted among all of us. His mouth closed, and his Adam’s apple moved up and down. “I guess,” he sat forward again, tugging at his shirt’s collar, “I’m pro-choice.” His head dipped just slightly to the right like a ‘there, I said it.’ He said to the other girls, “My sister was raped. She didn’t want to have his kid when she was fourteen. So, yeah.” His eyes flicked to mine again. “I’m pro-choice, because there’s no way I’m going against my little sister and the guilt and torment she feels every day because some dick decided to force his inside of her.”
I didn’t spare a look at Becs or Aby. I felt a flash of remorse for forcing the matter, but it didn’t matter. It wasn’t long before the professor called time. We had to go around and tell what the majority decided and why. When it came to us, Shay stood up. “We came to a deadlock.”
The professor folded his arms over his stomach. “You have five members. How could there be a deadlock?”
Shay glanced to me before saying, “Two for life. Two for choice. And one person who hadn’t been forced to make that decision yet.” He added, soft and under his breath, “Lucky for her.”
I felt the surprise from the two girls, but didn’t share. For some reason, I wasn’t surprised he was pro-choice. I felt a smart-ass reason coming to mind, but I remembered Linde. I stopped it. He was a guy who had his opinion for a reason I never would’ve imagined looking at him.
As if feeling my attention, he looked over and dipped his head in a nod.
There it was.
I got what so many guys coveted from a starting football player at Dulane University. The nod of respect.
I grinned back, and he matched it.
My head lifted an inch higher. I just made my first friend in poli-sci, but my enjoyment was short-lived.
The professor announced, “Okay. Good discussion, everyone, and exchange numbers and information with your group members. This is the group you’re going to be doing a final presentation with at the end of the semester. It’s one-third of your grade.”
I groaned and let my head fall to my desk.
Shay’s laughter fell down on me, softly and so annoyingly. He leaned down and said, “Look at that. More discussions to look forward to.” He patted my back. “Thanks, Clarke. I knew this class wasn’t going to be boring.”
START THE FALLEN CREST SERIES NOW