Thanks for joining us as we celebrate the holidays with thirteen New Adult authors. Check out every stop leading up to December 24 to get excerpts, exclusive content, and hopefully a cutie under the mistletoe! Be sure to enter the rafflecopter to win a grand prize pack of an ebook from every author!
About Melissa West:
Melissa West writes heartfelt Southern romance and YA sci-fi romance, all with lots of kissing. Because who doesn’t like kissing? Her work is published by Entangled, Kensington, and Penguin. She lives outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband and two daughters and spends most of her time writing, reading, or fueling her writing addiction.
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Holiday scene from PIECES OF OLIVIA:
“Rose, it’s me. Rose?” I called through the noise. “Can you hear me? Where are you?”
“It’s two days before Christmas, Olive. Where do you think I am? I’m in hell with my family. Can’t you hear them in the background?” she shouted over the wails of a baby.
I smiled. “Oh, well, I can let you go if you—”
“Hang up this phone and I will ban you from my practice. You’ll give me an excuse to slip out for a bit. Hold on.” I heard her mute her cell and then a moment later she returned. “I have five minutes before my ridiculous daughter-in-law seeks me out.”
“I didn’t know you had a son, Rose.”
“I have two sons and two horrifying daughter-in-laws. One would think God would’ve granted me a reprieve after the first, but no. The second is worse!”
I burst out laughing. “Ah, you know you love them. I can hear it in your voice.”
She sighed. “It’s true. But they’re marks against my sanity, and you know how closely I value my mind. Now, tell me, how is Westlake?”
“It’s . . . nice,” I said. “My parents have been really supportive, which is unusual.”
“Or perhaps they have always been supportive and you are only now seeing it.”
I thought about it. “Maybe.”
“Have you looked at the last photo?”
“No. I’m afraid to do it here. I’m afraid my mom would walk in and see me crying. I don’t want her to worry, ya know?”
“Let me tell you something, Olive. She is a mother. Worrying is what we do. You could say nothing and she will worry. You could say everything and she will worry. You have to face that photo at some point.”
“Oh, don’t I know it, but I plan to go kicking and screaming.”
Just then my door burst open and my youngest niece, Everett, toddled in. My eldest sister, Cameron, had three children, all of them named something crazy. Brick, Talen, and Everett. A boy and two girls, all of them bound to hate her for naming them such stupid names, but they were all adorable, especially Everett.
She came over to me and dropped a chubby handful of Goldfish onto my bed. “I share,” she said.
I giggled. “I can see that.”
“Olive, dear, I’m being summoned, and it sounds like you are as well. I expect another update just after the holiday and then I’ll see you back in my office the Monday you return.”
“Oh, and Olive?”
“Merry Christmas. I hope you find peace this holiday.”
I swallowed. Her words were more touching than anything she had ever said to me. I’d known Rose for several months now, and while I felt close to her, I never really thought she felt that same closeness to me until that moment. “Thank you. Merry Christmas.”
I scooped Everett into my arms and started down the stairs when my phone buzzed. I turned back and tilted my head so I could read the text.
Preston: What would you want for Christmas if you could get anything in the world?
I thought about the question. In that moment, what would I want? My gut reaction was that Trisha could still be alive. That they could all still be alive. But for once, I allowed myself one selfish wish, something only for me, something that celebrated my life now in the present. The life that I was living.
I typed my answer over to him: You.
Preston: I hoped you would say that.
And then the doorbell rang. I glanced down at my phone, my heartbeat kicking up. Surely not. He couldn’t. It was two days before Christmas. I told myself that it was one of Mom’s friends or one of the kids, but I couldn’t keep myself from running out into the hallway and down the stairs, Everett giggling in my arms the whole way.
I stopped in the foyer as my mom was opening the door and then he was there, staring at me with those ocean eyes that made everything in my world right again. I set Everett down, tears pricking my eyes, and started for him, fighting to keep myself from running. I crashed into his arms, and it was like coming up for air. Everything my body needed was suddenly right there in front of me.
“I’m sorry to just show up,” he said into my hair. “But I couldn’t wait another day. I couldn’t wait another second.”