We’re so pleased to have author R. Phoenix joining us today on the tour for her latest release, To Close. Enjoy this little teaser excerpt and then be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget below for details on how to enter to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card and a book from the author’s backlist.
About the Book
Skylar Orion’s life has been complicated ever since his mother abandoned him and his sister Evie. Making ends meet seemed impossible until Tate Chandler took them in — his knight in shining armor who promised to make life about more than just surviving. But Tate is not the man he seemed to be, and even his whispered I love yous and generous gifts do little to soothe the pain he causes. Knowing he can’t give his sister all that she deserves without Tate, Skylar stays with him, relying on bad puns and a worse sense of humor to keep up the charade.
He will do anything for his sister, even if that means acting the responsible adult and going back to his old high school to meet Dexter Weston, the hot math teacher who can make even algebra interesting. Sparks fly between the two of them, but with his dependence on Tate, Skylar isn’t free to follow his heart. He wants what is best for Evie, but can he pass up the chance to find love that heals instead of harms?
Warning: This book contains scenes of domestic abuse and violence that some may find triggering to read.
If I’m feeling this betrayed, I can only imagine how she must be feeling. I can’t count how many times I’ve tried to reassure her that Mom leaving wasn’t her fault.
“So I waited for her to get off work, and then I went up to her. I…” Evie hesitates. “I wasn’t even sure she recognized me at first. She was looking… You know, through me. Not at me.”
I remember that look. “You know Mom’s always been…”
Selfish? Distant? Oblivious?
“She couldn’t wait to get rid of me,” Evie says, and her voice is so sharp it might as well be a knife as it cuts into me, leaving my heart bleeding. “She gave some bullshit excuses about needing to get back up on her feet, but I’m not stupid. I’m not a kid.”
The really shitty part is that she is a kid – or at least, she should be. But no matter how much I try to shield her, I can’t protect her from everything. Both of us had to grow up so fast…
I’m pissed off at myself for not having seen this sooner. I should’ve realized she felt this way.
And that she was failing.
I’m as selfish, distant, and oblivious as our mother.
The back door opens before I can reply, and I pause. Tate closes the door behind him and crosses to us, looking from Evie’s tears to my stricken expression.
Resentment wells up inside of me as I see him; this is supposed to be my space, and–
And it’s his house, Sky.
I can’t muster up a smile.
“What’s wrong?” he asks, trampling the grass as he closes the distance between us.
“Nothing,” Evie says sullenly.
Tate’s eyes narrow. No. He’s been so good lately, and I’m begging him wordlessly not to stop now.
In some ways, it’s worse because I don’t know what’s going to make him break.
The thought hits me every bit as hard as one of his punches.
That’s the thing, isn’t it? It’s not about if he’ll go back to his habits.
It’s about when.
The clock is ticking. I have to fix this. I can’t let this get out of control. I don’t want Evie to see him lose his temper.
“Evie saw our mom today,” I tell him quietly. The shock of betrayal darkens Evie’s face, and renewed guilt lances through me.
I really have been choosing Tate over her…
“She doesn’t want us,” Evie tells him, and her voice is so cold I barely recognize it. “So it looks like you’re stuck with me a little longer.”
Before I can get more than her name out, Tate interrupts, shaking his head. When he speaks, I have the bizarre urge to laugh when I realize he’s talking to her like he usually talks to me when he’s feeling particularly contrite. Like she’s a wild animal in need of gentling. “You’re welcome here as long as you need to stay.”
“Yeah, well. I don’t want to be here,” she snaps.
My heart pounds in my chest. “Guys…”
“Sky would be devastated if you weren’t,” Tate says, and Evie’s eyes snap to me. She has no idea what I’ve been doing to protect her. If she did… She’d be furious.
“He’d get over it,” she muttered.
I want to scream.
About the Author
R. Phoenix has an unhealthy fascination with contrasts: light and dark, heroes and villains, order and chaos. She believes that love can corrupt and power can redeem. Her muse is a sadomasochistic slavedriver who thinks it’s terribly amusing to give her the best ideas when she just got comfortable and warm in bed, and she passes on that torture to her readers.
If she had it her way, she would describe the books in her “Ripples in the Status Quo” world as: “Supernatural creatures take over the world and turn humans into pets and food. There’s some sex between guys. And… um… fucked up things happen.” It’s probably a good thing she has people around her to remind her that she actually wants people to read her books. (They should really be more diligent, especially when they know she’s writing her author bio.)
She’s an author, stay-at-home mother, housewife, second time college student, and duck herder extraordinaire. She’s learning how to cook without burning the house down, her garden is somehow neither drowning nor drying up, and one day she might remember what that mythical thing called “free time” is. She’s starting to wonder who thought it was a good idea to write bios in third person.
She also tries entirely too hard to be funny, and she mercilessly inflicts her terrible sense of humor upon anyone who speaks to her. Really, it’s not you. It’s her. All the same, she’d love it if you’d say hello, because it makes her day to hear that someone read something she wrote. If they enjoyed it, there’s usually an awkward happy dance and embarrassing sounds of joy to accompany it (no, not that kind of sound, you perv). If all of that hasn’t scared you away, please say hello!
Follow the Tour
January 9 – Because Two Men Are Better Than One
January 11 – Sinfully MM Book Reviews
January 13 – The Blogger Girls
January 16 – Bayou Book Junkie
January 19 – Love Bytes
January 20 – Alpha Book Club
January 23 – MM Good Book Reviews
January 25 – Prism Books Alliance
January 26 – The Novel Approach
January 30 – My Fiction Nook