Thursday, August 14, 2014

Better Than Perfect Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog, where the blog Tour for Better Than Perfect stops today.  Not does the blog tour stops on Escapism from Reality, but today is also the release day for this awesome title. So let's see what Better Than Perfect is about.



Better Than Perfect 

Ashtyn's life just got complicated. Her boyfriend is being distant and her sister's back at home after ten years - with a stepson in tow!

Derek has a perfect body, THE sexiest smile and a car - Ashtyn's only way to escape from her crazy life. But Derek likes to play by his own rules and is keen to take Ashtyn on a ride she'll never forget. As they spend more and more time alone together, will Derek's flirty games drive Ashtyn wild?

A sweet and steamy romance from New York Times bestselling author Simone Elkeles







Excited yet?  For this blog stop, I am posting  a snapshot of Ashtyn's phone screen followed by an extract. Read on to find out.


Ashtyn's Mobile Phone

Tonight there is a beach party with all of Ashtyn’s best friends but she can’t quite get into the feel of it - not that she can let Landon know that. With a little fashion advice from her closest friend the night can only get better…right? Find out what happens in the extract.








Chapter 6

Ashtyn

I wanted to kick myself for attempting to look into his eyes
more than a few times tonight. It’s not because I’m attracted to
him. It’s because they’re a unique color, that’s all.
When my dad told me Brandi was moving back home, I hoped
maybe we could become a family again. I imagined Julian and I
would immediately bond. Instead, thanks to Derek, my nephew
thinks I’m his crazy aunt. It’s time I change that perception.
I find Julian in my sister’s room, playing with a handheld video
game.
“Hey, Julian!” I say.
He doesn’t stop playing. “Hi.”
“I know Derek said I was crazy, but I’m not.”
Julian looks up from his game. “I know. He told me he was
joking.”
“Good.” I sit next to him. Besides his blond hair, he’s the spitting
image of Nick. Supposedly Nick left my sister after he found
out she was pregnant. I don’t think she’s seen him since, which
means Julian has never met his biological father.
“Can I have a hug?” I ask him.
He shrugs.
“All right. Well, when you feel like giving me one, I’ll be waiting
for it. Okay?”
He nods, his attention still on the game.
I sit with him for fifteen minutes, until my sister comes in and
tells him to get ready for bed. My sister acts like our argument in
the kitchen didn’t happen, but it’s still fresh in my mind.
Landon hasn’t called me, even though we’re supposed to hang
at the beach tonight. I walk to my room, close the door, and call
my boyfriend.
“Hey,” Landon answers.
“Hey.”
“Sorry I rushed out of Dieter’s meeting and didn’t call. I had to
get home to help my mom with some stuff,” he says.
“So you’re not upset?”
“About what?”
“The captain thing. I totally expected you to get voted captain,
not me.” I know he did, too. I can’t help but feel twinges of
guilt, like I took his spot even though I had nothing to do with it.
“Whatever. It’s not a big deal.”
But it is. I guess I’m waiting for him to say I’ve worked hard
and deserve to be captain just as much as anyone else, but he
doesn’t.
On top of the captain thing, my sister’s homecoming and
the argument I had with her are totally stressing me out. “Can we
hang out alone tonight? My sister came home this morning, and I
guess I’m just having a hard time with it.”
“Everyone’s meeting up at the beach,” Landon says.
“I know, but I’m feeling kinda . . . I don’t know.”
“Listen, you were always pissed your sister left. Now she’s
back. You should be happy, Ash. You got what you wanted.”
It doesn’t feel how it should, though. “You’re right.” I don’t
want to be the whiny girlfriend. Landon told me that his ex-girlfriend Lily,
who goes to our rival school in Fairfield, complained
all the time. He’d said nothing was ever good enough for her and
she smothered him to death. I told myself I’d never be like his ex.
I’m the happy-go-lucky girlfriend, even when I don’t want to be.
“When will you be here?”
“I’ll pick you up in fifteen,” Landon says, then hangs up.
I rush to get dressed, knowing I can’t very well go out with
Landon wearing a T-shirt and hoodie. I try on seven different outfits
before calling Monika. I’m not good when it comes to fashion,
but my best friend is an expert. I text her pictures of each outfit
and she picks one: jean shorts and a short, low-cut pink shirt that
reveals cleavage and a hint of skin above the shorts’ waistband.
In the bathroom, as I lean over the sink to put on my lip gloss,
Derek strolls in.
“Don’t you knock?” I ask him.
“No need to knock if the door’s open.” He leans against the
shower door and focuses on me with his bright blue eyes. “Hot
date?”
“Yes.”
“With your boyfriend?”
“Yes.”
“He play football, too?”
“Not that it’s any of your business, but yes.” I turn to face him
and wish he had some blemish or imperfection, but I can’t find
one. Ugh, the girls at school are gonna have a field day when they
take one look at him. I imagine a lot of drama and fighting over
him. “Did you barge in here for a reason, or did you just want to
rub it in that I have to share a bathroom with you?”
“I need to relieve myself. Do you mind?”
“Eww.”
“You act like you’ve never done it before.”
“I’ve done it. I just don’t have the need to announce it.” I grab
my stuff and start to walk out, but turn back and say, “Don’t you
dare leave the toilet seat up.”
“And if I do?” he asks with a smirk.
“Trust me, you don’t want to find out.”
In my room, I wonder if Derek has a girlfriend and imagine
what she might look like. Not that I care. I’d actually feel sorry for
the girl who has to deal with a guy who’s too sarcastic, too witty,
and too good looking.
The doorbell rings a few minutes later. I can’t wait to see
Landon’s expression when he sees me all dressed up.
“Be right down!” I call out, then grab my purse and rush downstairs.
Landon is waiting for me in the foyer wearing jeans and a
preppy button-down shirt that covers his dark-skinned body. I
give him a peck on the lips just as Derek appears wearing long
shorts with REGENTS PREPARATORY ACADEMY embroidered on the
leg. I’m not surprised he comes from a fancy prep school with that
ego of his. He’s shirtless once again, showing off solid muscles
and an air of confidence that rival Landon’s. I’m not immune to
him even though I said I was. There’s just something about
Derek that draws my gaze to him, even though I hate myself for
acknowledging it.
“Who’re you?” Landon asks, as if Derek’s an intruder who
needs to be kicked out of my house immediately.
“Just a thug from Cali,” Derek says with a wink for me, then
pushes open the screen door and saunters outside with a pair of
running shoes in his hand.
Landon points to the door. “Who the hell was that?”
“He’s Brandi’s stepson.” I wave my hand in the air, dismissing
the importance of the guy living in our den. “Don’t pay any attention
to him.”
“Stepson?” He glances at Derek through the screen. “I don’t
like it.”
“Me neither.” I grab Landon’s hand and urge him out of the
house. My boyfriend is competitive and definitely has a high testosterone
level. He doesn’t mind me hanging out with our teammates,
but he’s jealous of outsiders. Derek is definitely an outsider.
“Come on, let’s go celebrate the beginning of summer break. I
need a distraction.”
Outside, Derek is sitting on the stoop tying his shoes. “Y’all
have fun,” he calls out as we head for Landon’s car.
“We will,” Landon growls back.
From the car, I look over at Derek. Our eyes meet and I feel a
jolt of adrenaline. I want to ignore him, to pretend he doesn’t
exist. So why do I have such a hard time keeping my eyes averted?
I get a sense that there’s sadness behind his eyes, something that I
can relate to.
Landon’s phone is in his cupholde rwhen it rings on our way to
the beach. Lily’s name comes up on the screen.
“Why is your old girlfriend calling you, Landon?”
He glances at the phone but doesn’t answer it. “Beats me.”
“You never told me you still talked to her.”
“We catch up every now and then. It’s no big deal.”
I wonder why he’d want to catch up with his ex-girlfriend
when he always complains about her. I want to ask more questions
about how often he talks to Lily and what they talk about,
but he drives up to the entrance to the beach and hops out of the
car before I can ask him to elaborate.
I thought Landon and I would find a nice quiet place to sit and
talk in front of the bonfire, but he leaves me to hang with some
of the guys. I could join him, but I’m getting a weird vibe from him
tonight and decide to give him some space. I don’t want to smother
him like Lily did.
Jet has a six-pack in his hand as he stands by Victor’s car with
a bunch of other guys. The second Jet sees me, he waves me over.
“Hey, Captain,” he says as he wraps me in a bear hug.
“Cut it out, Jet.”
“You know you love me, Ash.”
“No, I don’t. Most of the time I don’t even like you,” I joke.
“Get your paws off me and leave them for the poor, unsuspecting
girls who buy your bullshit.” I dig an elbow into his ribs. “Landon’s
right over there. Don’t piss him off.”
Jet laughs. “Why would I want to piss off our star QB, our pride
and joy, the prince, the single most important person on our team,
the only quarterback who can take us to State with one hand tied
behind his back?”
“Lay off, Thacker,” Vic chimes in, shutting Jet up for the
moment.
After we lost in the playoffs, the local paper printed a quote
From Landon bashing Jet about not catching his last two passes.
Landon said they misquoted him, but Jet still took it personally.
Ever since then, the two have been trading barbs and I’ve had to
defuse a lot of it to keep the peace.
Jet points to a girl by the water’s edge wearing a skimpy thong
bikini. “What are the chances I get lucky with her tonight?”
“Better than most,” I tell him. “Should I warn her that you just
want a one-night stand so she shouldn’t expect a call from you in
the future?”
That gets an amused grin out of Vic.
“Hell, no.” Jet doesn’t have girlfriends. He likes to “spread
the love” and hook up with as many hot girls as he can. Which
also means he’s pissed off more than a good share of the high
school female population in Fremont and the surrounding communities.
A few times Jet has needed my help being rescued from clingy
girls desperate to have a real relationship. I’ve reluctantly acted
as his fake girlfriend too many times to count. I told him that one
day he’ll fall hard for a girl who’ll break his heart, but he laughs it
off. He thinks love is complete bullshit.
I walk to the bonfire where Monika is sitting and think about
the conversation Derek and I had in the kitchen. And the fight my
dad and Brandi had. And Derek’s stupid abs he flaunted today.
And the guilt I have for Landon not being voted captain. I want
my brain to stop thinking. It’s on overload.
“I can’t believe my best friend didn’t tell me she was voted
captain,” Monika says as she snuggles against her boyfriend, Trey,
our star running back. “Congrats, girl!”
“Thanks.”
Trey and Monika have been dating since junior high. They’re
completely in love and aren’t afraid of PDA or talking about their
future as if it’s a given that they’ll be together forever.
After my parents split, I gave up on finding true love—something
manufactured in movies and books to make people believe in the
impossible. Trey and Monika renewed my faith. He looks at
Monika as if she’s the only girl in the world. It’s as if she’s his lifeline
and he’d be lost without her. Monika told me that Trey’s her
soul mate. They’re both planning on going to the University of
Illinois, although Trey needs a scholarship to the Big Ten school
to be able to afford it.
When Landon sits next to me, I lean into him. “What are
you thinking about?” I ask, getting my boyfriend’s attention. “You
look so serious.”
“It’s nothing,” he says irritably before opening a can of beer
and chugging the entire thing.
I put my hand on his chest. “Is it the captain thing? Because I
didn’t know—”
He swats my hand away. “Fuck, Ash, will you stop bringing
it up? I’m just pissed off at the world right now, okay? So you
were voted captain. Big fucking deal. I’m sure Jet orchestrated
it as retaliation for that stupid article in the paper. The joke’s on
me, huh?”
“Jet didn’t orchestrate anything.”
He gives a short, mocking laugh. “Yeah, right.”
His words sting. “Please say you don’t mean that.”
“Fine. I don’t mean it,” he says unconvincingly.
I glance at  Monika and Trey, who are trying their best to pretend
they’re not listening to our argument.
I try to swallow, but there’s a lump in my throat as I say what’s
been on my mind ever since Dieter wrote my name on the board
this morning. “You . . . you don’t think I deserve to be captain,
do you?”
He doesn’t answer.


*****

The extract alone makes me want to ditch my current book and re-read Better Than Perfect again. I already am half in love with Derek.

Pick up your copy today as Better Than Perfect hits the bookshops this morning







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