Date Published: 11/17/2015
Jeyne Dalton has graduated from college, medical school, and has slogged through half of a surgical internship year with flying colors, which she figures HAS to mean she’s put her past – and her family – behind her for good. If only she hadn’t answered that random ad for a roommate, her life would be pretty damn perfect.
Dinah Robbins knows that, no matter what she does, the horror that is her life will never be behind her…unless her controlling, threatening, abusive boyfriend finally kills her. She’s floating, waiting, and advertised for a roommate as a last ditch, listless effort to save herself a few beatings here and there.
Jeyne and Dinah may have been roommates for months, but they’re not anything like friends. In fact, they hardly know each other at all – until the night Jeyne comes home late to find Dinah in a heap of trouble. The two girls then find themselves sharing a secret that brings them together in a way they never expected. And upends their lives in a way they may never be able to set right.
“That was…hilarious… Good one,” I gasped, because it was.
She didn’t reply, her dark, in-need-of-a-tweeze eyebrows nearly buried in her hairline. She seemed to gather herself after a moment, hiking her messenger bag up on her shoulder and checking her cell phone. The others moved closer, including Jeyne in our group by accident, all wanting to know what had tickled me so thoroughly. My laugh felt rusty, a little raw against my throat.
The guy whose name I’d purposefully forgot put out a hand and laid it on my arm, his brown eyes playful. “Are you going to be okay there? Need any medical attention?”
Before I could point out that my roommate was a doctor or slip out from under his touch, Tritt appeared out of thin air, elbowing Jeyne roughly out of the way. The movement knocked her glasses askew, and she glared as she straightened them. The fire in her eyes, her clear hatred of Tritt, almost made me like her.
It did make me question my assumption that she had a working brain between her ears, though. People didn’t glare at Tritt. He did what he wanted, and the rest of us edged out of the way.
Tritt’s long, strong fingers wrapped around my upper arm, pinching hard. My cardigan hid the roughness of his squeeze, and I smiled through the pain and stepped toward him as he yanked so it looked as though I’d meant to do it, unwilling to let him embarrass me.
“Hey, baby.” He might as well have said You’re a fucking whore because it was easy enough for everyone to extrapolate the insult from his tone. The small crowd’s immediate discomfort displayed in pained expressions, averted gazes, and shuffling feet.
I attempted to keep smiling through the nerves tightening my cheeks. It was all for nothing since Tritt’s gaze wasn’t anywhere near me but shooting daggers at the new guy, who had made two mistakes: talking to me and touching me.
“Hi.” I slid the abused arm around his waist, trying to appease him.
The glint in his eyes betrayed the use of a substance other than alcohol and promised my efforts to smooth things over were wasted. Tritt otherwise looked the picture of class with his perfectly coifed, shining blond hair, bright blue eyes, pressed khakis, long-sleeved button-down, and loafers. A well-to-do son following in the footsteps of his business-mogul father. And that’s exactly what people outside Tritt’s immediate reach assumed.
He stepped in front of me, crushing my toe beneath his foot. This time the wince couldn’t be avoided, but his frame hid my pain from everyone except Jeyne, whose eyes narrowed on my face. I rearranged my features into a haughty expression, daring her to say a word.
“Hey, man, I’m—” The new guy stuck out a hand, hesitant but trying to shake it off.
Tritt cut off the attempt at friendliness with a swift elbow to the nose. Blood spurted, splattering like rain on the carpet and dotting my boyfriend’s shirt. As the guy stumbled backward, hands cupping his face and soft eyes swimming with agony and bewilderment, Tritt turned to me with a calm expression.
“Get me a goddamn towel.” His voice settled low and quiet. A warning.
Lyla Payne has been publishing New Adult romance novels for a little over a year, starting with Broken at Love and continuing with the rest of the Whitman University series and the Lowcountry Ghost stories. She loves telling stories, discovering the little reasons people fall in love, and uncovering hidden truths in the world around us – past and present. In her spare time she cuddles her two dogs, pretends to enjoy exercising so that she can eat as much Chipotle as she wants, and harbors a deep and abiding hope that Zac Efron likes older women. She loves reading, of course, along with movies, traveling, and Irish whiskey.
Lyla Payne is represented by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
If you want to know more, please visit her at http://lylapayne.com
If you’re a fan of Young Adult fiction–science fiction or otherwise–please check out her work that’s published under the name Trisha Leigh. http://trishaleigh.com
Kindle – http://amzn.to/1pEE8ud
Nook – http://bit.ly/1oH12QP
iBooks – http://bit.ly/1qIJgbL
a Rafflecopter giveaway