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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pretty Little Things Blog Tour

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 I was young enough not to understand that my life was different. Colin became the one person that I could count on to protect me. He suffered for the both of us by carrying the burden of our secret. 
We were the lucky few that got a chance to start over. A fake family, a new home and a pretty little life built on lies. But while our lives continued to intertwine, we were put on very different paths. Now it was only a matter of time before they collide and the beast behind the beauty is exposed.

3.75 Stars

Pretty Little Things is sorta hard for me to wrap my head around, it is unlike anything I have read lately. Colin and Annie's lives are a jumbled mess, past and present constantly colliding. Denial and pretending is a huge part of their daily lives on so many levels, how they even get up everyday and function is crazy, their past is dark and morbid and just unfreakingreal. Pretty Little Things take you places you hoped didn't exist and gives you characters that you that sympathize with yet they make you wonder. Teresa Mummert has done it again another home run.  I really enjoyed it, it read really quickly and I just HAD to know the backstory and the WHOLE story, a very crazy roller coaster. 

Author Bio:
"I was a Russian spy at the ripe age of thirteen, given my uncanny ability to tell if someone was lying ( I also read fortunes on the weekends). By sixteen I had become too much of a handful for the Lethal Intelligence Ensemble (L.I.E.). I was quickly exiled to the south of France where I worked with wayward elephants in the Circus of Roaming Animals and People (C.R.A.P.). I was able to make ends meet by selling my organs on the black market for pocket change and beer money. At the age of twenty three I decided to expand my horizons and become a blackjack dealer in Ireland. I loved the family atmosphere at Barney's Underground Liquor Lounge (B.U.L.L.). People couldn't resist the allure of Liquor up front and poker in the rear. Eventually I became tired of the rear and headed off to the United States to try my hand at tall tales. That is what brings us here today. If you have a moment I'd like to tell you a story. 
(This bio is not to be taken seriously under any circumstance.)

Teresa Mummert is an army wife and mother whose passion in life is writing. She is the author of the New York Times and USA Todaybestselling novels White Trash Beautiful and Suicide Note. Born in Pennsylvania, she lived a small town life before following her husband's military career to Louisiana and Georgia. Check out her website for samples and updates!"

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Pretty Little Things Entire First Chapter
Chapter 1 - Annie
I knocked on the office door that sat ajar as I watched Colin at his desk, his suit jacket off and sleeves rolled up, exposing the large cross tattoo on his forearm, as he stared at his laptop screen. His dark hair was disheveled, and a day’s worth of stubble shadowed his jawline. Beside his laptop was a black gun that was always within reach.
“Busy,” he snapped angrily, not bothering to glance in my direction as I glared at him.
“Good. I’ll stay out of your way. Don’t wait up.” I turned to hurry down the flight of stairs toward the second floor, but he called after me before I could make my getaway.
“Wait. Where the hell are you going?”
I rolled my eyes and groaned like a child as I slowly traipsed back to his office and pushed the door open. “Out with some friends.” His eyes ran up and down my body before he shook his head in disapproval, and his gaze dropped back to the computer screen.
“Not dressed like that. Go change.”
“You don’t get to tell me what to wear. I’m seventeen, and you’re not my father.” I folded my arms over my chest as my eyes narrowed, ready for a fight.
With a sigh, he pushed back his chair and slowly stood to his full six feet in height, making me feel impossibly small. He rounded the desk as he pulled up his zipper. That’s when I noticed the mass of blond hair from a girl kneeling behind his desk. Gross. He came to a stop in front of me, forcing me to tilt my head back. It was challenging to glare at someone from this angle and still look menacing.
“Change your outfit, or you’re not leaving.”
“Watch me.” I pivoted on my toes, my long blond curls hitting him in the chest. Two muscular arms banded around my waist, pulling my feet from the ground as he held me against him from behind.
“Annie, I’m a very fucking busy man,” he growled next to my ear. “Do not pull this bullshit tonight. This is not a fucking game. Change your clothes, or I will lock you in your room. Do I make myself clear?”
“Crystal,” I bit out between clenched teeth as he lowered me to the ground. To say Colin was overprotective of me was an understatement, but he was equally annoyed by my presence, which made dealing with him a constant game of Russian roulette.
“Asshole. You messed up my hair,” I muttered as I made my way down to the second floor and into my bedroom. I slammed the door loud enough to rattle the walls, but I knew he probably didn’t even hear it upstairs. That was one of the perks of living in such a large house. I glanced at my reflection in the full-length antique mirror across the room, running my finger under my lower lip to fix my smudged gloss. My hair was pale blond and curled perfectly down my back. I wore a low-cut purple V-neck T-shirt that hugged my curves and made my green eyes pop, paired with cutoff jean shorts that probably cost more than the average person’s week-long vacation. Well hidden and disguised was the credulous little girl that I used to be when we came to live in Connor’s house.
I pulled off my shirt and tossed it on the ground as I stepped inside my walk-in closet. Pulling out a sensible white eyelet dress that covered anything Colin would find offensive, I cursed under my breath. I slid my shorts down over my hips and kicked them off against the wall as a knock came at my door.
“Go away,” I yelled, and I heard the deep rumble of his laugh as he slowly opened the door and stepped inside my room. He had his hands shoved in his pockets as he looked me over in matching black bra and panties trimmed with delicate lace.
“I’m sorry. I have enough on my plate right now. With Connor sick, I have to pick up his work slack. I can’t be worried about you running around town looking like…” He gestured with his hands, and for the first time since I could remember, Colin was at a loss for words as he took me in.
“I’m just hanging out with some friends. You guys want me to blend in; this was me blending in. No one at school dresses like this.” I tossed my hands in the air, hating that at only nineteen he felt he could tell me what to do. He was taking his role as my pretend brother a little too far.
The loud clacking of heels on the wooden floor caught his attention, and he turned around to face bobbing head from under desk girl.
“I’ll just be a minute, and then we can leave. You mind grabbing my keys from the office?”
“Sure.” She smiled sweetly, her lips coated with a fresh layer of red, before disappearing up the stairs to the third floor. Colin turned his attention back to me, his jaw clenched in frustration.
“First of all, you wear uniforms at school. Second, you’re a Blakely now. You need to dress the part. This is a very small town, and people talk. We’ve spent years trying to blend in, and now you want to walk around looking like a whore just to prove you’re what? A grown-up?” His voice rose with every word, as did my temper. I crossed the room in large strides and poked my finger against his hard chest, but he didn’t budge from the doorway, and the shadows from my darkened room made the chiseled contours of his face even more menacing.
“You don’t seem to have a problem with the women you fuck dressing like whores. Why do I have to dress like a librarian?”
His hand was in my hair, fisting and tugging back ever so slightly, my chin titled up toward his face, which was now only an inch from mine. “If you don't dress like a lady, I will stop treating you like one, and that will be more fun for me than it is you, I promise.” He swallowed hard, and my lips parted in shock as I struggled to keep my breathing under control. It wasn’t a threat—it was a warning.
The hammering of my heart in my ears blocked out the sound of heels on hardwood, and it wasn’t until bobbing head from under desk girl gasped, “Colin?” that we noticed her presence.
“Sorry, sweetheart. Just teaching my little sister here a lesson on being a lady.” His body blocked her view of his hold on me as his eyes drifted to my chest. Then he pressed a kiss to my forehead, and his long fingers untangled from my hair. “Now I’ve messed up your hair,” he whispered with a smirk.
“I’ll be back.” He stepped away from me, and I watched in shock as his perfect smile was in place. Wrapping his arm around the girl, they descend the stairs to the first floor. I leaned out of my bedroom doorway just as he glanced over his shoulder at me and winked.
I slammed my bedroom door hard and grabbed the white dress I had chosen, cursing under my breath as I pulled it over my head and ran my fingers through my now knotted hair.
I hurried down the flight of stairs and out the front door, stopping as my eyes caught sight of Colin, his body pressed against the desk girl, pinning her against the side of his car as his mouth moved along her neck.
I hurried down the steps and turned right, away from him. The property spanned miles and was bordered by a six-foot privacy fence, but through the woods there was a place where a few boards were missing. That was where I was headed. Barefoot and angry, I stomped my way through the trees, hurrying before Colin spotted where I was going.
When I reached the fence, I slipped between the missing slats and into Jacob’s waiting arms. He smelled of smoke, weed, and sin. His hands slid around my lower back and began to creep down to my ass as he pressed his lips against mine. His body was thin but muscular like a swimmer. He was the only person in this town who didn’t treat me like I was a fragile ornament whose only purpose was for decoration.
“You taste so good,” he mumbled against my lips. I ran my hand over his dark hair, which was now long enough to always look like he’d just rolled out of bed. He pressed his lips against my forehead and pulled back to look at me. “Why are you dressed like a librarian?” His chocolate eyes were barely open under the weight of the drugs he’d consumed, and his lips twisted into a smile.
“Like you need to bother asking.” I rolled my eyes, instantly infuriated all over again at being treated like a helpless child.
“I wish you’d let me talk to that asshole.”
I took a step back and shook my head. Jacob and I had been seeing each other for three months, but no one else knew of our secret encounters. “I’d rather not subject you to his bullshit.” I rolled my eyes as my fingers gripped the front of his dark-brown vintage T-shirt that read “Ramones” across his chest. But what I really meant, and what we both were thinking, was that no one would understand us. I didn’t even know for sure what we were. Jacob had been a friend, and we’d blurred that line on more than one occasion, but I wasn’t stupid. Our lives were very different. I was a Blakely, and he’d grown up in the wrong tax bracket. There was nothing logical or permanent about us.
He tucked a blond curl behind my ear, and I leaned my cheek against his warm palm.
“I can’t wait to leave this horrible place and finally not have people telling me what to do.”
Jake chuckled as he ran his hand over the back of his head. His lips curled up in the smile that made my knees go weak. “It’s only horrible for one of us. You live on that side of the fence.”
“The grass isn’t always greener, Jake.” I stepped forward and pressed my body against his as I laid my head against his chest.
“I’m just trying to give you some perspective. You don’t have it that bad. And you know I have the greenest grass in town.” His fingers slid into my hair, and he held me tightly, pressing a kiss to the top of my head.
Jacob wasn’t the type of boy who was looking for a long-term relationship. He knew what to say to make me smile, and I pretended I was the only one he said them to.
“My dad is working late tonight. That girl who went missing a few weeks ago was found behind that run-down gas station off of Maple Street. We could watch a movie.”
“You make crime sound so sexy,” I deadpanned as I laced my fingers in his, and we began to walk out of the woods.
“Having a cop for a dad has its occasional perks.”
“Like him looking the other way?” I sniffed the air, letting him know I could smell the pot all over him.
“If you ask me nicely, maybe I’ll share.” He winked, and the butterflies took flight in my stomach as we crossed the dirt road beside the field and made our way up his back porch steps. Jake’s father was the local law and also an alcoholic who suffered from depression and a heavy hand, according to Jake. I’d never had the misfortune of meeting him and was happy to keep it that way. I had my fair share of dominant assholes in my life.
I stood inside the kitchen as Jake closed the door behind us. My eyes wandered over the mountain of unwashed dishes in the sink.
“You should really have someone do those.”
“We can’t all afford hired help, princess.” He lifted my hand and pressed his lips against the back. I pulled my hand free from his and rolled my eyes.
“Don’t call me that.” I folded my arms over my chest as he chuckled, his fingers running through his messy dark hair.
“Aw…did I hurt your feelings?”
I turned my head away from him. “Please. I’d have to care for you to hurt my feelings.”
“Ouch. Can I kiss it make it better?” He placed his fingertips under my chin and turned my face toward his. I couldn’t contain the smile that spread across my face when I looked at him. “Is that a yes?”
He leaned forward slowly, his gaze falling from my eyes to my lips before he kissed me, softly. His mouth moved against mine, and I placed my hands on his chest as my lips parted. I pulled back, opening my eyes as I gazed up at him. “Is this why you brought me here? Just so you can try to get in my pants?”
“You’re not wearing pants.” He smirked as he took a step back and grabbed my hand, pulling me into the living room. “I’m picking the movie. That teenage drama shit put me to sleep last time. Happily ever after is for fairy tales and the delusional masses.”
“Hell on Main Street kept me awake for two days. I pick.”
He sat down on the couch, propping his foot up on the coffee table next to a stack of manila folders. He patted the cushion beside him, and I grinned as I sat down, our sides pressed together.
“I’ll let you choose if you smoke with me.”
“You know I don’t like that stuff. It makes you stupid.” I laughed, my hand over my mouth as he scowled at me.
“This coming from the girl who is in a guy’s house, alone, in the middle of the night, and no one knows where you are?”
“Aw…” I grabbed the remote from the cushion beside me and turned on the television, flipping through the channels while Jacob stretched his leg to dig in his jeans pocket for his cigarette pack.
“What are you doing?” I asked as I tucked my hair behind my ear and continued to change channels.
“We had a deal, remember?”
“You can’t smoke in here.” I glanced down at the joint he had just pulled from the pack and shook my head. “Your dad is a cop. What if he comes home? My first time meeting your family is going to land me in jail.”
He shrugged as he placed it between his lips and lit the lighter. I folded my arms over my stomach as I shook my head, which was now enveloped in a cloud of smoke.
“Come here.” Jake’s fingers slid along my jaw, turning my face to his as his mouth inched closer to mine. I let my lips part as he slowly exhaled, his smoke pouring deep into my lungs.
I held in my breath as my chest began to burn, and I coughed, a giggle escaping me as Jacob’s lips curled into a mischievous grin. My cheeks heated under his gaze as his tongue rolled out over his lower lip.
“What?” I asked, my head tilted as I watched his eyes study me, feeling a blush creep over my cheeks.
“I feel like I’m corrupting you.” He shook his head, but his gaze settled on my legs and slowly drifted upward. I smoothed my hands over the skirt of my dress, feeling naked under his scrutinizing gaze. But this was what I’d been wanting, someone who didn’t want me to be perfect.
“I’d have to be innocent for you to corrupt me.” My fingers grasped the hem of my skirt, and I slid it up my thigh an inch, watching as the column of his throat jumped from a hard swallow. He placed his hand over mine, lacing our fingers before pulling it to his face and pressing a soft kiss to my skin.
“You’re such a tease.”
I felt oddly comforted by the fact that he didn’t want to use me to get in my pants, and I didn’t need to be a mindless bimbo like all of the other girls in town. I leaned my head against his shoulder as he took the remote from my hand and flipped through the channels. “Let’s do something for your birthday. Let me make you a cake or”—he laughed—“buy you a cake or something.”
I smiled at his thoughtfulness. “I wish I could, but I’m having dinner with my family.” The truth was I wasn’t even sure anyone remembered, but to say it out loud was too embarrassing.
He pressed his lips to the top of my head, and with a heavy sigh I let my eyes fall closed.
The next thing I remember was waking up, my mouth tasting like it was full of cotton. Jacob was lying sideways, his legs off the couch, and I was resting my head on his chest.
“Shit!” I pushed up from him, wiping the hair from my face.
“What? What’s wrong?” He pushed up on his elbows and rubbed his eye with the heel of his hand as he blinked away his exhaustion.
“Shit. Shit. Shit. What time is it?” I combed my fingers through my messy hair, my eyes darting around the dark room. The television was now playing a workout infomercial. “I have to go.” I pushed against Jake’s legs to move him out of my way so I could get off the couch without straddling his body.
“Let me walk you.” He yawned through his words as he sat up, resting his elbows on his knees as he shook his head.
“No. Go back to sleep. I’ll be fine.” I turned to leave, but his fingers looped around my wrist, and I almost tumbled backward onto his lap. “Jake, I have to go.”
“I’m walking you to the fence.”
I twisted around to look at his face, which was illuminated by the television. He wasn’t in the mood to argue, and neither was I. “All right. Hurry up.”
Jacob pushed from the couch and put his hands on my hips from behind as he guided me from the house and out to the old field. I laced my fingers with his and gazed up at his beautiful face in the moonlight. He made my heart stop and race at the same time. The hard lines of his jaw, nose, and cheekbones made him look like he was carved from granite. His eyes looked black as coal, a stark contrast to his pale skin.
“When are you coming to see me again?” he asked, his eyes searching over my face.
“Depends on whether or not I get caught sneaking in,” I laughed, but it was out of nervousness. I was not in the mood for Colin’s bullshit. If he found out I was sneaking around with Jacob, I’d never hear the end of it.
I slowed as we reached the fence, not wanting to leave his side.
“Come see me tomorrow.” He tugged on my hand, turning me to face him.
“It may be a few days.”
He nodded as he gazed out to the fence. “You want me to walk you to your house?”
“I’ll be fine. It’s private property. I’m the only one who ever goes in those woods.” I gripped the front of his Ramones T-shirt and pressed my mouth against his, letting my lips linger. As I pulled back, Jake’s eyes slowly opened, and he grinned his heart-stopping crooked smile, his dark eyes hooded.
“I’ll see you later.” He ran his hand over his hair, causing it to stick up in every direction.
“Bye.” I waved as I slipped through the hole in the fence and disappeared into the trees toward my home.

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