Excerpt & GIVEAWAY: Fighting to Be Free by Kirsty Moseley

All his life, people have told Jamie Cole that he was born bad. Maybe it's true, maybe it's not. But that doesn't matter now. Because after a lifetime of demons, Jamie has finally found an angel.
Ellie Pearce learned the hard way that boys can't be trusted. But the night she meets Jamie, something shifts. He's different: brooding, a bit dark, determined to change. The connection they share is intense, compelling. Ellie tries to resist, but with each breathtaking kiss, she can't help falling deeper.
Things between Ellie and Jamie are perfect—and perfection can't last. When fate goes horribly wrong, Jamie's only hope of saving his family is to strike a deal with the devil. Most of all, Jamie wants to prove he's the person Ellie believes him to be. But if she learns just how much he's been hiding, Ellie won't be able to believe anything Jamie has ever told her…
The original Wattpad sensation, with 6 million reads online – fully revised and with brand new content!

Kirsty Moseley has always been a passionate reader with stories brewing in her head. Once she discovered Wattpad, she finally posted a story. Seven million reads later, she self-published her debut novel, The Boy who Sneaks in my Bedroom Window, which later became a finalists for the 2012 Goodreads' Choice Awards. Kirsty lives in Norfolk, England with her husband and son.

He rolled onto his side, reaching out his hand and pulling me against him as he slowly ran his hands down my back.
“That was incredible, Ellie,” he murmured, kissing my nose. He was grinning from ear to ear as he stroked his fingers across my cheekbone.
I smiled and sighed contentedly. “Yeah, it was.” And it really had been. That was incredible; he had been soft and tender, his hands seeming to explore every part of me as he’d taken my body to heaven and back again. He wrapped his arms around me, pulling me tightly against him, tangling our legs together as he just looked at every inch of my face with a small, satisfied smile on his lips.
“You don’t have much stuff,” I stated after we’d been silently cuddling on his bed for a couple of minutes.
He frowned. “Uh, no, I haven’t even been here a week.”
“Where were you living before?” I probed, wanting to hear the sound of his sexy voice some more. He shifted uncomfortably, and I took the hint that he didn’t want to talk about it. “That’s okay, you don’t have to say.” I rolled so that I was on top of him and sat up, straddling him. He ran his hands up my thighs and rested them on my hips, just watching me with a satisfied smile on his face.
I sighed. It was time to go. This was where it got a little awkward. What was I supposed to say? Thanks and good-bye? “So, I guess I should get going. Would you mind calling me a cab?” I asked, climbing off him and looking around the room for my clothes.
The bed creaked behind me. “You’re going? Why?” I didn’t need to look to know he would be frowning—I could hear the shock in his tone.
I smiled at him over my shoulder. He was sitting up on the bed, a little pouty expression on his face as he watched my every move. “Well, I’ve never had a one-night stand before, but I thought that was how it worked: You have sex and then you leave,” I joked as I pulled on my panties.
He shook his head. “No, I mean, why do you have to go now? You can stay the night; I’ll drive you home in the morning.”
“You want me to stay the night?” I asked disbelievingly.
He pushed himself up off the bed and walked to me in all his naked glory. I couldn’t keep my eyes off his body. “Yeah, I want you to stay the night,” he confirmed, smiling his sexy smile at me, making my stomach flutter.

Oh, I can definitely stay the night!

Happy Release Day GIVEAWAY: The Protector by Jodi Ellen Malpas

 Jodi Ellen Malpas is the New York Times and Sunday Times (UK) bestselling author of two romantic trilogies: This Man and One Night.  Now, Jodi Ellen Malpas is back with her long-awaited next novel—and her first stand-alone story—THE PROTECTOR (Forever; September 6, 2016).
People think they have Camille Logan nailed: rich kid, daddy’s girl, beautiful, and spoiled.  But Camille knows that support from her ultra-wealthy and overbearing father comes with a price tag not worth paying for.  She wants a life without his strings.  Out on her own, she’s made a few mistakes, including one that found her clawing her way back after a stint in rehab and plenty of bad press.  Now, after fighting so hard to be independent and happy, she finds her life threatened as a result of her father’s questionable business dealings.  She has no choice but to play ball when he hires an ex-SAS sniper to protect her at all costs.  

Jake Sharp resides in his own personal hell.  He had been distracted from duty once before and the consequences were devastating, both personally and professionally.  He vowed to never let that happen again.  Being the bodyguard to socialite model Camille is exactly the kind of low pressure job he needs.  But he quickly comes to discover that Camille isn’t what he expected.  She’s warm and emotionally generous, and she slowly succeeds in drawing him out of his tough exterior.  Jake’s past haunts him.  Camille’s presence settles him.  But he can’t have both.  

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 British talent Jodi Ellen Malpas sold hundreds of thousands of e-books of her passionately erotic trilogy This Man before landing a major US publishing deal and sailing straight to the top of the New York Times bestsellers chart in a few short months. Success quickly followed in the UK, with thousands of readers falling head-over-heels for the devastatingly handsome Lord of the Manor Jesse Ward and his feisty counterpart, Ava O’Shea, as all three books became major Sunday Times bestsellers. This was followed by further success with her second series One Night, which introduced the irresistibly enigmatic M. 

Jodi was born and raised in the Midlands town of Northampton, England, where she lives with her two boys and a beagle. She is a self-professed daydreamer, a Converse and, mojito addict, and has a terrible weak spot for Alpha Males.  For more information, visit Jodi online at: www.jodiellenmalpas.co.uk, or www.facebook.com/JodiEllenMalpas, or www.twitter.com/JodiEllenMalpas.

Excerpt & GIVEAWAY: Run To You by Rachel Lacey

Moments after meeting the most gorgeous guy ever, Gabby Winters promptly gets stung by a zillion yellow jackets and falls-not gracefully-into a stream. Yup, Ethan Hunter is trouble with a capital "hot," and Gabby definitely needs to keep her distance. Except in the small town of Haven, there's nowhere to hide from Ethan's sexy, infectious grin . . . and all the residents are conspiring against her.
At the center of the town's matchmaking is Ethan's grandmother, who's convinced their relationship is a done deal. Rather than break her heart, Gabby and Ethan find themselves cornered into pretending to be falling in love. The problem: there's serious sizzling attraction between them. And if this charade continues, they won't fool just the entire town - they might fool themselves too . . .

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Rachel Lacey is a contemporary romance author and semi-reformed travel junkie. She's been climbed by a monkey on a mountain in Japan, gone scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, and camped out overnight in New York City for a chance to be an extra in a movie. These days, the majority of her adventures take place on the pages of the books she writes. She lives in warm and sunny North Carolina with her husband, son, and a variety of rescue pets.

 Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

When Ethan awoke, sunlight was streaming through his window, and based on the tent in his sheets, Gabby was still on his mind. He closed his eyes and started counting backward from fifty, his morning tradition to relieve the pressure so that he could leave the bedroom without being indecent in front of Gram.

His dick was just starting to relax when his phone pinged with an incoming text. Welcoming the distraction, he reached over and grabbed it off the nightstand.

The text was from Gabby. Thinking about you this morning and hoping that problem we talked about hasn’t gotten too hard to handle. 

She’d inserted a little winking emoticon at the end, followed by a sunrise and a tree. Morning wood. And yep, that problem had just gotten really hard again.

Killing me. He texted back.

That bad, huh?

Oh yeah, it was bad. Getting worse by the second.

I’d be happy to help you with it if you want to stop by This was followed by several colorful hearts.

His poor cock ached at the thought. But… No can do. Gotta take Gram to an appointment.

Oh. Bummer.

No kidding. Gotta go. Chatting with you is not helping the issue.

He thrust his phone back onto the bedside table and lay there, concentrating on the sounds of Gram moving around in the kitchen until his dick finally accepted defeat. Then he went down the hall and took a long, cold shower.

GIVEAWAY: Die Young With Me by Rob Rufus

This fall, critically acclaimed musician Rob Rufus tackles a new form of storytelling with his debut memoir Die Young With Me, the true story of his teenage battle with cancer alongside his growth into a punk rock star.
Growing up in the Middle of Nowhere, West Virginia, Rob and his twin brother Nat spent most of their days skateboarding down sidewalks in the sweltering summer heat, the closest thing to teenage rebellion that could be found in a Podunk southern town – until a visit to an older cousin unexpectedly introduces them to their life’s calling: punk rock. After scrounging up instruments, Rob, Nat and their friends form Defiance of Authority and quickly take the local scene by storm. Suddenly they have purpose, a goal. The band is on the verge of their big break – a gig on the Warped Tour, the holy grail of rock festivals – when Rob is unexpectedly diagnosed with stage four cancer. After waiting his whole life for the future to finally arrive – bringing with it the chance to get out of his hometown, hit the road, discover something more – Rob and his family must cope with the sudden, bitter truth that tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Perfect for fans of The Fault in Our Stars, but with a grittier edge, Die Young With Me doesn’t shy away from the ugly facts of battling cancer – the nightmarish treatments, the blinding pain, the unbearable nausea, and the devastation not only to the patient but everyone around them – bringing a visceral reality to a disease that is so often romanticized. Rufus tells his grim story with the stripped down rawness and bold irreverence of the punk rock movement, and finds humor and wisdom in a refreshingly candid teen voice that will delight fans of YA. Readers whose lives have been touched by the disease will empathize with the crushing lows and soaring highs, while audiences of all ages will remember what it’s like to be a teenager trying to find your place in the world, one act of defiance at a time.

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Rob Rufus is a musician and writer living in Nashville. His band, Blacklist Royals, has released two full-length albums and played in sixteen countries over the past five years. Rob has written articles for Modern Drummer, Amp Magazine, Digital Tour Bus, and many music sites. Rob also works closely with the cancer community, including the Lance Armstrong Foundation, Stupid Cancer Podcast (the largest advocacy/support organization worldwide for teens with cancer), and Make-A-Wish Foundation. You can find him online at robrufus.net, on Twitter @rob_rufus, and Instagram @dieyoungwithme_official.

Q: You’ve previously told the story of Die Young With Me in an album of the same name. How do you approach storytelling differently in lyrics versus in prose? Was your songwriting experience helpful when it came to writing a memoir? 
A: I actually began my first attempt at the memoir three years before that album would ever come into fruition.  I had the title and everything – but I just never thought the book would see the light of day.   So when my brother and I began pooling our collective songs for a new Blacklist Royals album, and we realized they all reflected on the time when I was sick, I just decided to run with it.  We wanted to tell our story, one way or another.
But there are two huge differences in the process of telling a story in lyrics vs. prose.  Firstly, song lyrics are secondary to the hook.  If you have amazing lyrics, but no hook, then it’s a moot point.  More importantly, song lyrics are always open to interpretation – the listener may get your meaning, or they may hear an alternate meaning entirely, or they may not hear any substance at all.  For a songwriter, this can get really frustrating.  But it’s something I’ve learned to accept.
Tackling such a personal subject through prose has been much more gratifying for me.  In a book, not much is left open for interpretation – it’s me and my rants in full stereo sound, volume cranked up, take it or leave it.

Q: How long did it take before you could look back on what happened with the kind of clarity that you display in the book? Was writing this memoir part of the recovery process, a kind of catharsis?
A: For about ten years I did nothing but tour.  I was in a different city every night, with a different group of people.  No one knew I’d had cancer, or I had health problems, or where I was from.  I could be whoever I wanted to be – and, for a while, I tried to escape my past with every form of rock-n-roll self-destruction available.  But it didn’t work out too well…what a shock, huh?
In the end, running just left me more twisted up.  Beginning the memoir was a way for me to face my past head on, and to reconnect with the part of myself that I’d lost.  It was an uphill battle, reopening those wounds.  I’d never expected telling my story to be easy, but Jesus.  It took some time for me to really step back.  But I feel unburdened, for sure.  I’m glad I was able to honor that chapter of my life, own it, and move forward.  
Not many people can say they did that, so I feel very fortunate for the chance.

Q: In the book, you describe how your first doctors were biased against taking you seriously due to your alternative look. Do you think that’s something that would still happen today? Have we learned anything at all as a society?
A: No, I can’t imagine that specifically happening today.  Now that Justin Bieber and the guy from Maroon 5 are covered in tattoos, I think we can assume that alternative rock counter-culture is dead and gone, ha-ha.
But it happens in other respects.  As a sufferer of chronic pain, it still happens to me all the time.  No matter what my medical chart says, no matter how many scars I have, as soon as a doctor at the pain clinic sees me – a young guy with tattoos that plays music and writes for a living – a skeptical chill spreads through the air.  Am I really in pain?  Or do I just want drugs?  The hoops I have to jump through would shock even the most hardened bureaucrat. 

Q: If you could go back in time and give your teenage self a piece of advice, what would it be?
A: I’d tell myself to live inside the moment more often.  Even before I was sick, my whole life revolved around moving forward – getting my band off the ground, getting out of West Virginia, etc.  I was too young to understand that success is a moving target.  There will always be another goal, another milestone to inspire forward momentum.  Sometimes I wish I could have recognized that, and would’ve taken a step back to enjoy being a kid a little more.
But that being said, I’m a 33-year-old man who does nothing but travel around, create art, and listen to rock-n-roll records…so maybe I’m making up for that “being a kid” part now, after all.
Q: What one thing do you hope readers take away from Die Young With Me?
A: I hope that Die Young With Me gives readers some insight into the true weight of a cancer diagnosis, both for the patients and the caregivers.  I believe that, to feel any meaningful empathy toward a situation, one has to understand the gravity of it.  
But in American popular culture, teenage cancer exists comfortably behind a rose-tinted wall.  It’s made to seem simple, whitewashed, and even romantic.  I’m not ok with that.  So I thought it was time someone came along and broke that wall down. 

Q: Will we see more books from you in the future?
A: I'm always writing.  Right now I'm working on my second book, which is based on my grandmother, Mammaw Rufus.  She was a go-go dancer, a nurse in a WV mental institution, and a proud country music groupie - she scored with George Jones, Boots Randolph, some big fish.  
I have a book of short stories completed.  I’ve also begun drafting what I like to call my “road book,” sort of a follow-up to Die Young With Me.  I’m very excited about that one.  The things I see in my travels are weirder than anything I could ever make up.

Author Interview: Julia Day (The Possibility of Somewhere)

Julia Day

 "An engaging read...full of drama." 
School Library Journal 
Eden will lure readers with her willful refusal to allow poverty and hardship to define or limit her.” 

Publishers Weekly 

 In her contemporary YA debut, THE POSSIBILITY OF SOMEWHERE (St. Martin’s Griffin; September 6, 2016), Julia Day uses Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to frame a sweet story about two overachieving high school students who want more than their small hometown has to offer. Ash and Eden are fighting their parents’ expectations, their school social status, and each other for the valedictorian spot, but when they are forced to work on a class project together – something seems to change. 
Ash Gupta has a life full of possibility. His senior year is going exactly as he’s always wanted– he's admired by his peers, enjoying his classes and getting the kind of grades that his wealthy, immigrant parents expect. There's only one obstacle in Ash's path: Eden Moore—the senior most likely to become class valedictorian. How could this unpopular, sharp-tongued girl from the wrong side of the tracks stand in his way? 
All Eden's ever wanted was a way out. Her perfect GPA should be enough to guarantee her a free ride to college– and an exit from her trailer-park existence for good. The last thing she needs is a bitter rivalry with Ash, who wants a prized scholarship for his own selfish reasons. Or so she thinks… When Eden ends up working with Ash on a class project, she discovers that the two have more in common than either of them could have imagined. They’re both in pursuit of a dream – one that feels within reach thanks to their new connection. But what does the future hold for two passionate souls from totally different worlds? 
With a cast of characters that feel very real, from an autistic four-year-old boy Eden babysits to the new girl in school who shakes things up, THE POSSIBLITY OF SOMEWHERE is a look back into the awkward period in high school when the future is in transit. A touching back to school read about first relationships, Day’s contemporary YA debut will have you falling in love. 

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JULIA DAY lives in North Carolina, halfway between the beaches and the mountains. She has two twenty-something daughters and one geeky old husband. When she's not writing software or stories, Julia enjoys traveling with her family, watching dance reality shows on TV, and dreaming about which restaurant ought to get her business that night. 

Guest Post & Excerpt: The Boy Who Killed Grant Parker by Kat Spears

 “A painfully honest and powerful depiction of the changing nature of friendships in the face of hardship and an exploration of what it means ‘to be human and alive.’” 
Booklist on Breakaway, STARRED Review 
“A compelling debut told with swagger and real depth.” 
Kirkus Reviews on Sway, STARRED Review 
“There’s not a single canned emotion to be found...A rare study of growing pains that gives equal weight to humor and hardship.” 
Kirkus Reviews on Breakaway, STARRED Review 

From the critically-acclaimed author of Sway and Breakaway, Kat Spears returns with THE BOY WHO KILLED GRANT PARKER (St. Martin’s Griffin; September 13, 2016), a high stakes young adult contemporary story of a city teen who moves to a small town and finds himself head to head with the local bully. With her newest novel, Spears pens a relatable story about social hierarchy in high school and exploring your identity when things don’t go quite as planned. 
Luke Grayson’s life might as well be over when he’s sent to live with his Baptist pastor father in rural Tennessee after getting kicked out of his DC private school. His soulless stepmother is none too pleased to have him, and Luke’s bad boy status has done him no favors with his new principal or the local police chief. He’s also an easy target for Grant Parker, the local golden boy with a violent streak, who has the community of Ashland under his thumb and Luke directly in his crosshairs. 
But things go topsy-turvy when, after a freak accident, Luke replaces Grant at the top of the social pyramid. This fish out of water has suddenly gone from social outcast to hero in a matter of twenty-four hours. For the students who have lived in fear of Grant all their lives, this is a welcome change. But Luke’s newfound fame comes with a price. Nobody knows the truth about what really happened to Grant Parker except for Luke, and the longer he keeps living the lie, the more like Grant he becomes. 

This explosive coming of age story delves into the labels put on us not only by society but the ones we put on ourselves, and the work it takes to find out who we really are underneath all the lies. As school starts back up again and teens once again deal with the jungle of high school, THE BOY WHO KILLED GRANT PARKER is the perfect fall young adult read. 

KAT SPEARS has worked as a bartender, museum director, housekeeper, park ranger, business manager, and painter (not the artistic kind). She holds an M.A. in anthropology, which has helped to advance her bartending career. She lives in Richmond, Virginia with her three freeloading kids. She is also the author of Sway and Breakaway

Additional Praise for Kat Spears: 
"As in her debut novel, Sway, Spears showcases a talent for creating believably flawed characters seeking connection in the aftermath of tragedy." 
Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review on Breakaway 
“This sad yet hopeful romance will appeal to readers of Steven Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why.” 
School Library Journal on Breakaway 
“Spears develops Jesse’s character so thoroughly readers will believe they know him. A compelling debut told with swagger and real depth.” —Kirkus Reviews, STARRED Review on Sway 
“Perspective is handled beautifully…Readers will be torn between wanting a guy like him around to make things happen and wanting to fix him so he isn’t that guy anymore, and they’ll be heartened when he ends up a little of both.” 
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books on Sway 
Kat Spears debut novel is, quite simply, a delight. It has all the ingredients for an engaging and witty read, laced with honesty and insight that’s refreshingly real. If anything, Kat Spears may just be the one with some very valuable sway; get ready to be sold.” The Children’s Book Review on Sway 
“Spears’ debut novel sets an update on Cyrano de Bergerac in a contemporary high school, with noir undertones. Jesse’s first-person narration is raw, honest, and marks his growth over the course of the novel. A gritty take on the male high-school experience.” Booklist on Sway 
“At first glance, this novel seems like a typical Cyrano de Bergerac-type story, but it’s much deeper than that, touching on topics such as parent abandonment, disabilities, bullying and love. An engaging story that will stay with readers long past the final page.” School Library Journal on Sway 

A new student might have gone unnoticed for days or weeks
(maybe months if he played his cards right) at my old school.
Washington, DC, was such a transient city that people were
always coming and going. But in Ashland, I might as well
have been wearing a bell announcing myself as a leper.
People stared and spoke in low voices to each other as I
passed in the hallway.
If I heard laughter, I assumed it was directed toward me,
as if every thing about me was under scrutiny—my clothes,
my hair, the way I walked, the Mount Vesuvius– like stress
pimple that had erupted on my chin that morning.
The only thing I had going for me, maybe, was that my
appearance was almost depressingly average. I might as
well have been wall paper. And that was exactly the way I
wanted it—to blend into the background and go unnoticed.
I managed to fi nd the offi ce without asking anyone for
directions, and the receptionist greeted me in a southern
drawl so outrageous it seemed like it had to be a put-on.
“I’m Luke Grayson,” I said. “I’m new here.” Captain Obvious.
As a stranger in Ashland, I stuck out like a boner in
“Well,” she said, the word gusting out as she folded her
hands on the desk and pressed them into her bosom, “I go
to your daddy’s church, and I never knew anything about
Pastor Grayson having a son until we got word you were
coming. Of course, he’s such a busy man, what with all the
goings-on we’ve had since Easter. Three funerals in as many
months. Never a good sign if a church has more funerals
than baptisms, wouldn’t you say?”
the boy who killed grant parker 5
I wouldn’t, but I kept my mouth shut and tried to convey
concern in my expression, though it was a lie. The tardy
bell rang as she droned on about the business of my dad’s
church, and I feigned interest, while in my mind all I could
really focus on was the fact that I would now have to enter
class late and be even more of a spectacle than I already
“Principal Sherman wants to have a quick visit with you
before you start the day,” the receptionist said, once it was
obvious I was going to fail miserably at making small talk,
and then she picked up the receiver of the ancient desk
As I was shown into the principal’s offi ce he came
around from behind his desk to shake my hand and gestured
for me to take one of the hard- backed chairs, though
a leather couch along one wall off ered a more comfortable
option. He was middle- aged, with the paunch of a former
football player, and his doughy hands clashed with the tailored
suit he wore. His desk was an ocean of polished oak,
and my chair was at least a few inches lower to the ground
than his so that I felt small and insignifi cant sitting across
from him. I disliked him immediately, feeling that he would
have been more at home on a used- car lot than in a high
school administration offi ce. And once he started talking, I
knew the disproportionate height of the chairs and the size
of the desk were both power plays, his intention to make
whoever sat across from him feel powerless.
“So, Mr. Grayson,” he said as he crossed one leg over
the other, shot his cuff s, and twitched his hand to settle a
heavy gold watch against a meaty wrist. “How are you settling
6 kat spears
“Uh. Fine, I guess.” My response came out as a wavering
question since I wasn’t sure how well I should have settled
in during the fi ve minutes I had been at Wakefi eld High
He just nodded at my answer, as if it was the response
he had been expecting but wasn’t really interested in
whether it was true.
The ocean of wood between us housed only a phone and
a pen holder with a faux- bronze nameplate on the front of
it. The name leslie g. sherman was inscribed on the
plaque. I wondered what the “G” stood for and how he felt
about having a girl’s name. I could only assume the “G”
stood for something worse than Leslie. I was distracted with
trying to think of a name worse than Leslie that started with
a “G”— Garfi eld? Grover?— when he startled me with his attack
“Since it’s your fi rst day here I’m not going to make a
federal case out of it, but we do have a student dress code.”
He was looking so pointedly at my chest that I couldn’t help
but steal a self- conscious glance at my Death Cab for Cutie
T- shirt. My stepmom, Doris, had already made a federal
case out of my shirt that morning at breakfast.
“Oh. Really?” I asked innocently.
“Yes. Really,” he said with such condescension that
I wondered if he had kids of his own who hated him.
“T- shirts with printed designs have been strictly forbidden
since the Columbine tragedy.” His expression conveyed the
very real concern that my T- shirt would inspire a Columbinelike
“Okay,” I said as I tried to think of what shirts I owned
the boy who killed grant parker 7
that didn’t include printed designs. Did a Georgetown University
sweatshirt count as a printed design? I wasn’t sure.
But it didn’t seem the right time to ask.
“Mr. Grayson, I have a great deal of re spect for your
father,” the principal said, changing the subject abruptly.
He paused in anticipation after he said this, waiting for an
appropriate response. I was still shifting gears from Columbine
and printed T- shirts and I wasn’t sure what an appropriate
response should be, so the pause dragged on— from
awkward to painful.
Fi nally I said, “Thanks.” As if I was entitled to some
credit for how respectable my father was.
“Ashland is a strong Christian community, as I’m sure
you know since your father is a man of God.” I was starting
to get the sense that he had practiced this speech ahead
of time. Like he had an agenda and had worked out in his
mind how to approach it in a roundabout way.
“Yes. Strong,” I said, feeling like an idiot as I said it.
My eyes wandered around the room as I tried to think
of something clever to say to alleviate the impression that I
was a moron. A large framed print hung on the wall behind
the desk, the words the principal is my pal— that’s
the princi ple we live by displayed in colorful block
“I’ve been reviewing your rec ords from your previous
school,” he said as he reached forward to lift the papers in
front of him, the implied threat made all the more menacing
because it was an alarmingly thick stack of papers.
I wasn’t sure what to say. I deci ded to stay silent, not give
anything away in case some things hadn’t been committed
8 kat spears
to paper. Better to remain silent, not incriminate myself,
than to start off ering up explanations.
“Your grades were . . . unexceptional,” he said, maybe
still trying to be polite.
Unexceptional was putting it mildly, though I would
often argue with my mom that a C average was just
that— average. I didn’t aspire to be anything other than
I kept silent, not wanting to do anything that would
extend my stay in his offi ce.
“It seems that you also like to challenge authority,
Mr. Grayson,” Leslie said as he frowned at the second stapled
page of my permanent rec ord.
“I went to an all- boys school when I lived in DC,”
I said with an innocent shrug. “Pranks are just the usual
“This seems much more serious than pranks.” He
looked at me expectantly over the rims of his reading
glasses. “ These notes indicate that on one occasion there
was personal injury to another student and property damage
to the school. Does that seem like just an innocent
prank to you, Mr. Grayson?”
I shifted in my seat as I tried to let my anger dissolve
before responding. If I came across as snide and pissed, it
would just make the situation worse. But it was hard— the
way he called me Mr. Grayson, the way teachers do as if they
are showing a sign of re spect for students as grown people
when really they are just patronizing us.
As I waited for the acid to dissipate from my tongue before

answering, I thought bitterly of Steve Moyo, my under-

Guest Post by author Kat Spears:
(On how to read in the shower)
Whenever people ask me how it is possible that I read in the shower, my first response is always—yes, the books get wet. Rest assured I never read library books in the shower and I have always preferred to own books rather than borrow them from the library. I trash my books—dog ear the corners to mark my place, leave them open facedown with the spines cracking under their own weight, and write notes in the margins or underline passages that appeal to me. My mother is a librarian and she absolutely despises people like me. Of course, my treatment of books is not my first or last offense in the eyes of my mother, nor even my most egregious, so I don’t really worry about it.
Showering is just too boring for me to do without a book. Once I had small children and no longer had time for long, leisurely showers, I was surprised to discover you really can be in and out in five minutes if you aren’t reading. Until that point I was showering with one hand, the same way people read while they eat, and I can turn pages with the same hand that is holding the book—a critical skill for any devoted reader. I should also note that at a certain point during the shower I do have to switch hands, transferring the book from the dry to the wet hand so I can wash both sides of my body, and this is really when the book sustains the most injury.
Now that my children are a bit older and I can lock them in the attic with a box of dry cereal and an iPad, I have returned to reading in the shower. I’m a big fan of reading the books that I love over and over again. For books by authors like Jane Austen, R.L. Stevenson, Agatha Christie, etc. I usually have what I refer to as “shower copies.” These are books that are already wavy and brittle from being dampened repeatedly and the spine paper has started to lift and curl at the ends. I must own 50 or so paperbacks that are shower copies, all of my favorite mysteries and classic adventure stories. 
I should also note that reading in the shower and, thus, taking long showers, is my only personal failing when it comes to being environmentally irresponsible. I don’t use drinking water to keep my grass green and I almost never use plastic in my home if I can help it. So, despite being evil for my treatment of books, I have a pretty good record for my treatment of the planet.