Hi peeps, we have Amy Jo Cousins popping in today with her new release Glass Tidings, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant giveaway so check out the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway! ❤ ~Pixie~
Amy Jo Cousins
Eddie Rodrigues doesn’t stay in one place long enough to get attached. The only time he broke that rule, things went south fast. Now he’s on the road again, with barely enough cash in his pocket to hop a bus to Texas after his (sort-of-stolen) car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Midwest, USA.
He’s fine. He’ll manage. Until he watches that girl get hit by a car and left to die.
Local shop owner Grayson Croft isn’t in the habit of doing people any favors. But even a recluse can’t avoid everyone in a town as small as Clear Lake. And when the cop who played Juliet to your Romeo in the high school play asks you to put up her key witness for the night, you say yes.
Now Gray’s got a grouchy glass artist stomping around his big, empty house, and it turns out that he . . . maybe . . . kind of . . . likes the company.
But Eddie Rodrigues never sticks around.
Unless a Christmas shop owner who hates the season can show an orphan what it means to have family for the holidays.
Today, however, the universe hated Eddie Rodrigues, so there’d been no evidence of retail life as he’d strolled down the shoulder of the curving ramp. A green and white sign at the foot of the ramp offered Clear Lake to the left and Skeeterville to the right. A quick Google determined that only one town had a Greyhound bus stop, and he guessed he was glad it wasn’t in the town that sounded like bugs, even if it did mean extra miles of walking.
A couple of cars had passed him on the long country road, but none of them slowed, and Eddie wasn’t looking to hitch anyway. He was too tired and too frustrated to be polite about refusing a demand for head in trade for a ride, and experience gave him better than even odds of coming across an asshole who’d demand exactly that.
Anytime the yellow glow of headlights swung over him, he drifted off the edge of the shoulder and kept his head down. He’d get there on his own just fine. Besides, there probably wasn’t going to be a bus before dawn, so he might as well kill time walking. Google Maps gave him a shortcut through side streets that grew more crowded with houses, and he took it, happy to get off the country road where he felt so conspicuous.
He was halfway down another block of biggish homes, most of them with wraparound porches and turrets and fancy roof trim, when the girl ran across the road.
Eddie wasn’t even sure how he knew it was a girl, what with the bulky coat and hat pulled low. Something about the way she ran maybe, almost on tiptoe, arms straight at her sides as she crossed the empty road at the intersection ahead, just before the street humped up in a steep hill.
“Hey!” he called out, too soft to hear probably, but he didn’t want to wake up any nosy neighbors. He knew better than to start running at a girl in the middle of the night on a deserted street though. Maybe she was old enough to drive him to the bus station Google Maps had pinpointed in downtown Clear Lake, which was a synonym for Bumfuck, Egypt, for sure, because that was definitely where he was. Even with his most charming smile, the odds were slim, but he’d managed crazier stunts. At least some girl wasn’t gonna hit him up for a BJ. “Excuse me!”
She was halfway across the broad street, not having noticed him yet, when a yellow glow built suddenly behind the crest of the hill. Eddie’s brain processed the reason for the brightening light faster than he could get the words out of his mouth.
If the car that barreled into sight hadn’t been flying at high speed . . .
If he’d managed to shout a warning more quickly . . .
The car swerved at the last second, but not enough.
The front passenger-side bumper of the car picked the girl up at the knees and flung her in the air. It was like watching a silent film, no sound registering except the sudden rush of wind or blood or adrenaline in his ears. Her arms flung wide. A cartwheel in midair.
Time jumped, and Eddie was at the corner, running into the middle of the street, feet slapping against the pavement. He’d shrugged off his massive duffel bag somewhere behind him.
His brain stuttered. Struggling to process the sensory input of his eyes, his ears, his nose.
He was close enough to smell the copper-penny brightness of blood. He wondered who’d left the irons in the fire too long at the smithy.
Someone had left a crumpled pile of coat and boots and blue jeans at the edge of the road.
Snakes of blond hair with black roots spilled over the frosted tips of grass blades that crowded the curb.
The car never stopped. It fishtailed after striking the girl and then straightened out again, punching down the road until Eddie jumped back as it sped by him. The white face in the side window was drawn with cartoonish lines of shock and horror, turning suddenly away as if to hide from him.
Gravel bit into his palms and his knees burned. He’d fallen in front of the girl, whose roots weren’t dark with anything except the spreading soak of blood.
God, so much blood.
You weren’t supposed to move someone who’d been injured like this. He knew that. Knew her back could be broken and maybe moving her would fuck her up even more. But he was pretty sure she had to be dead already, and her face was pressed into the gutter, eyes and lips and nose smooshed into the dead leaves gathered there. So he rolled her, just a bit. Until her head rested on his thighs, her shoulders on his knees, the limp weight of her a terrible thing. Her eyes were closed, her face smeared with dark stuff like camo paint on a soldier. The tiny gap between her lips filled with a wetness that rose as he watched, and gathered in the corners of her mouth before trickling onto her cheeks.
A bubble formed in the blood between her lips. Formed, stretched, then popped and disappeared.
He was shouting, had been shouting for a long time already, shouting for help and about fires, because nobody came for help but everyone liked a good fire. He tasted blood, maybe hers in the air, coating everything, even him, but his throat ached hard, and an unused corner of his brain wondered if he’d torn something from screaming.
Lights were coming on in the houses lining the silent street. Flicking on in second-story windows, but slowly. Too slowly. Like dominoes planted in honey.
He had a phone. He’d had a phone, at least, before he started running.
A hundred years ago, before he started running.
Before he shouted, Look out, too slowly to save a girl.
He was colder than ever now, with the dying girl—because surely she must be dying—draped limply across his thighs. The blood leaking from her mouth, from everywhere on her battered body, was soaking into his jeans, making them stick wetly to his skin.
Her eyelids fluttered once, barely lifting, as if she were waking up. He petted her hair, hardly daring to touch her, afraid of causing her more pain.
“You’re gonna be okay. I got you.” Which was fucking awful, because if you were probably dying and needing someone to make you feel safe, a drifter telling you, Don’t worry, I got you, wasn’t gonna cut it on the reassurance end of the scale. But there wasn’t anyone else around, so he kept repeating himself and waiting for far-off sirens to draw closer. “You’re gonna be okay. It’s okay.”
Everything faded out of focus, all his attention spiraling down to the slight rise and fall of the girl’s chest in her bloody winter coat as Eddie repeated the words softly, over and over again, telling her everything was all right, still shouting too because he couldn’t stop.
Nothing was all right. Nothing at all.
When lights and voices arrived, he stopped shouting. He was afraid to look up and see their faces. The girl was still breathing. He was still telling her it was going to be okay.
He didn’t want to read on anyone’s face that his words were a lie.
“Move aside, son. We’ve got her now.”
Hands slid between the girl’s skull and his thighs, big knuckles scraping against him. As soon as the ambulance guys shifted her, Eddie crab-walked backward through the gutter to get away. He couldn’t stop staring at his jeans, the spreading dark splotches that stained them from his knees to the hem of his hoodie.
Dried leaves stuck to his hands, crumbling under his palms.
Someone asked him what had happened, and he managed to get out a shaky, “Hit and run. A car. Threw her.”
Organized chaos erupted in front of him. Two EMTs worked as one to brace the girl’s neck with a foam collar, lift her onto a lowered gurney, and then hustle her to the open back doors of the ambulance that had slewed into the curb. A cop stood at the edge of the EMTs’ whirlwind, growling into a radio.
Nobody paid any attention to Eddie, his butt aching on the cold concrete of the curb, but that wasn’t going to last. Jesus. He raised his hands to scrub his face with his palms, then jerked and inhaled sharply at the blood inking his fingers.
Holy shit. He was in so much trouble. A stranger in town on a dark street with a dead girl, covered in her blood. What if they asked him where he’d come from?
Don’t be a fucking moron. Of course they’re going to ask you where you came from.
He had to get out of here.
Read more at: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/glass-tidings (Just click the excerpt tab)
Amy Jo Cousins writes contemporary romance and erotica about smart people finding their own best kind of smexy. She lives in Chicago with her son, where she tweets too much, sometimes runs really far, and waits for the Cubs to win the World Series.
Connect with Amy Jo:
- Website: amyjocousins.com/
- Blog: amyjocousins.com/blog/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/AmyJoCousins/
- Twitter: @_AJCousins
- Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/amyjocousins/