Title: Running on Empty
Author: L.B. Simmons
Expected release: January 9th, 2013
Here is a little bit about the book, the cover, as well as some teasers… You can also add it to your goodreads list to read.
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I had the perfect life.
Beautiful and loving husband.Three gorgeous little girls.
The only thing missing was the white picket fence. I really wanted that fence.
Three years ago, I lost that life. I lost my husband. And I lost myself. But, eventually, I found my way through the darkness. I’ve made peace with my new life. I have my girls, and that’s all that matters. They are my world. I have no illusions of ever falling in love again or getting whisked away on a white horse.
But then he came back into my life. On a freakin’ motorcycle.
There’s no way I’ll let him turn my life completely upside down.Absolutely no way.
The question is…
How long can I keep pretending that I’m happy with my life being right-side up?
Parking my car in the drive, I look at the front door and breathe a heavy sigh. I glance down at my hands when I remove them from the steering wheel, they’re slightly trembling. I shake them in an effort to get rid of the obvious nervous energy and wipe my sweaty palms on my jeans. I run my hair over my ponytail to smooth any fly-aways and exit the car. Looking down while straightening my “Goonies Never Say Die” t-shirt, another memory surfaces.
Blake and I used to make homemade t-shirts all the time together. Mine were always way better than his, of course, but at least he tried. My favorite one of his was this army green, G.I Joe “Knowing is Half the Battle” t-shirt. He wore it all the time. So much so that the iron on letters started falling off and it eventually read “Koin is alf Bat.” God, I would laugh every time he would wear it. I think that’s why he wore it so much.
I still make t-shirts; I guess old habits die hard.
I look back at my hands. They’re still shaking. It seems even with the old memories running through my mind, I still can’t shake off my nerves. Making my way to the front door, I mentally chastise my anxiety. “This is ridiculous, Alex. You’re a grown woman. Act like it,” I mutter while walking up the porch steps. I note there’s only a motorcycle parked in the driveway, which bodes well in my favor. This is going to be difficult enough without having a parental audience.
Approaching the door, I raise my fist to knock, pausing for another second to take in a cleansing breath. Breathing out, I say a prayer and knock loudly.
I hear his heavy footsteps coming towards the door, followed by the sound of the deadbolt unlocking. I watch nervously as the handle turns, but when I look up, I’m completely unprepared for what’s standing directly in front of my face.
As the door flies open, so does my mouth. Blake is standing in front of me, shirtless, wearing only his red and navy plaid pajama bottoms, bare feet on the floor. His light brown hair is all over the place, but incredibly sexy as it falls messily over his forehead and flips out from behind his ears. One look at this man’s stomach renders me momentarily speechless, and I have to fight to keep myself from running my hands over every single hardened ridge of his abs. So instead, I place my hands over my open mouth and start giggling like a ten year old little girl.
Mid-giggle, I notice the door starting to close. I quickly jump into action. I immediately put my foot in the doorjamb and my hands on the door, using all of my weight to keep him from being able to close it – a trick he taught me by the way.
Shaking his head at me, Blake emphatically states, “Nope. Mmm-mm Alex. It’s too early for this right now. Go home.”
“Do you really believe that seeing Blake today had nothing to do with what happened at the office today?” I nod my head, trying to end this conversation before it starts. Unfortunately for me, it seems to have the opposite effect.
“You can’t honestly believe that, Alex!” Harlow takes a deep breath, obviously trying to control her temper. She lowers her voice, but keeps her eyes on me the entire time she speaks.
“No, I don’t think you do. I think you know, deep down, that seeing Blake had an effect on you. And I think that you’re so used to not allowing yourself to feel anything that your brain didn’t know how to cope. I don’t know how long you’re going to keep punishing yourself, Alex. How long is long enough?” I continue my blank stare. Unfortunately, I think she’s on to me.
“You go on, each day, as though you’re happy and at peace with your life. Or at least trying to convince yourself that you are. But you also go on, each day, not really living. It’s not fair. It’s not fair to you and it’s definitely not fair to your children, who deserve to see their mother happy. It’s time to let him go and live your life without him. Derek has been dead for three years! Three. Years. Alex.”
Okay…now I’m really starting to get irritated.
“Really Harlow. How profound of you.” I glare at her. My voice starts to quiver as it rises.
“No shit Derek’s been dead for three years! I live with that knowledge every single day of my life. Every day, I wake up still expecting him to be lying next to me. Every day, I look at these children and wonder if they have any inkling of how wonderful, caring, smart, beautiful, strong, and loving their father really was. I live my life, every day, with a heart that is completely empty. I have a heart that unfortunately is irreparable. Yes, Harlow, every day of my life is a constant reminder that Derek is dead! Is there any other mind blowing information you feel the need to share with me?” I yell at her as the tears roll down my cheeks.
Tiny Teaser from when Alex sees Blake for the first time in years…
“Get on your bike? In this?” I move my hand, performing a perfectly executed Vanna White demonstration of the black and white striped pencil skirt I’m wearing. Does he not understand the simple design of the pencil skirt? There’s no way in hell I’m going to be able to straddle that bike seat. And I’m pretty sure I can’t side saddle it either, not with those pesky safety laws. Nope…there’s absolutely no way I’m getting on that stupid ass bike. “Not gonna happen, buddy.”
“Alex, if I have to pick you up, put you over my shoulder, and physically place you on my bike, I will. So yes, it’s gonna happen. You can either do so with dignity, or we can do it my way. Your choice.”
“Ha. Ha. Ha. Get over here and entertain me, damn it.”
“Will do. I’ll be there in ten. Wear something comfortable,” he adds mysteriously and hangs up.
Jeez – if this were a real live date I’d be pissed. No wonder he doesn’t date anyone. Ten minutes to get ready. Seriously?
I jump up out of my seat, catching it before it falls backwards onto the kitchen floor, and make a mad dash to the bedroom. I throw on my yoga pants, the ones that make my ass look good, not that it matters, my favorite purple tank top which reads “National Sarcasm Society: Like We Need Your Support”, Harlow and I made it together, and my black blinged out flip flops, because every woman needs a little bling every now and then. I brush out my hair and put it in a ponytail, ahh…how I’ve missed you ponytail, and throw on my NY Yankees baseball hat. I add a bit of mascara and some lip gloss to my face and poof…I’m done. Giving myself a last appraisal in mirror, I’m satisfied with the outcome of my appearance.
Ha! Take that Blake Morgan with your ten minute ready requirement.
Walking into the living room, I hear the rumble of his motorcycle coming up my driveway. I open the door and watch him get off his bike. He removes his sunglasses and shakes out his windblown hair, which of course looks sexy as hell. The ends of his hair turn up around his ears and fall to the collar of his very well fitting v-neck black t-shirt. His blue jeans, frayed at the bottom, just barely drag the ground over his black boots.
He turns around to take the keys out of his ignition and my breath hitches as I drop my glance and note (privately of course) that his bottom looks very nice in those jeans. Very nice indeed. Turning around to face me, he gives me a sexy lop-sided grin while he tucks the sunglasses into the front of his shirt so they hang from the “V” and runs his hand through his hair.
I try to swallow, but my throat is really dry…probably because I have been watching him with my mouth wide open. I immediately start to cough.
“You okay, Alex?” he asks with a knowing smile.
“Yeah,” I say, trying to breathe through my coughing attack. “I think I swallowed a gnat. Gross. I’m gonna go get some water. Come on in.” I whip around and head into the house as fast as I can so he won’t be able to see that my face has turned a new shade of red. So embarrassing.