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Book & Author Details:
More Than Exes by Elizabeth Briggs
(Chasing the Dream 0.5)
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
Keyboardist Kyle Cross may look like a bad boy with his tattoos and piercings, but he’s really the good guy who’s always stuck fixing his band’s problems and never gets the girl. His band is competing in a college Battle of the Bands, but when their bassist doesn’t show, Kyle must track her down with the help of the person he least expects: his ex-girlfriend Alexis Monroe.
Kyle hasn’t seen Alexis since she dumped him in high school, and she’s dropped her preppy image for fiery red hair and a bold new attitude to match. With only hours before his band goes on stage, Kyle has to be a little bad if he wants to win both the Battle and the girl he’s never gotten over. But when their old problems resurface, the good guy might just get his heart broken all over again.
Elizabeth Briggs is a full-time geek who writes books for teens and adults. She plays the guitar, mentors at-risk teens, and volunteers with a dog rescue group. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a pack of small, fluffy dogs.
Visit Elizabeth online at:
Where did you get the idea for More Than Exes?
In More Than Music, which is about Kyle’s friend, Maddie, and his brother, Jared, there’s a part where Maddie thinks about how it must be difficult to be Jared’s brother sometimes. That made mewonder about how Kyle sees his brother, and I quickly jotted down what would become the first chapter of More Than Exes. Right then I knew I had to tell Kyle’s story, too. I also had many fans of More Than Music tell me they loved Kyle and wanted a book about him, so that sealed the deal!
Do you need to read More Than Music to read More Than Exes?
No, definitely not. More Than Exes is a novella set about a month before More Than Music and can be read as a standalone. There’s nothing in it that would be confusing if you haven’t read More Than Music – but if you have, it will also shed light on a few things in that book. You can read them in any order, even though More Than Exes is a prequel.
What is your favorite thing about More Than Exes?
There are so many things I love about this book – the fact that it takes place over a few hours, the sarcastic humor in it, and the love story of two high school sweethearts getting back together… but my absolute favorite part isthe close sibling relationship between Kyle and Jared. I loved showing Jared from Kyle’s point of view – Kyle views his brother very differently from how Maddie does in More Than Music, but still loves him and would do anything for him.
What was the hardest part about writing More Than Exes?
More Than Exes is the first book I’ve ever written from a guy’s point of view, and that was a lot of fun but also challenging at times. I had to make sure that Kyle would be sympathetic to romance readers but also feel like a realistic 21 year old male. I don’t think there are many romances told from only a male perspective, but I hope people will give this one a chance!
If you weren’t a writer, what would you do?
A rock star, of course! I play the guitar, though I don’t have time to practice as much as I’d like. I’ve always wanted to be in a famous rock band, but now I just write about them instead.
What’s next in the Chasing the Dream series?
I’m currently working on More Than Comics, a novella about the drummer of the band, Hector, setat Comic-Con about aweek after More Than Music ends. After that, I’ll be writing books about Maddie’s best friends, Julie and Carla, who both go ontheir own reality TV shows!
Except #1 – 543 Words
“My car’s over here,” Alexis said, leading me to the other side of the parking lot.
“The same one as before?” We’d spent so much time in that old Mercedes back in high school. Truth be told, I was kind of excited to see it again.
“No, that one died a year ago. I have a MINI now.”
“Too bad. We had some good memories in that car.”
“We did.” She gave me a sly smile. “Some very good memories in the backseat.”
I coughed and tried to steer the conversation back to something less dangerous, but all I could think about was when we’d been together. “Remember that time we got lost on our way home from a concert in Pomona? And we ran out of gas in a shady part of LA and had to wait for Jared to come get us?”
“I remember. I was scared we were going to get carjacked, so you helped…distract me.” She met my eyes. “You were so very good at distracting me.”
Suddenly, all I could think about was how I’d like to distract her now. First, I’d tangle my fingers in that long, thick hair, getting a good hold of it. Then I’d tilt her head back so I could press my lips to her neck, to that spot just below her ear. She’d moan my name, and I’d work my way down, lower and lower, dipping inside the V of her shirt to taste every inch of skin I’d seen earlier. She’d reach for the front of my jeans and—
Whoa there. None of those things could happen. I could not get involved with Alexis again, and the only way I’d get through the night was to banish those thoughts entirely. Why was she even bringing all of that up again?Earlier she’d mentioned wanting to catch up, and now she was flat-out hitting on me. Did she want to get back together or something?
We stopped at a black MINI Cooper with white racing stripes across the hood. Not a car I’d ever picture her driving. Hmm, maybe she had changed.
“Nice car,” I said. “Not much room in the backseat, though.” Wait, why had I said that? It’s like I couldn’t stop myself from flirting with her, either.
“I bet we could still fit.”
Her eyes swept over me again, and it took all my energy not to press her back against the side of the car and devour her. I was so, so tempted to make a move, even though it was a terrible idea. Being around Alexis was causing my brain to not function properly. I wanted to blame my growing hard-on for rendering me stupid, but that wasn’t the entire reason. All the memories of being with Alexis, combined with seeing her again, were turning me into a sentimental fool.
I cleared my throat and tore my gaze away. “Let’s just find Becca, okay?”
“Sure,” she said, but she sounded disappointed. Hell, I was, too. I wished I was more like Jared and could do random, meaningless hook-ups, but that wasn’t me. If I got a taste of Alexis, I would only want more and more. I had to stop this now before it went any further.
Except #2 – 467 words
She rested her hand lightly on mine, like she wasn’t sure if I would pull away. “Kyle, it’s always been you.”
I missed this. The simple things, like holding her hand. The way she flipped her hair over her shoulder. The glint in her green eyes when she laughed at something I said. The freckles on her cute nose peeking out from under her makeup. The softness of her red lips, the delicate curve of her neck, the swell of her breasts…
I looked away, clearing my throat. “Alexis, what do you want from me?”
Her hand tightened around mine. “Three years ago, I made a huge mistake. It killed me to break up with you, and I’ve regretted it ever since. I should have tried to make it work long distance, but I messed up.” Her voice trembled, but she went on.“I know you’ll probably never forgive me for what I did, and I don’t blame you. All I want now is a second chance to try to make it up to you. To do something different this time. To prove I never stopped loving you.”
Her words woke up something within me—a memory of what we used to be and a spark of hope for what we might be again. “I am happy to see you,” I admitted, referring to what she’d said in the car.“But why should I believe anything will be different this time?”
She raised her free hand to my cheek. “Because I’ve changed. I’m not afraid to be who I am anymore. I’m not afraid to fight for what I want. Who I want.”
I wanted, more than anything, to believe her. I leaned into her touch, staring at the girl I had always loved, who said she still loved me. I didn’t take my eyes off her as she trailed her fingers down, along my stubble, tracing my jaw. Her touch was soft but direct, like she was exploring the changes in my face since she’d last seen me. I held completely still. I didn’t blink. I didn’t breathe. If I moved, I’d break the spell over both of us.
Her fingers skimmed down my neck, and she laid her hand against my chest, digging her fingers into my Joy Division T-shirt where it said, Love Will Tear Us Apart. She was already so close, her thigh pressed against mine in the tiny booth, her strawberry-and-spice scent tickling my nose with each breath. Being with her again was so familiar, so comfortable, so right. I couldn’t stop myself from moving closer, resting my hand on the curve of her shoulder, lowering my head to hers. I closed my eyes, savoring that instant before our mouths met, before everything changed between us and there was no going back.
Except #3 – 627 words
Alexis stood alone in front of the bar, watching the band on stage. Her leather jacket had been left in her car, and in her tight jeans and tiny, V-necked top, she radiated a cool, sexy confidence I found irresistible. She’d had that same confidence when we were younger, too, but now it had an edge, like she wasn’t afraid to be herself. It made me want her even more.
I moved behind her, fitting myself against her back, and whispered her name in her ear. I didn’t need to say anything else. She turned her head and met my eyes with a look of desire that matched my own. Her hand reached up to circle my neck, drawing my head down to hers, and I gave in to her siren call.
Our lips touched for the first time in three years. It was everything I remembered and more. Like waking from a long coma. A bright sunrise over a dark sky. The first hint of spring after a long winter. I was truly living again, in the way I normally only felt when I was on stage.
The kiss started slow, an awakening, an exploration, a forgiveness of our past mistakes. I teased at her mouth with my own, opening her wider, wanting more, wanting everything. Her lips were amazingly soft and sweet, like candy I’d tasted long ago and had finally rediscovered. I wrapped my arms around her hips, holding her flush against me. She groaned and dug her fingers into the back of my hair, pulling me even closer.
She turned in my arms to face me. “I guess this means you’re giving me a second chance.”
“I guess it does.” I lowered my lips to hers again.
Our bodies fit together perfectly, like when we’d hugged except this time we didn’t hold back. I slid my hands down to cup her butt, pressing her against the front of my jeans. Our kiss deepened, mouths hungry for each other, bodies desperate to be together again. We couldn’t get close enough, couldn’t get enough of each other. She clung to me like I was her savior, and I kissed her harder, flicking my tongue across hers, nibbling at her lower lip. Her fingers gripped the top of my jeans and tugged on them, like she wanted them gone. If she kept this up, I would rip her clothes off and take her right there on the bar counter.
This was all moving so fast, but I didn’t care. This was exactly the kind of thing my brother did, and after being apart from Alexis for so long, I didn’t want to go slow.
“Let’s go to my car,” she said, breathless. “The backseat…”
“My thoughts exactly.”
We broke apart, and the rest of the club came into focus again. The crowd pressing around us in the dark. The clink of bottles behind the bar. The music blasting from the speakers. The lights illuminating the band on stage. I checked the time. About an hour before our set. No one would miss me if I slipped out for a few minutes.
I took Alexis’s hand, the action so familiar I could almost believe we’d never broken up. She gave me a knowing smile and let me lead her through the club, weaving between other couples and head-banging fans. I couldn’t get us out of there fast enough. My brain had shut off and my body had taken over, with only lust and primal urges controlling me now.
This might only last one night. I didn’t care. I’d take one night with Alexis. As long as I reminded myself it was just sex and nothing more, I’d be fine. If Jared could do it, so could I.