Monday, September 8, 2014

Book Blitz - Constructing Us

Book & Author Details:

Constructing Us by C.J. Lake
Publication date: July 18th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance

*Contains explicit/steamy scenes that are intended for mature readers.
When Andy takes over the lease on her friend Ethan’s apartment, he warns her about his roommate, Tragan. According to Ethan, Tragan Barrett is self-centered and often inconsiderate, caring more about hanging out with his friends and hitting the local casino than straightening the living room or keeping up with his laundry. Andy isn’t too concerned, though, because she isn’t moving in to make a friend.
Intended as a short-term living arrangement, the apartment is close to the hospital where Andy is participating in a drug study for a rare disorder she was diagnosed with when she was twenty. Now, fresh out of college, she is trying to figure out her life–and also how to live with the uncertainty of her condition. Figuring she’ll go one way and he’ll go another, Andy is surprised to learn that Tragan is not exactly the way Ethan painted him. In fact, there’s a whole other side to the darkly sexy construction worker…especially when it comes to Andy.
Can an unlikely friendship turn into something much more?

             Goodreads /  Amazon

“All right, Andy, if you’re really not going to let me have any cupcakes, then I’m gonna get going,” Tragan told her with a grin.  “Later.”
“Okay--oh, wait--real quick.  Could you hand me that lid over there?” Andy said, pointing to the cake cover resting on the opposite counter. 
When Tragan lifted it up, he froze--then turned his head toward her, his dark eyes narrowing.  “What’s this?”
“Hmm…let’s see…”  Playfully, Andy held back a smile as she ambled closer.  “A jumbo-sized cupcake--set apart from the others--with a T scrawled in blue icing…”
“For me?” Tragan said, breaking into a full smile. 
“Of course!  I’d never forget about you,” she said with a little laugh.
“Yes!” he said, messily pulling the cake right out of the ramekin cup and assailing it with his mouth.  “Awesome!” he mumbled, totally un-self-conscious about the frosting on his lips. 
“You’re such a guy,” Andy said, shaking her head, and then without thinking, reached up to wipe the underside of his lip with her thumb. 
The second she made contact, she realized what she’d done.  Her hand was on his face.  More than that, she was touching his mouth.  Something so intimate--too intimate for friends--and yet, her fingers lingered.  She couldn’t seem to stop touching him, grazing her thumb over his lower lip, as if there was still frosting there.  As if she didn’t have an impulsive desire to slide her thumb inside his mouth and to feel his hot tongue on her flesh.  Her breath became shallow as her eyes traveled up--and she found Tragan watching her.  His gaze was intense, fully aware of her--and then she panicked. 
Self-consciously, she swallowed and pulled back. 
Trying to act natural, Andy snatched a dishtowel off the counter and handed him that instead.  “Here, you can do it,” she said awkwardly, as hot embarrassment flooded her cheeks.  If people saw this now, would they really be surprised that Brad was her only boyfriend ever?  As much as she wanted Tragan, she was inexperienced enough to fear rejection and nowhere near confident enough to be a seductress.  
Wordlessly, Tragan took the towel and wiped his mouth. 
“Better?”  When she nodded, he tossed the towel and said, “Actually, it’s just as well I get cleaned up.  I’m supposed to meet some girl later.”
At that, Andy’s mouth fell open.  “W-what girl?” she asked, feeling her brow crease with concern.
“Pellican’s sister’s friend is supposed to be there today, helping out,” he told her.
“Oh.”  Andy swallowed down a hard lump.  Suddenly she started to feel queasy, and it had nothing to do with the drug trial.  This was 100% anxious jealousy, churning in her stomach.  Why hadn’t she considered that Tragan could be interested in other girls, too?
“And you, um, like her?” she asked, attempting to sound pleasant and unaffected--as if she were simply taking a friendly interest in the topic, as his roommate.
He gave a one-shouldered shrug, while his face remained noncommittal.  “Never met her.  But Pellican thinks we’ll hit it off.”
The painful ball of jealousy in Andy’s belly swelled, then ballooned to her chest, making it hard to breathe normally.  Still, she forced a smile that felt brittle, but it was the best she could do.  Then nodded maybe a bit too vigorously.  “That’s great, Tragan.  I really hope it works out,” she lied.
“You do?” he asked, never taking his eyes off her face, as though studying her reaction.
“Sure.  If it’s what you want.”  She quickly turned away from him and walked back to the counter where she’d been frosting cupcakes and tried to think of what she could busy herself with until he left the kitchen.
Mere seconds later, she felt Tragan come up behind her.  Her whole body stilled, as her pulse began to pound.  She could feel how close he was to her.  “Andy…” he said softly, and came even closer.  The heat from his body spread across her back, igniting every nerve ending in her body.  “What if that’s not what I want?” ~

Excerpt 2

“So this is Brad’s study?” Tragan clarified.
“No, no.  It’s run by a doctor he knows, Dr. Lassiter.  Brad has nothing to do with it.  Except that he told me about it and convinced me to do it.”  Setting down her sandwich, Andy spilled out what sounded like a resigned sigh.  “Honestly, I’ve been thinking of telling Brad it’s over.”  Immediately, Tragan’s pulse quickened.  Could she really mean…?  “You know, with the drug study,” she clarified.
“Uh, right, the drug study,” he said, nodding, mentally kicking himself for thinking it could be that easy.
“I just want to forget the whole thing and get on with my life.  Actually, I’m thinking of going back to school to get a master’s degree.”
“You mean here in Boston?”  Tragan tried to make the question sound casual, tried to cover the dread he felt at the idea that Andy might be moving away.  Before she could respond, the ear-splitting shrill of the fire alarm shattered the moment.
“Aah!” Andy yelped, throwing her hands on her ears.  “What the hell?”
Tragan waved off her concern.  “Oh, that’s just the fire alarm in the building,” he said.  “Don’t worry about it.”
“Come on,” she said briskly, hopping up from her chair.  “We’d better go.”
“Nah, I never bother going down for that.”
“What do you mean?” Andy said, sounding bothered.
 “Well, it goes off occasionally, but it’s always a false alarm.  So I usually just ignore it.”
“What!  Tragan, that’s crazy.  You can’t just ignore a fire alarm.  It could be something!  I’m sorry, but that’s really immature,” she told him, her expression solemn.
“Damn,” he said, feeling mildly chastised as he stood up.  “I’m immature now?”
“No, I mean…I guess that’s harsh,” she admitted.
“Are you pissed at me over this?” he said, walking closer to her.
“Of course not.  It’s just--”
“What, you’re worried about me?” he asked with a trace of a grin and stepped even closer, leaving their bodies only inches apart.
Andy appeared momentarily flustered, swallowing and sort of flitting her eyes from Tragan’s mouth to his chest to his shoulder, like she didn’t know where to look.  “I’m just saying: what if I wasn’t here?  And there was a fire and something happened to you?  Obviously that’s what I’m getting at.”
“Okay,” he relented.  “I’m sorry.  I’ll go.”
“Even if I’m not here?” she pressed.
“Yes.  I’ll go,” he promised. 
Which earned him a small, grateful smile.  “All right, come on then...” she said with a quick tug on his arm.
“Hey…” he said, stilling her for a second then impulsively brushed a lock of hair away from her cheek.  “Nothing’s going to happen to me.” 
Andy’s eyes locked with his.  Their gazes held for what felt like a meaningful moment, as her mouth curved open and she nervously wet her lips... 

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