We're excited to present author Gia Riley's new book, LIGHTER, Book One of the Begin Again series! It's part of the book blitz organized by Xpresso Tours. Be sure to check out the exclusive excerpt, teasers and enter the giveaway below!
Kipton's one year away from graduation. He's never thought beyond a one night stand until meeting his sister’s new roommate. Finally setting his sights on the girl he can't resist, he's more determined than ever when she won't give in to his persuasions. He's always gotten the girl, and he's not about to give up without a fight.
Will Sophie be able to salvage her dreams and wage a war against her own vices? Can she finally let love in? Or will history repeat itself causing her to self-destruct?
Lighter isn't your typical college romance. Darkness suffocates, dreams are dashed, and battles are lost. Love takes on a whole new meaning.
Sneak Peek: Excerpt!
Two Years Ago
“Sophie, wait! I’m sorry. I’m just worried about you,” Megan yells from the double doors leading from the locker room into the hallway.
She saw the bruises on my body.
I knew better than to change in front of everyone after gym class, yet I did it anyway because I was running late to meet my boyfriend. Blaine doesn’t like it when I keep him waiting. Tossing my book bag over my shoulder, I round the corner and smack right into him – and he doesn’t look happy.
“What did you say to her?” He questions with a deadly stare.
“Nothing. I didn’t say a word.” I didn’t but I still avert my eyes, choosing to stare at the tile on the floor instead of him. Without warning, he grabs my arm and pulls me into the bathroom. It’s empty.
“Please, Blaine.” I’m begging him to stop. He hears me, but he doesn’t listen.
“I told you what I would do, didn’t I?”
I swallow, my hands shaking. “Yes.”
He pins my arms against the wall, hovering over me. “And yet you still couldn’t keep your damn mouth shut.”
I try to yank my arms from his grasp, but his grip is too tight. His fingertips dig painfully into my arms, his nails breaking through the skin. “I swear I didn’t tell her anything.”
He inches closer to my face, the warmth of his breath hits my cheek. “Don’t fucking lie to me, Sophie. What happened the last time you lied to me?”
“I’m not lying. Please, Blaine. I wouldn’t.”
“What happened, Sophie?”
He’s going to make me say it – as if I’d ever need a reminder. It’s impossible to forget. “You had to teach me a lesson.”
“But you never learn. No matter how hard I try to protect you.”
“I’m sorry,” I plead. Regardless of the fact that I’m innocent, he morphs my apology into an admission of guilt.
“Damn right you are,” he spits through gritted teeth. His calmness now completely gone and replaced with anger. “Don’t you ever lie to me again, you hear me?”
“Yes,” I whisper.
He grabs my chin, roughly scraping his calloused thumb over my lips. His dilated pupils pierce straight through me sending chills down my spine. “Tell me you love me.” My words get lodged in my throat and I make the mistake of pausing a second too long. “Say it!” he warns as his fist pounds against the wall next to my head.
“I love you, Blaine.” And maybe there was a time I actually did. He wasn’t always like this, but neither was I. If I could go back in time, I’d tell him no. I’d push him away from me and keep my distance. But I’m just like my mother - unable to get away and desperate enough to stay. “Please let go of me. You’re hurting me.”
Finally he releases me, replacing his harsh words with sweet promises – his rough touches with gentle caresses. With a flip of a switch, he’s back to the Blaine I fell for, masking any signs of the evil he’s become.
“You make me so crazy, Sophie.” He runs his fingers through my long blond hair, leaving a trail of light kisses on my neck. “I only get mad because I love you so much.”
“I know.” Painfully well. My scattered bruises a daily reminder of his temper.
His hand falls from my hair as he latches onto my hip, pulling me flush against his body. “Baby, I need you. You’re everything to me.”
Everything I don’t want to be. Not anymore.
Beneath the surface, I’m scarred and broken; a much darker version of the girl I once was. There was a time I believed I was worthy of true love. But now, living in a hell littered with reminders of broken promises, I know what we have is anything but love.
It’s in this moment that I know I’m not strong enough to fight another day unless I get away from him. But I don’t know how. I need a plan – something to get me away from this town and its memories.
Closing my eyes, I say a silent prayer that my luck will change – that someone will save me from the hell my life has become.