TITLE – Hollow
SERIES – Broken Little Pieces
AUTHOR – Ava Conway
GENRE – New Adult Romance
PUBLICATION DATE – August 11, 2014
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 90,000 Words
PUBLISHER – Pocket Star (Simon & Shuster)
Girl, Interrupted meets Beautiful Disaster in this thrilling and sexy debut novel, in which a college student learns her perfect life is a lie and finds new love where she least expects it—a mental institution.
Freaks, misfits and psychopaths. Those are the kinds of people found at Newton Heights Psychiatric Hospital, and high-society girl Lucy White’s new home.
Freaks, misfits and Jayden McCray. Jayden has his own set of rules for life at Newton Heights, and in this contradictory guy Lucy finds a way to live with the events that left her cheating boyfriend and best friend dead and Lucy in the middle of the investigation into their demise.
The problem? Jayden makes her want things she’s not supposed to have, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality and making Lucy feel more at home in Newton Heights than she ever did at home. But this isn’t how her life is supposed to be.
Or is it?
I framed his face with my palms and held his gaze. “You can’t hold yourself responsible for other people’s poor decisions.”
He slid his fingers up over my wrists. His touch was feather-light, but his warmth seeped deep into my soul. “Ditto.”
Tears flowed, and I was helpless to stop them. This was what life was all about, I realized. People were meant to be honest with each other and to trust, not to manipulate. I was more resolved than ever to own up to my mistakes and take charge of my life. This was what I wanted, what I needed.
He leaned down and pressed his lips against mine. I closed my eyes and drank in his light, his goodness. Jayden’s biggest problem wasn’t that he tried to protect the entire ward—it was that he cared too much. There was nowhere for all of those emotions to go, nowhere he could find solace.
I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him close. As he tilted his head, I opened to him, eager to drink in his goodness. Let me be your sanctuary. I needed his emotions as much as he needed to give them to me.
When he broke away, I was breathless. Breathless, but determined. He had shared a part of himself with me. Now I wanted to share a part of myself with him.
While I wasn’t quite ready to share anything about my trial, there was something else I could offer him.
“Lucy, wait.” Jayden’s voice sounded panicked as I reached for his belt buckle.
“I don’t want to wait.” I flipped the buckle loose and glanced down at his erection, which was growing larger by the second. “I’m tired of waiting.” I wanted to strengthen our connection, to feel him inside of me. The more I learned about Jayden, the more I realized I needed him. Just like he needed me.
For the first time in my life, I was making my own decisions. I was deciding to be intimate with Jayden in every way possible, and it felt wonderful. Freeing.
I leaned forward to kiss him, but he moved his head at the last minute.
“Lucy—I have to tell you something before we do this. It’s about my uncle.”
“You’ve said enough.” He’d told me about the demons from his past. No one had ever trusted me like that before, not even Kyle. Trust like that deserved something in return. I didn’t need to hear more, and in that moment, I didn’t want to.
“Kiss me,” I said. Before he could respond, I pressed my lips against his. I felt him hesitate, and then it was as if something gave way inside of him. Jayden tilted his head, urging me to open to him. I did and with a groan he invaded my mouth, exploring, tasting . . .
“God, Lucy.” He started to touch me and as his fingers brushed over my skin, I knew I was lost.
"You planned this," I said.
Jayden looked up from his case. "I plan everything."
"You had Flynn create a distraction."
He grinned and looked down at the croquet balls. "What color do you want to be?"
"What did you slip that security guard?"
"Did anyone ever tell you that you worry too much? Yellow would work, I think." He straightened and held the canary-yellow ball out toward me. "It's a bright, cheery color, and I’m in a celebratory mood."
I looked at the ball, then at him, trying to process everything that had happened. "We are going to get in so much trouble."
He twisted his lips into a half-smile. "My little worrier. If you keep dwelling on the future, you'll have no time to enjoy the present.” He inched the croquet ball closer. "Take it."
I hesitated, then grabbed the ball from his hand. "In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I'm pretty good."
Jayden took the red ball and grinned. "Like I said, you haven't played with me."
It didn't take long for me to realize that Jayden wasn't lying. He was not only good but also a master at distraction. He would jump from topic to topic as I aimed my shot, timing his questions so that I'd hit the ball too hard or soft and miss the target.
"You're cheating," I accused him after he won the first game.
He waved his hands to the sides in mock surrender. "How?"
I opened my mouth and shut it again. The truth was that he wasn't breaking the rules, just bending them. I glanced at the last rays of sun as they settled over the horizon and considered my options. Well, if he could bend the rules, then I guess I could, too.
I was a quick learner. With practice in the timing of my random questions and comments, I was able to rattle Jayden’s confidence. I had to admit that it was fun getting him all riled up. Throughout the second game we were neck and neck. I remembered the Ping-Pong tournament and felt a little sorry that our only audience were the crickets, fireflies and other night life that had come out to play. If the psych ward liked Flynn’s banter with Jayden, then they would have loved the one-liners we hurled at each other.
Finally, it was time for Jayden to take his last turn. If he hit the stake, he'd win. If he missed, then I'd win.
I was determined to win.
I positioned myself next to a large bush behind the final stake and waited until he started to aim.
"Don't think you can distract me with questions this time," he said as he lined up his shot. "I'm totally focused."
"Oh yeah?" My mind raced. This was do or die. I had to do something big or I was going to lose. Suddenly, I felt something land on my neck. "Oh my God, Jayden. Something's on me." It was a bug, a big bug, with legs.
"Not working." Jayden pulled his mallet back for the stroke.
"No, seriously." I began to fidget. The creepy-crawly wiggled under the collar of my shirt and was making some sort of chirping noise. Its prickly legs dug into my skin, making me want to itch. I dropped my mallet and clawed at my clothes, trying to find whatever the hell was crawling over my skin. "Shit, it's in my bra!" I shrieked and tore off my shirt and bra, then slapped at my skin. A cricket jumped off my chest and landed in the grass.
Jayden glanced up and widened his eyes at the spectacle I was making. He straightened, causing his mallet to tap the ball. It rolled forward the length of his foot.
With the cricket gone, my heartbeat quieted, and I turned back to the game. "I won!" I said, pointing at his ball. "That counts as a stroke. I won." I couldn't believe it.
Jayden didn’t bother looking at the game. “Good job.” His gaze became more heated and hungry by the second. It was then, in that moment, that I realized my breasts were completely naked. I had exposed myself to him.
I yelped and grabbed my clothes. I kept my gaze averted from his and started babbling to cover up my embarrassment.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do that. A cricket crawled down my shirt, and those legs were gross, not to mention those wings . . . I probably shouldn't have been standing so close to that bush."
Once I had my bra and shirt in place, I risked a glance at him. Our gazes met, and my entire body heated with awareness. The air around us crackled with energy as I dragged my gaze down his body and saw that he liked the little distraction I had provided. He liked it a lot.
I decided that I liked his reaction to my half-naked body. It had been a long time since I had felt desirable, but here, under the moonlight and Jayden’s hungry gaze, I felt like a goddess.
A slow, seductive grin spread over Jayden's lips. "Now, that was impressive."
Jayden cleared his throat and picked up his croquet ball, breaking the spell. "I thought I played dirty, but man . . . that was epic." He chuckled and swung his mallet over his shoulder. "You're right. You win. You absolutely deserve the win."
This is one of those books that I find difficult to review. I don't do spoilers and so I'm finding it hard to choose words to fully express how much I liked this body of work. So, I'll just tell it how it is for me and hope that it expresses my feelings properly. I debated about signing up for a review simply because I was a little short on time but I did because I find it hard to turn down an interesting summary. I will say it lived up to my expectations. The characters are well written, I felt as if I actually known Lucy and Jayden. The story really tugged at my heart, although I will say that I found it a little bit of a slow start and didn't really "get going" until about about one-third of the way into it, which is why I am giving it a 3 -1/2 bookmark rating instead of 4. I will definitely be watching this author in the future.
Book Trailer: YouTube
1) Lights – Nellie Veitenheimer
2) Hollow – Tupelo Honey
Young woman phoning in the bed with headphones3) Nothing – The Script
4) A Team – Ed Sheeran
5) How Do I live Without You – Leann Rimes
6) Carry On – Fun
7) I’ll Be – Edwin McCain
8) Madness – Muse
9) Try – Pink
10) Stay – Rhinanna
11) Crazy – Gnarles Barkley
12) Let Me Be Myself – 3 Doors Down
13) Adele – Skyfall
14) Feel Again – One Republic
At fourteen, Ava snuck her first romance novel into bed and read it by flashlight. There she met her first "book boyfriend" and has been hooked on reading ever since. She often prefers book-boyfriends to the real thing, and believes that a gooey, fudge brownie is a little piece of heaven on earth. When she's not writing, she's stumbling through her Zumba class (have to work off those brownies somehow), obsessing over the latest PINK song, or feeding her addiction for reality television.
To learn more about her and her releases, please visit http://www.AvaConway.com
Want to know the minute Ava's next release drops? Then sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/GkIoz
Note: Ava also writes erotic romances for her over-eighteen fans as Suzanne Rock. See her kinkier side by checking out her website http://www.SuzanneRock.com
Shattered (Broken Little Pieces #2)
Expected Pub – January 5, 2015
5 - $5 Amazon Gift cards
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