Welcome to THE HARD COUNT review tour with Ginger Scott, hosted by Wordsmith Publicity. Be sure to check out all the participating blogs, reviews and enter the tour giveaway!
THE HARD COUNT
Mature YA Contemporary Romance-Stand Alone
Release Date: July 15, 2016
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1tuu6yY
Google Play: http://bit.ly/29Bc3j4
Nico Medina’s world is eleven miles away from mine. During the day, it’s a place where doors are open—where homes are lived in, and neighbors love. But when the sun sets, it becomes a place where young boys are afraid, where eyes watch from idling cars that hide in the shadows and wicked smoke flows from pipes.
West End is the kind of place that people survive. It buries them—one at a time, one way or another. And when Nico was a little boy, his mom always told him to run.
I’m Reagan Prescott—coach’s daughter, sister to the prodigal son, daughter in the perfect family.
Life on top.
My world is the ugly one. Private school politics and one of the best high school football programs in the country can break even the toughest souls. Our darkness plays out in whispers and rumors, and money and status trump all. I would know—I’ve watched it kill my family slowly, strangling us for years.
In our twisted world, a boy from West End is the only shining light.
I hated him before I needed him.
I fell for him fast.
I loved him when it was almost too late.
When two ugly worlds collide, even the strongest fall. But my world…it hasn’t met the boy from West End.
“How’d I do?” he asks, and I laugh on reflex.
“Have you ever lost a debate?”
Nico chuckles and his head dips down, pulling one side of his mouth in for a smile before leveling me with the gold in his eyes.
“Do you always answer questions with questions?” he says.
I smirk at him, tilting my head in response.
“Sorry. You just left me that opening,” he says, swinging his hand forward into mine. My free hand moves without my permission when he does, catching the tips of his fingers in my own, and the sudden touch forces a jolt of air from my lungs, my mouth parting, a sharp exhale audible to both of us.
Nico’s eyes haze as they focus on our flirting fingertips. He doesn’t dismiss me, but he doesn’t grasp my hand for certain, either. He lets our touch remain in this fleeting, awkward place where I completely submit and let him decide how hard we touch, how long and, most importantly, why.
I glance from our hands to his mouth, to his jaw—my breath held as I watch his muscles work, his teeth holding his tongue at the front of his lips as they fight against smiling, fight against speaking.
They just fight.
They battle until they close, and his eyes flit open to mine with a hard swallow, our fingers still feathers dancing and barely holding on.
“I’m scared of failing,” he says.
I can feel his fear—it radiates; it’s in his touch and reflected in the way his eyes tilt with worry. He doesn’t blink, and I hold his stare and force my eyes to remain open, too. I don’t want to breathe too hard. I don’t want to startle him. I want to give him what he needs.
Seconds pass, and every pass of his thumb and forefinger against mine pushes me forward, each press from one part of his hand on mine like a slow ballad being tapped out on a fragile piano. When his fingers stop moving, my breath hitches, and I react—clinging, my fingers wrapping around his, threading and squeezing tightly. The force is like when two magnets come together in just the right way, and I feel his arm grow stronger as mine falls apart, and when I can no longer squeeze and hold, he takes over—he takes my strength.
“You won’t fail,” I say, our eyes not once leaving one another, my hand now gripped in his between us. My mouth whimpers a sound that is part cry and part laugh, the product of all of my fears and reservations mixing with confidence in this boy who has invaded me without warning—without asking.
“You never do,” I say, the nerves that I’ve held in my chest pushing out, making my lips tremble with my words. I want my camera. I want the safety of living this part through the lens. I don’t want to be part of the story, but I am.
I’m a part of Nico’s story. And he’s a part of mine. I believe in him. More than I’ve believed in anything, and the enormity of it makes my chest hurt. I ache, and I want to escape, my fingers numbed by his tight hold, my face hot under the reflection of his rapidly-growing smile. His dimple. His confidence.
The sound of his name. My father’s voice. Our hands drop, and when I shift to the side I see my father’s eyes down at the floor, his hands on his hips. I ball my fingers into a fist, savoring the feeling they had seconds ago, ashamed my dad caught us. Nico does the same, and when I see him flex his fingers, I worry he’s trying to rid himself of the memory.
“Sorry sir. I’ll be right there,” he says. My father nods, and Nico looks to me, mouthing “thanks” before jogging to the door held open by my father’s foot. My dad pushes it open wider as Nico jogs through, then catches it with his hand before it closes, his eyes coming to meet mine for only a beat.
My dad looks at me just long enough for me to know that he’s going to pretend he didn’t see us holding hands. He also looks at me in a way that lets me know he doesn’t approve. He’s gone behind the heavy blue door in a blink, and I open my hand wide again, brushing the tips of my fingers along the top of my other hand just to see if it feels anywhere close to the same.
Not even close.
1 signed copy of In Your Dreams, $10 Amazon gift card
About Ginger Scott
Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless and In Your Dreams.
A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she
often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.
When she's not writing, the odds are high that she's somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork 'em, Devils).
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