Check out Beth Ann Burgoon’s beautiful cover! The Art of Holding on is releasing on January 24th! Preorder today!
Life happens, whether you’re ready or not. All you can do is hold on and go along for the ride.
That’s the motto Hadley Jones lives by, and for good reason. Most of the women in her family have repeated the same pattern. Single motherhood. Working two jobs just to scrape by. For Hadley, wanting more is not an option.
Which is why her friendship with Sam Constable was doomed before it even began. He was sweet, popular, and destined for great things outside their small town. But when he risked one kiss, and told her he loved her, Hadley refused to believe they could ever stand a chance. Hurt and angry, Sam moved to his father’s place in Los Angeles, leaving Hadley alone.
Now, a year has passed. Sam is back and more determined than ever to convince Hadley they’re meant to be. But Hadley can’t forget how Sam deserted her. And when Sam learns of the mistake she made while he was gone, she’ll have to decide whether to let him go again, or finally take a stand and fight for the future—and the boy—she wants with all her heart.
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“I don’t want to go the party alone,” he repeats, “but more than that, I don’t want to go without you.”
“You’ve been to plenty of parties without me. Or are you going to try and tell me you sat home every weekend while in LA?”
“Yeah, because unlike out there, you’re going to know every single person at this party. Have known them half your life.”
“It won’t be the same. Nothing’s the same,” he says and his voice cracks like it hasn’t done since he was thirteen. “I knew if I came back, things would be different, but nothing is how I thought it would be. Charlie barely speaks to me, Mom stares at me as if I’m going to disappear if she blinks and any time I try to hang out with Max, he brushes me off. Jackson and Tyler came over last night and kept talking about the new basketball coach and some party they went to last weekend… Everything’s different now.”
He’s right. Things are different. His choice. And he doesn’t get to be all frustrated and irritated by it now just because he feels left out. Left behind.
Welcome to my world.
So why do I feel bad for him?
Oh, right. Because I’m an idiot where Sam is concerned.
“My going with you to Beemer’s isn’t going to magically change it all back,” I tell him.
“No, but if you come, if we go together, things will be like they used to. At least for one night.” He stops and I watch his throat move as he swallows. “We both know we can’t go back, but we can move forward, right? And maybe for one night, a few hours, we can pretend…”
“Pretend things haven’t changed. That I never left.” His voice drops to a low, rough note. “We could pretend you don’t hate me.”
“I don’t hate you,” I say, the words tumbling out of my mouth in a heated rush. I snap my lips together. I shouldn’t give him even that bit of truth, not when he can turn it around, use it against me. “I don’t hate you,” I repeat because I can’t lie. Not about this. “I wish I did. It’d be so much easier.”
He holds my gaze. Nods. “I know.”
It hits me that he does know. He understands exactly what I’m going through. What I’m feeling. He gets me. Always.
But it’s more than that. He knows, he understands, because it’d be easier on him if he hated me, too.
My throat burns with unshed tears and I find myself weakening. Waffling. I can’t go to that party with him. Shouldn’t go anywhere with him. Spending time with Sam will only remind me of what I’ve lost. Of how much it hurt when he turned his back on me.
How hard it was to get over him.
Except all that I’m over him is a lie.
I’m not over him. And I doubt I ever will be.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Beth Ann Burgoon lives in northwestern Pennsylvania where she pens young adult novels that are emotional, sharply written and relatable. She loves coffee, the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team and ’80s teen movies.
Website – www.bethannburgoon.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/bethannburgoonauthor
Instagram – www.instagram.com/bethannburgoonauthor