Expectations (and Teaser #9)

When I published Between the Lines, I didn't worry about reader expectations, beyond whether or not the cover and description adequately described the book. No one knew who I was, so no one had any writerly assumptions about me. Over time, though, readers develop expectations of authors, based on what they've read before.

I'm not sure what's expected of Easy. The cover is dark and sensual, tender, but with an edge. That's no mistake. What I've given you so far shows interaction between the MCs, some of it a little... steamy. I think I've handed out enough of that. Time for something else, I think, to knock your expectations around a bit. That's what teasers are for, no?

Tuesday Teaser #9:

“Hey, baby!” Chaz’s voice pulled both of us from our thoughts. He snatched Erin out of the flow of people and I followed, laughing at her delighted squeal until I noticed the guy standing next to him.

My face went hot, blood pounding in my ears. As our friends kissed hello and began talking about what time they each got off work tonight, Buck stared down at me, his mouth turning up on one side. My breath came in pants and I fought to keep the rising panic and nausea under control. I wanted to turn and run, but I was immobilized.

He couldn’t touch me here. He couldn’t hurt me here.

“Hey, Jackie.” His piercing gaze roamed over me and my skin crawled. “Lookin’ good, as always.” His words gushed flirtation, but all I felt was the threat underneath, intended or not.

The bruises had faded from his face, but weren’t entirely gone. One yellowish streak ringed his left eye, and another brushed along the right side of his nose like a pale smear. Lucas had given him those, and only the three of us knew it. I stared back, mute, the coffee clutched in my hand. I’d once thought this boy handsome and charming—the all-American veneer he wore fooling me as thoroughly as it fooled everyone else.

I raised my chin, ignoring my physical reaction to him, and the fear causing it. “It’s Jacqueline.”

He cocked one eyebrow, confused. “Huh?”

Erin grabbed my elbow. “Come on, hot stuff. Don’t you have art history in like five minutes?”

I stumbled slightly as I turned and followed her, and he issued a soft, taunting laugh as I passed him. “See you around, Jacqueline,” he teased.

My name in his mouth sent a tremor through me, and I trailed behind Erin into the sea of students. Once I could move, I couldn’t get away from him fast enough.