Today, HJ is pleased to share with you Marie James’s new release: One-Eighty
He loves what he can’t remember —she can’t forget the truth…
Arrogant, controlling, and an absolute jerk.
He’s everything I loathe, and everything I want to forget.
But he doesn’t remember a bit of it.
One accident, one misstep, changed everything.
Now, he’s different and unbelievably sexy.
But I refuse to fall for a bully.
Sexy, smart, feisty, and perfect.
She’s everything I want, and nothing that I remember.
What she says I am, I refuse to believe.
For her, I will be anything.
I will do anything.
Even destroy the bully from before.
Enjoy an exclusive excerpt from One-Eighty:
“Why don’t you explain the text you just sent?” I do my best to keep a rational tone, but the topic of discussion always leads to a heightened sense of awareness, one I usually manage to keep others from seeing.
“I figured it was self-explanatory,” Kyle argues on the other end of the line.
He’d just sent a text that reads: You won’t believe what one of the guys has planned for Mary tonight.
Remaining silent, I wait him out. I have nothing but time; hence, the reason I’m standing in my driveway washing an already clean car. Well, spraying the wheels specifically. I’ve already taken the T-tops off my ’71 Stingray Corvette in preparation for the wild night I plan to have in celebration of the school year ending yesterday. I’m finally a senior, and ruling Westover Prep has always been my legacy, but now it’s official.
“Vaughn has been toying with Mary for weeks.”
“He’s a junior now,” Kyle corrects. “He’s convinced her to come to the party tonight at my place. She’s certain he’s all but in love with her. When she arrives, he’s going to text her to come upstairs, only to find him messing around with someone else.”
His chuckle makes me cringe, which is a confusing reaction to what he’s just told me. The junior varsity baseball players all have to do something outlandish for initiation in order to become part of the varsity team, but I can’t remember when taunting Mary became a group endeavor.
It was always my thing, until it wasn’t. These days, I don’t have to do a thing to make her life miserable. I have a half dozen or more friends vying for my attention that torment her for me. I mean, it doesn’t stop me from having a little fun at her expense, but I could take a few days off, and she wouldn’t start to think I was suddenly a nice guy.
“I bet she cries just like that time we knocked over the corn display at the grocery store and blamed her. I swear her face was as red as a tomato. Elijah’s dad was pissed at her. Remember her blubbering trying to explain what happened?”
Grinning at the memory of that day, I continue to spray the already-shining chrome of my wheels. Tormenting the girl next door has been a regular part of my day since the very first day of kindergarten. I was willing to be her friend back then. She was the prettiest girl in pigtails after all, but after choosing to play with another kid over me, it was game on. I’m not second best. Never have been, never will be. That was the day I decided to make her life a living hell. I was a heathen at five, and now I’m unstoppable. I’ve reminded her of that every single day since.
Sounds petty, doesn’t it? Well, petty and repetitive is what you get in small-town Westover, Colorado. We literally have nothing better to do, and even repeated pranks are funny when you’re bored.
Hearing footfalls, I turn just in time to see Piper “aka Bloody Mary” Schofield walking up my driveway. The nickname “Bloody Mary” came from an unfortunate incident in sixth grade. The fact that her first menstrual cycle started at school when she was completely unprepared has given our class more than enough ammunition. I wouldn’t be surprised if several kids in class don’t even know her real first name. More than once, I’ve even overheard teachers mistakenly call her Mary before correcting themselves. Those are the best days. The ones where she’s reminded just how much power I have in our small town.
The Mary walking up my drive right now looks nothing like the timid and standoffish Mary that was at school yesterday, or any other day since I met her, for that matter. Gone are the frizzy layers normally crowding her face. In their place are smooth, luxurious curls, either highlighted by the nearly setting sun or professionally colored. The soft, golden curls bounce almost hypnotically as she moves, and irritatingly, my fingers itch to touch them.
She’s always been pretty, even though I’d never admit that out loud to anyone, but this evening she’s a knockout. Her smoky eyes barely even look my way as she walks past me as if I don’t exist.
My jaw drops as she saunters by me with more arrogance and assuredness than she’s ever displayed before. She’d never act so haughtily in the presence of others, but her brazen demeanor right now irritates me even though there is no one here but me to witness it.
Normally, she’d cower away, make plans to come over when she knows without a doubt that I’m gone. We live right next door to each other, easily able to see the other’s driveway from our living room windows, so it’s not like she can be surprised I’m standing here. She wants to be seen. The realization strikes a chord with me.
“Speak of the devil,” I mutter.
“What’s that?” Kyle asks in my ear, and I frown at the fact that she’s somehow managed to make me forget I was on the phone.
“Nothing. See you tonight.” I hang up as I watch her ascend the front steps of my house.
Although her hair and makeup are done, she’s dressed as she usually is at school in khaki shorts and a loose t-shirt, her clothes hiding her tiny frame. I’m surprised she came over, knowing she would have to walk past me to go see my younger sister, Peyton. They aren’t friends exactly. Mary isn’t really friends with anyone but one other girl in our class, something I’ve made sure of over the years, but I overheard my mom talking to my sister last week that her failed state math test will keep her from going to high school in the fall, and she needed Mary to help her study for the retake in a little over a month.
One problem with tormenting the girl next door is struggling not to get caught. Not only do we live in a small town, but our parents are good friends. The balancing act has been part of the fun these last couple of years, and knowing that Mary can never get away from me completely is just another method of torture I like to remind her of.
As I’d guessed, my sister comes out on the porch after Mary knocks on the door.
Graduation is tonight, and Kyle’s house has been volunteered to host the after-party. He lives just outside of town, so there’s a decreased chance of the police crashing. His place is always the best place to get loud at. Besides, his parents are always gone, so the lack of supervision makes for the optimal party place.
Without a care, I watch my nemesis show my sister something on her phone. Both girls smile, and the radiant sparkle in Mary’s eyes rubs me the wrong way. She’s not supposed to be happy. She’s not supposed to be brave enough to walk past me without flinching or worrying about what I’ll do to her. She’s supposed to cringe in fear at just the mention of my name and skulk into the shadows terrified of my next insult.
I’m agitated even further with the way my cock seems interested in the way her hair swishes back and forth across her back as she shakes her head in response to something my sister has said.
I’m not supposed to want her.
I’m supposed to ruin her.
Instinctively, my lips lift in a sneer as she turns back in my direction, but I falter for a split second as she glances my way. Her bright blue eyes still carry the sparkle that showed when she was speaking with Peyton until they lock with mine. Darkness clouds the vibrant blue, and it’s enough to snap me out of whatever trance she’d placed me in.
Without another thought, I turn the hose from the wheels of my car and direct the flow straight at Mary. Her once lush curls drown and flatten in the water flow. Shock fills every feature of her face as the dark makeup around her eyes begins to melt down her face. Disappointment washes over me when a dark tank top is made visible under her now soaked t-shirt, rather than a bra or her bare tits.
Her eyes slow-blink as she stares at me in surprise, as if there’s no way I’ve just done this. Her hands are open at her sides as if they too can’t believe what just happened.
“You seemed a little dressed up for youth reading at the library,” I say with as much seriousness as I can manage. “I guess your plans for the night have changed.”
Shrugging, I turn the hose back toward my car. I don’t know how long she stands there staring at my back, but I can’t let her go to the party as the sexiest girl in our senior class. If I notice how hot she is, that means others will too, and I need Mary to stay in the gutter right where I put her years ago. Teenage boys are controlled by their dicks, and no matter how much the guys don’t like her on my account, that would change very quickly if they’d seen what I just did.
Excerpt. ©Marie James. Posted by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.
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Meet the Author:
Marie James is a USA Today Bestselling Author of contemporary romance. She’s book boyfriend crazy, the mother of two rowdy boys, and a wife of 15+ years. She’s obsessed with tacos, otters, and FunCo Pops figures. Born, raised, and still living in central Texas, Marie spends most of her time locked away writing and reading.
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