It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally release day for ONLY BETWEEN US!
That’s right, blog friends. I’ve been SOOOOOO not patiently awaiting this day since putting Ferrera’s debut novel, SPIRAL, down a couple of months ago. Realistic NA angst where NICE boys finish first? Um, yes please!
My (5 STARS) review of ONLY BETWEEN US is coming shortly. Today I’ll treat you to some excerpts that will have you ready to read the whole shebang.
Sharing is caring, my friends. Tweet it. Facebook it. Just let your reading friends know about SPIRAL and ONLY BETWEEN US.
If you know a 7-12 teacher, college professor, social worker, psychologist, or someone in a similar profession, they will see SO much truth in Ferrera’s books. Trust me…they’re plenty entertaining (and hot…don’t forget the hot). Mostly, they’re SERIOUSLY respectful of characters in past or present abusive relationships and for ones that struggle with mental illness.
Last semester, Romy escaped from an abusive relationship with the guy she’d thought was the man of her dreams. This semester she’s putting herself back together, determined to reclaim her passion for art and for life. When she signs up for a painting class at the local art co-op, the possibility of passion becomes very real — in the form of her teacher, Caleb. Both mysterious and seriously hot, Caleb bares his soul on his canvases, and Romy’s fascinated by what she sees.
Caleb is just trying to keep his head above water. Caring for his traumatized, unstable sister is getting harder every day, and his paintings are so dark and bleak that no one is buying. Teaching classes at the co-op is no longer enough, and now he’s going to have to sell more than just his art to the wealthy, sex-starved women in his classes. But when Romy comes along, she makes everything more complicated. She sees the truth in his paintings — a truth no one else has realized, until now.
Romy and Caleb might have a real shot together — one that could heal them both. But when ghosts from their pasts re-emerge, determined to keep them apart, will they be strong enough to hold on to each other?
From Romy’s perspective #1:
The stairs creak and we look up to see a guy coming down the steps. He looks to be in his mid-twenties, maybe a few years older than I am, and he moves with the careless grace of an athlete.
“Holy hotness,” breathes Jude, mimicking my thoughts perfectly. It’s not that I’m on the prowl, but in this life, there are a few objective truths, and this guy’s attractiveness is one of them. His jeans hang from his lean hips and are stained with paint. A similarly decorated t-shirt clings to his frame, and there’s a smear of blue on his tanned, muscular forearm. He has chin-length, chocolate brown hair, but he’s pulled some of it away from his face in a partial ponytail high on the back of his head. And that gives us a perfect view of his wolf-gray eyes, which skate over us with mild interest as he descends the stairs and walks toward us.
“You guys here for my class?” he asks, nodding toward the classroom. Oh my God. He’s the teacher.
“Absolutely,” Jude says quickly, newly enthusiastic, and I can’t hold in my laugh.
“Head on in and grab an easel. We’ll start in a few minutes. I’m Caleb,” he says, holding his hand out to Jude, who shakes it and introduces himself.
Caleb turns his gaze to me and offers his hand. “Romy,” I say as I take it, my heart beating a little faster as my skin touches his.
He lets go first. “Have you painted before?” he asks softly, giving my toolbox a questioning glance.
“A little.” That’s a lie. I minored in art in college, and painting was my passion. Until last year. I was passionate about a lot of things until last year, actually.
He smiles, and it’s as warm as his skin and steals my breath. “You look nervous, Romy. You don’t have to be. This is supposed to be fun.”
From Romy’s perspective #2:
“I’m here.” It’s all I can think to say. “You can tell me to leave if you want, but otherwise, I’m here.”
He pulls his hand from mine. “You don’t want to do that.”
“Like I don’t want to look at your paintings?” I tease.
The corner of his mouth twitches. “Where did you come from, Romy? And why now? You’re making things more complicated.”
My smile freezes. “I am? I-I didn’t mean to.”
He turns to me, twisted locks of damp, dark hair skimming his cheeks. “I know you didn’t mean to. But you’re doing it all the same. Every minute you stand here makes things harder to figure out.”
“What are you talking about?”
His eyes squeeze shut. “Nothing. Never mind.”
“Do you want me to leave, Caleb?” I search his expression, trying to figure out what’s going on for him.
He opens his eyes. Stares at me. “I don’t think it’s fair to ask you to stay.”
“Why?” I shiver as his gaze traces along my collarbone and slides up to my face.
“Because I’m a mess.”
“And that means you deserve to be alone?”
He flinches, like everything inside him is raw and tender, like the slightest touch or word can hurt him. “I don’t know what it means. I’m just giving you an escape hatch. And I’m suggesting you take it.”
We are inches apart. Outside, there’s a clap of thunder so loud that I feel it beneath my feet. The lights flicker. Caleb’s gaze meets mine. I lay my palm on his cheek, his stubble rough against my skin. He seems like a wounded animal tonight, shrinking from anything that might hurt him, but as my fingers brush the hair at his temples, he lets out a long breath.
Then, mirroring my movements, he puts his hand on the side of my face. His thumb skims my cheekbone. “What are you doing?” he whispers.
“I’m not sure. What are you doing?”
“I have no idea.”
From Caleb’s perspective #1:
Romy’s cheeks turn a shade of pink that twists my thoughts into all kinds of forbidden shapes. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve just met this woman. She’s one of my students, not some horny sorority girl in a dark club. But I’ve been having trouble prying my eyes from her since the moment I saw her. She’s really cute, with short, reddish brown hair, big green eyes, and a tight little body, not to mention the delicate ink-work of a tattoo on her wrist. I want to slide up her sleeve and see what it says. But there’s something wounded about her, too, something that warns me not to get close. When I found her up here in my space, though, staring at my latest failure like she wanted to run her hands over it, it made me feel jittery and tense.
I catch up with her as she heads for the stairs. “I’m glad you liked my painting.”
Her posture melts a little. “Don’t destroy it. It’s exquisite.”
I feel her words behind my ribs, deeper inside than I should. “I was … just experimenting with something,” I mumble. “I never know what’s going to work out.” I poured my soul onto that canvas. And she saw it. She wanted to touch it.
Her smile is faint but sweet. “It’s working out. Go with it.”
“You know a lot more about painting than a beginner would.” I knew it from the moment I saw that dented toolbox of hers. She’s not like those women downstairs, who spread the word to their friends and come on Tuesday evenings to stare at my ass, like I’m the attraction instead of the joy of painting, of creating something from pigment and canvas. But Romy … the way she looked at her paints and brushes … it was like they were a means to salvation, and I totally get that.
She turns away from me. “I know what I like.”
God, the slope of her neck makes me want to close my teeth around it. What the hell.
From Caleb’s perspective #2:
With a sigh, I put the phone away and try to focus on the job that’s going to earn me enough to cover bills and pay our rent for the next three months. I grab my sketch pad from a corner and pull the pencil from its spiral. Landscapes. Flowers. Tasteful. The blank page greets me, and the irony makes me chuckle. Wasn’t I pulling Romy through her creative block only an hour ago?
If she could see me now, what would she say?
Why am I thinking about her at all?
But before I can stop myself, I’m recreating the slope of her neck, this graceful line of pure wish. I trace my index finger along its path, smudging it a little. The curve of her jaw, the shell of her ear. It’s easily visible because her hair’s so short. I stretch out on my stomach on the floor of my studio, among my oils and brushes, stupid landscapes the furthest thing from my mind. I want to capture it, challenge and fear at the same time, the need for shelter and the need for strength bleeding together, mixing but still distinct. It was all there in Romy’s eyes, and it made me want to take her face in my hands and stare long enough to figure it out.
Mila Ferrera lives in New England, where she has a family and a job and does various normal, everyday things, all while plotting novels in her head. She has a passion for writing new adult/adult romance featuring psychological twists and tortured heroes. Her own psychology internship involved plenty of consultation, but alas, no sexy Swedish doctors, and her decision to make one up is what sparked her self-publishing adventures. She’s the author of SPIRAL (available now), ONLY BETWEEN US (9/3/13), and EVERYTHING BETWEEN US (11/5/13).