Monday, December 30, 2013

HOLY FISH STICKS!

The release for 'Hot Southern Mess' is SO close! Pretty sure I will wet my pants when I hit that publish button. Maybe I should wear some depends?
On that note, the novel is still open for reviews for Blogs. So if you would like a copy, please email me at thardenbrook03@gmail.com

Till then, keep one clicking and get ready for Reid!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Holy Moley..............what just happened!


GUESS WHAT!!!!??? The ARCS of 'Hot Southern Mess' went out tonight! I can hardly contain my excitement...............this calls for alcohol!

Bloggers did you get your copy? No? I'll still send you a copy, just zap me an email!


Monday, December 16, 2013

ARC 'Hot Southern Mes' Contest!

Say what? ARC's for 'Hot Southern Mess' will be heading out next week, and I'm giving away an advanced copy to a reader!

All you have to do it get on my FB page (Author T.A. Hardenbrook), and share the photo collage that is pinned to the top of my page!

You really should do it, considering its a bad-ass read <3


Friday, December 13, 2013

Facebook....................you suck.

So the Facebook keeps showing my posts to fewer and fewer people, thus people not being able to view all my goodies.

Well, I believe that sucks a big fat toe, but I refuse to pay for their services.

So on that note I am going to get better about posting more on my blog and twitter.

If you still want to keep in contact with me on FB, remember to 'like' the page AND 'follow'. This way you will still see all the goodies I share with you all during the sucky Facebook time of greed.

Oh, and I interact with me! I promise I won't bite or yell..................well maybe not yell. I do have a temper some times.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Remembering to not take things so personal.

It's hard in the Indie world of writing to not take things personally. You worked so hard on creating this story, that you hope everyone falls in love with it like you did while writing it. Sad fact is, not everyone is going to like it. 

Remembering that you wrote the book for enjoyment, and that everyone is entitled to their own opinions. 
With that, i'm going to pour myself a glass of wine. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Check out the new teaser!

The novel is almost finished! Whoop whoop!!
So enjoy this little ditty while I continue to bang out this rock and roll love story!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

So i'm almost to the half way mark in "Hot Southern Mess" and am determined to have it finished by the end of the month. My only problems being:

1. Children. They absolutely dull a sex scene when screaming.
2. House work. Apparently its something I "have to do daily"
2. My DVR. Chicago Fire was calling my name this morning, and really any other time I want to watch them.

Yep, those three things really put a damper on my writing. Nonetheless i'm banging it out and will have it off to beta's soon!

In the mean time if you know a blog that would like to review this novel, drop me a line. Sign ups are happening now! 

Till then may your minds be filled with exceptional stories! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hot Southern Mess Chapter 1 Sneak Peak (Unedited and subject to change)

Chapter 1: Attack of the Horrible Bridesmaid Dress

Sitting in the fluffy boutique made me want to vomit, or gauge my eyes out, if I had to hear “Endless Love” one more fucking time. It’s not that I don’t appreciate music, but hearing sappy love songs for the last four hours had official been my own private hell. My limited experience with love could be the biggest aversion to the damn song. Or maybe it was my sheer hatred for the color pink. Either way, today effin blowed. The only time I played in the game of love, I failed miserably. Left shattered into a million and one tiny pieces, and alone. No wonder there are so many single people in this world. Nursing third degree burns from previous lovers was a good enough reason for someone to run far far away from the evil bastard.
“Molly Anne, are you paying attention? I asked what you thought of this dress?” My overly excited and dramatic sister questioned, while she twirled in another weird shade of pink dress up on the pedestal. Everyone in the group that we were with agreed in the selection. All I can see is this horrible color and the big as fuck flower bow right above her ass.

“What’s going on with the funky color?”

“Really Molly, do you have no taste? It’s called rose, and it’s one of the main staples of the wedding. Seriously, I have been planning this wedding for months and you have no clue!”
Her voice reminded me of a banshee, the tone that made you want to walk yourself right off a cliff. She was right; I haven’t paid any attention to this gigantic horrible affair she was planning to her own personal ken doll. Watching her model dress after dress for the bridal party was enough participation for me, plus shouldn't her bridesmaids be trying them on? I’m no expert on the ins and outs of wedding planning, but I figure the bride wore a wedding dress and the bridesmaids wore the other ugly frock, not the bride doing both. But hey, I’ve been wrong before, just ask anyone in my family.

“That dress looks amazing on you Rebecca,” one of her many clone Barbie friends exclaimed, as I rolled my eyes. Of course they liked the dress; it had been by far the ugliest thing she had put on today.

“See this is the perfect color, but I don’t know how the top is going to look on Molly’s chest. I mean you need some curves to fill out the neckline.”

“Are you that shallow Rebecca, wait, scratch that. I can’t believe you are that worried about my boobs. It a dress, just pick a fucking dress and we can be done.” I have finally snapped, there was no coming back from pissed off Molly land now.


 There was not one ounce of compassion left in my body for my sister. I don’t care what fucking color the dress is, if it has one strap or two, or if its floor length, or above my knees. All I wanted is for this day to be over. I have a date playing at the coffee house down the corner from my apartment tonight, and I couldn’t wait to get out of here.

“Molly Anne, there is no reason to snap at your sister. She has tough decisions to make, and you are not helping young lady,” our mother glared, making me feel like I was twelve years old again.

“I’m done, pick the dress with your little friends and then order mine. Size two please, remember it’s a size smaller than what you wear.”

I knew throwing the size factor would be like a one-two punch to my sister’s ego. Her appearance was so important to her, just like every other woman at the country club. Being skinnier then her was always a touchy subject, even if she is full of  gorgeous womanly curves, and I look like a stick with small boobs attached awkwardly under my face.

“Molly Anne McGlenister, you need to apologize right now!” Our mother’s eyes bulged out of her face, considering that was the only thing that could move with all the Botox she had recently injected. Slowly, I turned around and offered a sweet smile. I flipped the bird and let my smile fall, glaring at the women sitting around the large mirrors. I couldn’t believe anyone wanted to be like those robots. I’m pretty sure they all shared the same bullshit filled brain.

“Deuces bitches.” Sticking my tongue out at them, I turned for the door and stomped my way out of the frilly fucking nightmare. I am never getting married, this was a total joke. If love really existed, how in the world would your future spouse let you jump on the crazy train and plan all this crap? It’s like the bride’s soul has been taken by a body snatcher and all sense of reason had been lost. Well, that would require my sister to have a soul, and I’m pretty sure she sold it to the devil at fourteen for bigger boobs. Why didn’t I think of that?


It was like I could finally breathe again, as I skipped over to my car. No longer suffocating amongst all the carbon copy clones, I was able to run away and not look back. Well, that would hold true till Sunday morning brunch at the club. That was the only day someone could catch me in a damn skirt and polo. If having breakfast with my parent’s wasn't bad enough, I actually had to dress the part of one big happy fucking family too. I had to take out my lip ring, and limit my earrings to only two studs in each lobe. My short choppy black and purple bob would be neatly straightened, and pinned back so the purple pieces were less noticeable; and I once again, was a McGlenister daughter. At least they claimed I was, on days like that. The moment I ran out of there, the stupid shirt was off, and I was planning on driving home in just my bra and panties. I didn’t care if people saw me. At least my undergarments reflected who I was; my parents didn’t have control on what color or style those little ditties were……….. just yet.

My car beeped, as the unlock button was pressed and I slid into the hot leather interior. It’s always hot in the south, but this spring had been unbearable. One would think that living in the lower states with all the ‘beautiful’ sunshine I would tan, but no, that wasn’t in the cards for me. I looked like a damn lobster if I stayed out in the sun for too long. It never turned into a tan once the burn went away, just back to to the lovely shade of white. My mother and sister were always trying to get me to go get a spray tan, but I have a huge aversion to looking like an oompa loompa.  Orange just wasn’t my color; I’d stick the basics of the color wheel.

I smashed the key into the ignition and brought my baby to life; cranking the air conditioner as high as it would go. The purr of the engine sent chills down my spine, as I tossed the car into reverse and glanced behind me. The only benefit to my parents having money was this car. It took almost two years of begging my father to let me have a classic before I even got remotely anywhere with him.

 “They are not safe vehicles. How about a nice Porsche or a Mercedes?” My father always asked.

But, I was relentless in my quest for the 65 Mustang convertible. I spent months searching for the perfect one, and finally found it outside of Athens, Georgia.  It was the perfect color of Cherry red, and still was sporting the original black top. The interior needed work, but her body was in mint condition.
I begged and pleaded to the best of my abilities for weeks till he finally caved and bought this little beauty. My father had sent a driver down to pick it up and haul it back for us, since he refused to do it himself. I remember waiting outside for the truck to pull up with my baby; it was automatic love at first sight. Now, anyone who says it’s not love at first sight its lust, is a lying sack of shit. They apparently have never met my car. I am in a monogamous lesbian relationship with this slick piece of metal. She captured my heart at first glance, and we have been together ever since. Who needed a man, when I had this power between my legs.



Tossing my keys on the bar in the kitchen I wandered over to grab a beer from the fridge. The cold liquid was exactly what I needed after an afternoon like that. Who knew having my sister try on millions of ugly dresses would take so much out of me. It felt like I had just been body checked at a roller derby game; my body was out for the count. Slamming the rest of my Coors Light bottle back, I tossed it into the recycling bin, and headed for the shower. I needed to undo the ‘prettiness’ I had done earlier to fit ‘in’ with the crowd. The real Molly needed to emerge from the fake BS I graced everyone with.

Watching the water swirl down the drain I couldn’t help but feel like it should symbolize something meaningful in life. Maybe, that my life was a big sucking vortex? Or that everything always seemed to head south? It’s not that I have a bad life; it’s just not the life I wanted to live. I had never been into the glitz and glamour that my mother and sister’s world thrived on. I didn’t take part in any social committees, and wasn’t crowned anything at a high school dance. I don’t dress in the latest fashion, and my hair normally had some sort of vibrant color streaked into the black color I dye it. Socially I am an outcast in our community, but in my little world I am a Rock Star.

My father always told us girls we could grow up to be anything, and my mother harped from an early age that we needed to grow up and become the perfect trophy wife. Somehow my lame sister believed all that crap, and now she is falling down the black rabbit hole of marriage. Maybe it’s not my life that represents a drain, maybe it is just everyone else around me. Then again, maybe I just think too much and need to turn my damn mind off. Yep, betting that’s to key to my solitude. Silence, it’s a novel concept.


It never took me long to get ready, just a few minutes to dry my short hair and run a flat iron over the pieces that insist on being crazy and medusa like. My makeup was pretty basic too; however some nights I added a little glittery eye shadow to my normal eyeliner and mascara. However, those nights are rare, considering I had a tendency to look like a street walker after it was done. It took a long time for me to become comfortable with my appearance. All I ever heard while growing up was what I should have been doing different. Making my hair a brighter blonde and adding layers of makeup on my skin, was never going to make the outlook any better. I hated that life, and in return hated everyone around me. Thus making me the stereotypical teen that thought the world was out to get me. Emo had nothing on my inner sulking lifestyle, I was a total wreck.

My family never accepted the girl I chose to be; it was always “Molly, you would look so much better if you just did this”. But somehow I made it through those awful years of teenage angst. Lord knows how, but I actually came out on top. In the end I truly liked myself, and that was all that mattered in my little world.
Tonight was one of those nights I decided to take a little more time on my appearance. Running the flat iron over my ends and backcombing the top to get a little height, let the purple streaks I dyed last week pop out more from the underneath. My eyes are smoldering with the smoky eye look, and the perfect clear gloss was applied to my lips. Taking a step back from the mirror I gazed at my reflection. “Molly Anne McGlenister, what in the world have you done to yourself now?”

I played at the café at least one night a week. Normally that was all the time I had available since my soulless black leach of a boss needed me at every single moment of my life. Being an assistant to the event planner at the club wasn’t my first choice for employment. However there really wasn’t  much around here that would pay me what I make, considering I never went to college and insisted on living on my own. I worked at a little local record shop for a couple months after I turned eighteen. It was the best job in the entire world, completely my scene and pace. Listening to music all day soothed my soul and cleared my mind. It was like waking up in heaven each day when I stepped foot in that place.

Sadly, I wanted so desperately to move out of my parents’ house and the only way that was going to happen was if I actually made more than minimum wage. My parents made it very clear they would not help with my living expenses if I did not attend college, and by college they meant Old Miss. Surviving the couple years till my trust fund became available at twenty one was a daunting task, one that I barely came out of. But I managed; I survived the ordeal of early adult life and didn’t end up stripping. Not that anyone would want to see me strip with my itty titty bitties anyway.
I had to quit that amazing job and work with my mother’s best friend to be able to move the hell out of my parents grasp. At the time I didn’t know what hurt more. Losing the music job, or going to my mother and asking her for help with a job. Looking back I realized it was my mother, I fucking hated it when she had one up on me.


Tonight was the night where my soul could fly free amongst the tangled mess I claimed to live in. I loved everything about playing guitar. The click of opening the case, peering into the blood-red crushed velvet insides of my guitar’s save haven. The weight in my hands, when I lifted him out of the case, and place him in my arms. My fingers would glide effortlessly over his strings, and the cool leather of the strap comforts my neck when I slide it over my head. There was not one little thing I didn’t like about playing guitar, it was like my southern comfort in a roundabout way.

“Hey Benny, how is tonight going?”
I gave a soft smile to the man behind the mixing boards in the corner of the small café. Before I took the stage at nine, it was open mic night. It tended to bring in all sorts of people from various walks of life; a truly diverse group of friendly people. It’s one of the main reasons I moved to a loft apartment down town. The vibe the city gave off was amazing; colorful and lively. There were so many cultures crammed into a small area, that everyone was basically forced to get along if you wanted to stay and enjoy the atmosphere. No one was spiteful and mean; essentially a room full of music loving hippies filled the cafe during the night. It was the best place for a music junkie like myself. I could listen to just about anything with a beat, letting my mind get wrapped up in the melodies and the lyrics from the songs, touching my soul and leaving an imprint with every cord strung.

Being able to play an acoustic set for an hour is one of the most fulfilling rewards I had been blessed with. The opportunity to have my own set was validation that all the hard work and dedication I was putting into this passion, finally paying off. Week after week I sat on that stool up there, and poured out my heart into my music, letting it wash away the grime of day to day life. Yep, even if I had to wear a bridesmaid dress that was one of the most hideous things I had ever seen in this entire world, it didn’t matter. I was playing music, and that truly was all I cared about in the end

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fun things!

Hi everyone! As much as I would like to say that I've been diligently working on HSM, sadly I have not. 

BUT.............I have been working on some a cover design for a fantastic new author, that I hope to get to share with you all in the next few weeks.

Maybe cover design services is in my future?

Keep reading!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Want to help promote "Hot Southern Mess"..........and get to read it before it goes LIVE in January?

I am searching for help in the promotional department for "Hot Southern Mess". This is going to one heck of a rock & roll love story that you won't want to miss!

Would you like to read it before everyone else has? How about help promote teasers, sign up blogs for review, and spread the word out?

I need you! Please message me @ thardenbrook03@gmail.com or reach me on FB to help start with the planning!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Happy Friday!

Hi fellow book loving friends!

I sent out the first 8 chapters of "Hot Southern Mess" to two different readers.................hoping they enjoy it! So on that note, here is a little teaser from HSM


*Don't forget to grab your copy of "Running Home" while its on sale! You won't regret it!

Till then keep reading and enjoying!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Searching for Beta's!

Are you into romance? 
How about a little Rock & Roll?

Want to read a fantastic novel before its released?


I am searching for reliable beta's that would like to read "Hot Southern Mess" the beginning of December!
Please send an email to: thardenbrook03@gmail.com

or connect with me on Facebook

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

So I was thinking (a novel concept), and was wondering if anyone would be interested in a little "wedding" scene from "Running Home". For those of you that have read the book you know exactly what i'm talking about. 

So once "Running Home" reaches 25 Reviews on Amazon, i'll post it for your reading pleasure!

Keep reading and sharing the book...............PLEASE!

<3 T.A. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"Running Home" is LIVE!

Its crazy that today "Running Home" was officially released. I had such an amazing time writing the novel and am so excited to share it all with you! To all the blogs participating on the tour, I cannot say how appreciative I am for going on this journey with me. Without their help it would be extremely hard to get the word out about my book, so with that I thank you.

To everyone that is willing to take a chance and read the novel, you are all rock stars in my eyes. All I ever wanted was to tell a good story, one that people would enjoy  to read. I hope this book does just that. Please enjoy it, I LOVED writing it.

Also I am begging you to leave a review. It helps tremendously (Amazon, Goodreads), and I am ever so grateful for even a couple words.

So thanks again and please stay tuned, this isn't the end you will all hear from me. Its only the beginning! 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

3 Days

Can you believe "Running Home" is only 3 days away from being RELEASED! I'm stoked to get this book out to you, cause I LOVED writing it!

Don't forget i'm still providing copies to blogs if you would like to review it! Spread the word, help me get my book out there, please!


Monday, September 30, 2013

Playing Catch Up

Hi Everyone!

I promise to have this blog updated ASAP! However I am waiting on the final edits from my editor for "Running Home" since it is getting released October 8th!

So please hang tight and don't forget you can always get the latest news on FB

Till then keep reading my friends!

T.A. Hardenbrook

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Running Home" Chapter 1


“Second Chance” Shinedown

Carmen, June 2007
“Carmen get down from there!” Walker shouted as I sauntered across the concrete railing on the old train bridge. “You need to calm down, nothing is going to happen.” I lowered myself to sit and face the moon shining on the pond below. Nothing was ever going to happen to me, I was invisible to everything. No matter how hard I tried to break the cycle of mediocrity, this small town smacked me back in the face. I could jump off this bridge into a pool filled with piranhas and not a single one would bite me. I had the best of luck when it came to safety; however the sanity issue is where the problem was. I couldn’t break free of my mind; it was always swirling with useless information. A release was what I craved, an escape into the world unknown. Glancing over at Walker as he meandered over to the railing, I pushed myself off the edge and fall into the darkness below.
The cool water rushed around my body as I tumbled into the pond below the bridge. It felt like a million little needles piercing my skin, reminding my brain that I was still alive. I broke the surface and felt the hot sticky air fill my lungs as I took a breath. The difference between the two temperatures was amazing, awakening my soul and calming my mind. It was like being in two different places at once, and in reality I was just dying to get out of one.

“Carmen!” Walker screamed from the bridge. It’s not like it was the first time I’ve done this. It was liberating to just close my eyes and jump, and each time I did it, Walker panicked like it would be the last. “Are you okay?” my best friend screamed down at me. I flashed him a thumbs up as he shook his head and muttered something to himself. I’m betting it contained curse words; he was going to lay into me again for the millionth time for this little stunt. It’s not that I didn’t care; it was just the same thing every time. I was being irresponsible with my life, there was so much more to do and see that doing something so careless as jumping off the bridge into a small pond was the dumbest idea I could possibly do in his eyes. Swimming over to the edge of the bank I knew I could rattle off several more idiotic things I’ve done in the past more dangerous than this, but I know it would only break his heart.  He was the only person in this world that actually cared about me, and it was like a punch in the gut every time I let him down.
Pulling myself up on the embankment I caught his eyes as he walked down the small hill. Too late I’ve done it again, as I noticed the hurt written all over his beautiful face.
“Calm down Walker, I slipped,” I mentioned while ringing the water out of my hair. Walker didn’t say anything once he reached the rocks; I knew he was pissed and was about to find out exactly the level of anger I managed to hit tonight. “Why in the hell do you do that? You’re not going to live forever Carmen, one day it’s not going to end well. I refuse to be there when that happens; I love you way too much to watch you self-destruct.” His eyes bored into mine, laced with heartache and pain I managed to hand deliver to him tonight.  I broke the contact and rolled my eyes at my best friend; it’s the same story I’ve heard from him a million and one times, basically the shortened version claims that I’m crazy. Hell I might just be a little off my rocker, I act on impulse and normally that resulted in something dumb happening.

I’ve always been a little different; from the first day on the playground of third grade when I went up to the most popular girl at school and pushed her down because she wouldn’t include me in her group, Walker was the only kid who would stand by my side after that. Who would have known he would grow up to be an all-star athlete and that everyone in our small town loved, and I would be the girl who people pitied. Well I’m betting everyone knew that; considering that my parents were both druggies who dropped me off with my grandparents when I was eight. My grandmother always said I was a free bird like my mom; the only difference between mom and me is the drugs. Now I love a good beer and hand me a shot of whiskey and I’ll be your best friend, but I was not going to ruin my life like they did with the hard stuff.  Maybe it’s because my parents left me alone that I’m this way, it always seemed easier to blame someone else for my problems. No one expected me to do anything with my life anyhow, might as well live up to their expectations right?

“Let’s go home Carmen,” Walker shook his head and held out his hand to help me up the steep embankment.
“But it’s still early Walker, look the sun isn’t even out yet.”
“That’s the point; your grandparents are going to be mad for you being out this late already.”
“When are they not angry Walker, I’m like a living reminder of their failure at parenthood.”  He got behind me and pushed my body up the last little bit to the level ground. I stood there sopping wet as I watched him stalk back to his truck, I wasn’t ready to head home yet. Going back to my small room in the little farm house on the old dirt road from the first left outside of the tiny town we lived in; my own personal hell. I refused to die in this one stop light kind of town, there had to be more in life then getting married and raising two-point-five kids and joining the PTA.
Looking at the millions of stars in the sky I knew I was destined for more, no one was going to stop me from achieving my dreams. Even if I had no clue what they were yet.

“Carmen,” my grandmother yelled down the hall. I slowly opened my eyes to read the clock sitting beside my bed; the fact that it flashed seven-fifteen made me want to hurl it across the room. I only had to endure getting up at this hour through the next week till graduation, which was IF I could pass that last test in US History. Why anyone needed to know about the stupid wars and presidents was beyond me, considering I couldn’t even tell you who was in charge of our country now let alone a hundred years ago.
“Carmen are you up yet? You know Walker will be here in twenty minutes to collect you.”
“I’m up I swear,” I yelled as I threw the covers back over my head. “We don’t swear in this house young lady,” as Grams ripped the comforter off my bed, leaving me cold and almost naked. “I know,” I snapped while rolling out of bed. Grams gave me a stern look as she tossed the bedding back on the bed. “Manners Carmen, a lady needs to watch her tongue,” she lectured me while leaving the room. “Sorry,” I muttered, dragging myself to the closet to find something clean to wear, just four more days till I could get the hell out of here.

“Morning Mrs. Montgomery,” Walker’s southern drawl floated around the kitchen. Why Walker ever put up with my ass was a million dollar question, that boy had a heart of gold while mine was the consistency of coal. “Alright let’s get this done,” I barked while glancing at Walker as he waited in the doorway. “Carmen can’t you ever dress like a lady?” Grams scoffed as she pulled a tray of muffins out of the oven.
“At least my ass isn’t hanging out.”
“Language, I don’t want to have to remind you again.” Grams scolded while handing Walker a brown sack filled with home cooked goodies. “Thanks Mrs. Montgomery,” he tipped his hat and flashed a smile. “Well if we are done playing nice this morning, I’ve got to figure out how in the hell I’m going to pass this test today.” I placed a quick kiss to Gram’s cheek and drug Walker out the door. I slipped my sunglasses on my face and walked over to the Bronco, I couldn’t wait to be done with school, just four more days and I was going to be free from the awful place. I couldn’t fucking wait.

I tossed my hair up in a messy bun and flipped the dial on the radio to find anything but country. “That crap you listen to is going to rot your brain,” Walker mumbled as he flew down the old country road to the high school. “Can’t destroy my brain, it’s been gone for a long time,” I winked at him and kicked my feet up on the dash.
“Are you going to be able to graduate Saturday? I swear I will drag your ass across that stage, all you have to do is pass this test.”
“Yeah genius, I’m completely prepared for this exam,” I mock, knowing damn well it was going to be a miracle if I scored anything over a sixty percent. I only needed a sixty-two on this test to graduate, nothing like flying by the seat of my pants with the future unknown. Walker just shook his head with a look of pity on his face, I needed to pass this test and prove everyone in this damn town wrong.
“I don’t need your sorrow Walker; you know I’m going to be just fine once I get the hell out of here.”
“That’s what I’m scared about Carmen; I keep hoping you are going to realize that life here isn’t that bad.”
I rolled my eyes under my dark glasses, this boy was crazy. I am so close to packing up my shit and heading out west. The land of glamor and opportunity was just screaming my name and nothing was going to stand in my way of it. Not graduating, not my family, and for sure not this town.


“How did it go?” Walker hurried to catch up to me in the hallway after fifth period. “I don’t really know, I mean I answered all the questions,” I shrug.
“Carmen it was a multiple choice test, I hope you at least filled in all the bubbles?”
“Oh shit, I knew I missed something,” I sneered while turning the dial on the lock attached to my locker. After several failed attempts Walker pushed me out of the way and spun it till it clicked. I sent him a loving glare; it was almost a year now that I’ve been stuck with the same combo that apparently I would never remember. “Oh my savior, what am I ever going to do without you?” I teased while batting my eyelashes and pouted my lips.
“Knock it off Carmen; you know I hate the idea of you leaving.”
“Well get used to it champ, this chick is going to see her name in lights!” I slap him on the ass while I closed my locker. “What am I going to do without you?” Walker expressed as he grabbed my bag and headed down the hallway for our government class. “Enjoy life? I don’t know maybe date someone?” Instantly my mouth went dry and my stomach plummeted when I mentioned dating someone. I know I can’t keep him forever, but I hated the thought of him with anyone else but me. It’s not like we ever took that step from our friendship but I still thought of him as my soul mate. Dating someone else just made me angry and bitter, maybe I was meant to stick around this lonely little town after all. Finding love was meant to be everything in life, I just wasn’t so sure it was the life for me.

I waited on the top of the Bronco for Walker to finish with baseball practice. Stripping off my t-shirt I laid back on the roof in just my black lacy bra, closing my eyes and soaking up the rays. The hot metal of the truck was scorching on my exposed skin, but it was worth it as I developed a darker complexion to my naturally tan body. “Carmen put your clothes on,” Walker sighed as he slipped his bag into the back and stripped off his shirt. I couldn’t help but drool over his body. The years of sports and working in his father’s fields have done this man good. His abs were ripped to the point where they looked unreal, and his chiseled pecks were something that no eighteen year old should have. If he was a tall drink of water I wanted to bathe in it, hell I would drown in the liquid of him. “You don’t have a shirt on,” I replied while resting my body up on my elbows.
“Carmen my dear you are absolutely stunning!” a team member of Walker’s shouted out as he climbed into his truck. I smiled and gave him a wave as Walker stood down on the concrete crossing his arms looking like he was about to murder someone. “Seriously Walker, you’ve seen me in less,” I grumbled as I tossed my shirt over my head and slid down the front windshield. “Yeah well you’re my best friend Carmen, the whole world doesn’t need to see you naked.”
“It’s a bra; my swimsuit covers less than this!” I grabbed my boobs and gave them a squeeze, for gosh sakes it’s just extra flaps of skin attached to my chest. I don’t know what his problem was; it wasn’t like he liked me in that way. I knew I was a little slutty; hey I might even be called the town whore. It’s not like I’ve slept with the entire senior class, just maybe a quarter of them. “Maybe I’m practicing for my big porn debut,” as I smacked his rock hard abs and walked around to climb in the passenger side of the truck.
“You’re not doing porn Carmen.”
“Oh come on, two chicks one guy staring the fabulous Carmen Westin!” I gave him a wink. It’s not like I’d do porn, well I might if the money was right. Never say never right?

“So when will we know if you passed?” Walker asked as he turned off the Bronco in my driveway. “I hope tomorrow, but who knows. I think they have to have the list to the principal on Wednesday so he can sign off on the ceremony. How about we intercept it before it reaches him, we can dress like ninjas and show off our karate moves. Then slip my name on that bad boy and deliver it with a smile,” as I wiggled my eyebrows with the crazy idea.
“First you’re going to pass that stupid test. Second what ninja skills are we talking about?”
“The ones I’ve been practicing for the last ten years, duh Walker,” I laughed as I flung the door open and hopped out. “You did dance for a couple weeks when you were like ten. That was the last time you did anything that resembled working out,” He replied as we walked up to the kitchen door.
“You don’t know everything about me Walker, I do have some secrets.”
“Don’t give me that, you are about as open as a twenty-four hour drive thru McDonalds.”
“I hear we are getting one of those,” quickly trying to change the subject. “Nice try, but I know you Carmen. I’m starting to believe I know you better than you know yourself,” Walker mentioned while he opened a cabinet and grabbed two glasses. Walking over to the fridge I seized the milk and poured the ice cold liquid into the cups. Handing one to him we both took a seat at the table, letting the silence from our awkward conversation fill the air.
I don’t know what I would do without this man sitting across from me. He had been there through thick and thin; sitting with me in detention because he wouldn’t let me take the full blame on something I always messed up on, breaking curfew with my grandparents and having them ground me for weeks so we would spend every Friday night watching movies until they set me free again. This was the man who would pick me up and brought me home from school, always made sure I had eaten a meal, held my hair back when I partook in too much alcohol, and loved me unconditionally. How was I going to make it without him watching over my dumbass self, why couldn’t he just come with me? Oh that’s right; he is already stuck in this trap of a small town. Local sports hero who would join the sheriff’s department after he graduates, basically a parade should be thrown for how fricken’ fantastic he is. I quickly gulped down the remainder of my milk in jealousy; all I wanted was to feel free from the constrictions this town placed on me. I was Carmen the screw up, the girl who would never be good enough for Walker the town prince. Some messed up Cinderella story my life has turned out to be.


“Walker sweet boy, would you go grab Henry from the barn? I’ve got dinner on the table,” as Grams handed the plates over to me to set out. “Sure thing Mrs. Montgomery,” Walker responded while walking out the back door in search of my grandpa.
“That boy is something special, why can’t you two just go steady?”
“Grams it’s not like that between us. Besides no one goes steady anymore when it’s just a matter of heading to Vegas and stopping by the drive-thru chapel of love then a quick jaunt over to the local court house to void the papers.”
“Life isn’t as negative as you paint it to be Carmen.”
“Really because my parents are junkies, I can barely pass high school, and am dying to get out of here!” I refused to cry over the shitty deals my life has been given. Yes my parents are drug addicts, shit happen. They don’t deserve a single tear to fall from my eyes. The best thing they ever did was leave me here, and that says a lot considering I’m counting down the seconds till I get on a Greyhound out of here. There is nothing but a big ass black sucking hole in this town, just waiting for the new graduates to step out into their future at the local Dairy Queen and Quickie Mart. No one ever leaves this hell hole, it’s like an invisible force field that blocks people from moving on, however I’m about to shake up that electrical current. I wasn’t going to die in this one horse town, I wasn’t made to have lots of babies and teach Sunday school. I was meant to travel the world, bare my soul to anyone willing to listen, and show that there is life after high school. It was about time for someone to kick this town in the ass; I refused to get stuck here.


"Running Home" Cover Reveal!



Add it on Goodreads TODAY!

Friday, August 23, 2013

*Sneak peek of my new WIP titled "Hot Southern Mess"

"Hot Southern Mess"

My mother always said “You need to act like a lady if you are ever going to be the perfect wife.” Well that would require me to first become ‘lady like’ and then sell my soul to the devil. Down south, women were groomed to be perfect trophy wives. One must be the total package in order to catch a man that had sort of social ranking at the country club. To my parents and sister dismay being sold off to the highest bidder in society wasn't the life for me.
Hi I’m Molly and anything but the southern belle type.  My hair isn't blonde and I don’t wear dresses. My shoe selection consists of my favorite chucks and I’m lucky that I shower daily. I bite my nails and play guitar, and well my makeup regimen involves of the very basics. I don’t hold any pageant titles and I’m entirely too awkward at social gatherings.
So what does one do when her younger sister finds the man of her dreams and gets married? You suck it up and put on that horrible bridesmaid dress and explain to everyone that you are perfectly content on living alone for the rest of your life. Then you get the hell out of there.
I just wanted to play my music and live my life, free of sparkles and crowns.  Being twenty-five and not married wasn't the end of the world, in reality it was just the beginning.  I was not going to worry about finding “the one” till it found me. One afternoon I walked right into all six-foot-three rock star of it.
Hi, my name is Molly and I’m a complete Hot Southern Mess.

Upcoming Release News!

Hi everyone!

I wanted to share with you all that "Running Home" will be released on Amazon. Smashwords, and B&N on  October 8, 2013!

Check out the teasers and all the other goodies on the blog and on my FB page 




I'm sorry that I have to write this but "Life Shattering Beautiful" is put on the back shelf as of now. I want the stories I create to be the very best they can be, and unfortunately my heart is not completely focus on their story line just yet. 

With that being said I am still currently writing it, just at a much slower pace.  I am hoping to have it finished for a summer 2014 release.



I do have another series in the works that I am hoping to have out winter 2014 titled 
"Hot Southern Mess"

Stay tuned for more information on the adventure of Molly and Reid




Thanks for all the love and support everyone has been sharing with me and watch for Running Home cover release August 27th! 

T.A. Hardebrook

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"Running Home" Teaser!




Cover reveal is happening August 27th! Please help spread the word!

*Any blogs want to to help out with the debut?*

Monday, July 29, 2013

Contains **Spoilers**

Hi friends!

I’ve had some people comment on how the ending of “Life Altering Beautiful” was confusing for them, so I want to give you all a little insight to me reasoning for the madness!
**If you have not read it this WILL contain spoilers**
Seven was a girl who came to school broken from a harsh past, the once strong and courageous young woman she grew to be was shattered Prom night when Anderson died. Her life was unfortunately ruined by a single lie told to basically anyone who would listen, and in a community were social status was more important than the truth her life was destroyed.
The entire book is her struggle to “get over” the problem Trent created; she needed to believe in herself again since no one longer stood in her corner. When she crossed paths with Stone she was allowed to see what life could be like for her again, someone who was willing to help her from the darkness and walk with her into the future. The past is a horrible thing for some to get over, and keeping secrets does not help in the journey either.
I honestly can say I never intended the book to have that happily ever after to it, it was not the goal I had in mind when I wrote The End. Seven had finally realized her life was worth living, she was able to give love and receive it. She once again believed in herself even if it came with tragedy again, this time in the form of heartbreak and not loss of life. She was a stronger person in result of her relationship with Stone; sometimes heartbreak is inevitable in the journey.

The epilogue came as an afterthought, I know how everyone “wants” a happily ever after, and I really wanted to give you all that. I wanted the reader to question what they read. Maybe even read it several times as I never directly came out and said they were together until you find out Stone and Seven were having a daughter. I understand this did not entertain some and others loved it that is the beauty of people reading things differently. My only hope is that you enjoyed the story as much as I did while writing it. I look forward to sharing my future projects with you and thank you immensely for taking a chance and reading “Life Altering Beautiful”.

Sincerely T.A. Hardenbrook

Friday, July 19, 2013

Searching For...............

I am looking for some more Beta/ Editors to work with for "Running Home" are you interested? Please let me know!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

THE LINKS!!

Here are the links for "Life Altering Beautiful"

Please leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or Smashwords if you loved it! It would completely make my day!

Amazon

Smashwords


Check em out book loving friends!!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Its LIVE!!!

Get your clicking finger ready and head on over to Amazon or Smashwords and pick up a copy of "Life Altering Beautiful"


SOOOOO EXCITED!!! Don't forget to leave a review on Amazon/Smashwords/ Goodreads please!

Friday, June 28, 2013

*New trailer for "Life Altering Beautiful"  


video

Oh me Of my..................I better run and hide!

eARC's went out this morning............................................nervous...............scared..............I want my mommy!

Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Inspiration with my for new novel "Running Home"

Ever hear that one song while writing your book and it instantly clicks? Well as hilarious as this song is, its totally screams my WIP "Running Home" (Coming Fall 2013)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvyTY_oYR_c&feature=share&list=RD02VmLXHjuyg0c

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Here is a little snippet from my new WIP "Running Home" slated for release Fall 2013


Monday, June 10, 2013

While "Life Altering Beautiful" is now in the BETA process, I wanted to share with you all my newest WIP!

May I present:


Carmen always had a wild streak about her while growing up in this small town. Everyone use to say her only saving grace in this world was her best friend Walker who tried to keep the flighty girl grounded. But life was too big for her to live in this one stop light kind of town; she had dreams and wants that could take her anywhere but staying there. Anything was better than being stuck in the perpetuating cycle of being born and dying in this hell hole she called the reality of a small town girl.

Walker was the only anchor that could hold her home, she lived for that boy. So how do you explain to someone that staying there would only suffocate the possibilities of making a better life for oneself? Running away was the only option, and leaving a piece of her heart with him would keep her strong out in the real world, at least she hoped it would.

After years of trying to make it on her own, struggling through life and trying to stay clean, the only reality she sees at surviving now is going back to the place she tried so hard to break free from. Unsure if her old life is willing to accept the choices she has made, the lone thought that matters to her is hoping she still has the only man she has counted on her entire life in her corner. You can always go home, but will they be willing take you back?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Looking for Bloggers!

I still have a couple spots for ARC's of "Life Altering Beautiful" for blogs! Would you like to read the story before its made available in return for a review?

Lets make magic together!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A little teaser for your Thursday morning!

Leaning back in the tub I watched the steam from the water rise and heat the room. Sinking into the basin as far as I could with my wrapped arm resting on the side, I closed my eyes and exhale all the toxins I’ve been keeping in my system. The last two days had taken a toll on my mind, adding too much pressure to my already fragile existence. It sickened me that my roommate was still seeing Trent and the thought of him being in the same fraternity as Stone was just a cruel joke fate was playing on me. I ducked my head under the water and slowly released the air from my lungs, for a moment everything was peaceful. Opening my eyes underwater made everything seem calm on the surface almost like the water being glass, just waiting for me to break the surface and shatter it. My lungs started to burn from the lack of oxygen and if I waited much longer my outcome could be grim. Closing my eyes I quickly sit up and take a deep breath in, letting the cool air rush into my lungs. I slump back down till the water hits my shoulders; smacking Trent in the face was one of the most satisfying moments of my life, maybe I can be a bad ass again. 

**Don't forget to add "Life Altering Beautiful" on Goodreads!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Chapter 8 Teaser!!! (Remember there will be changes and edits)

Chapter 8
(Stone)

Unlocking the door to my dark apartment I let Seven wander in first, as I reach my hand around the corner for the light switch. Suddenly I was being pulled over the threshold and her lips were instantly on mine. I couldn't help but surrender to her spell, parting my lips to allow her tongue to slide into my mouth. There was something different about her; the need for my touch was almost desperate and forceful. I was backed up into the wall, completely at her mercy for whatever she planned on doing. Running my hands through her long red hair I hear a little moan escape, this woman was going to have me come undone right here. Pushing back slightly I catch my breath and grab her chin “Wait this isn't what you wanted tonight”. “What I can’t change my mind” pressing her body back against mine. The back of my head rest against the wall and I let out a long sigh. “Seven you know I want you,  more than anything but not even 5 minutes ago I practically had to beg you to come home with me” “Fuck you Stone, maybe you should try to get to know me before you start telling me what I want” as she storms off to the bathroom. “You won’t let me get to know you, you keep yourself so fucking locked up that I would need the CIA to break into that little head of yours” I yell after her.



Don't forget the new cover is coming out Tuesday the 28th!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013



Check out my new book trailer for "Life Altering Beautiful"!




Are you intersted in being a BETA reader? I'm in search for some people to read this fantastic love story the beginning of June (ish), please contact me if its you!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Chapter 6 Teaser "Finally it happens"

Same ol' disclaimer: Subject to edits and changes :)


 Quietly I walk up behind them and wrap my long arms around her waist. Seven instantly freezes with the contact, quickly glancing over her shoulder to look at me. I can see the passion in her eyes when she recognizes my face, slowly allowing her body to melt into my chest. I let out a small growl while placing a soft kiss to the top of her head, the smell of this women is intoxicating. My hands begin to wander over her stomach; pulling her body deeper into me, leaving very little space between our bodies. Seven leans her head on my chest, feeling the  deep pounding of my heart. My lips are instantly attracted to the creamy white skin of her neck, very delicately I place a trail of hot wet kisses around her exposed collar bone. A soft moan comes from her lips, there was going to be no stopping me tonight, I was going to make this woman mine.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Chapter 4 Teaser "China Hutch"

* Remember this is subject to edits and changes :)



For just heading to a bar called Banjos, Tammy sure went all out on getting us ready tonight. I actually started to feel hot in the tight white mini dress she had lent me and the little black booties that completed the ensemble. Waiting in line to get in the door I couldn't help but stare at my reflection in the glass. I really could venture back out into this world. I was a pretty girl; and it was about time I started to feel that way consistently, I really was totally worth it. My hand started to play with the curls in my hair that Tammy had spent so much time on tonight, when she smacked it away. “Douche Lord and Lady Home wrecker at five o’ clock” she says, her voice dripping in disgust. I quickly glance behind me “what are you talking about?” Beating my arm again she points her finger in front of her. “Oh geez that’s not five o…….” and there goes my ability to talk. Walking up to the bouncer is Stone and some stripper. Okay that was a horribly mean thing to think since I don’t know her, but I’m betting I’m hitting the nail on the head with that statement. My chest began to tighten and I had feeling I was going to vomit watching them; the way his hand touched her back, the look of lust in her eyes, and not to mention the way she threw her head back and laughed when he whispered something in her ear. Yeah I’m betting she has a pole in her bedroom and does private dances for all the good little boys and girls for that matter. “Look at that dress, I’m sure her china hutch is on display for everyone tonight” as Tammy scowls at the women pawing all over her brother. “China hutch” I ask. “Yeah you know, where you keep your fine breakable things” throwing me the look of don’t you know. Thank god for this girl tonight cause immediately I break into a laugh. “You mean her vagina” I say quietly. “Ick, I hate that word. So vulgar and real” she exclaims with a grimace. “Well that is what it’s called” as I shake my head at my crazy roommate. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Hi Guys! I've been working on finishing the book and hopefully it will be out for publish this summer!
Until then here is a little diddy to enjoy! 

** I will release a snippet from Chapter 4 once my Facebook page reaches 75 and the cover of "Life Altering Beautiful" at 100 likes!

Share on my book loving buddies!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ladies and Gentleman: May I present the FULL 1st Chapter of "Life Altering Beautiful" *Subject to Changes and Edits


Chapter 1
Seven
Well here goes nothing, as I sit and stare out my car window looking at the vast campus that lies before me. Still griping the steering wheel tightly, I realize I’m not moving. Nope, I’m basically frozen in place with no intention of getting out of this car. I wonder if I can reach Wi-Fi on my laptop and just do online courses and never have to leave the safety of my car. Glancing in the mirror I take a deep breath and slowly peel my hands from their resting stop. After 14 hours of driving they are sore and stiff, almost looking like raptor claws, a great look and first impression for my “new and improved” life. I reach over to the passenger seat and to grab my purse, only to find somewhere in the last leg of the journey it has spilled the entire contents of my life on the floor. Shit, seriously why do I feel the need to have such a giant purse that allows me to stuff that much crap into it? I rifle through the mess that is now my floorboards and find my wallet and envelop that contains all the information I’m going to need to start this chapter of my life.  Alright let’s do this, as I grab the handle and swing open my car door. “Hey watch it” I hear a voice say as I glance up and catch their eyes. The scowl on their face suggests I about creamed them with my door, wincing I manage to squeak out an “I’m sorry” as I quickly climb out and shut it. Leaning up against the car, I tip my face to the sky thinking; great first start Seven. I seriously think I should look into that WI-FI.
Whoever said college would be the best years of your life obviously didn’t have to unload their car of all their stuff alone. After finding the hall I would call home for the next year, I made it back to my car parked of course in the opposite direction. A small sigh escaped from my lips as I pop the hatch to the trunk, what was I thinking packing all this junk. As I basically stalled the inevitable of the massive unload I was about to partake in, my mind began to wander. Memories began to flood back into my mind, things that I have buried so deeply in my soul, things that I am trying to run away from. I only realize that I’m off in la-la land when I feel the hot moisture from tears on my cheeks, and quickly wipe them away with the back of my hands. Well here goes nothing I murmur to myself as I grab a tub and some hanging clothes from the pile of never ending crap. Closing the hatch I begin the daunting hike to my dorm, looking around and watching all the families drop off their loved ones, helping them with their own massive load of crap. Suck it up I thought, don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s going to be fine. Wow, I sound like a stupid hallmark card, as I shake my head to rid me of past thoughts. I reach the door of the enormous building and pull it open, shock creeps over me at the amount of people milling about the lobby. Fear starts to creep in as I quickly scan the room. It’s all in my head I say to myself, they are not staring, take a deep breath and move forward. I opt to take the stairs, as I’m only on the second floor and waiting in line for the elevators is going to cause more anxiety then needed today. Reaching the door to my shared room I don’t know if I should knock or just walk in. Standing there like an idiot, I raise my hand to knock and the door swings open. “Oh hi” a loud and gorgeous blonde blurts out, blocking my entrance from the room. “I’m Tammy, and I’m betting your Seven!” she says with enthusiasm and almost a bounce in her step. “Um yeah”, I managed to struggle out. I’m guessing I look like a deer caught in the headlights as Tammy seems to be looking a little worried that her roommate is weirdo. “Sorry, I’m totally in your way huh” as she steps aside and motions to come in. I take that first step into the room and slowly scan my surroundings. My face must have given me away because Tammy starts to talk real fast. “I’m sorry is it too much? I’m always over doing things and I just want our room to be perfect, and well you know started over here, then that wall looked bare and well then I had to rearrange the furniture, and you hate it huh?” I glance over at my roommate who is still holding the door wide open and biting her lip in fear of what I was about to say. “Oh no it’s fine, I take it that’s my bed” giving her a reassuring smile I have come to master for situations like this.  The look of relief washes over Tammy’s face as she shuts the door. “Oh good, I was completely worried that you would hate it, and in return hate me, and then it would be a miserable living arrangement, and oh my gosh I’m rambling huh?” As she stops just inches in front of me, twisting her hands nervously in front of her.  I quickly take a step back and turn towards my bed in the corner, tossing the bin and the clothes in a pile. “Don’t worry about it” I throw over my shoulder a smile and act like I’m digging through the mess I created. I can feel the awkwardness in the air as a tentative few moments pass with no other words spoken. Closing my eyes I remember this is my chance for change, to be the person I always wanted to be. So what do I do, plaster a smile on my face and turn around to bring that new girl out.
            “I was just about to head over to the lodge and grab a bite to eat, wanna come with?” Tammy looks a little relieved when she sees the smile I’ve managed to muster up. “I’ve got so much to unload and of course I’m parked clear across campus, so maybe next time” I say to her as I walk to the door. Just as I was to turn the knob and walk out Tammy blurts out “I can help if you want?” shrugging her shoulders. Hesitating at the door, I mull the offer over in my mind. Its only help and besides, I’m going to be living with his chick better make nice now. Besides I’ve got so much stuff and really don’t want to make five million trips across campus alone. So what do I do, turn around and flash that winning smile of mine; “sure I’d love help!” I swear she is going to see straight through my fake BS; but nope, she gives me a smile and follows me out the door. The moment we step outside she starts to ramble again, and I find myself letting my mind wander once more. I catch snippets of information on her life; 1 brother, cheerleader, single, loves to talk (yeah go figure), and I think she said she was rushing. We get to my car and she smiles “Thank god you have a nice car, my parents wouldn’t let me bring mine and I hate showing up to parties in a junker, wow that sounded shallow, I swear I’m not that shallow, it’s just that I like nice things, and hot girls should always……………….oh wow I’m just gonna shut up now,” as she bites her lip again. I laugh as I walk to the back and hit the latch button. Yes my car was nice; White 2012 Honda accord, however the circumstance behind owning it makes the car look ugly to me. “Your parents must really love you for having this nice of a car” as she grabs more clothes and a laundry hamper. “Something like that” as I reach for another tub and a duffle bag full of shoes. At this rate two or three more trips and we should have it all, and then maybe I can get some peace from her incessant talking. 
            I was down to my final box of crap when Tammy comes skidding threw the door. “You will never believe who is throwing a party tonight!” I contemplate giving her a smartass answer as I place the last picture frame on my desk, however go with a questioning look and a “who?”  “Phi Kappa Tau!”  She squeals, jumping up and down like a fricken pre-teen at a Bieber concert. “You have to come with me, I mean please come with me, pretty pretty pretty please”, as she grabs my arm and gives it a shake. “I don’t know” ripping my arm from her clutches. I flop down on to my freshly made bed and look at my roommate standing there like a kid on Christmas complete with the twinkle in her eye. She really is pretty, I’m betting 5’8, long blonde hair, southern belle style, and truly seems like a nice person. Tammy immediately walks over to my side of the closet and starts to fling clothes in every direction. “Wait, I just put everything away” as I start to gather the ever growing pile of material on the floor. “Ah ha, I bet this is amazing on you!” Tammy twirls around and I’m almost afraid to look at what she is holding. I slowly glance up with an arm full of clothes and wince. It was that dress, you know the dress one can’t seem to ever get rid of, yet never want to wear again. The dress that holds so many memories that always resurfaces no matter how far down you push that emotion? Crap, yep it’s that dress.  As I stand there basically dumbstruck and mouth open, Tammy is already digging for shoes. “This is going to be the hottest back to school party tonight, and I can’t fly solo, AND  we are going to be best friends so basically that requires you to go, and TA-DA look I’ve already got your outfit ready” as she comes up holding that dress and a pair of red strappy heals. Why can’t I just get rid of that dress!
How I let Tammy talk me into to this I’ll never know, however I’m starting to realize that my decision to tag along was a dumb one. This stupid dress keeps riding up on my things, and I swear my hands are going to be fixed at its hem tonight, pulling it down over and over again. I can’t believe I’m even back in this dress, it’s been almost a year since that night and this stupid dress still fits like a glove. A wave of emotion crept over me as I slipped it on earlier this evening, but I managed to push it down, and now is not the time for it to come back up. I glance up at the tall two story brick building, wondering what I got myself into. I was just about to turn around when Tammy linked my arms and pulled me up the walkway. “Tonight is about networking, finding the hottest guys at this party, and taking numbers. But never leaving with them, gotta leave them wanting more!” I glance over at Tammy and she has got a wicked smile plastered across her face, somehow I know tonight is going to be trouble. We reach the steps and you can hear the music at full blast inside the house, some sort of new aged pop crap. I grimace at the thought of listening to this all night, letting my mind wander back to cool evenings around the bonfire with a little Cash in the background. However that memory was quickly removed from my mind when an idiot pushes past Tammy and I and barely makes it down the steps before losing his dinner all over the grass. “This party is going to be amazing! We can’t lose each other okay?” as Tammy slips our linking arms apart and grabs my hand to walk in the front door.  The door is already open and the room is packed, and I’m talking Cowboys playing the Steelers on a Monday night bar packed. Tammy manages to squeeze past a few people and I’m almost thankful that we are holding hands now, cause there would be no way I could manage to get anywhere in this crowd. I have to remind myself to keep looking up, as truly I find the floor much more interesting than saying excuse me or oops sorry to everyone we bump into as Tammy forges forward to the unknown.
            Tammy is almost pulling my shoulder out of its socket when she gives me a quick jerk. I take my eyes off the floor and glance up “Keg straight ahead!” she shouts. “Aye matey” as I roll my eyes still being drug across the room that I’m thinking is a formal dining area? “Okay remember the rules Lauren; no taking drinks from anyone other than each other, no losing track of each other, and finally find a hot piece of ass but no bring him home” as she hands me a plastic cup and smiles like a Cheshire cat. The coldness of the liquid in the cup shocks my senses; it’s been awhile since I’ve had a drink. Well actually it’s been 11 months and 14 days since that night, not like I’m counting or anything. As I stare at the beer in my hand I start to panic, closing my eyes I try to mentally talk myself down from the ledge my mind feels like its standing on. I can do this, no one knows, I’m going to have fun. Deep breathe in and slowly exhale is what my therapist always told me to do, however that didn’t seem like a good idea for the time being. No, let’s just slam this beer down see if it takes the edge off. “Holy shit girl that was totally hot” Tammy exclaims as I sit the plastic cup down on the counter. I just shrug my shoulders “What can I say; it felt like the right thing to do”. Tammy throws her head back and laughs “Let’s go dance” as she grabs my hand and starts pulling me to the make shift dance floor.
Stone
 Why I come to these parties I can never tell ya, oh wait its required for my frat. The frat that I didn’t want to join however is basically forced down my throat since I’m a legacy. Guess I better find the damn keg and get this evening over with as I wander down the hall to find the beer. “Hey Stone” a blonde throws herself on me as I walk by. Glancing over at the chick I have no clue who she is, but at least she is hot. “It’s been a while hot stuff, wanna head upstairs” she asks while throwing her hands up around my neck. Now any other night I would have said sure, however I was already in a piss poor mood for being at this party when all I wanted to do was sit on my ass in my lonely apartment and drown my sorrows away alone. I pull the drunken girls arms off my neck and steady her on her feet, “not tonight darling”. I turn and walk away bound to find a drink and try to forget I’m stuck here. “Whatever Stone, don’t call me ever again” the blonde shouts out to me. I smile and shake my head, I never call them anyways.
I finally find the keg in the stupidest spot the pledges could have put it and head out to the back yard to think. I catch girls basically eye fucking me as I walk out of the house, however have no intention of stopping and talking with any of them. Stepping out on the patio I notice for once the backyard is somewhat clean, and actually a decent place to be considering this house belongs to bunch of guys who can’t even pick up their own socks from the floor. I wonder if they made the pledges do some yard work or if our “president” had his daddy hire someone. Yeah I bet it was later thought, stupid fucker. I spot a chair not being used and pull it over to a corner of the yard that currently has no drunken visitors. Last thing I need is another chick to come and try to catch my attention with her boobs or a pledge asking if he can do anything for me. I throw the hood of my sweatshirt over my head and slouch down in the chair, tipping the beer back slowly. Whoever bought the keg should have got better beer, this shit is gross as I swirl the brown liquid in the cup. This is disgusting as I throw the cup behind me, the pledge can clean that shit up later.
            I close my eyes for only a second and my chair is tipping back. “What the fuck” as I smash into the grass. “What up you lonely ass wipe” says a voice standing over me. “You dumbass, help me up” as I reach over to my loser of a best friend. Hunter grabs my hand and pulls me to my feet as I immediately take a swing at his shoulder. “Ouch, what the hell man” as he rubs his arm wincing in pain. “I prefer to stay upright jackass, you totally deserve that” as I try to dust off the crap on the back of my hoodie. “Why aren’t you in there hitting up all the fine back to school tail” as he nods to the back sliding door. “Cause I just wanted to make my appearance, have a couple drinks, and get home” in reality I just wanted to get the hell out of there now, but I did the brotherly thing and show up. “Whatever man, this party is hot and there is so much fresh meat out there, I can’t even begin to know where to start!” Hunter tosses over his shoulder walking away.  Even my socially challenged best friend doesn’t want to hang out with my sorry ass tonight, and I know he isn’t going to get any women to believe his lines. I glance at the deck that is starting to fill up with people escaping the heat inside; and figure what the hell I’ll go find the presidents stash of whiskey, at least if I’m gonna drink it might as well it be the good stuff.
            I make my way back inside and head to the stairs, knowing for damn sure the good stuff is going to be hidden in douche bags room. I reach the door I was looking for and pause for a second. I can hear noises coming from the other side of the door, and for a second think I recognize the voices. Well wouldn’t that be funny interrupting him in mid freak, hopefully making the dumb chick that is hooking up with him panic and leave. I turn the knob and throw the door open, and it hits me like a ton of bricks. “What the hell Tammy!” I stride over to the bed and rip the stupid mother fucker off my sister. Tossing him to the floor I glance back at my sister. She is sitting on her knees in the middle of the bed, thankfully still clothed and seeing red. “What the hell Stone” she shrieks. I glance down at Preston sitting in shock on the floor and bend down to grab his shirt. “Hey man, cool down, I didn’t know, no harm no foul” he spits out of his mouth trying to twist his way out of my grasp. “Stay the fuck away from my sister I’m serious”, as I toss him to his bed. “Seriously Stone, I didn’t know it was your sister, I’m your brother man you gotta believe me” Preston rambles. For being our chapter president and having as much money as he does he sure seems like a whiny little bitch when he is backed into a corner. I shake my head to try and clear the thoughts of pounding his ugly face in, but turn and look at Tammy still on the bed. “Tammy, get the fuck off of the bed and into my truck” as I grab her wrist and yank her to the door. “Knock it off Stone, I’m 18 now and you can’t control me!” “To hell I can’t” as I grab her and throw the little twit over my shoulders and stomp down the stairs. I hear I’m sorry being yelled from the room as I pound down the stairs however clearly could care less. Right now I needed to get my little sister back to her dorm and away from all the horny frat brothers lurking around.
            “Put me down you Neanderthal” as she pounds her fists on my back. I just laugh and walk down the steps to my truck. “Seriously put me down, I can’t believe you did that!” her legs are now kicking over my shoulders so I hold on tighter. I reach my truck and set her down to unlock the passenger door. She looks pissed, face the color of a baboons ass and her hair is going in every direction kinds like medusa. I snicker at the sight of her and she shoves me into my truck. “You think this is funny asshole? I am so embarrassed by you!” and she turns to walk back to the house. “Oh hell you’re not going back in there” as I reach out to grab her arm. “I’ve gotta go find my roommate, I bet she is having fun with some guy in there and not being mortified by older brothers who can’t seem to stay out of my business.” “You’re not going in there alone, I know a majority of the guys are on the prowl for freshman and I’m keeping you far away as possible from them” as I match her step walking back up the walkway.
            “Yo Stone who is that fine honey you walked in with” Hunter questions as he walks over from the beer pong table. I throw a disgusted look to him “My sister dumbass” and glance around looking for that tall blonde head of hers. “Tammy? Oh Shit man when did she grown up” he was now to glancing around trying to find the direction she went. I start to get irritated at the amount of people in the house, I’ve just gotta find my sister so I can get the hell out of here. “If you see her tell her to head out to the truck and text me” as I try and make my way in the crowd, only to get pawed at by drunken women as I walk by. “Can do bro, can do!” Hunter yells over the music and laughter. I turn the corner to the kitchen and run smack into my sister. “Can you embarrass me anymore” she glares into my eyes. I almost start to say yes, but realize that I value my nuts and I know that’s the first body part she would go for. Instead I glare right back “find your roommate yet?” “No, but I texted her to meet me outside” I grab her arm and start pulling her to the front door. “You need to let up, I can get there by myself you know” she yells as we walk out the door and down the steps. “Well maybe if you weren’t trying to get naked with an asshole upstairs I wouldn’t feel the need to babysit you” as I drop her arm and cross mine against my chest. “Where is this roommate of yours” I ask impatiently.  Tammy glances up at the steps “there” and smiles. I look over to where she was facing; holy shit.
Seven
I can feel the vibration of my phone in my purse, but am too lazy to grab it. Besides this beer has captured my attention, and I’m betting its Tammy telling me about the hot guy she wandered off with. Wait what rule did she break by leaving me alone down here? I toss the last of the beer back and push myself off the wall I’ve been occupying for whoever knows how long for. Figuring I might as well find the keg again, I decide to go for one more round of the cold brown liquid when my phone goes off for the 20th time tonight. Digging through my Mary Poppins bag I finally find the culprit and realize I’ve got like 5 million texts. Okay maybe only really like 5 but shit it feels like she is blowing up my phone tonight. “Well freak on a leash, she wants to head home” I mutter to myself as I stash the phone and rack my brain to figure out which way was the door. I guess another drink isn’t in my future tonight.
            I finally break free of the “hey babies” and the “Whatcha doing hot stuff” and find myself walking down the steps looking around for my roommate who I’m betting is drunk at this point. It’s a good thing we are only a few blocks from the dorm, I really don’t want to carry her ass that far down the road. Glancing over to the sidewalk I stop dead in my tracks. Standing over by my rather pissed off looking roommate was the most delicious looking guy my eyes have ever looked upon. I’m pretty sure my mouth is hanging open and I could possibly be drooling, but I can’t help it. This man was gorgeous, tall dark and handsome would be like his evil stepbrothers. He has to be at least over 6 ft. and his body must love the inside of a gym and hopefully other activities since my mind is now in the company of sewer rats. Glancing down his body I notice the full sleeves down both arms, and I’m hoping those are not the only body parts covered in ink. His style well let’s just say if I could order a side dish of him, hell what was I thinking, this man is a whole meal. I’m really hoping this isn’t the guy my roommate hooked up with, because I’m sure the look of lust of my face totally gave me away and Tammy will hate me forever.
            “Seven lets go, I’m over this party” Tammy says with a scowl and starts to head in the direction of our dorm. I hear a “Hell no, get in the truck T” and my head snaps over to the walking sex on a stick, who was reaching out and grabbing the arm of my roommate. “Seriously we can walk, I’m done talking to you, goodbye Stone” she says with a hint of hatred in her voice. I manage to get my feet to move after my frozen daze and start to walk over to Tammy when she is picked up and thrown into the open door of the truck. A moment of panic sinks in when he turns to look at me. My mind starts to race, is she being kidnapped, should I scream? He must have sensed by absolute terror stricken moment because a smirk crept over his face. “I’m her brother Stone, can you get into the truck on your own, or should I manhandle you too?” Maybe it was the cocky look on his face, or perhaps it was Tammy in the passenger seat looking about 15 different shades of red that snapped me out of my staring stupor, but somehow I managed to squeak out “Yeah sure”.
            That smirk could cause me to drop my panties in a heartbeat. I’ve never had this feeling inside me before, the need to get closer to him, figure him out, get naked and do naughty things with him. Not even before the accident did my body react this way, I’m as unsure of myself as it is, and this feeling inside is not helping the situation get any easier. I almost have to jump to get into the truck, holy shit I thought to myself; this thing is a beast. My eyes follow him around the front of the truck and continue to watch him as he opens the driver’s door, shaking his head like he was trying to rid the thoughts in his mind. I realize I’m starring again and try to focus my attention out the window; something out there has got to be more interesting than him. “Seven, this asshole is my brother Stone. Thanks to him I will not be having any fun at fraternity parties this year” Tammy says with a scowl and a glare on her face. If looks could kill I’m sure I would be dead just from the aftermath directed at her brother. “You make me seem like I’m the bad guy when you were upstairs trying to bump uglies on your first night here, seriously you’ve got one demented view on who is the asshole” Stone says without taking his eyes off the road. I want him to look over at me, looking into those blue eyes of his is hits some nerve inside of me, something I want to feel again. What am I doing, closing my eyes and resting my head against the seat I’ve gotta remember to stick to the plan, and this boy could be the complete unraveling of me.
            The short ride back to our dorm remains quiet, as I glance at my roommate who is still fuming. He puts the truck into park, and I turn to open the door. “Thanks for the ride home”, I throw over my shoulder and jump down. “Nice to meet you Seven, hopefully next time we meet is on better terms” he says with a smile that almost made me melt on the sidewalk. “Please, don’t act like you’re a gentleman, all you do is break hearts and toss the baggage. You my brother are the men mothers warn us about” Tammy says while climbing out and slamming the door. I hear a laugh and Stone throws the truck into gear, flying out the parking lot like a bat out of hell. “I’m never gonna live this down” Tammy says while walking up to the doors to slide her key card in. I stay silent as I follow inside behind her, trying to push the thoughts of her brother far out of my mind as possible.
            We reach our door without another word to each other. Once again it’s that awkward feeling hanging in the air, I’ve never been one good with words so it’s just easier to let the moment pass. I walk over to my closet and toss my shoes into the unorganized pile that Tammy left earlier this evening. “My brother is such a jerk” I hear from her side of the room. I turn around and smile at Tammy sitting on her bed, “could be worse right?” as I try and fake some empathy for the situation. If she only knew that this smile was for the attraction I felt for her brother, I’m betting she’d throw her heel at me. I grab some clothes out of my dresser and take off “the dress” and toss it in the hamper. Maybe I’ll just never wash it, this way I never have to wear it again.  Sighing I try to remind myself it’s just a dress, just a stupid little black dress. I quickly throw on my shorts and shirt and crawl into bed; tomorrow I was going to familiarize myself with the campus before classes start on Monday. “Do you have any siblings Seven”, “Nope it’s just me” I reply in the darkness. “You’re lucky, I wish I didn’t” Tammy exclaims as she turns over in bed to face the wall. I was basically alone now, no siblings, no family, and no friends. I blink back the tears I refuse to shed and stare at the ceiling, waiting for the darkness with take me away.
Stone
I’ve never been one to lust over a women, hell a one night stand was all I was capable of doing. Get them in and out and never make any promises, less mess and no heartbreak. But there was something about that girl walking down the steps that made me think twice on my life’s choices. Tonight when she walked closer I’m sure the little me came to full attention because she was stunning, wait more than stunning, she was life altering beautiful. I started to panic when I realized she was walking over to Ol’ Red, crap this must be Tammy’s roommate. When her eyes reached mine, and the color green seemed to have drilled a hole straight through me. I feel like I’m staring, hell I don’t give a shit if I am. The way she walked over to me has got me mesmerized, and there has got to be a way to break this infatuation. I can vaguely hear my sister open her rather large trap and start to walk away, this was the moment I snap out of my drunken haze and throw the little worm into Ol’ Red this giving me a little time to gather the small amount of sanity I have left.
I see the look on her face; I’m betting she does not realize I’m the better Hastings in the family, that yes little blonde one over here is not the only one on campus sharing these amazing genetics I’ve been blessed with.  “I’m her brother Stone; can you get into the truck on your own, or should I manhandle you too?” I say with a grin that can drop panties in an instance. I need to get this girl home and out of my head, there is no reason to screw up the game I’ve got going now with this girl. My life works so well for me now. I mention about getting into Ol’ Red and start to walk around to climb into the driver’s seat when I hear it. It was so soft and meek, I almost asked her to say it again. How can someone so small with such a little voice say “yeah” and have the world I’ve created and molded this entire 4 years of college come crashing down?
I try and shake the thought of her out of my head; I need clear thoughts in order to maintain the cool demur I have portrayed for myself.  But there is something about her that I can’t shake. The way she walked over to the truck, her small frame made me want to run over and pick her up, go all caveman style and possessive. She couldn’t be more than 5 foot, but good lord that dress made her legs look a mile long and had all my body parts paying attention as she swayed over to the truck.  The look in her eyes as I thrown Tammy into the truck, one of fear yet the spark of heat and desire shown through, I’m gonna have to keep my distance with this one. She is not one that’s going in the book of one night stands. Hell I’m going to avoid this girl; wait no women, like the plague. I close my eyes and turn the key, Ol’ Red roars to life and I close my eyes to try and gain a moment of clarity again for the millionth time since she walked into my life.
      As I banter back and forth with my baby sister I try and not look over at her, but it’s hard not to. I learn her name is Seven, which makes my mind swirl. I watch her close her eyes and lay her head back on the seat. And can’t help but notice how great she looks in my truck; all small and fragile in this big piece of metal, almost like she was meant to sit there forever. Fuck man pull it together this is not happening now; I do not do relationships I silently remind myself.  We reach the dorms and the girls climb out; oh shit what do I say to her? I’ve never been this much of a lunatic when it comes to women, why was I a mess now? “Thanks for the ride home” the small voice says again, which now has my dick standing at full attention again. I grip the steering wheel tighter with both hands, afraid that my body would betray my mind and do something stupid like reach for her hand or some other body part. “Nice to meet you Seven, hopefully next time we meet is on better terms” I manage to say with a smile, I swear this women can read me like a book. I’ve gotta get out of here and take a cold shower, fuck it I need an ice bath as I try and shake the naughty things I want to do to her out of my mind. As soon as the door slams, I throw Ol’ Red in gear and test the gauges on my precious truck. Determined to put as much distance between Seven and myself as possible.