COVER REVEAL★•**•.★ Anyone But Him by Cassie Graham

Title: Anyone But Him

Author: Cassie Graham

Release Date: Fall 2014

Whitley Hayes is an ordinary girl with a gypsy heart. College is the only constant in her life. She’s made a lot of mistakes and she intends on keeping them in the past.

Move on and forget.

That’s her motto. 

Jennings Cohen is no ordinary man—not at all. He would have never imagined his life would turn into such a spectacle. The tabloids exploit him, fans stalk him and the paparazzi are relentless. It’s not always fun being Jennings.

It doesn’t help that he has a secret. One that comes at a price he’s not sure he can pay.

Relationships get complicated and hearts shatter.

It’s not easy living a lie, but it’s easier than telling the truth.

“These people?” I question. I hadn’t noticed anyone else but Whitley since the moment I picked her up.

She levels her eyes, taking a drink of the water that was just delivered. I watch as she plays with the straw with her tongue, unintentionally. My mouth goes dry and I have to gulp past the lump in my throat.

“Yes, these people.” She slyly motions at the room. “Every person who’s made any sort of contact with you has this starry-eyed, dopey look to them.”

I put my arms on the table and lower my head. “You know,” I whisper. “I’m sort of famous.”

Next comes a swift kick to my shin and I wince, laughing. “Okay, okay. That was tacky.”

She covers her mouth from laughing. “Maybe a little.”

“What can I get you?” the waitress asks, interrupting us. 

Whitley’s eyes widen. “Oh, umm.” She pushes the hair back from her face. 

She’s so beautiful. 

“Instead of the Mahi-Mahi, can I just get the one Mahi, because I’m not that hungry?” 

My eyes bulge and I can’t contain my burst of laughter. 

Saying nothing, the waitress pauses as Whitley looks up to her looking innocent and doe-eyed.

I have to give it to Whitley, she doesn’t break. She keeps a straight face and looks to the waitress, expecting a response.

“We,” the waitress, whose name appears to be Lacy, stutters, not understanding the movie quote. “We’re actually out of the Mahi-Mahi.”

Unaffected, Whitley closes the menu. “Oh, well, okay. I’ll just have the tilapia with roasted vegetables. Thank you.” 

Lacy takes Whit’s menu, shakes her head and turns to me. “And, for you?”

Now she’s short with me. 

“I’ll take the flounder. Thank you.” I smile at her, struggling to break the tension.

Lacy’s shoulders soften and she takes my menu and heads toward the kitchen.

When we’re alone, I look to Whitley. “House Bunny? Really?”

“What? I thought it was funny.”

“Me too,” I admit. Laughter is something that has been sparse in my life.

“Is it your favorite movie?”

She laughs. “House Bunny? God, no. Funny, but certainly not my favorite.”

“Then, what is?”

She takes a moment to think, not answering right away. “Honestly? I don’t really have a favorite movie. Well…I mean, maybe I do. It’s just so hard to choose. It changes all of the time.”

“Okay. Top three.”

“Umm…Princess Bride, Ferris Buller’s Day Off, and uhh—oh geeze, any Harry Potter.”

She seems embarrassed by her admission, but I sort of love her list. All classics in their own right.

“My name is Inigo Montoya. You kill my father. Prepare to die.”

“Yes!” She whoops. “Best line, ever.”

I laugh. “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

She stomps her foot under the table. “Inconceivable!” 

We laugh together, and Whitley’s eyes sparkle with mischief. 

“Okay, Mr. Famous, what is your top three?” 

I hesitate. I’m always asked this question in interviews. Most are just hoping for their next endorsement, but I always give a generic answer. Usually, it’s the movie I’m filming or promoting at the time.

Cracking my knuckles, I try to really think about my answer. I’ve never genuinely thought about it. “Oh Christ, you can’t ask an actor that,” I laugh. “Really, I don’t know.”

Her shoulders sag. “You don’t know?”

“I don’t. I’m always in movies. I don’t have time to actually watch them. Hell, I’ve never even seen any of the movies I’ve filmed.”

“Wait, wait.” Whitley puts her hands up, stopping me. “You’ve never watched one of your own movies? Like, you’ve never watched yourself on the big screen?”

I shrug my shoulder. “Nope.”

“What?” she asks, dumbfounded. “Why? How? I mean—Jesus, Jenns, what do you do at premiers?”

I turn away, not really proud of my answer. “I leave. Slip out the back, or sit in the lobby. It’s always deserted while the film is running.”

“Then what? You return as the credits roll?”

“Basically, yeah.”

“Wow,” she breathes. 

“It’s just my thing. I don’t like to watch myself. In my eyes, I could always change my performance. I could have said something with more feeling, or looked deeper into the characters eyes. I’m hard on my acting, and in turn, end up beating my myself up. It makes me a shitty actor.”

Whitley stares at me blankly as I give up one of my secrets. 

It seems like hours before she blinks. 

“What are you thinking?” I ask. Frankly, I’m tired of waiting for her to say something. I thought she’d at least have an opinion.

Slightly shaking her head, she drags her fingers through her hair. “Holy shit. You have no idea.”

My mouth quirks down, and I tilt my head. “I have no idea, what?”

“You are…,” her eyes haze, letting me see into that door of her soul. “You are phenomenal on screen. Charismatic and fluid. Compelling and magnetic.” She touches my hand. “You draw people in with looks alone, Jennings.”

Not that my ego needs anymore feeding, but, fuck me, hearing her say those words. Words that don’t mean shit from anyone else, makes me feel like jumping on the table and shouting for fucking joy. 

My smile can’t be controlled. “You’ve seen my movies, Whitley?”

She rolls her eyes, a smirk breaking through her features. “Shut up. Everyone has.”

“I didn’t peg you for someone to watch those kinds of movies.”

She snorts a laugh and rubs under her eye. “Yeah, well, you’re sort of famous.”

“You can’t resist my raw magnetism, right? God, I’m sexy.”

Author of Unable to Resist, Cassie resides in Arizona with her husband, daughter and two dogs.

Cassie went to school to be an English teacher, but decided to quit to be a military wife. While, she always loved writing, she didn’t find her true passion for New Adult until she turned twenty.

Now, with one novel under her belt, she can’t wait to release Anyone But Him.

If Cassie isn’t writing, you’ll probably find her in the kitchen making baked goods for her family. She’s always believed the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and her husband proves that correct every day.

Cassie loves her readers and hopes she makes them proud.

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TASTE TEST by L.B. Dunbar

Synopsis

In a modern twist of fairy tales,
what if the beast is a woman instead of a man?
Ethan Scott
I was about to find out when a mysterious job led to the secluded home of a horror novelist. I’d lost everything: my scholarship, my education, and my way. In denial of my family inheritance, I took the unusual employment as a chance out of a hole, but I found myself buried in the unknown trauma of another situation much deeper.
Ella Vincentia
I had changed my name and my address to keep myself hidden, but my scars were more than physical. Living as a recluse in the woods, I was used to being alone, so I wasn’t happy when a certain someone was always in my space. Our first encounter was less than pleasant and tension continued at every attempt to tame me.
Secrets
I knew she was keeping secrets and I wanted to help, but she was cutting me down and cutting me off every time she opened her mouth. Our frustration with one another grew until a misunderstanding changed everything. How can I be the next guy after something so tragic? It was a challenge I wasn’t sure I was willing to take.
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Excerpt
I
looked directly at her. The blue cloak matched her angered eyes and for a
moment I thought I saw something else in them. In her bent over position, she
looked down at me and I shivered with excitement thinking she was reaching for
me, until she leaned forward further and tried to tip the boat.
“Get
out.”
“Are
you…” I stopped. I was going to say crazy,
insane, cuckoo
.
“Say
it,” she snapped.
“I
wasn’t going to say it,” I lied.
“Yes,
you were,” and she reached for the underside of the boat, but could only touch
the side, pushing on it.
I
still had a hold on the edge of the dock and I let the boat float away a little
as if her push had an effect, before I pulled it back.
I
knew I was taunting her more.
“I.
Said. Get. Out,” and she reached forward again at the same time I pushed the
boat away from the dock. Ella lost her momentum and lunged toward me with a
look of shear panic. I caught her around the waist as I let go of the dock, but
the force of her coming at me pushed us both to the right and we hit the icy
cold lake. It was a short drop, and despite the shock of the water, I wrapped
one hand around Ella’s head to protect her from hitting the shallow bottom. I
slammed my shoulder into the pebbly lake bottom, landing on a rock as I twisted
to buffer her fall. I struggled to hold Ella and free my legs that now balanced
above me in the kayak.
Once
me legs were free, I easily kicked the soft bottom of the lake and righted
myself, still clutching Ella around the waist and head. The cold water had been
a shock, but the cool air above the surface was additional pins and needles. I
sucked in a breath, clenching Ella to me. I heard her gasp for air as she
shoved me hard in the chest like she had the day before behind the couch.
“What
the hell are you doing?” she yelled.
“Trying
to protect you.”
“Well,
I don’t need protecting.”
“You
almost drowned us,” I returned her growing anger.
“Us?
You almost drowned me. Holding me under the water,” she shouted back at me. She
had pushed back from me but now stepped awkwardly closer again in the knee-deep
water.
“And
you ruined my cloak.” Ella looked down at the soggy material and pulled some of
it up. The hood fell back when we’d returned to the surface, and her hair fell
in heavy waves around her shoulders. The water glistened off it, making it a
darker mixture of fall-leaf tones. I held in the moan trying to escape and
clenched my hands into fists at my side. I wanted to shake her madly then kiss
her passionately.
“You
almost drowned me by thinking you could push me out of that boat.”
“Well,
you weren’t getting out.”
“What
are you? Two? Cut the spoiled bitch act.” Ella gasped in shock as I shook my
head and ran both hands through my hair. I didn’t want to get mad at her.
“Funny.
Yesterday you said I was beautiful. Today I’m a bitch,” she retorted.
I took two steps
toward the dock in my water sodden clothes before I turned to face her again.
“You
are beautiful,” I started loudly, angrily, “if you’d just keep your damn mouth
shut,” I added in a whisper and finally pushed myself upward onto the dock. She
continued to stare at me as I crouched on the wooden platform and offered her
my hand.
“Come
here,” I said in an unknowingly seductive voice.
“I
don’t need your help,” she snapped back, resigned as she walked toward the
dock, dragging the soaking wet, heavy material behind her. I stood.
“I
get it. You don’t want my help. You don’t want my protection. You don’t want my
food,” I spit. “What you need is a good spanking,”…
I’d like to say I was always a writer. I’d also like to say that I wrote every day of my life since a child. That I took the teaching advice I give my former students because writing every day improves your writing. I’d like to say I have my ten-thousand hours that makes me a proficient writer. But I can’t say any of those things. I did dream of writing the “Great American Novel” until one day a friend said: Why does it have to be great? Why can’t it just be good and tell a story?
As a teenager, I wrote your typical love-angst poetry that did occasionally win me an award and honor me with addressing my senior high school class at our Baccalaureate Mass. I didn’t keep a journal because I was too afraid my mom would find it in the mattress where I kept my copy of Judy Blume’s Forever that I wasn’t allowed to read as a twelve year old.
I can say that books have been my life. I’m a reader. I loved to read the day I discovered “The Three Bears” as a first grader, and ever since then, the written word has been my friend. Books were an escape for me. An adventure to the unknown. A love affair I’d never know. I could be lost for hours in a book.
So why writing now? I had a story to tell. It haunted me from the moment I decided if I just wrote it down it would go away. But it didn’t. Three years after writing the first draft, a sign (yes, I believe in them) told me to fix up that draft and work the process to have it published. That’s what I did. But one story let to another, and another, and another. Then a new idea came into my head and a new storyline was created.
I was accused (that’s the correct word) of having an overactive imagination as a child, as if that was a bad thing. I’ve also been accused of having the personality of a Jack Russell terrier, full of energy, unable to relax, and always one step ahead. What can I say other than I have stories to tell and I think you’ll like them. If you don’t, that’s okay. We all have our book boyfriends. We all have our favorites. Whatever you do, though, take time for yourself and read a book.



 
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