Monday, September 14, 2015

finding perfect || BLITZ

Entangled: Crush | September 14, 2015 | Young Adult

For “Perfect Paige” Westfeld, today is “D” Day. As in, she just got one on her calculus test. With her dreams of Stanford, her reputation, and her parents’ expectations at stake, Paige needs to find a way to save face before everything she’s worked for goes up in flames.

Ben Franklin (yes, he’s related) is from the wrong side of town, with the wrong clothes and the wrong kind of life. He also knows an opportunity when he sees one, and he’ll be happy to tutor Paige—if she makes him into the kind of guy her best friend, the hottest girl in school, will date.

It’s the perfect arrangement. And Paige is determined not even the inconvenient—and utterly imperfect—attraction simmering between her and Ben will ruin it…

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{ about kendra c. highly } .

Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to four self-important cats. This, according to the cats, is her most crucial job. She believes chocolate is a basic human right, running a 10k is harder than it sounds, and that everyone should learn to drive a stick-shift. She loves monsters, vacations, baking and listening to bad electronica.

{ excerpt } .

“So why are we doing this again?” he called.

Even though he had no idea what she had in mind for this little stage play, he’d gone along with good humor. Hell, he was even washing her car for real. Which was funny because a clean car was beside the point in this plan.

“Just keep doing what you’re doing and all will become crystal clear.”

He gave her a long, weird look, then shrugged and went back to work. Paige joined him but spent part of her time focused on the street corner. Any minute now…

“Your tires are low,” Ben said, peeking at her around the front bumper. “If you have an air compressor, I could air them up for you.”

She propped her fist on her hip. “Does this look like the kind of house that keeps an air compressor on hand?”

He made a face, then laughed. “No, this looks like the kind of house where they call the dealership for help.”


They worked in silence until—there! Paige snapped to get his attention just as Zoey turned onto her street. Ben looked at her, and from the startled expression, she knew she was going to have to coach him through every second of this close encounter.

She gave him a stern look. “Take off your shirt.”

His already flushed face turned a deeper shade of red. “What? No way!”

Zoey had pulled up to the curb, and the BMW idled while she dipped out of view, probably to grab her purse. They only had a few seconds, and desperate times called for desperate measures. Paige stalked over to the hose and, under the guise of washing the suds off her car, “accidentally” sprayed Ben right in the chest.

His eyes popped wide open as he stared down at his soaked shirt. “Why?” he growled under his breath.

“Off,” Paige growled back, then turned to greet Zoey. “Hey! Thanks for letting me borrow your dress for the party next weekend.”

Zoey handed her a dress bag, looking at something beyond Paige’s left shoulder. “Yeah, sure.”

Zoey didn’t say anything else, and Paige hazarded a look behind her. As ordered, Ben had stripped off his shirt and oh…my…God.

Okay, so she had guessed he had nice shoulders under those T-shirts after all the work at the tire store, and she’d definitely copped a feel when they’d cuddled on the back porch, but she couldn’t have known he was that ripped. He was lean—leaner than most of the football players anyway—but he made the most of what he had, from the tight biceps and defined pecs, right down to the hard, flat stomach and the tantalizing trail of light brown hair running from his navel into the waistband of his shorts…which, oh hell, were riding low on his hips.

She didn’t want to blink so she could keep staring. Jesus.

Doing a great job of pretending he didn’t notice them hanging on his every move, he reached across the top of the Mustang to soap up the roof. He was a quick study, for sure, stretching in ways that showed off his arms and shoulders. Then he walked over to the bucket and very deliberately bent down to soak the sponge. She might need to sit down. His back was just as good as his front.

She’d created a monster. A very hot, slightly wet monster.

{ interview : PAIGE } .

Hi Paige, welcome. How are you?

Um, tired I guess. How long is the interview again?

Not long. I know you’re busy. Speaking of which, you have a lot on your plate right now.

I do. Senior year is really crazy. So many projects. I get asked to help out a lot.

So I’ve heard. Rumor has it, though, that you’ve been spotted with a guy recently—Ben Franklin, right? Anything we should know about?

Oh, that. He’s just a friend.

So you don’t have a thing for him?

::sighs:: I plead the fifth.

Really? That’s all you’re going to say? Because someone saw you two in your car the other day. What was that about?

I was fixing his hair, that’s all.

That’s not what it looked like, but you’re blushing, so let’s move on. How are things at home?

Okay. My mom still has us on that diet, but I’ve had a lot of chances to sneak sweets lately, which keeps me sane.

And the piano recital?

Ugh, don’t ask. I’m still working on the piece.

Fair enough. Here’s a serious question—where do you see yourself in five years?

Harvard medical school. After finishing pre-med at Stanford.

You don’t sound sure.

It’s…maybe I’m not sure. I don’t know. Daddy really wants me to go to Stanford, and my mom isn’t good about changes to “The Plan.” Even if I wanted to go somewhere else, I don’t think they’d approve.

But…what do you want?

Wow. You know, almost no one asks me that. Just Zoey. And Ben. Anyway, I’m not sure what I want. I do know I want to work with Alzheimer’s patients, but maybe not as a neurologist like  Daddy.

Understood. So, I heard another rumor—that you hosted a very, ahem, hot car wash at your house the other day.

Oh, God. Please don’t ask me about that.

Okay, but answer this question—did you really make Ben take his shirt off?

::mumbles:: Had to show off the merchandise. For, uh, Zoey.

One last thing—you have a real heart for helping people. Have you ever thought maybe you should take some time for yourself? Take a break?

::wistful sigh:: Yeah, actually. But there’s a lot I have to get done first.

Like fall in love? Uh huh, I see that blush.

Okay, okay. Yes, like maybe fall in love.

{ playlist } .

I’m one of those writers who has to have music in order to write. But it’s more than that—I have to have a playlist, specific to each book, complete with songs that the major characters. The playlist for this book was really important: Paige is all about her music, and Ben loves it, too. I needed songs that pointed to who they were, inside and out. So what did I listen to? Here’s fifteen songs from the list:
  1. “Demons” by Imagine Dragons
  2. “Radioactive” cover (Imagine Dragons) by William Joseph
  3. “Here With Me” by Susie Suh and Robert Koch
  4. “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay
  5. “Oblivion” by Bastille
  6. “I Lived” by One Republic
  7. “Stolen Dance” by Milky Chance
  8. “Love Love Love” by Of Monsters and Men
  9. “Wrapped Around Your Finger” by The Police
  10. “Every Breaking Wave” by U2
  11. “Heartlines” by Florence + Machine
  12. “Iridescent” by Linkin Park
  13. “Stay” by Rihanna (feat. Mikky Ekko)
  14. “Fix You” by Coldplay
  15. “With or Without You” by U2

{ giveaway } .

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