GIVEAWAY and EXCERPT: The Ford Book Cover Reveal by JA Huss
TAUT: The Ford Book
Published on January 20, 2014 Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
THE STANDALONE SPIN-OFF OF THE BESTSELLING ROOK AND RONIN SERIES
Tentative release date: January 20, 2014
Ford Aston is getting the f*ck out of Denver. He does not give a shit about blizzards, getting his old-ass Bronco over the Rocky Mountains in one piece, or a girl knocking on his hotel door looking to be saved.
Ford Aston is known for many things. Being an emotionless, messed up bastard, a freakishly smart social outcast, and a cold, domineering master who keeps “pets” instead of girlfriends.
And after Rook broke his heart, he plans to keep it that way.
Ashleigh is getting the f*ck out of somewhere, but she’s not quite sure where she’s coming from, let alone where she’s going.
Ashleigh is known for nothing, and that’s exactly what she’s got going for her. She’s broke, stranded in the mountains with a three month old baby, and Ford Aston is f*cking with her head.
And she plans to f*ck with his right back.
It’s a coy game at first, filled with flirting, and innuendo—but Ford soon realizes something is not quite right with Ashleigh. In fact, something is seriously, seriously wrong and the closer they get to their final destination, the closer Ford gets to the truth.
One night of devastation, self-loathing, and emptiness turns into the best thing that ever happened to Ford Aston. But one day of in-your-face reality threatens Ashleigh's whole existence. Can Ford allow another woman into his heart and risk the possibility of being hurt, or will he walk away from Ashleigh just when she needs him most?
EXCERPT – CHAPTER ONE
Click. Click. Click.
That’s my shoes on the stone steps in the Chaput Building. I listen for a call. Or maybe even an echo, telling me that another pair of shoes are behind me.
But I get nothing. Not even sounds from the New Year’s Eve party up on the fourth floor leak out. Just nothing. My steps are quick when I begin, but now that I’m nearing the door to the basement they are slow. I finish my escape more confused than I’ve ever been in my life.
I told her.
I want her.
But she belongs to Ronin.
You will not look back, you will not look back.
That’s what I tell myself the entire way down. But of course, when I’m a few paces from the garage door, I do look up. All the way up to the fourth floor where that dark princess is leaning over the railing. Her hair spilling over and shrouding her face in a blue shadow that must be a reflection of her dress or a play of the light.
“Ford,” she whispers.
It’s so soft it stops me cold and I just stare at her. She is the most tragically beautiful creature on this entire planet. And even though I know it’s impossible to see her blue eyes in this hazy darkness and from such a distance. I see them.
“Rook,” I whisper back. “I can’t.”
I turn away and this time she yells, “Ford!”
I force myself to keep walking.
“Ford! Wait!” Her feet are flying down the stairs now, so I push through the door and walk quickly to the Bronco. The air is frigid, steam blasts from my mouth as I breathe heavy. A cloud of evidence that betrayers my rapidly beating heart and announces my agitation to the world. I walk to the far end of the parking garage and I’m shoving my key in the truck lock when she bursts through the door.
I climb in and start the engine. I haven’t been here that long, it’s only nine o’clock, so there’s no protest—it turns over immediately. Rook lifts her longs skirts, her feet scurrying underneath as she frantically tries to catch me.
Because I’m weak. She makes me so fucking weak. I am nothing. I am a mess.
She knocks on the window. “Please, Ford,” she begs from the other side. “Pleases stop for a moment. Please, talk to me, please.”
I shake my head no, but she pulls on the door handle and opens the door. “No. No, no, no. You’re not leaving like this, Ford. No.”
I can’t say anything.
I have so much to say, but I cannot say anything. Because if I talk to her. If I utter her name. I will break and I will take her, right here in her boyfriend’s parking garage. I’ll pick her up, slide my hands up her thighs as I lift her skirts, crash her against the cinder block wall, and fuck the shit out of her.
“Ford, please. Talk to me. Please.”
I push in the clutch and ease it into first.
“Please, Ford. Just tell me where you’re going, OK? Just don’t leave me like this.”
I ease up off the clutch and roll forward. She walks along side, still holding the door open.
“Goddammit! Talk to me, please!”
I grab the door and try to close it but she reaches in and tries to take my keys. “No,” she says in a huff. I press on the brakes and grab her wrist, squeezing it until she squeals. “You won’t hurt me, I know you won’t hurt me.”
I squeeze tighter and she whimpers.
“I will hurt you Rook.” I say evenly as I stare into her soul. “I’m hurting you right now. And it feels good. Because you’ve been hurting me since the day we met. You’re selfish. You take. That’s all you do is take. You’re a Taker, Rook. And I’ve got nothing left to give you. You took it all.”
Her jaw drops as she processes my words.
I told her. I warned her.
She yanks her wrist free and steps back, shaking her head. “You’re saying that on purpose. To make me go away. And fine. Leave, then. You Runner. You’re a Runner, Ford. Who’s running away now? Huh?”
I slam the door closed and she pounds on the window. I roll forward, looking out my window to make sure not to run over her feet. I tune out her pleas and press down on the accelerator, shift into second, and then blow past the parking attendants standing guard at the exit. I turn left onto Blake Street until I hit 19th, then take that all the way down to Broadway. I fully intend to go home, but when my building appears a few blocks later, I just keep driving past.
The streets have been cleared of yesterday’s snow but another storm has already arrived. The flakes are small and scattered now, but soon they will blanket the entire Front Range in white. I have a flight out to LA tomorrow afternoon but suddenly the thought of going home to my high rise condo,with the massive four bedroom, three thousand square foot floor plan—empty save for me and all the impersonal things that came with it when the biker channel people rented it—
I can’t do it.
I can’t live like this for another second. I can’t pretend like this is working for me. I’m…
My phone buzzes in my pants. I turn right on Colfax and check the incoming call.
“Ford, what the hell is going on? Rook is hysterical. She said you’re leaving or something.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I should’ve explained better I suppose. I have a flight to LA, a new show. That series I told you about a few months ago. I got the call, so I’m going.”
He knows I’m lying—not about the show—I did get that show. And it’s an HBO candidate, so I’d be a fool to pass it up. But I think everyone knows that what Rook and I have, our friendship—is not all that’s going on. And really, what’s Ronin going to say? ‘My girlfriend sorta loves you, but she never wants to be with you, so she knows this is your way of leaving her behind and moving on and I think you should come back and continue this… thing you two have, to make her happy?’
No, of course he’s not. Because then he’d have to admit Rook is not completely his. She is half mine.
She has always been half mine.
And maybe Ronin is content with the arrangement. I huff a little air at this. Why wouldn’t he be? He gets to sleep with her every night. He gets to share dinners with her and take her on vacation. He gets to watch her brush her hair in the morning, and mope about their apartment in her sweats, perfectly comfortable and sighing with content as they watch TV, or plan their fucking grocery list. Because even if a part of her belongs to me, he knows. He knows I’d never steal her. I would never do that.
“That’s all that’s going on here, Ford?”
“Of course,” I say. “Listen, it’s starting to snow pretty hard now, I’ll give you guys a call the next time I’m in town.” I end the call, turn the phone off and throw it on the seat next to me as I cross over I-25, pass the stadium and leave downtown. And I just drive.
I have no idea what I’m doing.
I just drive.
I could go home.
Not my condo, but my mother’s house in Park Hill. She’s having a party like she does every year. I never go, but I could. I should. I should just go home and pass the night with her in all those familiar rooms, with all those familiar faces.
But then I’d just be reminded of the other person I lost.
And I can’t do that tonight. Not tonight.
I’ll turn around at the next light, I tell myself.
And then the next one.
But I keep going and the next thing I know, I’m getting on the I-70 in Golden, heading up towards Lookout Mountain.
But I blow past that exit too, the Bronco straining with the steep ascent that will take me up into the Rocky Mountains. It’s a long climb, Denver might be a mile up, but the altitude in these mountains is a whole other level of high.
The transmission whines at me, reminding me that it’s old and vulnerable.
But I do not care.
Where are you going, Ford?
I don’t answer the voice. Partly because I have no idea and partly because it’s not good to encourage the internal monologue. My flight out of DIA tomorrow. is too far away. Tomorrow is just way too far away. I’m not going to survive the night if I stay here in Denver. I need to get the hell out of this state right the fuck now.
The snow builds with each vertical mile, the sky nothing but white everywhere I look. No stars above and just dark forest on either side. There aren’t even many cars on the road. Hardly any coming towards me from the west, and only slightly more traveling from the east like me. Locals know when to stay off the mountain passes and not many tourists are driving on New Year’s Eve. The snow grows thicker as I finally make it to Genesee. The perfect curtain to keep my thoughts at bay. Because they are filled with longing and aching. With self-loathing and hatred for what I am. For what I can’t be. For letting her get away. For letting Ronin take her. For wanting something I can’t have.
And I vow to myself as I push the accelerator to the floor to make the steep grade that will pluck me from civilization and pour me out into the wilds where I can be alone with myself.
I will never. Ever. Care for another women for as long as I live.
I will never allow myself to be weak like this again.
I will never learn their names. Or buy them presents. Or plot out a way to help them reach their full potential.
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