Hi guys, and happy Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend – mine was really, really quiet but sometimes it’s not bad, right?
So, today I have an extract from “Luxe” by Ashley Antoinette for you. “Luxe” is an addictive and incredibly well-written urban romance, and it’s also pretty feisty and very fierce :
Bleu Montclair knew as a young girl that she would one day escape the hard, unrelenting streets of Flint, Michigan, and when her desperate prayers are answered in the form of a scholarship to UCLA, she knows she’s struck gold. But soon after she arrives there, all her beautiful dreams begin to fall apart.
Endless temptations abound in the form of cars, clothes, booze and drugs, and Bleu cannot keep up. When her roommate gives her the opportunity to make a lot of money fast, Bleu goes all in – and heads straight down a path of violence and addiction that only her newest protector, Iman, can save her from.
Iman is used to the fast, unpredictable, high-rolling life, and it’s always been enough . . . until he meets Bleu. He finally has something and someone to care for that means more to him than all the money and power he could ever command.
Love in the streets is never easy . . . and there is more than one way to get hurt.
Beep … beep … beep.
The sounds roused Bleu from the darkest sleep she had ever succumbed to. It was as if she were walking out of a thick fog. She had been in limbo, stuck between life and death. Waking up was no easy feat. Her eyes felt as if they were sewn closed as she tried her hardest to open them. When they finally fluttered open, she saw flashes of the world around her. Flowers and balloons surrounded her. She silently wondered who had sent them all. Not many people paid attention to her on an ordinary day. Surely these arrangements weren’t meant for her. She felt the wetness of tears slide down the sides of her cheeks as she willed her eyes to stay open. Suddenly terror filled her. Almost instantly flashbacks of the shooting ran through her mind. BOOM!
She would never forget the sound of that gun blasting off in her ear. She was swallowed up by the darkness in the room. The only light that peeked in shone through the vertical blinds, which had been drawn closed. The sounds and smells around her told her that she was in the hospital, and as her eyes darted around the room, they fell upon the crumpled body that was sprawled awkwardly in the chair across from her. Noah, she thought, immediately recognizing her sleeping friend. He had been by her side since grade school. Dealing with a drunk for a father, a disappearing mother, and friends who changed colors like traffic lights, Noah was the only constant in her life. She opened her chapped lips to call his name but immediately felt as if she were choking on her own tongue. She gasped for air as she struggled to catch her breath. The monitors she was hooked to wailed in alarm as her heart rate spiked from her panic, and a nurse came rushing into the room, waking Noah up with the commotion.
“What’s happening?” he asked as he rushed to Bleu’s side.
Bleu’s eyes were wide with fear as her hands reached for the tube that extended from her neck.
“Bleu,” the nurse spoke, getting her attention. “You can’t speak until I remove the trach. The doctors had to insert one because you were unable to breathe on your own. I need you to calm down, okay?”
Bleu felt Noah grab her hand and hold on to her tightly and then a pinch to her arm caused everything to slow down.
No, no, no, I don’t want to go back to sleep, she thought as she watched the nurse slide the needle out of her arm. No, no … her mental objections were in vain. Within seconds it was lights-out again.