Today it is my turn on the blog tour for THE TRUTH ABOUT HAPPILY EVER AFTER and I am super chuffed to share an extract with you all today! Enjoy!
“What happened out there?” Ron asks.
Harper, on the floor and propped against the wall, closes her eyes and covers them with her hand. “Kelly was just . . . still riding me pretty hard about the princess thing. I felt like absolute crap at lunch, but she was just so . . . cutting. I was even more intent on proving her wrong.” She shakes her head. “But she had us running all over the park. She wouldn’t let go of my arm, and I had to keep up. She wouldn’t let me take water breaks.”
“She needs to be reported,” Jake snaps.
Harper lifts her hand weakly. “I don’t want to cause a problem. I’m okay now. I’ll be okay.”
Jake raises one eyebrow, unconvinced. “You need to take better care of yourself on days like this, okay?”
Harper won’t meet his eye. He is a little intense.
“Seriously, Harper.” He’s gentler this time, and when he says her name, she finally allows her gaze to meet his. “This isn’t a joke. Heat exhaustion, heatstroke, it can cause serious damage to your organs.”
“Yeah, okay,” she concedes. She stares up at him, biting her lip. “Thanks, Jake,” she whispers.
I find myself looking back and forth between them. I swear I just introduced the two of them the other night, yet they’re talking to each other like they’ve known each other forever, or something. Maybe it’s just that weird intimacy that automatically comes about when someone is providing another person with physical care, leaving outsiders to feel weird standing there watching them.
I clear my throat. “Is she going to need to go to the hospital?”
“Yes”—Jake nods decidedly—“she does.”
Harper struggles to standing. “Please no. I’m sure I’ll be okay. I feel better already.”
“You should be monitored,” Ron tells her. “Looked over by a doctor at the very least. And it’s the safest and quickest way to make that happen.”
“The ambulance is already on its way, anyway,” Jake informs her.
Harper’s entire body sighs, and she turns toward me. “Shit.” Then she glances down at the remaining portion of her costume. “Help me get this off?” she asks me glumly.
Happy I can finally contribute something. I walk around behind her and unzip the outfit. As she pulls it off, I realize her thin white tank is nearly see-through from sweat, her bright pink bra clearly visible. Jake’s cheeks color, and he turns his back at once.
I dig around in my bag and quickly find an old Zeta charity softball game T-shirt and press it into her hand. “Here.”
She looks down, her face colors anew when she realizes how exposed she is, and she tugs it overhead. “Thanks.” Her lips twist wryly. “Never thought I’d be a sorority girl.” Then Harper looks around, first at Ron, then at Jake, and finally back at me. Her eyes are serious. “I’m sorry,” she whispers.
“For holding you up. I’m sure you want to get out of here.”
“No worries. I’m working tonight. I’m not going anywhere, anyway.”
Harper looks toward the boys. “Alyssa’s been my savior in more ways than one today.”
She’s relaying the lunchroom story when the ambulance crew—invisible most of the time but never more than a moment away—comes swiftly into the office, hoists Harper onto a stretcher, and carries her away as quickly and quietly as they appeared.
Just before she disappears with them, she sits up and grabs my forearm. “Don’t you dare tell Kelly what happened.”
I smile. “I won’t.”
I look at Ron. “Thanks for your help.” I turn toward Jake and squeeze his arm. “You were amazing,” I tell him.
“It was nothing,” he says tensely. “It’s just what I do.”
Jake doesn’t ask to hear the end of the story about what happened in the cafeteria. He stares down the hallway in the direction of his retreating patient. I’m just really not sure what to make of his level of concern. Or the constant weirdness that seems to come about whenever he and Harper end up in the same room.
The Truth About Happily Ever After
Publication date: May 16th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Chin up, Princess, or the crown will slip.
A theme park princess must put her life back together after her happily ever after falls apart in The Truth About Happily Ever After, a contemporary YA romance from Karole Cozzo, author of How to Keep Rolling After a Fall and How to Say I Love You Out Loud.
Everything was supposed to be perfect. Alyssa has a job she loves, working as Cinderella at her favorite theme park; a fantastic group of friends; and a boyfriend who will no longer be long distance. But as the summer progresses, her prince becomes less charming and more distant, and Alyssa’s perfect summer falls apart.
Forced to acknowledge that life is not always a fairy tale, Alyssa starts working to pull her herself back together. Fortunately, she doesn’t have to do it alone. With her friend Miller’s support, she’s determined to prove that she’s more than just a pretty princess. And with his help, maybe she’s finally ready for something better than dreams. Maybe she’s ready for something real.
Karole lives outside of Philadelphia, PA with her loving husband, exuberant little girl, and smiley little boy. She adores YA Romance, because it would be awesome if life in general had a requisite feel-good happy ending rule. Vices include obscene Haribo gummy consumption, addiction to Starbucks NF vanilla lattes, and tendency to hoard Bath and Body Works 3-wick candles.