Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pieces Of Olivia Blitz

Pieces of Olivia by Melissa West
(Charleston Haven #1)
Published by: Intermix (Penguin)
Publication date: July 15th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Olivia Warren used to be a normal girl with a bright future.
But on one fated night, everything changed.

Hiding the scars of her past up her sleeves, Olivia transfers her enrollment from Columbia University to The College of Charleston, determined to pursue her own dreams for the first time in her life.

She intends to allow herself a bit of alone time to heal… that is, until she meets Preston.

Preston is best friends with her roommate, completely hot, and off-limits. But the chemistry between them is instantaneous—and as the pair begins to spend more time with one another, their feelings for each other build into something undeniable, something powerful enough to heal Olivia’s deepest scars.

Olivia tries to put her own past behind her and trust Preston, but she discovers that his past might be more present than she ever bargained for…



“What’s in the box?”I glanced down at the box like it was poison in my
hand. “Rose gave me homework.”“Oh yeah? What is it?”“I don’t know.
I’m afraid to look.” I closed my eyes slowly, hating the pathetic girl I was
in front of him, but somehow with Preston, I didn’t feel that natural urge
to cover up my fears and insecurities. I could be myself around him,
because I knew he would see through the lie. Like he already knew
what I would say even before I thought of my response.
Preston reached out and took the box from my hand, tucking it under
his arm. “Come on. I’ll drive you back to Liberty.”
“What about London?” The words were out so quickly that I didn’t have
time to register what they suggested.
Preston stuttered, clearly taken off guard. “Uh, what about her?” He
cocked an eyebrow at me, his lips angling up a fraction of an inch. But
that was enough. He knew what the question meant. Damn it!
“I don’t know. She seemed . . . uncomfortable. You know, on Thursday.”
God. Was he drunk at the party? Maybe he didn’t remember what
happened. Or maybe he didn’t think the way we were, pressed
together, his palms cupping my face, was unusual or intimate.
“Oh, right. She’s fine.”
My eyes narrowed. He was being intentionally shady, which meant they
were still doing whatever it was he did with girls. I felt my resolve falter
at the thought and peered behind me to see Rose giving me two
thumbs up. I closed my eyes and shook my head, defeated. “Fine. I’ll
ride in your damn truck.”
Preston grinned and started to reply, but then his gaze travelled past
me to Rose’s office, his eyebrows shooting up. “Is that your therapist?”
I walked around him toward his truck. “Yes.”“She’s waving at me.”I
sighed. Of course she was. Thank you, Rose. If I ever speak to you
again, I’m going to turn you into one of those ghosts you love. “Are we
going or not?”I slipped into the truck, waiting as Preston stopped
outside his door to see if Rose was still
watching him. He raised his hand to wave, and I buried my face in my
hands. I was going to need heavier medication to survive this
humiliation. Damn Rose and her deliberateness. I knew she just wanted
me to trust other people, to step outside my “safe zone,” but we were
going to have to talk about her methods.
Preston finally slid in beside me and passed over the box. “It’s light.”
“What is?”“The box,” he said, nodding toward it. “Have you guessed
what’s inside?”“No. But I’m pretty sure I know what it has to do with.” I
pictured things from my bedroom or items from each of my friends or
newspaper clippings about the fire.He eyed the box. “I’m betting it’s
empty. She seems a little out there. Maybe she’s messing with you.”“I’m
not that lucky.”“Then, I bet it’s . . .” He tapped his long index fingers
against the steering wheel, drawing my attention over, making me
remember the feel of them against my skin. “Fake spiders.”“What? She
isn’t going to give me a box of fake spiders. Who does that? That’s
stupid.”Preston laughed. “Okay then, you take a guess.”I shook my
head. “I don’t know.”“Try.”“I can’t. I don’t know.”“God, stop being such a
girl and take a damn guess.”“Testy! And I take offense. I’m not being a
girl.”“Then put your money where your mouth is and guess. Make it a
good one.”I shook my head again, but this time I was smiling. “Fine. I
bet the box is full of worms, the squishy kind with glitter in them.”“What
brand? Because if we’re talking Strike King, then maybe I’ll just . . .” He
reached for the box and I swatted his hand away, laughing.“Hey! Find
your own crazy box.”Preston grasped my hand as I was swatting his
away, his fingers gliding over my knuckles then fingertips before he
released. Suddenly, the air in the truck felt thick, the space between us
small. I swallowed hard, wishing I could ask him what was happening
between us, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear his answer. For now, I
felt safe in the dream world, where I could imagine Preston wanting me
without having to risk my heart. I knew I would eventually have to date
again, feel again, but for now I’d rather play out the dream, which I
guessed was exactly what Rose had meant by her stupid safe zone.
We reached Liberty and said goodbye, all the while my heart jumping in
my chest, begging me to stay a little longer. I could avoid reality. I could
pretend. But I couldn’t deny the truth to myself any longer.
I had fallen for Preston Riggs.

Melissa West writes young adult and new adult novels for Entangled Teen and Embrace and Penguin/Intermix. She lives outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband and two daughters and spends most of her time writing, reading, or fueling her coffee addiction.

She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and a M.S. in Graphic Communication, both from Clemson University. Yeah, her blood runs orange.

Connect with Melissa at or on Twitter @MB_West. And for sneak peeks at upcoming works, prizes, and more, join The RES Spies at Mel's Madhouse:

Chapter One
Someone should warn you that move­in day at a college is the last day
you should actually try to move into your dorm. I stared down the line of
girls waiting to get on the elevators, all of them with stacks of suitcases
and boxes and microwave­refrigerator combos, which should have
already been in our rooms, but evidently there was a shortage this year.
I eyed my own set of suitcases and the line again. I could drag them up
the three flights of stairs to the third floor faster than I could get there
waiting in that line.
I tilted the heaviest one on its wheels, tossed the second on top, and
started for the stairwell door around the corner. There was no line there,
surprise­surprise, so I took my time pulling my suitcases through the
door and lifting them one step at a time up the stairs. By the time I
reached the third floor, my face was dripping with sweat and I found
myself wishing I’d taken my parents’ offer to help me move in.
At the time, all I could think about was their sad expressions as they
asked me for the hundredth time if I was sure. Sure I wanted to ditch
Columbia for the College of Charleston. Sure I wanted to live in a dorm
on campus (forget that all freshmen were required to live on campus).
Sure I wanted to have a roommate in said dorm instead of living alone.
The list went on and on and on. They didn’t understand. I couldn’t live
that life anymore. Every part of it brought back memories I couldn’t
handle. I needed a change. And not just a change in geography. I
needed a complete change—different town, different people, different
I needed to be able to grab bananas from the produce section without
running into someone who knew and getting that sad look as he or she
asked how I was doing. I mean, how did they think I was doing? I hated
pity. I hated the long look people gave you and the slow headshake that
said poor little you. I knew sadness. It was a longtime friend of mine
now. I didn’t need reminders of how closely it clung to me every time I
went to the grocery store.
I heaved my suitcase through the third­floor door and glanced around
for room numbers. I was 3­F and my roommate was some chick from
Gator Town: Gainesville, Florida. I pictured a surfer girl, complete with
sun­bleached blond hair and bronzed skin, who used words like totally
and awesome as though they were worth gold each time you said them.
I tugged on my UPF 55 shirt, glad that I’d been smart enough to pick up
a few. Long sleeves at the beach in August would cause a few looks,
and I wasn’t prepared to explain the real reason for them. But with UPF
shirts, I could just claim a crazy interest in sun protection. Plus with the
tiny shorts I paired with them, I felt sure I could go about without too
many questions. Or so I hoped. Thank God my legs weren’t scarred.
Otherwise I’d have had to go to college at some snow lift in Colorado,
and I hated cold weather.
I reached the hall for rooms 3­A to 3­H. Most of the doors were open,
and I tried not to peek inside them as I passed. The hall was completely
alive with excitement and commotion. I wondered if it would always be
like this or if there were study hours or something. I finally came to the
door for 3­F, which was closed, no sounds coming from inside. I
grabbed the knob and turned, relieved that Gator­girl wasn’t there yet,
until I flicked on the light and heard a grumble from across the room.
“Damn, shut the light. I’m working off a buzz here.”
I turned around to see a guy in the bed on the left side of the room, a
white sheet tangled around him, exposing his bare chest. My eyes
roamed over him, and for the first time, I understood how Bella could be
attracted to Edward’s paleness. This guy’s skin could rival a vampire’s
for sure, but instead of looking like it belonged to a hospital patient, it
was startlingly creamy with just a hint of a golden undertone. His
shaggy brownish­red hair scattered in a mess across the pillow, and
although I knew I should ask a myriad of questions, I just found myself
His eyes peeked open and he tossed one of his arms over them to
block out the light. “You must be Olivia,” he said, his voice thick from
sleep.I waited. Hot or not, I didn’t know this guy. He could be here to
steal my virtue . . . or the virtue I had two years ago, but still.
He climbed out of bed, a pair of low­hanging navy pajama pants with
little yellow characters the only thing on his flawless body. I took them in
before glancing back at his face. “Tweety Bird?” “Goldfish. It’s an inside
I nodded. “Ah.”
He brushed his hair out of his eyes. It was the sort of hair you wanted to
touch just to see if it felt as perfect as it looked. “So . . .”
“So . . .” I smiled. “Are you going to tell me who you are and why the
hell you’re in my dorm room?”
He smirked. “I see you’re not as small town as you look. Where are you
from?” He reached behind him for a T­shirt thrown across a desk chair.
He had that deep Southern drawl that reminded you of warm syrup on
pancakes, slow and delicious and entirely too tempting.
I considered lying, but that would only delay the inevitable. “Westlake,” I
said, bracing myself for his reaction. What happened never made
national news—thank God—but everyone in a two­state radius knew
and felt inclined to ask as soon as they heard where I was from.
He glanced up at me before slipping the shirt on, and I prepared for the
question, the change in his tone, but instead he said, “I take it back.
You are small town. Rich. But still, small town.”
For a moment, I was too startled to respond. I had yet to meet anyone
who heard where I was from and didn’t launch into questions too
personal for a friend let alone a stranger. I opened my mouth to remind
him that (a) Charleston wasn’t exactly New York City and (b) he still
hadn’t answered my question, when the door behind me burst open and
a tiny girl rushed in. She had the look of one of those flyers on a
cheerleading squad—five­foot nothing, blond hair in loose pigtails that
hung over her shoulders, and dressed in just a tank top and jean shorts.
Jean shorts. Trisha. My chest constricted as memories poured in, and I
had to take a step back so I could breathe. Trisha hated jean shorts.
“I’m so sorry! So sorry!” the girl said, her tone entirely too high for such
a small space. Gator­girl, I presumed. “This isn’t what it looks like.”
Then she turned on the guy. “I told you eight a.m. exit, dude. It’s twelve-
I started to tell her I didn’t care regardless. I hated that stereotypical
bullshit, where guys could hook up with whomever and be cool, but
when a girl did the same thing, she was a slut. I decided it wasn’t the
The guy shrugged. “What do you want from me? I was drunker than I
thought. Happens to the best of us. Besides, look at her. She’s cool
with it. Aren’t you?”
Both of their gazes fell on me. “Um . . . should I come back later? I can
just . . .” I started for the door when the girl reached out to stop me.
“Don’t go! Please. I’m Kara. And this asshat is Preston Riggs, my best
friend. Well, he used to be my best friend.” She glared at him. “He was
supposed to be out this morning before you arrived, but clearly”—she
motioned to him—“he’s got issues with time. Among other things.”
Preston slid into a pair of Rainbow sandals and ran his hands over his
face before stretching his arms out wide. “I take offense. I pride myself
on punctuality. If there was ever a—”
“Out. Before I call your mom.”
Preston looked at her. “Like I’m afraid of my—” Kara pulled out her cell,
and he threw up his hands. “Okay, okay. I’m gone.” His eyes swept
from her to me, giving me a slow once­over, before winking and
heading for the door. “Nice meeting you, Small Town.”
And just like that, he was gone.

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