Happy Release Day To Me

CRUSHED is officially out in the world!!!

To celebrate, I’m giving away a signed copy of Nightingale. All you have to do is tweet about CRUSHED’s Release today and use the #CRUSHED hashtag or post on Facebook and tag me. Super easy!

And if you’d like to purchase CRUSHED, it can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble $2.99.

Final CRUSHED Sneak Peek: The Bet

YOU GUYS! Crushed comes out tomorrow and I’m so excited to finally have this book out in the world!!! Hope you enjoy this final peek in Fletch’s world.


Read Chapter 1, 2, 3, and 4.


It’s not uncommon to find a friend or two hanging out in your room when you come back from class.

What I don’t expect is to find Reid and Brady standing on my balcony shooting a Super Soaker at unsuspecting passers-by. But seriously, why am I surprised?

“You have the best room in the school.” Reid pumps up the water gun and drenches some poor freshman. “Hot chicks on The Beach and the ability to terrorize underclassmen. This is awesome.”

I toss my bag on the extra bed near the door. “What the hell you guys? You’re going to have…” I pause, searching my memory for the right name, but come up with nothing. “My RA on my case.”

“Not expellable, Fletch.” Reid lets another stream of water fly. That’s Reid’s governing law: as long as it’s not expellable, it’s okay.

“I don’t care if it’s not expellable. If he’s watching me, because of you two dicks, how am I going to have any fun?”

A blast of ice cold water soaks through my sweater and sprays all over my bed.


“What you get for being such a pisser.” Reid chuckles as he turns his attention back toward The Beach.

I strip off my drenched shirt, throw it into the corner and grab a new one from my drawer. “Thanks for reminding me why I didn’t want to room with either of you.”

“You’re not exactly Mr. Ideal Roommate, either. Ever hear yourself snore?” Reid props the Super Soaker by the door and flops on the bed. “It’s like a fucking freight train.”

“Whatever. At least I don’t keep lotion and Kleenex next to my bed,” I retort. Reid and I roomed together last year. It wasn’t bad. He spent most of his time at Paige’s.

Brady snorts. “Yeah, Reid. Why do you keep that so close to the bed? Paige not servicing you enough?” he says and makes an obscene motion with his fist.

A long groan rumbles out of Reid. “You guys are jealous because I always have a source. You two never know if you’re going to feast or starve.”

“Speaking of starving, you got anything to eat?” Without waiting for my answer, Brady walks back into the room and opens the mini-fridge. “Some Coke, some fruit – why do you have fruit? What’s wrong with you?”

I shove him out of the way. “There’s chips in the closet.”

Brady flings a bag of chips at Reid and takes one for himself.

“Dude! Those are full-sized bags. Share.” I pluck Brady’s from his hand and toss it back into my closet. “I’m not your personal grocery store.”

Brady sits on the floor, below Reid on the bed, and the two of them tear into the chips like they haven’t eaten in years. Crumbs spray out of his mouth. “So whastsgoinonwifcal?”

“What?” I locate my vintage 80’s playlist, the one Brady hates, and click on it.  The music pulses out. Hmmm. Maybe I need some new speakers. The bass is too weak.

“Not this crap again. Jesus, Fletch. You need better taste in music.”

I shrug, and for about thirty seconds, relief washes over me because I’ve successfully distracted Brady.

He reaches around me and pauses the music. “You didn’t answer me. What ya do to Calista?”

My stomach drops to my feet. I spent the day successfully avoiding Cal by skipping lunch and eating in my room instead. “She was upset about Hannah.”

“Liar.” Reid throws a fistful of chips at me. “Paige said she was bawling in first period because you did something. So what did you do?”

I spin around in my chair. A lump sits in my throat.  “She was?”

Brady swallows and gives me an incredulous look. “Told you.”

I unpause the music and pretend I’m not listening.

“What did you tell him?” Reid asks. He’s picked up the guitar he always carries with him and plucks out a few notes, like he’s testing the strings, before playing along to the music blasting over the speakers. I watch in envy as his fingers move up and down the neck.

Brady tosses the bag of chips at me and I dart my hand out to catch them before they spill all over the floor. “That Calista looooves him.”

I wince and my cheeks growing hot. “No, she doesn’t. Trust me.”

Reid stops playing and shifts forward, like he’s waiting for more details. I pretend not to notice and step onto the balcony. The crisp autumn air cools my face. Beneath me, a few dozen girls hang out in small groups while the guys mostly goof around.

With the water gun in hand, Brady leans over the railing and surveys the girls. Reid, however, keeps his back toward them and his focus on me. “She likes you. Like likes you likes you.”

I shuffle my feet. “She’s just my friend. Ask her.”

Reid rolls his eyes. “You aren’t friends with girls.”

“I can be friends with a girl. Look at Paige and me. I’ve never messed around with her.” I cross my arms. “And she’s my friend.”

Brady pulls himself way from ogling the girls below us. “Doesn’t count. Paige is your friend because of Reid. He acts like your cock block.” He aims another stream of water toward a group of girls on The Beach and narrowly misses them. He waves as they shriek and giggle.

I think back through the past three years, picturing all the girls I’ve been with, spoken to, hooked-up with. I can’t think of one who’s only been my friend. Not one.

Yet, I insist. “I can be friends with a girl.”

Without looking at me, Reid says, “Prove it.”


“Prove you can be friends with a girl.”

I snort. “And how do I do that? Just walk up to a girl and say, ‘Hey, wanna be friends?’”

Wisps of fog drift over the dorm roof and around the corner of the building, but the kids on the Beach don’t seem to mind. Living here, tucked away in the redwoods nine months of the year, you get used to it. A sunny day for us is when the sun makes an appearance between 1:30 and 1:45 on the third Friday of every other month.

Brady sets the water gun against the railing. “What you need is a girl who is completely available. And hot. Someone who tempts you.”

He points across The Beach. Sarah Diaz, and her two friends, Ellie Jacobs and Libby Hausman, float across the lawn. At least it appears that way with the fog rushing in around them. “You have Physics with Sarah.”

At lunch, Brady and I compared our prospects and agreed getting Sarah’s number was the win of the day.

“Yeah.” I draw the word out. I know where he’s going with this. Sarah and I hooked up freshman year. Libby isn’t my type, so I’d have no problem not touching her. But Ellie…

She’s hot. Nice fit body, long brown hair. Cute face. I run my hand through my hair, willing her to look up, but she doesn’t. Instead, she tosses her head back, not overly dramatic or anything, and laughs.

“Ellie Jacobs. You’ve never hooked up with her. And she totally gets you hard. If you can be friends with her, you can be friends with any girl.”

On the sad, little grass oval of The Beach, Sarah and Ellie spread a blanket. The three girls arrange themselves in a lopsided triangle. Sarah and Libby touch knees while Ellie stretches out along the edge. Unlike the clueless freshmen, Ellie wears tight jeans and a sweater that hangs off her shoulder, exposing the soft skin of her neck. Her bare shoulder indicates a lack of bra, and my mind fixates on that small fact for a moment.

“What’s the bet?” I ask.

Brady rubs his chin, like he’s thinking, but I can tell he already knows what he wants. “Your car. You have to last until we get back from spring break. If not, I get your car.”

“And if I do?”

Reid pipes up. “If Fletch can do it, you give up girls until after graduation.”

Brady begins protesting, saying his punishment is way harsher than me giving him my car.

“But you don’t think I can do it, so why worry?” I say.

He scowls. I’ve totally got him, and he knows it. “Fine. Deal.”

As we shake on it, Reid grabs the Super Soaker and points it at me. “Okay. Here’s the thing: I’m going to soak your ass if you don’t go talk to Ellie Jacobs right now.”

“Are you fucking serious?”

His finger twitches on the trigger as he aims at my crotch. “Totally.”

I stare at Brady. “You too?”

“Don’t look at me. I want you to fail miserably.”

“Fine.” I push past Reid into the hallway. He presses the water gun into my back, and trying to be a good sport about how shitty this is going down, I throw my hands over my head and march, like a hostage, to the stairs.

As we walk across the grass, I try to figure out what to say that won’t sound too much like I’m hitting on her. We stop next to their blanket, and the girls look up at us. Reid lowers the gun and leans on it.

Brady, however, sinks down next to Sarah and helps himself to some of the crackers the girls are eating.

“Hey, guys,” I say. How lame.

Sarah smiles at me. “Hey, Fletch.” Confusion seeps into her voice. “What are you guys doing?”

Brady, who isn’t trying to be friends with girls, answers, “Just wanted to see what you were doing.” He pops another cracker into his mouth and drapes his arm around Sarah, who doesn’t seem bothered by it. “How were your summers?”

The girls share glances and all babble about their vacations. In the meantime, Reid sits down with them too, and I’m left looming over the group. What should I do? Sit? Is that what a friend would do?

“Where did you guys get water guns?” Ellie asks. There’s a certain force to her voice – it’s a little husky, like she’s been smoking her whole life. Gravely, maybe? Whatever, it sounds sexy.

Brady plays with the Super Soaker and points it at me. “Town.”

Town is a twenty-minute drive from Harker. And neither of these guys have cars, which means…

“You took my car?”

Reid shrugs. “Don’t leave your keys laying around if you don’t want us to use it.”

“Or how about you guys stay out of my fucking room?”

A stream of water shoots past me and splatters all over Reid’s sweater and face. He eyes Brady lazily, flicks the water off his chin and says, “I’ve been hit.”

The girls giggle. I turn to leave. I don’t need this. Why do I have to prove myself to them? Because of Calista? Ridiculous.

“Fletch?” Sarah says.

I pivot. “Yeah?”

“Do you want to study on Friday? For Physics?”

Brady leans his head toward her, his arm still around her shoulder. I know that look. It means, he’s staking his claim.

“Brady might be a better study partner,” I say.

He nods. “Yeah. Science is my thing. Fletch is more of an English guy.” He laughs. “If you ever need a book read, ask him. He loves that crap.”

“I thought Fletch was the best at everything,” little inconspicuous Libby says.

Brady presses his lips into a thin line and catches my eye “Not everything.”

There’s an edge to Brady’s normally laid-back voice. I lie. “Yeah. I suck at Government.”

Sarah kicks Ellie. “Ellie could help you. Couldn’t you?” She’s talking fast, tripping over her words.

That’s when I realize what’s happening. Sarah likes Brady. And she’s looking for ways to keep him around, even if that means sending her friend off with me. Maybe getting to know Ellie won’t be so hard after all.

I pounce on the opportunity, but try to look disinterested – like I’m not at all still thinking about the fact she’s braless. “That would be great. I could use all the help I can get.”

Ellie pushes Sarah’s foot away from her knee. “I’m busy with my own classes. Lots of AP this year.”

The tiny bit of hope shatters. She’s turning me down. What’s with this girl? My mind races. There is no way I’m walking away from here without having plans with Ellie. Brady and Reid would never let me forget it.

“I could pay you.”

“I’m not a prostitute,” she snaps. A hush falls over the group.

One of my idiot friends coughs, and I study my shoe for a moment. Way to go, Fletch. You can’t be friends with a girl if you insult her. “I didn’t mean it like that.”


“Yeah, but hey, don’t worry about it. If you don’t want to, that’s fine.” Time to back peddle or abort mission.

Another long pause. Finally, she says, “No. Of course I’ll tutor you. And you don’t need to pay me.”

“Cool. So Thursday after dinner? Can you come to my room?”

She hesitates. “Not during visiting hours?”

“Naw. Come around seven-thirty.”

As I recite my room number, I notice Brady whispering to Sarah. She grins.

He reluctantly tears himself away from the girls, but only after Reid threatens him with the water gun. I turn around, to say good-bye, and am greeted by a blast of cold water to the face.

“You fucker. You’re dead.” I launch myself at Brady, who has wrenched control of the gun from Reid. He runs across The Beach, laughing like a hyena on crack.

CRUSHED COMES OUT TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2012 on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. iBooks and Kobo coming soon.

Sneak Peek: CRUSHED Chapter 3

Get CRUSHED Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.


While still in a lucid pot haze, I drag myself into the chilly night air and to the dining hall. I muster as much enthusiasm as I can for my plate of semi-edible crap, and slump into a chair at our table near the back windows, away from the prying eyes of the staff.

I’m the last one, as usual. No one says anything as I drop my tray of gelatinous rice and limp vegetables on the table. They’re all listening to Alex talk about his summer. Something about the Russian mafia. Who knows if he makes it all up? I mean, he could be, and we’d never know. It’s not like we’re going to head off to Russia to find out. Besides, the one time his dad showed up on campus, he had legit bodyguards. Plus, Alex is the one with the off-campus dealer named Constantine and fake ID. So, even if he is making it up, he still has some freaky-ass shit going on.

Calista lifts her head slightly, so that she’s watching me from the corner of her eyes, and smiles. “You look rough,” she says, her soft voice nearly drowned out by the other noises swirling around us. My heart sputters. Her smile wages an assault on me, and I have no defense. None. If I weren’t standing in the middle of the crowded dining hall, surrounded by my friends, I’d probably break down and plead with her to stop torturing me.

Instead, I scratch the back of my head and focus on Brady balancing a fork on his nose. When I’m positive my voice won’t break, I say, “We had a little party. Too busy setting up to come by?”

She rests her chin on her hand. “No, my parents were here until about an hour ago. Mom wanted to do the whole ‘walk down memory lane’ thing.” I notice, for the first time, she’s sitting close to Alex. Closer than usual. Their chairs almost touch. Since when does she sit next to Alex?

“Mom wanted to come say ‘hi’ to you. She had your room number and everything, so you can thank me later for saving your ass.”

I gulp down some water, and as it washes over my tongue, I realize how dry my mouth is. “Thanks, Cal. I owe you.”
She sighs. How can a single sound have so many meanings? Annoyance, pity, pleasure. “You always owe me, Fletcher Colson.”

“I know. And that’s why I love you, Cal. You take good care of me.” As soon as the word ‘love’ passes my lips, I know I’ve made a mistake. Calista twists her napkin and begins ripping it into tiny pieces. She doesn’t have to tell me I’ve upset her.

“Hey, Fletch.”

Hannah stands across from me, wearing the same sweater from earlier, smiling nervously. My fingers curl around the edge of my chair and hold me in place, but what I really want is to disappear beneath the table.

“Can we sit here?” She’s with another junior girl whose name I can’t remember.

Brady wiggles his eyebrows at me and smirks. He knows I’m screwed.

What am I supposed to do? Cal’s busy whispering to Paige, not paying me any attention. As usual.

I stare up at Hannah, my lips puckered. If I let them sit here, it’s more or less an indication I’m interested. And I’m not interested. At least not in a relationship.

Paige flashes her ice and daggers bitch smile and saves me. “No. This table is for seniors.”

Hannah waits with her mouth slightly agape, waiting for me to rescue her.

I shrug. “Sorry, Hannah. Maybe next time.”

Her face falls, but she doesn’t call me names. That happens sometimes. Girls get pissed at me after we hook-up. They think we’re a couple or something. But Hannah’s cool and walks away without causing a scene. She gets bonus points for that. Definitely worth a return visit.

When she’s out of earshot, Brady and Reid burst out laughing, but Paige hisses at me. “We don’t need your leftovers hanging out here.” She glares first at me, then Brady. “Same goes for you.”

Brady holds up his hands defensively. “What did I do?”

“One word: Saylor.” Paige says. “We don’t need little girls thinking they can sit with us.”

A deep wrinkle appears across Brady’s forehead when he draws his eyebrows together. It’s his thinking hard look. “Who the hell is Saylor?”

“Oh. My. God. You animal.” Paige glares at him. “The girl from The Beach this morning.”

Still no signs of recollection from Brady. Or me.

“In the yellow t-shirt?” Paige’s voice grows shrill. “Seriously, you made out with her at Fletch’s.”

A light switches on. “Oh her. That’s her name? Saylor?”

Paige throws a chunk of ice from her Diet Coke at Brady. “I hope to God you’re kidding.”

While nodding, Brady holds his hand over his mouth so Paige can’t see and mouths, “No,” to me.

I shove a few more bites of the nasty stir-fry in my mouth and finish it off with water. Despite the amount of money our parents throw at this place, the food is something I imagine prisons serving inmates. “What would it take for them to get real food in this place?”

“It is real,” Reid responds, poking at the blob on his plate. “At least I believe it may have once been alive.”

Calista reaches across the table and grabs my hand, a gesture that the rest of the table notices. “I’m serious, Fletch. Keep those girls away from us. This is our table.”

She doesn’t raise her voice or anything, but there’s hurt in her eyes. And I don’t want her to hurt.


No one at our table speaks. They’re all watching us. Waiting for whatever they think should happen. Hell, I’m waiting for something to happen.

Paige clears her throat, bringing the attention back to her end of the table. “We have to finish unpacking, Cal. Are you done?”

While Calista finishes up, Paige pecks Reid on the cheek, her hand caressing his face. Brady’s eyes nearly roll back in his head. “Nauseating much?”

“Jealous much?” she replies. “Maybe you want to be the one kissing Reid?”

Brady licks his French fries suggestively. “As if he could resist me.”

Paige mock-gags before saying, “C’mon, Cal.”

Unlike earlier, there’s no emotion in Cal’s eyes when she glances at me. Just like usual. However, the shredded napkin she leaves on the table tells me that I’ve upset her.


The girls aren’t even through the elaborately carved doorway before Alex starts in. “What was that?”

“What?” I say, trying my hardest to sound disinterested.

“What did you and Calista do this summer?” After three years at Harker, only a trace of his once prominent Russian

accent lingers.

I have no idea what he’s heard. My best bet: go vague. “You know how it is, Sasha,” I say, using his Russian name — the one Reid forced him to give up because it sounded too much like a chick’s. “Our moms are always together.”

“She said the same thing, but I think you’re both lying.” Like all our friends, Alex already knows Calista was my first, way back during freshman year. He also knows she and I have known each other since birth. Our moms have been best friends since high school. But he doesn’t know about our extra-curricular summer activities.

“Do you like her or something?” I ask more angrily than I intend.

“She’s cool.” His cold eyes don’t leave mine. “Not to mention hot.”

I drop my fork on the table with a dull thud. “She’s Calista. She’s-“

“What? Off-limits?” Alex chuckles. When I don’t answer, he says, “Whatever, Fletch. You’re the biggest fucking hypocrite.”

Brady’s hand is on my shoulder before I realize I’m standing, leaning over Alex.

“Let’s go.” Reid picks up his tray and heads toward the exit. When I don’t move, he snaps, “Fletch. Let’s go.”

Brady pulls me upright, but not before I shove Alex’s tray.

“You’re a dick,” I say to Alex as Brady angles his body between us. Since we’re not shouting, the adults don’t pay attention to us.

“You would know.” He resumes eating like he’s completely unconcerned about what I may do to him. That’s how non-threatening my lanky body is. I’m pissed, and Alex isn’t even the least bit worried about me hurting him.

“Fletch, you coming or what?” Reid stands halfway across the room waiting for me.

“Yeah.” Adrenaline floods my system as I walk toward the recycling bins, dodging stray backpacks and legs. I’m not a fighter, but right now, I want to punch Alex. Hard.

“What’s wrong with you?” Reid gestures to my careful garbage sorting, my pathetic attempt to distract myself with a mindless activity.

I shrug. “I’m recycling. Protecting planet Earth and all that shit.”

He gives me an incredulous look. “No, dumbass. I mean, what are you doing? Arguing with Alex?”

The honest answer, the one I don’t say, is I don’t want to see Calista with anyone else. And this thing with Alex…well, I can’t see how it’s going to work. They have nothing in common.

I dump the rest of my garbage and follow Reid to the door “Do you think it’s a good idea for them to get together?”

The ravenous fog rushes around us, consuming everything in its path, as we step from the noise of the dining hall and out into the eerily quiet Quad. The academic buildings loom over us like silent giants, a reminder that classes start tomorrow, and mist sticks to my clothes, sending shivers down my spine.

“I think it’s about as good of an idea as the two of you fucking over the summer. What were you thinking? Don’t you remember what happened last time?”

Last time. Freshman year. When I took her virginity and then proceeded to ignore her as I worked my way through the school. “It was just a summer thing. She gets it.”

“Do you ever think with anything but your dick?” Reid asks. “Like maybe she actually likes you? Plus, she’s our friend. You can’t screw your friends, dude. Don’t you have boundaries?”

I shrug. Because that’s what I’m supposed to do.

A few very young-looking freshmen hang out in the courtyard. Their over-excited, first-day-of-school voices float around us. Reid ignores them like they’re meaningless wastes of space, and I follow his lead.

“But you have no problem with Alex and her?”

Reid stops and leans on the stair railing leading to the academic buildings. “I know he’s not you, and yeah, I think that’s a good thing.”

“Thanks a lot.” My hands shake slightly as I run them through my hair. Why is this bothering me so much?

“No problem.” Reid says. “I’m going back to my room. Wanna come? I’m thinking we need to cap off this day with a little treat.”

I’m still groggy from earlier. But it doesn’t matter. I need something to take my mind off Cal. “I’m screwed, aren’t I?”

Reid laughs and starts up the stairs toward his dorm. “Dude, you are so screwed.”

Crushed Release December 11th. Add it to Goodreads here.