Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"The World: According to Graham" is LIVE

Every book release I take a moment to reflect on the journey and to celebrate the future. It's been no secret that "The World: According to Graham" was a difficult book to write. It wan't because I didn't have ideas or couldn't force myself to put words on the paper. It's because I so wanted to craft their story perfectly. With that came a ton of self-doubt. After one night of tears, my husband told me to just give them the fairy tale and move on. I decided to take the easy way out and finish the story. After giving it a couple of reads, I renamed the file and deleted more than half of the words. That was painful, but it was also liberating. I don't work for anyone but myself. I have the luxury of missing a deadline to get the story right. I committed to telling their story as I wanted it told, and spent the next three weeks writing 40,000 words. The final version of the book that you have waiting on your Kindle for you to enjoy is my proudest work. I can't wait to hear your thoughts so please, please, please leave reviews. I read every single one. 
As for the future, I am so excited about my new series. It's very different from anything that I've written and the characters make me excited to race to my computer every morning. It's centered around a band, but I promise that it's not another regurgitated rock love story.

Grab your copy of "The World: According to Graham" today! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013GUG21Q?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Graham Teaser #3 - Prologue

“Yes.”
It’s three simple letters, and translates in every spoken language. Y-E-S. In Spanish it’s . In French it’s pronounced oui. In German it’s ja, and in Portuguese it is sim. I speak all of these languages fluently. But answering Graham’s question . . . Would we have a future together if you weren’t pregnant? And not the kind of future where we have to hide behind closed doors. I mean a future that is out in the open where I hold your hand in public and I proudly tell everyone who my girl is . . . is the most difficult yes that I’ve ever said.
Why is this particular yes so grueling? Because Graham now knows what he means to me. My yes is what he has been trying to convince me to admit. It’s the ammunition that we need to work through the trenches of despair that I, and we, have created by our stubborn, unbending personalities. I just don’t know how much more pain our hearts can endure.
Here we stand at a rest stop on the side of a highway in Virginia. We left the out-of-the-way Cracker Barrel restaurant that I asked him to meet me at about thirty minutes ago. I knew that he wasn’t going to handle the news of the baby well. Not because he’s a bad guy or doesn’t want to be a father, but because it was such a shock. It was a shock to me and I’m the one who is growing a human.
In the car, he began asking me all of these questions. I must have given him an answer that he didn’t like because like a mad man, he whipped across two lanes of traffic to park the car in this place that has seen better days. The blue restroom sign painted on the side of the brick wall is faded with neglect. There are four metal picnic tables that dot the yellow-ish brown grassy hill. There’s no clear definition where the grass and weeds meet the shrub-lined entrance to the dense forest. It’s a jagged battle for sunlight, and right now the tall weeds seem to be winning. God, what a metaphor for my heart.
Protectively, I place my right hand over my stomach, as if I’m shielding my baby from the tornado of emotions swirling through me.
My other hand strokes Graham’s tightly strung bicep. He’s bracing himself on the edge of a picnic table with his head hung. I’m tuned into this man’s emotions like a radio with a broken dial. I would give anything to not feel like this—for him to not feel this way. Shouldn’t love be easy? Is it always this painful?
His jaw is clenched in such a way that I worry about his poor molars that are taking a beating. The cords in his neck strain against his dark olive complexion. Mahogany brown hair is tousled by the wind, and his eyes are clenched so tightly that the lines etched in his face look like the trenches that are crisscrossing my heart.
I’ve done this to him. My inability to put my entire being into our relationship has created the angry, highly emotional man that is gripping the edge of a picnic table so hard that his knuckles are white.
My palm slides over my pubic bones, comforting the life inside of me. He’s done this to me.
Every night for the past three months, I’ve prayed for amnesia. There had to be some way to remove Graham’s imprint from my soul. For three months, I’ve felt completely void of a life force—the only time I felt my heart beat again was when he had his hands on me either possessively taking me in my office during the White House Christmas party, or desperately making love to me while we sought some sort of solace in each other’s bodies. Every time, when we had to go our separate ways I fell into a deep depression, working myself to the point that I was ill and waking up in the middle of the night sobbing for his touch.
I love him.
I don’t really know him.
I’ve given up everything that I’ve worked my entire life for for the man who is so angry that he can’t look at me right now, and the baby that we made while he was trying desperately to convince me to embrace us with the same intensity that I give my career.
Little did I know, but that night, he made the greatest argument yet. We created a life that can’t wait ten more months for President Jones to leave office.
I give my lower abdomen a squeeze, and then wrap my arms around Graham’s bicep, hugging his arm desperately, hoping that I’m telling him with my body how much he means to me. I’ve reached the place where I can give us a chance. Is it too late for you, Graham?
But I’m so conflicted. We are a mess. We had two perfect weeks of falling in love, which has led to four months of torture that we’ve put ourselves through. I know so little about him. I don’t know if he’s ever been in love before. Hell, I don’t even know his favorite color. Walking away from him and never telling him about this child would have been so much easier.
Easier on who? Me. I don’t know if I have the strength to leave my dream career behind while I prepare to be a new mom at thirty-eight and try to repair this very damaged relationship with a man that I don’t really know. Without Graham’s knowledge of the life we created, I could have slipped away from D.C. in the middle of the night without having to battle through the hurt feelings that surround our time together. 
If he could be a lesser man then I could nurse my broken heart in private while I prepared to raise this child alone. I knew that he would never agree to walk away from his baby.
I’m so tired of feeling this miserable. I crave my life before Graham. Yes, it was filled with work and mostly meaningless sexual relationships, but at least I didn’t feel constantly sick to my stomach with an unrelenting tightness in my chest, feeling drawn to someone who I didn’t know if I could have a future with. My life was so much easier before the President’s invitation only fight night at the White House back in November.
Graham shakes me off, leaving me an empty vessel. I need his comfort and strength. I need him to tell me that I’m going to be okay. He still hasn’t opened his eyes. Or moved. Or maybe even taken a breath.
A gust of wind whips around me, sending a wave of shivers through my body. I wrap my arms around myself, trying to block out the chill. I’m not sure if it’s the cool March weather making me shake or the ice-cold shoulder that I’m being shown. But whatever the cause, my teeth begin to chatter.
Say something Graham. I want him to acknowledge that I admitted that even if I wasn’t carrying his baby that we would have a future. Frankly, it’s not even a question anymore. After months of begging God to help me forget Graham Jackson and move on, I received the news that I was going to be a mom.
Terminating the pregnancy would have been the easy choice, but I honestly never considered it. The idea of being a single mom is daunting, but I’m Rachael Early. I eat Senators for breakfast and bust balls for lunch. How hard can it be raising a child? I’ve essentially been in charge of a daycare for the past seven years.
After I recovered from the initial shock that I wasn’t going into early menopause, I was indeed pregnant, I spent about an hour having an epic pity party, complete with a mental breakdown. Then I remembered what some famous person once said—that sometimes God whispers in your ear, and sometimes he knocks you upside the head. Not that I’m a particularly religious person, but after all those nights of wishing that something would happen to make me love Graham Jackson less, I get the news that we created a life together. Sometimes you just have to sit back and toast the universe. I mean, I thought I had my life figured out and in one-third of a year, I’ve experienced a complete one-eighty, and I don’t know what my future looks like three minutes from now, let alone three weeks. I’ve never been in this position before, and frankly I’m scared beyond belief.
I’m a planner—an executer. I make a decision and ride it to the bitter end. I’m strategic. I play hard ball in a man’s world. Why, dear God, why has Graham thrown me so off-kilter?
“Graham, please talk to me,” I beg, over the cars racing by not more than fifty feet from us, trying my damnedest to keep the fear out of my voice while I mentally chastise myself for stooping so low.
He doesn’t move a muscle. “Go wait in the car. I’ll be there in a moment.” He says this in a very controlled voice, but I detect the anger that he’s working to suppress.
Blame it on my pregnancy hormones, lack of sleep, or straight-up despair, but I can’t do what he asks. I throw myself against his back, wrapping my arms desperately around his waist. My cheek presses against his shoulder blade and I hold on to him as if he’s my life preserver in the raging sea of my turbulent emotions. Every muscle in his body is tense, and warmth seeps from his shirt causing him to be fiery to the touch. I’m giving everything up for him and our child. I need him to reassure me that it’s going to be okay.
I hate this version of me right now. I’m allowing Graham Jackson to reduce me to a stupid, needy, clingy teenage girl, but at the moment, I just don’t give a damn.
He doesn’t acknowledge me, but I don’t give up. I cling to him fiercely—desperately. The cars on the freeway whiz past us, oblivious to fact that right next to them my future hangs in the balance.
I can survive without him. I’ll have our child and love him or her enough for two parents. There are plenty of universities that will hire me to teach political science classes. We’ll live in some quaint college town where I will bike to class and write political theory papers about how to fix Washington from my utopian perch.
But in my dreams, in the place that I dare to visit when I’m feeling like a dumb girl in a romantic comedy, Graham and I find a way to overcome all of the pain that we’ve created and become partners.
He rises to his full height, which is much taller than me. He has to feel my determination to make him see that we’re better together than functioning in this shitty existence apart.
Still with his back turned and me cocooning him with every ounce of strength that I have, his body shifts. My head raises, anticipating his next move. Then, he reaches up and rubs his thumb over his eyes. Is he crying? God, that makes my eyes burn and my mouth flood with too much liquid. This big, strong, tough man has been reduced to tears.
Sometimes I really hate being me. This is all my fault. I wish I could know the words to say to make this better, but I’m at a loss. So I just speak from my heart. “Forgive me, please,” I plead into his back. “I need you, Graham. Tell me what to do to make this right. Tell me what I have to do to make you forgive me.”
He breaks free of my grasp and flips me around so I’m now the one in his embrace. His arms tuck me possessively against his chest, my face fitting perfectly against his hard pecs. He leans down and whispers in my ear in a scratchy voice, “I need time, Rachael. Time and some space to process all of this.”
If it’s even possible, my lungs tighten so painfully that I have to gasp for a breath of air. The juxtaposition of his body cocooning mine and his words are somewhat laughable. Space? There isn’t a molecule of air between our bodies.
I want to ask what “time and space” means. I like timeframes, deadlines. Does the proper amount of time and space equal one day, one week, one month, one year, ten years? I hate his response. It’s not definitive. It leaves my heart flapping in the wind waiting, once again, for one of us to step up to the plate.
The lack of planning in his response makes me feel as if I’m walking on quicksand. I can give him time. I can also give him space. But in the moment, I become resolved to continue on with my plans of being a single mom. I have three more weeks as the White House Chief of Staff. I’ve already given notice on my town home. My final day is the last Wednesday of the month. Colin and Caroline have agreed that I can live in one of their guest houses until I’ve come up with my next plan—finding a job, a place to live, and some town that I can blend in to. This is so not how I saw my days at the White House coming to a close.
Now it’s time to focus on what’s important, and it’s this baby who didn’t ask to be conceived. This can no longer be about Graham and me torturing each other, him unwilling to embrace my private relationship demands, and me not able to publicly support his brand of humor and politics. This is now about a baby that is owed a better upbringing than I was given. 
One day, if Graham comes around after he’s taken his time and used his space, I’ll welcome him back into my life. I owe him that. I’ll be his whenever and wherever. I just hope that it won’t be too late.


"The World: According to Graham" is available on Amazon pre-order HERE and will be live on September 29!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Graham Teaser #2

"The World: According to Graham" will be live on Tuesday, September 29.

I hate him so much right now that I could claw his eyes out. Bastard! How dare he? Who does he think he is? On top of a refrigerator? Really? Can this be any more sexist? It’s like a bad I Love Lucy episode. I should have known that the guy who could found the Sons of Liberty and talk about such sexist trash on the radio would be the one to put a woman on top of a refrigerator. I hope he meets an untimely demise by getting stomped to death by women wearing spiked high-heeled shoes. And unfortunately for me, this Neanderthal is my baby’s daddy.
“Uncross your arms, Rachael. Wipe the scowl off of your face. I want to share with you how the next two weeks are going to go.” He has the nerve to punctuate the end of his statement with a gorgeous smile that makes that damn dimple under his eye appear. I hate the dimple, and I hate what he does to me. Will our baby have that same dimple?
I do uncross my arms, but the scowl is permanent until I’m on solid ground. “I know exactly how the next two weeks and months are going to go. I’m leaving tomorrow for Texas. I’m staying with Caroline and Colin until I determine where I want to live.” He’s so smug that I wish I could throw something at him, hitting him right between the eyes. Yes. That would make me feel better.
Just as he opens his mouth to respond, I add, “And I’m going to write a book on how I broke the glass ceiling in D.C. politics, and why women should just say no to player pretty boys with dimples and seemingly normal jobs because they turn out to be assholes.” Where did that come from? I haven’t seriously considered writing my biography.
He smirks. “Like my dimple, do you?”
Have I called him a bastard in the last five minutes? Doesn’t matter. If the term fits . . .
The smile fades and his face becomes stoic. His shoulders tense and the muscles in his sculpted arms bulge unnaturally against his skin. Damn him for not putting on a T-shirt this morning. My pregnancy hormones make it hard for me to remember why I’m so angry with him right now.
Oh yeah! Refrigerator. Focus on where you are and not looking at his abs.
But they’re so pretty.
“Seriously, we need to talk about us,” he begins. His tortoiseshell glasses enhance his serious demeanor, and I contemplate why he doesn’t wear them more often. He looks like freaking Clark Kent and images of him taking me from behind in a phone booth penetrate my brain.
“Are you listening to me, Rachael?” he asks, while I try to remember where I’ve seen a phone booth recently.
“I’m at too high of an altitude to listen,” I reply with a shrug.
He sighs. “This is serious.”
“I’m sure it is. Serious enough that my feet can’t touch the ground because I might bolt.”
“Fuck,” he yells, as his hands slap the counter. I jump, startled by his behavior. Okay. That got my attention. I sit up straight and pay attention. “Will you just let me speak?”

It’s at the tip of my tonguea sarcastic responsebut I keep it to myself, and instead just nod.

Pre-order your copy of "The World: According to Graham" here (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B013GUG21Q).

Monday, September 21, 2015

Graham Teaser #1

"The World: According to Graham" will be live on Tuesday, September 29!

I’m still standing in the same spot, lost in my vivid thoughts of this woman that has taken my brain hostage, when she dances into the living room with the phone pressed against her shoulder while she’s attempting to slide on yoga pants.
 “I’m still in D.C. I can be there in fifteen minutes,” she says to whomever is on the other end of the phone.
“Change of plans . . . It doesn’t matter . . . Sure. I’m leaving . . .”
She’s leaving. Did she just say that she’s leaving me? We’ve only shared the same oxygen for about ten minutes. She’s not going anywhere.
Before I can stop myself, I’ve snatched the phone out of her hand and ended her call. “Now . . .” She finishes as if she had to say that last word in the sentence.
I hold the phone high over my head and give it a jiggle, anticipating the wildfire that I just ignited.
“What do you think that you’re doing?” she demands, standing in front of me in my shirt with her yoga pant leg only pulled up to the knee on one leg. Her face is flushed with anger and her eyes are slits. A little V forms between them.
Somewhere on the edge of my consciousness, I get a nudge that this maybe wasn’t the best idea that I’ve ever had. Quickly, I dismiss it. I started this war so I might as well win it.
I smirk. “Saving me the time and energy of explaining that you’re not going to work. Yesterday was your last day. Today you are unemployed.”
“Don’t remind me.” She taps her foot against the tile, not bothering to reach for her phone.
She begins her speech with “she may not be paid by the White House any longer, but she will always take the White House phone calls” and ends it with something about national security and me being an asshole.
All I hear is the teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoons.  
In the middle of her tirade, I turn around and walk back into the kitchen to pour myself a cup of coffee. Apparently, this was not the best move either because she follows behind me, continuing her speech, only now it’s about how I don’t listen to her.
Whatever.
I continue to ignore her while I casually fill my mug. She’s drawing closer to my back. I know this because she’s getting louder, lecturing me on how I don’t have the right to dictate something or another, when I’ve finally had enough.
I spin around quickly and grab her under her arms, lifting her off the ground. She screeches like a hyena, demanding that I put her down. Her face is pink and hair flying as she balls up her fists, attempting to hit me. I dodge her punches and raise her up, placing her on top of my refrigerator. I note that during some part of her fit, she’d removed the yoga pants and is back only in my shirt. Works for me.
“What in the fuck do you think you’re doing, Graham Jackson? Get me down from here,” she demands. She’s looks just like Tinker Bell when she’s mad: rosy red cheeks, brows drawn together, lips thin as slits, arms crossed over her chest. Even when she’s furious she’s gorgeous. Her alabaster-toned legs cross at the ankle and contrast beautifully against my black refrigerator. Stepping back, I admire just how fuckably luscious she is when she’s making bodily threats against me.
Turning around, I walk to my coffee mug, attempting to camouflage the smile that is cracking my cheeks. A thought crosses my mind that makes me have to bite the inside of my lip to keep from laughing out loud. How much money could I make by selling tickets to see the great Rachael Early helpless on top of a refrigerator? Millions. I could make millions.
Leaning against the counter, I take my first sip of coffee and face the wrath of my pissed-off Tinker Bell.
“Quit smiling,” she seethes. “None of this is funny. The White House needs me and I’m stuck up”she gestures wildly at her perch“up here.”
“So you are,” I reply as I take another sip, smirking at how damn cute she looks.
Her arms unfold and she lets out a hmmmph.
This is a Mexican standoff, except that I’m winning. She’s pregnant, and if she’s anything like my sister was, she’ll eventually have to use the restroom, and she can’t get down without my help.
Her phone is still in my hand. I place it dramatically on the counter, as if I’m presenting a precious jewel. A little part of my brain says that I should turn it into a puppet and make it do a hilarious dance, but then I think better of that plan. No need to poke the bear.

Pre-order your copy of "The World: According to Graham"  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B013GUG21Q!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pre-Order "The World: According to Graham"

September 29 is the BIG day. The final book has been uploaded to Amazon. It's ready for you guys to enjoy. Make sure you pre-order your copy of "The World: According to Graham."
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B013GUG21Q


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Just 99 Pennies and a Contest!

***Contest Time*** I've marked down "The World: According to Rachael" to $.99. Grab your copy today before "The World: According to Graham" is live on September 29. Then leave a review of Rachael's book on Amazon and Goodreads and let me that you did in the comments section of this post. I'll choose one lucky reader to receive an advanced copy of Graham's book. Contest ends on Wednesday, September 9. Get reading!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Signed Copies

If you're interested in purchasing a signed copy of any of my books they are $12.00 a piece. That includes shipping if you're in the U.S. Just email me at layne@layneharper.com.