celebrating it falls apart

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Hello, blog friends! I hope you are all enjoying your summer. Mine (so far) seems to have flown by in a blink. Thankfully, I have enough mom-ninja in me to sleep with one eye open so I figure that balances things out. Maybe. Kinda. Whatever. The point is, we're already halfway through August and how did that happen?!

I recently received my final score for RWA's Golden Heart contest, in which I entered my YA romance, IT FALLS APART. Though the book didn't final, I was pleased and proud of my 8.9 score. When you're an aspiring author, you have to take every small victory for what it's worth, and in a sea of rejection, it's worth A LOT. So let's celebrate, shall we? I had hoped to get this up right after I received my final score, but then we went away on vacation and, well, you know... 

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from prom night in IT FALLS APART as much as I enjoyed writing it:

I watched as my friends joined the already crowded dance floor, then was surprised to look up and see Luke standing beside me.

“Hey pretty girl, wanna dance?” He punctuated the question with a mischievous grin. “I know we’re not really supposed to, but I can’t look at you all night and not ask.”

“Believe me, the feeling is mutual.” I stood and slipped my arm through his. “In fact, I was just about to ask you.”

He led me to the center of the room, a small clearing in a forest of swaying couples. I expected him to put his hands on my hips, like most guys do when they’re dancing with someone for the first time, but he let them slide a bit further, toward my back, bringing me that much closer as I wrapped my hands around his neck.

“This is cozy,” I said as we too began to sway.

He leaned in and whispered in my ear, “And yet not cozy enough.”

A shiver ran up my spine, and I had to keep myself from pulling him even closer. Instead, I made small talk. “Are you having a good time?”

“For the most part.” He shrugged, briefly taking in the room around us. “The chicken was a little rubbery.”

I laughed. “It always is.”

“Are you having a good time?” he asked, his eyes back on me, causing my skin to warm.

I smiled. “I am now.”

He stared at me for a moment, the hint of a grin crossing his face, but then it wavered, his expression becoming more intense as his eyes roamed over my features carefully, eventually landing on my mouth. His fingers shifted on my back, settling a little lower, curling eagerly at the tips, struggling for restraint. Responsively, I let my thumbs brush against the nape of his neck, where soft hair met smooth skin. It was too subtle for anyone nearby to notice—they were probably too wrapped up in each other anyway—but it didn’t help with keeping things friendly. It felt like there was some unseen force pulling us together.

I breathed deeply, then glanced around the dance floor, looking for Meera. I spotted her at the edge, her head against Yuvin’s shoulder as they oscillated slowly.

“I don’t think I want to dance anymore,” Luke said, drawing my attention back to him.

Confused, I studied his face for a moment. Was he upset? Angry? No, his expression was fraught and hazy. I recognized it from every time he’d ever grabbed me and kissed the hell out of me.

“Okay,” I breathed. And without another word, he clutched the tips of my fingers in his and hastily led me from the dance floor.