Hey everyone! I've teamed up with TLC Tours to bring you a sneak peek at best-selling author Jennifer L. Armentrout's newest book, IF THERE'S NO TOMORROW. Keep reading to learn all about this Young Adult Contemporary AND get a look at an excerpt from the book!
SYNOPSIS: Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications, and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic—one of opportunities and chances.
Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.
Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened.
For what she let happen.
With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when she and her friends’ entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?
(To set the stage, Mallory’s best friend/boy next door has just snuck in to have one of their usual late-night catch-ups)
Sebastian flicked my arm. “I’ve told you a million times you’ve got skill out on the court.”
I rolled my eyes. “You have to say that, because you’re my friend.”
“Because I’m your friend, I’d tell you if you sucked"
I laughed softly. “I know I’m not terrible, but I’m nowhere near as good as Megan or half the team.
There’s no way a scout is going to pay attention to me. And that’s okay,” I quickly added. “I’m not banking on that kind of scholarship anyway.”
“I feel you.” His grin started to slip away. His expression turned pensive, and as I watched him, the last of the sleepiness faded away.
I gripped the edges of the blanket, tugging it to my chin. A heartbeat passed. “What’s going on?”
Scrubbing a hand down his face, he exhaled heavily. “Dad… he really has his heart set on Chapel Hill.”
From previous experience, I knew to proceed with caution with this conversation. He wouldn’t talk about his dad a lot, and when he did, he quickly reached the point where he would just shut down about the whole thing. I always thought he needed to talk about it. I totally got the irony of that, since I wouldn’t talk about mine, but whatever.
“Chapel Hill is a really good school,” I started. “And it’s really expensive, right? If you get in on a scholarship, that would be pretty amazing. You’d also be close to your cousins.”
“Yeah. I know that, but….”
He rolled onto his back and thrust his hands under his head. “I don’t want to go there. I don’t really have a good reason. The campus is freaking cool as hell, but just not into it.”
Knowing that Sebastian was as close to Keith and Phillip as he was with Cody, I figured maybe it had something to do with them. “Where do the guys want to go?”
“Keith and Phillip are hoping to get on at WVU. Phillip really wants to play ball for them. Thinking Keith wants to go there because of the parties.” He paused. “I think Cody is set for Penn State.”
For years, WVU had been the number one party school in the U.S., and I was sure it was still up in the top five, which would be a great fit for Keith. “Do you want to go there?”
I wiggled down, getting comfortable. “Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know.”
“Sebastian,” I sighed. “You have to know. This is our senior year. You don’t have much time left. Scouts are going to be coming to the games and—”
“And maybe I don’t care about the scouts.”
I snapped my mouth shut, because there it was, the thing I’d been sensing about Sebastian for the last year.
He turned his head toward me. “You don’t have anything to say to that?”
“I was waiting for you to elaborate.”
A muscle worked in his jaw as he stared back. “I… God, even in the middle of the night, in your room, I still don’t even want to say it. It’s like my father is going to pop out of the damn closet and lose his mind. Instead of Bloody Mary, he’d be Bloody Marty.”
I drew in a deep breath. “You don’t… you don’t want to play college ball, do you?”
His eyes closed and several moments stretched out between us. “It’s crazy, isn’t it? I mean, I’ve always played ball. I don’t even remember a time when I wasn’t being carted off to practice or seeing my mom cleaning grass stains out of my pants. And I like playing it. I’m good at it.” He said it without an ounce of arrogance. It was just the truth. Sebastian had a God-given talent for playing football. “But when I think about another four years of getting up at dawn, running and catching…another four years of Dad basing his entire existence on how the game goes…I want to turn to drinking. Hell, maybe even crack and meth. Something.”
“We don’t want that,” I said dryly.
He flashed a brief grin and then it disappeared. Our gazes met and held. “I don’t want to do it, Lena,” he whispered this to me, a secret he couldn’t speak loudly. “I don’t want to spend another four years doing this.”
My breath caught. “You know you don’t have to, right? You don’t have to go to college and play ball. There’s still time to get other scholarships. A ton of time. You can do anything. Seriously.”
He laughed, but there wasn’t an ounce of humor to it. “If I decided not to play ball, my father would stroke out.”
I squirmed closer so our faces were inches apart. “Your dad will be fine. Do you still want to study recreational science?”
“I do, but not for the reasons Dad thinks.” He bit down on his lower lip, slowly letting it pop out. “He has this plan for me. I’d play college ball, then be drafted—second pick. Not first. He’s realistic.” His grin was wry as his gaze slid to mine. “I’ll play a couple of years and then move onto coaching or working with the teams, putting to use the recreational science degree.”
The all-American dream right there. “And what is your plan?”
His eyes were wide, the blue startling and vibrant. “Do you know how much you can do in recreational science? I could work in hospitals, with vets or even in psychology. It’s not all about sports injuries. I want to actually help someone. I know this sounds stupid and cliché.”
“It’s not stupid or cliché,” I insisted. “Not at all.”
A half smile formed. After a moment, some of the light fading from his eyes and he said, “I don’t know. He would flip out. It would be like the end of the world.”
I had no doubt in my mind that Sebastian was correct in that assumption. “But he’d get over it. He has to.”
His lashes lowered. “He’d probably disown me.”
“I don’t know if he’d go that far.” My gaze flickered over his face. “It’s your life. Not his. Why would you do something that you weren’t really into?”
“Yeah.” A brief smile appeared and then he shifted back so he was facing me. “You still hoping for UVA?”
Clearly he was officially done with the conversation. “Yeah.”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“It’s kind of random.”
I grinned. “You’re always random.”
He nodded in agreement. “Why did you and Andre break up?”
Blinking, I wasn’t sure I heard him correctly.I started to respond but laughed.
He nudged my leg through the blanket with his. “Told you it was out there.”
“Yeah. Um… I don’t know.” Holy crap, wasn’t like I could tell him the truth. It didn’t work out because I was in love with you. That wouldn’t go over well.
Sebastian opened his mouth, then closed it. When I peeked at him, his lips were pressed in a hard line. “He didn’t do something, did he? Like mess around on you or hurt—”
“No. Oh my God, no. Andre was practically perfect.” My eyes widened as what he said really sunk in. “Wait. Did you think he did something?”
“Not a hundred percent. If I had, he wouldn’t be walking right now.” I raised an eyebrow. “I just never knew why you guys broke up. One second, you two were together and then you… you just weren’t.”
I let the blanket slip down my shoulders. “I just wasn’t into him the way I should’ve been, and it made me… uncomfortable.”
His chest rose with a deep breath. “Know the feeling.”
My gaze shot to his. He was staring at my ceiling. “You know I’m going to ask this… why did Skylar break up with you? You’ve never told me.”
“You’ve never really asked.” His gaze shifted back to me. “Actually, come to think of it, you never really asked about anything that has to do with Skylar.”
My mouth opened, but I didn’t say anything because, come to think of it, he was right. I didn’t ask about Skylar, because I just didn’t want to know. Supporting him hadn’t meant I needed to know all about their relationship.
“I… I figured it wasn’t any of my business,” I answered lamely.
His brows pinched together as his lips turned down at the corners. “I didn’t know there was anything between us that wouldn’t be each other’s business at this point.”
“Skylar broke up with me because she felt like I wasn’t giving the relationship my all. She thought I cared more about ball and my friends than her.”
“Well, that’s kind of lame.”
“Kind of the same reason why you broke up with Andre, right? You weren’t into him. Probably weren’t giving it your all.”
I pursed my lips. “Whatever. We’re in high school. Exactly how much work do we have to put into relationships?”
“Don’t think you should ever have to ‘put in work’ in a relationship,” he replied. “I think it should come naturally.”
I wrinkled my nose. “Aren’t you so deep with all your worldly experience?” I teased.
“I am experienced.”
Rolling my eyes, I kicked his leg from under the cover. “Was it true? That you cared more about your friends and football than her?”
“Partly true,” he answered after a moment. “Well, you know the football part wasn’t.”
Mulling it over, I wasn’t sure how to feel about that. Since I was one his friends, was he saying he cared about me more? A second later, I realized that was a stupid thing to question and I sort of wanted to punch myself.
“I’m going to stay here for a little while,” he murmured, lifting his hand. He caught a strand of hair that had fallen across my cheek. As he tucked it back behind my hair, his fingers dragged over my skin and my breath caught in my throat. A wave of shivers skated across my skin as he drew his hand back. “You okay with that?”
“Yes,” I whispered, knowing he hadn’t seen my reaction. He never did.
Resting his hand between us, he shifted closer, and I felt his knee press against mine. “Lena?”
He hesitated for a moment. “Thank you.”
The corners of his lips picked up. “For just being here, right now.” Closing my eyes against a sudden rush of tears, I spoke the truest thing I could’ve. “Where else would I be?”
IF THERE'S NO TOMORROW is on sale from Harlequin Teen on September 5th!
# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in West Virginia.
When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write. She shares her home with her husband, his K-9 partner named Diesel and her hyper Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent her time writing short stories, therefore explaining her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes Young Adult Contemporary, Urban Fantasy/Paranormal and Romance. She writes New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name J.Lynn.
She is the author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press) the Lux Series (Entangled Teen) and the upcoming YA Don’t Look Back (2014) and untitled YA (Fall 2014) from Disney/Hyperion. She is also published with Harlequin Teen and HarperCollins.