Way Too Close – Prologue!
Coming September 4th! The second in the
A New Generation series
Available for PRE-ORDER NOW!
RELEASE DATE 9-4-21!!!
NOT EVEN CLOSE!
Lex & Xochitl’s story
FYI her name is actually spelled Xochitl but pronounced Socheel. Except since we are in Lex’s POV and this is his first time meeting his sister’s dormmate who he’s only heard of, he assumes her name is spelled how it sounds. It’s why you’ll see her name spelled that way in the prologue. But very first chapter of the book he’ll get schooled by her on how it’s actually spelled.
I expect to have this ready release by EARLY September. I’m just waiting on the ARC’s to be ready to go so I can choose an exact date. When that happens I will make an immediate announcement!!
Bloggers and active reviewers who’d like to receive an ARC for in exchange for an honest review email me with your kindle address at EliReyesBooks@Yahoo.com – I expect ARC’s to be ready by this weekend!
Frumpy, short, bad teeth or skin, maybe even glasses so thick you could see into the future. Not to generalize or to be a dick, but Lex had expected to see at least one of these elements when he finally met his sister’s dormmate, Socheel. While his sister Vannah had referred to her take-no-shit roommate as lovably cantankerous on more than one occasion, and his ever-cheery sister thought it hilarious, Lex knew better. His sisters were pretty, popular, and even on the coveted cheer squad all through high school. Both the jovial identical pair were so likeable even the misfits or grumpy people, who normally would be annoyed by anyone as chirpy as his sisters, were drawn to them. Their mother called it an anomaly effect. She said, just like in romantic pairings, opposites typically made better fits because they complemented each other’s differences. But Lex had another theory about these misfits. So, he’d braced himself for meeting this bitter-for-good-reason oddball.
When the door to his sister’s room finally opened and he laid eyes on her roommate, he smiled, surprised and relieved. But before he could introduce himself to the fresh-faced, so-different-than-he-expected girl at the door, she pointed at her earpiece and tapped her finger to her lips. She then pointed at what he assumed was his sister’s bedroom, as she rushed away to a table in the front room with an open laptop, leaving him standing there at the door to let himself in.
“Yes, I have a question,” she said, before even taking a seat.
“Taz!” Vannah said, smiling big as she walked out of the room Socheel had pointed to.
Socheel turned to her with a frown, and Vannah winced, immediately bringing her hands over her mouth. “Sorry,” she whispered then turned back to Lex, motioning for him to follow her back to her room.
She hugged him the moment she was close enough. Once in her bedroom, she explained Socheel was in the middle of one of her online classes. “I always forget,” she said, giggling as they walked into her bedroom. “Her online classmates and professor have even seen me in pajamas and with crazy bedhead on more than one occasion because I’ve walked out there forgetting her camera was on. She reminded me about her class earlier when I told her you’d be stopping by.”
Lex nodded. His trip to LA had been an unexpected, last-minute one, and he decided he’d stop by and pay his sister a surprise visit since he hadn’t seen her in months. But then he thought better of it since his friend Dave would be dropping him off and coming back for him later. Lex wanted to make sure she’d be there and he didn’t get stuck waiting outside her dorm for his ride.
Leaning against his sister’s desk, he was in the middle of explaining why he was in Los Angeles to begin with, when Socheel popped her head in the open bedroom door. “I’m done.”
She glanced at Lex, showing as much interest as she had when she first opened the door for him before starting to pull away from the doorway. “Wait,” Vannah said, standing up from her bed. “You haven’t been formally introduced to my brother.” Vannah turned to him, smiling big. “Taz, this is my dormmate, Socheel.” She turned to Socheel with the same big smile. “Socheel, meet my little brother, Taz.”
Lex refrained from rolling his eyes at his sister’s descriptor for him, since despite his being younger than she was, he’d towered over Vannah by almost a foot and outweighed her by at least forty pounds for years now. But to Vannah he’d always be her little brother who she’d refer to by his childhood nickname forever. He grinned at Socheel, who barely cracked a smile.
“Hey.” Socheel nodded politely. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“All good I’m sure,” Lex teased as he took her in with a playful smirk now that he had a longer chance.
She was no runway model, but as far as he could, tell she was no oddball either. Her hazel eyes were bigger than most, and her lips were the kind he’d always had a hard time keeping his eyes off when talking to girls: perfectly plump and very kissable, despite how little he’d seen them smile so far. Even though he’d first deemed her just doable, she was what he’d always considered his kryptonite when it came to girls—voluptuous in all the right places.
His eyes were immediately on hers when he heard her clear her throat and realized he’d been caught ogling like an idiot. Those big but unamused eyes went from him to Vannah, and any sign of a smile was completely gone now. “I got that paper I told you I need to tweak,” she said, ignoring Lex’s comment altogether. “But feel free to watch the TV or use the kitchen if you need to. I’ll still be working out on the front table, but I’ll have my headphones on.”
“He gave you a chance to fix it?” Vannah asked, wide-eyed.
For the first time since he’d met Socheel, she indulged him with a breathtaking smile, so contradictory to what he’d seen earlier, given the stern first impression she’d made so far. “Yes, and you know this professor is known for being a hard ass. But I only have until three to turn it in, so I don’t wanna blow my second chance.”
“Okay, okay.” Vannah nodded, smiling big, clearly happy for her friend. “We’ll keep it down.”
“No, that’s fine.” Socheel shook her head. “Like I said, I’ll have my headphones on.”
Without even looking at him again, Socheel walked away. Before Vannah could follow her out, Lex touched his sister’s arm, confused and strangely intrigued. “Did I miss something?” He motioned toward the door. “What’d you tell her about me?”
“Oh.” Vannah shrugged. “I probably brag way too much about all my siblings.” She chuckled. “I told you her patience can run a little thin, and I seriously go overboard when gushing about you, Gordo, and Nena.”
Without further comment, they walked out into the kitchen where Vannah proceeded to chat cheerfully away about all things school related: the campus, the heavy homework load, and to his surprise, the new guy she’d started seeing. For the first time since their introduction, Socheel sort of acknowledged him in more than the obligatory way she’d done when Vannah introduced them. She’d pulled out one of the earbuds since they’d walked out there. Lex knew this because, the whole time Vannah had been chatting away, he hadn’t been able to keep his eyes from wandering onto her completely aloof roommate. Vannah mentioned something about a prank their sister was trying to talk her into playing on the guy she was seeing now, and Lex called it ballsy.
“Too ballsy if you ask me,” Socheel said, and while technically she was following up on Lex’s comment, she addressed Vannah, so it still felt like he was being dismissed as she’d done more than once already. “Any boyfriend would be mad, and understandably so, but as intense as Byron is, this can’t end well.”
Vannah argued that it was just a prank; though she did seem nervous about it. For a moment, Socheel seemed to be taking a break from her paper. She got up and walked over to the fridge, and while it was hard not to take in all her curves, Lex was mindful not to get caught ogling again. This wouldn’t be the first time ever that he hadn’t immediately won over a girl’s attention. He got that she was a college girl, and he was still a high school senior, not to mention her good friend’s brother. But this total lack of interest from any girl—a friend of his sister or not—was new to him. He was sure it was just the lack of experience when it came to this kind of reaction from girls that had his ego feeling a little bruised. But never one to pass up a challenge, he decided to take advantage of the moment to tackle it.
Even better, the phone rang in Vannah’s room, and she smiled brightly. “That’s probably Byron. I’ll be back.”
“Well, that was fast,” he said, leaning against the counter as Socheel pulled out the orange juice from the fridge, a glass from the cupboard, and poured herself some. “When Vannah left for school a few months ago, she was adamant about not getting caught up in any kind of romance, and now I hear you calling this guy her boyfriend?”
She turned to him with a shrug, and for once, he was treated to a genuine full smile. Not that piddly crack of a smile she’d offered when they’d been introduced. And boy was it something else. How could she go from being just doable to suddenly someone whose smile could involuntarily having him smiling like a goofball, in just over an hour? Though he only noticed because, oddly, her smile waned immediately when her eyes fell to his smiling lips.
“You can’t plan when, how, and who you fall in love with.” She turned back to the fridge to put the orange juice back in, but then seemed to catch herself and stopped to look back at him. “You want some?”
Not really, but at this point, he’d do anything to keep her from her laptop at least a little longer. “Sure, I’ll take some.”
She placed the juice jug on the counter and pointed at the cupboard. “Cups and glasses are in there. Have at it.”
Alright, so she wasn’t going to pour it for him. Why didn’t this surprise him? He reached for the cupboard door and pulled out a small glass but turned to her before she could head back to her laptop. “What about you?”
She peered at him over her glass, with those big eyes that got even prettier the more he got lost in them, as she took a sip of her juice. “What about me?”
He kept his eyes on her even as he poured his juice. “You looking to find love anytime soon?”
Without even attempting to hide the quick roll of her eyes, she shook her head. “I just told you I don’t believe you can plan that stuff.”
She did, didn’t she? Idiot.
Feeling stupid now, as he finished pouring the juice, he walked it over to the fridge, getting a whiff of whatever subtle but sweet fragrance she wore in the process. “I just meant are you open to it, should it present itself?”
Immediately, he was distracted when she finished taking another sip of her juice and she licked those full lips. “Any particular reason why you’re asking?”
Just like those eyes, that scent, and those curves, her licking those lips completely pulled him out of his train of thought, and he almost forgot what he’d asked.
“Huh?” He glanced up, only to be met with that same unamused expression she’d given him when she’d caught him ogling earlier.
He shook his head exasperated by what an ass he was making of himself. This never happened to him; though by the look on her face he was sure she’d never believe that. Clearing his throat, he attempted to do some damage control and brought out the big guns. He knew girls were suckers for his and his brother’s dimples. So, he smiled big leaning back against the counter. “Maybe there is.”
For a second there, he thought it worked. She seemed stunned as their eyes locked for an instant. But it was fleeting. In the next second, she turned and started to her laptop. “Then no, I’m not.”
Vannah walked back into the kitchen, as usual smiling big. “What’d I miss?”
Lex’s phone buzzed in his pocket as Socheel took the seat in front of her laptop and once again openly rolled her eyes. “Your brother here is asking if I’m looking for love.”
Vannah immediately laughed, turning to Lex. “Oh, my God, Taz, you’ll never change.”
He glanced down at his text, frowning when he saw it was from his ride telling him he was outside waiting for him. “Not like how it sounds, though,” he said, trying to backpedal and still reeling from Socheel’s blatant and unapologetic rejection. “I was just asking because—”
“No, no need to apologize,” Vannah quipped, hooking her arm into his, and leaned against his shoulder. “I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my charming little brothers just as they are. Haven’t met a girl yet who they couldn’t make swoon.”
Socheel raised her hand, staring straight at the screen, but said nothing, and it only made Vannah laugh even more. “Don’t be mean. You’re different and you know it.” His sister turned up to look at Lex. “Don’t mind her. She’s a hard one to crack,” she whispered. “But I’m sure if you really wanted to—”
“What was that?” Socheel turned to look at them now with a soured expression, and even that was sexy as shit. Damn it.
Vannah overdid the teasing grin. “I said how ’bout I make us lunch?”
“Can’t,” Lex said, shooting off the text letting Dave know he’d be right out. “My ride’s here. I gotta go.”
“Already?” Vannah whined. “You just got here.”
“Yeah, but he works tonight, so we gotta get going.”
“I’ll walk you out then,” she said with a pout. They started out as Vannah turned to Socheel. “Be nice and say bye to my little brother. You know you’re probably already secretly in love with him.”
The perpetual eyeroll wasn’t missed, and Lex forced a smirk, trying to be a good sport about how things went down here today. With him living two hours away, what were the odds of him having to be around his sister’s dormmate again anytime soon, anyway? You can’t win them all, and clearly this was full proof of that.
“Safe travels,” Socheel said as Vannah walked out before him.
Lex turned one last time to Socheel as she smiled that genuinely beautiful smile she’d only extended to him one other time that day. Their eyes locked in a solid breathtaking moment, before she put her headphones on again, turned back to her laptop, and just like that, dismissed his ass—again.
What the hell?
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