I couldn't be happier to announce the release of LOUDER THAN WORDS, a YA novel by my friend Iris St. Clair! I had the privilege to read this book in its infancy, and it's a wonderful story of friendship, trust, and finding your inner strength.
Louder Than Words
by Iris St. Clair
published by Swoon Romance • released 9/16/2014
Disappointment has been on speed dial in Ellen Grayson's life lately. Her dad died, her mom numbs the grief with drugs and alcohol, and her so-called friends have slowly abandoned her.
Trusting a popular teacher with her troubles should have been safe and should NOT have led to an unwelcome seduction attempt that made her desperate to escape the final moments of Junior year. Lesson learned. Best to keep all the sordid details to herself and trust no one.
Enter Rex Jacobi, a cocky boy, recently transplanted from New York City and fellow summer camp employee. Though his quick wit and confidence draws her in, she can't let him get too close. And summer is just long enough and hot enough to keep a boy like that at arm's length.
But by the time Rex's charm wears down her resistance, it's too late. He's put Ellen on the "just friends" shelf and has shifted his romantic attentions to the impossibly annoying and perky anti-Ellen. Even worse, the teacher who tried to get her to sleep with him is still at it, preying on other girls while Ellen struggles to come to terms with what happened.
With her ability to trust as shaky as a chastity vow on prom night, Ellen must decide if she has enough remaining courage to speak up about the well-liked teacher and risk retribution, tell Rex how she really feels about him and risk heartbreak, or hold all her secrets inside. After all, it's the only safe place she knows when the only thing louder than words is the fear of being rejected.
"Ellen!" Rex calls my name but I ignore him. "Ellen!" He draws up beside me. "I'm sorry. I got a little carried away. I'm sorry." From the corner of my eye I see him push back a swath of hair from his eyes. "Shit. That's all I seem to be doing, is apologizing to you."
My feet stop moving and I whirl to face him. "Why did you do that?"
His face is pinched, eyes droop at the corners. "Because I thought you wanted to. I thought you …" He pushes his hair back again, even though it still lies in cowed submission. “You were so close, and when you looked at me with those eyes—”
“So, it’s my fault?” I throw up my hands with an exasperated cry and keep walking.
"No. No, that’s not what I’m trying to say. It was just … I misunderstood, and I’m sorry. Wait, wait. Let me apologize better." His voice almost sounds sincere … almost … enough to make me halt.
"I promise I won't come on to you again. I won't touch you, make suggestive remarks or, or do anything else—like other stuff I can't think of now—that's inappropriate. I'm sorry. I guess maybe I misunderstood because… never mind. I have a big mouth and I’m impulsive sometimes. What can I say? I’m Italian." He shrugs and buries his hands in his pockets. Like that excuses it—a faulty impulse control switch and Latin genes he can blame whenever he’s called out.
I cross my arms and cock my head. "Why should I believe you? Cause it was that bad? Back there?” I can’t look at him anymore, wish I had just nodded at his apology and dropped it. My face blazes, and all I want to do is run away from him, to the ladies room, to splash cold water on my cheeks and wash away the awkward memory and my even more awkward reaction. I need to shut up, shut up, shut up.
"What?" He chuckles and the sound echoes through the hallway. "Is that what you … aww, hell no." He raises his hands, palms out. "That is so not what I meant." He moves a little closer, and glances around as if to make sure we're unobserved. In a hushed voice, he says, "The kiss was fantastic, amazing, fabuloso, but I shouldn’t have done it. I promise, I swear even, I won’t do it again. I’ll never try to kiss you or touch you … unless you ask me, of course." He shifts to face me. “I am a man of my word. You can trust me.” His smile fades. “Please trust me. Alright?"
About the Author:
Iris St. Clair is the pen name for a long-suffering cubicle worker by day, a Walter Mitty-like dreamer by night. (Her alter ego Tatiana Ivanadance also choreographs gravity-defying routines in those fantasies, but that's another bio.) No matter what genre she writes, she prefers witty, insecure heroines and kind, persistent heroes able to break through to the gooey heart inside. In high school she was voted most likely to win at Monopoly and Clue, but least likely to throw a ball anywhere near a target. Thank goodness writing requires less hand-eye coordination, punctuation errors notwithstanding. Iris believes in the two-year "fish or cut bait" dating rule and has a 20+ year marriage and two teenaged sons as proof of concept. She lives, writes, dreams and dances in the rainy Portland, OR area.
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