Bliss knows all about bad choices but has yet to make them herself. With an innocent heart, she searches for freedom and finds it in the delinquent down the hall.
Dusty is a foul-mouthed troublemaker, tear-maker and heartbreaker. The boy with summer sky-blue eyes knows to stay away, but he can't resist the girl who made his house a home.
She's his reason, but he might not catch her when she falls.
She loves him. He loves her crazy.
This is what happens when a love made of secrets is kept with rules instead of promises.
Front windows cracked, we’re relaxed in the back of his parents’ old Audi and it feels good again.
“Caffeine isn’t good for you, you know,” Thomas says, glancing over.
The sun has set and the purple sky and the Yaquina lighthouse paint my temperamental troublemaker in soft hues. The scent and sounds of the sea drift in with the breeze, mixing with smoke from the blunt he’s relit and the low melodies of Citizen Cope singing about a girl that won’t give in and he’ll never let go of.
Taking another drink of the coffee he bought me, I shrug. I don’t know what he said to get the baristas to make a pumpkin spice latte in February, but cinnamon and caffeine fill me with warm relief.
Under his breath and around a hit, Thomas chuckles.
“It’s bad for your bones and skin,” he says, smirking as I tuck my toes under his leg. “And your heart. Uncontrolled beats are a prelude to heart attack, princess.”
I roll my eyes and laugh some, because I do feel them. I felt them earlier in his bed, and before that, when I was thinking of him. My unsteady heartbeats have nothing to do with coffee.
“Bring on the palpitations,” I say before taking another drink, letting Dusty lecture me about bad habits, as if I’m too young to understand irony.
“I’m serious,” he continues, smoking up and blowing out. “Your body will build a tolerance. When you feel it’s becoming bad for you, you’ll want more. You’ll need more. Caffeine’s a drug, Leigh.”
I laugh. I can’t help it. Maybe I’m still high.
“Oh yeah?” I ask. “Like pot?”
This boy blows a cloud of smoke up, and I watch it swirl-spread out across the car’s ceiling.
“Pot’s from the earth,” he says, puffing smoke rings while I wrap both hands around my cup, absorbing its warmth through my palms. I inhale the cream-sweet scent of cinnamon and nutmeg and ginger, and it may be full of stimulants, but I feel calm.
Thomas’ presence is the best Valentine’s Day gift. Candy is nice, and candy flavored blunt wraps were thoughtful, but this is what I wanted most. Just us.
“Pumpkins are from the earth,” I say. “And coffee beans.”
“You think there’s real pumpkin in that?” he asks. When I can’t do more than smile and stare at his lips, he sits up straighter.
“Caffeine’s an analeptic. It fucks with your impulse control and your insulin resistance.”
I laugh because, “What?”
He pulls a hit. “That shit will give you stress hormones, Bliss.”
“How do you know all this?”
We’re quiet for a second, looking at each other. His carefreeness is back, but his smile is understated.
“You sure you’re not worried it’ll stunt my growth?”
Between licking his bottom lip and bringing the blunt back up, Dusty glances at my chest without a stitch of modesty.
“You’re growing up fine, girl.”
My cheeks heat, and I hide my smile with another drink.
After I’ve finished my coffee, Thomas offers me the blunt. When I decline, my actual addiction leans into me, nudges his hood from my head, and exhales his smoke all over my neck.
The playful punk that was lecturing me is gone. This honest to a fault, recklessly unflinching, too-beautiful, fated youth is a person only I know. This is my person.
He tosses the blunt out the window while I drop my empty cup to the floorboard, and we shift together. We kiss open and deep, claiming and binding. We kiss the way I wanted to earlier, with eyes closed and hearts open, and I know the real drug is here. It’s between us and inside us.
It’s the way he opens my lips with his lips to kiss me deeper, and the way my pulse feels like his name is in my veins.
It’s the way I can’t stay hurt or mad or jealous, and the way he can’t stand for me to.
It’s the craving that never goes away, the need for more that grows as we feed it. It’s the tolerance he was talking about and knowing he’s right.
It’s this, our secret.
We’re the drug.
Review—Innocents (Dusty #1) by Mary Elizabeth & Sarah Elizabeth
I just want to say one thing about this book that has nothing to do with the actual story…this has got to be one of the most poetic books I’ve ever read. The way the words flowed had me turning pages, and the way they weaved beautifully heartbreaking phrases and emotions had my heart soaring one minute and sinking to my toes the next. So… *claps hands* This is a beautiful piece of literature.
Now for the story, the best way I can think to review it with the amount of “stuff” that happens…the age range of the characters…the demographic of the story. This is all very difficult on many levels. And I loved it.
But this just may be one of the shortest reviews I’ve ever written. This is a book that needs to be experienced. Not just read. And you will either love it or you will hate it…it’s one of THOSE books. Here goes…
“I know he loves me. I never doubt his love. I doubt his intentions and respect. I distrust his motives and allegiance.”
Dusty is a selfish ass. And Bliss continues to give him her everything. Because of her kind, innocent, giving soul, and his being greedy, hard, wasted, faded…they are the complete other half to one another. It starts from the very first day Bliss starts school in Newport. With only the thought of making one best friend, Bliss inadvertently gains an entire family to love and love her in return.
If only she knew how much that love would hurt her…
“After the first night I spent with [Dusty], three months passed before I snuck down to his room again. Now, it’s a given; staying over with Rebecka means stolen nights with Dusty. We’re a world apart the rest of the time, and he rarely lets me forget it—until we’re in his room. Alone, we’re us: an innocent secret made of bad habits spread across his bed. I cherish that. I crave it. It’s what makes not hearing from him so disheartening.”
She wants him. He needs her. It’s a classic star-crossed lovers story with the romance of Romeo & Juliet set in today’s time with today’s evils. I can’t fully explain how I felt while reading this book because honestly, I’m still reeling. I don’t know how to feel because I feel EVERYTHING. There were times where I was in awe, others where I was completely uncomfortable, and another where I was so starry-eyed in love, and the next so angry I couldn’t think further than wanting to smack the begeezus out of someone.
Over all, this book as I’ve said before, is beautifully written and has thoroughly sucked me into the darkness. I cannot wait to see what happens (very impatiently I might add) in the next installment…and I want everyone to read it so I have someone to talk with about all the FEELS! Please pick up this book, its well worth the read, whether you love it or hate it…the reaction you get from Innocents will be one you won’t soon forget.
**4 Hard & Soft Collide Stars**
Mary Elizabeth is an up and coming author who finds words in chaos, writing stories about the skeletons hanging in your closets. Known as The Realist, she is one half of The Elizabeths—a duo brave enough to never hide the truth. Born and raised in Southern California, she’s a wife, mother of four beautiful children, and dog tamer to one enthusiastic Pit Bull and a prissy Chihuahua. She’s a hairstylist by day but contemporary fiction, new adult author by night. Mary can often be found finger twirling her hair and chewing on a stick of licorice while writing and rewriting a sentence over and over until it’s perfect. She discovered her talent for tale-telling accidentally, but literature is in her stranglehold. And she’s not letting go until every story is told.
To follow Mary’s upcoming solo and collaborative projects, she can be found at her website http://www.maryelizabethlit.com/.
Listener, messenger, secret keeper, Elizabeth, and TrueLove, Sarah works two jobs by day so that she's able to really work by night. She's written since she was old enough to hold a marker, and her writing bridges the sacred and profane, from first love to forbidden, with a longing for truth and a passion for hearts. She is currently based in Kansas City where her army is comprised of one little buffalo. Her best friends are girls named Moses and Bunny. Her hero is a boy named Bishop, and the one she loves has ocean eyes. In addition to Dusty, Sarah also has a collaborative novella, Light and Wine, due to be released on June 8th, and her solo work will be featured in the anthology Branded, this August.
Brought together by their love of storytelling, Mary and Sarah Elizabeth are a pair of dedicated writers with complementary strengths who’ve cultivated a literary style that captures a Realist’s brutality with a Poet’s grace, uncovering the self-seeking side of tenderness and the undisguised truth of honesty. Inspired by the lyrics of a song, Dusty was born between emails and long G-chats before a single chapter was ever typed. A short story turned into a monster, and more than four years and several edits later, the first half of their collaboration, Innocents, will be released on July 14, 2014. And its conclusion, Delinquents, is set to release on October 23, 2014.
If you’d like to contact The Elizabeths, they can be located on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheElizabethsDusty?ref=hl.