Author: Penelope Douglas
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Organized by: As the Pages Turn
Former tennis player Easton Bradbury is trying to be the best teacher she can be, trying to reach her bored students and trying to forget her past. What brought her to this stage in her life isn’t important. She can’t let it be. But now one parent-teacher meeting may be her undoing…
Meeting Tyler Marek for the first time makes it easy for Easton to see why his son is having trouble in school. The man knows how to manage businesses and wealth, not a teenage boy. Or a young teacher, for that matter, though he tries to. And yet…there is something about him that draws Easton in—a hint of vulnerability, a flash of attraction, a spark that might burn.
Wanting him is taboo. Needing him is undeniable. And his long-awaited touch will weaken Easton’s resolve—and reveal what should stay hidden…
(*STANDALONE, NO CLIFFHANGER*)
Misconduct - Excerpt
His three-piece black pin-striped suit looked crisp and dark against his fair skin, and his white shirt and slate-gray tie shimmered in the glow of the light overhead.
I took a few steps forward. “What are you doing here?” I asked.
His eyes shot down to my feet, and I followed his gaze, remembering that I’d forgotten to put my heels back on.
“Always losing your shoes,” he commented, a smile curling his mouth.
I pursed my lips and turned around, snatching my heels off the seat and slipping them back onto my feet. Grabbing the back of the chair, I pulled it behind me and entered my classroom, knowing he’d follow.
“You came to my workplace unannounced,” he stated behind me. “I thought I would return the favor.”
I replaced my chair behind my desk and looked up, seeing that he had closed the door behind him.
“And?” I prompted.
“And I came to apologize,” he admitted, stopping a few feet in front of my desk. “I’ve been unfair, and I’m sorry. Christian has his phone back, so we’ll see how this goes.”
I stilled, my heart galloping in my chest, and I almost smiled.
I opened my mouth but had to swallow the lump before I could speak. “Well, that’s great,” I said, surprised. “Thank you.”
I guess I got through to him at his office.
He slid one of his hands into a pocket and narrowed his eyes on me, looking a little surprised.
“You seem very knowledgeable and determined.” His voice sounded genuine. “You’re an impressive woman, Ms. Bradbury, and I should’ve taken the time to understand your methods.”
I kept my shoulders squared, but my eyes dropped, embarrassment warming my cheeks.
“Thank you,” I mumbled, turning around to grab a dry-erase marker to start writing the schedule on the board for when then kids came back on Thursday.
“Christian talks about your class,” he said behind me. “I can tell your teaching interests him, even if he would never admit it.”
I uncapped the marker and rested my hand on the board but didn’t write anything.
“He really can’t stand me, can he?”
I dropped my hand to my side and spun around slowly, surprised by his question.
And feeling terrible all over again. I should never have said that.
No matter how much I thought I knew about him, they were nothing more than assumptions. Who was I to insinuate his son didn’t care for him or vice versa? And what gave me the right to say anything at all in the first place?
He breathed deeply, and for the first time since I’d met him, he looked unsure of himself.
“I was twenty when he was born,” he told me. “That’s no excuse, but it’s the only one I have.”
I was twenty-three, and I couldn’t imagine having a child right now.
I watched him and waited, not wanting to say anything or interrupt because I found I kind of liked it when he talked.
“I know what you think of me.” He looked me dead in the eye and then dropped his gaze, speaking in a voice close to a whisper. “And what he thinks of me.”
And then he let out a bitter laugh, shaking his head. “I don’t know why I even care what you think. You don’t give a shit about me, but I guess that’s what’s so intriguing.” He moved forward, his soft eyes turning to steel. “You’re so cold and distant,” he charged. “I guess I wouldn’t think anything of it if I hadn’t seen you so different at one time.”
I inhaled a shaky breath, looking down at his right hand. The same one that had held my waist while we danced.
I licked my lips, barely noticing him advance.
“You were flirty and fun.” His voice turned husky, and I looked up, seeing him round my desk slowly. “And you keep pissing me off, but it feels good,” he whispered, playing with me, drawing me in.
I knew that look in his eyes. I may not know much about him, but I knew that look.
And we were in my classroom.
His son’s classroom.
I may have had little shame, but he had none.
He cut me off. “Why won’t you ever say my name?”
I shook my head, confused. “Why do you care what I think?”
“I don’t,” he maintained. “I care that you don’t think of me at all.”
I narrowed my eyes on him, clenching my teeth. “That’s not . . .” I trailed off, plastering my back against the whiteboard as he hovered over me.
“That’s not what?” he pressed, his voice sounding strained.
He stood so close that I had only to lift a hand and I could touch him.
“That’s not true,” I finished.
He leaned in. “You look at me like I don’t matter.” His eyes searched mine. “And I don’t like it.”
I was instantly excited for this book as soon as I heard it was going to be written. I absolutely love her Falling Away series, and all of the characters. Though I was hoping that this would be a full length book about Jared's mom and Madoc's dad around the time the first met, I still hold out hope that book will be written.
This book was just as good as I knew it would be. There were some mild formatting problems, The first letter of each chapter was a line higher than the rest of the word, but it wasn't really that big of a problem, and it's still an early copy and something I am confident will be fixed before the books release.
Easton was an easy character to like. She was smart, and funny. She knew what she wanted and didn't let other people tell her how to act or do her job. The chemistry she has with Tyler never felt forced or unnatural. She isn't all piss and vinegar though. There is a dark past and vulnerability that she tries to hide from everybody including herself.
Tyler took a little longer to get connect with as a character. For a while there felt like a disconnect from him and the rest of the story, but I think that just shows how good her writing is. At the start of the book Tyler is very unsure how to balance his work life and learning how to be a father to a teenager he barely knows. He clearly hates failure and is harder on himself than he allows others to see, especially his son, Christian, for most of the book. It's not really until he admits to Christian and him self that he has been a failure as a father that he starts to connect to his son in any way.
There were a few revelations that I wasn't entirely expecting, and it added a level of suspense to the story that wasn't all about a taboo romance that I really enjoyed. I like when a book has more to it than steamy romance. It's easy to write steam, it's more difficult to write a complex story that also has steamy romance in it.
If you have read and enjoyed the Falling Away series, you should definitely pick up this book and give it a read. And as far as I'm concerned, writing a good stand alone satisfies the readers but still leaves them wanting more. Everything was wrapped up nicely, but a short story set X number of years in the future would be great as well.
About Penelope Douglas
Penelope Douglas is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Fall Away series.She dresses for autumn year round, loves anything lemon flavored, and believes there is too much blood in her Coca Cola stream. Or too much Coca Cola in her blood stream. Or...
You know what? It doesn't matter. She loves Coke. Now you know.
She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and daughter.
Enter the Giveaway
The following goodies are up for grabs. Good luck.
- (5) Signed copy of Misconduct (Intl)
- (3) $20 Amazon or B&N gift card, winner's choice (Intl)