Title: Upside Down
Series: Off the Map #1
Publisher: Grand Central
Publication date: August 5th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found
Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying goodbye to painful memories—and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she’ll pretend to be a carefree exchange student. Everything is going to plan until she meets a surly surfer with hypnotic green eyes, and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.
Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he slunk back to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He’s never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia.
A single semester abroad won’t cover something this serious. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once-in-a-lifetime . . . or if there’s a plane to California with her name on it.
“Never have I ever worn handcuffs,” I say.
Bran reaches over, yanks the lid off the water bottle and takes a sip.
“Really?” My stomach lurches at the idea of another girl within five feet of him.
“Once. Wasn’t for me. I prefer more control, you know?”
“Nope—not really.” My sex life is shorter than a haiku. I bite my inner cheek and pretend not to notice his gaze slant toward me. “All right, Kink Boy, your turn.”
“Never have I ever done something I regret.”
I giggle but he looks dead serious. “Wow, that must make you alone in the universe.” I take a drink.
“Your smile, it lights up your whole face, but your eyes stay sad.”
Is he being serious or is this yet another bait? “Never have I ever sleepwalked.”
Bran drinks. “When I was eight, my neighbors woke to me in their bedroom. Don’t remember a thing. Lucky they didn’t call the coppers.”
“Whoa, crazy. Do you still do it?”
“Sometimes. Lock your door tonight. Let’s see. . .never have I ever shot a gun.”
I don’t drink.
“Isn’t that Anti-American?”
“I’m a pacifist. Never have I ever kissed in the rain.”
“This is the single most depressing fact I’ve ever heard.” He drinks.
“Hence my sad eyes.”
Traffic starts moving. I hang my hand out the window and hot wind blows through my fingers.
“Natalia?”I stiffen. No one ever calls me that except for my mom. “How’d you know my full name?”
“Read the luggage tag on your bag—Natalia Stolfi.”
“Oh, right.” I shake my head and regroup. “Is it true you have no regrets, not even one?” Hopefully he has no idea how serious I am about his response.
“There’s no point.” His fingers tighten infinitesimally on the wheel. “The past is past. End of story.”
“Like whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?”
“No, that’s a dumb ass cliché. I mean there’s no meaning to life, despite what people pretend. Once I figured that out, everything got easier.”
“Has anyone ever said you are intense?”
“Since the day I was born.”
Lia Riley writes offbeat New Adult Romance. After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, she scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling fourex with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments.
A British literature fanatic at heart, Lia considers Mr. Darcy and Edward Rochester as her fictional boyfriends. Her very patient husband doesn't mind. Much. When not torturing heroes (because c'mon, who doesn't love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. Right now, Icelandic hot springs and Scottish castles sound mighty fine.
She and her family live mostly in Northern California.
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