You’re running out of time to read the Choisie series for free!

After October 27, the books in my Choisie series will no longer be in Kindle Select. That’s good news for iBooks and Nook readers because it means they will be back in those stores. If you’re a Kindle reader, though, you’ll no longer be able to read Contessa, Olivia, Dear Jon, and Livvy for free in Kindle Unlimited!

Choisie-Reading-Order-KU

So… if you’ve started the series in KU, bump them up on your TBR list and finish them now! And if you haven’t started them… well, you do have time to start and finish them. Yes, three of them are long reads, but they’re quick reads. I have faith in you. 😉 Happy reading!

Contessa (Choisie 1)
Olivia (Choisie 2)
Dear Jon (Choisie 3)
Livvy (Choisie 4)

Get Contessa while it’s free!

I inadvertently put Contessa on sale yesterday–for free. I didn’t know it until I checked my stats, and it showed I had over a hundred free downloads. I thought about putting it back at its regular price, but then I decided I’d just let it be. Contessa‘s one of my favorites, and I want more people to read it. (Sadly, I know that most people don’t read the free books they download, which is why I’m not going to do free books anymore after this, but that’s another post for another day.) Anyway! How about a snippet from Contessa to go with this sweet little graphic? It’s one of my favorite Jon/Livvy kisses in the book. Enjoy!

ContessaIsFreeOct15

“Hey, Ray!” Jon’s uncle comes out from behind the bar to give him a hug.

“Happy birthday and congratulations! Ivy League, man! I can’t believe it. Your dad would have been so proud of you.”

“Yeah,” Jon says. “I think so.”

“I know so. He’s smiling down on you right now, and he’d be buying you this drink if he were here. Derrick, I need three tequila shots down here,” Ray says to a younger bartender. “The best we’ve got.”

“Okay, boss,” he answers.

“Uncle Ray, this is my girlfriend, Olivia.”

“It’s a little dark for sunglasses, honey,” he says with a warm smile.

“She lives in those, Ray. I just don’t argue anymore,” Jon speaks up for me.

“It’s nice to meet you,” I tell him.

“I need to check your IDs,” he says quietly. “Just for show, but in case someone’s watching.”

“Sure,” Jon says after taking a deep breath.

“I don’t want anything to drink,” I say quickly.

“Honey, I gotta ID anyone who comes in here.”

“Uncle Ray, just… it’s fine, Liv. He’s not going to say anything.”

I glare at Jon, but he can’t see my eyes through the sunglasses. I think about walking out of the bar, but he truly is happier than I’ve seen him, and I don’t want to be the one to spoil it. I pull my wallet out of my bag and give the bartender my ID card. He flashes a light on it to see it clearly. He studies mine for a few seconds, and then looks up at Jon. “Well, look at you. Ivy League and high-society.”

“Whatever,” Jon says, taking my ID back from his uncle quickly.

“Livvy Holland,” he says to me. “Your daddy know you’re here?”

“Absolutely not,” Jon answers again. “Mum’s the word. I just want her here to celebrate with me.”

“Got it,” Ray says. “Is this your first time in a bar, Livvy?”

“Yes,” I say with a small smile.

He picks up the three shots at the bar and hands one to Jon and one to me.

“Well, welcome. And congrats, Jonny. Good job, all around.”

“Thanks,” Jon says. “This is for you, Dad,” he adds, looking up toward the ceiling, caught up in the moment. The guys set their glasses down on the bar first before shooting them. I take a taste, cringing at the flavor.

“Olivia,” Jon says as I sip it down.

“Ow, that burns,” I croak.

“That was a lot for you, baby. I’m not sure that was a good idea.”

“Well, why’d you give it to me?” I ask with a shrug. “Plus, you’re not going to get accepted into Columbia every day. So you’re right, we should celebrate. Another?”

“Not for you, Missy,” Ray says. “Two more down here, Derrick.” He and Jon do one more shot each. The younger bartender has set down a large glass of water with a lemon in it, too–next to another shot of tequila. He winks at me as he walks away. I take it quickly, while Jon isn’t looking. The liquid sloshes onto my shirt sleeve as I drink it. This one burns even more.

“Liv!” Jon says, surprised. “Where’d you get that?”

“That other guy–Derrick. He gave it to me!” I laugh. “What, was I supposed to decline it? That would have been rude!”

He groans loudly, picking up the glass of water. Jon takes a sip of it before handing it to me.

“Please, drink this now,” he says, clearly worried. “This was so not my intention. Your dad will murder me. Forget Columbia. I’ll be in jail by morning.”

“Jon,” I giggle.

“Drink,” he repeats the order, serious. “Thanks, Ray.”

“You’re welcome, kid. I’m so proud of you.” His uncle hugs him once more.

“I think we’re gonna go get a quick bite to eat,” Jon says as he watches me suck down the water. “Have you eaten?”

“No. We’re supposed to have dinner together tonight, remember?”

“I was just wondering how drunk you’re going to be before we make it to the restaurant.”

“I’m not drunk.”

“You will be.”

“It was two drinks!”

“Drink,” he instructs once more. “They were two potent drinks on an empty stomach of a tiny girl.” He pokes me in the stomach as I gulp the water down, then takes the half-empty glass from me and sets it on the bar.

“I’m not a little girl.”

“I didn’t say that, first of all. And I certainly didn’t mean it that way, Olivia.” He stares at my lips. “Don’t get all pouty. There just aren’t a lot of places that alcohol can go in there except straight into your bloodstream.”

“I. Am. Fine.” In truth, I feel a little uneven, but I like it.

“There’s a taco shop two doors down,” Jon’s uncle suggests. “Tell them you’re my nephew. They owe me.”

“Thanks.” He guides me out of the bar, and I take his hand and start walking back the way we came. “This way,” he says with a soft tug. I trip into him, feeling a little unsteady. He wraps his arms around me tightly. “I wish you hadn’t done that,” he says softly.

I look at him curiously. “You watched him hand it to me,” I argue with him.

“The first one, yeah, but you said you didn’t want anything. I thought that meant you wouldn’t drink anything.”

“I thought you wanted me to.”

“Liv, what have I told you? I don’t want you to do anything you’re not comfortable with–”

I stop him from saying anything more by kissing him with no restraint. He takes a few steps backward to get out of the middle of the sidewalk, never letting up on the grasp around my body. He picks me up and sets me down on a step so we’re standing at nearly exactly the same height. He quickly takes off my cap and sunglasses, throwing them haphazardly onto the ground behind me. His arms return to hold me, his hands move down my back, finally settling deep into the pockets of my jeans, and he pulls me into him. I whimper quietly as I hold his head next to mine, one hand playing with his ear, the other toying with the short hair at the nape of his neck. I press my fingers into his scalp.

A slight moan forms in the back of his throat as he kisses my neck, then ducks his head next to my shoulder, taking quick breaths.

“Are you okay?” I ask as I softly run my fingers through his hair.

“No,” he whispers.

“No?”

“New rule, Liv. No more tequila for you until you tell me we can go back to my apartment. Or better yet, Donna’s apartment.”

I laugh quietly to myself. “I don’t think it’s the tequila.”

“And I don’t think you know what you’re talking about.”

Contessa ©2012 Lori L. Otto

Timeline of my books

I want to make sure everyone has a point of reference for all of my books since they’re all in the same universe. I’ve attempted to make it where each series can be read on its own, but you get more out of them if you’ve read all the books.

I’m going to start the timeline with the chronologically earliest book at Year 0.

How to read this chart: Number Seven took place 11 years after Not Today, But Someday. Lost and Found took place 12 years after Not Today, But Someday.

Year Title Series
0 Not Today, But Someday Emi Lost & Found
11 Number Seven Steven War & Peace
12 Lost and Found Emi Lost & Found
13 Time Stands Stilll Emi Lost & Found
14 Never Look Back Emi Lost & Found
15 Untitled/unreleased Steven War & Peace
16 Untitled/unreleased Steven War & Peace
17 Untitled/unreleased Steven War & Peace
27 Contessa Choisie
28 Olivia Choisie
29 Dear Jon Choisie
29 Livvy Choisie
30 Crossroads Love Will
38 Love Like We Do (Side A) Love Like We Do
38 Love Like We Do (Side B) Love Like We Do
38 Love Will Love Will
40 (It Happened) One Friday Love Like We Do
42 In the Wake of Wanting n/a (Trey’s novel)
45 Make Waves* Make Waves
47 A Holland and a Fighter* Related to ALL series
48 Leaving New York** Make Waves

 

*coming 2019
**coming 2020

My visit to Hollandtown (aka New York)

Many of you know that I spent the weekend in Manhattan with my father. It was my birthday present from my parents, and we had a great time doing all kinds of tourist-y things. Along the way, though, I was astute enough to sneak in some pictures of places that appear in my Emi Lost & Found and/or Choisie series books!

When I’d originally visited the city, I’d never met Emi before… or Nate, or Jack, or anyone else yet. Any landmarks I saw, were just generic, historic landmarks. There was no special meaning behind them yet. Just a few years later, though, who knew so many would mean so much? And it was surprising how many of them brought actual tears to my eyes this weekend.

I wanted to share some of the images with you, so you could see some of these special places.

1 – The Loft. In Emi Lost and Found, owned first by Nate, then by Emi, then sold. In the Choisie series, purchased by Donna, then gifted to Livvy.

00_The Loft

2 – The cell phone store that Nate went to when Laney dropped his phone into the marinara sauce. (The store was not called out by name, but it was the store open 24 hours that could replace phones. For the fact-checkers of the world, this could actually not have happened because the story began in January 2007 (not that most of you would even know that), and the iPhone wasn’t released until June of that year. But that’s the awesome thing about fiction… I can bend the facts a little.)

01_Apple Store

3 – Cipriani. The restaurant where Donna took Nate on January 2nd. This is also the place where Nate met Sam.

02_Cipriani

4 – Concert poster exhibit at the MOMA… (so they aren’t indie posters, but it’s close, right?) Sam and Nate went on a private date at the Museum of Modern Art to see an exhibit similar to this one.

03_MOMA Posters

5 – St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This church was featured multiple times in the books, hosting a few somber occasions that I don’t want to go into detail about in case people haven’t read the books.

04_St. Patrick's Cathedral

6 – Grand Central Terminal (Lost & Found edition). Emi wandered to the terminal to drown her sorrows in a sour cream apple walnut pie from Little Pie Company after a confusing night out at a bar. Jack met her there, returning a ring that she’d left behind.

05_Grand Central

7 – Build-a-Bear. In my favorite chapter of the entire Emi Lost & Found series (Chapter 11, Time Stands Still), Jack asks for Emi’s assistance when buying a gift for his niece Jacqueline. She always wished she was a twin, and now, turning six, she wants to be a mom of twins when she grows up. (Jack is her mother’s twin brother.) They go to this store to build twin bears: a boy and a girl.

06_Build-a-Bear

8 – St. Patrick’s Cathedral candles. Also from Chapter 11 in Time Stands Still, Jack and Emi go in to light candles for lost loved ones.

07_St. Patrick's Candles

9 – Harry Winston. A certain ring was purchased here.

08_Harry Winston

10 – The Flatiron. From Chapter 1 in Contessa, 12-year-old Jon is teaching 10-year-old Livvy about perspective, and wants to show her the Flatiron building, nearly giving Jack a heart-attack.

09_Flatiron

11 – Shake Shack. Also from Chapter 1 of Contessa, Livvy asks Jack to take her there for ice cream.

10_Shake Shack

12 – New York Public Library. Mentioned often in the Choisie series. Livvy and Jon spent many hours there studying.

11_New York Public Library

13 – New York Public Library study room. Used often in the Choisie series by Livvy and Jon.

12_Study Room - Library

14 – Li-Lac. Mentioned in Livvy, the fourth book in the Choisie series. Livvy and her roommate, Katrina, stopped by the chocolate store before Thanksgiving to pick up some snacks.

13_Li-Lac

Anyway. I also went to Central Park, but there was a huge Greek Orthodox parade happening, and SO MUCH CHAOS that I literally never thought to take pictures. Also, everything was in winter-dead mode, so it wasn’t very pretty anyway. To make up for it, I’ll post the prophetic picture I took back in 2006 in Central Park.

Central Park

A plea to readers everywhere

This is going to be a very personal post, so I apologize for the interruption.

First and foremost, please assume positive intent while reading this post. I am beyond grateful for the readers I currently have and the people who have connected with my characters. I appreciate them all. I interact with them regularly. I am fairly certain they know how much they mean to me. This is not about me being unhappy with the readers I have.  

NewEmailHeader0215

As most of you know, I have held a full-time job all of my adult life. All throughout the concept building, outlining, writing, editing and publishing stages of all eight of my novels and two novellas, I’ve worked 40-hour work-weeks. I’ve been holding down what are essentially two full-time jobs for the past six and a half years since I started all of this writing business back in the winter of 2008. Some months and years were more productive than others, as I’ve switched jobs a couple of times and had to get used to new routines.

This year, for reasons I’m not permitted to disclose yet, I’m facing the realization that I’m going to have to start over again with a new job… and I’ve already started thinking about my options. While I’m good at a lot, I still feel so limited in what I can do professionally.

Much of that has to do with what I already know: I know that my passion is writing fiction. I know that I’m good at doing that. I know I’m one of the best at bringing out emotions in readers, and at character development, and dialogue.

What I’ve never been good at is marketing my books. And I’ve always believed the books just need to get in that one reader’s hands… that one reader who has significant influence over others. If she likes my books, and puts out a good review, then maybe more people will notice them.

Yes, I’ve had decent successes in the past with some big-name book bloggers. In fact, any time they mention my books, there’s a bump in my sales. It’s never been enough to push me to a best-seller list, though, or to sustain sales over a couple of days, or a week. And it’s not that I’m not grateful, I absolutely am! Every time I see a post, I make sure I thank them and share their posts and pages.

When I started this in 2008, I figured it would just be me and my friends reading my books. I never expected people from Brazil and Panama and South Africa and Ireland and the Philippines to read my stories! It has been so vastly fulfilling that they have. And if this is all the success I ever have, I can’t complain, and I wouldn’t. It’s phenomenal, and I’ve met so many wonderful people on this journey that I am so much richer for it.

But once I started making a little money, I aimed for a lofty goal. I want to write full-time. To do that, I have to have an income that allows for it, and I don’t right now. Faced with finding another job that I may not be very passionate about, I want to try everything I can to live my dream.

I’m a writer, but what I do is also a business. Just like your favorite independent bookstore needs a steady flow of customers to stay in business, so, too, do I. There isn’t a whole lot of repeat business authors can get from current readers. They need new ones to take a chance on their books every day.

So here is my plea: please consider reading one of my series and reviewing it. If you haven’t read Emi Lost & Found, you can certainly start there. It’s the series I’m most known for– but it’s also the first series I wrote.

Emi Lost & Found is one woman’s story of love, loss and sacrifice. The three-book series takes the reader through the emotional highs and lows in one epic story told by three different narrators. Emi is a twenty-something New Yorker looking for a fairytale romance. Nate is Emi’s best friend, who has been in love with her for twelve years. Jack is an acquaintance from college that left an indelible impression on Emi.

This is not a love story without consequences. Emi faces devastating losses over the course of the series, but with love, support, trust, and a little self-discovery, she finally finds her happily ever after.

My writing has come a long way, so I would really love for people to check out my spin-off Choisie series. Many of my Emi readers have still not branched out to read my second series, even though they loved the first one. In my humble (and biased) opinion, I think the Choisie series is better. (Emi Lost & Found is not required reading to start the Choisie series.)

The Choisie series is a Young Adult-to-New Adult story following a teenage girl as she struggles to find her footing under the scrutiny of local media and the cautious eye of her overprotective father.

Livvy was adopted by a generous and wealthy couple as a child. Now sixteen, she is a burgeoning artist, encouraged by her mother and inspired by a man she was never able to meet. Feeling estranged from a loving father whose mind works much differently than her own, she questions whether or not she was paired with the right guardians. In her plight for independence, she reconnects with a fellow art student who grew up alongside Livvy.

Jon has led anything but a privileged life. After his father passes away, he is left to care for his two half-brothers while his mother’s alcoholism threatens to tear his family apart. All he wants for himself and his brothers is a better life. His dreams for an Ivy League education are coming to fruition, thanks to a lifetime of hard work and ambition. This is not only important to Jon himself; he also knows that the man who will win Livvy’s heart has to be someone exceptional. Her father would accept nothing less–and Jon believes that Livvy deserves the best of everything, too.

That may be the only thing Jon and Livvy’s father agree upon.

Over the course of their courtship, these two teens will experience the bliss of true love, but their immaturity and differing lifestyles will also threaten to tear them apart. They both begin to question the other’s devotion and commitment; only time will tell if their first love is meant to last a lifetime.

This series, comprised in totality of four books, allows the reader to experience first love for a second time. All four books– Contessa, Olivia, and Dear Jon and Livvy– are available now! And Contessa is on sale for 99¢ through April 5th!

Thank you for taking the time to read my plea. For those of you who are willing to now read my stories, here are some purchase links:

Emi Lost & Found series

Emi Lost & Found books (sold separately)

Choisie series

Valentine’s Day 2.0 from Choisie series

ChocolateKiss

I’m not a big celebrator of Valentine’s Day, for obvious reasons… and I was thinking that I never really include Valentine’s Day in my books, but I realized that Livvy and Jon had a couple in the Choisie series. The one I chose for you is a flashback taken from Dear Jon. If you don’t know about this book, it’s the third one in the Choisie series. Essentially, Livvy is writing Jon letters, reminding him of certain times they were together. In this passage, Livvy’s letters are in the quote boxes, and Jon’s narration is the main text.

I love you, Jon.

I kick off my tennis shoes and push them into the closet before turning off the overhead light and lying down on my bed.  The lamp on the desk illuminates just enough of the room for me to keep reading.

Valentine’s Day 2.0.  Remember?

Livvy had been grounded on the romantic holiday after we had fallen asleep together in her bed, so we celebrated two days later.  We renamed the day to commemorate that, as well as to signify it was our second Valentine’s Day together.

It worked out in our favor.  It was much easier to get reservations to a decent restaurant, and it allowed us a full day to celebrate instead of just meeting together on a school night.  It was insufferably cold that day, too, which kept a lot of people at home on a Saturday.

Not us, though.

I met her at her house around noon, where she greeted me with a thermos of hot chocolate.  She was bundled up and ready to leave, dressed in a quilted black coat, a flared black skirt, black tights and black knee-high boots laced up with a black bow that tied mid-calf in the back.  Around her neck was a dyed scarf with reds, oranges and pinks.  Her lipstick matched it, as did two tiny barrettes that kept her hair off her face.

“Do you think you’ll be warm enough?” I had asked her, glancing down her body and stopping at her knee, where I could see the hint of a dark freckle through her leggings.

“Don’t worry about me,” she said, then pointed at different articles of clothing.  “Quilted and layered,” she said, “wool and leather.”

I kissed her even though her parents sat in the adjoining living room watching us.  “Your legs are going to be cold,” I whispered.

“We’ll run.”  And after walking for three blocks on the way to MoMA, we did run the rest of the way, even though there were plenty of cabs to take us to the exhibit we’d both wanted to see.  She was happy to be ungrounded, feeling totally free.

I had so much fun with you, recreating the romantic works of art that were on display that weekend.  ‘Couples in Love’ was the perfect collection for us, because I felt so in love that day.  

The museum was featuring works of art that celebrated romantic love between two people.  It was a brilliant marketing effort, and I’d heard that, on Valentine’s Day, they had offered candlelight dinners in various parts of the museum to elite members.

It was perfect that most people didn’t want to fight the bitter cold, because it gave us time to enjoy ourselves in public, privately.  The only pictures snapped of us were taken with our cameras: selfies of us kissing, or silly pictures of us as we posed in front of outrageous works of art.

I printed out the one of you by the bronze sculpture, where you were whispering in the ear of the girl statue, talking her out of accepting the obvious proposal of the boy statue on one knee.

“He’s emotionless,” you’d told her, “and cold hearted.”

I smile, remembering what came next.  “Let me show you how it’s done,” I’d said, then gestured for Olivia to join me by the sculpture.  She posed next to it, mimicking the girl’s surprised expression.  I kneeled down in front of her, and snapped a picture of her, wanting to remember what she’d look like when it came time to propose someday.  I took her hand in mine as she propped up her oversized purse.

“Olivia?”

“Yes?” she’d said, grinning from ear to ear.

“Will you… give me another sip of hot chocolate?  Please?” I’d begged.  She laughed, handing me her bag.  After glancing around to make sure we were alone, I got out the thermos and took a drink of the still-warm beverage.  When I stood up, she had taken off her coat, and was wearing a beautiful flowered top that had the same colors of her scarf with black stripes.  It was form fitting, and after she handed me her coat to carry, I admired her perfect figure momentarily before setting everything I’d been holding on the floor and pulling her into my body.  I kissed her as I imagined the couple in the statue would have kissed after the girl said yes to her suitor.

“A chocolate kiss,” Livvy whispered as she pulled away, licking her lips.  “Can I have another?”

“Gladly,” I had said with my lips already pressed against hers.  We’d kissed deeply until we heard voices approaching.

After I’d told her where we were going for dinner earlier in the week, she had made further arrangements to make sure we had a private area.  One had been set up on the second floor, where there was only room for a table for two on the side of the staircase.  The area was hidden from the rest of the room by a stained glass wall that cast the most beautiful colors on her face as she ate.

She had told me she loved me as we ate dessert.  It was a delicate chocolate mousse that I fed her from across the small table.  The sweet decadence inspired countless more chocolate kisses that night.  I told her that the words ‘I love you’ weren’t enough for me to express my feelings to her.

“I feel everything for you, Olivia,” I’d told her.  “With every ounce of my being, with all my heart and soul, I am full of the greatest affections, passions, and emotions that any man has ever felt for any woman… any time in the history of the world.”

She stood up, putting her napkin in her chair, and held her hand out, palm up.  I took it in mine and joined her next to the table.  We kissed passionately, eventually releasing hands and innocently exploring one another’s bodies with them.  I backed her against the wall, so thankful we’d had a little privacy in that moment because I needed it as much as I needed her.

Realizing where we were–still in a restaurant, even though the waiters had agreed to leave us after we’d paid the tab–we slowed down, eventually leaning against one another breathing heavily, trying to figure out where we could go to be truly alone.

It didn’t happen for us that night.

©2014 Lori L. Otto

Purchase links for all the Choisie series books:

Livvy Excerpt – “Tim the RA”

Livvy releases tomorrow!! [Preorder for Kindle and iBooks] I am so excited that I just want to share some things with you all early… here’s a little conversation between Livvy and her resident advisor at Yale…

Conversations6x2liv

Livvy Excerpt  – “Tim the RA”

In truth, Jon was the only one I’d ever planned to celebrate with on my eighteenth birthday. No matter what I do, it won’t live up to the expectations I’ve had since my sixteenth birthday, my first birthday as his girlfriend. We’d waited so long for this milestone.

After packing the last of my things, I set my bag aside and pull out the small box from my desk drawer, removing the ring from its cushion and putting it on my finger, where it belongs.

He made me promises. He vowed to never take me for granted. He was going to make every moment with me the best it could be. He would never let me forget that I was the best choice he’d ever made. Choisie. I touch my chest, in search of the necklace I no longer have.

I never even got a chance to explain myself. If he never read the letters, he’ll never understand how much I care for him. Does he really think I like Finn? After all, most people accept the concussion explanation. Even I believe it, because I have no other logical reason for what I did that day. I was desperate. I was confused. I was angry. I know I was all of those things, but to share a kiss with another guy… and not just any kiss. Our kiss. To do that, it’s obviously unforgivable in his mind.

It was just a horrible mistake!

I start to cry, and once I start, the angry tears fall quickly and freely and the sobs cut off my breathing. I haven’t cried like this in weeks. I’d hoped it would make me feel better, but it doesn’t. I start to wonder if anything will.

“Livvy?” someone calls out to me from the hallway. Realizing people can hear me through the door, I try to calm myself quickly, but I don’t respond. “Livvy? Are you okay?” Tim asks.

“Yeah,” I tell my RA, my voice hoarse. I hear him try the doorknob, but I locked it when I came in.

“Can you open up for me?”

“I’m fine,” I tell him, trying to hide my emotions. I know it’s not working and drag myself off the bed to let him in. I trudge back to my pillow, hearing him walk in softly behind me.

“I either have to have another girl come in here with us, or we have to leave the door open,” he explains. “Which would you prefer?”

I stare at him blankly, not wanting to talk to anyone.

“You don’t trust a lot of people, do you?” he asks.

I look away, down at my hands, watching my fingers pick away the purple polish I’d put on them.

Tim finds a box of tissues and brings them to me. He leaves the door open and pulls my desk chair closer to the bed, leaving only about a foot between us. He speaks with quiet concern. “You should talk to someone, Livvy.”

“I can’t,” I tell him, wiping my nose without an ounce of grace or poise. “I don’t know anyone here that I can talk to.”

“Do you know how many guys would love to have some time with you? Who’d do anything to be the person you go to?”

“I don’t care,” I tell him, not at all impressed with his attempt to compliment me. “They don’t know anything about me. They know about tabloid articles and rumors. They know about my money. They don’t know me. They can’t like me if they don’t know me.”

“I don’t like you,” he says. I look up at him, moderately surprised at his admission.

“Thanks. I’m not too fond of you, either,” I say spitefully, even though it’s not true.

“No, I mean,” he stutters. “Livvy, I see how you try to avoid half the guys in the hall–and they still track you down. They still follow you like lost puppies.”

“I don’t encourage it,” I tell him.

“I know you don’t. But you’re all these poor, lonely guys think about. But I want you to know that I’m not like them.”

“Okay,” I tell him, shrugging my shoulders.

“I have a girlfriend. I love her.”

“Good for you.” When I look down again, I remember the ring. Hoping to not draw attention to it, I cover it with my right hand and slide it off slowly, the movements barely noticeable. My legs crossed beneath me, I tuck the jewelry in my shoe to hide it.

“I want to help you. You need someone you can trust. It must suck to have to constantly question everyones’ motives–”

“My dad taught me well–”

“I’m sure he did. But Livvy… let down your guard a bit. Let someone in.”

“Why? I mean… I don’t know what you think I need.”

“Your dad spoke with me before he left campus a few weeks ago. Your parents are worried about you. He mentioned there was a guy… someone that was special to you.”

“It doesn’t matter.” He doesn’t matter anymore.

“Sure it does. I mean, your first chance to be alone, and you’re locked in your room crying.” He puts his hand on my sneaker and squeezes my toes. “Do Katrina and Rachelle know about him?”

“They know of him.” I shift positions, pulling my knees into my chest so he’ll move his hand off of my shoe. “They don’t know how I feel about him,” I admit. “They think he was just a fling. Because of what happened with my friend, they don’t think either relationship was serious.”

“This was the, uh…” He hesitates, and I can tell he’s unsure if he should admit what I’m sure he already knows.

“The guy I kissed. The guy I kissed that wasn’t my boyfriend.”

“You had a concussion?” I nod, but look away when I do, still feeling guilty about my actions. Concussion or not, the kiss with Finn was intimate and it hurt Jon more than he had words to explain.

“You still love him? The boyfriend?”

“Ex,” I correct him. “Can you hate and love someone at the same time? Because I think I do.”

“Livvy, if you love–”

“Surely you’re not going to tell me to set him free. Please don’t be that cliché. He’s free. He’s been free for almost four months, and where has that gotten me? Nowhere. It just makes me angrier and angrier, with each day of silence.”

“Hey–”

“And who do you think you are, prying into my life like this?”

“Your dad asked me to keep an eye on you. That’s all. I don’t mean to pry, and if you feel that I am,” he says, but doesn’t finish his sentence. Instead, he stands and pushes the chair back under my desk.

“I just can’t talk about it, Tim.”

“I hate to tell you this, Livvy,” he says, “but you just did.”

©2014 Lori L. Otto

Preorder for Kindle and iBooks

Choisie Blog Tour information

ChoisieSeries-Page-Cover

This week, October 12-18, the Choisie series will be touring around multiple blogs! If you’ve read any of the series, consisting of four books (Contessa, Olivia, Dear Jon and the up-coming Livvy), then this will be a chance to remember some of its highlights. If you haven’t read the books, this is your chance to get a nice introduction to my young adult series focusing on a 16-year-old gifted painter who was adopted by wealthy parents when she was four. Below, you’ll find links to all the participating blogs, and below that, you’ll see the series description.

Blog Tour Participants: Thank you so very much to everyone who signed up to spread the word about my Choisie series!

October 12, 2014

October 13, 2014

October 14, 2014

October 15, 2014

October 16, 2014

October 17, 2014

October 18, 2014

Choisie series description:

The Choisie series is a Young Adult/New Adult story following a teenage girl as she struggles to find her footing under the scrutiny of local media and the cautious eye of her overprotective father.Livvy Holland was adopted by a generous and wealthy couple as a child. Now sixteen, she is a burgeoning artist, encouraged by her mother and inspired by a man she was never able to meet. Feeling estranged from a loving father whose mind works much differently than her own, she questions whether or not she was paired with the right guardians. In her plight for independence, she reconnects with a fellow art student who grew up alongside Livvy.
Jon Scott has led anything but a privileged life. After his father passes away, he is left to care for his two half-brothers while his mother’s alcoholism threatens to tear his family apart. All he wants for himself and his brothers is a better life. His dreams for an Ivy League education are coming to fruition, thanks to a lifetime of hard work and ambition. This is not only important to Jon himself; he also knows that the man who will win Livvy’s heart has to be someone exceptional. Her father would accept nothing less and Jon believes that Livvy deserves the best of everything, too.
That may be the only thing Jon and Livvy’s father agree upon.
Over the course of their courtship, these two teens will experience the bliss of true love, but their immaturity and differing lifestyles will also threaten to tear them apart. They both begin to question the other’s devotion and commitment; only time will tell if their first love is meant to last a lifetime.
This series, comprised in totality of four books, allows the reader to experience first love for a second time. The first three books Contessa, Olivia, and Dear Jon are available now, with the fourth book, Livvy, slated to be released December 9!
Purchase links:

Contessa (Book One): Paperback / Kindle / iBooks / Nook

Olivia (Book Two): Paperback / Kindle / iBooks / Nook

Dear Jon (Book Three): Paperback / Kindle / iBooks / Nook

Livvy (Book Four [preorder]): Kindle / iBooks

*Scheduled to review a book in the Choisie series!!

gray blogs = can’t find their post; yellow *s = can’t find their scheduled review

Livvy has a description and is available for preorder!

Livvy Cover FrontIn her first year of college at Yale, challenging courses and new friends provide a much-needed distraction for Livvy Holland. Beyond the tears–for the most part– she won’t allow the lingering anger she harbors toward her ex-boyfriend to consume her.

Even after taking steps to conceal her identity, Livvy is still very recognizable and popular among her new classmates. She takes advantage of her situation and accepts dates with multiple guys, trying to piece together an image of ‘her type of guy’ that differs from all the good qualities Jon Scott once possessed.

An unexpected letter arrives on Livvy’s 18th birthday, shifting her focus and forcing her to reevaluate all the relationships in her life. She now knows the identity of her biological father, and struggles to make sense of the news alone. Fortunately, she won’t have to.

Just as Livvy’s life begins to normalize, one of her professors provides her with the creative opportunity of a lifetime. Trusting in the bonds she’s made with everyone she loves, she believes she can have everything she wants and makes the decision that allows her to be true to herself.

She was chosen for a reason. Chosen to be a gifted artist that–with a few strokes of a paintbrush–could touch people emotionally; profoundly. Chosen by her parents so they had a place to share their boundless love and devotion. Chosen by her friend so he could return the encouragement, inspiration and affection she’d shown him for so many years.

Livvy Holland will never again take her position in life for granted. She wears the name with humility and respect. She is Choisie.

Preorder on:  iBooks  |  Kindle

Add to your Goodreads TBR list!

Missed the first teaser?  Check it out.

Livvy Excerpt: Chapter 1 (aka Peekytoe)

PeekytoeCh1-2In other news, Livvy has a release date!  I will announce it as soon as the pre-order pages are up (hopefully this weekend or early this week)!

*Copy is subject to change before final publication.

Watercolor crab was designed by Kaazuclip on Creative Market.