Effortless With You series by Lizzy Charles
Published by: Swoon Romance
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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Synopsis book 1 - Effortless WIth You:
School is out and Lucy is ready for the perfect summer: lazy days at the pool, invitations to the most exclusive parties, and romantic dates with her hot new boyfriend. That is, until she lands in trouble one too many times and her parents issue the ultimate punishment: a summer job. Suddenly, the summer can’t end fast enough.
To make matters worse, the job is painting houses with Justin, the most popular, egotistical guy in school. Spending all summer with Justin might be other girls’ dreams, but definitely not Lucy’s. After all, Justin is cocky, annoying, and a jerk. So what if he’s the most beautiful jerk Lucy’s ever seen? Or that his grin makes her forget she’s mad at the world? Or that maybe, just maybe, there’s more to Justin than Lucy realizes. Only one thing is certain: it won’t be the summer she wanted, but it might be exactly the one she needs.
Synopsis book 2 - Perfectly Messy:
Popularity isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. Justin Marshall knows this better than most. For the captain of the basketball team, small business owner, and son of Minnesota’s next governor, life can get pretty overwhelming. But Justin can handle anything as long as he has Lucy, the girl who fell for the man he’s trying to be.
But for Justin and Lucy, finding time together proves challenging. Stolen kisses and whispered promises just aren’t enough. That is, until scandalous photos of the couple are leaked to a press intent on creating a juicy scandal during Justin’s dad’s gubernatorial campaign. And when Lucy becomes fair play for the tabloids and gossip pages, Justin does the only thing he can to protect her: he breaks her heart.
For Lucy, junior year is everything she hoped it would be: new friends, second chances, and a boyfriend she can’t stop kissing. That is, until the boy she’s pretty sure she loves chooses the life his family wants for him, over her.
Now it’s up to Lucy to teach him what it really means to have everything. Because for Justin, being who everyone needs him to be just might cost him the one person he can’t live without.
Lizzy Charles lives in the Twin Cities and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota. When she isn’t raising her three children or caring for premature and sick babies as a neonatal intensive care nurse, she’s seeking refuge with her laptop, sparkling water, and dark chocolate. She married her high school sweetheart, a swoon-worthy musician, so it’s no surprise she’s fallen in love with writing contemporary YA romance novels.
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Effortless With You Excerpt
Alex tugs on my arm. “Man, woman. Do you ever have a normal day?” He pulls me into a hug before giving me his signature pat on the back
I wonder the same thing.
The wind picks up again. I jump at the sound of abandoned ladders crashing to the ground. The oak tree gives another protesting creak as its branches bend above us.
“Alright. Call it.” Justin yells. “Get your stuff and get home. Safely,” he adds.
Everyone breaks away from the huddle, grabbing everything in their path. I walk over to my ladder, grabbing its edge. My fingertips and palms protest in pain as I swing it up and over my shoulder. I search for my paint can, finding it in the daisies which are now splattered with white paint. The roof’s edge hangs above me where only moments before I’d been dangling. I can’t help but shudder at the what-ifs.
The oak tree makes a popping sound, jolting me out of my state of shock and awe. I readjust the ladder over my back. The ladder seems so much heavier than earlier that day. I watch the guys in the distance effortlessly throw their ladders and supplies into Justin’s truck bed. For the first time, I really do wish I was that large He-She-like creature that the senior girls called me. I could use the strength today.
I focus on Justin, climbing into the truck bed and surveying the supplies. The rest of the guys have taken refuge in their vehicles. Thankfully, the changing weather distracted everyone from my struggle. I don’t want any more attention.
I dig my feet into the ground, determined to get my ladder to the truck on my own. I refuse to be lame and leave it behind. But the oak tree urges me to with every creek. It doesn’t understand. I don’t always want to be the damsel in distress. I need to do this on my own.
Sheets of rain pour from the sky. The sound is near deafening. I readjust my grip on the metal. My palm stings as if glass has cut me. The ladder slips through my palms, crashing on the sidewalk below.
I bend over, determined to do something right. Surprisingly, the ladder lifts with ease. I look up as Justin takes it from me, swinging it over his shoulder. He pushes me in front of him toward the truck.
Damn. I’m sick of being so hopeless and weak.
Boom. A cannon of thunder.
Justin throws the ladder in the tuck bed and pulls me around to the front. I reach up, grabbing the door’s handle only to be rewarded with pain shooting through my palms. Red blood drips down the side of Justin’s white truck.
Justin gasps as he reaches past me and grabs the handle, opening the door and lifting me onto the seat. White pellets fall on Justin’s shoulders and it’s like I’m stuck in a popcorn maker. Justin stands outside, oblivious to the hail and rain. He turns over my palms, searching for the cause of the blood. I look at my hands with the same curiosity.
My fingertips are scrapped and raw, already swollen and bleeding. Large calluses have been ripped from my palms. Small holes weep blood in their place. Two deep cuts are positioned on my right palm where blood seeps freely.
Justin removes his hands from mine. He takes off his shirt, pressing the wet cloth into my palms. I close my hands around it and focus on the white fabric changing red. The shirt stings but I hold it tightly. It’s a good distraction from Justin’s abs. The door shuts and a moment later the other opens. Justin slides in next to me.
He grabs my wrists, pulling my hands back in his. “Lucy, crap.” Water drips down my face. I am pretty sure it isn’t from tears. At least, I hope not.
The sirens blare and the wind gusts pick up. Justin swears, dropping my hands, turning the ignition and throwing the truck into reverse. The radio broadcast continues, “Severe Thunderstorm Warning In Effect.”
“Thunderstorm warning? Look outside.” Justin shouts at the radio. I glance through my window. Clouds swirl above us as Justin speeds away from the neighborhood. He pulls onto the highway. We’re flying with a few other cars at over eighty miles per hour.
“That’s a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Hennepin County.” The radio voice reiterates. A siren blares from the radio. “Update: Tornado Watch in effect for West Hennepin County.” I roll down the window for a clear view at the sky. The clouds drop lower, spinning in opposite directions above us. “Justin, the clouds…” Cars stop and drivers run down into the ditch.
The truck screeches to a halt with them. I turn, fumbling with the door’s latch. “Forget it,” Justin shouts over the wind. A bush blows past my window as he pulls me over his lap with one arm. He throws the door open, pushing me out of the truck and into the ditch.
Justin shoves me against the ground. I duck, covering the back of my head like they taught me in elementary school. I feel more pressure over my head as Justin’s body presses over me. Two women scream as the sound of a train approaches. Cars scrape against the pavement and smash into one another. Justin’s lies next to me, one hand over my head. The train drowns all noises.I hold my breath.