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A broken boy on the path to destruction.
A scarred girl without direction.
A love story carved in secrets, inked with pain and sealed with a lie.

Grace Shaw and West St. Claire are arctic opposites.
She is the strange girl from the food truck.
He is the mysterious underground fighter who stormed into her sleepy Texan college town on his motorcycle one day, and has been wreaking havoc since.
She is invisible to the world.
He is the town’s beloved bad boy.
She is a reject.
He is trouble.
When West thrusts himself into Grace’s quiet life, she scrambles to figure out if he is her happily-ever-after or tragic ending.
But the harder she pushes him away, the more he pulls her out of her shell.
Grace doesn’t know much about anything beyond her town’s limits, but she does know this:
She is falling in love with the hottest guy in Sheridan U.
And when you play with fire—you ought to get burned.


EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Playing With Fire

L.J. Shen

Expected Release Date: 15 September 2020

An emotional new love story is coming next week from author L.J. Shen, and I have a little sneak peek for you.

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Excerpt

Waking up today, I’d noticed the flame ring on my thumb had finally succumbed to its old age, and half the flame had broken, leaving just the hoop and part of the flame.

It was a hundred and twelve degrees outside—so hot you could fry an egg on the concrete—and probably ten degrees hotter in the truck. Something about today felt different. Monumental, somehow. Like my future had been suspended over my head, threatening to thunder down on me.

“Today’s going to be fine.” She dropped her backpack on the floor, snapping the tongs in my face.

“Fine, but busy. There’s already a line outside. Better get your ass to your window, Juliet.”

“If Romeo eats fish tacos at nine a.m., I’d rather stay single.” I laughed, feeling a little more like myself again and a little less like the pitiful girl West St. Claire had made me feel I was last night.

Mrs. Contreras insisted on serving her special recipe fish tacos only. No Tex Mex in this food truck. We only did one type of taco, but we were the best at it.

“Ah, that’s the angle Shakespeare didn’t expand on. Romeo died of Juliet’s fish taco breath, not poison.”

“And Juliet’s dagger?” I tossed Karlie an amused look. She pretended to shove the tongs into her gut like it was a sword, holding her neck as she fake-choked.

“Tongs can be deadly, too.”

I opened the truck window with a smile, determined to push last night away from my mind.

“Good mornin’ and welcome to That Taco Truck! How may I hel—”

The last word clogged up in my throat when I saw his face. A line of people trailed behind him.

West St. Claire.

My smile dissolved.

Why was he back?

“Is this about the tip Tess left yesterday? Because you can have it. Maybe buy some manners.” My gut clenched, my mouth faster than my brain.

Why did I insist on getting socially murdered? Was I subconsciously suicidal? Either way, I didn’t regret what I’d said. I doubted West wanted tacos or a civilized conversation. I knew going toe-to-toe with a guy like him was a bad idea, but he’d been cold and mean yesterday, and I couldn’t help but call him out on that.

West looked like he hadn’t slept all night. He was still wearing the same jeans and faded shirt combo, his steadfast, bored gaze making me feel like dirt. His eyes were bloodshot.

Wordlessly, West handed me a ball of paper. I immediately recognized it. My face clouded as I unfolded it. It was the ad he’d ripped from the truck yesterday.

“Already made a new one,” I clipped, dunking the paper into the trashcan under my feet. “Anything else I can do for you?”

“Get the manager,” he clipped.

It took me by surprise. First of all that he spoke at all. I’d never heard him talk before. His voice matched his looks. Low, smoky, and depraved. Second, it shocked me that he spoke to me. But most of all, I was surprised he had the audacity to boss me around.

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